Does your prospecting email template do this?

prospecting email template

Time to read: 2.5 minutes. Is your sales prospecting email template helping the prospect feel an urge to open-up and “just talk?” If not, try it. It works.

I’ll give you one of my best prospecting email templates to try. (see below)

Effectively reaching decision-makers using email means being brief, blunt and basic. But are you giving potential buyers reason to start talking about themselves? Brevity helps provoke a quick response. But helping the prospect feel an urge to open-up and “just talk” is key.

Helping them find an irresistible reason to hit reply and quickly share their pain, fear, worry or ambition helps customers qualify (or disqualify) themselves as buyers of what you’re selling.


Wait. Is prospecting with email effective?

Yes. But only if your subject line and message content sparks curiosity. If what you just said in the “first touch” email provokes curiosity, you’re in. If not, your done.

Delete key.

InMail is a big benefit for those investing in LinkedIn Sales Navigator. But for 95% of sellers it’s a bust. Identifying leads in the vast LinkedIn database has proven effective. But sparking conversations?

Not so much.

“We are reviewing tens of thousands of C-level profiles per month and it’s clear C-level are not engaging,” says Simon Marley, CEO of Growth Logic Ltd..

Mr. Marley is matching LinkedIn profiles to a database of C-level contacts. He reports:

  • top executives are hiding the fact they are Officer level on LinkedIn
  • 90% of executives show no signs of activity in the past 30 days on LinkedIn
  • 2% will add their email address or contact details to their profile
  • a huge number of C-level people are not listed on LinkedIn.

“Our experience shows C-level buyers are on the network but they are not engaging with other members,” says Marley who notes that most companies using LinkedIn to sell to other companies don’t want to be sold to via the platform.

So should you give up?

Don’t give up, try this

Give prospects an irresistible reason to start talking to you. Get opened with the best subject line. Then, prove your email isn’t spam. Finally, trigger the response. Here’s how it works for my students.

We humans are self-centered creatures. We love to talk about ourselves. It helps us feel like someone is listening! Your prospects want to talk about their pains, goals, fears or urgent objectives.

Here’s the rub. Think about it like a first date. Your potential life mate is sitting across from you. Remember: The more they talk about themselves the faster they:

  1. get comfortable with talking more with the person who is listening;
  2. start discovering reasons why you want to talk more, or not;
  3. realize if they are willing to act on the next step.

Here’s the biggie. Once a prospect starts realizing why they want to continue the discussion everything gets easier. Because why a buyer wants to talk more is connected to one thing.


Whether you help them in a LinkedIn Group or in an InMail, the moment you help prospects start talking about challenges, hopes and ambitions the more they begin to:

  • Understand if they’re willing to change (at all)
  • See investing in you (changing) as a path to stability and excellence
  • Experience your advice and assign value to it

When messaging prospects using the phone, email, LinkedIn are you helping them to start talking about themselves—as a means to break-the-ice and get a conversation going? If not, don’t worry. It’s an effective, yet overlooked digital sales prospecting method.

Because it’s so simple, so obvious.

Brief, blunt & provocative

You’ve got to be brief, blunt and provocative. Getting prospects to start talking about themselves in an email message may feel unnatural at first. But it works. Plus, it is a repeatable prospecting method that helps buyers qualify/disqualify themselves.

There are a handful of different ways to effectively spark and steer conversations with executive decision-makers. However, they all involve these characteristics. Your message must:

  • Quickly encourage introspection on the buyers’ current situation
  • Pique curiosity in how you might be able to help
  • Encourage hitting respond by being brief, blunt and focused on the buyer (not your benefits)

The main idea in your first-touch email is to give prospects an incentive to reply by revealing “the conversation already going on” in their mind.

The goal is not to get an appointment.

For example, can you think of a missing puzzle-piece that they don’t have right now—but should? Can you help them discover a fact about something important—that is probably unknown to them? Can you help them avoid an unseen danger or threat that will cause problems?

These are effective first-touch message writing starting points.

As your email exchange progresses, ask them if they’re willing to do something with this new found knowledge. Help them see how damaging lack of change is—and see the disruption change causes as a path toward excellence and stability.

We learn about this technique, exchange notes on effective prospecting email templates and get into other methods every few weeks. Join us at my next Email Writing Clinic for free help.

Provoke: One of my best prospecting templates

Here is one of my best prospecting templates. It’s from the managed print services industry. Managed print services is mostly a cost-savings opportunity for owners of large fleets of office copiers and printers. However, breaking into a cost-reduction discussion is problematic.

Most managed print service sellers are bombarding the potential buying market with messaging focusing on one issue: Cost reduction. It’s a non-starter.

However, one client I work with uses a clever approach to sparking conversations. He warns prospects about an issue they don’t know about—but should.

Data security. Avoiding data breaches. Here is the template. It performs very well and you can create your own version.

Subject: How secure are your printers?

