When it comes to sales prospecting, it’s more important than ever that you write concise, effective communication.
According to Statista, we’re expected to send and receive over 333 billion emails daily by the end of 2022 — meaning it’s not easy to get noticed in someone’s email inbox.
Even if you do get your prospect’s attention, you can’t expect them to read your long, fluffy emails filled with the buzzwords of the day when they have many other emails to open. As such, it’s crucial to make your communication clear, to the point, and relevant.
Here are a few things to consider as you write an email that’d help you with sales prospecting.
1. Spend some time on the subject line.
According to Convince&Convert, 35% of email recipients open an 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.
Check out our post about the best sales email subject lines if you want to see some of these tips in action.
2. Introduce yourself.
You’ll be more likely to gain traction if they already know, like, and trust you. But everyone has to 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’s important to make 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 into consideration or decision stage content, you can ask them more pointed questions to drive them to a purchasing decision. However, suppose they’ve only opted into awareness stage content. In that case, 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. Instead, they want help with their challenges. With this in mind, you should 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 exciting 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.”
Sample Business Introduction Letter to Prospective Clients
Here are several examples that can inspire your own prospecting techniques.
A couple of caveats:
- These are generalized to a greater degree than emails we would typically send; they apply to all types of companies and categories. (I’ve given you some examples of different languages 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 and asking for the meeting reasonably early.
[Your name] with [your company]. We’re a Y company specializing 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.
Why It Works
This email works because it’s direct and straight to the point. The second paragraph tells them why you’ll be valuable to them, which is great because most people don’t have time to go through a long essay.
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. I was 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].
Why It Works
The subject line is intriguing and will likely lead them to open the email. Using a case study offers social proof, which gets them thinking about how you can also help them like you helped others.
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. Of course, 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 some time this week to discuss more?
Why It Works
It works because it conveys personal interest in them — and people love the attention. Highlighting the pain point shows you’re attentive to their needs and will likely cement your place as the go-to solution.
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 hardest sales-oriented email you will send in this series. 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 services align well with your company’s immediate needs and ultimate goals.
We can offer [types of solutions] to 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]. For example, 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]?
Why It Works
This is a hard-hitting, impactful email that provides extra information about your company and further cements your authority. You’re bringing out the big guns now. You tell them what their problem is and waste no time proffering a solution.
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.
Why It Works
The subject line “Still Interested” will likely get the attention of even the busiest of managers. While it appears that you won’t be closing the deal, dropping helpful information for free will keep you in their good books. If you don’t close a deal right now, you might be at the top of the list next time.
Last-Try Send: Follow-Up Email
It’s essential to follow up with prospects more than once, but knowing when to throw in the towel is equally important. At a certain point, you’re wasting their time and detracting from your time spent 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.
Why It Works
If the prospect has been vague about closing the deal, this email works because it demands a direct answer. Short, straight-to-the-point, and polite, it’ll likely get a response from the prospective client, even if it’s a no.
Sample Email to Approach New Client
Here’s a sample email you can use to approach a new client. It’s based on 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.
Why It Works
It works because it directs their attention to your value proposition early on, and by the end of the email, the client would likely have decided whether they need you or not.
Use Sales Email Templates to Nurture Leads
Even though your prospects might have crowded inboxes, they still take the time out to read and respond to emails that address their pain points and needs.
The sales email templates in the post offer you a starting point for creating these types of valuable emails.
Remember that many other people would be reading this guide, so don’t just copy and paste this template. Instead, model it after your business and prospect’s needs.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in October 2015 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.