I want to share with you seven proven steps to generating a steady stream of sales leads with short and simple prospecting emails.
Targeted account email prospecting for self-employed B2B professionals like consultants, freelancers, coaches, and experts of all stripes, is not your standard, everyday email prospecting.
This is NOT about mass emailing.
And it’s NOT about sending newsletters.
Or trying to automate your prospecting.
In fact, it’s the opposite of all that.
Think of targeted account email prospecting as “artisanal prospecting.”
Each email must be personally handcrafted and written for one person only.
When done right, these messages position you as a knowledgeable pro with a very relevant and timely message.
That’s why it’s one of the quickest, most cost-effective ways to attract and land high-quality customers and clients—without the unpleasantness of cold calling, or the costs and time requirements involved with most traditional marketing tactics.
Before we start, it’s important to understand this …
The goal of a prospecting email is NOT to land a customer or client.
The goal is to start a conversation!
Your email is successful when it gets your prospect to respond with a question or a statement that indicates some level of interest – to raise their hand in some way.
Once you have a response, you can then engage the prospect in some dialogue about how you could help them.
In this article, I’ll show you seven simple steps for generating a steady stream of high-quality leads with simple, short, and sweet prospecting emails.
I hope you get great value from these ideas.
1. Understand and Find the Right Kind of Demand for Your Products and Services.
Know which audiences tend to have the greatest need for your products and services.
Identify prospect categories where the competitive framework is favorable.
Undertake research to uncover what industries, sectors or markets consider your products and services to be closely tied to the following key strategic objectives:
- Revenue or profit growth
- Customer retention
- Increased donations
- Risk mitigation
- The organization’s core mission
The closer your work is to these key objectives, the more value you can tie to what you do.
If your products or services are sales-or marketing-related, here’s another excellent litmus test to apply:
Are the products or services of your prospect viewed as:
- New or innovative
Go after prospects (or industries, sectors or groups) that sell products or services that meet at least two out of three of these criteria.
Create a list of potential “value statements” about you, your work, what makes you different and why that difference matters.
Here’s one way to define your value statement: In an environment of rapid commoditization, what is it about you that makes you different and able to provide a higher value?
HINT: It probably has less to do with your work (the product) than it does with your work experience, track record, talents and the unique perspective you bring.
2. Follow the Email Prospecting Template
To be effective, your prospecting emails must be relevant, timely and credible.
This proven template helps you focus on meeting those requirements.
So try to stick to it:
SUBJECT LINE: [Meaningful Connection]
[Soft Invitation to Connect]
Meaningful Connection: A statement that ties what you do to something you noticed about that particular prospect.
It does NOT need to be some sort of “trigger event.”
It can be something you noticed on their website.
Or some company attribute that would make them likely to need your product or someone with your skill set.
Value Statement: A sentence or two that explains what you do, for whom you do it, and why you’re different from many competitors. It can also explain why that difference matters.
Credibility URL: A link to your “About Me” page, some relevant samples, testimonials, a success story about how you helped a client solve a challenge, or anything that would help you sound credible.
This doesn’t have to be a link. It can be a list of recent clients.
Or a description of an award you’ve received.
Or some big accomplishment, years of experience or a unique background.
Invitation to Connect: No need to be wordy or elaborate.
And keep it low-key.
You could ask, “Should we connect?”
Or maybe, “Would it make sense to schedule a brief call soon?”
Finally, keep your email short and to the point: 100 words or less.
Here’s a sample email script that follows this format.
Can you see why this email would get more attention than the standard approach most people use when prospecting with email?
SUBJECT: You have very inspiring stories
I came across your website a few times over the years because I do a lot of work with nonprofit organizations. As I looked through your site this morning, I read Sabrina’s story — it was very inspiring!
I’m writing because I work with nonprofit organizations to create marketing materials that truly get noticed and increase donations.
I helped the Arts Council for Santa Cruz increase awareness of their events and bring new donors to the organization.
Here’s a link to samples of my work: [URL].
Should we schedule a brief call to discuss how I may be able to help you?
3. Leave No Doubt That Your Email Was Handcrafted
Your email should read like you actually took the time to type a unique email to that specific prospect (because that’s exactly what you need to do!).
The idea that you’re sending this message to a big list of prospects should never even cross the prospect’s mind.
