The Art of the Follow Up Email in the Age of Technology

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remember telex? And the buzzing sound of fax machines? When was the last time you hand wrote a letter? Business communication has changed dramatically over the last 20 years since I began my professional career. Today, technology has transformed the way we communicate and the majority of business communication is via email. Even text messaging and chat apps have become acceptable. Attention spans are shorter and faster, more convenient communication is key.

Some email stats from the Radicati Group study:

  • The average office worker sends and receives approximately 121 emails a day and that number is expected to rise to 140 a day in 2018.
  • On average, employees check their email 36 times an hour, which amounts to 288 times a day during an 8 hour work day.
  • Yet, 49% of emails received are spam.
  • The number of emails sent per day in 2017 is about 269 billion. 2.4 billion emails are sent every second.

So with all these billions of emails, how do you set yourself apart amidst all the noise?

In my line of work as an Account Manager, I wear many hats but arguably the most important is relationship management both with my clients and the vendors. And I’ve discovered one simple action that comes naturally to few but can result in great success: The follow up email.

You may think this sounds counterintuitive. Why would I send another email to add to the hundreds of emails? According to Keith Ferrazi of Never Eat Alone, good follow up can differentiate you from 95% of your colleagues and your competition. People are easily distracted and busier than ever. Maybe manners have gone out the window. Or some people just don’t care or have the time. But a simple 10 minutes can set you apart from your peers and win you that next business opportunity, that next job, or that next big account.

Here are 5 tips for sending effective follow up emails that stand out and get a response:

  1. Be polite and professional: Set yourself apart
  2. Keep it short: Understand how busy the person you are contacting is
  3. Be clear about your objective: Don’t send another pointless email to add to the pile
  4. Reference a shared moment, personal connection or common interest: This will help remind them who you are
  5. Remind them of your value (or what you can do for them)

 

This secret tactic applies to any industry and any type of relationship. True story, a few years ago, we were in the market for a new home. After attending 10 open houses over 2 weekends, only 1 agent followed up. Guess who we ended up purchasing our home through?


Also published on Medium.