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.

The Most Effective Webinar Follow-up Email

“Was it helpful?”

That’s what your webinar should have been. Helpful in an actionable way. If it wasn’t? Sales representatives should gather intelligence and report their findings to the marketing department.

Thus, “Was it helpful?” is a very effective subject line when sending your webinar follow-up email message — I use it with my own business and clients successfully. Try it.

Will Slack Replace Email?“Was it helpful?”

That’s what your webinar should have been. Helpful in an actionable way. If it wasn’t? Sales representatives should gather intelligence and report their findings to the marketing department.

Thus, “Was it helpful?” is a very effective subject line when sending your webinar follow-up email message — I use it with my own business and clients successfully. Try it for yourself.

“I used this technique on a webinar follow-up yesterday and WOW, that really worked,” says Linda Simonsen of DigitalEd.

“I have never got such quick feedback (less than one hour).”

Following up With Attendees

“Did the   [insert title]    class last week help you   [insert goal of your customer]  ?”

Boom. Done. That’s your message. Nothing else.

No long-winded yackity-yack reminding the attendee about content of the webinar. You know they attended, now get to the point. They’re on a mobile device, pressed for time. Your buyers are deleting, deleting, deleting.

Stop them. Provoke them.

Give your customer a reason to hit reply and tell you — yes or no. It was helpful or it was not. In most cases they’ll even tell you why.

And they’ll tell you that crucial why because you asked in a way that provoked a response. Your approach style was brief, blunt and right to the point. In fact, your email really stood out because it was so darned short!

Why it works

Because it’s atypical. It’s not an awful template!

The best inbound lead follow up messages avoid standard templates found on Google.

This tactic helps you get in the discussion with prospects about their world, objectives, pains, fears and pressures. This approach helps them develop and act on the urge to hit reply and start the conversation.

Additionally, avoid calling your webinar a webinar. Make it a class, make it actionable. Classes have homework, did your webinar? Or was it typical — overloading attendees with information, overwhelming them to the point of preventing them from taking action on any of it?

What About Non-Attendees?

Since most webinars offer video replays, the same question applies. “Was it helpful?” Within the copy of your message simply adjust to include proper context. Segment your list and mail non-attendees a slightly different, equally provocative, message.

“Did the video replay of last week’s   [insert title]   class help you   [insert goal of your customer]  ?”

Ask the Question, Bluntly

Even if the goal of your webinar class is to shift a mindset, ask the question.

“Did the content marketing class help you see the challenge of empowering sellers with content differently … in a way you can act on?”

Yes or no.

The bluntness of this approach is why it works. Being direct (and brief!) gives customers freedom to share candid thoughts.

Rather than responding how customers typically do — hitting the delete button — they hit reply and let you know, quickly. That is what unsolicited email demands.

Being effective requires you to use short bursts of communications.