5 Ways to Boost Your Email Prospecting Response Rate26

The Pipeline Guest Post – Kendra Lee

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Prospecting via email can be wildly rewarding, or incredibly frustrating. Get it right, and each of your campaigns can deliver you fresh sales opportunities within days, and sometimes even minutes. Get it wrong and you risk wasting your time, or even worse, irritating potential clients.

So what makes the difference?

After years of experience, and dozens upon dozens of successes, we’ve found that it’s all in the approach.

In fact, we’ve coached clients through a number of simple steps that have helped them double or triple their prospecting email response rates virtually overnight. Here are a few of the highlights.

1.    Keep it short. To respond to your email, the prospect has to read it first. The shorter and less intimidating it looks, the more likely they are to do just that. At KLA Group, we have a rule of thumb: no prospecting or lead-generation email should be more than 175 words, and they all need to be three paragraphs or less.

Go any longer, and it’s very likely your message will be deleted, or saved until a time when the prospect “has more time,” which isn’t likely to ever happen.

It should go without saying that the same applies to your email subject line. It doesn’t have to be two or three words, but don’t try to write an entire sentence. Just stick to the topic and a reason to keep reading.

2.    Be personal. Are the emails you write to your friends, colleagues, and clients filled with links, attachments, bullet points, and fancy graphics? I’ll bet that more often they’re short, personal notes that mention a specific situation or problem.

Too many sellers make it hard on themselves by trying excessively hard to put on their marketing caps, rather than simply writing to the prospect as a person.

Don’t be afraid to use short sentences, abbreviations, and less formal language. You don’t want your email to be sloppy, of course, but you don’t want it to look like a strict marketing message, either.

3.    Open up with something compelling. One of the best ways to draw prospects into your email is by mentioning a “triggering event,” which is some issue that they are facing right now and that you can help them to resolve. This could be a change in their industry, new legislation, or even just a common challenge for companies like theirs.

Show them that you understand what they’re going through, and they’ll reward you with a reply to begin a conversation.

4.    Show a result. Naturally, you don’t want to just mention a problem to your prospects. They’re busy people and don’t need to be reminded of issues. Rather, briefly explain how you helped someone else to solve a similar issue.

Without going into detail, show your prospect what possible improvements in their business you might be able to provide. If possible, mention a return on investment that the client with a similar issue realized. Numbers carry a great deal of credibility.

5.    Ask them to take action right away… and make it easy for them to do it. Limit yourself to one clear action you want your prospect to take. Make it one that only takes a few moments for them to follow up on.

Whether it’s clicking through to a link, hitting the “reply” button, or confirming a time for a phone call, make it very clear what you are hoping to accomplish.

A favorite approach of ours is to suggest one or two times for a brief phone meeting. Something like: “I would love to discuss my idea with you further on Friday the 12th at 1:30. By chance would that work for you?”

Suggesting specific times that your prospects can quickly check on their calendar makes it easy for them to respond and can do wonders for your response rate.

If you haven’t gotten the results you want from email prospecting try these tips. A few adjustments to your emails could find your inbox filled with replies from potential new clients.

About Kendra Lee

Kendra Lee is a top IT Seller, Prospect Attraction Expert and author of the award winning book “Selling Against the Goal” and president of KLA Group. Specializing in the IT industry, KLA Group works with companies to break in and exceed revenue objectives in the Small and Midmarket Business (SMB) segment. Ms. Lee is a frequent speaker at national sales meetings and association events. To find out more about the author, read her latest articles, or to subscribe to her newsletter visit www.klagroup.com or call +1 303.741.6636.


  1. Doug Rice

    Hey, thanks for the wonderful post! I spend a great deal of my time prospecting via email. This gives me a good framework for organizing my messages. I do tend to get wordy when I’m caught up in the moment and can’t stop typing. But it’s good to be reminded to see things from the customer’s perspective. They don’t care about what I’m saying nearly as much as I do. If I want then to care, I’ve got to value their time. Good insight, Kendra.

    • Kendra Lee

      Hi Doug, You’re so welcome! Prospecting emails are very much a formula. The content within the formula changes, but once you know the formula and the little tips for increasing the odds it’ll get read, you’ll see many more responses. Definitely cut down on the length and save something to talk about on the phone!!

  2. Nancy Szakats


    This is helpful information.
    Thank you for sharing.

    • Kendra Lee

      Hi Nancy, Thank you! I’m glad you’ve found it helpful.

  3. Yahya Buali

    We have always looked at the customer and made judgments, but we always forget that the customer is the one looking at us and make his judgment !

    • Kendra Lee

      Hi Yahya, You’re so right. The customer is making judgements about us in just 3 seconds based on how our emails look, then what they say. So, both are important! We need to stay customer focused. Thank you for your great comment.


    HI Kendra! What precise pieces of advice! I love to write prospecting emails and keeping contact with clients via email too, and your article helps me be even more accurate. Thank you!

    • Kendra Lee

      Hi Monica, I’m so glad this is helpful for you! Email can be a great way to keep in contact between phone calls and it’s definitely very easy for prospects to respond to!

  5. Robert Kelly

    Terrific post Kendra. You communicated the essence of best practices for email prospecting in a very clear way. Very helpful.

    • Kendra Lee

      Thanks so much, Robert! Keep me posted on all your email prospecting successes and what’s working best for you. I appreciate hearing the many different approaches.

  6. Anthony

    Great Article Kendra! Some excellent points there. However, what’s the best method to obtain these leads? I have a great email written but very few contact in my pipeline. I am currently using LinkedIn to find my prospects and then FindAnyEmail.net to obtain their contact details. But this is a very time consuming process. Does anyone have any better way to increase their pipeline?


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