Sending an email to request a meeting with a new prospect is fine (and often preferred) for many sales situations. Email gets through gatekeepers; and it lets you manage your time to get to more prospects than many other ways of reaching out.

Since prospects value their time too, it’s often the only way you can get to chat with them on the phone – because many prospects don’t take unknown calls on the fly. They manage their time by setting aside time for each phone call.

Just like in other realms, the first impression could be the difference between getting that appointment – and with email, the first impression means the subject line.

While there are a lot of different opinions about what makes a great subject line, there are a few components that should be factored into yours, no matter how you like to structure it.

  1. The client needs to see value in opening the email. People who get dozens or hundreds of emails a day will often not even open the email. They’ll just toss the messages into the trash folder to get through their inboxes. Famously, businessman & investor Mark Cuban, who gets hundreds a day, says he gives inbound messages just a quick read of the subject (and if intriguing, the first couple sentences) to determine whether he’ll respond. Sergei Brin, founder of Google, says he only looks at the first handful of emails, then trashes the rest when he has spent his allotted email reading time because he gets so many.
  2. It should look like it was meant for him. If it looks like spam or mass email on the subject line, it is far more likely to be deleted without serious consideration.
  3. It should hit one of his hot buttons. This is the hard one because you don’t always know what’s top of mind for your recipient. But you can increase the odds of doing this by perusing the news to see if he has recently been covered; and for what – and by seeing the types of organizations in which he takes an interest.

Of course, these are very high level concepts – but worth their weight in gold. As you use your favorite techniques to target and craft your email, consider whether your final product has accomplished these three things. If so, click send. If not, keep tweaking your subject line until you’ve done it.


Posted by David Radin
Leadership & Sales Productivity Coach