But the increase made me realize that typing responses fresh each time was a monumental misuse of my time. So when I hired a VA in 2006, one of my first projects was getting her help in creating a series of pre-written email messages for my most common inquiries.
Pre-written emails not only save my time, but also improve my response time to inquiries, and so my prospective clients receive a benefit too. Pre-written emails also help ensure consistency of message and I no longer occasionally forget to include key information I believe will benefit clients’ decision making. And because I’ve crafted the “skeleton” of my reply with great care, I can respond with greater finesse than when I’m churning through large numbers of emails.A process for managing email ADR inquiries
Here’s the process we now use in my ADR business:
- An email inquiry arrives in my inbox.
- My VA or I identify the inquiries for which there are pre-written replies already drafted.
- A draft reply is created, using a little piece of software (more on this below), and saved in my email Drafts folder.
- I open the draft reply and original inquiry, then modify the draft message as needed to personalize the response.
Total time per message before the era of pre-written drafts: 5-15 minutes. Total time with pre-written drafts from which to craft my reply: 1-5 minutes.ADR inquiries that lend themselves to reply templates
Not all inquiries lend themselves to the use of a pre-written reply, of course. I chose inquiries like these to craft template replies:
- Requests for more information on each of my services
- Requests for my fee schedule
- Requests for free consulting time on the phone
- Follow-ups to networking and other events
- Offers to co-mediate with me
- Notifications from colleagues that they’ve referred a prospective client to me
I use a Mac and love TextExpander for this task. Windows users, you might take a look at this solution from Lifehacker. There’s also a program with both PC and Mac versions called QuicKeys. I haven’t tried it but Duct Tape Marketing’s John Jantsch swears by it in an article I recommend for further reading: Pre-written Emails to the Rescue.
Do you have pre-written email templates you use? Share your ideas and join the conversation by leaving a comment (if you’re reading this in an email, click on the article title to be taken to the page and comment form).
Copyright © 2007 by Tammy Lenski. All rights reserved.