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  • Writer's pictureJames Purvis

Email Prospecting? This Best Practice Will Get You a Response

In business, the amount of email we receive any given day is enormous. In fact, the Radicati Group (a technology research firm from Palo Alto, CA) estimated the average business person received 88 emails per day in 2015 and will grow to 90 in 2016. As a sales rep, you are competing with a lot of people when it comes to emailing. Your prospect's boss, direct reports, peers, and colleagues are emailing your contact. Oh, and I almost forgot, hundreds of other sales reps. If there was one best practice to live by, it would be to keep your initial email short and sweet.

The Psychology of Email

First, let's take a look at some of the psychology behind email. I came across a very interesting article called, Email's Dark Side: 10 Psychology Studies which I wanted to share as it can be useful to know this data as you think about email prospecting. Here are some of the highlights:

  • 59% of individuals read email while in the bathroom - I'm surprised it's not even more than that. According to a study of 2,500 people, the average person spends 1 hour and 42 minutes a week in the bathroom.

  • You check email at least once an hour - A study done by Renaud et al estimates that people actually take a look at their email every 5 minutes!

  • People spend 23% of their working day doing email - Crazy thing is, email isn't just being used in the workplace for communication but for keeping track of certain tasks.

  • 70% of emails are reacted to within 6 seconds of receiving - Moreover, this study conducted by Jackson et al demonstrated that 85% of emails were reacted to in just 2 minutes.

  • Don't negotiate over email - A study by Naquin et al showed that people feel less cooperative when dealing over email compared to face-to-face.

Prospecting Email Best Practice:

Keep It "Short & Sweet"

The studies and facts from above aid in proving my point that keeping emails concise and to the point will provide you a higher probability of getting a response. I've written thousands of prospecting emails over my career and always look for new and creative ways to get a prospect to respond. In my experience, one thing I've absolutely learned is that long emails don't work. Let me provide an example of what I'm talking about. The below email might seem like a good email to some of you but I can promise you, this is the WRONG way to go about it and I know you are guilty of writing something like this.

Subject: Trade Show App

Dear Mark Cuban:

I hope you are having a great day!

My company XYZ LLC provides online and mobile apps that provide attendees with an opportunity to plan and connect for the conference before leaving for the event! It's a way to create buzz, communicate with your attendees, network, schedule meetings in advance, and exchange information.

Networking is important at events; however, we do have some clients that go with just a basic app that strips all of the interactive features out of it. We can accommodate a solution that is right for your event. We power similar conferences like yours and I guarantee you would find it beneficial.

To learn more visit our website and watch a short video. Please let me know when we can arrange for a demonstration over the phone. Feel free to call if you have any questions. My number is 603-555-1212.

Sincerely Yours,

Kevin O'Leary Account Manager, O'Leary Enterprises.

123 Main St

New York, NY 10001


Although this is a well-written email and demonstrates some great info that a prospect might be interested in, there are a couple things wrong with this email that I want to point out. The truth is, most people are going to delete this immediately just based on the fact it's 3 paragraphs of content coming from someone they never met.

Secondly, this email is mainly about Jane's company and not about John's business problem.

Thirdly, don't ever use the word "guarantee" in any email, it's a word that screams sales and most of us have had someone guarantee something that never panned out. Avoid this word at all costs. Lastly, the end of the email has too many action items and is a bit confusing.

If you want to write a prospecting email the RIGHT way, keep it short, sweet, and straight to the point like this:

Subject: The Dallas Conference

Hi Mark,

You can reduce no-shows up to 50% by keeping attendees informed and involved with our mobile app.

If you would like, I can send you a brief overview of how the app works.

Kevin O'Leary Account Manager, O'Leary Enterprises 949-333-4444

If Mr. Cuban has issues with attendance to his conferences, this app will definitely interest him. This email gets straight to it, is very easy to read, and it opens the door to the next conversation which should be your goal of the email in the first place. Remember, you are not going to close a sale on the first email! Sales is a process and takes time and takes lots of work. I want to reiterate and make it clear, your purpose for a prospecting email is to generate a conversation.

Find this article interesting? Check out more blog posts by James Purvis



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