My UX design firm had gone through dry spells before but this one was bad.

Each day the stress mounted.

The importance of every new potential client seemed greater than ever before. I went in to each meeting thinking one thing:

“I need this job.”

Yet, each client would slip out of my grasp. Some would say it was a change in plans, others balked at my rate, but most — most just stopped replying altogether.

I knew it was something I was doing wrong.

But what I didn’t know at the time was that it was a single phrase I was writing in nearly every email I sent that was causing this hole in my pipeline.

“Let me know how I can help.”

I would spew it out constantly:

All my emails ended with some variation of “let me know.”

What I didn’t realize at the time was that by saying “let me know”, I wasn’t actually allowing clients to get what they wanted from me.

In reality, I was dumping my work on to them, and saying here, you deal with it.

It reeked of incompetence and it undermined my business.

After all, these were the very problems I was being paid to solve. So I tested the complete opposite for a few weeks. Instead of open-ended emails, I prescribed a solution.

At first, it felt wrong.

I felt like I was barking orders and bossing my clients around. It was scary. But I slowly noticed a change. Clients were responding to my emails. Even prospects were chirping back.

My business improved just by making it my responsibility to suggest the next step.

If I wanted a meeting, I’d suggest a time. If I was presenting an idea, I’d also present how it should be implemented quickly.

This set the tone that my time was valuable. It proved I was a professional capable of making the right decisions instead of just claiming I could.

It showed my hands wouldn’t have to be held throughout a project. It meant I was taking work away from my clients.

In the coming week you’re going to notice yourself ending a lot of emails with let me know. Sorry about that. This folly cannot be unseen.

You’re also going to notice something else. You will have a super power.

By taking responsibility and providing a next step in all of your emails you will have control of your future. You will no longer leave things up to chance.

You’ll know you’re on the right track if the most someone has to do to reply to you is send a quick “sounds good.” Do that and your emails will win you more clients in less time.

Now that you know this, don’t you wish you had more prospects to email? That’s exactly what I’d like to dive into next.

Part 2: Where to find UX clients that are ready to buy