How NOT to Write a Sales Email
I receive a number of sales emails and correspondence throughout any given week. Some pique my interest, some I just brush off and ignore. But I received one the other day that was just plain BAD!
Upon first glance, the email copy may not seem as horrendous. Below, however, I share and dissect the message to show MSPs how NOT to write a sales email and provide tips for your next prospect send!
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I’ve stripped out the sender’s name and company, but here is the actual email they sent me after we told them we weren’t interested in their services:
I appreciate the follow-up and the insight.
Is there any particular reason as to why you do not think this potential program is a good fit for you and your team?
We are nothing if not flexible. We are certainly willing and able to develop a program that fits within your current budget and delivers the best possible sales opportunities for you and your team.
We are extremely confident that you and your team will be very pleased with the overall features, benefits and results our demand generation and business development programs have to offer.
As I had mentioned previously, prior to ruling our engagement as a non-fit, we would like to set up a quick call with you and your team so we may further introduce [Company Name] and provide you and your team with a better understanding of our program offerings.
What Do You See Wrong with This Email?
Here are a few things that I noticed:
1. I don’t think this email could be more generic
Do you have any idea what this company does based on this email? The only clues we have are “sales opportunities” and “demand generation”. You could probably plug in any sort of sales and/or marketing company into that [company name] and this email would work for them.
2. There are no proof points or data
This rep says that he/she is “extremely confident that you and your team will be very pleased with the overall features, benefits and results our demand generation and business development programs have to offer.”
What makes you that confident? Do you have case studies or proof points of people who have used your services? There is not one example or statistic (in this email nor in our previous correspondence) that this sales rep offered to us to prove that their solution was useful or high quality.
3. Why should I set up a call with you?
At the end of the email, this person says, “we would like to set up a quick call with you and your team so we may further introduce [Company Name] and provide you and your team with a better understanding of our program offerings.”
I’m sure this rep would love to schedule a call, but why would I? They don’t offer any reason as to why it’d be worth my time to set up a call with them.
4. They open it up for negotiation
In the second paragraph, he/she says “We are nothing if not flexible. We are certainly willing and able to develop a program that fits within your current budget…” However, this immediately opens up their services for negotiation. Instead of thinking about the value of what they provide, I’m immediately thinking about how much I can bid them down.
There are a number of other issues with this email but these are the ones that stand out to me.
How to Improve Your Sales Emails
In terms of ways to improve your sales communications, I think the above points speak for themselves. However, here are a few tests you can run on your own email or prospecting campaigns:
1. Make sure they’re specific
Try plugging in the company name of a competitor instead of your name. Does the email still make sense for them? If so, you probably need to work on your value proposition and define what makes you different as an IT Solutions Provider. Make sure this is well represented in your emails, call campaigns, web content, etc.
2. Used data or proof points
If not, develop a case study with one of your clients, or at a minimum get a quote as a testimonial. Any data you can reference is hugely valuable. We walk through how to build a case study in this blog post!
3. Focus on "you" NOT "I" language
Instead of saying “I would like to set up a call with you,” focus on what your prospect will gain from speaking with you. For example, “I think you’d be interested in hearing about what we did for [insert similar client]. Can we set up a brief call?”
4. Don't address budget too soon
Don’t put your prices up for negotiation in the prospecting phase. The conversation shouldn’t be about fitting your services into their budget, but about the value you can bring. Save any negotiation for prospects you have already engaged with and for those who are highly interested in your managed IT services.
HubSpot wrote a great blog post on How To Write a Sales Email People Want to Respond To. I recommend checking it out for more tips. Also, it should go without saying, that all emails should be gramatically correct with no misspellings to maintain your credibility. Before you hit send, have you made any of these errors?
Effectively Dealing with Sales Objections
I think the underlying issue with the above email is that this sales rep (or this company) doesn’t have an effective way to deal with sales objections. Every company faces sales objections, and it’s an incredibly important aspect of sales that you need to get right if you want to win new business.
In this case, our objection was that we don’t have time or budget for a program like this, which is something I’m sure MSPs have heard many times before.
There will always be some resistance, but what do you say when you get that response? Do you use a pre-canned, generic reply that doesn’t promise much (like the email above)?
Consider the common complaints or pushback that you receive from prospects, and then build a response plan that lets you address their concerns, while still positioning your business in a positive light. This will help establish trust and keep the conversation going until hopefully, they close!