Certified Sales Expert, Sales Emails 13 Comments

How To Write The Perfect Sales Email

Sean Gordon

April 23rd, 2017

how to write the perfect sales email

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 become annoying, ineffective, and impersonal. To help break those barriers, I’ll provide my best cold email outreach tips and show you how to write the perfect sales email.

1. Keep Your Sales Email Short & Sweet

Writing a long sales email can be detrimental, causing prospects to delete or ignore it. The key is to write emails that are simple and to the point. If your email requires constant scrolling, there’s a good chance it will end up in the trash.

While your sales emails should be short, they should also be clean and neat. Always make sure you check for quality control! Try a tool like Grammarly to avoid costly spelling errors.

Try viewing it on a smartphone screen too, since it’s very likely that it could be opened on a mobile device.

2. Always Include a Call to Action

sales email call to action

If you’re writing a sales 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.

Here’s a specific example:

 “I would love to set up 30 minutes to show you how we can help you get more qualified leads. How’s Thursday at 10 a.m?”

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Give Deadlines

sales forecasting definition, methods, examples, metrics

If you are expecting a response in regards to a proposal, give a deadline. Of course, do it tastefully. Don’t make it seem like an ultimatum. You want to yield some sense of urgency, while adding some friendly pressure to ensure the process moves forward.

Try something like this:

 “Here’s our proposal based on the details we discussed today. These terms are valid until EOD Friday. I look forward to hearing from you before then.”

4. Use New Technology to your Advantage

sales email tracking

There are many new sales technologies available to make email communication more efficient. Email trackers can help salespeople determine sales email effectiveness as well as learn the 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’ll never know the activities 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.

Alternatively, you can use borrowed data for best practices. Companies such as MailChimp have done wonderful research on sales email benchmarks that can get you heading in the right direction.

email open rate time of day

Yesware has also done extensive sales email research that includes a complete list of best sales email writing tips.

5. Personalize Your Damn Sales Emails!

Don’t be a robot. Don’t be lazy. Do the work, and learn something about your prospect! Stalk them on social media to find something they’ve recently tweeted. Search their company name in the news to see if there’s anything you can mention to show that you’ve done your research.

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 on the unique value that your product or service can solve for the company you are targeting.

Include a stat or two detailing the positive results that current customers have seen using your product or service to create 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.

6. 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 sales conversation about the specifics of your product or service.


Aside from all the advice above, your email should have 3 simple sections.

  • The Intro – Don’t blow it here. The subject and the first few sentences have to be an attention grabber. It’s the difference between getting opened versus getting ignored or blocked.
  • The Value Proposition – Main point of your email. Keep it focused on value, and solving a problem for your prospect. Why should they care about you? If there is a clear and concise benefit to the prospect, you’ll get a response. If not, you’re dead to them.
  • Call to Action – Goes without saying, this is the crucial point where you tell the recipient exactly what you want them to do. As you’d expect, this can make or break everything.

What is your favorite tip for writing the perfect email?

About the author

Sean Gordon

Sean Gordon has a passion and an extensive track record recruiting, hiring, training, and unlocking the talent of people. For more than 20 years, Sean has been on the frontlines of business across North America. He started with AT&T, where he went from the ground floor to building award-winning teams in sales and operations from coast to coast. He delivered equally stellar results for EMC, Aetna and West Corporation before becoming CEO of a technology company in need of innovation. Sean has successfully created new lines of business, reinvigorated stagnant company cultures, and mentored hundreds of successful employees who have thrived and gone on to do great things in their careers – which he is most proud of.

  • 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


    • 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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