4 formats to save sales emails from the trash

Leanne Worthington

In sales, there’s no experience quite as humbling as a prospect hanging up on you.

The silence that follows is a 3-second window of deafening self-reflection. Sharply followed by an attempt to compose yourself, shake off the rejection, and move on to the next lead.

While a phone snub can be excruciating, there’s some comfort in the immediate knowing of where you stand. 

When it comes to sales emails, however, much of the anguish lingers in the unknown. 

Did it arrive in the prospect’s inbox? 

Will they even care about what you’re saying?

Is it forgotten in ‘Deleted Items’, lost amongst early bird lunchtime offers, scams, and grammatical errors? 

The only way to remove this uncertainty is to start viewing sales emails as more than just an opportunity to sell. And to start building a relationship.  

So when it comes to emailing – while attention spans are already highly selective – those first few lines are crucial.

Some sales teams will have the luxury of either in-house or agency support. But for those of you leading a team with limited resources, we’ve put together a short guide to beef up flat and flavorless communication. 

#1 – Tell a Story

Hold back the eyeroll, hear us out. We know storytelling is a saturated topic. And often it’s not adopted properly because sales teams are TOLD to do it but never SHOWN how to. 

Below are two examples of a sales email introduction. Think about which one you’d be more likely to engage with. 

“Hi James,

I hope this email finds you well. 

Are you the decision maker when it comes to business IT strategy? If so, I have something I think you’d like to hear. Our cybersecurity offering is unmatched when it comes to detecting new and emerging threats.”


“Hi James,

Did anything disappear from your desk overnight?

Would you notice if it had?

It’s not always easy keeping track of physical items, but your files, objects, and data are much more likely to disappear without your knowledge. 

And there is something you can do about it.”

What do you think?

The standard email screams obvious sales right away. It’s a low effort attempt that does nothing to hook the prospect or engage them in any way. 

The latter email leans in with something unexpected, personal, and relevant to the topic you’re about to share. It buys you time with the prospect and gives them a reason to read on. 


#2 – Offer

Everyone wants something for nothing. But outside of an unsolicited spritz of duty-free airport fragrance, it almost never happens.

Even if you’ve got a once-in-a-lifetime deal to share, without education on what you’re offering first, it’s unlikely to strike any chords. 

Here are a few ways to marry the two:

  • Offer the prospect a demo with a thoughtful incentive. This might be a digital voucher for a coffee chain or an offer to buy them lunch.
  • Follow it up with a direct mail piece. Before going into detail about your offer, tell your prospect you’d like to send them something in the mail, because you don’t want to bombard them with information. What you send them could be as simple as a USB stick filled with some educational resources, along with a letter, some cookies, and coffee pods.
  • If you’re trying to highlight a particular pain point, such as lack of time and high stress levels, you could offer them something else that doesn’t cost much, such as an ‘Unwind’ Spotify playlist. 


#3 – Brave

Attempts at bravery are a fine line between engaging and arrogant. Be sure to get opinions of your colleagues before you cross the wrong way. 

Here are a couple of examples that lead with braveness and honesty.

“Another day, another stranger in your inbox telling you they can solve the world’s problems? Not today. In fact, I only think I know what the problems you’re facing are, but in reality of course they’re much broader. Do any of these 3 things resonate with you?”


“Rather than me talking at you telling you what I think I know about your business, I’d love five minutes to get to know you and what you’re facing. If I can’t help I’ll hold my hands up and we can go our separate ways, but if I can help, I’d love to send you a personalized proposal.”

#4 – Urgent 

When urgency is amplified by false pretenses, it loses its edge.

Urgency can so easily exude desperation. If there are any incentive or savings you can pass on, be upfront about it. 

Here’s an example of what that could look like:

“Hi James,

It’s nearing the end of [Company’s] Q4, which means I’m in a position to offer you something I usually wouldn’t ordinarily be able to.”

Or something that feels a little more exclusive, without focusing on the financial side:

“Hi James,

I’m hosting a lunch and learn next Friday with 9 others like yourself. I’d like to reserve the last spot for you, but appreciate it’s a little last minute. It would be great if you could attend, but if you’re unable to, please let me know so I can find a replacement. Here’s what you’ll get if you join…”

Don’t Muddle Through, Master Your Art

While all these strategies can’t be used simultaneously, they can help broaden your team’s perception of what a sales email could and ‘should’ be. Or at least start an active conversation. 

By jumping over the threshold of corporate jargon, your words can evade the clutter of inboxes and earn the views they deserve. 

Remember, every email is an opportunity to build a relationship, not just make a sale. So, craft each message with the same question in mind “Would I bother reading this if it landed in my own inbox?”. You might not be the audience, but use your own discernment as a benchmark. 

If you’d like a wider conversation around not just your emails, but how Fuel can empower your sales teams and break down the barriers that they face each day, get in touch with the team.

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