A few years ago I discovered an email phrase that lost me more potential clients than everything else in my business combined. It took me months to figure out and even longer to fully get rid of it. But today I’m going to share it with you so you can skip losing potential clients because of this horrible phrase.
Ready? Here it goes: the email line that’s repellent to clients, especially potential clients, is: “let me know how I can help.”
I used to say it all the time. In my emails, on calls, on my website, everywhere. But do you know what I realized? This phrase wasn’t what I thought it was. I thought it was professional. I told myself I was being helpful. But I was wrong.
Potential clients are busy. They are looking to hire someone to take away work from them. Not give them more. So the last thing they want is to have to tell you what to do on top of everything else. That’s why removing “let me know” from your vocabulary forever is a huge win. (By the way, here’s an in-depth resource on how to do that in your entire business. More on that at the bottom of this post.)
Now, once you get rid of this phrase you’ll be left with a bit of a void. What do you say instead?
Here are some sample emails to potential clients for common scenarios you can save and use the next time you need one:
Ah, the introduction email. One of my favorite genres of freelance email templates. You find a company you want to work for. Maybe it’s a referral or a job post. How do you introduce yourself?
The key is to focus on the recipient. Remember: you’re reaching out to them. They don’t know who the hell you are. And they don’t care. That’s the truth. So act like it. Get rid of any sentence that starts with “I,” or is focused on you and instead make it about the person you’re emailing. Here’s an example:
Your [company, blog post, job post, social post, etc.] is amazing. One of my favorite things about it is [something you actually love about the company or client].
In fact, your [brand, website, blog, app, or whatever you want to work on] reminds a lot of [impressive past client], that needed something similar and that tells me you probably want [amazing benefit received] as well.
Can I send you some ideas for how we can work on this?
Notice how this introduction email is extremely easy to reply to. All a client has to do is say ‘sure’ and you will take it from there. That’s what you want. Compare it to an email that ends with “let me know…” There’s no comparison.
Make no mistake, mastering this email template is actually one of the most valuable things you can do in your business. That’s why I wrote a full tutorial on how to customize this freelance email template here.
After you send an introduction email, or any important email to a potential client really, you should immediately schedule your follow up email.
80%+ of first emails go ignored. That’s life. Instead of crying into a pillow about it, plan for it.
Here’s what I recommend. About one week after your first email to a potential client, send this:
Excited to hear back from you, but I don’t want to stuff your inbox unnecessarily.
Are you the right person to be emailing about this?
I like this follow up template because it gives you two ways to win. The client might respond ‘yes’ in which case you’re emailing the right person. Sweet.
Or the client might respond ‘no’ in which case they’re likely to also tell you who the right person to contact is.
You can then forward that email to the correct person including the original message attached. This serves as a warm intro, which is even better than emailing them cold.
By the way, this isn’t the only follow up email I would send if I haven’t heard back. I follow up on every potential client email I send at least 3-5 times.
How do you do that without bugging potential clients?
The key is to make sure you don’t rush the conversation. Focus on the present. Avoid phrases like “I can start tomorrow” when you haven’t even gotten a response yet. Keep your follow ups short. For more on building a strong follow up system that maximize your chances, check out my course Endless Clients (it’s currently closed but you can get an email the next time I open it up here.)
At some point you’re going to need to schedule a time to chat with a potential client.
This is another great opportunity to shine by taking work away. Don’t do what most freelancers do and send 2-3 emails asking what time the client’s available before scheduling a call.
Instead, cut down the entire process to 1 email. Here’s how:
That all sounds great. The best next step forward is to schedule a 15-minute call where we can meet and discuss which of X options is right for you.
Does next week on Tuesday at 10:00am PST work for you?
If not, please send me a couple times that work for you and I will see if I’m free at that time.
By suggesting a time and then giving the client instructions incase that doesn’t work, you’re making it so that they don’t have to think. Try to do this at every step of the client experience and you will have create repeat clients.
The last email template I want to share with you today is what to say when you’ve booked yourself solid (using the emails above of course).
I include this email because it’s actually a common mistake people make. It may seem like you can stop all sales activity when you’re fully booked but the opposite is true.
When you’re booked, it’s actually the best time to email new potential clients because it means you can take your time, make sure there’s a good fit, and negotiate from a position of power. You can even experiment.
Still, once a client is interested be upfront with them. Here’s what to tell potential clients when you’re fully booked:
Thanks for reaching out. I’m currently fully booked through X/X so the next available slot in my calendar is X/X.
I understand if it’s not possible to wait that long, however, if you would like to work with me I do suggest moving fast to make sure you get into my schedule (waiting just means it may take longer).
Only signed contracts with down payments go into my schedule, so I’d be happy to explore a few options for you and have you get the very next slot in my calendar.
Can I send over my proposal and contract?
This email indicates how in demand you are (the truth) and makes them sign on quicker to make sure they get into you schedule. Everything you say is true, and even better it’s clear and upfront with the client.
It puts you in a position of power and creates scarcity, separating you from the crowd. All things you want to do when you can. Being fully booked is a great time to do it.
Email is the best way to reach potential clients. With just the 4 sample emails above you can email hundreds of clients every month and win thousands of dollars in client work.
Now imagine what you could do with 30+ of my best email templates and an automated system to consistently find 10+ high-value clients every week. That’s exactly what I teach in my new course, Endless Clients.
It’s a step-by-step walk-through on how to find 10+ $10,000 clients in less than 30 minutes whenever you want. It’s currently closed and I only open Endless Clients a couple times a year.
To make sure you hear about the next time it get opened, sign up below.
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A step-by-step guide on how to get clients including how to identify them, figure out what they want, and what not to change.
A quick-start guide for employees looking to start freelancing while working full-time, including what you can safely ignore.
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