effective sales introductory email

9 sales fails writing an introductory email

effective sales introductory emailLately I’ve been pouring myself into training on copy writing, that is, coming up with compelling text for website pages, nurture emails and sales introductory email. My eyes are now open to more effective ways to write persuasive copy. So here are 9 mistakes that salespeople and marketers make with an introductory email.

Why am I writing on this? A few years back, I attended a conference that had a number of vendors presenting. It’s important to talk to vendors to stay up on the latest tools, however, you inevitably end up on a bunch of email lists. Also, I get a lot of unsolicited messages through linkedin. I’ve been saving all of the emails from those vendors so I could study their practices.

Plus, it’s a great source of entertainment! Here are my 9 introductory email mistakes.

Can we meet?

  • “Do you have some time Tuesday or Wednesday to discuss?”
  • “Are you open to meeting while I’m in Austin? How is next Thursday at 2 or 3 pm?”
  • “Please let me know a good time to connect next week.”
  • “Let me know what works best for a call or feel free to schedule directly at www…”
  • “I’m hoping to set aside 5 minutes to learn more about your business needs and see if we can help!

These emails are very succinct and sound quite personal with casual language. There is a weak attempt at establishing rapport/commonality before asking for a meeting. Unfortunately, the rapport attempt is see-through and the person is asking for a meeting w/o giving me any reason. Here’s the other problem, this doesn’t work when everyone in sales is using the same structure!

A better understanding of your needs

  • “I would love to hear about your interests and what you are looking for.”
  • “I would love to get a better understanding of your activities”

These lines tell me that you did very little research, if any, on me and my company. It could be a mass email as well which is a turnoff. Worst of all, you are asking me to spend my time to answer your questions just so you can find out if there’s anything you can sell to me. Why would I do that? I see no value in educating you.

Straight to the offer

  • “is there any need for an email list for your marketing efforts? Let me know and I can arrange for a sample.”
  • “we offer custom demand generation programs and would like to show you…”

I can appreciate this approach as it gives me a chance to quickly understand what they provide. Unfortunately, the services are generic and there’s no attempt at telling me why their product or service is better. I’m fully aware of vendors to purchase a list from! If you told me that your lists contains a history of competitive purchases, then I might start researching. In some cases, what they do is so broad that it is confusing and drives me away.

Social conformity

  • “I’d be delighted to speak with you about how we’ve helped XYZ and ABC companies.”
  • “I’d love to schedule some time with you to show you how we are helping thousands of B2B companies drive consistent pipeline.”

Social conformity is a good tactic but shouldn’t be your sole tactic. If I don’t understand what you are trying to sell and don’t know your reputation, name dropping your clients isn’t going to help.

Checking back

  • “Checking back in case you didn’t receive my email below.”
  • “Resending below in case it got buried over the weekend. Let me know if you have any availability tomorrow.”

These get my attention, however, when the original pitch was weak to begin with, these annoy me. It makes me curious how many this person has sent me. So I search on sender. Then I see the history of short emails that have minimal personalization, show very little effort and convince me that you are automating these.

Not the right person?

  • “Apologies if you are not the correct person to reach out to. If not and you could point me in the right direction, I would really appreciate it.”

This isn’t too bad. Unfortunately, it gives you away as fishing. Sales people are among the least trusted, categorically, so don’t make it so obvious that you are one.


  • “Thanks for stopping by to see us at SaaS World last week.”

As an email marketer, I’m more sympathetic to email mistakes. Granted I also notice more. That’s a fine opening except for the fact that I didn’t stop by your booth. I know this because I wasn’t in London at the SaaS World event!


When you send an email out with 4 different font type-size combinations, I know that you are sending an email blast or that you are cutting and pasting. Regardless, it reminds me of how impersonal your interest is in me.

Introductory email subject lines

  • “follow up”
  • “hope you enjoyed C2C2015!”

These subjects lines are unhelpful and uncompelling. Plus, every salesperson’s email uses these so you are coming across like everyone else!

If there’s one mistake that encompasses all of these it’s the lack of WIIFM. What’s In It For Me? All these mistakes could have been avoided if you just put yourself in the recipient’s shoes and asked “what’s in it for me?” Then you’d realize, you aren’t offering much.

Check out my complementary article on how to write good sales introductory email that converts!


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