When I began my career in sales, I never thought about using sales email templates. (I didn’t think about a lot of things.) I would power through my work days – making my calls, sending off calendar appointments, scanning company updates. Then, when I needed to send a follow-up email to one of my prospects, my momentum would screech to a halt. I’d stare at my screen and wonder, “Okay, how do I write this?”
Even then, I knew that guiding a sale through email is a delicate proposition. An email, after all, is just a one-way burst of information hoping for a reply. And, as I quickly learned, most marketing-related emails get ignored. Nevertheless, email is an invaluable sales tool. With some prospects, it’s practically the only way to establish communication.
A good sales email must strike the right tone, convey the essential information and take into account which phase of the sale the prospect is at. Most importantly, it needs to get read. Although we may believe that they are compelling works of literature, our emails should, at the very least, invite a positive response.
When I was younger, my emails explained everything, covered all the angles, and I tried to tweak my sentences into Pulitzer prose. I almost never got a response. Gradually, I learned to keep it short and to the point.
“Recipients decide whether your emails are attention-worthy in 0 to 3 seconds.”
Now I use a much more effective strategy – sales email templates. These are essentially copies of follow-up emails I have sent that worked. Over time, I have organized them, and instead of reinventing the wheel for every prospect, I simply tweak one of my templates for the situation at hand.
Today, sales email templates are even more effective. With the advent of automated sales and marketing platforms like SharpSpring, templates help you manage and accelerate your prospect’s progress through the sales funnel. And they can still have a personalized, human touch.
To get you started, I’ve included a handful of sales email templates that you can adapt to your business. I’ve also included my thoughts on why they work and a few pitfalls to bear in mind.
Sales Email 1: Follow-Up to the Initial Conversation
In this example, the prospect is at the beginning of the sales funnel. He or she has indicated interest and has already engaged in a preliminary discussion with you. Your goal here is to reconfirm the next meeting and send a small “gift” (provided you have one) for the next meeting. The hope is the gift will build some measure of anticipation for the prospect.
Subject: Your concerns about [one of your prospect’s challenges]
Body: Hello [Prospect’s Name],
I hope you found our discussion as interesting as I did.
By identifying the issues surrounding [prospect’s challenges] you have provided a great opportunity for the entire team at [prospect’s business]. I know we can help.
For the next meeting, I have requested that Lisa show us examples of [the challenges] from some other clients who lowered their costs substantially. [This is the “gift.”]
Attached you’ll find more information about [our company] and [its solutions].
Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions or concerns.
I look forward to seeing you at [place, date and time].
The subject line should be a major challenge for the prospect. You don’t want to be overly alarming, but if you’ve done your work right, it should be something of concern that needs to be addressed. This does two things: it makes the prospect want to open the email, and it shows you’ve been listening.
Also, I tend to avoid using the term “meeting” or “appointment.” Early on in my career, a mentor told me that no one wants to go to meetings and appointments. I’m not sure if that really matters but it stuck with me.
Sales Email 2: After the Sales Call
This is a template for the first follow-up email after the initial call. In this example, we’re somewhere in the “Awareness” to “Consideration” part of the sales funnel, so we need to keep the process moving forward.
Here I cover the usual requirements: confirm the next scheduled contact (followed by a calendar invite in a day or two) and re-confirm key concepts that were discussed such as challenges and obstacles.
Subject: Great meeting you, [Prospect’s Name]
Body: Hi [Prospect’s Name],
Thanks for explaining [prospect’s role] at [prospect’s company].
I’ve come to appreciate some of the challenges you’re facing in dealing with [prospect’s challenges]. I think you’ll find that the [obstacles discussed in the meeting] are problems our [product/service name] is built to address.
I look forward to talking with you again at [place, date and time].
Note that I put the prospect’s name in the subject. I don’t always do this but, if I’m particularly eager to re-confirm an appointment and lock down the prospect’s commitment, using their name is more likely to get the email opened. (Just don’t overuse this tactic. It can get annoying.)
