Influencers from Around the World – 5 Tips for Influencing Business with Email

This month’s Influencers from Around the World post comes to us from theother side of the world, from Australia’s only Cialdini Method Certified Trainer, Anthony McLean. Anthony heads up the Social Influence Consulting Group. I encourage you to connect with Anthony on FacebookLinkedIn and/or Twitter.

Brian, CMCT®
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.


5 Tips for
Influencing Business with Email


We all know that influencing via email can be a struggle.
In multicultural countries that do business transnationally this is especially
the case. So how do we set about influencing people, especially for business,
over email?
The Science of Persuasion provides us with a number of
hints in this regard:
1. Have a Cracker
of a Headline!
The problem with too many emails is that the subject line
is cryptic and doesn’t grab the attention of the recipient.
You know what subject lines are likely to get opened and
which ones won’t.  Those that answer the
“What’s In It For Me” (WIIFM) will get a greater open rate.  For example if I say,

“Here’s your opportunity to seize an influx of resources”

“Hey, I have a $100 for you.”

Which one would you open?
If you need to be a little more formal provide your
subject line with the data for identification and action such as:

FOR ATTENTION: Immediate Review of Budget

FOR APPROVAL: New Contract

REMINDER: Tender Submission Due Tuesday

Using reported facts from the media or headlines from the
news shows the email is timely and perhaps includes something important that
the recipient may have missed, such as the following:

“Reserve Bank Drop Rates – What it means for your mortgage”

“Media Regulation – the unintended impact on business”

President Obama’s team tested a number of subject lines until they struck on the one that tapped into the intrinsic motivation (Consistency) of their supporters but also showed what
they stand to lose (Scarcity) – all in four words “I will be outspent.”
But remember you can’t use the same headline over and over
again.  Test to find the ones that get
the best reaction but change them regularly.
Test new headlines and avoid becoming predictable.
2. Make it
A research study between college students found that those
who started a negotiation task over email with no period of interaction, i.e.,
they got straight down to business, ended up in a stalemate 30% of the time.
Those students who were first asked to introduce themselves and provide some
personal details including their hobbies, their chosen field of study, their
hometowns and so on, only stalled 6% of the time.  The thing to note here was the negotiation
task was exactly the same.  The only
difference was the group who was more successful at reaching a resolution
personalised the interaction before getting down to business.
Therefore even though you may be writing an email to a
customer that is no excuse for it to be overly formal and boring.  Research the person, use your relationship
data and personalise the email.  This
goes for the headline and the body of the email.
Write it as if you are writing to a friend.  Don’t use templates or long messages.  Make personalised comments at the outset that
shows you have made an effort for them and it isn’t a generic email (see point
3). For example,

Hi Brian,I hope you had a great weekend.  We finally got some sunny weather and all
that did was make it harder to come back to work today.

The reason for the mail is I read an article and
immediately thought of you.  Have a look
at paragraph three; it links perfectly with your current project.

Call me once you’ve read it, as there are some nuances I
want to walk you through so it doesn’t cost you anything.



Statistics on personal subject lines and messages show
that they can have twice the response rate of traditional messages.  One project was even successful in achieving
a 127% increase in open rates over their normal approach.
Finally sign the email.  A personal signature, even a digital one, has
a big impact on personalising your emails.
3. Give
In contacting your clients, think what is important to
them. What will make their lives easier? Why would they continue to open your
emails? Don’t subject them to mass email blasts. Take the time and show them
that you have made the effort to personally send them the email.
Give them content that is meaningful, customised and
expected. This effort will drive reciprocation in effort and cultivate a stronger
working relationship in the process.
Remember though, to be unexpected, don’t give all the
time.  Be selective who you share your
information with and highlight its exclusive nature when it is the case.  Give them what is truly valuable and they will
give you business and loyalty, but you need to go first though.
If you have a large database, apply the Pareto or 80/20
Rule.  For the top 20% of your database,
i.e., those who engage, buy more products, advocate your services, etc.,
personalise your approach to them and give them more.  For the other 80% a standard one-size-fits
approach may apply.  If however someone
steps up to the 20%, let them know, make them feel special and tell them you
would like to give them a more personalised service because of how important
they are to you.  Your emails will do the
4.Call to action
Your email should always have a call to action making it
clear what you want the recipient to do. Whether it is in the subject line or
in the body of the report, it must also always be in the final sentence of the
Never create a call to action and then take them off in a
different tangent, as the call to action will be lost.

Hi Jill,I am really looking forward to your briefing on Thursday.

In preparation for the meeting can you please provide a
copy of the presentation for the leadership team no later than 2 p.m. on
Wednesday along with a short video synopsis explaining your take on the current
staff leave policy?

I hope your new team is performing well and really
embracing the new technology platforms we have introduced.  It is making a
big difference to other parts of the business.

T.H.E. Boss

The final comment about technology can open the door for a
conversation on that issue while the actual focus of the email was introduced
in paragraph two – the presentation on the company’s leave policy.
Always leave the reader primed to carry out the action you
have requested.  If it is asking for
business we would recommend not doing that over email because if they say “No”
it is harder for you to make a concession thereby reducing the chances they
will reciprocate and make a concession and accept your alternative.
5. Time Your
Sometimes the greatest decider of your email being opened
and action taken upon it is the time of the day it is sent. The best indicator
is to review when the recipient has most frequently opened and/or replied to
emails in the past.
Research has shown the best times of day for emails being
opened are as follows:
8 a.m.
9 a.m.
3 p.m.
8 p.m.
Further we also know that emails have the greatest open
and action rate in the first hour after they are sent.  Therefore when sending important emails ensure
you send them in the hour prior to the above listed times but focus on morning
and early afternoons for most attention.
Remember these are open times for your recipient so if you
have a global database perhaps scheduling software will help you to land at
just the right time.
Please note when
opening emails at 8 p.m. you may get opened but if you are asking for
considerable action it may be held over until the following day and then in the
morning the newer emails are now sitting on top of yours perhaps rendering it
to inbox oblivion.
Finally you must review your efforts and ensure that the
strategy employed achieved the desired results.  If it didn’t, why?  What can you improve
for next time?
Sometimes “the best email is a phone call.”
However if you need to send an email, grab their
attention, personalise it as much as appropriate but don’t overdo it.
Give only things that are meaningful and ensure the call to action is clear.We can employ all six of Dr. Cialdini‘s Principles of Persuasion in
the body of the email; however the above 5 tips for influencing business with
email will give you the structure to start and test you email success.
Anthony, CMCT®


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