My son wrote a story for his first-grade class about our recent spring break vacation:
“Me and my famley went to Florida. Whin we got there we went to the swimin pool. My dad frow me in the pool. I landid in the water. We wint to the pool every day. We also builded jiant sand castles. My dad and me wint hunting for baby sea tertles. I saw lots of lizards. Seaside is Asum!”
When I finished reading it, the message was clear. Keep it simple. Communication is powerful when kept simple. This has a direct correlation to our emails, presentations, and any other interaction we have with prospects and clients. Let’s take emails:
There is a visual appeal to emails. No matter how profound the content is, you have to be careful to not be visually overwhelming.
Are your emails too wordy? A large percentage of emails are read on mobile devices. If you send a mini-dissertation on why you want to meet or follow-up on a recent conversation, it’s likely to be skipped or deleted.
Use bullet points to organize your thoughts and clearly articulate ideas. Why?
- They are easy to read.
- They keep things simple.
- Long blocks of text are repellant to your reader.
Too many emails are lengthy and overly explanatory. Once again, keep it simple. Many prospecting emails try and explain the following:
- Mutual contacts.
- The connection with the contact.
- Knowledge about your company or your pain.
- Personal expertise.
- Goals for the outreach.
- Methodology and timing.
Get to the point! Simple and straight forward is always best.
- Why you’re reaching out? (Make it about them!)
- Why an exploratory conversation may have merit. (Don’t tell them, let them decide!)
Prospects don’t like to be told what to do. There’s a fine line between proving and desperation.
Keep the email between 100 and 125 words. No one wants to read the next War and Peace.
Own it. There should be no “fingers crossed” or hiding behind a passive “If you’re interested, you can reach me at…” If you’re in sales, one of your skills and strengths should be asserting yourself and taking risk. “I’ll call you next week to see if a conversation has any merit.” Once again, you own it!
Finally, your intent will drive everything including your results. If the intent of your email is to prove, tell, and convince the prospect why they should meet or schedule another meeting, you might as well beg because that’s what it will sound like. How likely are you to respond to a begging stranger?
Speak Your Gut! If you’ve sat in front of your computer screen for more than 15 minutes trying to craft the perfect email introduction or follow up, it’s time to step away from the computer. Just say what needs to be said. After all, last time I checked, prospects were human. Why not communicate in a way they can respond to? Remove the marketing slogans, textbook academics, and sales lingo. The longer you stare at that screen the more anxious you’ll feel, and the less compelling and profound you’ll be. Keep it simple.