How to End an Email and the Email Line That’s Client Repellent
By Rob Williams
I discovered how to end an email at a time when my business was going through a particularly bad dry spell. I was responding to design jobs, networking, and more but nothing seemed to work. The stress was mounting each day and I felt like a balloon stretched to it’s breaking point every time I entered a new meeting. I went in to each new relationship thinking one thing: “I need this job.”
Not ideal. And predictably each time the deal would slip out of my grasp. Some would say it was a change in plans, others balked at my rate, but most — most just stopped replying altogether.
I knew it was something I was doing wrong, but what I didn’t know at the time was that it was a single phrase I was using that proved I didn’t know how to end an email.
How NOT to end an email: the email line that’s client repellent…
I was writing it in nearly every email I sent and it was ruining my business. Here it is:
“Let me know how I can help.”
I would spew it out constantly:
- When I wanted to be nice.
- When I wanted to sound helpful.
- When I didn’t know what else to say.
All my emails, it seemed, ended with some variation of “let me know.”
But what I didn’t realize at the time was saying “let me know”, meant never actually allowing clients to get what they wanted from me.
Why “let me know..” is NOT how to end an email
Despite it being my go-to, I realized that this line was dumping work on to the people I was emailing. I was saying here, you deal with it. It reeked of incompetence and it undermined my business.
After all, deciding what should happen next were the very problems I was being trying to be paid to solve.
So I tested the complete opposite approach for a few weeks. Every time I opened up Gmail or Pipedrive, I decided to take a new approach.
Experimenting with how to end an email: put the solution at the end of every email.
Once I realized I was writing bad, open-ended emails. I began to look at things differently.
At the end of every email I began to prescribe a solution.
At first, it felt wrong.
I felt like I was barking orders and bossing my clients around. It was scary. But I slowly noticed a change. Clients were responding to my emails. Even prospects were chirping back.
My business improved just by making it my responsibility to suggest the next step.
If I wanted a meeting, I’d suggest a time. If I was presenting an idea, I’d also present how it should be implemented quickly.
This set the tone that my time was valuable. It proved I was a professional capable of making the right decisions instead of just claiming I could.
Examples of how to end an email that will optimize your response rate
So right now, you may be asking yourself what does an email that optimizes your response rate look like? Here are some alternatives to “let me know” that I used to ensure I was making it easy to reply:
- Is a conversation timely?
- Are you the right person to speak to about the project?
- Can I send over some ideas I have for the project?
- I’d like to send you a few followup questions I had about the project – is that ok?
- Send me a thumbs up and I’ll send you more info.
- Feel free to respond and I’ll send you info.
- Send me a yes and I’ll send more info.
- Are you the right person? If not, who is?
- Cool? Is it ok if I tell you more?
- How is the hiring process going for this?
- Please reply to this email if I can send you some more info.
- If you are the appropriate person to speak with, what does your calendar look like? If not, who do you recommend I talk to?
- Does a Friday meeting work? IF not, how about Tuesday at 10AM?
What these emails do is show you won’t have to be micromanaged.
You are putting the hard work of deciding what should happen next on yourself.
Whether it’s a project, a job, or something else you’re emailing about, demonstrating you know how to end an email this way is going to pay off big time.
How to find the perfect way to end an email for your situation
To re-iterate, if you’re like most people the end of your email probably looks like this:
“I’m not sure if you may be interested in something like this, but if you are feel free to let me know what you would like to do.”
This does you no good. So how do you write a better end to your email for your situation?
End it with two things:
- A yes or no question.
- A suggestion with instructions on what to do next.
If you’re contacting a potential client, that means you include how to move forward assuming they’re interested.
“I’d like to discuss the details, sometime this week, if you are interested. If so, would it be okay if I sent you a few ideas on how I could help?”
The only goal is to get a reply. Your email should take seconds to reply to. If they can say “sounds good” to your email, you’re probably on the right track.
Why it worked for me and how it will work for you
This approach showed my hands wouldn’t have to be held throughout a project. As a result clients wanted to work with me.
In the coming week you’re going to notice yourself ending a lot of emails with let me know. Sorry about that. This folly cannot be unseen.
You’re also going to notice something else.
You will have a super power.
By taking responsibility and providing a next step in all of your emails you will have control of your future. You will no longer leave things up to chance.
About Rob Williams...
I run Folyo which helps freelance designers find the work they were meant to do. I also host Freelance a podcast about how to be more effective at independent work featuring remote companies like Disney, Basecamp, YNAB, ConvertKit and more.