Get Your Sales Emails Opened, Read And Answered

Kim Arnold is a communication consultant, author and helps organisations avoid the wasted time and effort associated with poor communication. Her bestselling book, ‘Email Attraction’ has been featured in Forbes, the Financial Times and on BBC Radio. 

In this episode of The Salesman Podcast, Kim shares insights into how the top salespeople get their emails opened, read, and answered.

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Featured on this episode:

Host - Will Barron
Founder of Salesman.org
Guest - Kim Arnold
Communications Expert

Resources:

Transcript

Will Barron:

Hi. My name is Will, and welcome to today’s episode of the Salesman Podcast.

 

Will Barron:

On today’s episode, we’ll look at how you can get your sales emails opened, read, and answered. And today’s guest is Kim Arnold. Kim is a communications consultant, author, and helps organisations avoid the wasted time and associated effort with poor communication.

 

Will Barron:

Her bestselling book, Email Attraction, has been featured in Forbes, Financial Times, on BBC Radio, a bunch of other places as well. And with that, Kim, welcome to the show.

 

Kim Arnold:

Thanks so much, Will. Great to be here.

 

Will Barron:

I’m glad to have you on. Okay. This is clearly an important topic for the modern B2B sale professional. Maybe 20 years, they could have got away with just having a gift of the gab, silver tongue, just calling people and breaking through, but clearly, email is incredibly important right now. It’s typically the first step into getting a conversation going with a potential customer.

 

Whose Fault is it When a Salesperson Doesn’t Get an Email Response? · [01:50]  

 

Will Barron:

So, with that said, let’s set up the rest of the conversation here, whose fault is it, Kim, whose fault is it, right, when a salesperson, Sam, the salesperson, sends an email and gets no response? Is it the buyer’s fault for just being too busy for ignoring Sam for being rude, or is it maybe Sam’s fault for sending an email that just sucked and didn’t elicit a response in the first place?

 

Kim Arnold:

Well, sorry, Sam, I’m afraid, it’s your fault. It really is. Yeah, we are busy. We are overwhelmed at the moment. Our inboxes are groaning, and what we do is filter. We look through our inboxes and we look and we see what is going to give me the quickest value in my inbox. And we start there. Or what’s the most urgent, what’s going to get me promoted, what’s going to win me more business, what’s going to make my day brighter. And if he doesn’t tick any of those boxes, then, I’m afraid it’s gone.

 

Kim Arnold:

And actually, I was talking to a sales guy at a conference recently I was speaking at, and he said exactly what you’ve just outlined. He said, we’re so good in person, we’re charming. We’re great at networking, we’re brilliant in meetings, but these days, we can’t even get clients on the phone, let alone, try and get them face to face. So you’re having to do everything through email.

 

Kim Arnold:

And he was just saying, I can’t communicate any of my personality, my charisma, my charm, all of stuff that works for me in person. I can’t get it down on an email, and that is a big problem.

 

Will Barron:

So, I’m doing a bunch of work. A lot of our content goes on YouTube, and I’m working with a consultant in the YouTube space, a big YouTuber, to help us with our content. And he keeps telling me that I’m not riding this line of click bait close enough in titles, in thumbnails, in begin of introductions. And so… And I’ll come back to email in a second, but it seems like the people, when people get into the content, they really enjoy it.

 

Email Subject Lines and Why They’re the Key to Getting Your Emails Read · [03:02] 

 

Will Barron:

But getting that initial click through rate is something that we struggle with, and we need to work on. How do sales people beat the scanning of a prospect’s email when they get up in the morning or at lunchtime, how do they beat that filter where the prospect’s probably just, at this point in 2022, we call this deleting emails without even reading them? How do they break through that filter without leaning into a clickbaity subject line? Or is that what we need to do at this point?

 

Kim Arnold:

That’s a really good question. Actually, a friend of mine showed me her phone the other day, I was looking at something, and she had 35,000 unread emails. And her strategy, she said, was just filtering at the subject line and they send it in the subject line. I mean, it filled with me with horror because I like to read all my emails, even if I don’t reply to them. But that is what more and more people are doing at the moment, is filtering by the subject line.

 

Kim Arnold:

But as you say, there’s a really delicate balance. We get turned off by click bait. So, one strategy to think about is where are those points of connection? And all too often with sales emails, we might write something like introduction to blah, blah, blah, whatever our company name is, or introduction to a service or a meeting request or something that just is very me, me, me.

 

“An email should be a conversation with a pause. It isn’t a monologue. It’s about starting a conversation. So, we need to find points of connection that we can use in our email subject line that are about them and not us, and that can make all the difference.” – Kim Arnold · [04:21] 

 

Kim Arnold:

So, what we are trying to do in an email should be a conversation with a pause. That’s what we’re trying to do. This isn’t a monologue. This isn’t about, you know, warfare going out there and firing out these emails. It’s about starting a conversation. So, trying to find points of connection that we can use in our email subject line that are about them and not us can make all the difference.

