Valuable Lessons From a Terrible Email

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It’s time for another episode of “Email Rescue — Cautionary Tales from Tom’s Spam Folder”

I salvage junk from the folder and share the don’ts-and-don’ts it contains…

…so YOU can learn from the spammer’s mistakes…

…and create more captivating, less irritating content.

The email I’m salvaging landed yesterday at 10:58 a.m. with the subject line “Can we connect?” James wrote:

Hello Tom,

I hope this message finds you well. I am reaching out to explore the possibility of connecting you with fellow business owners in the area or assisting you in finding valuable leads for your business.

If you’re interested, a simple “Yes” in your reply will prompt me to provide more detailed information.

Holy Incoherence, Batman! That’s a mouthful.

First, “I hope this message finds you well.”

What is it with spammers and that phrase? I searched my spam folder for the phrase and found FOUR emails — just yesterday — with the same opening.

It’s robotic. It smacks of insincerity (especially when it comes from a stranger who is spamming you).

And it delays getting to the point…

…or at least the part that’s TRYING to make a point.

“I am reaching out to explore the possibility of connecting you with fellow business owners in the area or assisting you in finding valuable leads for your business.”

That’s what my first newspaper editor would call “word vomit.” 🤮

I know. I write long emails. But, I also edit sentences to make them clear and concise.

So many lessons packed into one sentence:

1) Don’t say, “I’m reaching out to…” I know you’re reaching out. Your email landed in my spam folder. Drop the “I’m reaching out…” part and get to the point.

2) “…to explore the possibility of…” This one would make any good sales manager cringe. It’s so namby pamby. The only thing that would make it worse: A few “umms,” as in, “I’m, ummmmm, reaching out, ummmmm, to explore, ummmm, the possibility, of…ummmm…” When you read a phrase like that, the “ummms” are implied.

3) “…connecting you with fellow business owners in the area or assisting you in finding valuable leads for your business.” This part is especially incoherent.

Is there a difference between “connecting you with fellow business owners” and “finding valuable leads.”

James said “or” Is it one or the other — connect you OR help you find leads.

I’m only guessing but, I assume “connecting you with fellow business owners” means “book appointments with qualified prospects.” So he finds leads AND books appointments.

Again, I’m only guessing because that’s not what he said. He said, “connecting you with fellow business owners in the area or assisting you in finding valuable leads for your business” (whatever that means).

4) “…in the area…” I have clients around the globe. The majority of my clients are not from “the area.” When you promise me connections in “my area,” you reveal how little you know about me and my business.

Maybe James meant something other than my geographic area (in which case, chalk up another incoherence demerit for James).

Assuming John can find leads beyond my area, here’s what he could write:

Hello Tom,

We can deliver valuable leads and book appointments for you with qualified prospects.

Interested? Reply “yes,” and I’ll circle back with details.

This isn’t perfect. I’m working only with the details I gleaned from James’ email. But it’s more direct, concise, and coherent than the junk James sent.

That’s a wrap.

Don't go away yet..

p.s. Coaches, authors, and consultants hire me to power-up their creative content and storytelling to captivate prospects, stand-out and book more business.

Whenever you're ready, here are several ways I can help you become a storytelling stand-out so you'll land more clients without pitching and prodding:

1) Get the Story Power Profit Pack -- 52 Strategies, Tips, and Tactics  to Transform Your Content from Ignored to Adored.

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3) Become a Story Power VIP: Master how to discover, assemble, and deliver business-building stories. Twice-monthly live masterclasses. Members-only content. One-on-one feedback and consulting sessions. And more… If you'd like to learn more about our VIP program, just reply to this email and put "Story Power VIP" in the subject line. I’ll contact you with more details.

4) Work with me one-on-one: If you’re interested in working directly with me -- to discover, assemble, and deliver powerful, business-building stories -- simply reply to this email and change the subject line to "Private Client." Tell me a little about yourself, your business, and what you'd like to accomplish, and I'll reply to discuss options.

5) Invite me to speak at an event: I can tailor a presentation that meets the specific needs of your organization. Informative. Entertaining. Virtual or live. Potential for continuing education credits when applicable for your group. If interested, reply to this email and change the subject line to “Speaking Engagement.” I’ll circle back to discuss the possibilities.

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Tom Ruwitch

Tom Ruwitch is the founder and CEO of Story Power Marketing. For more than 30 years, he has helped businesses grow by delivering powerful stories using a variety of different media.