Why Your Email Prospecting Template Fails (And How to Fix It)

Most email prospecting templates fail because they are too self-centered, too long and not provocative enough. Most likely your “first touch” email talks far too much about you/your company, is more than a few sentences and doesn’t push on a pain, worry or fear your prospect has.

It really is that simple.

Here is a five-step process to self-diagnose and treat your failing “first touch” email or LinkedIn InMail message in less than 15 minutes. Let’s get more response and appointments for you — quickly.

Step 1: Fully Commit Yourself to a New Approach
The only reason my students fail is because they cannot break bad habits. You’ve been warned. Throw out what has not been working. Totally. I don’t want you to invest time in learning a more effective email prospecting technique — only to fail.

Mixing what you’ve been doing in the past with the following steps will sabotage your ability to get more response and appointments set. Avoid taking what I’m about to show you and falling back on old habits.

Step 2: Get Provocative or Get Out
The results are in on where customers read email: On the go. Mobile devices. You’ve got to get a response and you’ve got to get it in less than 30 seconds. You are forced to provoke them. You can do this by:

  • surfacing a worry, nagging fear
  • proving (beyond a doubt) you’ve done homework on them in 1 sentence (fast)
  • helping them admit uncertainty about a subject they must be confident about

Because customers aren’t reading email messages. They’re deleting them. Just like you and I, they’re commuting, waiting for the conference call or meeting to start … and they’re cleaning house in spare time. If you don’t provoke them you’re deleted!

How can you stop them long enough to read your email? Not by asking them for a meeting or demo. Not by telling them who you are and what you’re after. Certainly not by telling them what you want from them in your subject line!

Most buyers have become very good at identifying unsolicited messages based purely on the subject line.

You’ve got to get them curious. And that means being more provocative, less formal and with only one thing in mind: Response.

Step 3: Change Your Goal
Your response should earn you an invitation to talk. Nothing more. No demo, no appointment, no call. Change the goal of your first touch email to surfacing that nagging itch or pressing goal your prospect has.

But not in ways that immediately connect to what you have to sell. They know you’re going to eventually try to sell them something. This is implied by your:

  • email message to them,
  • signature line

Believe me. They can put 2 and 2 together. Don’t under-estimate your prospects.

The goal is to get invited to scratch your prospects’ itch. To do this, get clients talking about themselves.

Effective email messages spark replies like, “I suspected this is a risk for us. And to be honest I’ve been dragging my feet on addressing the issue of _______. Can you tell me more about what’s involved in this new approach you mentioned?”

Or, “How did your client make that happen? Can you tell me more? I need to move on this and will be ready to move in September.”

Being brief, blunt and basic gives you a better chance of being provocative—in ways that get customers talking about themselves. Spark their curiosity in your ability to problem-solve, not pitch or determine if this is a fit or not.

Step 4: Count the I’s
When done writing LinkedIn InMail or email messages go back and count the “I’s.” Remove the “I’s” and “my’s” from your first paragraph. Destroy them. Give ‘em the delete key. Focus like crazy on the prospect’s pains, goals, fears, worries … or their ambitions, objectives.

Also, give the reader a clear, compelling reason to hitting reply. It’s got to be involving something urgent.

For example, ask your prospect in the first sentence:

“Are you doing everything possible to ____________?”

In the blank, insert what you know their:

  • boss expects of them to accomplish
  • investors demand them to protect against
  • regulation their company must comply with to avoid legal disaster

Help your prospect take action on something that could get them into trouble. Gently warn them. Of course, that action can and should connect to what you sell — eventually. Stop talking about you-you-you and start helping your prospect react to something worrying them lately.

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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