Leads and sales are the lifeblood of any sales rep and company, and if you use email marketing, you must write the best sales emails you can.
Decades after its invention, email remains an essential tool for modern sales reps. Nothing beats sending a good old email when it comes to getting in touch with a prospect.
Calls are often annoying, and meeting potential customers in person are time-consuming. Social selling, for all its potential, is unreliable.
Emails are simple enough to take advantage of when you need to contact hundreds of prospects. You can prepare your pitch beforehand. And they give you enough opportunities to build a relationship with a prospect.
Emails, then, are great until they are not.
Many sales reps struggle with emails that don’t get replies in some cases that’s part of the job. Not every email you send will be read. But in many other cases, it’s a symptom of a sales email being ineffective.
Prospects don’t have the time to read generic and unhelpful sales emails. Sales reps who don’t improve their emails will suffer low open rate and even lower engagement.
So what should they do to make their sales emails better? Here are some tips to get you started.
1) Build a Better Prospecting Pipeline
You might think that a sales email begins when you open Gmail to type a message. But it doesn’t.
It begins with prospecting. Like choosing who you’re going to send an email to.
If you don’t pick the right targets for your emails, you’ll lose time and money in the long run. Sending hundreds of emails to random people won’t work.
One way to improve your prospecting is to sketch an ideal customer profile. That is a list of characteristics you’d like to see in a prospect who agrees to hear your pitch. After that, use a tool like Sales Navigator to generate a list of hundreds of accounts which fit the criteria.
Source: Top Dog Social Media
Building an email list that way means that you’ll focus on active prospects in key positions. These people are your best market.
Oh, and if you’re considering purchasing an email list? Don’t. Third-party email lists are a shortcut to the spam folder. And there are rarely any active email addresses there, anyway.
2) Delay Pitching
Number one mistake many sales reps make? They make their initial cold email all about the sales pitch.
It usually looks something like that:
I’m [name] and I represent [Company]. We’re one of the leading companies on the market. Here’s why we think you’ll be interested: [sales pitch]. Would you like to schedule a call?
Emails like that are all about the sender and their company. What they fail to achieve is make the prospect interested to hear your message. And they don’t build any kind of loyalty as they look like a part of an automatic mass mail campaign.
And that’s why most emails like that will go into the trash bin.
Instead, try to forget about your sales pitch, at least for a while. Make the first email you send to a prospect the basis of your relationship:
- State the reason why you’re getting in touch
- Ask their opinion about something
- Compliment their work
Of course, such an approach demands more time spent on research. But you should do that anyway.
3) Personalization Comes First
Your objective should be to get a response. Before you write your first word, look for and leverage trigger events with your contact or at the company level.
Sales reps who personalize their emails see an instant improvement in their performance.
Even the most generic email template is better once you personalize it. Why? This way you show your prospect that you cared enough for them to invest time in research.
Here are some things you can personalize in your sales emails:
- The recipient’s name
- The company they are working for
- How you found them
- Compliments on the work they did
- Events in their lives
- Trigger events
Even a mention of your prospect’s name in the subject line increases the likelihood of a reply. If you personalize your emails further, you’ll increase that likelihood even more.
Of course, if you’re sending hundreds of sales emails, careful personalization is hard. But leave enough space for it in your email templates.
The difference between a generic email and a personalized one is staggering.
4) Leverage Reciprocity
Robert Cialdini is an expert in the field of psychology of persuasion. His six principles of persuasion provide sales reps with a framework of what they need to do to achieve a sale.
Most actionable of those techniques is the principle of reciprocity. It states that people are wired to reward behavior that they find pleasant or useful. So how can you take advantage of it in your emails?
Here’s an example. Instead of telling a prospect what your company is doing, find a problem they have and send them a tip on how to fix it. Can’t find a problem? Send them a blog post they might find useful — or a free ebook.
If you begin a relationship based on reciprocity (instead of a pitch), prospects will be more loyal to you. And once you do present them with a pitch, the chances of getting a positive response are better.
5) Master Your Email Subject Line
One of the most popular reasons for trashing your sales emails? A bad sales email subject line.
69% of people say that they flag emails as SPAM by looking at its subject line which means that a subject line is one of the most important parts of your sales emails.
But sales reps don’t pay enough attention to it. Here’s an example of a subject line that doesn’t hold up:
Do you have a minute to discuss our product?
It’s easy to ignore an email with a subject line like that. No, your prospect doesn’t have a minute (we’re all too busy). No, they are not interested in your product. How can they be if they have never heard about it?
Here’s what you should do instead. When you are writing a sales email, make sure your subject line is honest, intriguing, and fun. Try to mention the reason for an email, but hint that the prospect will get something if they read it:
Three ways how [product] can help with [problem]
It’s clear from this subject line that you’re talking about your company. But it’s also clear that you want to help a prospect with their problem. This will be enough to make them open your message. Personalized subject lines are 22% more likely to make the recipient open your email. You will see a higher open rate.
Also, pay attention to your subject line length (short but not too short is a good idea).
