When I began my career in sales, I never thought about using sales email templates. I would power through my work days – making calls, confirming 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 sales email marketing is a tricky business. An email, after all, is just a one-way burst of information hoping for a reply. And, as I quickly learned, most marketing emails from sales teams get ignored. Nevertheless, email marketing is still an invaluable sales strategy. With some prospects, it’s practically the only way to establish communication.
Why sales email templates are so effective
A good sales email must strike the right tone, convey the essential information and take into account where the prospect is in the buyer’s journey. Most importantly, it needs to get read.
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. But I was still spending too much time staring at a blank page, trying to write the best sales emails my clients had ever seen.
“Recipients decide whether your emails are attention-worthy in 0 to 3 seconds.”
– US Consumer Device Preference Report, Q3 2015
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. So instead of reinventing the wheel for every prospect, I simply tweak one of my templates for the situation at hand.
With the advent of automated sales and marketing platforms like SharpSpring, sales email templates help you manage and accelerate your prospect’s progress through the sales funnel. And because the bulk of the writing is already done, you have time to add a personalized, human touch. To get you started, I’ve included a handful of sales email templates that have worked for me, across a range of industries and clients. 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. You know they’re interested in what you’re selling, and they’ve already made contact once. Your goal is to confirm the next meeting and send a small “gift.” It can be something as small as a pdf resource or a 5% discount.
Why a gift? You want to demonstrate your value to the prospect. As I’ve already said, sales email marketing is only effective when people actually open your emails. Give prospects a reason to click, right from the start of your relationship.
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’ve asked Lisa to 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 will be something that the prospect really cares about. This does two things: it makes the prospect open the email, and it shows you’ve been listening.
Take a look at the last line of that email again. 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. But they do want to hear about solutions to their problems. 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 an 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.
This email covers the basic requirements: confirm the next scheduled contact (followed by a calendar invite in a day or two), and re-confirm key ideas and challenges that you discussed on the call. Remember – in sales email marketing, it’s best to be short and to the point.
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 line. 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. Depending on your brand voice, you might use the prospect’s name more or less often. But you should be sensitive to how individual prospects respond: Do they seem formal? Friendly? Reserved?
“Personalized email subject lines increase open rates for consumer products and services companies by 41.8 percent.”
I try to keep paragraphs short, rarely more than two sentences. This makes for a faster read, especially now that most emails are read on mobile devices. A normal-sized paragraph can 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 the prospect is busy with more important issues. (An unreasonable position, I know.) Or you could be a victim of time zone differences.
A less happy possibility is that circumstances at the prospect’s company have changed. Worst case scenario? The prospect has a concern or objection to your product – and they’re not sharing it with you. It’s time for 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.
The double whammy of a voice message followed by an email is very effective as long as it’s not overdone. Some of my peers have been known to triple and even quadruple whammy a prospect by hitting them with text, LinkedIn, and Facebook. However, this runs a high risk of alienating the prospect. You’re trying to make a connection, not send your prospects into hiding.
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. Have you missed something important about the prospect? Is there a mistake somewhere in your own strategy? When you do restore contact, start by listening to the prospect about where things went wrong.
“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.”
– Marketing Donut
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 marketing is a way to establish contact and interest with the prospect. That being said, you’ll need a phone call or face-to-face contact to take you the last mile.
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 it’s your last best shot at cracking things open. And just like a Hail Mary pass, when it works, it’s beautiful.
This template can be for a prospect who is 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.) They might not appreciate your brilliant humor, or you might catch them at the wrong moment. It’s not called a “Hail Mary” for nothing.
Here’s another version I’ve seen but I haven’t tried. It’s 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 sales email 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.
Creating the best sales 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 they’ll convert into satisfied clients.