Keeping it real – The formula for prospecting success

Is there a formula to sending prospeting emails? They are, more often than not, failures. 

There is a reason why most prospecting emails have such a low lead rate.

email prospectingIt’s not ‘just the way it is’.

It’s because they are written the way they are.

  • Far too long
  • Far too much detail
  • Far too much lingering on obsessive detailing of pain points
  • Far too formal
  • Far too reliant on marketing speak, big words and ‘impressive’ jargon

In short, they try far too hard.

I’ve written over 5,000 prospecting mails and – okay – I may be getting a bit long in the tooth but, if you’ll ignore the protruding canines, I think you’ll find my proven formula for prospecting success of interest.

After all, you’ve nothing to lose but another disappointing response rate.

Let’s do this step-by-step so you don’t miss a trick.

1. Homo Locomotivus (the ‘man on the train’)

Your prospect will be instantly turned off by anything that is obviously broadcast. Your mail must read like a personal one-to-one invitation to talk. And this sort of communication is informal and rushed – not perfectly polished.

So, picture this.

You’re sat on a train idly flicking through LinkedIn. You spot a profile that makes you sit up. Refraining from running down the aisle shrieking ‘my perfect prospect’, you devote your next five minutes before you pull in to Leeds (appropriately enough) to fire off an invitation.

If you read your real-life prospecting mail and it doesn’t feel like this imaginary one, then it’s not going to do the biz.

Maybe you should take more trains?

2. Come on Ed Moses, don’t fall at the first hurdle

A little-known secret that I’m happy to share: if your mail is not opened it will never produce a lead.

Stands to reason: the trick here is to avoid labouring over your subject line – anything too clever feels like you are being marketed at rather than spoken to.

All you need do is make it sound personal – try Hoping to speak, Quick intro, Catch-up? And – you get the idea.

3. Save the quizzing

If you open that mail with a question the only possible response is ‘great, another mass market email’.

Not a good idea.

Forget the questions: try intriguing and enticing instead of questioning.

4. The prospecting flow

Let’s make this simple: here’s the template I use.

Greet Hi | First name |,
Soften Hope you’ve managed to | catch some of the sun/dodge the showers | this week.
Intro & the ‘why’ Hoping to make a quick intro. I head up | Business name | and wanted to outline how I think we can help | Prospect’s company | over a quick call | later this or early next | week.
What’s next? We’ve been working with several other | industry | companies to open a few doors on the | describe short, sweet proposition | front and I wondered if you might have a few mins for me to share how things fared.
Call to action Would | this day or that day | work… literally 15 mins. How’s your diary?

That’s it: nothing more, nothing less.

And it works.

5. Ask yourself – does my bum look big in this?

Never dig out a piece of marketing material and check your mail to see if it sizes up against it.

This is a prospecting mail – it doesn’t need to impress with stats or detail every benefit under the sun.

Its aim is simple: to get someone interested and happy to hear more over a quick call. So, when you check your mail to see if it does the job, do not try and match it against online or printed collateral.

That’s like seeing if an apple ticks all the ‘best pear’ boxes.

Instead read your mail as if you were your prospect.

  • Perhaps you’ve got a meeting in seven minutes.
  • There are 16 unread emails still languishing in your inbox.
  • You open the mail.
  • Ask yourself – do I read this or delete it.
  • Now ask yourself – how do I feel now I’ve read it.
  • And more importantly, what do I do?

6. Go on, try it!

It can feel odd, dumbing down. But actually, you are being respectful.

We’re all rushed in our jobs but we all want to perform. How rude to mail someone you don’t know something that takes 10 minutes to read.

The polite way to prospect is to quickly let people know who you are, what you can offer and how to catch up with you if their interested.

P.S. Avoid postscripts like the plague – that’s a marketing gimmick not something you’ll find in a one to one communication.

P.P.S. Do not attach PDF case studies or web links. Your prospecting mail must stand or fall as it is – these are just distractions to arranging that call.