1)    People Have Names Please Use Them. I see this with mostly internal emails but I fear that we might be also becoming lax with our client relationships. Dale Carnegie said it best when he said: “The sweetest sound, in any language is the sound of one’s name” and if that’s not enough, that “Band Camp” girl in American Pie kept asking Jason Biggs “What’s my name (b word deleted)” You can’t ever let that happen to you in email . . . just sayin!

2)    Easy On The Cliches Heavy On the Triggers: Its far more compelling to begin your email with a reference to a trigger event (something going on in their world where you can offer a solution to help them embrace opportunity or avoid pain) Think about that next time you want to begin with “My name is Paul Castain and I’m with” or the always lame “ABC company is a full service . . . “ Their favorite subject isn’t you or your clichés.

3)    Virtual Ball Breaking: Don’t ever use an unrelated email to respond and break your teammate’s stones about an unrelated issue. You are basically encouraging them to remove you from their distribution list. PS It’s freakin lazy too! Oh, and why are you doing this through email?

4)    Ask a question at the end of your email to increase your response rate.

5)    Higher Response Rates Through Social Networking Sites: Did you know that (according to a study published by Epsilon) emails sent through social networks have a 24% higher open rate than traditional email?

6)    Don’t Be Deceptive: Things like Putting a “Re” in the subject line to make it look like you have emailed each other before isn’t cool nor is referencing a discussion that you know damn well never happened.

7)    How About An Email Makeover Meeting?: You can do this with your sales team, other sales reps, your mastermind group. Have everyone bring their emails and you all critique them, mark them up and most of all . . . rip each other off!

8)     Utilizing Your “PS” As Free Ad Space: Lot’s of cool things you can use the “PS” for. One way is to use it as a way for you not to get pigeonholed into being a vendor for only one type of product or service. The best way for you to do this is to have them “Ask you about” something as in “Ask me about how our new TPS Reports save you time and money” “Ask me about how you can get double digit response rates” Etc. The other thing you can do (and not a bad idea since you want to mix it up a bit) is to cross pollinate your blogging efforts, or that white paper, open house, free webinar etc. The key to leveraging this technique is in changing out your message 1-2 times per month so you train their eye to continually check your “PS” Why bother looking if it’s always the same.

9)    Understand That Email Is Safe! Don’t ever cling to email as a substitute for real time interaction. If you aren’t actually speaking with your clients and prospects on a regular basis . . . someone else is!

10)  Understand That Email Is Also Not So Safe: Ron McMillan Author of Crucial Conversations Tools For Talking When The Stakes Are High says that we lose the rich stew of nonverbal information such as voice tone, facial expressions and eye gaze. Since email by definition is merely the words itself, then its more easily misunderstood then an actual conversation.

11)  Celebrate Internal Wins and Inspire Competition: Sales Managers, this ones for you bro chocho. Why not send out a congrats ccing the entire sales team every time a new account comes in or (depending on your sales cycle) every time a sale is made. Note: Obviously this would be a pain in the butt if you deal in mucho transactions, otherwise this recognizes performance and inspires fun competition. Oh, and it costs nothing to implement! Yep . . . I dig “Free” too!

12)  Virtual Slacking: Have you ever emailed someone who was literally 20-30 feet away? Was it really necessary? If it wasn’t then hang your head and know that I’m hanging my head too. Let’s make it a point to get back to “human”!

13) My Unfiltered Thoughts On “Reply All”

14)   Inspire Internal Email Chatter By Doing This: Instead of sending an intro email to just your prospect, send it to several people at the 30,000 foot level. I can  hear you now saying “I already cc the head honcho” Well, that’s your mistake, because cc’ing the head honcho makes it look like you were trying to get “cute”. It can also get you an immediate “See ya” from your prospect. A better way to execute the strategy is to put all the recipients on the “To” line. Doing this does several things. First, it gives you an out if someone gets cranky. You can say “I didn’t know who to send it to so I figured I would send it to your executive team” The next thing it does can be simply magical. It can create “internal chatter” It might get brought up at the next senior meeting, it might get forwarded to the true decision maker with a note encouraging them to take your meeting etc. And just for the heck of it, I’m thinking since more and more decisions are being made by committee these days, perhaps it speaks to that too! I have to admit that this was inspired by an awesome book I read several years ago by Michael Boylan called The Power To Get In. Only they didn’t have email back then. I suddenly feel old, someone hold me.

And one more for the road gang!

According to the latest report from Radicati Group, there are 247 billion emails sent worldwide each day. Our average decision maker probably gets 100+ of those.

What does that mean for you . . .

Lots of opportunity for you to get lost in the sauce!

So with that in mind . . .

Think about how you will be more compelling with not just your emails . . .

Be more compelling with ALL your messaging!


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Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics where he oversees the training and development of 700 sales Jedis.

Prior to working for Consolidated Graphics. Paul was the Director Of Corporate Solutions Sales for Dale Carnegie & Associates and the owner of two successful businesses.

Over the last 27 years, Paul has trained and mentored over 3,000 sales professionals, written sales training content for several Fortune 500 companies and is the author of Castain’s Sales Playbook (which just won a Sales Pop award for best sales website).

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