The other day someone on a committee I’m on didn’t receive the email notice about the last meeting – even though everyone else did and she’s received emails from this person in the past.
Recently I’ve been hearing a lot of grumbling about people not receiving emails. Even emails from people who have been “white listed”. It’s strange. Lots of this MIA emails aren’t ending up in SPAM filters – they just disappear.
If people you know and who want to receive your emails are missing out, what do you do if you are trying to reach someone new? A potential joint venture partner or a prospective new client? How can you make sure they even received your message?
The key is to not rely solely on email. You need to be prepared to add other tools to your communication mix.
So what should you do if you’ve sent a polite email to a potential joint venture partner who hasn’t replied? First, don’t make the assumption that they aren’t interested. It may be the case, but it could be that they didn’t receive your message. It could also be they received your message but didn’t have time to reply immediately and then forgot. You just don’t know.
First step is to send a second email – after you’ve waited a reasonable period of time. Not everyone checks their email ten times a day. If they’re following Tim Ferris’ model, they may be only check once a week. In your second email, just a brief note stating you wanted to make sure they actually received your original mail and include the content of that email.
If a second email doesn’t work try social media. Check out Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to see if they are online. Then send them a message through the social media site. Many people are quicker to respond to social media queries than email. Just be sure this person is active on the site. Some people join a social media site and then let it go stale. If their content doesn’t look fresh, it may mean they aren’t using this site regularly. If so, try another site.
Check out this person’s website or blog. There may be a second contact person – a virtual assistant or equivalent. Try to reach this person. Get them on side to help you.
Also on the website, look for a phone number. We’re so used to using email because it’s easy, but you shouldn’t forget the phone. It can still be the quickest way to make contact. Make the phone call but don’t expect to make the pitch right then. Politely tell them you have a proposal you’d like to make and ask if you can set up a time to talk about it. Of course, be prepared to talk right then and there if they want to.
Finally, there’s always good old fashioned snail mail. Remember snail mail: a letter written on paper, put into an envelope and then sent via the post office. Since fewer people are opting for snail mail, this can still be an effective way to reach someone.
Between SPAM filters, information overload and mysterious disappearances into the ether, it’s not always easy to reach people by email. If you don’t get the response you’re looking for, don’t give up. It may just be the person you’re trying to reach didn’t receive your email and you need to try a different method.
Andrea J. Stenberg