Pretending won’t get email responses

Do I know you?You know I’m passionate about email prospecting. It’s one of my favorite prospecting methods, and highly effective when done correctly. Lately, though, I’ve been turned off by a trend I’m seeing from sellers in email prospecting: pretending they’ve already contacted their prospects.

Here’s part of an email I received last week:

I sent you an email a few weeks ago about…
I look forward to hearing back from you.
Best regards, Jack Samuels

The reality is, I’d never heard of this person. It’s possible he sent an email several weeks ago, but his name isn’t familiar. Neither is the company name. I simply don’t remember.

And neither do your prospects.

That’s the objective with this type of email. The seller wants the prospect to think he missed responding to a previous email, so now has to reply to this one. There’s no forwarded email to remind the prospect what you’d written “a few weeks ago.” It’s left up to your prospect’s memory.

It’s a guilt tactic. And it’s deceptive.

But if it gets a response, isn’t that all we care about?   No!

You’re selling yourself short.

Here you are trying to sell the true value of your solutions and the value you bring as a consultative sales person. You’ve done your homework and know how you could help this prospect. You’ve probably got some great ideas to share and have a genuine reason to speak with him.

So why don’t you use this great information in your first email to make a powerful impression?

In my experience, sellers who pretend that they’ve already contacted a prospect aren’t really trying to be deceptive. Rather, they aren’t sure how to open their prospecting email to initiate a conversation.

Get the conversation going with a first sentence that makes a prospect want to respond not out of guilt, but because you have something of value to say. Consider these two things:

    1. What do you know about the prospect?

It could be a business issue you suspect the prospect has from your research. It may be information you’ve read about the company, such as an impending move, award or recent hiring. Or, it could be a trigger event such as a change in state regulations, the impending flood or hurricane season, or a trend in their industry.

This is the ideal opening for your first prospecting email because it relates directly to your prospect.

    1. What ideas can you share?

You know a great deal from work you’ve done with similar companies and prospecting is the perfect opportunity to leverage it. In your email, suggest that you have a conversation about an idea you’d like to share related to the opening of the email.

Now you can create a grabber first sentence like one of these:


Congratulations on your outstanding success! I saw your award as one of the Top Places to Work in Kansas City.

With the economy strengthening in our area, it’s becoming more important to run your business as efficiently as possible to meet growth objectives.

Many community colleges in Washington are moving to an online course model to increase enrollment with rural students.

Pretending is not necessary. Your value is obvious from the first sentence of your email and your prospects will want to respond and talk with you. Use your real value proposition and a genuine approach and you’ll see your email response rates soar.

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