“Just following up…”

“Hey, just checking in…”

Common sales email language that may seem polite can actually make you sound desperate, at least subconsciously. Those two email openers trigger fight or flight in the recipient because everyone knows what they really mean. I feel cortisol just looking at them. When have you received an email that began that way and felt excited to read the rest?

Actually, this tip applies to any email, not just sales emails.

The science behind it:

Our brains are wired to scan for danger, and essentially to first question and distrust because skepticism and a protective nature kept our ancestors alive. The trusting ones got eaten by woolly mammoths.

Evolution has programmed us to be on the lookout for danger. Without us knowing it, our amygdala – the “threat detector” and one of the oldest and more primitive parts of the brain – is constantly scanning our environment to assess our level of safety and alert us to any signs of trouble. It’s a basic survival mechanism with the goal of protecting us and keeping us safe.

It was especially useful to us in prehistoric times when the threat of physical danger loomed large. But, location and the way our brain is wired, the amygdala can bypass the prefrontal cortex, the “executive center” and more newly evolved part of our brain, and rapidly alert the body to danger.

Dr. Ron Frederick, CFC

cave woman

Sales and marketing both fail when they come off as thirsty, in different ways.

They both fail when they try to soften or mask their ultimate motivation (to sell).

People know.

Better approach:

Ask about the status of their problem (that you can solve).

E.g. “Did you ever solve ______ which you said was costing you $____ a month?”

And that’s the entire message. Don’t ask about how’s their Wednesday. See what happens when you get to the unmasked point and remind them that they’re the one with the problem.

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More Psychology Posts:

Trying out a new feature here: ending with a slider of random posts from the same category. In this case, category: psychology (my college major, and nearly my career path).

Now this is digital box of chocolates because I’ve been blogging here since 2010, guys. Who were you 14 years ago? The oak was always inside the acorn I suppose. You may unearth a post written by a very different Emily. Probably a more assertive and annoyingly opinionated version of me who lacked levity, but I was still smart so there’s worthwhile content here although I’ve forgotten what I even wrote about in my early to mid twenties. Like look at me sharing Sally Hogshead “Fascinate” back in 2010! Time flies.

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