Murphy’s Law of Email – Engaging Others With Email

WRITTEN September 20, 2018 Author: Rich Atkins

When a potential customer sends an email, will your response automatically start a dialogue?

How you present your response to that prospect will determine whether or not you get an answer, or are flat-out ignored.

When responding, try a formula like this:

Dear Loretta,
Hope you’re doing well.

There is a salutation before the person’s name, rather than starting abruptly.

Murphy’s Law of Email is, “If an email can be misinterpreted, it will be!”

To avoid this problem, start with a salutation before the name (“Hello,” “Greetings”) followed by a pleasant statement.

The email you sent on Thursday speaks clearly of a growing company with leadership challenges. In order for your organization to transition into greater efficiency, these issues need to be addressed.

Here is a chance to show that you are an expert in your field by expressing your understanding of their needs. Also, you can demonstrate that it’s not all about you–that it’s about him or her. Did you notice how “I,” “me,” or “my” did not show up in this communication so far?

It would be great to speak with you to determine the specific goals you have for an onsite training program, as well as the outcomes you expect. Do you have time for a quick call on Tuesday in the afternoon, or would Thursday morning be better?

Still, no first-person pronouns. This subtly tells the recipient that you’re more interested in her/him than yourself. Also, here you offered the prospect the illusion of choice. It’s an illusion, because after all, they’re YOUR choices! This offering of options shows respect and gives control to the reader, which is what every customer wants. Finally, it educates the customer: just because he/she puts out a call for a certain kind of product/service, you’re not going to simply jump and send a proposal that fills that bill.

If you want to sell correctly to a customer, find out what her/his specific wants and needs are. Then, you as the expert, can deliver exactly what is needed.


This information is from the Effective Business Writing class. If you’re looking for ways to improve your communication skills, register for one of our public classes.


Other Resources:

13 Small Business Email Examples and Templates

Professional Letter and Email Writing Guidelines

The 1 Email that Every Salesperson Must Master


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