How to Increase Email Replies with One Simple Request

January 8, 2017
Mary Jane Copps


Do you recognize this situation? A colleague or client, someone who has a solid understanding of your business and expertise, tells you that someone they know very well really needs your services. They follow through with an email introduction; you respond with  “I’m pleased to meet you” and “Let’s set up a meeting time”.

Sometimes this results in an immediate conversation or meeting but sometimes … there’s no response at all. You might send a few more emails, connect with the referral on LinkedIn and even reach out by phone, (leaving friendly and inspiring messages, of course).

Still nothing happens. You begin to feel foolish and likely even start to believe that this lack of response means “no”.

How can you make the connection? What call to action will result in a response to your email?

When we are in these situations, we often lack empathy, are even thoughtless, about what is happening in the referral’s world. Because we haven’t built a relationship with them yet, we only focus on what we want –  the meeting, the conversation, the commitment to get things started

But what we actually need is … knowledge about what they need.

And we can find this out by including one simple request in our email. Here’s an example:

This note is to make sure I don’t “drop the thread” of SoAndSo’s introduction. Shall we organize a time for a phone conversation? Let me know what works best in terms of your current priorities.  

Now the follow up is about them, not us. It clearly illustrates our respect for their time and our interest in them, in what they want to accomplish.

I have a 100%  response rate when I ask for information on the other person’s “current priorities”.  Sometimes I receive a specific date and time that works for a conversation, sometimes they share with me the details of what they are currently focused on and organize a future follow-up date.

Whatever their response, we have now begun relationship … and that’s what follow up is all about!

Give it a try. Let me know what happens. And … enjoy your phone work!


  1. Deb Muise says:

    Hey Mary Jane,

    Great info. Just what I needed. Have that exact scenario X5, will try your suggestion today and keep you posted.

    • The Phone Lady says:

      Hi Deb, Thanks for checking in. I’ve heard from quite a few folks today that they are going to give this a try and I am interested in hearing the results. It will be awesome for all of us if we can reduce the leads that are in limbo.

  2. Hannah Minzloff says:

    Thanks for this super useful tip Mary Jane. I love your use of language.

    • The Phone Lady says:

      Thank you, Hannah. Great to hear from you and hope this tip is helpful. Let me know what you experience when you use it.

  3. Chris Hornberger says:

    Hi Mary Jane and a big happy new year to you and The Phone Lady! I’ve just read your blog and there’s a technique I use which is a slight variation on your theme that nets about 100% response rate as well. I offer up some dates and times when I am available (usually 2 or 3 options) and ask them to suggest alternatives if these don’t work. it has been very effective for me over the years.

Leave a Reply

Prove that you are human: