When it comes to sales prospecting, it's more important than ever that you write concise, effective communication.
According to DMR Business Statistics, we send and receive 121 emails every day — a number I imagine number climbs higher as a person gains more authority and responsibility in an organization.
Considering the sheer volume of emails we send and receive, the communication you send needs to be clear, to-the-point, and relevant. It's not easy to get noticed in someone's email inbox.
Your prospects don't have time to read long, fluffy emails filled with the buzzwords of the day. Make sure your emails don't scream Sales! Be personable, direct, and always put yourself in your prospect's place to convey value. Here are a few things to consider as you write an email to your prospect:
How to Write an Email to a Potential Customer
- Spend some time on the subject line.
- Introduce yourself.
- Consider where they're at in the buyer's journey.
- Hone in on their pains and provide value.
- Push your value proposition.
1. Spend some time on the subject line.
According to Convince&Convert, 35% of email recipients open email based on the subject line alone. The rest consider other factors in addition to the subject line. All of this is to say that your audience will not read your email content unless they first click the subject line.
It should grab them. And compel them to click and read further.
Here's what you should be doing if you want to write good email subject lines:
- Use personalization.
- Pose a compelling question.
- Use concise and action-oriented language.
- Leverage scarcity and exclusivity.
If you want to see some of these tips in action, check out our post about the best sales email subject lines.
2. Introduce yourself.
You'll be more likely to gain traction if they already know, like, and trust you... but everyone's gotta start somewhere, right?
If they've never received communication from you, tell them a bit about yourself in a way that's warm and authentic. In essence, you should be conveying who you are and why they should listen to you. At the same time, it helps to frame it in a way that makes it about them. For example, your email sales introduction could go something like this:
"My name is [Name], and I'm reaching out because..."
The following sentence could easily be a question to open a loop or a short elevator pitch to establish trust and authority.
3. Consider where they're at in the buyer's journey.
There's no point in selling yourself as a provider if they haven't decided on a type of solution yet. This is where your CRM and their behavior on your website can be valuable tools.
If they've opted in to consideration or decision stage content, you can ask them more pointed questions to drive them to a purchasing decision. However, if they've only opted in to awareness stage content, it might help to take a more informational and educational approach because their behavior indicates they're not ready to make a decision yet.
4. Hone in on their pains and provide value.
No one wants to read a sales email. They want help with their challenges. With this in mind, you should be able to establish empathy and rapport with them while providing value.
"I see you host several campus events per year. I know it can be tough to get the students attentive and interested. I work with companies like Facebook and Google to help promote their college recruitment events."
5. Push your value proposition.
If no one else in the space does it like you, say so and provide social proof to back it up. This can be in the form of a testimonial, case study, or interesting statistic. This tactic is even more effective if they can "see themselves" in the example, so curate your social proof to include the customers you've served that are similar to them. This helps them see your customer's success story and think, "If they could do it for them, they can do it for me."
25 Free Sales Email Templates
Fill out the form to access your templates.
Sample Business Introduction Letter to Prospective Clients
Here are several examples that can inspire your own prospecting techniques.
A couple caveats:
- These are generalized to a greater degree than emails we would typically send to apply to all types of companies and all types of categories. (I've given you some examples of different language you can use as a guide.)
- You can certainly get more creative than the email examples below, but be careful. That can backfire if you get too cutesy or familiar.
Landing the First Meeting: Introduction Email to Potential Clients
This email would be used as an initial introduction to your company. The key is immediately establishing your expertise, as well as asking for the meeting fairly early.
[Your name] with [your company]. We're a Y company that specializes in [choose either your primary vertical or a vertical you have experience in] to [insert a typical challenge you help clients face].
I'm wondering if you might be open to an initial conversation to gauge a fit?
We've worked with companies like [insert 2-3 clients here relative to the vertical] to [insert a typical client goal].
If you have a minute or two to learn more about us, you can visit us here at [site]. If I don't hear from you, I will reach out to you via phone later in the week.
Landing the First Meeting: Follow-Up Email
This would be used as a follow up to the above email (either the next day or the following week), and I would recommend the subject line: "Sorry I Missed You." We often see 30% to 40% open rates with this email. You'll also want to introduce a case study at this point.
