* If there's a question for the person to answer, make sure it is the very last sentence in the email. That way when the person finishes reading the email and is deciding whether to ignore/archive or reply, they're more likely to reply. If possible, make the question yes/no instead of long answer. For example: "Is now a good time to move forward?" versus "How does this sound to you?"
* Keep the email short. People generally don't like reading long emails, and even if they start they're less likely to finish it if it's long.
* If you've been following up with someone for a while, start off an email with "I wanted to follow up with you on this one last time". This reminds the person that you've emailed several times before (and perhaps makes them feel guilty for not replying sooner) and lets them know the ball is completely in their court. I have found this to be very useful in kick-starting leads that went stale.
I think I understand your reasoning. If you lead with the question, then write a bunch of stuff. When they finish reading and get to the end, they may have forgotten the initial question. I guess I have found in my professional experience that leading the with question is often more effective when talking to management. They're often quite busy and may skim the email to judge the importance.
I find that when they skim they are very likely to miss the question and I usually have to bug them a couple times. If I lead with the question and make it concise and direct, it is often answered very quickly. ;) Yes, this is filler text to share my opinion.
In that context, the recipient doesn't have any need to email me back, and I'm trying to make sure they do. For internal emails, there's already pressure for the recipient to email back sometime-or-other, so it's a different challenge.
Oddly enough I do the exact opposite: Within reason, I try to make the question I want answered the very first sentence.
I hate expository emails. Just tell me what you’re looking for. If I need more detail I would hope the follow on text would provide it.
You could literally use the same sentence first and last if you just really need to get the point across and don't have time to get creative.
Am I more likely to open an email that says "[subject] Have you heard about how cloud services can reduce..." -or- "[subject] Does that time work for you?"
(Disclaimer: neither, please stop emailing me about your amazing cloud services and how it will save me money.)
I think the strategies — and etiquette — for cold outreach emails are totally different.
Taken further, we could put the question in the subject line. The email body can then provide detail and finally re-state the question.
Subject: Ok to manually norble remaining flurbs?
Body: As you know, our flurb-norblement service is out of action until Friday next week, and our un-norbled flurbs are costing us double. Should I go ahead and manually norble our remaining un-norbled flurbs, or just wait until the service comes back on?
(I've omitted the informal 'Hi Alice' prefix, and formal 'Best regards, Bob' suffix, that seem to have become standard intra-office netiquette.)
I googled this approach, but it seems that most articles about writing emails, are just lazy clickbait 'list articles'.
The author would advise you to ask a negative question in your email such as "have you given up on this project?" People don't like to say no and it often motivates a reply.
The problem with any systematic of getting someone's attention is that is is impersonal by nature (not tailored to the person).
As audiences get more sophisticated and used to technology, the sender needs to get more sophisticated.
In the early days of internet marketing there was this figure called "The Rich Jerk" who would sell a lot of stuff by insulting his prospects. "I'm smart and your dumb" "I is winner, you is loser" type of thing.
I doubt that would work so well nowadays, infact the same guy made a comeback with a more "I'll help you step by step" attitude. "I'm a changed man" ha ha!. Good marketing indeed.
But if he stuck to the Jerk approach when the world had got more sophisticated and spam-intolerant no one would probably be interested in that.
> "CEO of ... a firm that solves business negotiation problems with hostage negotiation strategies".
Shaming people into not being a lazy shit at work or some other negotiation scenario is a legit and effective strategy.
But with a cold/cool sales contact, it is not genuine. What idiot salesman would start a relationship in a way that casts the customer negatively?
I’ve been in positions where I have influenced spending in a vertical where it’s sometimes winner take all. CRM generated pitch emails come in all of the time designed to look like normal emails and use these approaches, angling to get a meeting. It’s obnoxious. Tell me what problem you’re going to solve and how you solve it. 80% of the time I don’t care, 20% I might take some action if it sounds compelling.
This comes across as presumptive passive aggressive nagging.
It implies that you already know the answer, and are just poking for a response.
Personally, I’d try and avoid working with someone who used that tone.
"Hi, my name is so-and-so. I am a [brief description of you, e.g. "student at X university", "resident of...", "software engineer working at..."]. I found you via ... I read your paper on ... and I had a question:
or something like that.
Never say, "I wonder if you could spare some time to answer a question?" Just ask it. If they can spare the time they'll answer, and if they can't, asking if they can won't change that.
It’s a support channel, just ask.
To the left is a door that leads to Comcast Support.
To the right is a door to a freenode channel guarded by a man yelling, "DON'T ASK TO ASK! JUST ASK!!!"
Which direction, gentle newbie?
More often than not, I feel like talking with those folks and explaining to them that they should just ask and not ask if they can ask it seems like they just don't recognize what they're doing. Thus, it's usually good to tell them they don't need to ask and to just ask now and in the future.
It depends on in how good faith your respondent is acting. If there is no social or other pressure, "one last time" can indicate to its recipient "you just have to ignore this, and the issue will go away."
