This post originally appeared on Jill Konrath’s website and is republished here with permission.

There’s no way around it. Email has to be a core part of your prospecting strategy. Decision makers rarely answer the phone and seldom get back to you when you leave a message. But with the overwhelming amount of information flooding inboxes today, every single word in your email to a decision maker has to be carefully thought out.

Most of the salespeople I talk to really struggle with “what to say” in a prospecting email. Below is an example of a typical (bad) prospecting email I regularly receive from salespeople.

I know the guy was trying hard to get business, but all he got from me was a big DELETE. And, truth be told, he doesn’t have a clue that he blew it because he worked so darn hard to craft the perfect message.

Check it out, then use my Email Message Evaluator to find out if your prospecting emails are up to the mark.

Example of an All-Too-Common Bad Email Prospecting Message

Here’s his message with my commentary in italics:

Dear Jill,

Not sure if you can help me, but thought you could possibly point me in the right direction. (Nice … I’m willing to help people.)

Would you happen to know who in your organization would be responsible for diagnosing and solving productivity issues related to your Website, and Internet & Mobile Marketing – specifically, customers not able to find you on the Internet (unless they know the company name to search for), low traffic volume, or small leads to customers conversion ratio?

(He’s got to be kidding. First off, one check on my website would reveal that I’m the boss. So clearly he’s just prospecting. Secondly, if he’s selling website services, it’s a crime that he didn’t take a look. He has no credibility. And, I got totally lost in that long, rambling sentence. It was too complex for me to easily figure out.)

I have partnered with a company, and we specifically help companies solve these types of issues. Any help you could provide would be very graciously appreciated.

(A reasonable paragraph, but he lost me in previous one.)

I am co-hosting a Free webinar that reveals “How to Get 100 Customers in 100 Days” and would like to invite him/her to join me on the webinar. Just go to www.mywebsite.com to register your seat for the webinar.

(Total overkill. Way too much to put into one email. Ugh!)

After you watch the webinar, please let me know where do you think we should go from here?

(Is he nuts? He wants me to suggest the next step. This guy doesn’t have a clue that it’s his responsibility to take the lead.)

Warmest regards,

Hapless Sales Rep

P.S. Preview the Mobile Apps I build for Individuals, Businesses, and Organizations at http://www.mywebsite.com/app

(Help! Now he’s trying a 3rd way to entice me to connect with him. I can only handle one at a time.)

He was trying to be kind and provide helpful information. What he didn’t think about is that I have a million emails sitting in my inbox that I’m desperately trying to get through as fast as possible. My to-do list is overflowing, and by asking me to do all kinds of things he’s putting even more pressure on me. It stresses me out, so the easiest thing to do is DELETE it into oblivion.

What Can Happen When You Send A Good Email Message

So what does it take to capture a decision makers attention via email? Is it even possible to craft an irresistible message that compels potential prospects to immediately hit “Reply” and request a meeting with you?

Yes, it is. People just like you have crafted successful prospecting emails.

For example:

  • One seller sent an email to the CEO of a company and just eight minutes later got a return message asking for a conference call.
  • Another salesperson had been trying unsuccessfully to reach a decision maker for months. When she changed her messaging, she got a request for a meeting 30 minutes later.
  • An inside salesperson used these strategies to set up meetings with marketing VP’s. While his competitors were battling it out in purchasing, he’d get the business with no competition.

Tools to Help You Improve

Email prospecting is a skill that takes practice and strategic thinking to master. To get started, use my Email Message Evaluator to discover what you’re doing that’s creating your own problems. Then, download my Email Sales Kit to find out how to change your messages so you can set up that very important meeting.

The key to success is to put yourself in the mind of your prospect. If you think more about what they want to hear vs. what you want to say, you’ll get better responses.