Secrets of the Best Email Messages

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Email is still a great outreach method, if you want to connect. Here’s how to put some mojo in your electronic messages.

You’ll never earn the right to deliver your elevator pitch, unless you can generate some electronic firepower in your online communications. What’s the secret to emails that get results?

Just like a great eleavator speech, you email has to be crystal-clear, interesting and non-threatening if you want a positive response.  Since the elevator platform has been replaced with the social platform (read all about it right here) you have to be prepared to start your story strong, in the Matrix.  Here’s how.


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Email Subject: “Time to Talk?”

That’s the subject of your next email, the one you’ve been wanting to send to your newest VIP contact. “Time to Talk?” is open-ended and inspires curiousity. It could mean, “Do you have time to talk?” Or, “Is there a time when we could talk?” or even, “Look, it’s time to talk!” The response to that question, under any interpretation, is:

Email Response: “Talk about what?”

Question and response. Hmmm… you just started a dialogue. The Conversation is the foundation of Web 2.0, and the goal of any modern communication.  The objective is to secure a conversation to discuss your idea, and that’s why you need a “time to talk”.

Here’s a short video from my MBA workshop, on emails that get results


An initial networking contact is a quest for information. So many folks misinterpret Steven Covey, and begin with the end in mind…instead of seeking first to understand, than to be understood. If your opener is, “So, do you want to buy some of my stuff? Are you the decision-maker? [or even worse] Do you have a job? Do you know someone who has a job?” Yikes, Gunga Din. It’s probably not “time to talk”. My magic will not work for you.

Ask a question before its time, and you will get the wrong answer. It takes time to earn the right to advance, and a time to talk is step 1. Have you proven that this company is a good customer, or somewhere that you want to work? Do you know that your contact is the sole decision maker? Even if your answer is “yes”, you still need to confirm that theory. And you need to know that there is interest in you discussing your personal value proposition before you share it. Come to your contact with a demonstrated knowledge of their business or situation, and ask them to confirm/deny or elaborate on a specific idea or thought – preferably, an idea that plays to your strengths and your solutions.

Email Body: Confirm/Deny/Elaborate

Email Strategies from Chris WestfallAfter a brief one sentence introduction about where you met or how you were referred, you want to identify why you are writing. As you define your purpose (seeking information about a particular topic) ask you contact to confirm/deny/or elaborate on your theme – it must be a specific concept that could help his/her business, or a specific question about the processes within the company. (email me if you want some specific ideas) Your topic should demonstrate a specific knowledge of the company, but require clarification from your contact. After all, you have to have something of value for your contact to confirm/deny/elaborate on. Clear details on a specific question will create trust, and establish you as someone who does their homework. Suggest a time to talk, and offer a specific time when you will follow-up. Stick to your plan and follow up when you say you will – if they haven’t contacted you first.

Demonstrate a knowledge of your subject and request confirmation in a brief (less than 20 minute!) conversation. Stay on topic, gather the information you need.

Want to strengthen your communications and improve your elevator pitch? Join me Tuesday, August 7th at 10:30am CST for “Let’s Talk Strategies” with Danette Moss. Call in to the show and ask your questions!

And if you’d like to sign up for my upcoming FREE elevator pitch seminars and LinkedIn workshops, just send me a message.  You’re invited!

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