Sales Email Best Practices: 9 Do’s & Don’ts to Crush the Email Game

September 1, 2016
Sales Email Best Practices: 9 Do’s & Don’ts to Crush the Email Game

Think your sales email is the only one that your prospect got today? Think again!

Chances are your prospect already received a sales email or two today asking for “time to speak” or “time to connect.”

If they don’t know you, and sometimes even if they do know you, there really isn’t much incentive for them to open your email—let alone read it thoroughly and take the time to respond with thoughtful comments.

So, how do you make your lonely sales email stand out in the crowd?

Sales Email Best Practices

Here are a few “do’s” and “don’ts” to help you crush the sales email game!

1. Keep It Short

You’ve heard it before, but it’s one of the most important tips when sending an email: LESS IS MORE!!!

2. Keep It Simple

You know all of those email solicitations you get with loads of details about a topic or a product?  And you click “delete” before you even read through the full content? That’s right… don’t be “that guy” (or gal!).

3. Ask ONE Question

A little secret: if you propose too many questions, your prospect will end up answering none.

So stick with the “keep it simple” model and ask your prospect one question.

4. Skip the BS

The person on the other end knows you don’t really care what the weather is like in their city—so don’t fluff up your sales email.

5. Subject Lines Matter

Remember how I said the prospect is getting hundreds of email per day?

This is where the subject line comes in. Make it recognizable and interesting—something someone would want to click on.

Hubspot has some great tips for email subject lines, BTW!

6. Plan Words Carefully

Be cautious of the words please and thank you.

I know this sounds completely bizarre and probably isn’t in line with what you were taught growing up—but stay with me.

What you have to say has value. What you have to say is important. So, don’t belittle it by apologizing or thanking someone repeatedly for their time or for reading your email.

But of course I’m not suggesting throwing kindness out the window and opting for rude. Perhaps instead of saying thank you for reading this opt for I appreciate your time. Or, it would great if you could get back to me and let me know either way versus please.

This is going to feel very unnatural when you first try it – but just give it a go and see what happens.

7. Have a Purpose

Never—I repeat never—send a sales email just to follow up.

We’ve encountered this time and time again with our clients. They send an email or leave a voicemail just following up on a conversation they’ve had or a proposal they just submitted.

The issue is that unless there is a call-to-action or request, the person reading the email simply reads it and moves on.

For this reason, we recommend developing email templates that follow your own best practices. Be sure to include a purpose for reaching out and clearly state that purpose at the beginning of your email. Another tip is to end your email with a question—it’s the last thing they read so will be thinking about it.

You also might want to consider adding the DEAL email template to your list of best practices!

8. Be Conscious of Time Requests

If you’re asking for time to speak to your prospect, try only asking for 15 or 20 minutes. This feels less invasive than a full 30-minute time slot on their calendar.

If you’re having a good conversation, they aren’t going to kick you off the phone after 15 minutes!

Think about it this way… if you get up from your desk to grab a coffee or take a walk with a colleague for fresh air, you’re likely gone for about 15 or 20 minutes. No big deal.

9. Don’t Be Afraid to Nudge

If you’ve reached out a few times and haven’t heard back, the best thing to do is call them out on it gently.

Say something like:

“I’ve sent a few emails and haven’t heard back from you. I’m going to assume either the timing is not right or you’re just not interested in moving forward at this time. Either way, it would be great if you could get back to me and let me know so I can close the loop on my end.”

Sometimes, if the person has been radio silent for a long time but I’ve had great conversation in the past, I’ll say something to the effect of: “If I haven’t heard back from you by {insert date}, I’m going to close out the opportunity for now.”

Now I know that a few of the above may feel a little strange at first—but trust me! These best practices work! Just don't forget to add them to your Sales PlayBook!

You may not always get the answer you were hoping for, but at a minimum, at least you’ll get a response. Wouldn’t you prefer to close a prospect that’s stale and move on to the next knowing you put your best foot forward?

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  • peter - Reply

    Fantastic advice. Good thinking, keep it simple!!

    • Rebecca Smith - Reply

      Thank you kindly for your comment, Peter!

  • Barry Hall - Reply

    Hi Lindsey,
    great post thanks for sharing it with us, – Barry.

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