Address the prospect directly in the salutation.
For example, “Hi Bill” or “Dear Ms. Weiss.”
Avoid the temptation to automate this process with technology.
Don’t use autoresponders or email management software/service.
It’s OK to reuse some of the copy from one email to the next.
For example, your value statement will usually remain the same (although you can often tweak it based on the prospect you’re emailing).
But most of your copy should be unique to that prospect.
4. Don’t Wait for the Perfect Script
The natural tendency is to wait to send your prospecting email until it sounds perfect … or until you find just the right meaningful connection.
Don’t wait—good enough is good enough!
Of course, ensure your message and value statement are relevant to the prospect.
But don’t assume that the “fit” has to be perfect for the email to work.
A big part of what makes warm email prospecting so effective is that it’s so different from 95% of marketing emails your prospects receive every week.
Just the fact you took the time to craft a relevant, personalized message will get their attention and increase the chances they’ll respond.
5. Follow Up
If you don’t receive a reply in one or two weeks, follow up by sending a second email.
Consider re-sending the original email out of your “Sent” folder.
This places that original email copy (and time stamp) below your new message.
And it gives you an opportunity to include a short follow-up note that doesn’t repeat the content from your first attempt.
Consider this simple follow-up message:”Thought I’d follow up after my email from last week (see below) to see if we should connect.”
I also wanted to include a link to my ‘About’ page, which will tell you more about how I could potentially add value to your team…”
If this is a Hot-List prospect (see Step #7), keep checking in every 60 days, but vary the medium.
6. Divide Your Efforts into Three Categories
To increase the chances that warm email prospecting will turn into a weekly or monthly habit, it helps to categorize your efforts into three groups
- Routine prospecting
- Ad hoc prospecting
- Hot-List prospecting
Routine prospecting is nothing more than establishing some sort of routine or habit that guides your prospecting efforts.
So rather than being a haphazard activity you do whenever you feel like it—or whenever fear strikes—you carve out time for your warm email activities either weekly or biweekly.
Consider using industry, trade or business publications (their free online versions) to jump-start this effort.
Skimming these magazines will often trigger ideas, prospect names and meaningful connections.
Look for companies that are getting press, are advertising, or are getting publicity via articles or news releases.
Ad hoc prospecting is all about crafting and sending warm prospecting emails as you come across the right opportunities.
In other words, as you think of a prospect or meaningful connection you could use, craft the email and send it. Don’t wait!
Hot-List prospecting is about creating a hot list of 10 to 20 prospects you would LOVE to work with some day.
But rather than hope and dream, you proactively reach out to key contacts in those organizations in a methodical and steady fashion over a period of up to one to two years.
With Hot-List prospects, add regular postal mail and occasional follow-up calls to the mix. And wait about 60 days between your prospecting messages.
You could even add elements to this campaign such as “bulky” direct mail or other clever outreach that stands out and has a good chance of getting noticed and generating a positive response.
Why all the effort with this strategy?
Because these aren’t your standard, everyday prospects.
So they’re worth the extra effort.
7. Treat Warm Email Prospecting Like a Doctor’s Appointment.
The most important factor for long-term success with ANY type of prospecting is to turn prospecting into a habit.
Depending on your situation and need for leads, schedule time every day, week, or month for prospecting.
Treat it like you would a doctor’s appointment, your child’s school play, a client meeting or some other important event or activity you would never consider blowing off.
Stick to your scheduled time.
And have a plan of action for that time.
What will you do first?
What will you do next?
Know these things before you start.
It’s best to focus on effort than on the outcome.
For example, rather than saying you’ll send out three emails, tell yourself that you’ll spend one hour surfing through two specific online publications, looking for potential prospects.
How many emails you end up sending doesn’t matter as much as the fact that you’ve spent focused time looking for potential prospects.
One solid warm email is better than five mediocre ones.
Consider starting the process by scouring industry, trade or business magazines that can give you prospect ideas.
Then, move on to your Hot List.
I have more actionable tips and ideas coming your way.
I realize that some of the things in this article might not make 100% sense.
That’s OK—this is meant to be a primer.
If you’re looking for more, I invite you to dive deeper with the Crackerjack Prospecting System.
Get it going in your business, and you could have a new prospect, client, or project by this time next week.