Making requests via email is a common part of any sales professional’s job. They email prospects to request meetings or thoughts on a proposal. They email clients to request contracts or feedback. And they may email colleagues and bosses to request information, advice or a recommendation. When you are emailing someone and asking them for something, it’s important to follow some basic principles. This can help ensure you get a response.

Lawrie Jones, a writer for the Flowrite blog, has put together a list of 7 guidelines to follow when sending a request via email. We share her guidance in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today.

1. Make your intentions clear. Never beat around the bush when sending an email requesting something. In business, time is precious, Jones says, so keep your request short and sweet. Explain upfront what you want and never ask a favor without explaining why.

2. Embrace concision. This guideline follows the first one — make your request clear and concise. Don’t leave any room for misunderstanding, Jones says. You don’t have to be aggressive with your request, but simply say what you want immediately.

3. Avoid assumptions. Ideally, you would hear back from the other person immediately and get the response you want. But it doesn’t always work out that way. Don’t assume others will fulfill your request. Jones says this means avoiding language such as “thanks in advance” or “I look forward to reply.” These terms can put unwanted pressure on the interaction. When possible, try to give the other person a way out. This can help preserve your relationships, she adds.

4. Make it easy for the other person. When you’re emailing someone to do something or provide something for you, state request in the simplest possible terms. Use single sentences, Jones says, and consider breaking things down into steps if needed. You could also use bullet points to break things into easy-to-understand points.

5. Express the importance of your request. Chances are your request is time-sensitive. Explain when and why you need a response, Jones says. It’s also helpful to give the other person a clear deadline. And if your request is urgent, include it in your note or call the other person instead.

6. Sprinkle in some compliments. It never hurts to say a few kind words when you’re requesting something. If you need help from a colleague, for example, let them know why they’re the best person for the job. A little flattery can work wonders in getting a response, Jones says.

7. Include a clear CTA. When making a request via email, make your call to action simple and understandable. The recipient should know exactly what you’re asking them to do. Jones says you could also consider breaking things down into simple steps with clear timelines on what happens next.

There are many situations in which you may need to request something via email. By following the 7 principles above, you can set yourself up to get the response you want.

Source: Lawrie Jones is a writer for the Flowrite blog.