What freelancer hasn’t been unnerved by non-responsive prospects — especially after you’ve taken the time to ask deep questions, think through their needs, and craft a proposal?
A short time ago I came across the “Magic Email” as taught by Blair Enns of Win Without Pitching, and was immediately struck by its simplicity and genius.
In short, it’s a brief email designed to yield a response from prospects who’ve gone silent or are dragging their feet. Even better: The Magic Email is even more effective this time of year, says Enns, who graciously agreed to share his insights with us below.
I trust you will be benefit from it. Enjoy.
I think together we can make a few million dollars this week, quickly, simply. Let me show you how.
Below is a simple email template that you can use to raise deals from the dead. It works throughout the year but this week, more than any other period in the calendar, is when it works best.
My wish is that a few thousand of you will use it on all the deals that you’ve been working on that seemed to go dark over the summer and that some of you will report back to me on what opportunities you’ve been able get back on track and close because of it. It should result in many millions of dollars of deals being done. Before I give you the formula, let me tell you why now.
The 100-Day Sprint Begins Now
September will be here in just a couple of days, with Labor Day (Labour Day in Canada) effectively marking the end of summer holidays and the beginning of the most productive stretch of business throughout the year. I call this period The 100-Day Sprint as there are roughly 100 business days between now and when things peter out again for the holidays at year end.
As of today summer holidays are over, everyone is rested and all the “decision makers” are able to be corralled once again. The end of the year is in sight and any gaps between the plans, budgets and intentions set at the beginning of the year and progress to date can no longer be avoided. The kids are back to school and “renewal” is in the air. Even the air is different, cooler.
All of this means there is impetus to act, impetus to spend and the ability of many of your clients to now do both at a time when it’s psychologically compelling to get things done. Stalling is no longer an option. Getting the attention of colleagues is no longer an excuse. The time to act is now.
It was taught to me as The Takeaway but I refer to it by the subject line that I prefer: Closing The Loop.
Draft it, modify it if you dare, but send it to all those prospects you were talking to over the summer about real projects only for them to disappear on you. That’s the intended purpose of this email – to raise deals from the dead and solicit a response from someone who has been avoiding you over the summer.
Your natural inclination is probably to do the opposite of what I’m about to suggest. Resist. Do not send an overly polite email. Do not make excuses for your prospect’s behavior over the last few weeks. Do not email in pursuit of a yes or even an answer.
No, your mission is to strip away all emotions and matter-of-factly just let your prospect go. Below is how to do this and then what to expect afterwards.
Within the existing email thread hit reply and change the subject heading as directed then paste the following:
Subject: Closing The Loop
I haven’t heard back from you on [project/opportunity] so I’m going to assume you’ve gone in a different direction or your priorities have changed.
Let me know if we can be of assistance in the future.
What you are doing with this email is you are removing the emotional reasons for the prospect to continue to avoid you. You are stripping out your neediness by no longer feigning politeness, by not asking how their summer was or by being anything other than completely practical.
You are saying, “I can read between the lines and you have decided we are not doing business together. No hard feelings – it’s just business. You can call me if things change.”
What To Expect
Here are the possible replies.
1. Thank You
“Yes, we’ve decided to hire that other firm – the one that wasn’t so needy. I was just about to tell you. I’m glad you understand that it’s just business.”
In this case the deal was already done (closed/lost) they just didn’t tell you. The good news is you can move on and quit wasting energy over something that wasn’t going to happen.
2. No, Wait!
“Actually, we were just busy with holidays and now that my colleagues are back we will have a quick chat and get right back to you.”
This is what you’re looking for here and where your money will be made. By retreating unemotionally where you might otherwise be inclined to advance, you all of a sudden become the one that might get away. You go from the predator to the prize as you show a new pragmatic resolve to separate business from personal and call it like you see it.
The psychological effect of this unemotional retreat can be staggering in its effectiveness. Any resentment the prospect had about you harassing her earlier will be flipped to its counterpart – guilt about not replying to you earlier.
You now have the upper hand emotionally and you have suddenly become a whole lot more interesting.
The least likely response is no reply at all. You have eliminated any reason for this prospect to not wrap things up with a one-line email and remove some stress from their own lives (which, according to productivity guru David Allen is caused by too many open loops).
You will get a reply. Try it and let me know how you do. Standing by…