5 Phrases That Poison Sales Prospecting Emails
Salespeople who want to strengthen their LinkedIn InMail or sales prospecting email technique often seek advice from colleagues, managers and experts. That’s a good thing. Self-improvement is a noble pursuit.
But not all advice is good. In fact, some of it is downright awful. It actually hurts reps who implement these “helpful” tips.
Whether you're using LinkedIn InMail or standard email when prospecting new business, I know what you're after: response from potential buyers.
Over the last year I'm seeing one prevailing cold emailing trend — separating successful sellers from those who struggle to set meetings. Being lazy. I mean really lazy. Taking no risks and sounding like 99 percent of inbound emails.
Stop Sounding Like Everyone Else
Want exceptional results? Invest time in exceptional practices. Most of all, get the heck out of the box. Stop blending in with the deluge of terrible, easy-to-spot (and delete) cold email messages coming at your prospects daily.
Here are five popular email phrases that may be sabotaging your effort. These appear regularly in email messages prospects love to delete.
How many of these are you — or your team — using?
1. I Hope You Don't Mind ...
As in, “I hope you don’t mind me reaching out to you through LinkedIn.” Or “I hope you don't mind my asking.” Yes, even “I hope today finds you well.” These phrases are completely unnecessary in most cases. They clutter your message and waste precious time.
Believe it or not, prospects care less about your being polite. They certainly don't care about what you hope for! They want you out of their inbox. Because their experience cannot be reasoned with.
Most of their inbox is noise. Garbage. Un-researched, copy-and-pasted spammy messages from desperate sellers.
They want the noise (you're caught up in) out of their inboxes. Thus, you're forced to stand out from everyone.
You're forced to risk them minding. Get over it — and get started with a provocation rather than asking for a full-blown conversation.
2. Would You Be the Correct Person?
Or “Would you mind pointing me in the right direction?”
We often don't know who the decision-maker(s) and/or influncers are. Got it. But in this digital age, doing homework is simple. Easy. Nearly effortless as compared to decades past.
Point blank: Asking a prospect to do your homework is becoming increasingly dangerous. You risk looking lazy. You also blend in with the noise inside your recipient’s inbox.
Any idea how many “referral asks” your contact is receiving each week? Too many! They don't need another seller asking for guidance about who (inside their company) you can start a discussion with.
That's not their job — it's yours. Get to it.
That said, Dan Frost, a business development professional at Simplicity Corporation, says asking for a referral works in some cases.
“... if it's framed properly ... but you'd better off mentioning who you think is the next best option after doing some research, says Frost.
Isaac Liebes, a seller at Green Light Energy Conservation LLC, says asking for a referral does work when you provide incentive. He suggests:
- approaching someone who actually has the ability to point you in the right direction
- presenting information that motivates the recipient to reply — even if the recipient is the wrong contact.
The key, Liebes says, is presenting a benefit to the organization. In other words, if information within your message is strong enough it provides incentive to the recipient to put you in touch with the best contact.
3. As You Probably Know ...
Prefacing what you're about to say wastes precious time. Just say it. Research tells us you have less than 15 seconds to provoke a reply in a cold email. Phrases like “I'm in touch today because ...” wastes time and encourages deletion.
Tell your prospect why you're in touch. No need to preface. Speak boldly, quickly and get to-the-point without delay. This helps the reader feel an urge to reply. Mostly since the message stands out from others in their inbox.
4-5. I Would Love To or I Look Forward To
Or “I would enjoy.” What you love, would enjoy or look forward to isn't valuable to the other side. You may think they sound polite, but these phrases make you sound desperate. Beware: Don't sound like you care too much.
They know you would love 15 minutes of their time. They know you look forward to their response. They know you would enjoy giving them a demo or free trial. No need to tell them about your love, hope or eagerness.
These empty phrases make you sound:
- common (spammy)
- pushy (typically the ask is too big, too soon)
Yes, desperate. Many of my most successful students last year are targeting the word “please” for elimination — and finding new ways to strengthen their tone.
Be Pithy, a Little Odd and Slow It Down
Few of us mind messages from a stranger. Especially short, pithy missives. We'll make a quite reply to surprisingly different notes. Odd emails. Also, human beings are easily provoked by messages that seem valuable.
Thus, go for a reaction, not a conversation. Slow it down. Don't rush the meeting. Don't ask for one at all!
Make your message potentially valuable. Let the reader smell it — without fully tasting.
Avoid attempts at being obviously valuable. I know, you've probably heard it's important to do so ... to present obvious value. But this can, on a cold approach, sabotage. Instead, help them think, “Hmm ... this is potentially worth hitting reply and learning more about.”
That's the trick. This creates (good) tension. Copywriters refer to this kind of technique as an “open loop.”
Overall, the idea is to help prospects qualify (or disqualify) themselves faster via email (as compared to phone).
Here's what it looks like:
- Use email as a means to grab attention, spark curiosity. Both are important pieces.
- Once you have that curiosity keep it going. Once the customer replies asking for more details give a few more — but only enough detail to temporarily satisfy their curiosity.
- This "give-and-take" can span two to five or even seven emails. Within this series of messages create tension — wherein the customer is tempted to short-circuit the email exchange and request a meeting.
Thus, an exchange of emails is a faster way to qualify the customer. The potential buyer qualifies themselves — via email — rather than wasting your precious time on the phone.
Trust me your prospects don't care how polite you are. However, they do care about tone. Sounding like a marketer is a sure-fire way to get deleted. But otherwise your email is just another cold email message from a stranger.
So make your email surprising. Different. Odd. Potentially valuable. Provocative!
There are good reasons why your cold email and InMail messages aren't earning response from potential buyers.
Formatting is important. No doubt. Brief, blunt and basic email approaches are essential. But beyond formatting basics word choice is increasingly important to earning response with sales prospecting email messages.
What has your experience been?