How to Write a Sales Email That Works

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


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 than 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

12 Proven Sales Hacks to Increase Sales

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Jun 25, 2015 @ 07:06 AM


It seems that these days, things are changing faster than we can recognize. Cosby is finally out of the news, but the Marathon Bomber is back in. The terrible winter weather is in our rear view mirror, but now we are dealing with droughts and tornadoes! And in our world, Sales 2.0, a term we haven't heard in a while, is making the rounds again. In today's article, we'll talk about the sales improvements that readers are most interested in.

Let's kick things off with the most popular article of the first 6 months of 2015, which talks about how dramatically things have changed in selling. Read this very popular article from earlier this year, which is all about the next change to take place in selling.

On LinkedIn, this article explains one simple change that salespeople and sales managers can make that will significantly improve the pipeline and win rate.

With all that has changed, no single characteristic is more important to selling than an individual's unconditional commitment for sales success. This article explains what committed salespeople do differently.

This popular article compares a bad sales email to a good one and a similar article exposes an ineffective cold call and includes a breakdown as to why it was so bad! This article completes the business development highlights with 3 keys to help convert more of those calls to meetings.

We've covered how to be more effective getting meetings scheduled, so let's move to another popular article that explored the possibility that with everything changing so quickly, consultative selling could already be dead.

One of the biggest challenges that companies are having right now is in attracting, assessing, interviewing and selecting new salespeople. Companies are hiring and it's more difficult than ever to hire a good salesperson. Accordingly, some of the most popular articles of the first 6 months of 2015 were written about hiring salespeople.  

This article explains why 1 million sales jobs will be lost, while this one explains why half of an entire sales force resigned in a single month. Could this happen at your company? Why is it that some great salespeople don't live up to your expectations while others are as good, or better than expected? This article explains how and when that can happen. On the other side of that story are the weak salespeople - those with poor Sales DNA and/or sales skills - who somehow find ways to succeed. This article talks about the intangibles they may possess and why they can't be taught or replicated. To round out the best of the sales selection articles, read this one about the phoney baloney sales candidate and how you can make sure that he doesn't fool you.

Finally, you won't want to click on this one right now. Instead, save it for when you have 30 minutes to read it in its entirety. The article began as a simple rebuttal to some junk science on sales selection and turned into a debate on the science of sales assessments and specifically, put Objective Management Group's (OMG) sales candidate assessments on trial. The people have spoken, but what did they say?

Was today's article helpful? Share it! Tweet it! Comment.

Topics: sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, Consultative Selling, Sales 2.0, cold calling, sales selection, objective management group, sales emails that work, building the sales pipeline

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

Hall of Fame

 Hall of Fame


Top Blog Post

Expert Insights

Top 50 most innovative sales bloggers


Top Blog

Hubspot Top 25 Blogs


2021 Top20 Web Large_assessment_eval