Most email recipients are reluctant to give out their contact details. This paranoia of sorts is understandable because anybody can email you requesting your contacts.
Giving out your phone number or social media handles could easily lead to total strangers bugging you with text messages or phone calls. So, asking for contact details in an email should follow some well-defined steps.
Whoever you are targeting should find value in both of you communicating outside your email addresses. Proposing partnering in a project or offering them the services they seek is an excellent way to go about it. Be positive and focus on their benefits in your request.
First, your email address has to look professional to signal that you are not a joker. You are competing against many odds, other emails, and your recipient’s attention. Here are some of the basics of email etiquette to start you off before asking for contact details.
Use A Professional Email Address Where Possible
No one wants to send their phone number or email address to a contact whose email reads “alphamale2020”. Depending on the context you are in, always make sure you are using your company-assigned email, or your email reflects professionalism.
This helps to establish trust with your recipient and thus increases the chance of you getting that contact. Most people check their emails on the go, and they are likely to ignore email addresses that don’t sound professional.
To establish further credibility, you can choose to use an email signature. An email signature acts as a substitute for using too many words to introduce yourself, your organization, or your contact details.
However, make sure that your signature is also professional. Unless you are in the creative space, don’t let it be too big or too brightly colored.
Make Sure Your Email Is Not Being Spammed
An email marked as spam will never reach your recipient, and the contact you desperately need will also never get to you. Some of the factors that may lead to spamming include:
- The wording of your email has triggered spam filters.
- Your contact and address details are incorrect.
- You use a false subject line.
- You have no brand, and therefore, your recipient does not know who you are.
- Your IP address has previously been used for spam.
- The most obvious reason; your email went unanswered, and you, therefore, decided to send it six more times.
Start With Your Request
Sometimes you may feel the need to over-explain yourself in an formal email. This will lead to your email being wordy and your request not being clear enough. If your recipient cannot quickly identify what you are requesting in your email, they will not pay attention.
You should include your request within the first two sentences.
You could say something like:
“I would love to get your contact details for easier communication.”
Such a statement is brief and direct to the point.
If you feel that you still need additional information that may not fit within the email, it is advisable to attach the information in a separate short document.
Structure Your Business Email To Be Scannable
Your recipient should be able to know what you want. You can do this with a corresponding email format, such as bolding some words or using bullet points.
If you are requesting their home address, perhaps bold the words “home address” and briefly list why you need it. For example:
“…we would require your home address to send parcels to you.”
Go Through Your Email Before Sending It
You have heard all the crazy stories regarding emails; students mistakenly send their assignments to work or mistakenly address a mass email to the wrong person.
To avoid embarrassment or losing a potential client, make sure you meet all the requirements of a good email. Spend a few seconds reading through your email. Ensure that you have made no grammatical errors and that everything that needs attention has been highlighted.
How to Ask for an Email Address Via Email
Sounds ironic, huh? Why would you ask for an address that you already have? You may find yourself in circumstances where you do have someone’s address but might not have the consent to use it. An example would be that maybe your company had an event and someone signed up or that someone has given you another person’s email.
While you may have the email in both these instances, you are unsure what kind of emails your recipient prefers on that particular email address. In such circumstances, it is professional to ask for consent or ask for an alternative email address. To ask for an email address:
Be Clear In Your Reasons
As mentioned above, the sure way to your recipient’s heart is through absolute clarity. Be clear in your reasons for wanting the email.
Examples could be:
“I would like to have your email to make you part of our mail list.”
“Please provide us with your email address so that we constantly update you, do not miss out on important notifications.”
Show Them What They Would Gain
Once your recipient feels like they have something to gain by sharing their email, they will be less reluctant to do so. If you ask them to subscribe to something, showcase the benefits that come with a subscription.
You could say the following:
“By sharing your emails, you are guaranteed not to miss out on discounts or promotions.”
Anticipate Any Objections
If you are waiting for your recipient to email you back with questions or concerns, you may be waiting for an email that will never get sent. This is because people’s first instinct is to write off any information that seems incomplete or unclear.
