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Why Selling without Email is like Paddling a Boat without Oars


When email became mainstream decades ago, it became clear to salespeople how valuable of a tool it could and would be in the sales process. Sales folks went from time intensive in-person meetings and phone communication, to utilizing quick emails to efficiently spark the attention of prospects. Yet even though email remains the preferred method of communication for most customers and prospects, many sales folks fail to use it to their best advantage. Selling without using email to its fullest potential is like paddling a boat without oars. It’s simply impossible to propel yourself forward.

To use email as a powerful break-in tool, we suggest following the expert advice of Sales and Marketing expert Jill Konrath, author of AGILE SELLING, SNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies. Jill recommends three “do’s” and three and “don’ts” of break-in emails.

DO: Consider the prospect’s point of view
Many salespeople have little or no understanding of what it’s like to be in their prospects’ shoes. The folks you’re selling to might read 200 or 300 emails a day, and wear a variety of hats within their organization. If you only have a split second or two to break in with an email, make it interesting enough to stick. The goal of a break-in email should be to get it read or forwarded to the right person—ideally a decision maker.
DO: Structure your sales pitch for success
There are a few standard rules to following when structuring a sales pitch for email. Generally speaking, your initial break-in email should be four sentences, three paragraphs and include no attachments and only one link.
DO: Send video via email
Sending short, personalized videos to prospects can create an increase in open rates when sent via email. When ClearSlide started creating slides with videos to target prospects, we found that view times increased by 50% and forward rate moved to 70%. Sales reps are able to gain trust with prospects quickly when video is used, as it immediately puts a face with a name and gives the sales process a personal touch.
DON’T: Send a bad sales message
Generic and wordy messages—like “we offer a full breadth of services” or “we can handle all your needs”–don’t add insight on what you’re actually offering to prospects. These messages simply won’t resonate with decision makers who are looking to hire a specialist, not a jack-of-all-trades.
DON’T: Overuse adverbs and adjectives
Replace adverbs and adjectives like leading-edge and award-winning with real results and use cases that tell your story. Include details on industry trends and how they relate to the prospect’s industry, expert advice or case studies in your initial break-in email.
DON’T: Forget to include a next step
There’s nothing worse than getting to the bottom of an email and realizing the next steps are fuzzy. If you want a meeting or a phone call—ask for it. Be honest and transparent and don’t forget to tell your prospect what they should do next, or chances are they won’t do anything.

Emailing is a powerful tool for salespeople, when used correctly. You wouldn’t paddle a boat without oars, so why sell without the power of break-in emails?

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