In business, first impressions are everything. In fact, prospective customers usually only need seven seconds1 to form an opinion about your business and decide whether they’ll be customers for life or move on to your competitor.
And, as we all know, you might be selling the most useful product in the entire world—but that won’t make a difference because most people buy based on their automatic emotional responses, rather than logic.2
There are a lot of ways businesses can influence first impressions—through their websites, ads, physical storefronts, and yet many businesses overlook an important touchpoint that for many customers is the first encounter they will ever have with you: the time-honored sales pitch email.
Keep reading to learn:
- What is a sales pitch email
- The 4 components of a successful sales pitch email
- Examples of great sales pitch emails
- How to improve your sales pitch email today
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What is a sales pitch email?
A sales pitch (or “cold”) email is an unsolicited email sent by your sales team to prospects with no previous contact with your business. And though email is an extremely saturated communication channel (the average person receives 121 emails each day, with 124.5 billion business emails being sent daily 3), cold emails can still be a highly effective way to reach your target audience and kick-start sales conversations—when they’re done properly.
The average open rate for business emails is around 16.22%.4 That means for every hundred emails you send that are being delivered, only 16 are actually being opened. An analysis of cold emails5 found that benchmark open rates for cold emails were actually higher—around 37%. However, the reply rate on sales pitch emails is historically low—around 5%.
The term “sales pitch email” is kind of a misnomer—the ultimate goal of any sales pitch email is starting a conversation, which means setting the stage for an ongoing relationship rather than hitting your prospect with an aggressive pitch out of the gate. Keep that in mind as we walk through what makes a sales pitch email great.
The 4 components of a successful sales pitch email
The subject line
The first step on the long journey from sending a sales pitch email to closing the sale is getting that first email opened. And nothing impacts email open rates more than the subject line.
The subject line on the email is the only real estate you get in your prospect’s inbox, and you don’t have a lot of time to convince them to take an extra look. Research shows that people spend just two seconds looking at an email before deciding whether they open it or not.6 Ultimately, you want something that will help you stand out from the crowd, without being too “salesy.”
- First, try and limit your subject line to 60 characters or less. Anything longer makes it too difficult to scan and figure out what the email is about—into the trash it goes!
- Second, use personalization wherever possible. Address the prospect by name, or include their business name. If this is a customer referral, reference who gave you their information. It’s likely that your prospect trusts their friend more than a faceless business they’ve never heard from before, so leverage that connection.
- Third, address a pain point your product solves and clearly state a benefit. Make it clear that opening the email will provide value to them.
- Fourth, include a clear call-to-action (CTA) in the subject line. This will psychologically prime your prospect to take the next step and open the email.
So you’ve sent your email and your prospect has opened it. Congratulations! You’re already won the first battle, but the war isn’t over yet.
The body of the email gives you a little more room to expand on what you referenced in the subject line. Make sure there’s a clear connection between what you promised in the subject line and what you’re discussing in the email—having a disconnect means your email will get opened but not responded to.
- Introduce yourself. No need to go into great detail here—just your name, your position, and the company you work for is enough.
- Talk about them. If you’ve done your research, reference something you know about their role or company, or something you’ve learned about them personally. If you haven’t done your research, stop, do some research, then come back to this part.
- That pain point you referenced in the subject line? Come back to it, and further explain how your product can benefit them. No need to get overly technical, but two or three lines outlining how your product helps people just like them is plenty.
- Include a hook—something that sets up a personal connection, references a specific benefit, or mentions who referred you. Give them something to connect emotionally to.
- Talk like a human being. Avoid marketing or business jargon and just speak to them like you would if they were in front of you. A good rule of thumb is “if you ask yourself if it sounds like a cold sales pitch, it probably sounds like a cold sales pitch.”
I’m Jim Brown, a Sales Executive at EmailCo. I saw the work that you’re doing on conversion rate optimization at Initech, and I’m a huge fan of your company. I thought it would be worth it to reach out.
Initech’s conversion rate optimization software has helped businesses like ACME, Cyberdyne, and Wayne Industries boost conversion rates by 100–200% through progressive profiling and dynamic content, and I really think we can help you, too.
If they’ve read this far, you’re looking good—now it’s time to set the stage for how the prospect can continue the conversation and learn more about how your product can help.
The call-to-action is key; too often, small business owners can draft a fantastic email and have it fall flat because of a weak (or completely absent) CTA. But you aren’t going to be one of those people.
- Personalize your CTA as much as possible. According to data from HubSpot, personalized CTAs can improve conversion by a whopping 200%.7 Use your CTA to communicate that you understand their needs, and reinforce that the purpose of your email is to help them be more successful.
