How to write a sales email to get a prospect to say “I’m in!”

24 August 2015 Kieron Johnson

Nobody likes the ‘hard sell,’ not even the sales folk giving it. So, it falls to the savvier salesperson to craft a truly inspired sales email that, in the words of The Godfather, “makes them an offer they can’t refuse.” With our sales writing tips at hand, you won’t need the Mafia behind you. We’ll just need five minutes of your time.

A sales email doesn’t have to be complicated. If you want your sales email to be read by a prospect, keep it simple and direct. The rewards will follow. Writing a sales email to a prospect should be fast, short and sweet – a sprint rather than a marathon.

We’ve put together some useful sales email hints and tips that will make your prospect like putty in your hands (without introducing them to ‘The Family’).

A sales email template to die for…

Reaching out to sales prospects is all about testing the waters.

The internet is awash with sales email templates, most of which are way too complex for what is essentially a simple goal: to find out if a prospect is interested in opening up a serious business conversation with you.

Consequently, many sales emails do a good job of turning off a prospect they’re supposed to turn-on.

Here’s a tried-and-tested template for a sales email that screams “read me!”:

  • Subject [insert something of interest to the prospect. Make it eye-catching, but avoid sensationalism].
  • Dear Mr./Ms. [insert the prospect’s surname].
  • We’ve contacted you, as we may be able to [list the potential benefit(s) of your product or service to the prospect].
  • Firms such as [insert the name of other firms] buy our product/engage our services to [insert a quantifiable potential benefit].
  • Respond to this message and we’ll email you further information, so you can quickly assess whether or not it’s worth the time investment to pursue this opportunity.
  • Your name and contact information.

We’ve given you what the template looks like. Here’s why it works (understanding this means you’ll be able to repeat its success to your heart’s content):

  • The subject line is like the opening line of a great audition. It should entice your prospect to read on and open your email. Examples of “something of interest to the prospect” might include a mutual contact, a development in the prospect’s business, a rumour about a prospect’s competitor, etc.
  • Informality has its place in corporate communications, but your opening sales email isn’t it. First time contact always calls for formality.
  • Most professionals are time-poor, so they appreciate you getting to the point post-haste. The question your prospect wants answered is “What’s in it for me?” So, tell them.
  • This is the crux of your sales message, listing your customers (which should be of a similar shape and size to your prospect). If you don’t have your customer list at the ready, you can always make a generic reference, such as “Our customers hire us to…”
  • Nobody wants to be told they’re living in ‘la-la land,’ but that’s exactly what will happen if you expect your very first email to persuade a prospect to commit to meeting you. Give your prospect some time and space to make up their own mind, on their own terms.
  • Your prospect has everything they need to contact you or access further info.

Six ways to spruce-up your sales email

To push your sales email off the chart, follow these additional rules:

  • Make metrics simple. You want your sales email to be easily understood by the masses, not an audience of one (namely, Einstein).
  • Cut out the ‘corporate speak.’ Language used in a firm’s glossy brochure isn’t necessarily suitable for a sales email. Curb it or, better still, cut it.
  • Copyedit for clarity. If your message lacks clarity, hire a copyeditor to correct it.
  • Avoid eagerness. It speaks of desperation and isn’t becoming of a quality product or service provider.
  • Honesty (really) is the best policy. Lying to your prospect is the equivalent of you tightening a noose around your neck. At best, it’s likely to get uncomfortable and, in the worst-case scenario, it could spell the death of your relationship.
  • Expect a little (and hope for a lot). Asking for minimal time commitment from your prospect is most likely to yield a better outcome. The spoils may follow later.

What to do when your prospect says “I’m in!”

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If your prospect gives you the thumbs-up, put the champers on ice for now, as the deal is not yet done.

Do some homework on your prospect – every nook and cranny – really go to town on them. Then, you’ll want to draft a second sales email describing your product or service offering it in such a way that’s likely to be compatible with your prospect’s needs.

The idea behind this second email is to convince your prospect to open a dialogue with you, either face-to-face or over the telephone.

Sales emails made easy.