Closing leads is often the hardest part of sales. Identifying when a prospect customer’s ready to buy can be tough, and the idea of getting it wrong and facing rejection can make many sales reps reluctant to make the move to seal the deal.
When this all takes place over email, the challenge is even greater.
Since we’re unable to read someone’s facial expressions or hear their tone of voice (or have others read and hear ours), it’s far trickier for reps to pinpoint the right moment to close a sale, or for prospect customers to understand the rep’s intentions, or what they’re being asked to do. This means that the messaging used is so much more important when closing a sale over email than on the phone or in person.
The Wrong Way to Close Leads Via Email
There are many ways sales reps commonly get email messaging wrong—especially when using email to close sales. Most often I see that they:
Rely on templates they’ve found online
There’s nothing wrong with using templates, but you should either be writing your own (cold email formulas can help with this), or making changes to templates others have written so that they’re unique to you, and the language and tone is in line with your brand voice.
The risk with taking pre-written templates and using them without making them your own is that you wind up sounding like everyone else, or, potentially, sending the same email as your competitors.
For example, sales reps phrase their messaging as if the prospect has already decided to buy.
They might say:
“So what start date works for you?” or “Shall we sign you up for the enterprise plan?”
Assuming someone is ready to buy can understandably rub prospects the wrong way, and while it’s unlikely to deter those who are ready to buy, it can potentially lose you sales from prospects that are still sitting on the fence.
Use sales cliches
They might work on the occasional, inexperienced prospect, or prospects who adhere to very traditional business values. More often than not though, using sales cliches will instantly lose you respect and prevent prospects from taking you seriously.
If you find yourself using phrases like “Get the ball rolling,” “Thanks in advance,” or “Let’s touch base,” you definitely need to work on your messaging.
For reference, here are the top 10 annoying cliches salespeople use that turn prospects off.
Are too formal, or too casual
This one’s an easy mistake to make, especially if you’re relying on email templates. In fact, when it comes to closing, you really shouldn’t be templating anything.
By this stage you should have a pretty solid idea of the language and tone your prospects use, so you can adopt their preferred style when you come to close.
The Right Way to Close Leads Via Email
Many of these are best practices that can be applied to all sales emails. However, if there’s one time you need to pay extra-close attention to the messaging you use, it’s when you’re closing a sale.
Your email should be about the prospect, not about you
This mistake is more common in sales emails that are sent further up the sales funnel, but it’s still something to be conscious of with every email you send.
Prospects don’t care if your company is leading the market or recently won XYZ award. They just care about how your product or service can help them and what it’ll cost them.
Odds are, if you’ve made it to the point of trying to close a sale, prospects will know a few things about your company anyway. This means you have all the more reason to ensure the messaging you use—in every sales email, but particularly when it comes to closing—focuses solely on the benefits your product will offer your prospect.
It should be short
Ideally, no more than four sentences. The same rule applies to opening sales emails. Interactions that take place between your introduction and your close can be longer, since you’ll be building a relationship, trying to learn about a prospect, and establishing how your product or service can meet their needs.
Closing a sale is different.
If you’ve followed up properly, at this point, prospects should have and understand the majority of information they need. This final email simply needs to reiterate the most important points of the sale (often just benefits and price) and make the move to close it.
It should be personalized
There are two key ways all sales emails, particularly emails written to close sales, should be personalized.
As mentioned before, you should be mirroring the style, tone, and language a prospect uses. The more you speak to a prospect, the easier this should become.
You should also be making sure to reference what you know about the prospect—in particular their pain points—and use this information to emphasize and reinforce how your product or service will help them.
It should clearly detail what you want to happen next
You should make your attempt at closing the sale in the final sentence of your email. When doing this you should (as mentioned earlier) avoid making assumptions. Unless a prospect has explicitly said words to the effect of “Please sign me up” or “Send me the contracts,” you can’t assume they want to buy.
Instead, you should try to close the sale by detailing what you’d like to happen next. Keap's free email templates are a great resource if you are struggling with closing a sale via email.
You should wait between writing and sending an email
If you’ve ever revisited something you’ve written later down the line and spotted typos or sentences that could have been phrased more eloquently, you’ll recognize why this is important.
When we step away from something we’ve created (it doesn’t have to be a piece of writing or an email) and come back to it, we typically notice things that we were blind to before.
This means it’s good practice to ensure your messaging is on point and to maximize your chances of successfully closing by writing your email or template, going and doing something else, and revisiting it later. Only once you’ve done that should you be hitting “Send.”
Sujan Patel is a leading expert in digital marketing. He is a hard working and high energy individual fueled by his passion to help people and solve problems. He is the co-founder of Web Profits, a growth marketing agency, and a partner in a handful of software companies including Mailshake, Narrow.io, Quuu, and Linktexting.com. Between his consulting practice and his software companies, Sujan’s goal is to help entrepreneurs and marketers scale their businesses.