Networking via email is hard. Sometimes, it’s downright horrible. What do I say? How do I say it? Will the other person give me what I want, or will they shoot me down?
The fear of the unknown can turn you into a big, bad Procrastination Monster. And what should take five minutes, can take an entire week.
The issue is, most of us approach each new email as a special snowflake. We put our brains into overdrive to craft the perfect email, because we believe that exerting lots of time and energy will make it more effective.
But that’s not necessarily true.
Instead of starting from scratch every time, it’s more efficient to have a system in place. I call this the GAP system. With GAP, you automatically know what to say and how to say it. You save time and precious brainpower.
And, you’re more likely to get what you want.
Here’s how the GAP system works:
First, you categorize your email into one of three types: GIVE, ASK or PITCH.
Second, you write your email as if you’re talking to a trusted friend.
Let’s look at this in action.
It’s time for you to send an email to a prospective client. Woohoo! Before you sit down and start typing, you first ask yourself: is this email a GIVE, an ASK or a PITCH?
A GIVE is the easiest type of email to send.
You offer something of value, whether it’s an invite to a webinar or a helpful free download. For most networkers, it’s easier to give than receive. You’re less worried about rejection, and you feel pretty good about sharing something with the other person.
If you identify your email as a GIVE, write it as if you’re offering something to a friend: simple, casual and to the point.
So if you write something like this to your friend:
“Hey, George, I have two free tickets to the hockey game on Thursday night at 8. I thought you might be interested. Want to come?”
You might write something like this to your prospect:
“Hey, Gina, I have a free invite to my webinar, 11 Secrets Of Email Followup, next Thursday night at 8pm ET. I thought you might be interested. Want to come?”
What if your email is an ASK?
An ASK is the opposite of a GIVE. Instead of offering value to someone else, you’re requesting it from them. You’re basically asking a favor. And most of us hate asking for favors, especially when we’re scared the answer might be “no.”
Write an ASK the same way you would ask a friend. Establish a little bit of context, be super friendly (even flattering), and indicate that you’ll be happy to repay the favor somehow.
You might say something like this to a friend:
“Hi, Amanda! I had such a great time at your party the other night, and I was wondering if I could borrow that video game we were all playing? It was so fun, I’m dying to try it again. And of course, I’ll owe you dinner the next time we get together. Let me know!”
Translated to a networking email, it might look something like this:
“Hi, Andrew! I had such a great time meeting you at the event last week. I was wondering if you might be able to introduce me to that colleague you mentioned, the one who’s looking for a freelance developer? I’m really interested in talking to her. And of course, dinner’s on me the next time we get together. Let me know!”
An ASK can be difficult because only you stand to gain value from the request. But don’t let that stop you from asking. We all have to ask favors now and then.
And now, on to our third and final email type…
A PITCH is like a combination of a GIVE and an ASK. In a PITCH, there’s potential value to both you and the person you’re pitching.
For example, I recently got a pitch email from a company that makes marketing videos. I want to create some videos in the future, so that’s a valuable pitch that I’ve received. I stand to benefit from it, and so does the video company. It’s a win-win.
Whenever you’re selling your services, that’s a PITCH. The important thing to keep in mind is that this is not an ASK. The person you’re pitching stands to benefit from your product or services. You’re offering them something great, so don’t be shy!
When you’re writing a PITCH email, it’s vital to remember that you’re in a win-win situation.
You might pitch a friend like this:
“Hey, Paige! I thought you might want to go to that new Avengers movie with me. You know, the one starring your all-time favorite actor in the universe, Robert Downey Jr? 🙂 How’s this weekend?”
And you might pitch a client like this:
“Hey, Pete! I thought you might want to talk about getting your website optimized for mobile. I know you said it was really important for you to do in the next six months. How’s next week for a chat?”
If you’re pitching someone cold, make sure to include more details about your services and how the other person will benefit. But your tone should still be friendly and approachable.
One of the biggest benefits of the GAP system?
Once you’ve written all of these email types once, you now have three template emails that you can use again and again. When you identify a GIVE, ASK or PITCH email, all you have to do is copy and paste the last email you sent in that category. You’ll probably want to tweak it a bit, but the framework is already there.
No more starting from scratch. No more wasted time. Just GIVE, ASK, PITCH – and SEND!
It’s super easy to implement the GAP system when you use TouchingBase.io. Just copy and paste your GAP email templates, set a reminder, and you’ll be ready to go when it’s time to follow up. Click here to get TouchingBase.io in your Gmail today.