6 Deadly Mistakes in Prospecting Emails

Prospecting emails can be very effective when done right and could lead to millions of dollars in your pipeline. However, the majority of sales prospecting emails sent remain unopened or unanswered. This happens because the salespeople give their prospects a bad first impression by making common email mistakes. In field sales, this will make-or-break your chances of getting a face-to-face meeting.

Here are some of those mistakes and how to fix them.

1. Tricking People into Opening

Your prospect is probably receiving over 50 emails a day from other salespeople. It's hard to stand out and capture their attention. The subject line is the first thing your prospect will see from you so it's important that you do you research and follow best practices. You should also keep in mind that common best practices might not be the best for you. Make sure you test, test, test.This is why salespeople often make the mistake of using clickbait subject lines to trick prospects into opening their emails.

It's understandable that you want your prospect to open your emails but this isn’t the right way. If you trick people once, they'll never trust you again. Your goal is to show that you understand your prospect and their problem and have a solution, not to mislead them with an enticing subject line.

Examples of clickbait subject lines are:

  • Your discount is expiring (when the recipient never received a discount or had any previous communication with you)
  • Re: your offer (when there was no previous conversation)
  • Have you seen this movie? (sounds like it's coming from a friend, but it's a promotional email)
  • Urgent: Update your information (deceptive about the urgency and purpose of the email)
  • Thanks for ordering from us! (when the prospect didn't order anything)

Avoid these tricks and focus on coming up with relevant, meaningful subject lines that identify the prospect's problem and hint that you have a solution.

2. Focusing on 'I'

No matter how hard salespeople try to avoid sounding salesy, they often focus too much on themselves. People receive a ton of these emails where the sender is talking about what they think, what they feel and what they can do. These emails are notoriously full of 'we' and 'I'.

Why should your prospect care about you, your company and what you have to say? The answer is, they shouldn’t and don't.

Ethel Thomas, an Email Marketer and business writer at Australian reviewer comments: “When you focus on what your prospect needs and how your offer can benefit them, you are establishing a personal connection and addressing their problems. When writing an email, stay away from 'I' and write like you would speak to that person if you had a one-on-one conversation”.

This approach will get you a personal meeting if your prospect believes that you understand them and know what it takes to make their lives better.

3. Not Following Up

On average, it takes eight emails for a salesperson to get a meeting with a prospect.

Don't make the mistake of not following up or giving up too soon. Take a deep breath and send a follow up email. Don't be annoying or intrusive – don’t accuse your  prospects of ignoring you. Instead, focus on improving the quality of your message and providing value, tailor it to suit your prospect and be consistent.

Phillis Wescott, a Sales Manager at Academized and Oxessays recommends: “Space out your emails to avoid being overwhelming – keep in mind that your prospect may not be ready to reach out or may not need your product or service just yet. But when they do, following up will make you the first one that comes to their minds.”

Learn more about the best practices for following up here.

4. Offering Too Much

When pitching to a prospect, salespeople often offer too many options and benefits which leaves the prospect confused or overwhelmed. This isn’t the impression you’re aiming for.

Instead of sending them a lengthy offer, try to focus on just one thing, the one problem that you can solve. It needs to be mapped to their specific needs and spark their interest. You never want to offer a prospect multiple options or different packages. If they aren’t interested in your initial proposal, you can offer them an alternative option once a meeting is scheduled.

5. Reaching Out to the Wrong Person

When you first get started with prospecting,  you often don’t know who the best contact is to send your prospecting email to. Sending it to the wrong person can seem lazy and won't get you any meetings. However, a little bit of research can help you find the right person in the organization.

The rule of thumb is that if the company doesn't have any designated sections for sales or something similar, you can confidently send an email to the CEO. Otherwise, find the right sales manager or representative. In the age of the internet and social networks like LinkedIn, this should be a breeze.

6. Not Making the Message Clear

Another mistake salespeople commonly make is not being clear in their emails. Formatting, proofreading and editing are necessary steps before sending sales prospecting emails. Luckily, there are tools that can help make this part easier:

  • State Of Writing and Via Writing – Getting the grammar right isn't always easy and mistakes happen to professionals as well. If you want to eliminate those mistakes, use these grammar guides to help you find and fix them.
  • Hemingway Editor - Copy and paste your email into this free tool  and get suggestions to make your email more clear, and easy to read.  It highlights lengthy sentences, unnecessary words and more so you can get your point across effectively.
  • Grammarly: This browser plug-in is like a free writing assistant. It provides suggestions and points out common spelling and grammar errors as you write. You can be more confident in your emails when you have a second pair of eyes on everything you write.

Final Thoughts

There are a lot of things you can be doing better in sales. Not fixing mistakes can affect your sales game and harm your success. When it comes to writing prospecting emails, those mistakes will cost you prospects and ultimately sales. However, by following these tips and making some slight changes, you can really tackle those deadly mistakes, write better sales emails and get more meetings.

When your prospects are interested and you're scheduling meetings, it's important that you optimize your time in the field. Learn how top sales reps are driving 20% less and selling 25% more with sales route planning:


About the Author: Freddie Tubbs is a marketing strategist at Paper Fellows. He also works as a business writer at Big Assignments and contributes articles to the Vault and Australian help blogs.

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