Emails are no longer what they used to be, for a start they are no longer "E - Mails".
In their infancy emails were treated as the digital form of a letter, which didn't quite work. The perceived value of an email is nowhere near the pen to paper "apparent" equivalent. You can copy and paste, delete and move text in emails ... a tippex nightmare in letters! The formalities of letter writing have degraded and the casualness of conversation has infused itself in most of my emails. The worst culprits starting in the subject line and ending in the main body punchline ... "Subject: We have got a problem with our XYZ ... Main body: Can you help ?" ... yes, to the point where they cant even be bothered to fix the capitalisation of the letters. I cant help but cringe every time I get an email starting with "Dear XYZ" ... really ? The only time I'd ever even consider using that these days if I was writing a letter to my bank manager or the Queen! Dear ... psssh, I don't wear ties for the same reason, they're meant for formalities! (interviews / weddings / funerals .. etc)!
My emails start the same way all of my introductions / meet ups do ... Hi/Hey! (or if I'm feeling extremely chirpy, hello). Business is a lot more personal these days, emails are an extension to your business relationship and success ... think about how personable you (or your company) is, after all, that's what makes you successful.
I've never been a fan of acronyms, but I've recently warmed to a few ... because my memory is shite!. One that I regurgitate before I hit send is something I have abbreviated to as the "sipper" - Succinct, Inquisitive, Pre-emptive and Relative (SIPR), four things I think about with all of my emails ...
Chances are they've got 1% attention span ... as most of us nowadays with the amount that can distract us!
Hi; I'm; We've; We're; We can ... <delivery> ... keep it short (and open ended if you can)!
Why waste your breath (whether its a new or existing customer) if there's a chance they're completely not interested? They'll appreciate the brevity ... they've got other things to interest them !
I absolutely love the the "instead of" "use" instructions on the plainlanguagenetwork's page.
(... AND, please remember this).
Although you want to avoid the to'ing and fro'ing with your emails (next point), you need to extract as much as you can from your dialogue. Not only will it "beef up" the enquiry, but they/you'll enjoy it!There's nothing better than the feeling of completely clarifying what is required ... at both ends! You'll learn more and they will too!!
Ask open ended questions (great examples there) if you can ... eg:
How do you;
What would you like;
How should the;
Why would you ... (check the link above for very good starters).
You know your industry, so you should know what they will need to divulge to help you present a solution (something I am shortcutting on the site automateme.com)
Cut down on the to-ing and fro'ing, if your answers/questions have a finite number of responses, pre-empt them! So your email could be like this ...
<This> is what happened, the outcomes/consequences are, X or Y.
If X, could you a,b,c,d.
If Y, could you e,f,g,h.
This will take you a lot further down the sales process, a lot quicker.
Make sure you end the email with something relative. Before you think it, this isn't a "sleaze" move" ... its not. It's a way of showing that you are keen to get to know them, who they are, what they're about and where they're going.
Pay attention to who does what in their company and they will really appreciate it. Initially you'll be sending emails to "your contact" This builds on your relationship with them by
For example "... tell Bob I'll have the kettle ready for him when he gets here"