5 tips to open a sales dialogue with effective sales email

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About a quarter of a seller’s working day is spent writing emails and messages. That’s not too bad, but much of this work is often not effective. For instance, if the email is not perceived as relevant to the recipient, it usually ends up in the deleted mail folder.

The average response rate for sales mail is approximately 1 per cent. In other words, if you send 100 sales messages to your potential customers, there will be one that answers back.

So how do you write a good sales mail that is relevant and resonates with the recipient and thus gives more answers?  Here are my 5 top tips.

1. Make it personal and relevant – it’s about them, not you!

It’s not hard to figure out a generic mail where the name of the previous recipient has just been replaced with yours.

Are you guilty in sending those kinds of emails? There is nothing wrong with having templates that you can use, but don’t use it as a standard template that you spam out in the wild. You do not want to be “the annoying seller” for that kind of salesperson is just not that effective.

Ask yourself: Would you like to reply to an email from an unknown seller whose product you do not know and you have not expressed interest in?

No, I thought so.

So how do you make your emails personal and relevant?

If you do not already have an indication, that your sales topics only have a particular interest in you and your business, then do yourself the favour of at least to google them.

Find out if you have common interests or if you have common knowledge about whether there are any exciting news in their business that you can address or comment on. Perhaps they have a blog that you can check for exciting content. In other words; make sure you have a proper picture of who they are before you approach them.

A dry representation about you or your business is completely irrelevant to your prospect in this barely existing relationship. So make sure that the inquiry is about them.

Here are 3 examples:

Hello Peter,

I saw that we share the same interest in sales and marketing in [relevant group on LinkedIn]. Did you see our share last week regarding lead generation? What do you think is the biggest challenge in relation to that topic?

Yours sincerely


Hello Jenny,

[Joint Contact] mentioned that the services we have with (Common contact) could be interesting for your company as well. What is your focus this year on IT environment?

Yours sincerely


Hello Paul,

I saw that you are launching a new service. It looks really exciting! Perhaps you want to grow quickly within that area, have you thought about how you want to do that?

Yours sincerely,



Once you have typed your mail, use the “So What?” Test on it. If the prospect reads your mail and thinks: “So what?” Then you’ve lost that prospect.

Each email you send must always create value for the prospect or appeal them in any way.

2. Subject line – More important than the content of the mail?

Sellers spend a lot of time on the contents of their emails, but if the subject line does not work, the recipient will never read the content.

Same rule as mentioned above: Keep it relevant, personal, and make sure that it appeals to them.

Refer to your reason to contact the subject field as well.

  • [Joint Contact] recommended that I contact you, Anne
  • I read your blog post about  [ Title] and would hear …
  • Congratulations on your new role, Terry!

3. Keep it short

As you may have reviewed from the above examples, your sales messages should be kept short. Your recipients are most likely as busy as you. Therefore, keep the email simple, relevant and start a conversation right away.

Tip: If you want to make a killer email, send a personal greeting on video. The recipient will feel a much greater relationship with you because of the face and it becomes clear that the email is special to him

Make sure the recipient does not have to scroll to see the entire mail. First, send the mail to yourself and take a look at it. Ask the question:  “Would I be interested in replying to this mail?”

Do not forget to open the mail on your phone as well. As you probably know, there are more people reading emails on the mobile now so there is a big chance that your email also will be first opened on a mobile.

4. What is the purpose of your mail?

Sellers often see cooperation with a company when they send an email. Very fine, but set some realistic goals with the mail before sending it.

Ask yourself: Why do I send this mail? What do I expect to get out of it? Be humble; your recipient is not a fish that you can throw a little line and then they bite. I would recommend that the goal in the first place is something as simple as: “Get a response.” or “book a meeting.”

Also, remember to explicitly state what you want the recipient to do. Would you like to show them some material relevant to them, then type it in the mail, and send links or attach files and tell them what you want them to do afterwards.

You definitely will not win a customer solely by sending an email, no matter how good the mail is, I think we can agree. In B2B and larger organisations, there is always a lot more required, so take it easy. Be his adviser and sparring partner instead of being a seller.

5. Take the relationship to the next level

Sharing information is great and you will appear credible and relevant if you take the time to be advising rather than selling.

Be careful so you do not end up being ‘friend-zoned’ by prospects who receive lots of free advice and guidance, and then nothing happens. If you do not end up selling to them, keep in mind what value it might bring in the future for you to help them. Not all consultancy work can and will end with sales, there are also other relationships that can give value to you and your business.

Of course, that does not mean that you should spend all your time on leads that never become customers. Have your feelers out and do not be afraid to claim something back when such prospects ask you for favours.

For example, if you are invited to a meeting, you may want to ask the prospect to prepare by watching a video and / or reading some material before organising the meeting. Follow up on whether they’ve done it. If they have not done it, do not spend much time at that meeting (or maybe not at all!), because they may not be interested enough – and this is where you should consider whether you should spend more time on them at all.

Important Key factors for sales emails

  • Always have a purpose when sending a sales mail
  • Research your recipients before sending anything to them
  • Be personal and friendly
  • Speak into the world of your recipients and not of your own
  • Perform a “So What” test on your sales mail.
  • Finish your mails with a call to action (what you want them to do) and a question so they know what to do once they’ve read the mail


Get started! Enjoy.

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