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

Steve,

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.

Thanks,
Jeff

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!

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.

resending emailNothing (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.

So Why Isn’t It Working?

Why is your carefully-crafted, brief-blunt-and-basic, “first touch” cold email message not earning response from prospects?

You are probably:

  • Researching companies and contacts on LinkedIn.
  • Focusing the message on the buyer’s goal or problem, not your solution.
  • Piquing interest with a case example that adds value.
  • Provoking prospects to talk about themselves — not about buying (yet).
  • Using referrals when possible to warm the prospect up.

So what gives?

Full stop. I’m not talking about lazy forms of personalization — the ones that seem personalized to you. You know exactly what I’m talking about: broad observations that apply to groups of prospects. They scale nicely.

But that’s why they don’t work.

Your personalization must be:

  1. Specific: Make an observation about the company or prospect that shows you aren’t just spamming buyers.
  2. Researched: Research takes time. Taking time to research is rare. Spamming is common.

When real personalization is applied, your email screams “this isn’t spam, I did my homework on you” to the reader. Literally.

3 Reasons Your Value-Added Email Doesn’t Work

It’s likely your message (at quick glance) looks like what’s already flowing into your buyers’ inboxes. And these messages are mainly from your competitors. You’re blending in, from subject line to first sentence and onward.

Your personalized email still looks too much like what prospects habitually delete.

And that is a shame. You deserve better.

Here are three of the most common problems I see plaguing my seller students:

  1. Subject line is too specific, and common. It reveals too much about the contents.
  2. Subject and message are screaming, “canned/impersonal sales pitch ahead!”
  3. Your value-added is not provocative and your message is still not brief enough.

If your message requires scrolling on a mobile device, it’s still too long. Chew it down even more. I know … crazy, right? Try it.

If your subject line is too specific, prospects will not be curious enough to open the message. Likewise, if it reads like 90 percent of the inbound emails from your competitors do — you’re sunk!

The Big Problem With Sales Email Templates  

Spending time doing cold email outreach to new prospects? Trying to reignite smoldering discussions with existing customers? Then you’re probably using voicemail (the phone), LinkedIn’s InMail and email. Sales email templates are a big part of day-to-day life. The problem is they don’t work.

Nothing screams “impersonal” more than a templated email. Yet most sellers use templates.

EmailSpending time doing cold email outreach to new prospects? Trying to reignite smoldering discussions with existing customers? Then you’re probably using voicemail (the phone), LinkedIn’s InMail and email. Sales email templates are a big part of day-to-day life. The problem is they don’t work.

Nothing screams “impersonal” more than a templated email. Yet most sellers use templates.

Stop Using Templates, Now

Templates don’t work. Now, I know you know this. But you still use ’em. So allow me to issue you permission to stop. Right now — today.

Think about the last templated message you received. How quickly did you delete it? More importantly, how easy was it for you to spot?

Was it the subject line — the one that told you precisely what was inside the message? (A.K.A. a terrible pitch.)

Or did the subject line trick you into opening it — only to earn your immediate deletion because the first line was offensive?

After years of helping folks write sales email letters, I can tell you why this happens. The reason sales email templates rarely work is simple: Most use the same, “telling” communications format.

Are Your Emails Asking Questions?

One common reason potential buyers delete cold email templates is because they start with a question that causes them to roll their eyes: the kind that signals “terrible pitch ahead.” Most sales email templates rely on a lazy, transparent formula. They sabotage you.

Providing that these kinds of emails do get opened, the contents usually:

  • Ask a question known to be on the buyers’ mind.
  • Take longer than 30 seconds to read.
  • Present a solution, rather than provoking the buyer to hit reply and talk about their problem.

These are just a few characteristics. There are a half-dozen more. Today, I want to focus on the root cause of your cold email being deleted:

That silly question you are asking.

The one you are asking to try to appear relevant. Trouble is it’s a dead give-away. It’s lazy, and off the same cookie sheet as 95 percent of competitor emails pouring into your buyers’ inbox.

For example, one of my students was using, “Did you know that printing is typically the third highest office expense behind payroll and rent?” He sells managed print services to CEOs, COOs and IT managers at small and mid-sized businesses.

Opening with a question is always dangerous. If it is perceived as a “leading question”, you’re deleted. Because if your question feels like a setup to a sales pitch the message will fail to provoke response.

