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Free Guide:

The Beginners Guide to Inbound Sales
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The Beginners Guide to Inbound Sales
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[Playbook] Inbound Sales Guide Cover

Free Guide:

See faster close rates and happier customers by shifting to inbound sales.

In this guide, you'll learn:

  • Inbound Sales vs. Outbound Seals
  • 5 Steps in the Inbound Sales Process
  • Getting Started and Troubleshooting

Stop Sending Bad Sales Emails to Your Prospects. Here’s How.

By Steve Bookbinder

Steve Bookbinder also recommends this free guide, The Beginners Guide to Inbound Sales.

Stop Sending Bad Sales Emails to Your Prospects. Here’s How.

No one wants to be considered a “spammer.” The word is equivalent to an assassination of character in digital marketing. We’re all just trying our best to meet daily prospecting goals and close deals, etc., but is it really your “best” if the majority of these emails go unanswered? What if you’re approaching email with the wrong mindset?

The average email open rate is 22.87%, which alone does not seem like a big number at all, however, the number of people who actually click through your emails is even lower, standing at a strikingly small 3.26%!

I get a lot of salespeople emailing me every day. And most of the emails I get are absolutely horrible. No personalization. No clear message or call-to-action. No business value.

Free Guide: The Beginners Guide to Inbound Sales

So, based on what I’ve seen and heard, we’ve put together a compilation of email prospecting do’s and don’ts.

In each of these scenarios, you should be putting yourself in the shoes of your prospect to gain better insight. Otherwise, you’ll risk being labeled as spam.

DON’T: Send a (Completely) Cold Email

What? I thought this whole blog post was about cold emailing prospects? It is, but, if you want to turn a prospect into a customer, you’re going to have to work on heating up that cold email to at least lukewarm.

Put yourself in the shoes of your prospect. Would you want to receive a pushy email from a complete stranger or a company you’ve never heard of? I doubt you would even open it, let alone move forward to contact them for more information. First, cold emails feel impersonal and almost as if the sender is intruding upon your personal, digital space with solicitations. Even if your cold email is polite enough, the prospect may still feel like you are trying to get something out of them rather than build a beneficial relationship.

The point of email prospecting is to transition past a “Hello!” and into, “How can we work together to solve this challenge?”

DO: Get to Know Your Prospect Through Social Media Before Emailing

Social media isn’t just about posting pictures and catching up with friends, it’s about connecting with people and can serve as an incredibly valuable tool for prospecting (especially since it’s free).

Check out the different social media channels of a prospect before you even draft an email. Their feeds will give you major tips about what’s going on in their life, the way they communicate with others, and maybe even give you an understanding of their career triumphs and pressure points. This tactic will undoubtedly give you a pathway to opening a more personal dialogue.

Maybe looking at their Twitter, you notice you have a common interest you share like skiing or dogs or the same favorite sports team. Try sending an email that starts off with, “Hey, I noticed you're also a huge Yankees fan…” and then transition in a few sentences into a clear call-to-action (CTA).

A shared interest has the tendency to warm people up to one another much quicker. They’ll be thinking, “Well if this salesperson has the good sense to root for the Yankees, they must be pretty smart in the field.”

Ok, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but just one shared passion or hobby can save you from the spam folder and get you a response from a prospect.

As another example, let’s say you see on social media your prospect recently made in their office or industry.

You can use this to open up an email with something along the lines of, “Hello and congratulations. I saw that you recently received recognition as salesperson of the year, that’s huge!”

Not only is this an effectively friendly and enthusiastic email intro that will catch your prospect’s attention, but everyone innately loves to receive compliments and affirmations for their work. Once you’ve gotten off on the right foot with your prospect and introductions have been made, you can then transition into reigning in their business.

Use this tactic to immediately build a relationship with a prospect. We recommend starting off by browsing a prospect’s Linkedin profile.

