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How to Write a Sales Email That Works

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Jan 03, 2018 @ 14:01 PM

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I receive so many unsolicited emails each day that it makes my head spin.  Most of them, like the cold calls I get, are simply horrible.  Delete.  Delete.  Delete.  Junk.  Block.  Unsubscribe.

This week I received the daily double - a cold call with an identical, corresponding email.  The email read like this:

Hi Dave, 

I hope this message finds you well.

We spoke in the past regarding the copier equipment in your office.  At the time you indicated that your existing contract will be ending just over a year from now.  Have you started to look into this yet?  Our company would love a shot to earn your business.

 

I'll go through this line by line and explain what's horrible, what's OK and how I would change it.

 

He began with "Hi Dave."  That's the best part of the email!  Seriously.  It was personalized, but not too much.  I would have cringed if it said Hi Dave Kurlan.  Or Hi Kurlan.  Or Hi DKurlan.  I also hate Good Day, Hello, Dear Dave, Sir, Dear Sir, Good Morning, Good Afternoon and Good Evening.  Greetings, Dear Reader, Dear Subscriber and Mr. Kurlan.

 

Then came, "I hope this message finds you well."  OMG!  That is completely inauthentic and way too typical.  You don't even say that to your friends!   Saying nothing at all is better that saying that.

 

He followed with, "We spoke in the past..."  Unfortunately for him, we didn't speak in the past so that makes him a liar.  Why say that?  And even if we had previously spoken, I wouldn't remember it so in my mind, that would still make him a liar.

 

Next came, "regarding copier equipment in your office."  That's right at the top of my list of exciting things to talk about.  Copier equipment.  Again?  Didn't we just do that for 3 years?  I have people for that.

 

"At the time, you indicated that your existing contract will be ending just over a year from now."  I don't know about you but I don't start looking at cars a year before my car lease ends so that certainly wouldn't be part of the plan for copiers.  It doesn't matter when my lease ends!!!  We could be two years out but if he could help me identify something that my current machines don't provide - that would help my business - I might make the switch today!  One year out might as well be 3 years out.  There isn't a good reason to talk about the timeline for a new lease because we don't yet have a reason to take any action.  He just skipped from reminding me that there is an alphabet all the way to the letter Q for qualifying in one sentence.

 

"Our company would love a shot at your business."  Isn't that a terrific incentive for me to meet with him?  Because he wants a shot at my business?  Geez!  

 

A better approach to the ingredients in this email that follow Hi Dave should be something more like what I wrote below.  I used CEO because he called and emailed me and that is my title.

 

A lot of CEO's tasked their last copier to staff and as a result of them paying more attention to lease terms instead of capabilities, companies can't leverage the capabilities of their machines to generate revenue, improve communications, and move away from paper.

 

It would be cool for me and powerful for you if we could help you with that.  Would you like to talk with me about how we have helped other CEO's?

 

If you must use email as a way to get prospects to raise their hands, wouldn't it make sense to consider your audience, understand what they would find offensive and useful, and take the time to compose a more effective email?

 

Image copyright iStock Photos

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales emails that work, email prospecting

Difference Between a Good Sales Email vs. Bad

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Apr 27, 2015 @ 06:04 AM

Good-Vs.-Bad

Last week I received a request for help via email.  The reader asked if I could recommend a response to an email reply he received (at least he got a reply!).  The thing is, he deserved the reply he received because his introductory email absolutely sucked!  In today's article I'll share what he wrote, the reply he received, and my recommended response.  All of the names and organzations have been changed to protect the innocent.  Ready?  Here's his original introductory email:

 

From: <The Salesperson> [mailto:thesalesperson@thesalespersonsgmailaccount.com]
Sent: Thursday, April 23, 2015 4:15 PM
To: <The Prospect>
Cc: <The Salesperson's Boss>; <The Referral Source>
Subject: <The Referral Source>/Toner from <The Company>

Hi <The Prospect>,

I wanted to connect with you as our company would like to get on your bid list for toner, both black and colored. <The Referral Source>, the CEO of our company and I engaged in a conference call a few months ago. <The Referral Source> and I finally met today and he mentioned you were the go to person for these items.  I believe you have 10 or 11 HP 9050's but we could not find out what model printers have the colored toner.

