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By Tim Hughes | @Timothy_Hughes

I was at a conference the other week, where there was a presentation about how sales people can use manipulative techniques to get people to open emails.

Let’s think about that for a second. 

You are going to spend time and effort thinking about how you can manipulate me to open an email. 

Time is something that us sales people have little of.  We only have 200 days a year to crush our number and prioritising our time is a key skill.

Once you have manipulated me to open that email, how do you think I’m going to feel?

Amazed at your powers of salesmanship or maybe a little bit dirty and I delete the email?

The presenter showed how, through his powers of manipulation, he could increase the open rate.

Who cares?  I don’t.

I was with a prospect the other day and they told me that if they sent 50,000 emails they would win 0.25 of a deal.  That is a lot of mud you need to throw at the wall.

Personally, I prefer to send one well-crafted email. I will probably spend the day researching it and crafting it.  Leave it 24 hours, then come back to it, spend more time on it and then send it.

One highly tuned email.

I’m currently sitting in an area in London that was bombed by the Nazis during the second world war.  You can see the scars as new buildings have risen from the bomb sites.

During the second world war, all sides had something called “ack ack” guns based on the sound they made.  They fired rounds in the air, hoping to hit one of the incoming bombers.  Rounds going off all around me, and based on my trajectory and wind speed, I might get hit, who knows.  Ack ack guns were totally inaccurate, you just fired rounds and prayed.

We all smile at the lack of sophistication.

I recall, during the first Iraq war, watching CNN (it was the only 24-hour news channel at the time). It showed how cruise missiles could travel down roads and through air conditioning ducts to get at their targets.

More recently, we have seen the use of drones applied in a similar way.

So why is it that in today’s world that we still spend precious sales time laying out “flak” when we have the technology to write cruise missiles.  In fact, we can use drones as we can check people out on-line and personalise a 1-to-1 message.

I don’t need to manipulate my open rate, I need one person to open one email and buy something from me.

Take the – good – example below. (Tony has given me permission to share this).

He uses my “used” name, I can tell when I’m getting spam as people write to me as Timothy. Only my mother calls me that.

Research somebody’s name.

Open with some context, for example, how do you know me?  I get 100s of cold outreach emails and I’m sorry but I don’t remember any of them.

But if you don’t know me, at least be honest.

Opening sentence. Keep it short. You have seven seconds to get my attention and for me to want to read to the next line.

More context.  You have done your research.  We are all flattered when somebody takes an interest.

Get to the point.  What are you selling and why.

Now let’s stop a second. If you are going to sell me “a great social selling app” (I get three requests for this a day) you should at least know how it will be used in social selling and link back to one of my articles.

You may have an app that will get me 10 additional car parking spaces (I jest) but I don’t have a car park, so don’t waste your time.

I’ve also had somebody quote an article and then pitch the opposite of what I said in the article.  So, when he asked for a job it was a no. 

The links in this email are useful but as I wouldn’t click on links from a cold outreach email they are surpurflous.

Finally finish it off with a way of contacting you.  I might even pick up the phone and call you.

Don’t forget I will always (as do your customers) check you out on LinkedIn. If you look like a spammer on LinkedIn, I assume you are a spammer and delete the email.  Again, you have wasted time.

Cold outreach emails are an art and you need to think about how to spend your time wisely.  I can assure you quality is better than quantity.

Digital Leadership Associates: We are a Social Media Agency. We do three things: Social Media StrategySocial Selling and Social Media Management. Drop us an email and let’s talk about how we can make an impact on your organisation.

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