Effective Sales Emails Don’t Use These Techniques in 2018

Trying to start conversations with potential clients using cold email or LinkedIn Inmail? Most sellers are. But are you sabotaging yourself by sending prospects the following?

Mobile emailTrying to start conversations with potential clients using cold sales emails or LinkedIn Inmail? Most sellers are. But are you sabotaging yourself by sending prospects:

  • a template you found while Googling?
  • a subject line starting with RE:?
  • messages with words like hope, love & “looking forward to” in them?
  • follow-ups using words like “bubble up” or “fall through the cracks”?
  • phony complements, automated or artificial intelligence-driven messages?
  • messages starting with questions biased to answers you’re looking for?
  • PDF attachments or videos?

Any of these look familiar? Most of these tactics are failing sellers… or will fail you soon. Simply because they’re not creative.

They lack originality. These tactics scream lazy, un-researched, marketing-style spam.

“Don’t turn your sales reps into mini marketers, please. Sales is context. Sales has to put context around the content,” says sales trainer John Barrows.

“If you’re not you’re no different than marketing … your template email is crap.”

Use phrases like, “Would you like to know more or do you have any questions for us?” at end of your messages.

Tricky or Burnt-out Subject Lines

Cute, tricky or over-used subject lines are the leading cause of sales email failure. Your subject line will fail to provoke curiosity (get opened) if you:

  • try to dupe your reader into opening like: “RE: Did you see this?”
  • use more than five words
  • specify what is inside your email
  • use an obvious subject line that pops into your head

Some of my students do have success tricking clients into opening. I discourage it. Dishonesty is never worthwhile — even if it works near-term.

For example, one student selling trade show services to marketers uses “the artwork” in his cold email subject line… to dupe customers into thinking his message is project-related. It gets him opened. But for how long and at what long-term cost to his (and his company’s) reputation?

Sellers with the strongest email open rates are using 2-3 words maximum. This exploits the nature of a cold email subject line: It should be provocative and vague.

Beware of words that telegraph what you want to talk about with your prospect. Don’t let on to the message inside the email. If you do it will most likely be deleted or put-off until later (a.k.a. never).

Never, ever, ever use an email subject line that just popped into your head. Any idea how many other people like you are doing this? The result is dozens of inbound emails coming at your prospects—most being spammy and looking precisely the same.

Subject lines get burnt-out fast. So fast!

Using weak subject lines trains customers to delete your message.

All the Wrong Words

Are you writing introductions like this?

“Hi Jeff,

Out of respect for your time, I thought an email might be less disruptive than an unannounced phone call. I was hoping to offer you qualified leads for your sales team to close.”

Or this?

“Hi, Jeff,

I’m a co-founder at XYZ Company. We’re a startup developing a new technology to debug large scale production environments …”

Or this?

“I wanted to find out if you have any design needs at ____ [insert target company]. We can increase sales, engagement, conversions and more through our design strategies. Interested? Email me back. I’d love to chat.”

As a sales coach I see these lazy, failing email messages by the dozens each week.

Here’s the problem: Templates you’ve found on Google. Guess what … everyone has Google. Billions of people. Most sellers are too lazy to get creative. Hence, they use email templates others (falsely) claim work.

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.

2 thoughts on “Effective Sales Emails Don’t Use These Techniques in 2018”

  1. This is a great article telling sales people what NOT to do….where is the rest of it giving them alternatives to the “terrible” techniques you described. “Get creative” is not a very helpful piece of advice.

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