Kendra Lee, an incredibly talented sales author and top IT seller, put to words what I have observed about email prospecting…

More from Kendra’s  recent newsletter:


Email prospecting is hot.

It feels much less threatening than cold calling. No one will hang up on you. You have time to think about exactly what to write. And, if prospects like your message, they’ll respond.

But just as easily, prospects can delete your email – and never read a word.

Within three seconds of noticing it, they make a decision to read or delete. I call this the Glimpse Factor. You need to be able to break past it before they’ll ever read the great content you’ve toiled over.

Here’s how the Glimpse Factor works. When prospects first glimpse your email they have three questions top of mind:

  • Do I have time for whatever it is now?
  • Can I delete it and do nothing at all?
  • Do I need to hold on to it to do something later?

Because they’re busy people, they’re secretly hoping that they can delete it with no further action. But your objective is to craft emails that make contacts feel like they have to read and respond immediately. Before you can accomplish that, you have to break past the Glimpse Factor.

To make their delete decision, the first place your prospects look is at the email address. They’re checking to see who the email is from, If they don’t recognize your name and note an email extension from a generic provider such as gmail or yahoo, odds are they’ll hit delete.

Approach prospects using your company email address. While they may not know your company, it reinforces your credibility and they’ll jump to read the subject line.

In the split-second that they read the subject line they’ll ask and answer, “Is this for me personally? Is it junk that I can ignore?”

They’re looking for any excuse to quickly hit delete. Use subject lines that require prospects to read your email.

  •  Can we talk Tuesday at 10:30?
  • A quick question
  • A thought about IT spending

If your subject line doesn’t feel relevant to your contact, it’s gone.

Next they hop to the opening salutation looking to see if it begins with their name. Including your prospect’s name alerts them that the email was sent for them specifically. Without it, discard.

While you’ve made it into the body of the email, your contacts don’t yet begin to read. Instead, their eyes drop to your signature at the bottom to check out your authenticity.

If they didn’t recognize your email address or company, prospects want to find out who you are. They’re scanning for marketing hype at the bottom. It’s okay to have links to your social networks and website, even a tag line about your company or a link to a free resource. But a blatant advertisement is their signal that this email isn’t one they need to address.

Prospects’ final test is to determine how difficult your email appears. They’re assessing to see how much effort it’ll take to address.

Simply by glimpsing the format of your content, they’ll make their decision!

To break through, keep emails brief. Use short paragraphs so they appear quick to address. You may be tempted to use bulleted lists to accomplish this, but resist. In prospecting emails bulleted text implies marketing content or action items, both of which have negative connotations to busy people who don’t know you.

If you make it past all these check points, they’ll finally begin to read the compelling message you’ve written just for them.

In just three seconds, your prospects make a choice: read or delete. Remember the Glimpse Factor as you compose your messages, and you’ll see both your response rates and your new sales pick up steam in no time.


Well said Kendra!   Kendra Lee is a top IT Seller, Prospect Attraction Expert and author of the award winning book “Selling Against the Goal” and president of KLA Group. Specializing in the IT industry, KLA Group works with companies to break in and exceed revenue objectives in the Small and Midmarket Business (SMB) segment. Ms. Lee is a frequent speaker at national sales meetings and association events. To find out more about the author, read her latest articles, or to subscribe to her newsletter visit or call +1 303.741.6636.