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Follow Up Best Practice: The Problem Statement Format

Scenario: You’re trying to find a way to structure your sales email.
Contributor: Bryan Kreuzberger, Founder of Breakthrough Email

Many sales emails aren’t clear and don’t get the desired response from a prospect. This problem statement structure is a format you can use so your prospect understands what you are requesting.

Here are the 5 elements of the problem statement structure: (1) Now, (2) But, (3) What, (4) Why, and (5) How.

Problem Statement Structure

  • Current situation: What are the facts? What happened?
  • But, something changed: What changed?
  • The problem: What’s the problem?
  • Motivation: Why does the reader care? What’s in it for them?
  • How do we fix it: What action do you want them to take?

Here is a sample we used for our email newsletter following this format:

How does money work?

Hi there,

Tony Robbins referred me to a video on how the economy works, and more specifically how money works. We talked about it on our coaching call today, so I wanted to share it with you.

The economy is complicated. The video by Ray Dalio, the founder of Bridgewater, the world’s largest macro hedge fund with $122 Billion in assets, shares the principles behind:

  • The future of the housing market.
  • How to decide if we are in a downward spiral or it’s time to invest.
  • How to get paid more in your job or your business.

Bill Gates said, “This knowledge would help everyone as investors and citizens. Watching is a worthwhile 30-minute investment.”While I’m not generally interested in financial issues, this video changed the way I see how the economy works. You can watch the video here.


Bryan Kreuzberger, Founder

What this email does well:
We used the problem statement format for the instructions of this email template.

What are the facts? What happened?
Many emails aren’t clear and don’t get the intended response.

What changed?
It’s not the writing, it’s the organization of the ideas.

What’s the problem?
You can use a simple structure so readers understand

Why does the reader care?
Your writing will be clear, concise and people will understand.

What action do you want them to take?
Learn the problem statement structure.






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