Templates don't work

Provocative, customized 'Spark Formulas' do

John Doe UI/UX Designer

Jeff Molander

Sales communications coach & CEO, Communications Edge Inc.

Trusted by brands like:


Think about the last spammy, templated message you received.

How quickly did you delete it?

How easy was it for you to spot?

Was it the subject line—warning you about contents of the message? (a terrible pitch)

Or did the subject line try tricking you into opening it? Did you get angry ... or laugh to yourself because the first sentence was intellectually offensive?

A better interruption technique

Your email is an interruption. So make it SUPER short. Whether you're starting from cold or trying to continue a conversation; with email it's gotta be brief, blunt and basic ... and damn provocative.

I admit, provoking response isn't "cut-and-paste-easy." But it isn't brain surgery either.

The Spark Selling method works. It is based on years of helping sellers start more conversations using cold email messages, LinkedIn and calling/voicemail.

I've learned a lot from experience—and from my customers.​ 

Bottom line: My students having the most success use a "flexible template" approach. ​

Effective templates help you customize faster—not send faster.

For example...

A Tailored interruption technique

Subject: exposing

Ron, noticing you're investing in Challenger selling training for the account team. Are you open to exposing them to conversation-starting email provocations that start client conversations?

Not sure if a new communications technique is a fit for SLW. It's a little unorthodox, but effective.

Do you have a way to decide if the team needs help starting conversations when prospecting, Ron?

Best regards,
Jeff Molander

Subject line: less than 5 words, unusual, contains tension, provokes "exposing what?"

Opener: No salutation, states observation (proves research), asks for open-ness about related challenge. 

Trigger: Applies negative reverse and keyword trigger (unorthodox but effective).  

Closer: Asks un-biased question that leads the client to examine his decision-making process. (avoids leading Ron to answer in way that makes himself vulnerable to a sales discussion)

Will Tailored or Targeted work, for me?

Do you know your market well? Their pains, worries, fears and goals?

​Are you monitoring competitors' email techniques & messages?

If you answered yes to the above this increases odds the Spark Selling method will help you.

The Tailored (one-to-one, personalized) and Targeted (one to many) technique is most effective when combined with your strengths.

Want to apply this technique in your setting? Join us in an upcoming workshop.

Oh... and bye the way. If you take advice from marketing pros on creating sales prospecting messages read on. This is probably 80% of the problem and I can help :)

Customize faster

Remember: Effective Tailored email templates help you customize faster—not send faster.

To start, use Tailored. Effective "first touch" email and cold InMail messages are slightly customized based on 5 factors.

Think of them as questions:

1) Who are you selling to and how do they buy?

2) What exactly are you selling?​

3) What do you know (certainly) about prospects?

4) What are your strengths? (eg. do you have a provocative story/fact... case example do you have to work with)

5) What are your competitors flooding buyers' inboxes with lately?

Appropriate (effective) subject lines and message creation becomes easier when answering these questions.

Different sellers answer each of these differently.

Show your homework

Standardized templates do not work. They feel too "mass mailed."

But a formulaic approach to message design—that is mostly template-able—does.

Customization is key. Psychology is front-and-center to triggering response.

For example, lately, quickly proving you've done research/homework is provoking response for most of my students. 

Showing homework is one of the strongest elements you can have in a first paragraph (of the first cold email touch). Proving you've done homework dramatically increases response rate.

It grabs attention ... big time.

Because this signals to your prospect:

- your email is not another offensive, mass, cut-and-paste message (spam)

- you've invested time in researching them (via specific proof, an observation)

Aside from getting opened (subject line) this “homework element”, alone, is often enough to earn a prospects' attention. From that point the rest of your message (the "meat") requires provocation. And there are a few different ways to provoke curiosity that I can show you too.

Why not come see a few in our upcoming, LIVE email writing workshop? It's free. Join us!

Remember, nothing screams “impersonal” more than a templated email. The reason sales email templates rarely work is simple: Most use the same, “telling” communications format.

What do you think? Will a more provocative approach work in your situation? Get in touch with me or join a small group of us in the workshop below...

Spark method workshop

Twice Monthly

12 pm ET  |  9 am PT  |  17:00 BST

Live   -   Online   -   Limited virtual seats

Results Jeff's students get

Shane Melaugh

"Within a few days I received more responses to emails and even set an appointment. It was fun to combine Jeff's psychology with my own strengths. Thanks, Jeff."

Samantha Coombs
Procuri Ltd.

Shane Melaugh
“I sent Jeff's follow-up InMail template to 59 prospects -- and got 22 responses. As a result, I'm talking with 8 potential buyers. I also received 5 referrals to other contacts within the target company. Thanks Jeff."

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