The Worst Email Opening Possible – Stop it Right Now.

“Hey, just checking in – did you have a chance to read my last email to you? I know you are busy right now – but here’s a copy of it just in case you have a chance to read it now.” This is literally the worst opening lines in email history. If you do this – and most of us do – stop it right now. Find the file in your head that allows you to do this and delete it.  “But wait – what’s wrong with sending a prospect a gentle reminder,” you may ask.

You are sending them a reminder – but it isn’t the one you think. You are reminding them that they deleted your email once already. If that was the right call then, then it is likely the right call now.

Your brain is lazy. But it really likes consistency.  

If it starts to do something it is more likely to keep doing it. It is much easier that way. And your brain really likes easy. This explains why people hold on to beliefs even after they have been presented facts showing they are wrong. Our brain hates it when it is wrong.

So by asking “did you read my last email” you are really giving your audience permission to ignore it again. Not only permission, you are encouraging them to ignore you again.

Furthermore, by asking them to hit reply now you are, in effect, asking them to admit they saw your first email and made a mistake by ignoring it.

So your friendly reminder is trying to break through two massive walls the brain has constructed – a fondness for consistency and a hatred of being wrong. That’s what the “did you read my last email” intro is the absolute worst.

What’s the alternative? You are better off just sending the last email again. This isn’t the best play, but at least you aren’t asking your prospect to admit a mistake. This allows them to hit reply as if that was the first time they were contacted.

Better still, keep the main body of your original email – the one they ignored – and change the intro.

The last one didn’t work, so try something new. Maybe this time send an article they would be interested in. Comment on something you read about their company online. You need to show that you are not a stranger trying to sell them something. Use your intro lines to build up trust and familiarity.

Getting people to reply to emails is hard enough. Don’t make it harder on yourself by referencing a past failure to break through. Keep trying new intros until you get a reply. You will see much more success if you do.


More about Christopher: Christopher Ware is Founder & Inventor, Sales Tonic Media and is also the VP of Business Development for NAIOP, a national trade association. He is a niche media sales expert with 18+ years’ experience in selling print and digital advertising, event sponsorships, and exhibit space. Christopher has generated $20,000,000 in media sales for niche publications and events. He lives in Virginia with his wife of 18 years. He’s been to all 30 Major League Baseball parks, over 40 minor league parks, and hopes to one day see a game in every state.


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