Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
—Leonardo Da Vinci
According to a McKinsey study, the average worker spends 13 hours a week—28 percent of his office time—on email. This multiplies out to (yipes!) 650 hours a year writing and sending emails!
This begs the question, what does it look like when you total all those words over the course of one year?
According to the personal assistant app Cue, which is a hub for services such as Contacts, Calendars, and Email, it adds up to 41,638 words.
In 2012 Cue released some data based on a sample of its users. Though the average number of emails each user received last year was just over 5,000, the output of words sent was comparatively massive. If you put those 41,638 words in perspective, it is about the size of a 166-page novel.
So if each of us is writing a novel’s worth of email every year, why does it feel as if we’re getting very few results from this massive effort?
The answer could be in the way we write follow ups, particularly sales follow ups.
The Problem with Email
Most of the emails insurance agents and financial advisors write today are not only filled with terms that are difficult for the consumer to understand (PPO, HMO, Co-pay, market correction, bottom-up investing, etc.); many are WAY too long and require too much time and effort to read and digest.
Nobody wants to sit and read through a sales pitch; they want to grab little pieces of content here and there. They want people to get to the point.
But most of us were trained to write long, formal emails—the same way we used to write letters and faxes.
My suggestion to you is—wherever appropriate—use short emails.
I’m going to give you a nine-word template for the highest-converting email you’ll ever send.
To date, this sales email follow up template generated well over $500,000 in commissions for those who have used it.
Use One Question to Start a Conversation
The technique is simple: ask ONE question of the reader. Your goal is to encourage a reply or start a dialogue. That’s it.
Here’s an example of a traditional email (in other words, what not to do):
Hope you’re doing well.
I’m following up on our conversation from three weeks ago to see [how your evaluation process is going with your real estate purchase, with your investments, with your insurance product, with your benefits].
The last time we met, we reviewed your needs as gaining more control over your benefits, and more robust benefits.
I have taken the time to review your current HMO, an explored what would happen if we integrated a TPA with a different PPO that had the co-pays your employees were looking for.
I’d love the opportunity to have a follow up call with you and your CPA to discuss further.
Do you get the idea?
But if you’re ready to make your first SHIFT, there’s a much better way.
The $8,000 Email
One agent, Annette, tried this strategy and sent the email I recommended to her list of prospects at 9:05 in the morning.
At 11:53 a.m., she texted me, “Please, stop the madness. I can’t keep up with the constant flow of responses!”
Then she wrote, “Crazy. More requests just came. I can’t believe what a one-liner did!”
And all she did was take a very personal, one-on-one approach.
In that one day, she closed eight deals for a total of $8,000 in commissions.
Here’s a picture of the closed cases Annette won within 24 hours, after using this email.
Total commissions in 24 hours = $8,000. After 1 week it was $20,000.
Copy this email template right now:
Subject Line: John
John, do you still need help with your [blank]?
In the blank, you can put investments, real estate, buying a home, insurance, senior insurance, Medicare, benefits—whatever.
BAM! That’s your nine-word email!
Warning: Don’t Change a Thing!
Send it EXACTLY as shown above.
Don’t add anything underneath it or above it, other than what normally appears in the personal email template you send from Outlook or Gmail!
One carrier I consulted with sent this to 10,000 people, but decided to get clever. (In other words, he didn’t follow my advice to the letter.)
After the question, he wrote, “Because we’ve got a whole bunch of great products. We’ve got life insurance, we’ve got dental, we’ve got disability, we’ve got…”
And it didn’t work.
Because it didn’t look like it came from a human being. It looked like it came from a marketer trying to engage—and failing.
Why This Email Works Every Time
One commercial lines agent had her team send my nine-word email to a few B2B prospects they hadn’t heard from in a while.
The same day, they got two responses that led to two meetings. Fast-forward 60 days, and those two meetings brought in $240,000 in commissions.
All from one little email!
There are a lot of reasons why this nine-word email works.
- It doesn’t look like spam.
- It offers help rather than a product or a service.
- It’s personal and implies a previous interaction.
- It’s non-threatening.
- It seems to continue a conversation already in progress.
But the number-one reason is this:
It doesn’t require any effort to mentally process this email.
In today’s screen-obsessed society, most people don’t take the time to reflect and think—but they do value brief, meaningful, personal communications.
Using tools such as MailChimp, GetResponse, AWeber, and others, you can personalize a thousand emails at once, making each one look as if it’s being sent from one individual to another—and only to him.
- Send the nine-word email to a list of prospects you’ve targeted before but who have never responded. Test the subject line “quick question” (yes, all lower case. This converts higher, which you’ll learn more about later on)
- Use an automated tool to personalize the name in the email.
- Fill in the blank with the product or service you provide.
- Don’t change anything else or add any other content.