 

The HEC Hamburger Technique: The Basic Structure of a Good Sales Email · [04:43] 

 

Will Barron:

What does that look like practically? Because in our training programme, we teach a certain way of doing emails. I don’t want to dwell on that too much because I want to pull from you in this conversation in this podcast, Kim, but we teach basically what you described of if there’s a connection that we can refer to, if we’ve been referred directly or indirectly, we’re going to mention that, we’re going to keep it conversational.

 

Will Barron:

We’re going to elicit some kind of reaction, and then, almost open a loop, and then, ask, we’re going to call to action to close loop on a call. Is there any structure to doing that other than what I outlined, or is there a basic structure of what a good sales email looks like? Or is it completely dependent on the prospect, the industry, and who we’re trying to get in front of?

 

Kim Arnold:

So, there’s a framework that I use in my book, it’s called the HEC Hamburger Technique, and it’s a really simple one. It’s a three steps technique, and you can use it for writing any email, whether it’s a sales email or just something to your colleagues. And HEC is H-E-C, and it stands for hook, explanation, and call to action.

 

Kim Arnold:

And the reason why I call it hamburger is it’s like the three parts of a burger, right? The bun at the top’s got to look appealing. That’s the start of your email. You got to entice someone to want to open it. The explanation, the E of HEC, that’s your burger, that’s your meet the main point. And then, the C is your call to action. And that’s the bottom bun and without that, you can’t really pick up the whole thing and take a bite.

 

Kim Arnold:

So you need all three things to really make a difference. And it’s very similar to what you described, but what I would encourage people is to make sure that you make the most of that first line of your email. Because what do we do? Most of the time, we write something like I hope you’re well, or maybe this sort of posh version, I trust this email find you well, if we’re trying to be very formal and proper, and it’s a big deal that we’re trying to get.

 

“We have three seconds to get someone’s attention with an email, three seconds. And yet, we waste it with a sort of generic platitude.” – Kim Arnold · [06:51] 

 

Kim Arnold:

And this is like the most valuable real estate in our email, we have three seconds to get someone’s attention with an email, three seconds, three, two, one, it’s not long at all. And yet, we waste it with a sort of generic platitude. And it doesn’t mean that it’s always disingenuous, but it can often sound disingenuous. It sounds like a cut and paste job.

 

Kim Arnold:

And that’s the thing that we want to avoid with our sales emails. So, the hook has got to be personal. So, reference something that you know about them. Do your digging, look on LinkedIn. Do you have a connection in common? Have you been introduced? What have they been up to recently? Have they written something interesting? Have they said something interesting? Has the business done something interesting? Do a bit of homework, no cut and paste jobs.

 

“The explanation part of your email needs to be short and sweet. In fact, between 50 and a hundred words has been proven to be best for sales email, and that is so much less than you think. It’s like three short paragraphs, that’s it. So get to the point. Why are you writing? We don’t need to know when your business was founded. We don’t need to know how many offices you have. We don’t need to know that you’re the leading provider of software solutions. We don’t need to know any of that. We just need to figure out what it is that’s in it for the reader to keep reading and take action.” Kim Arnold · [07:32] 

 

Kim Arnold:

So then, the explanation needs to be short and sweet. So, the overall size of your email between 50 and a hundred words has been proven to be best for sales email, and that is so much less than you think. It’s like three short paragraphs, that’s it. So get to the point. What is it, why are you writing? We don’t need to know when your business was founded. We don’t need to know how many offices you have. We don’t need to know that you’re the leading provider of software solutions. We don’t need to know any of that. We just need to figure it out what it is that’s in it for them, for the reader, to keep reading and to meet with you, if that’s what you want.

 

Kim Arnold:

And then, your call to action at the end is got to be direct. So, not let me know if this is of interest, let me know if you’d like to discuss. It’s too vague and it’s too wishy washy. So, I would always advise a very strong call to action. I’m sure this is what you teach as well, Will. It’s about making the next step clear and easy for the other person. So, do you have 15 minutes in your diary on Tuesday next week for a quick phone call? So, making it quick, easy. They only have to look at their diary once. They’re not reaching around for dates, or you might give them two or three options. So, it’s as simple and as easy as possible for them to take that next step.

 

Kim Arnold:

So H-E-C, hook, explanation and call to action.

 

Will Barron:

Love it. Extremely similar to what we teach, slightly different in, I guess, some of the terminology, but very similar, right? Our kind of call to action is typically, does it make sense to jump on a call to, and then, do whatever, closes the loop that we touched on earlier on. Amazing.

 

Will Barron:

Okay. So how much of this, Kim, because it’s one thing for us to say this right? Me and you sat here on this podcast, tens of thousands of salespeople listening, but it’s another when you go, okay, I’m listening to this show on the way to work, I’m going to sit down, I’m going to write an email using Kim’s methodology here. And then, you sit in front of the computer, and you go, I could still go a million different ways. And 999,000 of those are terrible ways to write the email, even with that amazing framework.

