In this article we’re going to cover go over how to write a sales email in four basic steps.
The most common mistake in writing a sales email is making it too long. We forget that our prospects – like us – are very busy people. Chances are they’re glancing at our message for just a few seconds, on the train, or in-between meetings. Too long and the email will get skipped.
So how do you squeeze an entire sales email into 3 or 4 sentences and still make it convincing? The answer is simple. By breaking up your email into 4 different parts (The Subject, The Opener, The Pitch, & The Closer) it’s easy to include everything you need without any excess.
Before we dive into the details on this topic, we also suggest you check out Insightly, our recommended small business CRM. Insightly is an inexpensive, easy to use, contact and task management system. Visit Insightly to learn more.
Here’s an example of a short & sweet sales email:
Subject: Gary recommended I get in touch
I noticed you’re still using a TEC cash register. What are you paying right now for credit card processing? We have merchant services with fees as low as 1.75% of the transaction value. Let me know if you’re interested and I’ll send a brief overview.
So, without further ado:
The Four Components to Writing a Sales Email
1. The Subject – Establish a Personal Connection
The 4 or 5 words you put in the subject line will have the biggest impact on whether or not your email gets opened.The first rule of writing the subject is to establish a personal connection. Either address the contact by name, their company, or a mutual connection. Note that the first message fails to do this: “Have time for a quick meeting?” It also includes some words that are generally displeasing to recipients (“quick” and “meeting”). According to a survey by Hubspot, subtle word choices can have a huge impact on how many of your emails get opened:
- Avoid “quick” and “meeting” – these words sound pesky and unappealing to people with busy schedules. Using them in the subject of an email reduces the chance of it getting opened by 17% and 7%, respectively.
- If you want a timely response, use “tomorrow” – i.e. “free for a chat tomorrow?” Emails with the word “tomorrow” in the subject were 10% more likely to be opened than those without.
- Likewise, the word “free” is a good addition. As in, “when are you free,” NOT “here’s a free prize!”
Here’s some more examples of good sales email subject lines:
- “[Contact name], question for you”
- “[Contact name], free for a conversation tomorrow?”
- “[Mutual connection] recommended I get in touch”
- “Question about [company initiative or goal].”
2. The Opener – Talk About The Recipient
The opener is the first line of the email body. Like the subject, they will appear in the recipient’s inbox:
One of the biggest mistakes when writing an opener is introducing yourself in the first sentence. Note, again, the first message: “My name is Luisa and I work for ABC Consulting.” At a glance, this fails to make any personal connection. It comes off as a canned email, which makes it much less likely to be opened.
Instead, you should begin your opener with a fact about the recipient. For example, “Congratulations on your new Oak St location.” This A. proves you’re not a robot and B. shows that you’re familiar with and interested in the recipient. Here’s a few more examples of good openers:
- “Loved your post on [blog post topic]”
- “I saw that we both [attended an event, are members of a group, etc.]”
- “I noticed you’re still using [product]”
3. The Pitch – Short & Sweet
Next comes the “meat” of the email. This is where you explain what you have to offer, and why the potential customer should be interested. As with the subject and the opener, the pitch has to be short, sweet and personalized to the recipient. One way to do this is to open up with a question, then follow it up with your value proposition. Here’s a few examples:
- “What are you paying right now for credit card processing? We have merchant services with fees as low as 1.75% of the transaction value.”
- “Is customer retention a priority for you right now? Our salon customers have an average 20% spike in returning customers.”
The pitch should be short (no more than 3 sentences) and you should avoid any complex words or confusing sentences. Words like “utilize” and “generate,” for example, should be replaced with simpler words like “use” and “create. The point is not only to avoid words that could be outside their vocabulary, but you want your message to be fully digestible at a single glance.
4. The Closer – Give One Option
The final part of the email is where you give them instructions on how to proceed, also known as the “call to action.” They key to a good closer is that you only give one option and you make it very clear:
- “Let me know if you’re interested and I’ll send a brief overview of the service”
- “Please call 555-495-2394 if you’re interested and we’ll schedule a demo”
- “If you’re interested, check out a demo here on our website”
A common mistake salespeople make is giving too many options. You may think you improve your chances of hearing back by including your phone number, a link to your website, a physical mailing address, etc. But in reality you’re just confusing your recipient and hurting your chances of getting a response.
Using Insightly to Optimize Emails
At this point, you should have good rough draft of a sales email. Even when you follow all the expert advice, however, you’ll probably have to do some testing and make some tweaks before it’s perfect. You may be debating between a couple subject lines or closing lines, for example, and wondering which will give you the most responses.
To figure this out, you can run a split test: Take two different emails and send them to two different list of contacts. We recommend sending them through a CRM system like Insightly, since you can track how many recipients open the email and how many of them click links on the inside. (see more here) The other benefit to sending your sales emails through Insightly is that you’ll log all of your correspondence and you can immediately start tracking a deal when you get a response.
The Bottom Line: How to Write a Sales Email
Before you start sending out your emails, here’s a few additional tips to keep in mind:
- Don’t send an attachment unless it’s specifically requested.
- Don’t ask a question that requires a thoughtful response. Read over your message and make sure your recipient can respond with something as simple as “Yes I’m interested.”
- Avoid emailing on Monday mornings – messages sent at this time are least likely to be read. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are much better. Weekends are also surprisingly good, according to Hubspot. Since there’s fewer emails sent overall, there’s less competition to get your message read.
With that, you’re now well equipped to start sending killer sales emails. For more sales resources, including email templates and cold calling tips, check out our Sales and Marketing page for more sales resources.
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