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7 Critical Components of a Successful Sales Email

Business_Women_Working_on_Laptop-636632-edited.jpgIf you are like most sales people, you struggle to get prospects to read and respond to your emails. There are a variety of likely reasons prospects are deleting your emails:

  • It looks too much like spam or mass email
  • Its too wordy
  • The subject line and/or opening sentence is too salesy
  • There is no value in your message
  • You sound like every other staffing sales person trying to get their business. 

While no sales email is going to result in a 100% success rate (or 75 or 50% for that matter), we’ve identified 7 essential components that significantly increase your odds of a response.

1. A short, non-salesy subject line

Nothing sends your prospect to the delete button faster than some long salesy subject line promising that you can fix all of their problems. Or worse, using a subject that tries to trick them into opening the email, like using FW or RE (implying they are responding or forwarding a previous message), or Tom Erb has sent you a message (implying its coming from LinkedIn or another social network.

The best subject lines are just a couple of words. My favorite is “Introduction.” Its short, honest, and almost requires them to open the email to learn more.

2. Acknowledge you aren’t the only sales person

Prospects get bombarded by sales people of all types, not just staffing. Acknowledging at the beginning of your email that you know you aren’t the only sales person that is calling on them shows respect for their position, presents you in a different light from those other sales people, and is more likely to bring down their guard a bit.

3. Personalize the message

We all hate mass email. For many of us, 90% or more of our inbox is taken up with them. So we want to make sure from the beginning that our prospect knows we aren’t sending a mass email. By talking about something very specific to the individual or their company, they will be more compelled to keep reading your email. Browse their website, look at their LinkedIn profile, do a Google search on the company and the contact, or refer to people, associations, past work history, or other areas that you have in common.

4. Bullet Point your differentiators

Our eyes are naturally drawn to lists. They are easier for our minds to process, and they are typically more succinct than a paragraph. Identify the 2 or 3 most compelling differentiators that you have and bullet point them in one sentence.

5. Bold the highlights

Just as our eyes are drawn to lists, so are they to bolded, colored, or italicized words and phrases. Identify two to four key points in the email that you want to draw their eyes to, then bold or color those words and phrases. Impressive stats and high-profile clients are a couple of great items to bring to their attention

6. Use a testimonial

Our biggest challenge as sales people trying to get in front of prospects is building credibility. Including a brief testimonial in quotes that applies to the prospect and reinforces your differentiators can have a huge impact.

7. Have a call to action

Hint: “please respond to me” is not a call to action. Requesting a 10-minute exploratory phone call to determine if there is the potential to be a resource, is. Other calls to action might include having them read a recent blog, download a whitepaper, or accept the follow up call you are going to make tomorrow.

The reality is that there is nothing in a prospecting email that you can do or say that will get everyone to respond, or even read, your email. Prospects are bombarded with all sorts of communication, and many either never get around to reading it or just mass delete anything that looks like its coming from a staffing sales person. Others just have no interest in your service for a variety of reasons. But by following the seven steps listed above, you will see significantly better results from your email efforts.


Looking for a quick and easy way to track your sales activities and meet your sales goals! Then download our free sales tool, the Weekly Activity Planner.

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