I’m going down a rabbit hole with this one, but it’s a topic near and dear to my “sales” heart.

That is, leading sales email with “Hi, I hope you’re well.”

May seem like a minor thing, and maybe it is, but the topic, or practice, comes up more than you might think.

And a recent article in Inc., 5 Brand New, (Possibly) Brilliant Alternatives To ‘Hi, I Hope You’re Well, tackles it head-on.

I want to take a look at each of these and ideally get you to think about your use of the phrase.

Two things first-I’ve used this phrase, correction, I currently use this phrase, in my own emails.  As a rule, I don’t use it in a first reach out, or with a prospect I haven’t broken through to yet.

But I do use it if I’ve had a conversation with that person, because I genuinely do hope they’re well.  But that’s a fallback-first, I look to their Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn feed to see if there’s anything new I can mention first.

And second, my intent is not to rip on the author of this post, I appreciate that he’s offering alternatives, but I can’t help providing some perspective.

Okay, here we go-here’s the first alternative: Just Don’t Say Hi.

I don’t have any issue with saying “hi” and then diving right into the reason for my reach out.

The author gives this suggestion: It’s surely a sign of your creativity if you find your own way of saying hello. Even if you decide to spell it Hullo.

No.

No, no, no.  I don’t like getting cutesy.  If I saw an email start with “Hullo” that’s an automatic delete.

Second alternative: Create a Greeting That Feels Custom-Made

The author goes on to say: I’m almost charmed when people write Happy Wednesday to me.

OK, I can get behind that, but then he follows with, Especially on a Thursday.

No.

Again, no, no, no.  That’s just silly, and could possibly be confusing.

I mean, the person you sent the email to is going to know what day it is, but why would you do that? That’s not charming.

Then this is suggested: But why not start an email with This Rain’s a Pain, Isn’t It? If it’s raining, that is.

Huh?

Unless you’re prospecting in the same city, and you know it’s raining where that prospect is, that’s just annoying.

But then, the mother of all sales pet peeves gets thrown out:

Or how about: I’m Going To Be As Brief As I Can to someone who you know has little to no patience?

Never, never say that.  You’re doing the opposite of that.  If you truly want to be brief, why are you wasting this person’s time by telling them you’re going to be brief?

On to the third alternative: Make a Joke About ‘Hi, I Hope You’re Well.

The suggestion from the author: The first thing that comes to mind is this: Hi, Only Read This If You’re Well.

I do think that’s funny.  But what if that person has been ill, or a child or parent or friend currently is?

You may be thinking, “Lighten up, Lee” and that’s fair, but why roll the dice on offending or hurting someone unnecessarily?

And the fourth: Don’t Have Any Greeting At All.

Bingo!  I like this one.  The post goes on to say:

A little abrupt, you might think. But if you’re writing to someone you already know, why bother with the formality and the accompanying banality? Why not show them that you’re all about the business?

Whether you know them or not, get to the point. You can do it in a way that’s personal and non-salesy, but don’t waste someone’s time.

Your prospects are busy-skip the cutesy, creative wordplay and get to the point.

And the final suggestion: Just Start With An Emoji.

The author goes on to say, I confess to astonishment at how many people actively prefer emojis to words. It’s almost made me want to write a whole column in Emoji and see if anyone understood it.

For the love of all that is holy-NO. That’s all I’ve got for that one.  Ugh.

To repeat-get to the point, while showing your value/expertise and that you’ve done a little homework, whenever you can.

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Lee McKnight Jr
VP of Sales
I'm the VP of Sales at RSW/US. We specialize in working with services firms to help drive and close new business-if you need help with that, email me at lee@rswus.com. What I actually do: drive sales efforts to bring ad agencies and services firms on board with RSW, create content around successful new business tactics and help drive RSW/US marketing objectives, including social media channels, blog content, webinars, video and speaking engagements. Dig it.