If you want to play the long game and not go into a sales pitch immediately, you can try something like:
Just wanted to say that the way you wrote about [topic] is awesome.
People love compliments, so they’ll want to read an email about their work. And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can try something like:
Please, don’t open this email
Reverse psychology is a powerful force. But make sure that your message is equally tongue-in-cheek (otherwise it’s just annoying).
6) Rewrite Your Opening Sentence
Attention span is limited. If your sales emails fail to capture prospect’s attention from the very first line? They might not even finish it.
But many sales reps completely ignore the value of the opening sentence. Instead of making it attention-grabbing, they go with generic introductions like this:
My name is John; I work as a sales manager at [company].
You might think that starting your email with an introduction is polite. But here’s the thing: it’s unnecessary!
The recipient can see both your name and the company you work for in the From field. Your position will be obvious from email signature. These introductions only take up valuable space. You’ll do good by removing them altogether.
7) Always Keep Your Sales Emails Short
Do you include the smallest of details into your emails? You’re not doing a service to your prospect.
Information overload will make it harder for a prospect to make a decision, not easier. If they receive a long email, the chances are that they will choose to ignore it altogether. Attention is limited after all.
Don’t fret, the time to discuss all the details will come later, during a call or a meeting. When you’re on the initial stages of sales emails, your goal is to make prospect interested in these details.
Pasting the complete description of your product in an email is like asking a prospect to read a book before they know who its author is.
So how short your email should be? Studies say that you’ll have higher chances to get a reply by trimming your message to below 125 words. Which means that if you want your prospects to reply, keep your email shorter than the previous three paragraphs.
8) Get Rid of Sales-Speak
For a prospect, there’s nothing like getting an email filled with sales emails cliches.
Why? They can delete it without second thoughts. Bland salesy catchphrases immediately signal that you don’t care about your prospect.
Here are some of the most popular sales cliches:
- Best in class
- A moment of your time
- A quick question
- Exceed expectations
These are meaningless buzzwords. They are easy to use, but they don’t have any substance. Instead, explain why you are best in class or why you are customer focused.
9) Pay Attention to Your Signature
This is a quick one. If you’re not working in a huge corporation, there’s little reason for you to have a huge email signature but if you must have your contact information, phone number, company address, and website URL. Be sure to review the CAN-SPAM laws as they apply to the region you are emailing too.
How huge are we talking about? Photos and links to social media profiles are, in most cases, unnecessary.
Remember that sales emails need to be short and to the point. More often than not, finishing an email with your name and position will be more than enough. So signatures like this one, in most cases, simply distract from your message:
If the recipient wants to get in touch with you by different means, they’ll ask.
10) Learn How to Follow up After No Response
Follow this process to boost your response rates. Even the best sales email won’t always get a reply immediately. Or even after a couple of days. Or even after a couple of weeks.
People are busy, and not everyone has the time to read every single incoming message. There are various circumstances, too — the prospect took a vacation, for example.
On average, getting a yes/no response from a prospect takes 5-6 follow-ups. Most sales reps stop after one — and that’s their mistake.
Create and stick to a follow-up routine. If your prospect doesn’t reply, send a message after a couple of days. Still nothing? Keep sending follow-ups for a couple of weeks until you hit that 5-6 follow-ups mark.
Be sure that your emails only have one call-to-action. Any more will cause confusion, and nothing will happen.
(Some, like Steli Efti of Close.io, believe that you should keep sending follow-ups even after that).
Keep these messages very short and very polite. You can be informal or even go for a joke, but don’t ride a high horse and act offended.
Life happens — don’t kid yourself, you’re not the most important thing on the prospect’s plate.
11) Prepare to Act on Rejections
There’s nothing like spending a day on a personalized email only to hear ‘nope’ in return.
If you received a rejection, keep calm. That’s a good thing. You succeeded at the hardest part: getting the prospect to respond. Now, you can stop spending energy on follow-ups and dedicate that attention elsewhere.
Or you can use that rejection to your advantage.
Many sales reps close the conversation as soon as they hear ‘no.’ But there’s a lot of room to leverage a rejection.
For example, you can ask a prospect to explain the reason for the rejection. Maybe they didn’t understand your pitch correctly, and you’ll be able to fix it on the spot. You can also ask them to stay in touch and send another message at a later date.
In any case, don’t ignore these rejections. And remember that in some cases, it might take up to five rejections before you succeed.
12) Use Grammarly
There are a lot of different tools that will help you improve your sales emails. But Grammarly is the one that’s essential. It will ensure that your emails are typo-free.
Why it’s important? Spelling is one of the most popular reasons people give for ignoring an email. Simple as that.
Sadly, a simple trick that will improve your sales emails strategy doesn’t exist.
Instead, efficient sales emails demand attention and energy. You have to spend time researching your prospects and building a relationship.
But it’s not as hard as it looks. Sometimes an additional five minutes spent on an email can make all the difference in the world.
Steven Garland is the Head of Content at LeadGibbon, a one-click tool for sales teams to find email addresses and other data for their leads. When he’s not busy with research for his latest article, Steve is binge-watching 80s horror movies or playing pickup basketball with friends.