What’s Wrong With This Prospecting Email?

I get about 100 emails a day from people trying to sell me stuff, and I've been noticing a pattern. It's as if in the last year or so they all went to 1 of a small number of workshops on prospecting, because they all seem to be using the same template-based approach - even the same templates!

It saddens me because I see such wasted effort, such wasted potential.

It doesn't annoy me in terms of wasting my time because I can spot these kinds of emails a mile off.

And so can most other people too.

Including your own clients and potential prospects.

So I'm wondering, and maybe you are too... are YOU using a template-based approach for your prospecting?

It's OK if you are. You just have to do 2 things:

  1. Have a great prospecting message
  2. Personalise it so that it doesn't look and feel like it's a template-based email blast to everybody.

Now here's "the rub" so to speak... blindly following a template that worked for somebody else sometime is not enough to get you a great prospecting message. For one thing, you will look, feel and sound/read like all your competition. How is that going to help your target prospects, your ideal clients, pick you out from all the rest?

So how can you use a template to improve, rather than harm, your prospecting chances?

We can quickly find part of the answer to this by dissecting an example prospecting email. It's based on a real one but I've changed some details to protect the guilty party!

SUBJECT: Hi Martin, are you looking for help with prospecting success? 

Hi Martin,

My name is Giselle and I help people improve their marketing. I’m reaching out to you today because I noticed most prospecting messages sales people and entrepreneurs send out actually REDUCE the chances of successful prospecting!

I made you a quick video to show you how to fix this problem of reduced prospecting success.

You can watch it here: <<LINK TO VIDEO>>

Are you available for a quick call on Tuesday at 11am PST? 

I have a few more ideas I’d like to offer to help you improve your prospecting success rate. 

Best wishes, Giselle

The first trouble spot is the subject itself: "Hi Martin, are you looking for help with prospecting success?"

What's good is it uses my name, so that increases the chance it catches my eye, BUT... a half decent marketing campaign or system should be able to do this anyway, so whilst good, it's "table-stakes" stuff. Table-stakes stuff is about details and capabilities you have to have just to even enter the game, before you even think about being 'good'.

The problem here though is the question that's asked. The focus of the question is prospecting success, something I'm sure many sales people and entrepreneurs will have an interest in improving. So it's not the focus that bothers me. It's the way the question is asked...

The way this question is asked requires a "Yes/No" answer.

I know the person who sent this was thinking "Any person out there who has an interest in improving their prospecting success is just BOUND to answer this question with a YES and so open up my prospecting email, read it, watch my video, and then get in touch to set up a call etc. Great!"

Their intention is fine. Their assumptions aren't.

How so?

Because people are busy.


And just looking for a reason to clear their inboxes and move on - ideally by deleting as many emails as possible and by also NOT adding to their already full list of things they have to do.

This seems illogical. Why would somebody with a specific problem like prospecting success pass over the opportunity to do something about it?

Well, it's not ONLY about logic. It's also about emotion.

Busy people just want to get to the end of their to do list quickly. They don't want to add to it, or add to any discomfort they already might be feeling about their business and less-than-ideal prospecting success. They plan on freeing up time to work on this and other problems in part by getting through their todo list, not adding to it.

You have to give them a really good reason to stop what they're doing, pay attention to your message, and act on it such that you both end up having a discussion about it.

Logic, facts, figures and other information isn't going to cut it.

A 'pattern interrupt' that works on the emotional level is what is needed.

You usually won't find that in a question requiring a YES/NO response.

SUBJECT: Trying to connect with [NAME]