You know what tips buyers off that the email they’re reading is a sales pitch?
“Hi, My name is John Smith, and I’m a sales rep at Company.”
Yup. That’ll do it.
While you should never actively hide the fact that you’re a salesperson from buyers, there are far more creative and engaging ways of opening sales emails than the standard name-and-company introduction. “Hi, I’m a salesperson” encourages readers to hit “delete” immediately, which is a shame because you probably have something valuable to offer. Changing up your opening lines to position yourself as a consultant, business expert, or interested party will do you justice and keep the prospect reading.
If you’re struggling to think of alternatives to the standard opening line, take one of these for a spin and see how they perform for you.
1) “Did you know [interesting statistic]?”
Maybe you know the prospect is tackling a business problem that your offering can solve. Leading with an thought-provoking statistic that relates to their issue and paves the way to your solution will work well with data-driven types.
2) “I loved your post/tweet/blog on X.”
Everybody loves to get a (genuine) compliment. This opening line not only starts a conversation about a topic the buyer is interested in, it shows you’ve done your research. Your credibility just shot up, and this means the prospect will take your ask more seriously.
3) “I noticed your company recently … “
Trigger events are incredibly effective sales openings if used correctly. Using Google alerts, track the company and keep an eye out for any major moves. If you catch wind of a major announcement, pounce on the opportunity to send an email connecting the event to your product or service.
4) “Great insights at the Y Summit … “
Did you see this person speak at a conference, panel, or webinar? Strike up a conversation about their presentation, and probe into any pain points they revealed.
5) “Congratulations on X … “
Did the prospect recently get promoted or switch companies? This is a perfect time to reach out and offer your help. They’ll be excited about their new adventure, so starting off with a hearty “congratulations” will start your relationship off on a positive note.
6) “[Mutual connection] recommended we talk.”
What’s the first thing you do before you try out a new restaurant? If you’re like the rest of us, you probably check out the Yelp reviews. Social proof is a powerful force, and you should take advantage of if you can. The closer your prospect is with your mutual connection the better, since some of the trust they have in that person will inevitably transfer to you.
7) “What would it mean to you if your business was able to achieve [benefit]?”
This one comes to you courtesy of InsideSales.com. A core sales skill is the ability to create a compelling future state, and painting a picture of how things could be from the very first interaction gets the prospect thinking about alternatives to the status quo. For maximum impact, use a concrete benefit from a customer case study, such as “increase revenue by 50%” or “reduce costs by 70%.”
8) “I have an idea to address [pain point].”
If the buyer has been grappling with a problem, they’ll welcome any and all advice on how to solve it. This opening line captures their attention right off the bat.
9) “I’ve long been a fan of … ”
Maybe your prospect maintains an excellent blog, or manages a consistently over-performing division. Again, a genuine compliment never hurts. By making it about them instead of you, you suck them in and invite their trust.
10) “How do you know [shared connection]? We worked together on … “
Use this one if you and your prospect share a connection, but the person hasn’t explicitly referred you. This line helps you benefit from their social proof without misconstruing your relationship to the buyer.
11) “I recently came across this content piece and thought you’d find it valuable … “
If you can add value from the very first touch, the buyer knows you won’t waste their time. Find an interesting blog post, ebook, or report to share with your prospect and get their thoughts on a specific area that pertains to your offering.
12) “I’ve been following Y, and I’m curious to learn a bit more about X.”
As sales trainer Jeff Hoffman puts it, “Prospects respond more positively to curiosity than credibility. Every sales rep strives to portray themselves as an expert, but not many take on the role of a curious student.”
Buyers love to talk about themselves and what they’re doing. If you ask an insightful question about a project they’re working on or the division they oversee, odds are, they’ll be happy to answer. And this opens the door to more discovery questions, which could eventually lead to your product or service as the answer.
13) “I don’t know how you feel about X, but to me it’s … “
Here’s an example of what this opening line looks like in practice from Mike McCormick:
“I don’t know how you feel about walking on a chilly dawn beside a stream with scrappy trout you can see, but to me, that’s a pretty good definition of perfect.”
According to copywriter Ryan McGrath, this approach has two main merits: it’s empathetic, and doesn’t presume what the prospect is feeling. This way, you won’t come off as overly pushy or dismissive. The prospect can easily say “Truthfully, I don’t really care about that” without feeling guilty, and the salesperson can disqualify and move to the next opportunity.
14) “I help companies like yours solve [pain point] by … “
Buyers don’t have a lot of time, and some might appreciate a direct approach. However, instead of stating your name and company, pull out your value proposition instead. This makes your email relevant to your prospect from the start.
15) “Is X a priority for you right now?”
There’s nothing quite like a question to get the prospect talking. HubSpot sales manager Michael Pici recommends using questions in sales emails to spark the prospect’s interest and get them thinking about the current state of affairs.
This one in particular can help the salesperson get a sense of the prospect’s priorities and pain points. If you’ve struck on a tricky area, you’re in. Get more insightful sales questions here.
What sales email opening lines do you swear by? Share in the comments.