- a template you found while Googling?
- a subject line starting with RE:?
- messages with words like hope, love & “looking forward to” in them?
- follow-ups using words like “bubble up” or “fall through the cracks”?
- phony complements, automated or artificial intelligence-driven messages?
- messages starting with questions biased to answers you’re looking for?
- PDF attachments or videos?
Any of these look familiar? Most of these tactics are failing sellers… or will fail you soon. Simply because they’re not creative.
They lack originality. These tactics scream lazy, un-researched, marketing-style spam.
“Don’t turn your sales reps into mini marketers, please. Sales is context. Sales has to put context around the content,” says sales trainer John Barrows.
“If you’re not you’re no different than marketing … your template email is crap.”
Use phrases like, “Would you like to know more or do you have any questions for us?” at end of your messages.
Tricky or Burnt-out Subject Lines
Cute, tricky or over-used subject lines are the leading cause of sales email failure. Your subject line will fail to provoke curiosity (get opened) if you:
- try to dupe your reader into opening like: “RE: Did you see this?”
- use more than five words
- specify what is inside your email
- use an obvious subject line that pops into your head
Some of my students do have success tricking clients into opening. I discourage it. Dishonesty is never worthwhile — even if it works near-term.
For example, one student selling trade show services to marketers uses “the artwork” in his cold email subject line… to dupe customers into thinking his message is project-related. It gets him opened. But for how long and at what long-term cost to his (and his company’s) reputation?
Sellers with the strongest email open rates are using 2-3 words maximum. This exploits the nature of a cold email subject line: It should be provocative and vague.
Beware of words that telegraph what you want to talk about with your prospect. Don’t let on to the message inside the email. If you do it will most likely be deleted or put-off until later (a.k.a. never).
Never, ever, ever use an email subject line that just popped into your head. Any idea how many other people like you are doing this? The result is dozens of inbound emails coming at your prospects—most being spammy and looking precisely the same.
Subject lines get burnt-out fast. So fast!
Using weak subject lines trains customers to delete your message.
All the Wrong Words
Are you writing introductions like this?
Out of respect for your time, I thought an email might be less disruptive than an unannounced phone call. I was hoping to offer you qualified leads for your sales team to close.”
I’m a co-founder at XYZ Company. We’re a startup developing a new technology to debug large scale production environments …”
“I wanted to find out if you have any design needs at ____ [insert target company]. We can increase sales, engagement, conversions and more through our design strategies. Interested? Email me back. I’d love to chat.”
As a sales coach I see these lazy, failing email messages by the dozens each week.
Here’s the problem: Templates you’ve found on Google. Guess what … everyone has Google. Billions of people. Most sellers are too lazy to get creative. Hence, they use email templates others (falsely) claim work.