"I sent you this three days ago but haven't received a reply. Did you get it?"
It's very rare not to get a response to that. On those rare occasions I wait a week and then just say,
(on top of a copy of all the previous correspondence of course).
I can't remember the last time that has failed to elicit some kind of response. Most of the time it's "Sorry for the long delay, I was out of town..."
The previous emails might deserve an answer I just haven't had the time to send yet, but for otherwise equally important emails, the one from the most annoying / disrespectful sender will be handled last, if ever.
Are these internal or external emails? I could see how it might be more appropriate with internal recipients.
But yeah - if they're being out of line to begin with (and are ignoring my previous mails implying they should use appropriate channels) or external folks that are asking for special dispensations, yeah, that will get you less helpful responses, not more.
This sounds rude to me, IMO. It's like a thinly veiled ultimatum–I find it interesting that you've gotten success from this, since it feels antagonistic to me.
I encounter this frequently at work, where people either care deeply that they be heard, or do not — but regardless are unreliable at replying when asked to be heard the first time. Including “here’s my next course of action if non-reply” permits them to remain silently without being rude if they wish to.
Not bothering me in the first place, or maybe taking a hint.
If I didn’t reply to your first or second emails, assume I don’t want to. A motivating example: the only people who have ever emailed me repeatedly and used language like, “one last time” are cold calling salespeople and recruiters. I do nothing when they initially reach out, but when they start using tactics like this I send them directly to spam. I get that they have to sing for their supper, but I won’t respond to synthetic overtures of familiarity or urgency.
And with that in mind, I absolutely want people to follow up if they're getting radio silence from me - and I don't feel put off if the follow up is only "ping" or "poke" or "have you had a chance to think about this" or "I need to know by X because Y". Its not like its that hard to reply things like "thanks for info" or "sorry I can't make it" or "that's really in Elizabeth's bailiwick" or "I need to do some research and I'm planning to get back to you next week".
People can be forgetful. Reminders don’t hurt
- be authentic. I never email anyone without believing 100% that my message can help solve a problem I already know they are struggling with.
- be personal. Do some research and find something that shows you are putting in the work to make sure you are authentic. It makes all the difference.
- be honest. Should go without saying.
- offer something expecting nothing in return. For example, if you are selling SEO services send them a list of where their site ranks for 5 keywords you think apply to their business. Then send 2 or 3 simple things they can do on their own to solve the problem
- keep it short. 140 words is enough. Keep rewriting until it is that short.
- ask one question and make it yes or no.
Lots of other nuance but those are good pillars to build on.
How do you know 100% they have that problem if you have never talked to them before? How do you know they have not already solved it?
I have a second profile that only gets shared with actual people that I have actual relationships with.
I would say about the only way to get past that filter is via some kind of content marketing that gets shared by folks or an actual direct person to person introduction.
What other tips do you have for someone like me? (I'm pre-sales for a vendor that sells products and projects around 1 - 10 million$) for a large vendor.
2. Schedule the delivery for first thing in the morning. Email delivered during the day, after people get busy, just scrolls off the front page and gets lost. (I use Gmail's new scheduled send multiple times a day now.)
Right now, for some reason, I can't get transactional emails from Doordash, Fastrak, or EZFacility. If I ask any of those sites for a password reset, the email never shows up. I had to drop Doordash and switch to Grubhub.
My email goes to my web site, hosted by HostGator. There's no filtering there; it's just forwarded to my ISP, into an IMAP box. There's spam filtering at that point, which puts mail into different folders.
EZFacility uses Sendgrid, and the problem seems to involve Sendgrid. But they won't talk to me, because I'm not a direct Sendgrid customer.
Amusingly, I can get the same emails through my ancient Stanford alumni account. That just forwards to my main HostGator web site, so the mail goes through all the same steps, plus some aggressive spam filtering at Stanford.
So I dumped Doordash, signed up for a maker space via the Stanford account, put Fastrak on paper billing, and avoid all services that use Sendgrid.
(For non-Stanford people: Assuming you graduate and don't come back in some other capacity, your @stanford.edu mailbox stops working, becomes forward-only for at least a short time, and your @stanfordalumni.org address becomes primary. See https://alumni.stanford.edu/get/page/perks/alumniemail/faqac... for more info.)
But it could also be that someone wants to keep your account active!
I'm the person who posted this article, and I do not have (and never have had) a relationship with the NYT. I read their articles for free thanks to a partnership my library system (SMCL) has with the NYT. I definitely don't always agree with their stories, but some of their tech stuff is good.
It's also worth noting that some of their content is newsworthy for the HN community simply because many (non-HN) people read the NYT and form their ideas about tech based on what they read there.
The NY Times recycles topics and takes so often that if you read it for a year, you can pretty much cancel your subscription for the next five.
Another alternative is to read via Pocket (I know, not everyone likes them), which appears to give unlimited access. Just save articles to your Pocket and open it there!