An important part of my job at Prospect.io is to help customers write cold email campaigns.

While some of them write impactful case study material level emails, you’d be amazed at how many salespeople think that the sentences mentioned below are okay to use.

Want to learn 17 different ways to kill your own sales?

Here we go!

Opening Lines

This is where you grab your prospect’s attention. You have no time to waste, you want to hook them up immediately.

1. Hi, my name is XXX and I work as XXX at [that company you’ve never heard of]…

Yes, I can read, not only is it in your email address and your from field, it’s also in your signature. Do you really have to waste my time by giving me this information for the fourth time?

Oh also, I don’t know you and I don’t care about your company. And if I’m average on this, my attention span for reading an email is 11 seconds; don’t waste half of it talking about yourself

Try this instead:

Start your emails by grabbing your prospect’s attention. You can easily do that by doing your research and mentioning something about them, their company, a piece of content that’s been published on their blog.

Here are a few examples:

Congrats on the new job, welcome to the world of key account managers!

I noticed you guys were at the trade show last week, what did you think of Elon Musk’s speech?

I really liked your latest article about the impact of cupcake squiggle colors on cupcake sales!

2. I’m a sales rep for [that company you don’t care about one bit]

While this may seem like a good idea, you’re not being transparent. Not only are you talking about yourself, you’re also stating that you’re only there for the sale.

Try this instead:

Don’t introduce yourself as someone who sells products or services but as someone who solves problems. Address your prospect’s issue head on and focus on trying to bring a solution to it.

3. I hope this finds you well! / I hope you’re doing great!

Do you? Because you don’t know me and you’ve never even interacted with me in any way.

Trust me, this doesn’t make you seem polite, it makes you look like a fake-smile salesperson.

Skip the fluff and get to the point!

4. I know you get a lot of emails…

If you do, then cut to the chase.

Also, by saying that, you’re saying that your email is just one amongst the rest and this is just a routine. I may be getting a lot of emails, but I’m not getting your email a lot.

If you have something special to say, just say it, or get deleted.

5. I know you’re busy so I won’t waste your time…

Looks like you just did!

If I’m reading your email, I obviously have the time for it so don’t waste it in such a stupid way!

Try this instead:

Show you understand they’re busy by getting to the point immediately!

Related: 10 Cold Email Templates Based on 3.320.657 Emails Sent

Reason for writing

Remember, you don’t have a lot of time. So make it clear why you’re reaching out, and why to them specifically.

Just don’t fall into these traps:

6. I’m writing to you because I believe you can really benefit from our product/service.

Oh really? And how did you figure that out? You don’t know what my pain points are and/or if your products are able to alleviate them. Also, could you refer more specifically to these benefits?

Try this instead:

Find out what difficulties and challenges your prospect is experiencing. Ask questions like:

What is the single biggest challenge you’re facing right now in terms of marketing?

How bad has the recent crisis affected your ability to export your products?

How many hours per week are you allocating to prospecting for new customers?

7. I’d like to know how your company handles X and Y. Would you hop on a 15 min call sometime this week?

So… what’s the value for me here? Plus, there’s a lot you can discover just by doing some research or asking simple questions I can answer right away without having to clear a quarter of an hour for you.

Try this instead:

Show you’ve done some research before asking for a call and ask targeted questions.

I see you’ve started experiencing uptime problems about 2 months ago when you decided to implement X system. It’s something I’ve already helped customers with, maybe we could set up a call to discuss it?

Benefits

WIIFM aka What’s in it for me?

Not for you. For me. And please make it clear.

8. Our product will help you save time and significantly improve your revenue.

This is really vague, I’m not sure what you’re offering here. Am I going to save 10 minutes or 10 hours per week? How big is significant?

Try this instead:

Use figures and clear benefits:

90% of our customers managed to cut down their time prospecting by 40% and saw a 17% revenue improvement within 6 weeks.

You’ll be able to gather the personal info of your visitors without having to intrusively ask for it.

Establishing credibility

Even if you managed to get my attention, make it clear why you’re writing and showed me what your product could bring me… why should I trust you?

