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Can’t get a response to your email? Try this.

Have you given up on this_v2_1536x1040

Do you ever get frustrated when you need an answer or update from someone, but you can't get that person to return your email or call?  I run into this situation all the time when working on commercial real estate deals, and I recently discovered some "email magic" that almost guarantees an email reply.  

So what do I do?  I send that person a one-sentence email that provokes a "no" response.

In the book Never Split the Difference, author Chris Voss explains it this way: "The 'No' answer the email demands, offers the other party the feeling of safety and the illusion of control while encouraging them to define their position and explain it to you."  

This is how it works.

  • Reply to an existing email string so there is context for the email recipient.
  • Change the subject line to a "no-oriented question".  I like to keep it a little vague like "Have you given up on this?"
  • In the body of the email, write the same or similar "no-oriented question".  Resist the urge to add details or explanations.  One short sentence is all you need.
  • For example: "Have you given up on this property?"  "Are you walking away from this deal?"  "Are you moving on to something else?"

This "email magic" (Chris Voss' phrase) is not a trick or technique.  It's a respectful approach that gives the other party the freedom to respond truthfully to you without pressure.  And I can personally attest that this approach is crazy effective!  

Nobody likes being turned down, but being ignored is even worse.  We waste so much time and energy trying to get a response, and it's downright frustrating.  So next time you need an answer, try sending a one-line, no-oriented question and see how it works for you. 

How Barkley Can Help You

I assist my clients to buy, sell, and lease commercial buildings and land in the Houston Region. I help them leverage their real estate needs to achieve their business or personal goals. Call me for a free consultation.

Barkley Peschel

Barkley Peschel, CCIM
Senior Vice President | Houston
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