Dave Kurlan's 10 Rules for Effective Sales Emails That Connect With New Prospects

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Sun, Mar 10, 2019 @ 17:03 PM

emails-1

They aren't personal, they aren't written well, their messages are identical, you want to delete them and I know  you get these emails too.  I had already decided to save some of these worthless emails for an upcoming article when Keenan posted this rant on LinkedIn.  After you read his rant and related comments, please return to my article for a short tutorial on what's wrong with these emails and how to make them stickier.

I didn't include emails that were newsletters, promotions, or advertisements and focused only on the thirteen emails that were meant to appear as if they were sent only to me.  Of course they weren't sent only to me. Some were undoubtedly created/sent using artificial intelligence and if artificial is another word for fake, then some of those emails were absolutely artificial in their intelligence!  In the image below you can read some of the introductions, subject lines, calls to action, highlights and lowlights of these emails.  Below that you can read their offerings, my 10 Rules for sending sales emails  and an example of what a good email would look like.  If your desktop, laptop or tablet supports zooming, you might want to try that to read the contents of the following table:

emails

Their Offerings:

  • 4 for Lead generation /appointment setting - a great example of poor targeting
  • 1 for Receiving Fees for Referrals
  • 2 for Magazine Recognition - an example of good targeting with an attempt to appeal to my ego.  Entrepreneur of the Year and 10 Best Performing Sales Management Solution Providers.  Undoubtedly Pay to Play or they would have called.
  • 1 for Software - mediocre targeting
  • 1 for  Outsourced Software Engineers -  mediocre targeting
  • 1  for Commercial Office Leasing - excellent targeting
  • 1 for Investment Opportunity - poor targeting
  • 1 for List of SHRM members - decent targeting
  • 1  for Candidate sourcing automation - mediocre targeting

Rule #1 - Target and Qualify Each Contact!  Do you have any idea how many cold emails I get offering to help me grow sales?  Really?

Rule #2 - Begin Your Email with Hi or it They Won't Read it

Rule #3 - Avoid Inauthentic Comments.  If I don't know you then why would I care if you hope I am well?

Rule #4 - Don't Sell Your Product or Service.  You're only attempting to provide them with a reason to connect.  If you provide your features and benefits in the email they won't have a reason to connect.

Rule #5 - Keep it short and Simple!  I'm not going to read 14 paragraphs!

Rule #6 - Send 50 Qualified, Personal Emails Instead of 5,000 Generic emails

Rule #7 - Don't Give Your Prospect a Job! When you ask them to call you that's exactly what you are doing.

Rule #8 - Your Subject Line Can Not Look/Sound Like Spam

Rule #9 - Your Email Must be Believable!  Are you really going to grow my business because you combine email, social media, outbound, and inbound calling?  Maybe you can save me time but don't promise something you can't control, like whether those meetings you claim to schedule will convert.

Rule #10 - Your Email Should Read Like an Email to a Friend or Customer

Putting it All Together.

You've seen the lowlights of the absolute crap that passes for email introductions and read my 10 rules.  If I were going to write a first email to a targeted (it would be the right person in the company), qualified (they would definitely use what I sell) suspect, I would want to introduce myself, offer my positioning statement (the problem I solve that they probably have), provide a couple of examples, ask if they are experiencing any of those problems, and whether they would like any help.  For example, if I wanted to target the CEO of a SaaS company, I would write the  following.  The Italic font is just to differentiate the example from the rest of my article. Don't send the email with italics!

Hi Bob,

I've helped a few other CEO's in the SaaS world who were frustrated over all of the inaccurate revenue forecasts they kept getting. 

When I first spoke with other SaaS CEO's, the two biggest problems they used to have were all of the opportunities that weren't closing, and lack of new opportunities to replace those that didn't close.

You may not have these frustrations but if you do, and would like to take a few minutes to discuss whether or not I can help, just reply to this email with something as simple as "OK" and I'll make it easy to schedule a call.

Looking forward to talking with you.

Dave Kurlan
CEO
Objective Management Group

It's still a cold email but it's a million times better than all of the pitiful emails that most of us receive each day. I would prefer that salespeople use the phone for a cold reach out but if it's a choice between a cold email or nothing, I'll take the email. It's OK to follow up on this email by phone.  Remember, you can't have a conversation over email so if anyone does respond to your email attempt, move that conversation to the phone as soon as possible.

Image copyright iStock Photos

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

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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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, this one earned a Silver medal for 2017, and this article earned Silver for 2018. Read more about Dave.

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