- Reduce barriers to action. Having your prospect take the leap—only to fill out a 20-field form after your first email is just wishful thinking. A much lower barrier is simply asking for a reply. If you’re feeling particularly bold, you can try to have them book a demo or sales call.
- Be clear, concise, and direct.
- Use a professional signature (with a picture of yourself) that highlights who you are and provides an additional embedded CTA. There are a lot of tools available to help you generate these, like WiseStamp or htmlsig.
I’m impressed by the tactics you’re already using to improve conversion rate and would love to dig into any challenges you’re facing to see if there’s a way we can help you further. Send me a reply or give me a call and I’m happy to have a chat.
Oh, you thought your work was done with one email? In a perfect world, sure—but you’re not going to land the sale that easily. Depending on your sales workflow, you’re going to want to follow up with the prospect within a couple of days, either by email or phone.
Remember, this is an ongoing conversation that’s going to help someone completely unfamiliar with your brand build trust in your product. By the end of the process, they’ll be a passionate advocate.
The trick here is to use a light touch. Again, nothing heavy handed, you’re just checking in to see if they received your message and are open to having a discussion.
- Use automated sales workflows between your CRM and communication tools to automate tasks like follow-ups as much as possible. Integrating your sales software or CRM to your communication platform to surface relevant data and automate communications can speed up your work—and even boost your sales conversions.For example, you could integrate Salesforce with RingCentral to call your prospects right from your computer screen:
- Use call monitoring and automated sales call logging software to make sure that your voice communications have the same level of visibility as your email conversations, giving sales agents (or yourself) the ability to easily recall what you’ve discussed with the prospect.
- Build an integrated outbound strategy that includes actionable dispositions, live feedback and coaching, and agent scripting to be able to adapt your sales conversations on the fly. For example, you could use an outbound tool like this:
Great sales pitch emails: 3 examples
To get you started off on the right foot, we’ve included some examples of sales pitch emails below. Feel free to use these as a template, but make sure you’re personalizing them for each individual prospect, because nothing blows a sale faster than an email that says “I just copied and pasted this.”
The “I’m looking for the right person” email
Subject: Can you help point me in the right direction?
Sorry to trouble you—I’m looking to connect with someone who is responsible for [pain point that you solve OR business function you serve]. Would really appreciate you telling me how I might get in touch with them.
Thanks for any help you can provide!
The “your friend thinks you’d like us” email
Subject line: Winston Schmidt recommended I talk to you
Tom from Initech here. We’re currently helping Winston Schmidt boost his conversion rates and he recommended I get in touch with you.
Would love to have a chat and learn more about any challenges you’re facing—feel free to email me and we can grab some time to discuss.
Thank you for your help,
The “let’s get to it” email
I see that you’re responsible for [list their duties] at [company].
We’re helping other businesses like [businesses] improve conversion rates by 100–200%, and I believe we can do the same for you.
To keep it simple, Initech uses a combination of progressive profiling and dynamic content to help businesses speak directly to their customers and deliver them with customizable CTAs that help convert.
I’d love to better understand your needs around [job function] and walk you through how I think our product can help. Let me know if you have some time to chat this week and I’ll be happy to discuss.
How to improve your sales pitch emails—right now
Here are a few steps you can take to tweak your existing sales pitch emails:
- Get informal: Lose the “Sir/Madam,” cut business jargon, speak in plain language, and don’t alienate the prospect by using language they might be unfamiliar with. Before you send it, share your email with someone from outside of your company—a friend, family member, or acquaintance, and see if they’re confused by anything in it. If so, rewrite it.
- Get personal: People don’t trust faceless businesses, but they do trust other people. Personalize your emails as much as possible—that means more than just addressing the prospect by name. Scan their social profiles, reference the city they’re from, a local sports team, a TV show they’re watching—anything at all to show you care.
- Get curious: The point of your “pitch” email isn’t really to tell the prospect how your product is going to change their life—you’re here to learn as much about them as you can and use that to inform how you’re going to make the sale going forward. Take the opportunity to ask questions and make sure you’re using that data to build a better relationship.
- Get tenacious: You’re not going to make the sale with that first touch. This is going to be an ongoing conversation, so make sure you’re logging your emails, follow-up calls, and any customer contact you have so that you have visibility into the entire sales journey.
The perfect email sales pitch is just the start
While sales tactics and techniques have advanced a lot over the years, there are still few things more effective than a personalized, knowledgeable, and charismatic email sales pitch—especially when it’s integrated with your overall sales communication strategy.
By using the tips contained in this post, you’ll be able to start relationships with prospects off on the right foot and drive greater sales success for your business.
Originally published Apr 01, 2020, updated Feb 26, 2021