How to 10X Your Email Response Rate with these Psychological Tricks
The Subtle Art of Making your Prospects give a F*ck
Working in Business Development role for about 4.5 years now, the most common problem I hear from people is this —
“My Prospects do not respond to any email I write. I don’t think they care. They simply don’t give a f*ck”
It’s basically a 3 monkey problem —
1.Your prospects do not want to hear your voice
2.Your prospects do not want to read your emails
3.Your prospects do not want to respond to you
A quick remedy for this problem by many managers and email gurus is simply to improve your emails. But how exactly does one do that?
You might start having some other questions too. Like what does “improve” even mean? And how much “improvement” is needed to fetch a response from the prospects?
To delve deeper into the rabbit hole of email responsiveness, let’s try to firstly understand why does anyone do anything in this universe?
Why does Anyone Do Anything?
Quick Question :
Why are you reading this article?
Quick Answer :
Because you are Emotional !
If you think about it, every task that you perform is triggered by some emotion or the other. There is usually either an incentive or a fear attached to every action you take during a day.
You brush your teeth because you fear your gums might swell up and pain if you don’t. Moreover, the incentive of a fresh breath compels you to do it every single day and night.
You watch TV because you feel bored. You help your mother with the dishes due to empathy. You scratch an itch because it feels irritating. Your emotions are your action triggers.
This makes us come back to our original question — why do prospects do not respond to most emails? Because they don’t feel a need to. They neither have an incentive nor a fear of not responding to your emails.
Make Your Prospects Emotional
The remedy is thus simple. You need to trigger your prospects into taking the action to respond to your emails. In other words you need to create a feeling of an incentive or a fear for them in order to get talking.
The tricky part here is this — you have to do it over an email.
As impossible a feat as this seems to achieve, there are some tricks and hacks you can use to hit your prospects’ psyche and invoke the necessary emotions required to be more responsive to you.
#1. Show them a Purple Cow
Marketing Guru Seth Godin, in his book “The Purple Cow”, states that white cows are simply boring. They are everywhere, accessible to everyone and way too common.
But what if you see a purple cow in the middle of those white cows? You’re fascinated by the remarkability.
Starbucks, South Park, Aeron Chair, Blendtec, IKEA were few such Purple Cows when they were launched.
They immediately invoked the emotion of fascination inside the brain. People were awed beyond belief to try all these brands and products.
One of the key reasons for your prospects not responding to your emails can be that your content contains only white cows. They know about it already and are simply not fascinated enough to respond to you.
Include some purple cow in your email content. Maybe the novel product your company came up with? Or perhaps the new app you’re working on which has never been heard about. Fascinate your prospects!
#2. Tell them a Story
Stories bring in meaning in a world of chaos. The art of storytelling has been continuing since as long as one can remember.
Listening to or reading a story is ridiculously therapeutic. Engaging with a story activates the calm neurons in your brain.
In fact, some studies have shown that storytelling has brought positive influence to the people suffering from dementia or Alzheimer's; directly impacting their happiness and mood.
This does not mean that you need to write down a cindrella-like story in your email, but rather, including excerpts of storytelling to keep your prospects engaged with your email.
A case study is classic example of a story of one of your clients benefiting from your product/service. So is the the story of how your company reached to where it is now from its birth.
Including stories increase the chances of your emails being read entirely, which in turn increase the probability of fetching a response on them.
Image from — MomJunction
#3. Make Them Feel Important
The most common and rookie mistake I find in prospecting emails is that it’s all about the sender. Who they are. What they do. What their company does. What their product does. How they’re different. Yada yada yada.
Just like in a relationship, if you make it all about yourself, it is bound to NOT WORK. It’s simply narcissistic.
Rather, you might want to do some research on your prospect through LinkedIn. Get to understand them better. Who they are, their KRAs, their interest areas and other aspects.
If you include such hooks in your emails, it immediately does 2 things:
- It makes your email stand-out by including elements unique to the prospect you’re sending it to
- It makes your prospect feel important that you took all this effort to read about him and talk to him in a language he understands.
When you make him feel important, he’s bound to respond to you out of happiness.
