Every call-to-action matters. Ask for the right things in the right way, and your relationships with prospects will grow stronger over time. Ask for the wrongs things in the wrong way, and they’ll stall -- or even go nowhere at all.

To make sure you’re not sabotaging your emails, take a look at the CTAs you should never use (and which ones to try instead).

1) The Non-Call-to-Action: “Hope to speak with you soon”

The ending is probably the most important real estate in your email. A strong and convincing ending is likelier to prompt a quick, positive response from your prospect than a vague or generic one.

Don’t waste this space with non-CTAs like “Looking forward to hearing from you” or “Thank you in advance.” Instead, take outreach expert Heather R Morgan’s advice and end your email with a CTA that is:

  • Posed as a question
  • Thoughtful and simple
  • Hard to say no to
  • Value-backed 

Get more expert advice from Heather R Morgan from her video course: How to Write Seductive Sales Emails 

Here are a few examples of simple, valuable, and reasonable CTAs that Heather swears by:

  • “When would you be available for a short call so I can learn a bit more about [Company Name]’s processes and share my tips with you?”
  • “When would you have 20 minutes so I can share a few other warning signs your company can look for to prevent [problem]?”
  • “Would you like to see if our solution could also save you $ like it did for [Client X]?

2) The Unfocused Call-to-Action: “Check out this [link to ebook] or visit [this website] to learn more about our solutions. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me at [phone number].”

You can only ask so much from someone in one email.

If you’re trying to be helpful and accommodating, it’s easy to fall into this trap and give the reader several options: Download a brochure, book a meeting, visit the website, etc. But when it comes to making decisions, having fewer choices is actually better.

The more options you present, the less likelier your prospect is to take even one -- a psychological phenomenon known as the paradox of choice.

This example would have closed on a stronger note with one simple CTA that didn’t require much thought for the prospect to act on.

Here are a few alternatives you might want to try from Aaron Ross, author of Predictable Revenue:

  • “What are the next steps on your end?”
  • “What did you think of [X] I sent over?”
  • “Please let me know by [date + 3 days] if you are ready to [X]”

3) The Vague Call-to-Action: “Feel free to reach out if you have any questions.”

This closing line is definitely an improvement from the example with too many CTAs, but it’s actually not forceful enough. It doesn’t compel the reader to respond immediately.

If you’re using this type of ending in your emails, put yourself in your prospect’s shoes: How much value is there in coming back with a question? How much risk is there in waiting to respond?

Make your CTAs specific and show your prospect the benefit of getting back to you as soon as possible.

Here are a few examples:

  • “Would you be available for a 10-minute call next week? I would love to learn more about your goals for [next quarter, next year] and see if our solution can help you [save time, money, resources], like it did for [Client X].”
  • “Is [goal, e.g. making your sales team more productive] something you’re focusing on in the next [year, quarter etc.]?”
  • “When would you have 15 minutes so I can learn more about your process, KPIs, focus in 2018, etc.] and share my tips with you?”

4) The Pushy and Desperate Call-to-Action: “Can we hop on a call tomorrow so I can show you what our solution can do?”

In sales, it’s hard to not to rush things. This could be a great CTA -- if the prospect is ready for a demo.

But most often than not, it’s used in an outreach email. This is a warning the salesperson is desperate and will probably try to forcefully sell their product or solution.

The first email’s CTA should be phrased as a simple yes or no question.

Here are a few interesting questions you can use as email closing lines:

  • “Is this something [Company name] would like to focus on in 2018?”
  • “Is it currently a priority to improve customer wait time?
  • “Did the ebook you downloaded help you with {problem X]?”

5) The Jargon and Buzzword-Filled Call-to-Action: “Would you be available for a 30-minute call so I can show you how our SaaS tool can help you increase LTV by 30% while decreasing CAC by 40%?”

Crickets.

If you’re anything like me, you’re probably working in an industry that’s full of acronyms and buzzwords.

These words might help us speak a common language with our peers. But don’t assume your prospects know what you’re talking about. Use words they’re not familiar with, and they’ll not only be confused -- they’ll also feel dumb. And that doesn’t bode well for the deal.

Clear, universally understood language will deliver your message more effectively. If you’re not sure what counts as jargon, ask yourself, “Would my [neighbor, parents or best friend] understand what I’m talking about?” If the answer is “no,” you need to simplify.

Here’s how you could rewrite the example above:

  • Instead of “decreasing CAC”: “ reduce the costs of acquiring new customers”
  • Instead of “increasing LTV”: “ “Make more money per customer”

Are you also looking for more ways to improve your emails? Check out Heather R Morgan’s video lessons on how to write seductive sales emails.

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Originally published Dec 1, 2017 7:30:00 AM, updated January 23 2018

Topics:

Sales Email Mistakes