Sales Email Templates: This Is Where You’ll Get Stuck

Nothing (and I mean nothing) works better in your cold email message than immediately proving you are not another lazy, cut-and-paste sales rep. Sales email templates don’t work. Personalized messages that can be scaled do. Nothing screams “impersonal” more than a template email script. Yet most of us (me too) use templates. The trick is to slightly personalize them.

Example of a Failing Cold Sales Email

Below is an actual email from one of my most diligent students. We’ll call him Johan to protect his privacy and change the company names, etc.

Johan sells a way to help businesses with large fleets of vehicles manage them — solving a wide variety of problems and reducing costs. His industry is called vehicle telematics. His target buyers are typically Operations Directors and business owners.

Notice how Johan is doing a lot correctly — following my guidelines. But every word counts. There are reasons why this message is sabotaging him.

Subject: Achieving your sustainability vision — how important is it to reduce CO2?


Recently spoke with Mary Fletcher who recommended getting in contact with you.

Following XYZ Company’s charity and blog … reducing CO2 by 7.5 percent each year is clearly an important company goal. Achieving this while also increasing the efficiency and reducing overall costs of your fleet is also no doubt a key area of focus for you.

ABC Food Service recently implemented an unusual but very effective solution by partnering with MyCompany’s Telematics.

Would you be interested in having a further conversation about this?



Here’s what is sabotaging this email’s subject line.

  • One doesn’t need to open the message to understand what’s inside. There is no curiosity factor.
  • It is the kind of subject line buyers see daily in their inbox. They delete them out of habit.
  • It signals “sales pitch ahead” by mentioning what they need. Instead, pique curiosity.

Here’s what sabotages the message copy:

  • The opening referral is not connected to “the big why” (why the referral is relevant).
  • The second sentence re-states what the buyer already knows. This encourages deletion. It does not prove you’re smart. Instead, move faster and provoke.
  • It uses words like solution and implement. Avoid marketing speak at all costs.
  • The seller sounds desperate. Avoid trying to persuade. Rather than say very effective, just say effective. Don’t write like a marketer.
  • It asks for a conversation. Instead, provoke the reader to desire one. Then ask if they want to hear more about the provocation itself.

The Email Johan Should Have Sent

Do you see the difference between the above email and this?

Hi, Rob.

Mary Fletcher said you would be interested in how ABC Food Service reduced CO2 — just as you aim to (by 7.5%). They used an unusual but effective strategy.

Would you like to hear more about how they did it?



The above email is outrageously short — and provocative. Look at it. It just screams “easy to read and reply to”. It’s so short you don’t need to scroll on your mobile device to read it. See that?

Plus the message:

  • Proves the sender has researched the prospect.
  • Wastes no time connecting Mary’s referral to why this email is happening.
  • Connects the buyer’s future goal with a competitor’s current success.


Brief. Blunt. Provocative.

Notice the call-to-action. We don’t ask for the meeting; instead, we ask if this provocation is valid and relevant.

Want to shock your reader? (Say yes.) Don’t ask for meetings.

Instead, ask for conversations that could lead to meetings, when and if a meeting is right. Put the buyer in control.

Do you see how powerful the difference is?

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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