DON’T: Make Them Yawn

There are currently thousands of unread emails in my inbox. The one thing that each and every one of them has in common is that they completely failed to entice me. Even worse, companies have a tendency to send the same promotional emails over and over and over and over (I could keep this up for pages, but I’ll spare you) and OVER AGAIN.

But to what avail? This tactic will not only get you branded a spammer, but it will also continuously and negatively reinforce that you are dull and pushy.

This may sound harsh, but once again you must put yourself in your prospect’s shoes. As a prospect, would you think twice about receiving the same old, “Hi (insert name here), I’m John over at Imaginary Companies Inc. and I’d like to talk to you about a great deal we have…”

Yawn. Deleted. Next. Start with an intriguing subject line, then go from there.

DO: Offer Clear Value

People can get annoyed with you for a litany of reasons, but if you are providing someone with a service or adding value to their life, this likely will not be the case.

One way to do this is to send a prospect content generated by your business that may help them with a relevant endeavor. Think back to that social media stalking you did in the last section. If you see they’ve recently transitioned careers, you could send them an email with a blog post from your company about transitioning to new industries. This demonstrates right off the bat that a relationship between your company and a prospect can be fruitful for both parties.

You can even send an email with content from another source. This may not be driving additional traffic to your site, but it will show that you’re so ready to help that you put the prospect’s problems ahead of your own business.

This tactic will help you build a trustworthy and credible relationship with prospects. This is far better than sending an email like, “I’ve got a great offer for you…” or “I’d like to ask blah blah blah.”

You shouldn’t start off by demanding favors from your prospect. You should show them that you and your company have the potential to improve their lives, solve their problems, and that you’re a credible resource. Consistently providing useful and relevant content accomplishes this goal.

DON’T: Try to Cover Too Much Info

Have you ever gotten an email with just too much going on? Again, you most likely end up sending it right to the trash can because you don’t know what they were trying to accomplish. It’s understandable if you have a lot to say about your amazing company or a new, unique product, or service, but attempting to cram introductions, questions, information, CTAs, and offers all into one email will result in an aesthetic and conversion nightmare. You should always assume that your prospect’s to-do list is just as long as yours, don’t waste their time with clutter.

During this portion of the prospecting process, each of your communications should focus on one thing. You must hone in on one question, goal, or key action that will take your sales journey to the next step. This may take a bit of wordsmithing as it’s far harder to condense broad ideas than to expand upon them.  

DO: Keep It Short and Sweet

In these few sentences of your email you need to include an effective opener (such as some of the suggestions made above), state your objective, and convey a clear CTA.

The email should also be scannable and aesthetically pleasing. If your prospect has as little spare time as you, they should only need a brief glance to understand the meat of your email.

The shelf life of most digital content is short, and your prospect’s busy day makes their attention span even shorter. One of the most important jobs of a salesperson is to ensure that they are engaging to customers. A truly great salesperson should be able to accomplish this in just a few email lines.

Putting it All Together

Sending out 100 of the same email to your prospects may save you time and energy, but, short-term efficiency can lead to less business in the short run. The better course of action is to take the time out of your day to use these tips and make each email personal and attention-grabbing.

Remember, writing the perfect prospecting email is about striking the perfect balance between what the prospect wants to hear, what you have to say, and timing. Incorporate these do’s and avoid the don’ts and then watch your sales numbers climb!

[Playbook] Inbound Sales Guide Cover

Free Guide:

The Beginners Guide to Inbound Sales
Read the Guide
[Playbook] Inbound Sales Guide Cover
[Playbook] Inbound Sales Guide Cover

Free Guide:

The Beginners Guide to Inbound Sales

See faster close rates and happier customers by shifting to inbound sales.

In this guide, you'll learn:

  • Inbound Sales vs. Outbound Seals
  • 5 Steps in the Inbound Sales Process
  • Getting Started and Troubleshooting


Inbound Sales
Published on October 18, 2017

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