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


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:


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
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

Taking Your Prospecting to the Next Level

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Sun, Sep 14, 2014 @ 07:09 AM

sales prospecting

Do you ever wonder how selling evolved to where it is today?  Do you ever think about how salespeople sold in the old, old days?  All sales calls were face-to-face (no phones) and the sellers traveled by horse, canoe, boat, and later, ship.  That doesn't sound like it was efficient - or fun.  Over time, selling and our options for connecting with potential customers, moved to a new level.

Five important inventions were huge aids to selling - and they're not what you think they are: 

  • Car
  • Phone
  • Plane
  • First-Class Mail
  • Overnight Shipping

Think about how difficult it must have been before those five things came along!  How long do you think they were in place before people viewed them as ways to advance selling?  Remember that until we had dependable mail, companies could not mass market.  Years ago, much of the mass marketing that didn't appear in newspapers and magazines was in the form of direct-mail campaigns.

Then, in the mid 1980's, the invention that would bring prospecting to the next level came along.  The Fax Machine provided us with a way for one to reach many, without paying for postage.  People were using the PC at that time, but not for the things we use them for today.  Back then, a PC's primary use was for spreadsheets and word processing.  Mainstream email, web and internet marketing didn't begin to take form until the late 90's.

Four recent innovations have further improved our ability to connect:

  • Cell Phones
  • On-Demand Teleconferencing
  • On-Demand Video Conferencing
  • On-Demand Webcasting

Those four technologies have changed the face of my businesses.  At one time, I lived in airports and hotels, but I travel far less today.

We take today's technology and selling tools for granted.  They provide us with so many more options.  Now that we have these tools at our disposal, how can we use them to take your prospecting to the next level?

When you attempt to connect over the social networks, email and by phone, are your attempts all the same or do you customize them?  Customization takes more work and preparation.  You must convert your one-to-many approach to a one-to-one approach.

I've written a lot about how to make calls and emails sound better, but here's an approach we haven't discussed often.  Everyone has potential customers with whom they just haven't been able to gain traction.  There may have been a first conversation or email, but it didn't go far enough.  What have you done to get those opportunities back on track?  Do you have a powerful and effective call or email to figure out what's going on and/or how to get a prospect who has gone missing refocused?

I don't have much time to devote to business development.  I pass most leads to my team.  I usually contact only those who are referred to me by my own clients, as well as some of those who write to me.  Because I have so little time, it's not unusual for a potential opportunity to fall through the cracks.  The other day, I sent an email to 14 people.  They were all prospects from the past 2 years who had flown off the radar, went silent or gone missing.

The next morning, I had already heard back from 8 of them.  3 of them are on the west coast and have not seen it yet.  Even so, that's a 57% response rate from people who had not responded to my infrequent attempts to connect with them over the past 2 years.  That's what I mean by an example of taking your prospecting to the next level.

What was this mystery email?  Why did it work so well?  What compelled people to respond to it?

Dave Kurlan's Mystery Email 
NonstopSalesBoom 1 s
Colleen Francis' new book, Nonstop Sales Boom has some powerful strategies to drive consistent growth through prospecting efforts.  You should check it out.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales emails that work, prospecting emails that work, prospects that don't respond, nonstop sales boom, colleen francis

Content not found
Subscribe via Email

View All 2,000 Articles published by Dave

About Dave

Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader,  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog earned awards for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog for eleven consecutive years and of the more than 2,000 articles Dave has published, many of the articles have also earned awards.

Email Dave

View Dave Kurlan's LinkedIn profile View Dave Kurlan's profile


Receive new articles via email
 to the Blog on your Kindle 



Most Recent Articles


Top 50 Sales & Marketing Blogs 2021

Sales & Marketing Hall of Fame Inductee




Top 50 most innovative sales bloggers


Hubspot Top 25 Blogs