Quick Tip for Stronger Emails
“Syntax” is a word common enough, but it's extra sexy for communication pros and content creators alike, perking my ears every time I come across it. Mostly because, in a world moving more and more towards email, written language as a skill is becoming more valuable in business and especially in sales. The challenge is tone often gets misconstrued over text, even for well-written emails. So, to give yourself the most effective and well-received written communications, remove unnecessary past tense. Peep the difference below.
How many times have you read (or written) something like:
“I’m emailing you because I wanted to see how my timing is regarding evaluating alternative HR software."
Other than the fact this sentence is drier than a Sacramento summer, it’s weak from the jump. “I wanted” means I used to want something, but now I don’t. If your want is in the past, so is your ask, and prospects live in the now while planning for the future. Shifting something as simple as your tense (there’s that syntax thing again) will make your ask a current priority, and getting on that priority list is the first step in a sales process.
If your want is in the past, so is your ask, and prospects live in the now while planning for the future.
Instead, try: “Timing is key, and so is a healthy workforce. How’s my timing to check out some alternative HR options?” Is it perfect? — doubtful, I've never sold HR benefits. But I’ll bet the five-spot in my wallet it’s easier on the eyes and more enjoyable to read.
Another common cold follow up email is, “I’ve been reaching out over the past few weeks and haven’t heard back, but I’d like to speak to you about our HR benefits software."
No executive has ever taken a call simply because you’ve been trying for days, weeks, or months to get their attention. It’s your job to get on their radar. Telling them you’ve been trying to get a hold of them is like repeating someone’s name over and over expecting them to answer you with a smile. Fat chance, Slim.
Like poetry, every word and letter in your email is crucial. Too wordy, I move on. Too short, I may not understand your purpose. Try to be cute, I mark you as cheesy and make it a game to ignore you as a phony “professional." Remember, if you’re the cool rep with a direct and present ask, your audience will want to respond. Crazy concept, right?