Sales Email Templates: This Is Where You'll Get Stuck
Sales email templates don't work. Personalized messages that can be scaled do.
Nothing screams “impersonal” more than a template email script. Yet most of us (me too) use templates. The trick is to slightly personalize them.
So Why Isn't It Working?
Why is your carefully-crafted, brief-blunt-and-basic, “first touch” cold email message not earning response from prospects?
You are probably:
- Researching companies and contacts on LinkedIn.
- Focusing the message on the buyer's goal or problem, not your solution.
- Piquing interest with a case example that adds value.
- Provoking prospects to talk about themselves — not about buying (yet).
- Using referrals when possible to warm the prospect up.
So what gives?
Full stop. I'm not talking about lazy forms of personalization — the ones that seem personalized to you. You know exactly what I'm talking about: broad observations that apply to groups of prospects. They scale nicely.
But that's why they don't work.
Your personalization must be:
- Specific: Make an observation about the company or prospect that shows you aren't just spamming buyers.
- Researched: Research takes time. Taking time to research is rare. Spamming is common.
When real personalization is applied, your email screams “this isn't spam, I did my homework on you” to the reader. Literally.
3 Reasons Your Value-Added Email Doesn't Work
It's likely your message (at quick glance) looks like what's already flowing into your buyers' inboxes. And these messages are mainly from your competitors. You're blending in, from subject line to first sentence and onward.
Your personalized email still looks too much like what prospects habitually delete.
And that is a shame. You deserve better.
Here are three of the most common problems I see plaguing my seller students:
- Subject line is too specific, and common. It reveals too much about the contents.
- Subject and message are screaming, “canned/impersonal sales pitch ahead!”
- Your value-added is not provocative and your message is still not brief enough.
If your message requires scrolling on a mobile device, it's still too long. Chew it down even more. I know ... crazy, right? Try it.
If your subject line is too specific, prospects will not be curious enough to open the message. Likewise, if it reads like 90 percent of the inbound emails from your competitors do — you're sunk!
Example of a Failing Cold Sales Email
Below is an actual email from one of my most diligent students. We'll call him Johan to protect his privacy and change the company names, etc.
Johan sells a way to help businesses with large fleets of vehicles manage them — solving a wide variety of problems and reducing costs. His industry is called vehicle telematics. His target buyers are typically Operations Directors and business owners.
Notice how Johan is doing a lot correctly — following my guidelines. But every word counts. There are reasons why this message is sabotaging him.
Subject: Achieving your sustainability vision — how important is it to reduce CO2?
Recently spoke with Mary Fletcher who recommended getting in contact with you.
Following XYZ Company's charity and blog ... reducing CO2 by 7.5 percent each year is clearly an important company goal. Achieving this while also increasing the efficiency and reducing overall costs of your fleet is also no doubt a key area of focus for you.
ABC Food Service recently implemented an unusual but very effective solution by partnering with MyCompany's Telematics.
Would you be interested in having a further conversation about this?
Here's what is sabotaging this email's subject line.
- One doesn't need to open the message to understand what's inside. There is no curiosity factor.
- It is the kind of subject line buyers see daily in their inbox. They delete them out of habit.
- It signals “sales pitch ahead” by mentioning what they need. Instead, pique curiosity.
Here's what sabotages the message copy:
- The opening referral is not connected to “the big why” (why the referral is relevant).
- The second sentence re-states what the buyer already knows. This encourages deletion. It does not prove you’re smart. Instead, move faster and provoke.
- It uses words like solution and implement. Avoid marketing speak at all costs.
- The seller sounds desperate. Avoid trying to persuade. Rather than say very effective, just say effective. Don't write like a marketer.
- It asks for a conversation. Instead, provoke the reader to desire one. Then ask if they want to hear more about the provocation itself.
The Email Johan Should Have Sent
Do you see the difference between the above email and this?
Mary Fletcher said you would be interested in how ABC Food Service reduced CO2 -- just as you aim to (by 7.5%). They used an unusual but effective strategy.
Would you like to hear more about how they did it?
The above email is outrageously short — and provocative. Look at it. It just screams “easy to read and reply to”. It's so short you don't need to scroll on your mobile device to read it. See that?
Plus the message:
- Proves the sender has researched the prospect.
- Wastes no time connecting Mary's referral to why this email is happening.
- Connects the buyer's future goal with a competitor's current success.
Brief. Blunt. Provocative.
Notice the call-to-action. We don't ask for the meeting; instead, we ask if this provocation is valid and relevant.
Want to shock your reader? (Say yes.) Don't ask for meetings.
Instead, ask for conversations that could lead to meetings, when and if a meeting is right. Put the buyer in control.
Do you see how powerful the difference is?