Mash them hot buttons
One of my favorite types of stories to use in emails are “hot button” stories.
When I'm interviewing a client, or a client's customer, I'm always on the alert for topics that get their dander up.
I was interviewing a mortgage guy, and he went off on a rant about how real estate agents are completely clueless about the behind-the-scenes details of qualifying a buyer for a mortgage.
Then he launched into a story about a deal that went completely sideways:
He was bending over backwards to help a buyer with pretty marginal credit.
All the stars align though, and he gets the buyer preapproved.
The next day the feds announce new mortgage guidelines, and just like that the buyer no longer qualifies.
The agent loses his mind—”I don't understand, how could he be qualified yesterday and not qualified today?”
And of course the mortgage guy comes off looking like the bad guy in this situation, even though he's moved heaven and earth to try to get this to work out.
A story like this is solid gold.
Just recounting it sends a strong signal to your reader that “he gets it, he's one of us.”
And once that trust is built, it tears down all kinds of barriers.