How to Write a Sales E-mail

Sales EmailBy Stacy Zemon

To successfully gain responses from sales e-mails – like the kind you send to prospects after a bridal show to see if they’re interested in speaking with you – have to demand readers’ attention and pique their interest.

What Doesn’t Work and Why

The typical DJ sales e-mail reads as follows: (Note: I’ve numbered each section to make it easier to critique; the numbers wouldn’t be in the actual e-mail, of course.)

1. Subject: ABC Mobile Entertainment

2. Hi [prospect name]! Hope you are well.

3. ABC Mobile Entertainment is the market leader…[a paragraph about how wonderful ABC Mobile Entertainment is.]

4. ABC Mobile Entertainment has the following products and services… [a bulleted list.]

5. ABC Mobile Entertainment has served the following clients… [some big companies.]

6. I would like to set up a 20-minute phone call to discuss how we can help you.

7. If you need any further information, don’t hesitate to call me at [number] or browse our website [website.]

8. Sincerely, [sender’s name and contact info]

To understand why this type of letter doesn’t get a response, let’s look at it from the perspective of the potential client:

1. The subject line means nothing to me, so I probably won’t open it.

2. I don’t know you, so the greeting rings false and the concern for my health is bogus.

3. Why should I care about your company?

4. What does any of this have to do with me?

5. I’m a bride planning a wedding; if you work with companies then you’re probably the wrong type of DJ for me.

6. Are you effing kidding me? Like I have 20 minutes in my crazy schedule to hear some dumb-*ss sales pitch.

7. Apparently, you think I’m so stupid that I can’t find your phone number and website under your signature. Also, you apparently live in some cloud cuckoo land where I’m desperate to have a conversation with somebody who has already wasted three minutes of my time with this confusing e-mail.

8. A final lie, since there’s nothing sincere about anything in this e-mail.

It’s amazing that DJ business owners get any response at all from this kind of dreadful communique. It’s practically begging to be deleted.

A Method that Actually Works

Here’s the structure for a sales e-mail that’s more likely to get a response:

1. Subject: [something relevant to the prospect]

2. Dear [Ms. prospect’s last name]:

3. I’m contacting you because I may be able to [potential benefit to the prospect.]

4. Brides like you ([list]) book our DJ services to [something quantifiable that leads to that potential benefit.]

5. Reply to this e-mail and I’ll e-mail you some details so that you can quickly evaluate whether it’s worth your time to pursue this.

6. [sender’s name and contact info]

Here’s why this structure works:

1. The subject line engages the recipient in opening the e-mail. Examples of “something relevant” would be a mutual contact, an inside secret to the bridal show she just attended, a fact about bride’s who are planning weddings, etc.

2. When you’re contacting a prospect for the first time, it’s best to err on the side of formality. Nobody is ever insulted by formality.

3. People always appreciate it when you get to the point quickly. From the prospect’s perspective, the “point” is “what’s in it for me.” So tell them.

4. This is your sales message but stated from the client’s perspective. The clients in the list should (in this scenario) all be past wedding clients. If you don’t have this list, just use “Our clients hire us to.”

5. It’s unrealistic to expect an initial e-mail to convince a prospect to commit time to meeting with you. Instead, you make the “next step” something trivial that indicates the prospect’s receptiveness.

6. The prospect is smart enough to figure out how to call you or access your website if required.

The Biggest Mistakes DJs Make

In my experience, the biggest mistakes DJs make after a bridal show is not following up properly. They give up after one or two tries, have poor messaging, or wait too long to contact the brides on their list.

The right combination of quality communications and persistent contact will yield the greatest results!