sincerelyIf you’re like most people, you write a LOT of emails. And, you probably spend your time focusing on your email’s contents while giving little thought to your closing. However, a new study from email software provider Boomerang suggests that the way you end your emails is a lot more important than you think.

The study looked at the closings for over 350,000 email threads and compared the response rates. Many of the emails were asking for advice or help, and thus were expecting a reply.

Gratitude Works

The analysis showed that emails ending with some variation of thanks (“thanks, thank you, or thanks in advance”) had the highest percentage of response rates, with a final total of 62%. In comparison, emails that closed without some variation of thank you (“regards,” “best,” etc.) had a response rate of just 46%.

That means that swapping out traditional closings with an expression of gratitude correlated with an impressive relative increase of 36% in response rates.

For Email, Best Might Be Worst

The study also compiled a list of the eight most popular sign-offs. Of these eight popular sign-offs, it was the classic “best,” followed by “best regards,” which had the lowest response rates.

So, which response got the most replies?

While any expression of gratitude is a good start, “thanks in advance” produced the highest response rate at 65.7%.

Best email closings

The fact that “thanks in advance” incurred the highest number of responses should come as no surprise. After all, not only are you expressing general gratitude, but also gratitude for an action that’s yet to come – something that’s more likely to convince your target to follow through!

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Another Thank You Benefit for Email

There’s more data to support the conclusion of the Boomerang study. Academic researchers in Australia also found that a warm “thank you” boosted the rate of replies to an email.

In addition, they found that with the “thank you” the recipients had a more positive impression of the senders, finding them to have a warmer personality.

The Best Way to Respond to a Thank You

Guy Kawasaki counseling Don CorleoneSometimes, you may be on the other side of the expression of gratitude. When you are the recipient of a “thank you,” is there an optimum way to respond?

You could always throw out a classic “no problem” or a simple “you’re welcome…” Or, you could say something like Don Corleone from The Godfather, implying, “Someday I will come to you for a favor…”

Instead, according to persuasion expert Robert Cialdini, (as reported by my friend Guy Kawasaki), the following phrase is the best response to being thanked:

“I know you’d do the same for me!”

Why does this maximize the probability of that person helping you in the future? It’s because the feelings of reciprocity that this phrase evokes are part of what makes it so powerful. Do proceed with caution, though – you don’t want to sound like a Mafia don reminding unlucky individuals that they now owe him a risky or illegal favor in the future!

Thanks in advance!

If you liked this post, I’ll ask you for a favor – please take a moment to share it. Thanks in advance – you know I’d do the same for you!

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