Just 9 Words in an email could make all the difference

Peady’s Selling Engagement

Heard of the 9-word email? I’m a fan.

Welcome to this week’s post on sales and selling success.

Finding, engaging and nurturing new prospects takes a lot of effort. Like it or not that’s how you build your new business pipeline and increase your revenue stream.

But sometimes the greatest opportunities may exist in what you already have in play – lost or disengaged prospects or those who didn’t complete the process. Maybe all it takes to find out if they still hold potential is a simple email. The 9-word email.

The 9-word email

The concept was developed by real estate entrepreneur Dean Jackson who says it’s a simple concept using a subject line with the recipient’s name and a body text with a one-line (9-word) question. That’s it. 

Sample email:

How it works

The idea is to ask a question that engages and gets a ‘yes, no’ response. It should be conversational and focus on a proven existing need. In other words, raising something from a previous conversation with them.

Some 9-word example questions that could be used in the body of the email: 

  • “Are you still looking at growing your website traffic?”
  •  “Are you still interested in expanding your customer base?”
  • “Are you still planning to open the new location?”
  • “Have you finalised your new marketing budget yet?”



Some simple rules

  1. The email should re-engage, notmake a sale. 
  2. Address the customer directly using their first name. 
  3. Avoid using unnecessary words (the power is 9 words). 
  4. Make the question only about their needs. 

That’s it.

Yes or no?

Think about it, you have nothing to lose. You should be reaching out to disengaged prospects anyway so whatever response you get is a win. A ‘no’ is as good as a ‘yes’.

Is the 9-word email a ‘silver bullet’? No, it’s an alternative strategy you can use to connect with disengaged prospective customers and if done right, works. There are always potential customers among your stale leads. Once you have gained someone’s interest, it’s easier to regain that interest than build it all over again.

Interesting sidebar: Research from Boomerang across 300,000 emails showed that the more you write, the less likely you are to get a response!

Why don’t you try the 9-Word Email? The result might be interesting.

Until next week, good selling!

About the author 

Stephen Pead is a media industry veteran of 30 years with significant experience in direct sales, sales management and general management. He is based in Sydney and specialises in helping SME’s market their businesses more effectively and providing training for salespeople and sales managers.

He can be contacted at [email protected]