The concept of effective communication and its effect on sales success is nothing new to any sales department. The foundation of any successful sales person’s strategy must be to communicate value, gain trust, explain complex situations and products, and differentiate your company from competitors. Nowhere is this more important than in a sales email. There is a very small window of time in which to gain the reader’s attention and motivate them to take further action to engage with you and your company. Here are a few strategies that we use to make our emails more effective.
Knowing your audience
This is the first step in thinking about how to write your email. The factors that will catch the eye of an accountant, for example, are not necessarily the same as those that will motivate a CFO to learn more about you. Begin by thinking about your current customers. When those customers were still prospects, what were the factors that motivated them to engage with your company? What makes your company attractive to C-Level employees vs. mid-level managers?
If you’re not sure, ask them! A quick customer survey is a great way to learn what sets your company apart from your competitors, as well as the different factors that make you appealing in different levels and departments of your customers’ companies.
Let them hear it straight from the horse’s mouth
You know that your business offers a valuable product/service, but your prospects are hearing the exact same thing from each of your competitors. How do you set yourself apart in the eyes of your target base? An extremely effective way is to leverage the testimony of your existing happy customers. Hearing from your customers what problems your company was able to solve and the reasons they originally chose you over your competitors allows your prospects to see the value you provide in a unique way.
It is a common business practice to keep track of what others in the same industry are doing to make them successful. If you have a large, high-profile customer you can reach a large number of prospects that will be interested in what strategies that company is implementing. Even if your business focuses on smaller or local businesses, you can leverage that customer’s testimony to gain more customers in the same area, revenue group, and industry. Your prospects will find it extremely valuable to see what other businesses just like theirs are doing and why. Even simply stating the size of your large customer base tells your prospects that you provide something that is useful to a large number of people and you’re worth learning more about.
Once you’ve caught the attention of the reader, it’s tempting to jump straight to the end of the process and try to get them to buy right away. It’s best to avoid that temptation and ask for a small step from the prospect. The reader is much more likely to, say, reply to an email to learn more than they are to immediately commit to a purchase.
Keeping your “ask” small and easy will ensure that more people will take the next step to engage with you. Ask a question that defines the value you add and that the prospect is likely to say yes to, but try to make it as specific as possible. For example, if you provide commercial fleet tracking, ask the prospect if they would be interested in saving on fuel costs. Most companies with a fleet will be enthusiastic enough about that prospect to reply and begin conversations with you.
It can be easy to forget that there’s a person on the other end of an email. Make sure to include an introductory line at the beginning of your emails explaining who you are and why you are reaching out to the reader. Not only does that straight-forward approach inspire trust, it also shows your prospect that you are professional, honest, and value their time. You will immediately be personally engaged with your prospect.
Most businesses subscribe to the philosophy of if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. Even if your prospects are aware that they have a problem, they may not know how to solve it. Using emotional terms to relate to the prospect, telling them you understand their problem, and offering a solution to make their lives easier (or make them look good to their boss) is a powerful thing. Often people are afraid of change or of making the wrong decision, which allows these problems to perpetuate.
That’s where you come in to point out the cost of leaving the problem unsolved, motivate them to overcome this fear of change, and wait for them to choose the company that understands their challenges and offers an easy solution (that’s you!).
Include a specific reason
The “call to action” at the end of the email is one of the most important aspects of your message. You can provide an interesting and engaging email, but if you don’t inspire the reader to take further action, all is for naught. Luckily, this can be simple.
Provide the prospect with a specific reason why they should take the next step. If your goal is to set up a conversation, rather than simply asking for a discussion, include a simple explanation as to what benefits this discussion will provide to the prospect. For example, rather than “I’d like to set up a call to discuss your fleet management”, try “I’d like to set up a call to discuss how we have helped other companies like yours reduce their fuel costs by 40%.”
Leave it up to the reader
Make sure to include language that reminds the reader that the decision to engage further rests with them. People don’t like to feel that they’re being coerced or forced into engaging. Simply including a sentence like “if you think it would make sense to set up a call” or “let me know if you think your business could benefit from this service” ensures the prospect that you know that they know what’s best for their own business.
What do you do to make your sales emails more persuasive?
Drop us a line and let us know your ideas or get more ideas from us!