Here’s how not to accomplish that.

9. We’ve been helping a lot of customers in your industry do X and Y

Really? Who are these customers? And what industry would that be?

I see you want to personalize but this is just lazy execution. Name the industry and drop a few happy customers names.

Try this instead:

Segment your prospects. By industry, job title, country or anything else that might be relevant and give it some personalization:

We’re already working with other small accounting companies like X, Y and Z…

We’ve already worked with several SuperBrand resellers in your region such as X, Y and Z…

10. I’m going to be honest…

I would assume you’re going to be honest so if you need to mention it, that’ll just set alarm bells ringing all around.

Call to action

This is critical since everything you’ve written so far in your email is dedicated to this one goal, this one purpose: your customer to take action. Any action, as long as it moves the process forward.

So please, don’t do this:

11. I hope this’ll get you thinking, thanks for reading!

What am I supposed to do with this? Respond? Call? Invoke a demon?

Try this instead:

Your job is to make the process as easy and smooth as possible for your prospect, so give them something clear and easy to do:

Does this look like something you’d be interested in?

Would you like to discuss this further? Let me know when you’d be available for a call.

12. Would you like to discuss this further. Also here’s a report you can download about the state of your industry. Let me know if you have any questions!

Having multiple calls to action is just as bad as having none. One email; one message; one action. Focus.

Sales process

These are just some bad approaches I see on a regular basis that I think deserve to mentioned.

13. How much are you currently paying for…?

If you’re asking this question, I’m going to assume you want to sell me on price. Chances are I didn’t just choose your competitor for the price they’re offering. Also, it makes you appear cheap and desperate to close the sale.

Try this instead:

Don’t sell on price, sell on value. People aren’t generally looking for the cheapest product, and when they do, they end up regretting it most of the time.

Ask questions that’ll help uncover how you can bring value to your customer and that’ll help them feel that you want to help them and not just beat your competitor on the price tag:

What is the biggest benefit your current dog groomer brings you?

What qualities do you expect from a dog groomer? Are you settling for only some of them?

14. Are you the decision-maker?

It would make sense, when trying to approach a large organization, to ask your recipient to point you to the person in charge of whatever you want to talk about.

But asking someone if they’re the decision-maker can cause a few problems:

  • Decision-maker is vague; even if I’m not the one calling the shots, I might be the one who decides if it’s worth my manager’s time or not.
  • If I’m not the decision maker, I don’t need to be reminded of the poor targeting of your email.
  • Being asked that question tends to make people defensive
  • If I’m the decision maker, it’ll appear as if you don’t really know who you’re talking to.

Try this instead:

Ask indirect questions that’ll get you much better results:

Who else is involved in the decision process?

15. When can I expect a response ?

You can’t. I mean, I don’t know you and you’re not entitled to anything. How do you know I’m even remotely interested?

Try this instead:

Assuming that your prospect will be interested in what you have to sell may be a little bit presumptuous. Save this for later in the process when you’ve had the chance to demonstrate value and your prospect has been already been debating whether they want to buy or not.

Instead, ask if you can provide more information in helping them make a decision. Or just provide said information.

Following up

If you follow up -which you should– do it right. Be assertive about it and make it easy for your prospect to respond.

16. Excuse my persistence…

Don’t apologize, it’s your job to be following up. Also, if you legitimately believe that your product/service can bring value to your prospect, don’t convey any doubt about it.

Because if you don’t believe in this, why should your prospect?

17. Just checking in / Just touching base

You think it makes you come across as relaxed and not to salesy, but the truth is, it makes you come across as shy and unfocused.

Try this instead:

If your job is to make the sales easy for the prospect, you should be asking where the situation’s at and how they’d like to move further. Try asking:

Did you get a chance to check out my previous email? Is this something that makes sense to you?

In my previous email I referred to X Customer, here’s how we helped them double their monthly revenue: [Case study]

How guilty are you?

It’s okay, you can say it, you’ve use some of these. I know I have!

Now go clean up those sales emails!