While few salespeople would prefer to sell via email, sometimes – especially if it’s a fairly cold sell – it’s a necessary evil. In that case, it wouldn’t be unheard of for the job to be passed to marketing. Entire books have been written on how to write sales letters by people far more qualified than me. Or we could simply be inspired by what’s often cited as the greatest sales letter of all time – but that was written in a different age. Many people would say that today, in email, we need to condense the message and close more quickly.
The key principles remain the same. Focus on the prospect. If you start by talking about yourself, your product or your service, you’ve lost them. Indeed, if you need to introduce yourself, have a serious think about what you’re doing. Why are you pitching to someone you’re not already communicating with already? Before you get to the proposition stage, they should already have been warmed up with all the valuable information you’re offering through your content marketing programme. If you don’t know what their issues are (but still hope you may have the solution), then you’re going to have to generalise about existing customer problems. Regardless, the sales email should be about the recipient.
Secondly, sell the deliverable. If you’re trying to get the prospect to click ‘buy’, then by all means tell them about the benefits of the product or service they’ll get. But if you’re trying to set up a sales visit, that’s what you need to be selling: what they’ll get from a visit by your representative. That can include preying on their fear of missing out, but more importantly, weigh up the commitment you’re asking them to make and the value they’re going to get from it. Then sell that value.