A Common Sales Email Tactic That Works Less and Less

They can be the kiss of death: Questions. True — I coach sellers who are using questions in cold email messages. Some are successful. But questions cut both ways. They can help, or hinder you. In most cases response rates are low — and for a very good reason.

4 Tips for Using Email for Acquisition and PromotionQuestions: They can be the kiss of death.

True — I coach sellers who are using questions in cold email messages, and some are successful. But questions cut both ways. They can help or hinder you.

In most cases questions yield low response rates — and for a very good reason.

Maybe you are using questions to break the ice. Well, you may be inadvertently encouraging buyers to delete based on the same principle.

Here’s why questions rarely work — and what to do instead.

Starting With a Question Rarely Works

Are your cold prospecting InMails/emails starting with a question? Have you tried using “Quick Question” as a subject line, and then asked your question?

Even if you are starting with questions and having success, be advised: Potential buyers increasingly delete cold emails that start with questions, because they signal “terrible pitch ahead.”

Be careful — asking questions can sabotage you. Especially when the message within the template also:

  1. Takes longer than 30 seconds to read.
  2. Includes Web links or attachments.
  3. Presents a solution, rather than provoking the buyer to hit reply and talk about their problem.
  4. Asks a question that screams “lazy sales person asking me a dumb question.”

These are just a few characteristics working against you. The root cause of your cold email being deleted may be that silly question you are asking — the one you are asking to appear relevant. Trouble is, it’s a dead give-away.

It’s lazy. It’s like 95 percent of your competitors’ emails pouring into your buyers’ inbox: highly delete-able.

The Two Types of Questions

There are two flavors of questions appearing in email messages. Those that help the buyer think:

Delete this email! Rapido! Rapido!



It’s the “hmmm” we’re after.

There’s a lot of talk about making sure to “add value” in your email messages right? Well, questions can add value, though they’re tricky. The best way to use questions in a cold email is to encourage the reader to introspect and evaluate their own situation at this moment in time.

Author: Jeff Molander

Jeff Molander is the authority on making social media sell. He co-founded what became the Google Affiliate Network and Performics Inc., where he built the sales team. Today, he is the authority on effective prospecting communications techniques as founder of Communications Edge Inc. (formerly Molander & Associates Inc.) He's been in sales for over 2 decades. He is author of the first social selling book, Off the Hook Marketing: How to Make Social Media Sell for You.Jeff is a sales communications coach and creator of the Spark Selling technique—a means to spark more conversations with customers "from cold," speeding them toward qualification.

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