Hi, [first name] …
Real quick—how secure are your copiers and printers at XYZ LLC? Did you hear about the Illinois law firm—sued because the janitor removed hard drives? He walked-away with hundreds of thousands of documents.

Are you doing everything possible to mitigate your risk?

I don’t pretend to know your situation, but I’m curious. How are you managing security of your printers/copiers at XYZ LLC?

Thanks for considering, [first name],

Need more templates like this? Here are 7 of my best

Don’t follow the ‘social selling’ pack

Giving first without expectation often results in wasted time and lack of leads. There. I said it. Nobody wants your white paper or ebook. And nobody wants to receive your long, self-centered email soliciting their business.

You know that. So stop sending these messages.

By structuring conversations to help customers understand why they want to talk they’ll engage deeply and consider buying from you.

Starting the conversation is often the most difficult prospecting challenge. And that’s why this methodology works.

Buyers are primed for uber-short, pithy conversation-starting emails. Yes, from strangers.

Remember: Buyers buy for their own reason, not yours. So the more you help potential customers realize their own reason for talking the faster they will self-qualify themselves for you.

Good luck! Need help with this? Join us in an upcoming InMail & Email Writing Clinic. (it’s free)

Photo credit: Alexandre Dulaunoy

Don’t invest in social selling training without knowing this


Time to read: 3.5 minutes. Jumping-in head first? Beware: Most social selling training investments failed to increase sales in 2015. Let’s quickly understand why most small, medium-sized and large corporations see poor results when investing in social selling training… and tools like LinkedIn Sales Navigator. This way you’re more likely to thrive in 2016.

I’ve learned 3 reasons why most social selling and Navigator strategies fail:

  1. Inappropriate training: Sales training focuses on technical know-how—overlooking effective communications methodology. (using the platform to spark conversations with buyers)
  2. Experimentation with InMail: Sellers use InMail as a message testing ground—rather than testing in a less costly & restricted environment. (standard email)
  3. Misguided content/messaging: Sellers use inappropriate message structure and follow-up cadence—rather than sparking replies by planting questions in minds of potential buyers.

Continue Reading…

How to make a sales appointment via email

how to make a sales appointment via email

Time to read: 2.5 minutes. I was stunned. Happy and stunned. Because I had figured out how to make a sales appointment via email. Yet it happened in a really weird way. I avoided asking for the appointment. Seriously. You should too. Instead, help the prospect self-qualify the appointment.

Through a quick exchange of short emails, prospects will become curious about your solution to their problem or goal. Curious enough to ultimately ask YOU for the appointment.

The more my clients and I practice this, the more appointments set. Can’t argue with that!

The short version

Success at making sales appointments via email is mostly about:

  1. not saying “too much, too fast” about you and NOT asking for the appointment;
  2. getting the prospect to tell you what is most important right now and
  3. sparking the buyers’ curiosity about how you might help them (not your solution).

Here’s the gist of what works: Reply to the prospect’s invitation (to talk about your “scratch to their itch”) by resisting the urge to talk about your product. Instead, help the buyer reveal “the conversation already going on” in their head.

Their real concern.

The best cold email templates I know (an example)

Here is a real life example and a proven cold email template.

(Bye the way, I give a handful of my best cold email templates to my coaching clients. I provide a few free to blog readers here.)

Ok. One reader of this blog named Connor took advice from me and turned it into a response. I love when that happens.

Connor emailed me saying, “Your technique for getting permission to have a longer conversation is working great. What I would like to know is what angle I should take once permission is given… or the curiosity has sparked a response.”

Here is the exact first touch / cold email template Connor used to earn the first response. 

Continue Reading…

Can improving your LinkedIn SSI be harmful?

improving linkedin social selling index

Time to read: 3.5 minutes. Should you improve your LinkedIn Social Selling Index (SSI)? Should you be measuring your sales team’s effectiveness using it?

I say no. Because a sellers’ broad use of LinkedIn matters less than productivity with it.

Unfortunately, LinkedIn is falling short with its SSI—placing more focus on a seller’s “raw activity” versus results. Beware: The SSI is largely a vanity metric.

“I imagine you can have a high Social Selling Index score and not sell a darn thing,” observes sales copywriter, Jeff Simmons of Jeff is right!

Here’s what I mean in more detail … and how to exploit the Social Selling Index wisely.

The dangers of LinkedIn’s SSI

Forget about how experienced you are with LinkedIn. As a seller, you only invest time in what matters most—setting more appointments and bringing leads to close, faster. Right? Thus, you want to avoid wasting time with vanity metrics.

LinkedIn’s SSI is one of these dangerous metrics.

Because the SSI encourages sellers to behave in ways most customers don’t respond well to.

One of my clients sums it up nicely. He said, “Is the noise sellers make on LinkedIn helping them set more appointments? As a buyer myself I cannot imagine it is. Yet I see my manager rewarding all the noise-making!”

“The SSI plays on the psychology that people want to compare themselves to others for belonging and get an ego boost out of it,” warns Colin Daymude, Director of Sales at Frontline Selling.