Therefore, you should make it your prerogative to anticipate any questions your recipient may have and address them in the email. This should also cover any risks that your recipient may be wary of.
You could say:
“Your email will not be shared with any third party, and you can unsubscribe from notifications whenever you want.”
Such a statement will ensure them that it is secure to share their email with you, and you have no obligations to them by doing so.
How to Ask for A Phone Number Via Email
Asking for a phone number is a more complicated process because phone numbers are more sensitive than email addresses. If you give your email address to the wrong person, you can easily report it as spam or block emails from a particular address.
However, when it comes to your phone, you may not have as many barriers. You will most likely pick up the phone from a strange person and feel like your personal space has been intruded upon. With these reasons in mind, here is how to ask for a contact number through an email:
Don’t Give The Option Of Communicating Via Email
The phrase you are most likely to use is “Would you prefer to communicate via phone or email?”.
While the phrase is not wrong, because your recipient’s instincts are already guiding them away from sharing their contact number, they will most probably say it with an email. You should clearly, but politely state that “I intend to communicate via phone” and you give reasons for doing so, for example:
“I prefer to hold a conference call for urgent or sensitive matters.“
This is practical because you may need an immediate response in professional communication or have details that can only better be understood through a phone conversation. Either way, your wording of this request will determine the outcome.
Reassure Your Recipient
You shouldn’t do this just by word of mouth but have supporting evidence for the same. If you are using your company email, you can reassure them of their privacy by using your work email instead of the automatically generated email.
If there was an business email thread with other people in it, you could ask them to:
“…send your contact on a new thread so that no one else can access the contact.”
If they are filling in a form per email, be sure to state that:
“…we will respect privacy and your personal details will not be shared with an unauthorized party.”
You can even go ahead and put a link to your terms and conditions. Whichever method you choose, the safer your recipient feels, the more comfortable they will be to share their phone number.
Give Your Phone Number
You can end the email by sharing the phone number you will be using to contact your recipient. You can say:
“Here is my phone number for queries and concerns.”
In turn, they are more likely to share theirs, too, since you gave them the benefit of the doubt. The fact that you have shared your contact will put your recipient’s mind at ease since it signals your trustworthiness and credibility.
Mind Your Tone
Your request should not come off as bossy or as a demand. While you do need their contact number, your email should make your recipient feel as though they are willingly giving their contact to you. To establish this, you can read your email out loud or have someone proofread it to make sure you perceive it in the same way your recipient would.
The above methods apply to any other kind of contact you may seek: a home address, a business office address, or even a social media contact.
Do some background checks before sending that email. If you target a particular person in a company, you could ask within your social circles if someone has interacted with that person before.
How often do they open their emails?
Do they have someone do it for them, or do they go through their emails?
Such details will help you craft your email to be guaranteed to get a contact number afterward.
Most importantly, don’t let a few responses discourage you. Keep on tweaking your emails until you get them right.
Sample Email Requesting Contact Information
When you ask someone you don’t know well for their detailed information, it’s important to briefly mention where you got the initial details and who you are.
Try to explain to the recipient in the first few sentences what their advantage is to exchange phone numbers and then ask for the contact information you need.
It could be as follows:
My name is Mr. Vargas, and I am writing to introduce myself. Mr. Smith gave me your email address and told me our expertise could yield valuable synergies on your current project XYZ.
We are involved in process improvement in the chemical industry and serve the world’s leading customers in this segment. My particular expertise is the translation of this knowledge into production processes.
I would therefore like to take this opportunity to discuss this in more detail in a face-to-face or online meeting.
I would organize the meeting if you could send me a convenient date and your contact information.
Thank you in advance for your time and cooperation.
Katie Holmes is a senior author at everyday-courtesy.com with over 15 years of experience in marketing and psychology. As a freelance consultant, she also supports companies and executives in overcoming communication challenges. Katie is a passionate digital nomad working on her first book on the art of communication.