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 they 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 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.

Photo credit: Alexandre Dulaunoy

Jeff is the authority on starting conversations with busy people. As founder of Communications Edge Inc. he teaches a proven, effective technique to spark buyers curiosity in sales outreach & marketing messages. He's an accomplished entrepreneur, having co-founded the Google Affiliate Network and what is today the Performics division of Publicis Groupe. Jeff served as adjunct digital marketing faculty at Loyola University’s school of business. His book, Off The Hook Marketing: How to Make Social Media Sell for You, is first to offer businesses a clear, practical way to create leads and sales with technology platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and blogs.

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