I’m happy to share a guest blog from Michael Boyette of the Rapid Learning Institute and Top Sales blog. Michael shares six ‘rules’ will help you craft more appealing and profitable e-mail prospecting messages.
And yet, although e-mail has become ubiquitous, far too many sales reps send prospecting messages doomed to end up under the “delete” key.
How can you write one that connects with buyers and boosts sales? Let’s start with a reality check:
• Prospects are just not that into you. No matter how great your offering is, no one will respond to yet another ho-hum, self-absorbed, features list.
• If your e-mail opens with something like “I just wanted to take a moment to introduce myself…” you are asking for a one-way ticket to the trash bin.
• Prospects are crazy busy, so you need to respect their time and show that you value it. Keep your first e-mail short and to the point. Eliminate anything that’s fluffy or that no one will bother to read.
Here are six rules for crafting more appealing and profitable e-mail prospecting messages:
1. Understand the real purpose. The goal of a prospecting e-mail is not to introduce yourself. That’s actually a deal killing turnoff. What you really want is to get their attention, pique their interest, and even excite them. So think carefully about what’s most likely to help them succeed at their job, or make them look good to their boss. (The details needed to justify doing business with you can wait until later in the sales process.)
2. Be transparent and authentic. Opening with “Joe Smith gave me your name because you plan meetings…” is direct and to the point, and won’t turn off your prospect with a self-serving or phony statement. In fact, opening with a simple truth builds trust.
3. Use words to illustrate your prospect’s success. What will the prospect gain from talking with you? Choose words that trigger positive emotions and illustrate the value of meeting with you. To continue our meeting planner example: “…when you’re looking for a lovely backdrop for your next event – to create a relaxed, positive environment for your executives – we have an awesome option for you.”
4. Outline the next step. Whether your sales process is simple or complex, you need to explain how you plan to take the next step. Adapt language like this to your situation: “I’ll plan to phone you Tuesday morning to learn more about what you look for in a productive event. If another time is more convenient, I’ll follow up as you suggest.”
5. Avoid pressure tactics. In B2B sales, it’s rare for prospects to want to buy immediately. They’ll tell you if they do. But meanwhile, steer clear of any words or phrases that make you sound pushy or aggressive. A phrase like “when the time is right” reduces pressure and sounds less overbearing.
6. Get to the point in subject lines. It’s best to use subject lines that reflect the main point of the e-mail accurately. When writing to request a phone call, for example, say something like: “Action request: Phone call Tuesday.”
When you don’t have a relationship with the recipient, resist the temptation to use a subject line that sells. Just quickly explain the essence of the message.
Michael Boyette is the Executive Editor of Rapid Learning Institute and thought leader for the Top Sales Dog blog. Michael is a nationally recognized authority on selling and has written hundreds of articles and dozens of training programs for sales reps and sales managers. Over the course of his 30+ year career, Michael has written ten books for publisher such as Simon & Schuster, Dutton, and Holt. Michael has managed public-relations programs for US Healthcare, Bell Communications Research, and DuPont. Michael is a graduate of the University of Florida College of Journalism.
This rules align with real sales conversations best practices such as being genuine, preparing for a specific objective, clarity on next steps, and making it crystal clear why they should talk with you.
Take a hard look at the last few emails you sent out – how many rules were followed and broken? Seems that the ideas here can be easily put into practice to increase the probability of your email prospecting success!