What you say on your sales emails is as crucial as what you’re actually selling. An email is significantly different from a call or a face-to-face meeting. With emails, you can easily be ignored.
Keep your email off the spam folder by catching your reader’s attention. Use sales language that is powerful and can convert your audience into buyers.
When it comes to sales words, benefits trump specifications and features, almost always. Using ‘benefits’ shifts the focus from impersonal details that may or may not interest your readers. You only have a few seconds before they click the delete button.
So, appeal to their needs. Sell your product’s benefits by talking about how it can improve people’s lives.
Engage Selling Solutions owner Colleen Francis once claimed in her book Nonstop Sales Boom that customers “…only care about value and achieving their objectives.”
So, on email, talk about value, not price. Value is a powerful word. Price is objective; value is variable per person. When you use the word, you reach out to each person’s sensibilities. They think and assess for themselves. They might even click on your link to learn more about what you offer.
As Warren Buffet, American business magnate and philanthropist, said: “Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.”
As sales words go, ‘show’ is a positive interactive word that you can use to imply your willingness to communicate with your audience. It works better than ‘learn,’ which – regardless of its positive meaning – implies one-sidedness. When you say ‘show,’ you are reaching out and telling your reader that you’re there to help.
Instead of saying “learn more about our product,” say: “Let me show you how our product adds value to your life.” It makes people feel good and signals what could be the start of a good business relationship.
Sales is not about you, your quota or that sales team leaderboard you so want to top. It is about the client. Without their willingness to listen, you won’t be able to take further steps in making the sale. And, people always pay attention when you start talking about them.
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Even on email, your choice of pronouns communicate what you value more. So, use ‘you’ instead than ‘I.’ Because, in the end, you want your reader to think about themselves and the value that your product brings into their life.
Harvard University professor and social psychologist Ellen Langer once did a study on the impact of using ‘because’ in phrasing statements. She went out to see if people would let her cut in line using these lines, alternately:
“Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine?”
“Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I have to make some copies?”
“Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I’m in a rush?”
The last two sentences that used ‘because’ gained around 90% affirmatives. People responded more positively when a reason was offered.
So, when you make a statement – let’s say a claim about your product – add in a ‘because’ and then explain why. People become more open when they try to understand.
Usually, sales people use ‘but’ when trying to counter an objection. This is a negative word because ‘but,’ as is, signals an opposition. Your prospect knows that you are about to argue with an opposing statement. This is likely to put them in a defensive.
Instead, when you need to append anything to an original statement, use ‘and.’ This is an inclusive word. When used, regardless of how you use it, you sound like you agree.
Take, for instance, these examples by Seamus Brown, a sales trainer:
“I see that you only have a budget of $50,000, but let me tell you why our system costs $100,000.”
“I see that you only have a budget of $50,000, and let me tell you why our system costs $100,000.”
Not only does the second statement sound more positive. It also acknowledges the client’s reservations and offers an explanation to counter the client’s statement, without sounding negative.
7. Power Words/ Emotions
When you sell, you not only appeal to a person’s needs and values. You also appeal to their emotions. Strong feelings, such as joy, fear and distress, come with certain predictable responses.
If your sales strategy requires appealing to these emotions, then you should use words that could evoke them. A good guide is Jon Morrow’s online article called “317 Power Words That’ll Instantly Make You a Better Writer.” The words he put together are known to evoke certain human emotions. Of course, choose your words wisely. Be clear about what you want to achieve first.
Ali Abdullah, an entrepreneur, once claimed that: “Two of the most powerful words in the English language are ‘free’ and ‘sex.’ While the latter is a bit racy, the former presents an opportunity all brands should capitalize on.”
‘Sex’ has no place in your sales email – unless, of course, it’s what you’re selling and it’s legal. ‘Free,’ on the other hand, offers many possibilities.
Consider a University of Minnesota 2012 experiment wherein they made consumers choose between similarly-sized lotion bottles. One claimed to offer 50% more free lotion while the other was cheaper by 33%. People chose the bottle with the free content by about 73% of the time.
Dan Ariely, a behavioral scientist, claims that ‘Free’ is always the more interesting offer because it increases the value of the product.
‘Imagine’ is one of the most powerful sales words you can use in your email. It invites your reader to experience your product vicariously through imagination. When they do this, they stop being passive listeners. They become active participants who, alongside you, are thinking about a better future because of your product.
In sales, you want your prospect to acknowledge a problem and then see your product as the solution for that problem. The thing is, ‘problem’ is a negative word. It puts people on the defensive and makes them less open to discussing possibilities.
An easy fix is to use the word ‘opportunity’ instead. Because, in truth, a problem is also an opportunity to achieve something better. You just have to make your prospect see it, and take action.
“Your problem is that you’re hungry.”
“You now have the opportunity to eat what you love.”
Check out the two statements above. They both describe the same situation. However, the second one is more inspiring. It makes you want to reach for the nearby fork and eat with gusto!
11. Their Name
People want to feel that you are speaking to them directly, and that they’re unique to you. You can communicate this simply by saying their names. This is a powerful move and it tells your audience that you’re paying attention.
You can easily do this over the phone or face-to-face. It is harder with sales emails, however, especially when you’re doing blast emailing. A work-around here is to use mailing programs that allow you to use variables in your email text. A simple use of the “first name” variable in the greeting section of your email can make a big difference.