I learned a great acronym from Col Fink recently, during a live workshop at Thought Leaders Business School. He calls these SPEAR emails:

  • Short
  • Personal
  • Expecting
  • A
  • Reply

Contrast this with LINEAR emails:

  • Long
  • Impersonal
  • Not
  • Expecting
  • A
  • Reply

When we are nervous about making sales outreach, we confuse our communications by complicating it with all sorts of reasons to respond that muddy the message. SPEAR emails get responses. LINEAR emails don’t.

Have you ever heard of the ‘nine word email’ before?

You may have seen one of these short, concise messages in your own inbox.

Here are some examples that I have received recently:


dr carrie rose


bluewire media


melissa dinwiddle


marley baird


These are SPEAR emails. Even though they could be automated, or longer than nine words, a message like this can be used on LinkedIn or Facebook Messenger or sent via SMS. These SPEAR messages are more likely to get a reply than a LINEAR message.

Deciding what to say, in advance, is the hard part.

As Mark Twain supposedly said, “If I had more time, I would have written you a shorter letter.” Distilling your call-to-action down to just nine words takes a great deal of forethought and revision.

That’s why I made a template Google Doc, to make the CTA writing process easy. This short 3-minute video illustrates the importance of separating the Buying Decision from the Call-To-Action:

workbook cta yt thumbnail

If you want to duplicate my template and write clear and concise CTAs for your own SPEAR emails, get the workbook here: