In general, though, the rule of thumb is simple: forget everything you thought would be right to do when prospecting.
For instance, the tendency is to want to outline all your services, cram in the big companies you work with and include links to your case studies and awards and latest thought leadership pieces.
Which are actually all temptations you should avoid.
Your prospecting email should not actually be about you: it should be about who you are writing to. It should definitely not be comprehensive – instead brevity is key and a careful targeted selection of one or two points should be made. And finally, it should never link out – you want a phone call or a meeting, and a link is just a diversion from achieving this goal.
Watch out – rapid-fire bullet points coming your way!
Be confident – avoid any apologetic tone
Position yourself as ‘helping’ – rather than ‘selling’
Keep it short – and keep it simple
Write one-to-one – not one-to-many
Write as a person in a rush – rather than a marketing grunt with spit-and-polish
Lower barriers to entry – including commitment and time (after all, you only initially want a quick chat)
Hint at research – but don’t lay anything on too thick
Don’t try too hard – keep it bright and breezy
To give you an idea of how this may look in practice here are two prospecting mails we have had joy with, in terms of responses, followed by quick commentaries on how and why they work.
Here’s prospecting template #1
I hope you don’t mind the direct contact – it’s after lunch so I thought I’d exploit the afternoon food coma with a quick note while you’re at your desk. I’ve been looking for a way to pitch your company our services for some time now, we would really love the opportunity to work with *|COMPANY|*.
For ref – XXXXX are a full-service content marketing agency based in YYYYY. I believe we can add real value to your online marketing efforts and would really appreciate half an hour to outline exactly where and how.
We’re based in central YYYYY and it would be great to swing by and run you through a sample content mix and a case study. Would you perhaps have half an hour week commencing 6th June?
Hope to hear from you – over to you!
And here are the key ways it works:
It’s brief (140 words)
It’s simple (no big words or acronyms here)
It’s personal, chatty, warm and breezy. It’s clearly from a person, not a business
It’s direct: there’s no beating around the bush – just an upfront ask to meet
It reads as if it has just been quickly typed rather than a regurgitated piece of considered marketing collateral
It’s light on detail and instead emphasises its goal (contact) throughout
It stresses location – as this was a geographically limited campaign (hence the ask for a face-to-face rather than a call)
Sell more. Book a demo today.
Time to bring on prospecting template #2
The previous mail had no ‘real’ reason behind its approach. It could in a sense, have been sent at any time.
As an example of how another type of prospecting mail may work for you, here is one that can be used if you offer services that help people cope with some form of regulatory or system change.
*|Morning OR Afternoon|* *|FIRSTNAME|*,
I thought it might be a good time to ask how the new XXXX regs are being handled at *|COMPANY|*.
I’m working with several larger firms in the *|INFORMALCOMPANYINDUSTRY|* space right now and hearing mixed success stories concerning the compliance approaches in place. Systems not working as planned, excel-based solutions proving more complex than expected, system integration issues… the list goes on.
On the assumption XXXX compliance is proving something of a headache for *|COMPANY|*, I wanted to make a quick intro to YYYY, we operate a big-4 endorsed purpose-built lease accounting solution that centralizes and hugely simplifies company-wide lease management, admin, accounting, reporting and compliance.
Hopefully a logical intro. Do you have a few mins to talk *|LATER THIS OR EARLY NEXT|* week… I’d love to run you through the approach we’d propose for *|COMPANY|* right now.
Worth a quick chat?
These are the things to note about this approach:
Again, it’s brief (146 words)
Again, it’s simple (no big words or acronyms here)
Again, it’s personal, chatty, warm and breezy. It’s clearly from a person, not a business
Again, it reads as if it has just been quickly typed rather than a regurgitated piece of considered marketing collateral (see the missing question marks after ‘Hopefully a logical intro’ and ‘Do you have a few mins to talk *|LATER THIS OR EARLY NEXT|* week’)But this time it also:
Focusses squarely on an actual pain point – meeting new legislation requirements
Is exploratory: we’ve heard others are having problems (and by implication been able to sort them out), how are things going for you?
Outlines what its solution does without too much detail (‘centralizes and hugely simplifies company-wide lease management, admin, accounting, reporting and compliance’)
Avoids any sense of bragging and remains firmly polite (‘Hopefully a logical intro’)
Suggests that the prospector already has thought through the needs of his contact and has ‘an approach I’d like to share’
Hopefully these two mails give you a good sense of how a general approach to writing prospecting mails can be adapted to some different situations.
At the moment we’ve deliberately kept these situations pretty straightforward – focussing on prospecting in a defined locality and prospecting triggered by a change in circumstances.
In our next posts we are going to look at ways you can handle your prospecting when things get a bit more complex. These will be, for example, situations where your ‘solution’ may not be an immediate, pressing concern for your prospect, where multiple decision makers are involved in your buying decision, where you are trying to sell a complicated and complex proposition or where you are operating in an extremely crowded marketplace.
We’ll tackle one at a time and try and tease out the best way to handle each tricky situation.