The older I get the less time I have for frivolous; especially in emails, and emails from perfect strangers.
Now, I understand “frivolous” means different things to different people, so let’s apply YOUR standard…it’s basically the Golden Rule. You know it…. Treat others as you would be like to be treated.
Even that leaves a little bit to be desired, though, because some people like to be treated differently than others, and there’s a whole spectrum of human behavior to take into consideration.
So let’s amend our understanding of the the Golden Rule to (1) apply to the business world (2) understand that the 80/20 rule applies.
The 80/20 rule, or the Pareto Principle states that “…80 percent of your outcomes come from 20 percent of your inputs…”. See my blog about Pareto here. Trust me when I say this means you are not going to hit the mark all the time. (Another old adage: you can please some of the people all the time, and all the people some of the time, but not all the people all the time.)
Within those ground rules, then, how should you approach client prospects, cold calls, and hopeful relationships in the business world?
Real World Example
The other day, I got a letter that began: “Dear Dave, My name is Marcia Ledbetter, and I’m blah, blah, blah, blah… I work for United SEO Partners, and blah, blah, blah…”
Now mind you, this is an exact quote. By that, I mean the letter actually contained the words “blah, blah, blah” It was kinda cute, really, and I understood immediately the intent. She was poking fun at all the other letters I get where people drone on and on about their pedigree and what they can do for you. But she took it too far. The “blah, blah, blahs” got repetitive across several paragraphs and she ended up wasting my time. Her letter got 86’d.
#1 rule of today’s messages: Get to the point.
No… quicker than that even.
I don’t necessarily think this is encouraging deeper personal relationships (that’s for later), but it does answer the pell-mell pace of business these days. 140 character tweets, messaging from smartphones, 6-sec videos, messages that disappear in 6 seconds. I could go on…but there’s no time.
I worry that my blogs are too long.
All I know is that if I’M getting a pitch from someone who wants my business, the email or message better be:
- succinct (short, to-the-point, all business)
- have no misspellings
- leave contact info
I’m thinking 4-5 sentences max. I like to leave spaces between my thought-groups…so that would be 4-5 double-spaced lines.
Here’s an example:
Basil Humphreys referred me to you.
He mentioned that you were seeking a voice for an explainer video.
My rates are reasonable, and my turn-around time is FAST. I won’t rest until you’re happy with the final product.
You can find all my contact info, and even click on my demos, below in my signature.
That last line is important. They can do all the checking-around on you with the social media links and the URLs you provide in your well-stocked signature. You don’t have to take up a lot of time explaining who you are and what you do.
Again…80/20. This will not work for everyone. Some may think this too terse…even rude. Others (the 80%, I hope) will find it refreshingly business-like and respectful of my time.
Need more? Here’s an EXCELLENT article on Email Etiquette for Entrepreneurs. Spot on!