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The Email Line That’s Client Repellent

Written by Robert Williams

My UX design firm had gone through dry spells before but this one was particularly bad. Each day, the stress mounted.

The importance of every new meeting ballooned greater than ever before. I went in to each one thinking one thing:

“I need this job.”

Yet, each client 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 writing in nearly every email that was causing this hole in my pipeline:

“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.

In reality, I was dumping my work on to them, and saying here, you deal with it.

It reeked of incompetence and it undermined my business.

After all, these were the very problems I was being paid to solve. So I tested the complete opposite for a few weeks.

Instead of open-ended emails, I prescribed 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.

It showed my hands wouldn’t have to be held throughout a project. It meant I was taking work away from my clients.

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.

You’ll know you’re on the right track if the most someone has to do to reply is send you “sounds good.” Do that and your emails will win you more clients in less time.

Now that you know this, don’t you wish you had more prospects to email?

How much time would you save having a dozen great UX projects delivered to you daily?

That’s exactly what you get with Folyo PRO.

Robert Williams

I help underwater design agencies fix staff shortages quickly and come back up for air. I run Folyo, a private referral community of product designers, and I host Freelance, a podcast about how to work independently.

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