Here’s an email I got the other day:
I'm sorry to trouble you.
Would you be so kind to tell me who is responsible for marketing competitive intelligence and how I might get in touch with them?
I wish I could say that was the only time I’ve gotten such a message. But it’s not. I get three to five of these prospecting emails a day. It must be the template du jour.
Now, I understand from the seller’s perspective that this sort of email makes their job much easier. It takes almost no effort and, when successful, it will point them to a decision maker. I guess if you have a zillion prospects, and this is part of your numbers game, it makes sense.
But I wonder, do these sellers ever stop and think how these emails irritate prospects who hit "delete"?
Here’s my view. I am a fairly typical buyer. And like most, I am crazy busy. Now I understand why, as the seller, you are asking me to do your job for you. But honestly, what is in it for me -- WIIFM?
You want me to offer up name, email address, or phone number on a silver platter. What else do you need? After all, I have nothing but time on my hands, here.
The real message you’re sending is that you are completely uninterested in me and my business. You’ve articulated that by failing to spend two minutes on my website or social profiles to learn anything about me or how you could help me build a better business.
Let’s be clear. There’s a difference between spam and genuinely asking for a referral. This is the former.
Here’s another recent email that went awry:
My company is a world leader in [industry]. I’m asking you for 5 minutes of your time so I can see if our product can help make your business better. I’m going to email you with a couple times for a call. Keep an eye open for the next email from me.
So you’ve only talked about yourself, you asked for some of my time, and then you used an email to instruct me to “keep an eye open” for another email? I don’t think so.
Salespeople, if you’re sending these sorts of terrible prospecting emails, I have a request: Stop and think. If you are selling a commodity product with a huge market and you can afford to spray and pray, go for it. If not, you are doing yourself, your buyers, and the marketplace a disservice.
The good news is it’s not hard to write a great email template. In my opinion, a response-worthy sales email has three main sections:
- Opening. State your ultimate value statement clearly and concisely. All you need to do here is arouse curiosity.
- Customization. Research your prospect and write a sentence that’s specifically about them or their company. “I read a press release that you added a west coast office;” “I enjoyed your tweet about;” “I saw that your company is currently;” etc.
- Call-to-action. Insert a request. Examples: “Are you interested in doing a quick brainstorming session?” “Have you seen our most recent research on X?” etc.
The email can literally be three sentences. Open, customize, call to action. Direct, interesting, and requests a response.
I understand that salespeople are pressed for time, but we need to be more interesting to rise above the noise. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Just an extra minute or two per message is all it takes to make a cold email a warm one. And I guarantee your extra effort will pay dividends -- in higher response rates and closed deals.