We believe we can outbid your best competitor on these items and provide you with outstanding service.  We currently service all of <Other University's> printers and several other facilities in RI.  I am extremely fond of <This University> as my son <Salesperson's Son>, graduated from <This University> in 2006. 

I currently have my nephew attending, <Salesperson's Nephew> who is currently a freshman.  I met with him today while I stopped in to meet <The Referral Source>. He has been great with trying to assist us in our endeavor. We would greatly appreciate your assistance.  Kindly provide us with the printer model for the colored toner and any paperwork that needs to be completed to get on <This University's> bid list. In addition, an estimate of your usage monthly.  Attached you'll find a partial list of some of our major customers and our value proposition. I look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,

<The Salesperson>
Business Development Manager
<The Company>

###

<The Salesperson> got this reply one day later:

From: <The Prospect>
Sent: ‎4/‎24/‎2015 12:28 PM
To: <The Salesperson>
Cc: <The Referral Source>;<The Salesperson's Boss>
Subject: RE: <The Referral Source>/ Toner from <The Company>

<The Salesperson>,

We are currently dealing with two suppliers for our Toner and other consumables needs for all printers and some MFPs. Both of those companies are under contract and at this point I think we are all set.  We will keep you in mind if we find they are unable to serve our needs.

<The Prospect>

<The Prospect>, C.P.M., CPSM
Director of Purchasing and Auxiliary Services
<This University>

###

<The Salesperson> sent me an email asking, "Hi Dave, how would you respond to this reply?"

I said, "First, the opening paragraph of the email you sent him positioned you all wrong for this – so you probably deserved to have gotten blown off…"

He did everything wrong!

  • He failed to start with the relationship building facts and went right to business thereby sounding like every other salesperson attempting to get a foot in the door.
  • He didn't ask for a meeting, a call, or a discussion - he asked to be put on their bid list - thereby confirming what <The Prospect> suspected - he was just like all of the other copier salespeople on the street.  And why would you want to be on a bid list?  Wouldn't we just want to get the contract?
  • He positioned his service and company as one that could beat the prices of the competition - thereby confirming that he was not providing any value.
  • He talked about great service and value but didn't back it up instead assigning homework.  I like homework assignments but not until the prospect wants help!

###

That said, I suggested that <The Salesperson> respond with:

 

Thanks for responding to my email, <The Prospect>.

I understand that as the director of purchasing, it’s your job to reject, refuse, rebut, and turn away salespeople that are simply further interruptions to your day.  But I’m shocked at how you treated the father of an alumni, who paid more than $150,000 to attend your fine school, and the uncle of another student in the midst of forking over six figures…

Is that how <Dir of Admissions> or <CEO of the University> would want you to treat outside influencers?

As the director of purchasing, I know you take pride in providing <The University> with the greatest value and efficiencies available and I know we can help you achieve that.

Won’t you reconsider your previous reply and schedule some time to talk?

###

So we'll see what happens when and if <The Salesperson> sends that email and whether or not <The Prospect> responds...

In the meantime, what should his original email have said?  If it were me, I would have called, but since this article is about sending an introductory email, I would have sent this:

Hi <The Prospect>,

<The Referral Source> strongly recommended that we talk.

But first, to provide you with some background and to establish my ties to the school, my son <Salesperson's Son> graduated from <This University> in 2006 and my nephew, <Salesperson's Nephew>, is currently a freshman. 

Anyway, <Referral Source> met with me and the CEO of my company and he thought we could provide some additional value and efficiencies for the school.

Would you be willing to schedule a short phone call to see if there's a fit?

Thanks,

<The Salesperson>

Notice that there was nothing about the product or service, no bid request, no pitch, and nothing about about pricing or homework.  Emails must be concise and provide a reason for the prospect to engage.

It's really not that hard to write a great, simple, effective email.  But most salespeople continue to send the junk we saw here.  You can't make this stuff up!

Topics: Dave Kurlan, scheduling sales appointments, email prospecting, good sales email, effective sales email, introductory email

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About Dave

Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader.  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog earned a medal for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for six consecutive years. This article earned a Bronze Medal for Top Sales Blog post in 2016 and this one for 2017. Read more about Dave.

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