How many influencing techniques can YOU find in this short, yet extremely effective, email?
Using only one of any of the influencing techniques mentioned below won’t work. BUT … when used as they have in this email these techniques are extraordinarily powerful and WILL get a response.
We use a combination of them in almost all of our email reminders. See how many YOU can find.
Dear Mr and Mrs Jones,
When we spoke on the phone earlier this month, you advised that you would
look at payment of the invoice mentioned below when you returned to the office last week.
Payment of this invoice is now seriously overdue, so please
advise when will you be settling it so that I may advise the Partners.
Thanking you, in advance.
So, how many DID you find?
There are eight.
Here they are …
1 People prefer NOT to talk about overdue accounts on the phone.
This email mentions that we had spoken to her on the phone, inferring that we will again.
2 It repeats a commitment made.
If people commit, orally or in writing, to an idea or goal, they are more likely to honor that commitment because of establishing that idea or goal as being congruent with their self-image.
3 It only has three paragraphs, it’s short and to the point
You didn’t want to write it. They don’t want to read it. So, don’t mess around. Apply the K.I.S.S. principle – Keep It Simple Stupid.
4 It’s written in plain English.
It’s simple and straightforward.
5 Two ‘instructions‘ and one ‘statement of fact‘ are written on the left hand side of the email.
* The instructions being
— “Look at payment” and
— “advise when will you be settling it”.
(Note: The correct English would be “advise when you will be settling it” but it has been deliberately written incorrectly so that it becomes a question in its own right and makes the reader read it twice, emphasising the question asked.)
* The ‘statement of fact‘ being
—“Payment of this invoice is now seriously overdue”
6 The word YOU is used 5 times in this very short email
Keeps their attention. Makes it personal. They’ll read the email in full.
7 It informs the reader that the collection of this debt is being escalated.
The phrase “so I may advise the Partners” brings in the “Fear of the Unknown” factor.
8 Although ending on a friendly note, it uses the “assumptive close”.
The phrase “Thanking you, in advance” is assuming that they’ll either pay or at least reply. And they do.