The prospect will think, “I know why you’re asking … ” — then roll his eyes and hit delete. You will have signaled the “sales pitch ahead” alarm, sabotaging your provocation.

If the only obvious answer to your question is “yes” or “no”, it may risk insulting the buyers’ intelligence.

“Did you know printing is expensive?” is an obvious yes.

This approach is risky as compared to a question that forces the buyer to introspect on a more complicated issue.

How to Write a LinkedIn InMail (Or Any Email) That Gets Clients Talking

Are you using LinkedIn for sales prospecting and not getting enough discussion going? You’re not alone. The problem with most LinkedIn InMail templates is they don’t work. Worse, templates I see being passed around the Web actually sabotage B-to-B sellers needing to get from connection to conversation! Here is a fast, painless way to go beyond connecting to prospects—to get more sales-focused conversations going when using InMail, Group email or regular, prospecting focused email messages.

Are you using LinkedIn for sales prospecting and not getting enough discussion going? You’re not alone. The problem with most LinkedIn InMail templates is they don’t work. Worse, templates I see being passed around the Web actually sabotage B-to-B sellers needing to get from connection to conversation!

Here is a fast, painless way to go beyond connecting to prospects—to get more sales-focused conversations going when using InMail, Group email or regular, prospecting focused email messages.

Why Your Current Templates Are Underperforming
The problem with most LinkedIn InMail templates is they subconsciously communicate “me-me-me” to the recipient. Your templates may also fail to give prospects a compelling reason to talk with you after clicking “accept.”

Some email templates I’m seeing “out there online” accidentally help prospects decide to ignore the message. Ouch!

Quick Fix: Nix the “I”s
“I” this and “I” that. It’s such a turn-off when dating. It’s even more so with email.

Using a bunch of “I”s seems like an obvious no-no. Yet, you’ll find “I”s all over the place—in LinkedIn templates that struggle to (or claim to be) successful.

Be sure to:

  • Avoid starting your message with the word “I” … and …
  • when done crafting an email or LinkedIn InMail template go back and see if you can pluck “I”s out of it.

You can do this right now with your underperforming message templates.

How to Improve Your Templates
The below connection request InMail example is being passed around the Web as a “best practice,” but it’s a sure-fire way to get ignored. Watch out!

Hi _________ (first name),

As a member of the _________ (LinkedIn group) group, I wanted to introduce myself. I’m _______________(title or background) with _______________ (company) and wanted to connect with area professionals. If you are not open to connecting, please ignore this invite. Thanks!

This template is terribly self-centered. Topping-it-off, it invites the prospect to ignore us! Woah.

Being polite is a great idea. But do yourself a favor. Be polite without inviting someone to ignore you!

Let’s apply our new habit: Tallying-up the “I”s before we press send. Then, decreasing the “I”s to increase response and generate focused conversations more effectively.

Let’s rewrite the above LinkedIn InMail example as:

Hi _________ (first name),

We both participate in the ____________ group and should know each other because ____________ (insert specific, mutual benefit). How can my network of colleagues help advance your ambitions or bring you closer to goals? Thanks for considering the connection. I look forward to helping and hearing from you.

This improved version serves you better by:

  1. Emphasizing the other person by removing most of the “I”s.
  2. Giving the recipient a reason to act. You’re clearly stating “the WHY.”
  3. “Bringing to life” an appealing idea: making your LinkedIn network available to advance their agenda.
  4. Creating interest. By asking a question we compel the recipient to consider answering. By asking the question we encourage the thought, “gee, how can this person’s network serve me right now?”
  5. Being polite without inviting deletion and increasing response.

Would you like to see more effective LinkedIn InMail examples like this? Shoot me an email or get in touch in comments and I’ll be happy to share more.

Exploit What You Already Know Works
Believe it or not, your chances of clients responding increases when saying, “thanks for considering.” Because this affirms the prospect’s right to choose.

This technique is a B-to-B copywriter’s secret weapon.

It’s highly successful because it disarms the other person. You are no longer a pushy person; instead, a breath of fresh air!

Figuring out how to use LinkedIn to find clients can be a real chore. That’s why successful social sellers use a proven, effective system. Remember, keep the faith. Your success will increase. Start by removing all those “I”s, ask for a decision to be made and work at creating irresistible curiosity in your words.

Now you have a better way to get prospects so curious they cannot resist accepting your connection request and asking deeper, probing questions. Let me know how it’s working for you ok?