We did some research and took some of the best examples and practices in sending the first message on Sortlist. We can tell you exactly how to craft the perfect message that will greatly increase your chances of being hired.

Here are five ways you can help potential customers choose you over someone else:

1. Conversation. Not 'long monolog'.

Treating new biz opportunities as "tickets" or a 'mandatory' step to get the client contact info is wrong. Your message should be personal. To achieve that,  your potential customers should never feel like they're just another number in a long list. None of us enjoy being treated that way. Instead, you want every customer to feel like they're involved in a one-on-one conversation. This means responding quickly, personally, and pro-actively.

2. Welcome the customer by name

Your message should include the name of the potential customer. Géraldine is going to feel less special if you call her Gértrude. Or Fred.

3. Refer to specific details from the briefing

Tailor your message to suit their specific needs. Bonus points if you can relate to a detail from their Briefing. This shows the customer you understand their needs. Talk about their project and your excitement to help. For example:

"I’d love to help get your Social Media campaign. We have many experts on our team that did many similar projects in the past..."

4. Explain why your agency stands out

Potential customers want to know why they should hire you, so use this opportunity to tell them what makes you great. Talk about your relevant experience.

For example:

"Based on the short briefing you gave in the Sortlist platform, we are convinced that we quite perfectly fit the agency you are looking for as [your agency name] is an agency specialised in web development and other forms of online communication like Search Engine Optimization, Search Engine Advertising, Social Media Advertising, sending newsletters,..." 

Just make sure you don’t copy and paste from your profile. Or copy and paste the exact same message to every single customer. That’s spam. And it’s obvious.

Remember, you could be competing with up to four other agencies on Sortlist, so talk about how you’re different.

It doesn’t matter what service you provide, there’s always something that makes your agency stand out from others. Talk about how you’re the exception. This makes you seem self-aware and easy to work with.

5. Highlight the next step

Explain what next steps the customer should take to get this project started. You’d be surprised by how many customers don’t know how to move forward. End your message by encouraging them to respond in order to schedule a meeting. Even asking a simple question to keep the conversation going makes customers more likely to respond to you and not someone else.

Would such meeting suit you next week somewhere? Could you please suggest 2 dates and hours (not before 10.30 am please) on which such meeting would be possible for you? I would be glad to come over to your office to discuss your project. Thank you. Kind Regards,

[Signature] (name, job position, phone, email address)

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