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8 Sales Email Secrets

blog author
Written by Bob Croston
Vice President, RAIN Group

Email prospecting is a hot topic these days—and it should be because it works. Or at least, it works when it's done right.

In 5 Sales Prospecting Myths Debunked, we found that email is the #1 way buyers prefer to be contacted by sellers.

Before you type up your next sales email, make sure you attend to these 8 secrets to success:

  1. Do your research. Spend a few minutes learning about the prospect before reaching out. You can unearth a wealth of information from simply visiting their LinkedIn profile and Googling the company.

    LinkedIn will tell you if you have any contacts in common, what school they went to, what groups they are a part of, what causes are important to them, etc. It's an instant way to see if you are connected (if so, you can ask for an introduction or referral), and to find out if you share any common interests or history.

    Perform a quick search on the company and you'll know where they've been featured or quoted. You can even scan their annual report if they're a public company, and read up on recent news on their website.

  2. Customize your message. Stock emails do not work. Based on what you uncover in your research, you can tailor your message so it is most relevant to the potential buyer. Look for trigger events to give you an excuse to reach out. Maybe he or she is new to the job, the company is expanding, there's a new product or service launch, the company was mentioned in a big news article recently, etc.

    Or, you could bring up a common area of interest (went to the same college, support similar causes, grew up near each other, have similar interests, and so on).

  3. Focus on the customer and their wants, needs, and desires. I invite you to pull up one of your latest sales emails. Count how many times you use the words "I," "our," "we," or "my." Now, count how many times you use the words "you" or "yours."

    In my experience, most emails heavily focus on the seller; words describing the seller will outnumber the words about the buyer 6 to 1.

    Buyers don't care about you, your company, your products or your services. They care about how you can help them achieve their goals. If point #1 is done well, you should already have an idea of what's important to this particular buyer, and you can customize your value proposition and email accordingly.

  4. Ask for a meeting. I've received emails that attend to the first 3 points well, but have poor response because of the mere fact that the seller did not ask for a meeting. Having a wonderfully crafted, customized email with a weak call to action will get you nowhere. Include a next step in every communication. Be specific and ask for a date and time to talk.

    Read Appointment-Setting Tips

  5. KISS, or Keep It Short and Simple. Your entire email should be less than 160 words. When you limit the length of your email, you are forced to focus on only the most important points. Buyers will be more likely to scan your email and know immediately whether or not it is relevant. If the email looks long and onerous, the buyer is more likely to simply delete it, as it's too much information to get started.

  6. Write as though the recipient were a colleague. When you draft your introduction email, use the language you would use if you were sending it to an internal colleague. You'll naturally leave out marketing jargon and sales buzz words that reduce trust and turn buyers off. Remember, you are just a person sending another person an email. Write like it.

  7. Avoid attachments, colors, typos, and templates. When you write an email to a colleague do you use a corporate template or simply open a new message, type, and hit send? Templates make it look like the email is coming from your corporate marketing department. Colorful text looks gimmicky, typos are unprofessional, and attachments are more likely to get caught in a spam filter.

    If you want buyers to take you seriously, your email must look and act the part.

  8. Write a killer subject line. The subject line is your first opportunity to hook the buyer. The key is to make the subject as relevant as possible. Reference a referral or contact, trigger event, ideas you want to share, or questions you have about something going on at the company.

Email is a critical tool for sales and prospecting. Attend to these 8 secrets and you can be sure you're tapping into its full power.


5 Sales Prospecting Myths Debunked 


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Topics: Sales Prospecting