You have a prospect’s email address in hand. Maybe it’s a new contact you met at a networking event. Maybe it’s a referral from a current client. Maybe it’s a cold prospect you got off a sales list. No matter who the person is or how you got their email, the challenge is still the same: to send them an email that will get their attention and entice them to take the next step in the sales process.
That’s easier said than done. Crafting effective sales emails is challenging for even the most seasoned and successful salespeople. Part of the difficulty lies in the volume of competition. We’re all blasted with emails on a virtually non-stop basis throughout the day. To get your prospect’s attention, your email has to stand out amid a sea of junk and promotional messages.
The good news is that you can take a few simple steps to make your emails more effective and to get better results. Email is just like any other type of prospecting. The more you send, the better your results will be. However, if you implement some of the tips below, you should see a better rate of success.
Here are five tips to help you send more effective prospecting emails:
Tip#1: Get to the point in the subject line.
You should assume that you have a maximum of 50 characters for your subject line. Any more than that and your subject line will likely get cut off by your prospect’s email platform.
Technicalities aside, though, it’s simply good form to be as brief as possible when it comes to subject lines. Your prospect will take a fraction of a second to make their decision about whether or not they’ll open your email. Don’t make them work at figuring out what your email is and why they’re getting it.
If the subject is unclear, they probably won’t put much effort into the email. Rather, they’ll just send the unopened email to their trash bin.
To write a good subject line, try to distill the point of your email down to the 50-character limit. For example, if you sell technological hardware, your subject could be:
Your hardware is out of date. Now what?
Or if you were referred by a common connection, you could say:
Joe Client thinks we should talk. You available?
Finally, there are a few words you want to avoid at all costs because they’ll trigger a spam filter in most email platforms. They’re words like “free” and “no risk.” They’re commonly used by spammers, so most email systems automatically recognize them as red flags. You can find a complete list of spam words here.
Tip #2: Keep it short and simple.
The subject line isn’t the only thing that should be short. Brevity is your friend in the body of the email, too. Your prospect is busy and isn’t going to read a five paragraph dissertation about your product. There’s also a strong likelihood that they’ll get your email on a mobile device, which means they may be in the middle of something when they open it.
Follow this four-part formula for your emails:
- Why you’re emailing them. I.e., Joe smith referred you, you help companies like theirs, you recently read about them in the business journal, etc.
- What action you want them to take. I.e., let’s chat for a few minutes, let’s grab a quick coffee, I’d like to send you a quote, etc.
- Why it will benefit them. I.e., We’ve helped companies increase revenue by X%, I can help you save X dollars, you’ll find our conversation helpful, etc.
- How they take the next step. I.e., what days next week work for you, does Monday or Wednesday work better, to what address should I send your quote..
Each paragraph should be a sentence or two, tops. That’s it. You’re not going to make the sale over email because they’re not going to take the time to read a lengthy email. Instead, just focus on the next step and give them enough information to make that decision.
Tip #3: Be personal.
You probably don’t have time to sit and craft new, original emails for every prospect on your list. Nor should you try to make time to do that. There are a number of powerful email systems that will automate much of your email work. Mailchimp and ActiveCampaign are two of the best, but there are plenty of others out there.
However, just because you’re taking advantage of automation doesn’t mean you need to sound like a robot. Most email marketing platforms will allow you to incorporate personalizations into your messages. With just a couple clicks, the system will automatically input first names, company names, and any other contact information that can make the message more personal.
I’d strongly recommend personalizing the greeting and at least one location in the body of the email. Also, if you have any personal notes, such as a common contact or some other connection, be sure to include those.
It’s hard to forge a connection digitally, but it can be done. The key is to make the communication as personal as possible. Don’t send out copied, mass-produced, impersonal emails because they’ll be accurately perceived as spam.
Tip #4: Include ONE simple call-to-action.
In my sales coaching sessions, I often come across salespeople who make this mistake. They’re so desperate for the prospect to take action – any action – that they offer up nearly every possible way for the prospect to get back to them.
Contact me via email or call me on my cell…
Click here to learn more about our products…..
You can place your orders via this link…..
You can also sign up for our webinars at…..
Do you want to meet? I can meet any day/time next week. Which days work for you?
It’s great to give the prospect options, but you don’t need to overload them with choices. You sent the email for a very simple reason. Maybe you want to meet with them. Maybe you want to get them on the phone.
Whatever the reason, just ask for that in the email. If you want to meet with them next week, ask them that – and only that.
I think a quick discussion would be productive for both of us. I have time next Tuesday morning or Wednesday afternoon. Which works best for you?
If you want them to sign up for a webinar, ask for that.
We’re hosting a webinar a few different days this month. You’ll learn a lot, even if you choose not to move forward with any of our services. Please check out our webinar schedule and find a time that works for you.
Again, think about the time your prospect is willing to commit to your email. Make the process as quick and painless as possible. Give them a clear path for how to move forward.
Tip #5: Help….don’t sell.
Let’s face a painful truth. In most industries, the prospect doesn’t need the salesperson to make a purchase. If a prospect is motivated enough, they can get online and find a way to buy what they need. The don’t need you to complete the transaction.
What they need you for is to solve a problem. They have a problem. You have the solution. Your first email to them is your best chance to show your value. Don’t just tell the that you can fix their problem. Show them. Give them a tip on how to do something better. Share a best practice that your other clients are having success with.
In this email, you want to establish trust and value as quickly as possible. The best way to do that is to shed your salesperson hat and put on your consultant hat. You have to give to get and there’s no better way to start than by giving some helpful, valuable advice for free with no expectation for reciprocation.
Before you send your email, think of something that the recipient might find useful. Maybe it’s a link to an article with helpful information. Maybe it’s a tip. Maybe it’s a question that will help them think of their problem in a new light.
Whatever you’re offering, make sure it genuinely comes from a sincere desire to help. If you help enough people, you’ll see the returns come back to you and success will be inevitable.
Everyday, I help salespeople just like you tap into their internal power and achieve levels of success that were previously beyond their line of sight. Let’s talk about your prospecting challenges. Together, we’ll develop a roadmap to take you higher.
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