Best Practices For Emailing Prospects

In general, when emailing a prospect, there are a few key elements that need to be present, regardless of the purpose of the email:

  1. The Subject of the Matter – The subject you choose to use for an email is important, because it acts as the first gatekeeper preventing you access to the prospect. If your subject is not compelling enough for them to click on, they will never even see your carefully crafted email.

    When coming up with a subject, try to avoid being cutesy or overly formal. Think about the emails you receive from people you already know. You want the subject to have that kind of direct, but informal feeling to it. The most popular subject line ever was an email the Obama campaign sent out with the subject line, “Hey”. It generated millions of dollars in campaign donations, and it all started with that single word.

    Examples: “To answer your questions” “Is this right?” “Sorry I missed you.”

  2. Why Me, Why Now? – when emailing prospects, particularly out of the blue, it’s important to establish within the first paragraph the answer to these two questions. I like to use the word because, as there have been studies that show it is an effective way to gain quick agreement, even if the reason is nonsensical.

    (Example: Hi John, Andrea here from HOA Strategies. I just wanted to reach out to you real quick because I drive past Sunset Cove HOA in my morning commute every day and I have always admired your community…)

  3. What’s the Next Step? – every sales email should ALWAYS include a call to action. The prospect needs clear direction of what action you expect them to take next. Always include an ask, whether it is to request a meeting to be scheduled, to plan a follow up email or phone call, to schedule a visit, or to request an answer to a question.

    (Example: It was good to talk to you today John, I am including a copy of my notes for your review. I know you’re meeting with the rest of the board on Thursday, so how about I give you a call on Wednesday, just to go over any last-minute questions so you are prepared when you talk with them. Is after 2pm a good time to call?)

  4. WII.FM – no sales email is successful if the person reading it does not see value in it. Imagine that any time a prospect opens a sales email, their first question is, ‘What’s in it for me?’. You need to you’re your email content about the person reading it, not about your company. Building value is vital to getting to the next phase of the conversation.

  5. Change the Channel – sometimes, a board member will want the answer to a million questions in a single email. This is a good sign that they are interested, but it also probably means that they are shopping around, copying and pasting the same list of questions to several area management companies. What you absolutely do NOT want is to put all your business in writing for them to use as a bargaining tool with your competitor. Also, getting bogged down trying to make a sale over email like that is a recipe for disaster, and a waste of your time. What you need to do is get them to agree to switch channels, meaning to move this conversation from email, to something else, like a phone call or an in-person meeting.

    (Example: Hi John, thanks for reaching out. I would be more than happy to answer all your questions, but I have some follow up questions myself. Would you mind if we took this conversation to the phone? I think it would be easier to talk this out!)

  6. Mirror, Mirror – behavioral psychology tells us that people are more receptive to others that think and act like them. Mirroring is a sales tactic that takes cues from the prospect to match their behaviors.

    So if your prospect is a southern belle that always addresses your emails as ‘Dear Andrea’, and signs off sincerely, her name, then you should match that address. Similarly, if they are a busy C-suite executive and their emails are short and abrupt with no address or signoff, yours should be the same.

  7. KISS – I feel like this is obvious, but I have gotten so many emails from salespeople that just vomit their content into my inbox that I feel it bears mentioning. Always try to keep your prospect wanting more from you, not dreading the next time they see your name in their inbox.

    Just because you have 10 attachments that may be useful to them doesn’t mean you need to attach them all to your initial email. Keep it simple.