Prospecting via email can be wildly rewarding, or incredibly frustrating. Get it right, and each of your campaigns can deliver you fresh sales opportunities within days, and sometimes even minutes. Get it wrong and you risk wasting your time, or even worse, irritating potential clients.
So what makes the difference?
After years of experience, and dozens upon dozens of successes, we’ve found that it’s all in the approach. In fact, we’ve coached clients through a number of simple steps that have helped them double or triple their prospecting email response rates virtually overnight. Here are a few of the highlights.
- Keep it short. To respond to your email, the prospect has to read it first. The shorter and less intimidating it looks, the more likely they are to do just that. At KLA Group, we have a rule of thumb: no prospecting or lead-generation email should be more than 175 words, and they all need to be three paragraphs or less.
Go any longer, and it's very likely your message will be deleted, or saved until a time when the prospect "has more time," which isn't likely to ever happen.
It should go without saying that the same applies to your email subject line. It doesn't have to be two or three words, but don't try to write an entire sentence. Just stick to the topic and a reason to keep reading.
- Be personal. Are the emails you write to your friends, colleagues, and clients filled with links, attachments, bullet points, and fancy graphics? I’ll bet that more often they’re short, personal notes that mention a specific situation or problem.
Too many sellers make it hard on themselves by trying excessively hard to put on their marketing caps, rather than simply writing to the prospect as a person.
Don't be afraid to use short sentences, abbreviations, and less formal language. You don't want your email to be sloppy, of course, but you don't want it to look like a strict marketing message, either.
- Open up with something compelling. One of the best ways to draw prospects into your email is by mentioning a "triggering event," which is some issue that they are facing right now and that you can help them to resolve. This could be a change in their industry, new legislation, or even just a common challenge for companies like theirs.
- Show them that you understand what they're going through, and they’ll reward you with a reply to begin a conversation.
- Show a result. Naturally, you don't want to just mention a problem to your prospects. They’re busy people and don’t need to be reminded of issues. Rather, briefly explain how you helped someone else to solve a similar issue.
- Without going into detail, show your prospect what possible improvements in their business you might be able to provide. If possible, mention a return on investment that the client with a similar issue realized. Numbers carry a great deal of credibility.
- Ask them to take action right away… and make it easy for them to do it. Limit yourself to one clear action you want your prospect to take. Make it one that only takes a few moments for them to follow up on.
- Whether it's clicking through to a link, hitting the "reply" button, or confirming a time for a phone call, make it very clear what you are hoping to accomplish.
A favorite approach of ours is to suggest one or two times for a brief phone meeting. Something like: "I would love to discuss my idea with you further on Friday the 12th at 1:30. By chance would that work for you?"
Suggesting specific times that your prospects can quickly check on their calendar makes it easy for them to respond and can do wonders for your response rate.
If you haven't gotten the results you want from email prospecting try these tips. A few adjustments to your emails could find your inbox filled with replies from potential new clients.