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.
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.