If you want your personal or your business’s emails to go unanswered less often, a simple change to the way you end your emails could accomplish just that.
That’s according to freelancer Robert Williams, who wrote an InVision blog post about how a change to the way he wrote his emails during a stressful, extended client drought changed his fortunes.
Instead of ending emails with an open-ended “Let me know how I can help,” which he says is akin to “dropping a wheelbarrow full of work on my client’s desk and saying ‘Here. You deal with it,’” Williams began to suggest subsequent steps in his emails to clients. He explained in his post:
“So I began to do the complete opposite and prescribe solutions at the end of every email.[…] Just by suggesting a next step at the end of my email, I was able to double the amount of people who responded to me.
This next step was different for every email, but it always followed the same 2-step structure. I would include:
- My suggested next step
- What we could do in the event they don’t want to do that
If someone wanted a meeting, I’d suggest a time and instead of saying, ‘Let me know if this works for you.’ I’d switch that out for, ‘If not, than X time/day also works or I’m free at X time/day.’
Think about that. You’re not just saving yourself the extra time of writing 2 separate emails, you’re saving you (and your client) the time in between these emails.”
Williams advises others to keep the next step in mind whenever writing an email and to make sure the email’s content reinforces that next step.
According to Williams: “if a client can just reply ‘sounds good’ to your email, you’re right on.”