A few years ago I was in a dry spell. I’d had dry spells before, but this one was bad. Each day the stress mounted. I went into each new client meeting thinking only one thing: “I need this job.” That’s when it happened. I began to notice a phrase I was using constantly. I began to notice that it robbed me of opportunities again and again. I didn’t know how to end an email.
Not ideal. And predictably each time the deal would slip out of my grasp. Some clients 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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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