Why Everyone Ignores Your Email Sales Pitch

While cold calling might be dead, cold e-mailing isn’t.  In fact, judging from my inbox it’s sharply on the rise.  I know sales professionals that live and die by the e-mail introduction.  But how effective is e-mail at making a sales introduction?

It depends. I find e-mail introductions are most effective when there is some context related to the outreach and content worthy of the recipient’s time and attention.  The absence of either will shutdown any opportunity for meaningful engagement.  A sales pro understands they are just a keystroke away from the trash bin and approaches the e-mail introduction with the care and commitment required to earn a response.

I receive a fair amount of e-mail sales pitches.  I wanted to leverage a recent inquiry that hit my inbox to illustrate how make the most of the e-mail introduction.

Here is the essence of the email I received:

The Introduction

Hopefully I’m not catching you too off guard with my email – I work closely with a few of our mutual connections and wanted to see if we could find a time to be introduced.

I’m not at all assuming you’re in the market for the work I do but I’d like to meet you nonetheless.  That being said I’d like to tell you a little about how I work, share some ideas with you, and what you do with it is up to you.

{I didn’t respond to the first e-mail during a busy week of travel.  The following week I received this follow up}.

The Follow Up

I’m not sure if you received my last email or not, sometimes I can get spammed for some reason.  I just wanted to touch base and see if we could find a time to be introduced.  I work closely with and have met with quite a few our mutual connections.

Though I’m not at all assuming you’re in the market for the work I do, I’d like to meet you nonetheless.  If you have some availability in the next week or so I’d love to grab lunch or coffee. 

Would you take this meeting?  This sales introduction had the potential to be so much better.  Here are four keys for making more meaningful and memorable email sales pitches.

1.  Leverage Referrals.  A satisfied client can help you strengthen the sales introduction.  Assuming this seller actually does work with people I know, the introduction is strengthened by revealing that information.  Even better, have the satisfied client and “mutual connection” lead in making the introduction.  Don’t leave it to the prospect to assume anything.

2.  Be Specific.  If you are asking me to invest valuable time, make sure I understand why.  Get to the point about what you’ve got that I need.  I don’t have time for too many nonessential lunch or coffee meetings (I retired from coffee shopping).  Neither do your customers.  (In fairness, I did remove the category/industry for the example in this post, but even with that information it wasn’t specific enough.)

3.  Customize.  This involves doing a little homework.  The ability to demonstrate understanding related to the prospective buyer’s business and unique situation elevates credibility.  When that understanding includes a particularly compelling insight, point of view or position of value the introduction improves.

4. Give Value First.  Be helpful.  Focus on the customer.  The customer will only be interested in your product or service because it could help them. So, make the introduction all about them.  The more you know the easier it is to lead with value.  Give away your best ideas and examples of success, and make it easy for your best customers to share.

Following these four practices will help you make sales introductions that lead to opportunities.   When we shift our focus to thinking about sales meetings as an earned opportunity, our introductions typically improve.  In sales the law of incremental commitment applies —the first commitment you have to close is someone’s willingness to learn more.

These four practices will also help you avoid what you had to know was coming next.

The Response

Thanks for the note. I just don’t have the time and I’m not interestedSent from my iPhone

Ryan Estis & Associates is a training and development organization helping companies, leaders, sales people and individual contributors embrace change and achieve breakthrough performance in the new economy. We offer keynotes, live classroom training and online learning that blends interaction, energy and actionable content designed to elevate performance. Contact us for programming inquiries and assistance determining the curriculum that could best support your learning and development objectives.

6 Responses to “Why Everyone Ignores Your Email Sales Pitch”


  1. Cold calling via email is a huge challenge so you’ve offered some great insight into how improve how things are done.

    Not knowing how email sales pitch were received was a key reason why we created a smart email tracking tool for Outlook and Gmail that tells you if, when, how many times and the location of an opened email, as well as the device or Web browser used.

    For salespeople, it provides what we call “actionable” insight so they can focus on the most promising prospects because you can tell how much interest an email has generated.

    For anyone who wants to take ContactMonkey for a spin, we offer a free 14-day trial.

    Scott Pielsticker
    CEO, ContactMonkey.com

    Scott Pielsticker on 19 Feb 2013, 1:01 pm (Link | Reply)

  2. Cold calling via email, also called spam, is illegal in the U.S.A., and if a recipient complains to your ISP, you could lose your Internet access and/or your web hosting account.

    Donna Caissie on 19 Feb 2013, 8:43 pm (Link | Reply)

  3. It would have been nice to see an example of what he thinks is
    The perfect intro and follow up letter.

    Cindy on 20 Feb 2013, 9:41 am (Link | Reply)

  4. [...] Why Everyone Ignores Your Email Sales Pitch Passion on Purpose: “A sales pro understands they are just a keystroke away from the trash bin and approaches the e-mail introduction with the care and commitment required to earn a response.” [...]


  5. [...] Why Everyone Ignores Your Email Sales Pitch Passion on Purpose: “A sales pro understands they are just a keystroke away from the trash bin and approaches the e-mail introduction with the care and commitment required to earn a response.” [...]


  6. Demonstrating credibility is difficult in a cold email. I get a ton of these types of emails and very seldom do I take the bait. But if I do there must be a compelling reason for me to take action.

    Patrick Barnett on 16 Apr 2013, 5:51 pm (Link | Reply)

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