Many salespeople use email to prospect for new business. It’s cheap. It’s easy. And it’s fast.
However, it is not always used properly. In fact, most people make a variety of email prospecting mistakes that end up costing them money in lost sales.
Here are seven of the most common mistakes sales people make when using email to prospect.
1. Poor subject line
The subject is the most important element of an email. Decision makers and prospects are extremely busy and they receive upwards of 100-plus emails every day. If you use a weak or generic subject line you will capture their attention and they will ignore or delete your email without reading it.
Research has shown that a question or a targeted statement followed by an ellipsis (…) is the most effective way to capture someone’s attention.
2. Misleading subject line
Some people think using a subject line that is intriguing but completely unrelated to the topic is an effective way to get someone to open an email.
This may work but it is rarely effective in getting your prospect to read the email once they actually open it. In fact, this approach usually results in your prospect quickly deleting your email once they discover than you have mislead them.
3. Using a generic email
I can’t count the number of times I have received an email that has obviously been used for a mass mailing.
Obvious signs include poor formatting, using “Dear Sir” or other generic greeting, or HGFHGFHGFF.
If you want to stand out from your competition your email needs to be personalized to each prospect. You can achieve that goal by stating a potential problem they may be facing or by presenting a problem you solved for another client in the same industry.
4. Too much focus on their company
Most of the prospecting emails that land in my in-box start by talking about the sellers company, product or service.
You—or your marketing department—might think this is the best way to start your email. However, your prospect doesn’t care about your company. The only thing they want to know is what problem you can help them solve or eliminate.
You don’t need to include your company’s name in your email. If you create a compelling message that demonstrates you have insight to a problem they are encountering and you can demonstrate that you might have a solution, you are more likely going to receive a reply.
5. Too long
Most prospecting emails are far too long.
They often discuss the product, present features that are irrelevant to the prospect, and take too long to read.
In today’s business world, it is much more effective to keep your email very brief and concise. Include only the necessary information your prospect needs to know or to pique their attention.
Remember, your goal with an email to arouse curiosity and to get a reply or schedule a telephone or face-to-face call. Trying to close a deal with a prospecting email, seldom if ever, works.
6. Weak call to action
Too many prospecting email conclude with something like, “Please feel free to call me for more information” or “I’d be happy to answer any questions you have”.
An effective email ends with a specific call to action.
“Mr. Smith, I will call you on Tuesday at 10:15 AM to see if our solution can help you…”
7. No follow-up
Very few sales people follow up with their prospects after they have sent the initial email. But you can’t rely solely on that one email message to generate a new lead. Very few prospects will actually pick up the telephone to make an appointment or to discuss your solution.
It is critical that you make contact afterwards, preferably by telephone.
Email can be an effective prospecting tool. However, you need to use it properly. Avoid the mistakes outlined in this post and you can start improving your results.