#4. Using Whitespace and Colors
One of the primary reasons that Google was able to beat Yahoo to become the number one search engine was Google’s extremely clean and neat U.I. Yahoo’s UI on the other hand is way too overwhelming and chaotic.
Using good indentation and sufficient whitespace can improve the readability quotient of your emails 5X. Segregating your email into different paragraphs would further improve the meaning in your content.
When it comes to colours, different colours invoke different emotions. Blue soothes you down while Green signifies hope and positivity. Hubspot was able to increase its conversion rate by 21% by changing the CTA to Green colour.
#5. Give them Easy Actionable Choices
“What makes you angry?”
If you have more than a 100 things coming to your mind right now, don’t worry about it. The problem with this question is that it’s way too open-ended.
You’d need to use much more cognitive energy to answer that question than something like this — “What makes you angry at work?”.
“What time suits you best for the prospect?” is the most common question which breaks the chain of responses coming from the prospect for the same reason.
If you rather give your prospects some time-slots by yourself to choose from, you make their choice way too easier.
“Hey Mr. Prospect.
Can you let me know which of the following time-slot fits your schedule best for the next call?
- 7th Sept (Monday) — 10 to 10:30 EST
- 9th Sept (Tuesday) — 1 to 1:30 PM EST
- 10th Sept (Thursday) — Any 30 minute slot after 12:00 PM EST”
#6. Invoke a Sense of Obligation
The other day, my colleague received an email from a vendor with his boss marked on it. It was a ridiculous request and was nowhere related to what he does at the company.
Any other day, he’d have ignored this email. But since his boss was marked on it, he was bombarded with all these questions hitting my brain —
“Why is my boss marked on this email?”
“Should I respond? Should I not?”
“If I do not respond, would my boss be mad at me?”
He simply felt obligated to respond.
#7. Use FOMO / Scarcity effect
Have you ever seen the “Only 1 Item Remaining” sign while shopping on Amazon? Or the “Hurry, only few seats left” message that appears while booking a flight ticket? They are mostly Lies.
Companies trick you into buying things by creating the scarcity effect. You would be filled with massive amounts of guilt if you miss out on something that you were considering to do.
And your brain hates that. It this triggers you into taking immediate action and not missing out on that shopping item or plane ticket. It is simply trying to protect you.
You can create such scarcity effects intentionally in your emails as well. Especially the ones in which you have a product/service to sell which has a finite supply.
Or telling your prospects how their competition is excelling at their business using your services.
Credits — Amazon.com
Some More Tricks
- Time your prospects’ responses — Many people follow a routine and reply only during certain hours. Start noting down the time they respond and you might actually find a pattern.
- Forget to add an attachment — I did this by accident once. I immediately got a response saying it was an honest mistake from my end. The prospect was humbled enough that I accepted my mistake and repaired it.
- Mirror their writing style — The way they form sentences and pragraphs. The tone they use while replying. Mirror everything so as to make them more comfortable to respond back more.
- Connect with their boss first on linkedin — This is simply an extension of the social obligation. If they you are connected to their boss, they might think you’re an important person to respond to.
- Silently View their LinkedIn Profile — This would again trigger their psyche with your name popping in their head, creating a sense of familiarity and providing more warmth to your email.
- Use the word “Because” — A study by Harvard social psychologist Ellen Langer found that people were more willing to comply with a request when used the word “because.”
Though the intention of writing this article was not getting responses from my readers, I tried to use all the psychological tricks I’ve mentioned above in creating this article as well to provide a proof of concept.
→ The article per se in a Purple Cow — something which is unique and not much discussed over Medium.
→ I tried to open the article with a story and used more excerpts in different tricks where I narrated my personal instances to keep you engaged.
→ I consistently tried to make you, the reader, feel important by empathising with your own prospect problems and trying to find solutions.
→ I’ve used enough whitespace and sufficient indentation in this post so as to improve the readability. Unfortunately, medium does not allow using different colours.
→ I’m going to give you an actionable and easy choice to follow me and read more such content by including my profile link at the bottom of this article.
→ I would want to tell you that this article took me a total of 10 hours to think about, research, collect content and pen it down. It might obligate you to do me a favour, by maybe, throwing in a few upvotes.