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The Subtle Art of Saying More with Less Words

The Subtle Art of Saying More with Less Words

I’ve been writing sales emails for a while now. I’ve written emails targeting startup founders and I’ve written emails targeting CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. Industries ranging from construction to IT to retail and fashion.

You don’t care though. I’ve already typed too much and you’re getting bored.

This is why people suck at writing emails.

Most sales reps are only good at writing about themselves, and they use way too many words to do it.

Imagine selling to a CEO or Executive at a S&P 500 company.

That CEO is making, on average, $13.1M per year.

Assuming an 80 hour work week, that’s $4160/hr, $52.48/minute, or $0.87/second.

That 20 second email you sent cost them $17.40. I guarantee if you write every email like you are paying the prospect $0.87/second to read it, that string of super important buzzwords don’t seem too important anymore.

Even if you’re not selling into the CEO of a publicly traded company, just should pretend you are. Everyone’s time is important and you should treat it like so.

Here’s 5, super short tips to help you cut the bullshit out of your emails.

  1. Make it short enough to fit on a cell phone screen from 2012. Forget about the iPhoneXL+++ exists for a minute and write your emails so they can fit on any smart phone screen without having to scroll. 3-5 sentences, 55-85 words max. That’s it. And fuck your bullet points, if you can’t fit your message into those constraints without bullet points, refer to #3 below.
  2. Your most important lines are the subject and the opening line. Keep your subject line between 3-5 words and cut out any fluff from the opening line that keeps you from getting straight to the point.
  3. Use simple words. Nobody cares how big your vocabulary is in a cold email and nobody cares about all the industry jargon you know. Brevity is an art, so impress them with your ability to say more with less.
  4. Be witty. Do you know how many emails buyers get every day that look exactly the same? This is your chance to stand out. Be witty about things that you can both agree suck but you can fix, like what problems they face daily and how your product makes it suck less.
  5. Stop letting your marketing team write your sales emails. If I’ve learned one thing, it’s that most marketers write awful sales emails. They’ll end up having 3 sections of bullet points, random bold and italicized words, and your prospect will spot them from a mile away.

Say more. Type less. That’s it.