I’ve often received questions regarding advice for professional emails. It’s easy to craft an email that’s perfectly professional – what’s not as intuitive is how to do that in a way that’s also effective. Perfectly professional emails are boring, and if you’re trying to pitch something, boring = death. So whether you’re doing a cold outreach for a product or sending your value proposal to a prospective employer, here are my tips for crushing the email game.
How do you craft the perfect email? The four “E’s” – Excitement, Empathy, Effort, Execution!
First, show Excitement. If you want to capture someone’s attention, you want them to feel like you’re excited to talk to them specifically. It can’t sound like a form email you send to everyone.
- Bad: “I am writing you today to inquire about a role at your company.”
- Good: “Hello! While searching for opportunities, I saw this amazing one with your company [link]. I was really excited to see this because it’s such a perfect opportunity to create real value for your team. I couldn’t wait to write to you!”
Second, show Empathy. Any time a company is hiring for a position, what they’re really trying to do is solve a problem. If you’re insightful enough to see what that problem is, you can shift the whole conversation, and that always reflects well on you! Don’t talk about the role in terms of how much you’d like it – why should they care? Patients don’t care about the doctor’s job satisfaction, they care about getting well. Make this about them. This is true when selling a product or even asking for a donation – solve a problem!
- Bad: “I have always wanted to be in sales for a company like yours.”
- Good: “I can see from the job listing and from recent news about your company that you’re launching a West Coast team for the first time. Creating a presence in a new market has lots of challenges, and I know making the right hires for that team is one of them.”
Third, show Effort. You’ve got to put some work in early, but you already know how to do that. Imagine a race where you’re actually allowed to start 30 meters ahead of the starting line, but no one does it. Putting in the early effort is like starting farther ahead! But you have to show, not tell. Giving away (a little) free work puts you so far ahead of your competitors in any realm that the ROI is enormous, and you’re crazy if you don’t do it.
- Bad: “If you hired me, I’d be able to help break into that market, because I’m a great prospector.”
- Good: “In order to hit the ground running on a West Coast expansion, I’ve created this list of 30 leads for potential users of your service. These are all companies very similar to those on the East Coast that are already clients of yours, so they fit your demographic. I’ve included contact information for the CEOs on each one, and I’ve checked the sites for your primary competitors to see if any of them are listed as clients, and marked whether or not they were on the list. I hope that’s helpful to you!”
Lastly (and probably most important!) – you have to Execute on all that awesome work you did! Don’t just hand it over and then walk away. Be bold and ask for the connection!
- Bad: “Thanks for reading this, and I hope to hear from you. Have a great day.”
- Good: “I’d love to talk about how this can fit in with your existing sales and marketing plan, and discuss other ways I can add value to your sales team. When is a good time to talk about this role further with you?”
Don’t make it overly long or overly stuffy. “Professional” just means “polite & positive,” so keep that in mind and don’t be afraid to show your character. Keep it short and to the point. I promise you’ll get better results.