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Step 2 of the Outbound Sales Process (OSP): Create the Right Email Message Format

On to step 2 of the outbound sales process – creating the email message format, but not just any email message format – the right email message format.  When we say “right”, we mean an email message format that drives results.  When we say “results”, we mean more Opens and Replies to the sales email message.  This is a key component in the OSP and one that can have more impact than the other parts of the OSP – but many don’t take it that seriously and often overlook its importance in the grand scheme of things.  BUT the sales email message format is extremely important and can be the difference between long-term success or failure.

Every salesperson has their own writing style and approach to sales email messages.  Many will attempt to be informal when they reach out to prospects – using familiar words and phrases.  They might refer to the latest current events, the weather or even more personal wording.  Other sales folks might try a more formal approach – listing out all the key attributes of the product or service that they are trying to sell.  Oftentimes this leads to a long email message, with many paragraphs – and is often referred to as the “writing a story” email.  Another approach is to rely on flash and content – led by HTML images created by marketing teams – and often sent by the general marketing department.  One thing is for certain – there are MANY ways to format an email sales message – some work, some don’t – but what is the right way?

What is the Right Email Message Format?

First – there is not one right email message format that we all must follow.  However, trial/error and decades of sales experience can help guide you in the direction of what the right email message looks like.  As time goes on, you start to adapt and adjust the format.  You start to realize that maybe we don’t want to act too familiar with the sales prospect – knowing that right off the bat we are already playing games with them.  The prospect has seen this song and dance before – and they are tired of it.

You also don’t want to write your life story in the email or go down the path of waves of paragraphs.  We all know how that ends up – in the Trash folder once they glance at the novel that you have sent them.  You also want to limit the number of marketing based emails – those tend to fall more in the Spam category than others.  Plus they have a lot going on, which can upset the email servers more often than not.

You want to follow the KISS (keep it simple stupid) method when it comes to creating the right email message format.  Less is more and that kind of thing.  Don’t try to overthink it, keep it very basic, but with some detail as well.  It is like a well balanced symphony – just enough to get their interest with some info sprinkled in, but not overdoing it in any one area of the message.

The Key Components and the “No-No’s”

So when you do follow the KISS method, there are key components you want to include and key no-no’s that you want to avoid.

Key Components:

  1. Short, straight forward subject line
  2. Good intro line
  3. Brief main body content
  4. Closing line asking a question (subtle call to action)


  1. No links (1 max if absolute necessary)
  2. No attachments
  3. Limited HTML content (preferably none)

The “Non-Sales” Email Message Theory

There is a theory that is not discussed enough – the “non-sales” email message theory.  The foundation of the theory is simple:  instead of sending a sales email message that is trying to sell a product or service, send a sales email message that is not selling anything.  Sounds crazy, right?  But, of course, it is not crazy.  It is a theory that actually works.

In other words, the main goal of your sales email message should not be trying to sell something to the prospect, but rather to provide information about what you are trying to sell.  You need to look at the email message as only providing information.  This moves you past being a salesperson that many folks want to avoid, to being a person providing information about a product or service which could be of interest to the sales prospect.  Then if they do find an interest, they treat you less like a salesperson and more like a person that can help them with their pain points.

Bottomline: You need to understand how important the right sales email message format is to the entire outbound sales process – and the answer is “VERY IMPORTANT!”  Many overlook this step or do not give it enough thought.  But the reality is you need your email opened and you need people replying back to you – and the only way that gets accomplished is by sending your sales message in the right email format.

In the next article, we will tackle the final step of the OSP – email automation.  We are in the age of automation and that includes the outbound sales process more than ever!  If you are not automating this part of the sales process, then you are behind the trend.  You can do more with less in this new age.  The days of large sales bullpens are over.  It is time to optimize and automate the OSP.

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Tyler Toby, Founder, brings over 20 years of experience with 4 successful startup exits and repeated success building out sales systems.

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