Prospecting 13 Comments

How To Write The Perfect Sales Email

Sean Gordon

July 13th, 2015

Editors Note: Guest post by Sean Gordon, CEO of Intelliverse

The average employee spends nearly a fourth of their workday in an email inbox, making it a vital part of communication, especially in sales. But email can easily become annoying, ineffective, or impersonal. So what steps can sales people take to ensure that they draft the perfect email?

1. Keep Your Email Short and Sweet

Sending an email that’s too long can be detrimental to your sale, causing prospects to delete or ignore it. The key is to keep it short, simple and to the point. If your email requires constant scrolling, there’s a good chance it will end up in the trash. Keep it in one window on a computer, and try viewing it on a smartphone screen too, since it’s very likely that it could be opened on a mobile device. Here’s an example of one that has worked for us before:

Email-for-Blog-Post

 

2. Always Include a Call to Action

If you’re sending an email to a prospect, chances are you are expecting something from them. Ask yourself a few questions while drafting your email – why are you sending this email? What is your expected outcome?

If you are looking to schedule a meeting, suggest a specific date and time, including helpful details like the meeting duration. For example, “I would love to schedule a time where I can show you, in more detail, how we are helping your competitors increase their profits. How does Thursday at 10 a.m. ET look for you?”

If you are expecting a response in regards to a proposal, give a deadline. For example, “Attached is a proposal containing the details we discussed today. These terms are valid until COB Friday. I look forward to hearing from you before then.”

25-loveable-marketing-memes-2-638

 

3. Use New Technology to your Advantage

There are many new technologies available to salespeople that make email communication more efficient. Email trackers can help salespeople determine email effectiveness as well as habits of potential clients.

Let’s say you sent a proposal to a prospect via email. With an email tracker, you can see whether that email has been opened and the type of activity it might be generating – was it opened several times? Forwarded to co-workers? Viewed in various cities?

Without an email tracker, you wouldn’t know all the activity your email triggered. An email tracker can also alert you to a good time to send a follow up email, or give them a call, since people generally check their email around the same time every day. If someone has a few minutes to look at their e-mail, chances are they are sitting at their desk and might also have a few minutes to talk to you!

 

4. Make it Personal

When emailing a prospect about your product or service, it’s important to ensure that your email does not share the same information easily accessible via your company’s website. Instead, focus in on the real business need that your product or service can solve for the company you are targeting.

Including a stat or two detailing the positive results that current customers have seen using your product or service can help provide a more compelling argument. By going the extra step to create a more personalized email, you have a much better chance of connecting with your prospects.

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5. Take it Beyond the Inbox

The sales process often follows an “email first, call second” process. As a salesperson, email should be used to generate interest, coordinate meetings and deliver proposals. However, email is not appropriate for the actual selling – that should be done over the phone or in person.

Your initial interaction over email should be enticing enough to get a prospect on the phone or to schedule an in-person meeting, where you can delve into a deeper discussion about the specifics of your product or service.

What is your favorite tip for writing the perfect email?

How Salespeople Should Be Thinking About Emails

How Personal is too Personal?

When is it Ok to start using exclamation points and smiley faces? Use social cues to feel out when it’s OK to use a more or less personality your sales emails.

About the author

Sean Gordon

Sean's passion is ensuring that his customers and employees win every day. Sean takes great pride in Intelliverse's core value of being a company that is easy with which to do business. He aspires every day to bring that mantra to life with Intelliverse's prospects and customers. Sean drives Intelliverse to exceed the expectations of every customer with cloud communications solutions that leverage the most current technologies and are reinforced by a world-class customer experience. Prior to Intelliverse, Sean was Vice President at West IP Communications for 10 years where he helped turn a $30 million dollar unknown company into a $3.5 billion industry leader. He has also held various leadership positions at AT&T, EMC and Nortel Networks Corporation. Sean holds a degree from The University of Connecticut and enjoys spending time with his three sons and coaching them in baseball and football.

  • Anastasia Harold

    Wholeheartedly agree with #5 – Selling doesn’t, can’t, and SHOULDN’T happen over e-mail. Way too much room for misinterpretation or misunderstanding. Among other issues…

    • It’s also much easier for the prospect to say “No!” over email. The phone is where the magic happens 🙂

      • RobertLehrer

        Try telling that to one of the direct response ad copywriters who earn hundreds of thousands of dollars a year writing sales letters.

    • william

      excellent

    • Here are some stats supporting your words @anastasiaharold:disqus by grasshopper http://grasshopper.com/resources/articles/talking-to-customers-phone-vs-email/

      – Phone calls are 10x more likely to lead to sales
      – 57% of people think email is spam unless it is directly relevant to them, even if they know the vendor.

  • Nice one, Sean! Sharing.

  • Does anyone have an alternative approach to starting an email with “I…” ? You know, to make the email about the recipient, not about me? I struggle with this.

    • Jeff Newhouse

      How about “After reviewing the website, I believe…” or “Your website looks great and I believe…”, I am certainly not a sales professional, but I have been on the receiving end of this sort of email. You are correct in wanting to focus on the customer instead of yourself. I try to avoid “I” at the start of any paragraph, and it is a challenge.
      The reason I am on this blog is because I am starting a consulting business as a step toward developing a software product. I am pretty introverted and the thought of making phone calls really scares me. I would LOVE to be able to do all my sales through email or via a website.

  • Matt Tresidder

    Great article!

    This is the general rule of thumb from Hubspot which we use to continually craft and tweak our emails:
    Open Rates = Subject Line
    Click Through Rate = Call to action
    Response Rate = Strength of message

    We found one of the best ways to get a strong open rate was some humor in our subject line. Our ‘Break-up’ email at the end of our initial cadence is: “Should I stay or should I go?”. We often see a 60% open rate on this email!

    Humor helps engage our prospects from the outset and helps us break the mould of just another sales guy.

  • Great article, Sean! The thing that has had the biggest impact on open rates for us making the email personal. Easier said than done, especially if you’re a salesperson sending out many emails a day or using sales automation. Too much automation can be dangerous.

    In #1- keep it short and sweet, have you read or found any stats for word count? “Short” is subjective. Your example gives me a good idea, and I generally keep mine as short, but I’m wondering if there are hard data points on this. Thanks!

  • my two cents, I always like using “We” in a sales email, implying that our company is interested, not just me. So something like, “We reviewed your corporate website and believe strongly that…”

  • Do you have any sales pitch for RFP request?

  • 李旺虎

    good article

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