Abram Interstate Insurance Services, Inc., CMGA

Helping Independent Insurance Agents Since 1996

Master Your Emails | Business Tips for Insurance Agents

Published on July 21, 2016

Do you feel like reading and answering emails is all you do some days? Does it ever get overwhelming and you can’t seem to get to them all?

I used to work with a man who scoffed at my (thousands) of unopened emails on my personal email account. It’s a gmail account that I had my work email connected to at the time. I always opened the emails from my work account, but my personal one had many emails I simply had deemed that I didn’t need to open, but might want to later. Everything from recipes from Real Simple Magazine to junk emails about sales on products sporting the NFL Bears logo (but I didn’t want to delete them, because later in the week I was sure to get to them, and score the deal of the year. Yeah, right.).

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He told me that he operates on a philosophy he calls “inbox zero”. At the end of each day, he makes sure his inbox has zero messages in it. He puts everything into folders if he needs to keep it, and he opens and/or deletes everything else.

inbox-zero

He’s also one of the most reliable people about responding to emails quickly. And what I also noticed, is that his emails are always, always concise. And you know what, he gets replies back almost as fast.

His organization style may be a little more extreme than most of us prefer, but the goal is to find what works for you. His latter practice, though, of concise emails and speedy replies, that may be the key to gaining some much needed time back in your daily schedule.

This is an excerpt from an article that was posted on 99U.com earlier this week. Check out their great tips.

According to a 2012 study by New York City-based management consulting firm McKinsey and Company, the average worker spends 28 percent of their day reading and answering email. That amounts to nearly 13 hours a week and to 650 hours a year. Keeping emails brief and to the point can help you reclaim some of this time, increase your productivity and improve your chances of getting a reply.

“Proper email is a balance between politeness and succinctness,” according to Guy Kawasaki, author of APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur. “Less than five sentences is often abrupt and rude, more than five sentences wastes time,” he says. He outlines four simple guidelines to follow when writing an email:

  1. Your email should answer five simple questions: Who are you? What do you want? Why are you asking me? Why should I do what you’re asking? What is the next step?
  2. Cut out excessive details to get a response.
  3. Shorter emails will help you stay focused.
  4. Limit everything but praise. 

(Exception to Kawasaki’s rules: If the only reason you’re sending an email is to praise someone or offer some kindness, there are no limits. Don’t worry about the length.)

It’s a balance. Make sure you put in all the pertinent information your recipient may need to cut down on back-and-forth emails. But be succinct, yet polite. It really is an art — but luckily, you have tools now to be an email artist.

What’s your system for organizing and answering emails? Share with us on our Facebook Page!


Abram Interstate Insurance Services, Inc. is a wholesale insurance broker (CMGA) in California and surrounding areas. We offer wholesale homeowners insurance, wholesale dwelling fire insurance, and wholesale vacant land insurance, and much more in personal lines, commercial lines, and agribusiness.