A quick starter guide to crafting powerful prospecting emails that work to guarantee you promising responses

A lot of businesses focus on building marketing programs that bring opportunities (e.g. leads) to their front door. Advertising, SEO strategy, content marketing, online sales funnels, drips emails—all of these tools are great, but sometimes it’s necessary to step up to the plate and send a direct message to the person. The problem is sending prospecting emails that work to get responses.

Believe it or not, landing big prospects takes more work than buying ad space. You have to send out a direct line and make luck happen for you.

prospecting emails that work

How to avoid writing prospecting emails that work against you

Before we dig into our best tips on writing that initial sales email, let’s first explain some common pitfalls. Know this: a lot of people fail miserably at prospecting. It’s a skill that’s rapidly disappearing from the business world due to over-reliance on marketing, PR, and weak social media strategy.

If a dry spell hits and sales stagnate, business owners decide to give prospecting emails a shot. The results? Terrible writing, no preparation, and plenty of desperation.

1. Do not send the same email to multiple prospects.

If someone decides to read it (which most likely will not happen in this case), they will only feel offended that you consider them a number in your prospect list.

2. Do not apologize for reaching out.

Business owners like doing business with people and finding opportunities. If you have a legitimate service and believe your prospect will benefit by working with you, don’t apologize for it. That only sends a weak message and doesn’t deserve a response.

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3. Do not write a formal request for a business opportunity acquisition.

Formality doesn’t perform well. You’re not writing a Statement of Purpose to your college admissions department. It’s a simple email, in simple language, with a simple (but intriguing) message.

prospecting emails that work

How to write prospecting emails that work and garner promising responses

Keep in mind that even great emails don’t always get read. However, your skills will improve with practice and time, and you’ll always have this option to gain more business opportunities. Write out a few “test” emails to get used to it, and then send one out to that big prospect.

1. Keep it short and sweet.

Let’s face it: patience is thin when it comes to emails. Business owners get hundreds of them per month (or even per week) and it’s a never-ending stream of junk. The best thing you can do is get the point as fast as possible. No fluff. No long intros.

The main things you want to get across within the first ten seconds:

  • Who you are
  • Why you’re sending this email
  • How you can add value or fix a problem for your reader. Be very specific.

Nail these points down in ten seconds, and the recipient will read the rest of the email too.

2. Show that you did your homework.

Prospecting emails that work best tend to have a personal touch. They’re not vague messages for generalized audiences. They’re unique to the people who are opening and reading them. Why? Because people want to do business with people who care and put in the time to understand. First impressions are everything, so how will you present yourself?

Make a few brief points about how they can benefit from working with you. Be specific and mention the issues you’ve seen and how you could remedy them. Remember: Victory is in the details. Keep it brief, but make it super valuable.

3. Write a subject line that gets people to open and look.

Experts suggest that mentioning the prospect’s business or personal name in the subject line is a good way to catch attention. Truthfully, there is no surefire way to write a perfect subject line. But, that said, there are few things to stay away from, and a few tips that might work.

  • Stay away from spam indicators. Email providers have built-in programs to filter out spam messages before they reach you. Common signals are things like exclamation points, promotional content, and words like “savings” and “offer” and “sales”.
  • Don’t try to be cute or overly smart. You’re not going to see good reactions from a subject line that reads, “Two mice walk into a bar…” You will likely make a fool of yourself or offend somebody. Just keep it natural.
  • Start with your main point. One way to catch attention is to say exactly why you’re emailing that person in a quick, one-line summary. For instance, if you’re a solar installer sending to a commercial business owner, “Better Energy Solutions for X Company”.

4. Give a reason to respond.

A hook is the only way you can hope for a response. It’s the essential part for prospecting emails that work. Without a hook that reels in the interest, you won’t catch anything. Don’t make the mistake of ending your email with a soft close like, “Let me know if I can help out” or “Anytime you want to speak, I’m available”.

No, no, no. That’s lazy. You have to be more action oriented.

A great hook uses your selling proposition and the client’s demonstrated problem as bait. And you have to write it with a sense of immediacy. You’re saying, “How I can help right now?”

Once again, if you were a solar installer looking to start a dialogue with a commercial business, you could end with, “If you’re electric bill is over (X amount), I guarantee I can lower that rate. Do you want to talk more about your energy options? I’m free tomorrow at noon.”

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Have any tips to writing effective emails that get responses? Share your expertise in our comments section!