Quickly following up on my email from yesterday. I tried to call you, but was unable to connect. Hoping to set up a call to introduce my company, [company name]. Do you have 30 minutes anytime early next week that would work?
While I have you, I thought you might find some interest in our work with [client]. We helped them [achieve goal] resulting in [ideally you have a % to use here, but any meaningful result will suffice]. You can read the whole story here: [Provide case study link.]
As a reminder, we're a Y company, expert (or specializing) in the X category. We've worked with [name 2-3 clients], and many others to [achieve goal].
Meeting Follow-Up Email
Let's say you met with the prospective client and you did an initial discovery call to assess their needs and goals. With longer-term sales cycles, you won't close a deal after that initial meeting, so you should still keep them engaged by moving to the next step.
One of the best ways to get them to open your meeting follow-up email is by piquing their interest with a subject line like, "This may help with [pain point they mentioned]" or "Here's that information you requested." Then, you can request to move the conversation forward with the template below:
Thanks for taking the time to meet with me the other day. I haven't been able to stop thinking about [personal detail from the conversation].
Anyway, based on our discussion about [pain point or business challenge], we can definitely help you [what they hope to achieve]. I spoke with the team, and they provided me with this extra info:
[Additional resources, social proof, and/or information the client requested]
Would you be able to hop on a call sometime this week to discuss more?
Sales Proposal Email to Client
Consider this email a digital elevator pitch. You want to reference the different elements central to a conventional sales pitch: problem, value statement, "how you do it," proof points, customer stories, and an engaging question.
This is the most hard sales-oriented email your going to send in this sentence. Make it personal but authoritative. Really show that your product or service can suit their specific needs and goals.
As I've gotten to know [their company] better, I've come to believe that our aligns well with both your company's immediate needs and ultimate goals.
We can offer [types of solutions] that will allow you to solve [specific problems they're facing]. We use different tactics than our competitors, including [differentiators from other companies in your space].
We've consistently been recognized for our exceptional outcomes and service, like [specific accomplishments you can reference]. We were able to help one of our customers [reference a specific, relevant customer story].
Given how well our [product or service] suits your needs, I think we could do some great work together.
[Engaging question to wrap things up]?
Post-Proposal Send: Follow-Up Email
This one should be used sparingly and only if your prospect has gone dark. This email typically gets a response as it gently points out to your prospect that they've gone dark, but you've stuck with them.
It's simple but effective, and it continues to provide the prospect with opportunities to learn about your company, read your thought leadership, and be reminded of your expertise.
Typically, the prospect's response is apologetic and appreciative. And even if you don't get the business at this point, at least you'll know if you can move on or keep this prospect on your radar.
You'll typically want to use the subject line, "[Company Name] — Still Interested?"
Hope you had a good weekend (been well, etc.*).
Not sure if you've been really slammed or you've decided to hold off for now, but I wanted to see if you might have any feedback on our proposal?
Certainly, no rush on our end — I don't want to become a pest if you'd prefer I hold off on contact.
I also thought you might have some interest in a recent post on [a post specific to the prospect's category, or if you don't have one, a category-specific, third-party article]. You can read it here: [link].
Look forward to hearing from you.
*I would never lead with "Hope you've been well/had a good weekend" unless you've actually spoken with the person.
Last-Try Send: Follow-Up Email
It's important to follow up with prospects more than once — but it's equally important to know when to throw in the towel. At a certain point, you're wasting their time and detracting from your time spend on prospects who are actually ready to close.
This email should only be used when you can't spend any more time chasing a prospect and need to either push them to action or close the books on them — for now.
I've tried to reach out a few times now without a reply. Usually when this happens, it means my offer is not a priority right now. Is it safe for me to assume that's the case here?
If it is, I won't bother you anymore. If you'd rather I follow up in a month or two when you have more bandwidth, I'm happy to do that as well.
Thanks for your time.
Sample Email to Approach New Client
Here's a sample email you can use to approach a new client. It's based off the first, introduction email template.
Email templates like the one above reduce the amount of time I spend doing admin while helping me connect with uber-busy buyers. I hope they'll do the same for you. Introduce them into your email cadence and see what kind of a difference they make.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in March 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
Originally published Jan 14, 2021 12:45:00 PM, updated January 14 2021