“Personalized email subject lines increase open rates for consumer products and services companies by 41.8 percent.”
Also, I try to keep paragraphs short, rarely more than two sentences. This makes for a faster read, since you never know what device the prospect will be using to read email. A normal-sized paragraph can sometimes look like a novel on a handheld screen.
Sales Email 3: After Leaving a Voicemail
This template is for those times when your prospect just won’t respond. In other words, they are stuck in the sales funnel. This can occur at any point in the sale process. It might mean nothing other than that the prospect is busy with more important issues. (An unreasonable position, I know.)
Another possibility is that circumstances at the prospect’s company have changed or, worst of all scenarios, that the prospect has some concern or objection they’re not sharing with you. You might consider preparing some probing questions.
Subject: Just left you a message
Body: Hi [Prospect’s Name],
I just left you a voice message, and I thought I’d reach out by email.
When you have a minute, give me a call or shoot me an update. Let’s work out a time to reconnect that works better for you.
You will find that the double whammy of a voice message followed by an email is very effective as long as it’s not overdone. Some of my more social media-savvy peers have been known to triple and even quadruple whammy a prospect by hitting them with some combination of text, LinkedIn, Facebook and whatever other platform they live on. This runs a high risk of alienating the prospect, in my opinion, but I haven’t tried it yet.
Just remember, you must be patient, persistent and professional. Silence on the other end can be frustrating, but you should be shifting into serious learning mode at this point. There may be something important that you don’t know, and you must try to uncover it.
“63% of people requesting information on your company today will not purchase for at least three months – and 20% will take more than 12 months to buy.”
One last note, if you don’t already know. Do not try to close the prospect by email for anything other than an appointment. It almost never works.
Sales Email 4: The “Hail Mary”
Some people call this the “Break-Up Email” or even the “BLANK or Get Off the Pot” email. I like calling it the “Hail Mary” because, although it can take many forms, it’s basically your last best shot at cracking things open.
Again, this template can be for a prospect that’s stuck at any phase of the sales funnel, and they’ve been stuck there for an exceptionally long time.
Here’s one version. It’s polite and humorous but bluntly lays it on the line.
Subject: Boy, am I getting annoying!
Body: Hi [Prospect’s Name],
I’ve left you quite a few messages now and I’m beginning to feel guilty about it.
My guess is that I’m not hearing from you because of one of three possibilities:
• There’s no way in hell you’re going to give [my product/service name] a chance,
• You are actually planning on getting back to me very shortly, or
• You’ve been accidentally locked in a basement storage room and the sole entertainment is a broken CD player that can only play Wrecking Ball by Miley Cyrus.
If it’s number two or three, please let me know.
There’s obviously some risk in this strategy. First, the prospect may really like Wrecking Ball by Miley Cyrus. (Lots of people do. I guess.) Also, they may not be amused by the brilliant humor, or you might catch them with this at just the wrong moment. I don’t call it a “Hail Mary” for nothing.
Here’s an interesting version I’ve seen out there but I haven’t tried. It’s sort of a cross between “I don’t love you anymore” and “You’re going to miss out.”
Subject: Request to close your client file
Body: Hello [Prospect’s Name],
I hope all is well.
Periodically, [my company name] closes client files in an effort to keep our data up to date and our work efforts efficient. We usually do this after a prospective client ceases to indicate an active interest in our services.
With your permission, I will close your client file.
If this is incorrect, please let me know when you would like to resume our discussions.
I want to thank you for considering our services.
All my best,
Customize, Re-Use and Periodically Refresh
Don’t stick too closely to any of these sample templates. Every company and every sales rep is different, and every product and service has its unique customer profile. To write a winning sales email, try your best to imagine yourself as your client clicking through their email queue. The first thing they’ll see is the subject. It has to make sense given where they are in terms of the sales process and their relationship with you. For example, it shouldn’t be jokey if their conversations with you have been formal.
Learning to tweak your emails for your prospects is actually a great way to take measure of your own understanding of who they are and what they need. And the better you understand your prospects, the sooner you will convert them into satisfied clients.