Continue Reading…

Cold email prospecting: Cutting through the B.S.

cold email prospecting

Time to read: 3 minutes. The Web is littered with HORRIBLE advice on cold email prospecting tips and strategy. Templates? Even worse. So here’s what I’ve learned works. No theory, just my (and my customers’) experience. A practical way to quickly fix your cold email templates.

Why your cold email isn’t working

Your cold email (first touch message template) is probably saying too much, too fast.

Remember, your goal is NOT to book a meeting when making first contact with a prospect. Using InMail? Standard email? Connecting on LinkedIn first?

Be warned: Asking for what you want, right away, will fail.

Here’s how to frame what may be plaguing your email prospecting technique:

  1. This is a first date. The meeting will come. Trust in it. Don’t rush.
    ATTRACT the meeting/demo to you. This way you …
  2. Let customers qualify themselves—so you don’t have to!
    This is the point of email prospecting. Scale-ability.
  3. You are irrelevant. ALL discussion about you is forbidden in email #1.

Continue Reading…

Lead nurturing on LinkedIn: Why it’s not working for you

lead nurturing linkedin

Time to read: 3 minutes. Sharing valuable content on LinkedIn—wondering where the sales leads are? Don’t feel bad. Most sellers are in the same position. A majority are sharing-and-sharing-and-sharing only to earn likes and shares. Yes, a good content marketing strategy includes sharing videos, white papers, articles and other helpful tidbits. However, constantly feeding … staying in front of customers is not an effective content marketing / social selling strategy.

Generating leads takes more. Enticing clients you’re nurturing to contact you takes more than showing up with knowledge they already have. This is a mediocre marketing strategy—not an effective LinkedIn social selling strategy.

Here’s why most sellers fail to spark leads when sharing content—and what to do instead when nurturing leads on LinkedIn.

Continue Reading…

How to use Facebook to generate leads

How to use Facebook to generate leads

Time to read: 3 minutes. Tired of struggling with how to use Facebook to generate leads? Drive prospects to your page and get them talking about themselves. First, grab customers’ attention and “ethically bribe” them to visit your Facebook page. Sure, use a contest … BUT … make sure you provide an incentive for prospects to talk about themselves.

Do what Amanda Kinsella of residential HVAC provider, Logan Services, has been doing for years now. She’s using Facebook to generate leads and tracking ROI to the penny.

So can you. I’ll show you how. 

Continue Reading…

The 1 way to always get appointments on LinkedIn

linkedin sales navigator training

Time to read: 3.5 minutes. Your success depends on being able to get appointments set faster. Knowing how to navigate Sales Navigator is not enough. Make sure your LinkedIn Sales Navigator training help reps get appointments set faster by:

  • teaching your team an effective communications process
  • showing them a copy-able, repeatable way to spark customers' curiosity in the seller

Many LinkedIn trainers teach outdated approaches--InMail templates that aren't effective.

Avoid asking for an appointment too soon

Example: Did you know the best way to get more appointments, faster, is NOT asking for the appointment in your first email? 

You'll get better response rates by using the first message to earn permission for a discussion.

Then, conduct the conversation (via email) in a way that creates an urge in the prospect to ask you for the appointment. Why? 

Because this helps you qualify leads faster.​

Sound crazy? Stick with me. I’ll even give you a template to make it easy. This is what I've learned while coaching my Sales Navigator customers.

Continue Reading...

LinkedIn’s InMail Policy Change: What to do next

linkedin inmail policy change

Time to read: 3 minutes. The new LinkedIn InMail policy change is in effect. Upset? Confused? InMail just got much more expensive for average sellers. However, top-performers are getting a nearly unlimited supply of InMail credits under the new policy. Just by making one small change to how InMail messages are written.

Yes, I said nearly unlimited. No, I’m not kidding, nor risking my integrity. You can do the same. I’ve done the research and tried this method myself.

There is a way to send 100 InMail messages and get 193 credits back. (for you to re-use again)

The LinkedIn InMail policy change (in plain English)

LinkedIn screwed up.

When InMail was introduced LinkedIn’s “guaranteed response” policy rewarded spammy messages. So, as of January, LinkedIn gives InMail credits (that you buy) back—BUT only for InMails that earn a response in 90 days.

This is radically new.

LinkedIn’s old InMail policy rewarded sellers who were not successful with InMail. LinkedIn’s new InMail policy change rewards you (only) for writing messages that get strong response.

Under the old system:

  • If you did not receive a response within a week, the InMail credit you purchased was given back
  • LinkedIn said this policy “guaranteed you a response”
  • Spam increased across LinkedIn since this policy rewards you for failing to earn response (whoops!)

For example, let’s say you purchased 50 InMails and sent them. A (poor) 10% response rate allowed you to earn credits and send over 400 InMails per month. Woah!

LinkedIn’s original policy increased the amount of spammy InMail messages being sent. The system rewarded it.

Continue Reading…