OK, so I haven’t read all the sales letters in the world. But I’m daily at the receiving end of a significant amount of sales emails, out of which the vast majority get deleted before they even get to make their main point. So from the perspective of a professional receiver of sales pitches, here’s my five cents on how to avoid mindless deletion.
I recently received an email from an organisation I was unfamiliar with. The email didn’t start off with a snappy, catchy subject line. There was no all-guns-blazing corporate introduction with pictures and links and interactive social media buttons. It just said my name, followed by “Invitation to connect”. That simple.
The text body then started out by clearly saying who was writing the email, which organisation she represents and 15 words on what they are all about. Nothing remarkable about that.
BUT – it’s what came next that really blew me away.
Of course, I wanted to know why this person was emailing me. But with the following sentence, she instantly grabbed my attention. And what’s more – I was smiling when reading it.
“I doubt very much whether you are currently looking to review your PR arrangements (if I had that kind of luck I would be emailing you from somewhere much more exotic than Kingston-Upon-Thames!), but I was wondering whether you might be willing to meet me for a chat in order to make an introduction?”
This is where things got interesting. The email continued:
“If I were you, at this point I would be asking myself ‘what’s in it for me?’. Well, the answer(s) to that question is…”
This then continued into three bullet points highlighting the benefits of meeting with the lady in question. Not only was I invited to a lunch at a venue of my choice (with the only caveat being “please don’t pick The Ivy as they won’t let me in with my Yorkshire accent and I reckon it would be quite embarrassing trying to hold a meeting through the window”). I was also in brief terms made aware of some very relevant ways in which this business could help me.
The best thing about receiving this email was the fact that it made me smile. The second best thing was that I was actually reading it.
The unconventional format and the very “human” voice used made me feel a connection – one real person to another. It wasn’t just another faceless, personality-free corporate pitch. It was genuine. And at the wrap-up line of “What do you say? Next week perhaps?” I was poised and ready to be reeled in.
So – was it perfect?
No, by no means was this email flawless. The automated salutation line was unable to process the Swedish letter in my first name, making it a nonsensical “sa” instead of “Åsa”. This happens from time to time and it’s an instant put-off. So the fact that I decided to continue reading says a lot about how much I liked this format.
I can’t help but wish all sales emails looked like this. I do realise there are situations where a different level of professionalism is needed. But I am a great believer in the power of “being a human being” and showing your own style, humour and personality – even when representing a business.
It could turn out to be your company’s strongest asset.