What Makes Sales Email Templates Work

Most sellers are using email templates and call scripts because more outreach drives more conversations. However, most emails fail to provoke replies. But those that do are personalized. Yes, a personalized template.

EmailMost sellers are using email templates and call scripts because more outreach drives more conversations. We need to scale. However, most emails fail to provoke replies. But those that do are personalized. Yes, a personalized template.

Here’s the rub: Sales email templates should help you customize — not send — faster.

Just like a good call script, effective email templates are easily personalized. Flexible. Some are even timeless. Because they use mental triggers.

If your call and email templates are completely scripted they fail. They’re rigid and sound canned. They’re not relevant, nor personal.

Want to start more discussions with buyers — and scale your time? Personalize your templates. Open them up. Allow for insertion of information that:

  • Proves you’ve researched the prospect
  • Sparks curiosity
  • Provokes a reply inviting a discussion

The Truth About Templates

Effective message templates help you customize faster. They help you persuade customers to ask for more contact.

Quick example: I get requests like this all the time:

“Jeff, I am looking for subject lines that have great open rate and content in email to drive the sale. Please let me know if you have any templates that you can share.”

Here’s my point: This person wants to push messages out. He/she wants subject lines and messages that work — at scale. We all do. But these days, sellers are pushing and pushing and PUSHING emails with marketing copy in them.

Non-personalized, catch-all emails that don’t push. They don’t work. They don’t pull.

Pulling (attracting, provoking curiosity) is the key to success. But without personalizing your approach it’s impossible to provoke curiosity in buyers. Because you never earn the right to speak.

People (in general) value more what they ask for — less what you freely offer (what you push).

Effective Templates Personalize Faster

Yes, we need to start conversations — at scale. But standard message templates take all the work out of your effort and readers feel this. That is the problem! Your goal isn’t to send messages faster. It’s to personalize faster.

Think about the last templated email you received. How quickly did you delete it? Because it was easy to spot. It felt … mass. It read like a mass message. The sender sent it along with hundreds of others.

They pushed the words at you. But what if the seller had attracted you to the idea of speaking with them? What if you were enticed? What if their message generated a thought in your head like, “wait … do I understand you correctly? How would that actually work?” or “sure, what’s your idea?”

What if you read their cold email and were piqued? What if they pulled you?

Point blank: Nothing screams “impersonal” louder than an email message you’ve cut, pasted and sent. No research, no personalization. Creating no desire to ask for more contact — based on a provocation.

Yet, there is a way to provoke conversations with buyers — using templates at scale.

Personalize With Observations

One simple and quick way to create personalized templates is to “front load” your approach with an observation about your target. This lets you leverage a templated approach however, removes the impersonal, mass-email feel to the reader.

Here is a quick example to help you take action on the concept. Steve sells Web site hosting services for mid-sized retailers with e-commerce sites.

Subject: Problem with response time


Noticing your Web site has severe problems with response times. For example, your e-commerce pages take so long to load customers may abandon and buy at a competitor. Many images are also broken. Like on your main sweatshirts page.

You aware of this? I have an idea. But only if you’re open to it.

Are you open to a different approach to fixing these problems? The costs involved may surprise you.

Let me know what you decide, Steve.


Notice how the first paragraph is researched, personalized. Very specific information is offered. This proves the seller did his homework on Steve’s situation.

Feel like a template? Not at all, right? All based on an observation inserted into an otherwise templated (scale-able) message.

Granted, you may not be able to spot something about your prospects online. But there are various ways to glean such observations.

Today, research is key to provoking response using email. Nothing works better.

What Works is Guarded

Message templates you’ll find while Googling don’t spark response. Because everyone is using them. Customers have become saturated with the same approaches over and over. What does work is often closely guarded.

However, what works is within your reach: A customized approach that proves you’ve done homework on the prospect … helps you look less like a pusher.

Personalization of templates stops deletion by making your approach instantly authentic.

Non-customized templates earn the delete key. Customized get acted on more often — at scale. That’s the best part.

Set your goals accordingly. Develop:

  • A set of  two to four subject lines that perform well (earn opens)
  • two to three reliable, customize-able cold messages to start conversations
  • Three to five template drafts that can be applied depending on the response type

Remember: Sales email templates help you customize (not send) faster. Just like a good call script, strong email templates are personalized, flexible. Good luck!

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.