On a recent virtual selling webinar we delivered one of the attendees asked “Do you have any suggestions on how to cut through the high-volume message clutter and information overload suffered by potential prospects?” Rather than limit my answer just to that individual, I thought I would share it with you too. So here are six simple tips to make your emails more effective.
Have a good reason to contact them
Far too many sales people disrespect their sales prospects by leveraging the power of mass communication technology to spam those sales prospects with their irrelevant information or opportunities. Don’t do that.
First, engage in a bit of social reconnaissance to make sure that you understand what’s going on in your sales prospects life, category, industry, and company. This will ensure that the message you send them is actually relevant and worthy of their time.
Second, less is more. Nobody has time to read War & Peace. Get to the point. Provide a simple next step they can perform to indicate their interest in gaining additional information. And then stop writing.
Third, understand that if you screw this one up you’re dead to them. You only get one opportunity to make them believe that you have the right to command their attention via email. And that’s probably the biggest mistake salespeople are making today. In an effort to be efficient and reach as many sales prospects as quickly as possible, salespeople are not taking the time to make an amazing first impression on their sales prospects.
Write a compelling subject line
Ask yourself, “Is this a must open subject line?”
If it’s not, then rewrite it.
But I will give you this warning, don’t click bait or disappoint. Don’t over-promise something in that subject line or suggest that you can provide something you cannot in the body of the email. That will just lead to disappointment on the part of your sales prospect either now or in the future when you follow up with that lackluster additional information or broken promises.
Make it short
Remember, your email is an unplanned interruption in your sales prospect’s day. So get to the point. Pay off that great subject line with a relevant and impactful offer of value.
Don’t feel the need to give them the entire sales pitch or all the information. Instead, give them just enough information to make a simple decision:
Is this communication worthy of a response?
Because that is your goal with the initial email. You’re not trying to make a sale. You’re trying to start a conversation. A conversation that if handled correctly, will one day convert to a customer or client.
Make it clear
Ruthlessly edit the body copy of your email. Avoid slang. Replace 50-cent words with 5-cent words. Write like you’re talking to a five-year-old.
And here’s a pro-tip:
Avoid using pronouns whenever possible. Pronouns require the reader to scan the context to understand what the pronoun is referencing. That’s added work on the part of the reader. So remove that work (did you see what I did there?) by using proper nouns and clear concise language.
And lastly, before you hit send re-read the email and ask yourself if a person who knows nothing about the industry, the idea, the product, or the category would understand the value proposition you are suggesting.
If not, rewrite.
Format your email for skimming
Highlighting, bolding, italics, and underlining, are your friends. Use these text formatting tools to help a busy sales prospect scan your email to determine whether or not they should respond now or just save to read later.
Before you hit send, look at your email as though it was a tweet. See the highlighted words and phrases as the body copy of that tweet.
Then ask yourself: If my sales prospect only looks at the highlighted text in combination with the subject line, is my value proposition still clear? If it is, send. If it isn’t, rewrite.
Send emails during off hours
We are all facing email overload. Which means that most of us are cleaning out in-boxes and triaging email after hours, before hours and on weekends. Consider sending your messages during these time periods.
Your prospect is potentially in email clean out mode, thus they’re already primed to process an inbound message. Thus, if you can write an effective email, as we’ve just discussed, you can potentially stand a better chance breaking through that clutter and getting that all-important response.