 

Critical Factors That Determine the Success of a Sales Email · [09:10] 

 

Will Barron:

So, with that said, how much of the success of these emails comes from, I guess, the scientific method of making a hypothesis, testing it in the marketplace, and then, refining it after the fact? Are we likely to write like these killer email straight off the bat, or is this a process of refining our skill as a, I guess, a copywriter over time?

 

Kim Arnold:

It definitely takes time, and we need to measure the right things. So we need to measure quality over quantity with email. And I work with a lot of sales teams all over the world, and one of the biggest problems tends to be that they judge themselves on their outbounds and not necessarily what comes back. So it’s like, great. I’ve sent 30 emails this morning to this big list, and boom, boom, boom, boom, and I’ve just got them out. Woo, great. Let go for lunch. And then, they don’t really measure what happens next.

 

Kim Arnold:

So, my advice is always to focus on quality over quantity. Write five really great emails that might have taken you twice as long, but they’re thoughtful. They’re engaging, they’re conversational, you’ve done your homework. You’ve edited them. You’ve cut them down, so they’re not waffly. You’ve gone back in there with a big pair of scissors, and you’ve chopped out the definitelys and the just, and the like, and the really, all these words that you don’t need. You’ve tightened it up. You’ve made it really punchy.

 

“I think we need to share best practises in teams. Unfortunately, that often doesn’t happen. Someone’s writing really killer emails that work while the rest of the team are struggling. I encourage sales teams and all sorts of teams to share their best practise. Share what works, brainstorm why you think something did work or what’s fallen flat. Give each other advice to really share those best practises.” – Kim Arnold · [11:26] 

 

Kim Arnold:

So, that really is the key is to just keep iterating. This does take time. And it’s also really helpful, I think, to share best practise in teams. Often, that doesn’t happen. Someone’s writing really killer emails that work while the rest of the team are struggling. So, I encourage sales teams, and I work with market teams, all sorts of teams, but share your best practise. Share what works, brainstorm why you think something did work or what’s fallen flat. Give each other advice to really share those best practises.

 

Why Proofreading and Editing Your Emails is Your Ticket to Sending Better Sales Emails · [12:06] 

 

Will Barron:

So, this is something that we’ve never really touched on on the show before, I think it’s incredibly important. And I think I got my angle on this from, I think, the book’s called On Writing Well, which I’ll link, share through this episode for anyone who wants to check it out. And I’ll butcher the quote, but essentially, I’m sure it was this book. It talks about this idea of if the sentence doesn’t need to be there, just delete it. Just get rid of, it’s gone.

 

Will Barron:

Can you tell us any other kind of angles or reiterate at that point even on the importance of editing emails? Not just spelling… So I’m a terrible speller, so I have to lean on other people to check my emails if it’s an important one, or quote a proposals and stuff like that. But beyond spelling and grammar, how important is it to edit our emails before they go out? And do you have any other steps in the editing process other than just deleting things that maybe don’t need to be there?

 

“Easy reading is hard writing. The longer it takes you to write an email, generally, the easier it is going to be for someone else to read. So, you need to take time to edit before you hit send.” – Kim Arnold · [12:47]

 

Kim Arnold:

Absolutely. Well, easy reading is hard writing. So, the longer it takes you, generally, the easier it is going to be for someone else to read. So, we need to take time before we hit send. Ideally, let it marinade, let it simmer. It’s like a good stew. Okay? With writing, it’s always best to come back to it.

 

Kim Arnold:

So, if you can write emails today before you send them, go back to them, have a look at them, does this really resonate? Am I hitting the point? So that’s the first tip. Ditching the filler words is really important. We tend to use a lot of qualifying words, particularly women, I would say, in business, oh, if you wouldn’t mind, perhaps, if you could, that would be great. Very sort of quite hesitant language. Would you mind if, so ditching all of that, becoming a bit more assertive, direct.

 

“Every bit of filler, every additional word is almost like a barrier to getting a prospect to read your emails. Unfortunately, we often underestimate visual overwhelm. If our email is too long, someone can’t just open and read through it all.” – Kim Arnold · [13:58] 

 

Kim Arnold:

And absolutely just asking yourself, is this vital to my point? Is this going to make the difference between them saying, yes, I’d love to book in that call with you and not. Because every bit of filler, every additional word is almost like a barrier to getting them to read it. You know, often, we underestimate visual overwhelm. If our email is too long, someone can just open it. We’ve all had this experience. I’m sure you have, Will, you open up an email and you just go, ooh, I can’t even face reading this because it looks like a wall of words.

 

Kim Arnold:

So, we need to think about how does this look, have I got lots of nice white space? Are my paragraph short? Does it look enticing? It’s like those Michelin-starred chefs who make our meals look so beautiful and they twees on the micro herbs to make it look beautiful. They know that we eat with our eyes as well as with our mouths. And it’s same with email. We judge on looks before we’ve even read a word.

 

Kim Arnold:

So, all of these things contribute to people reading our emails. There’s one caveat here, is that we don’t want to strip out all personality and brevity. So, we want clarity and we still want warmth, and we want charm, we personality. We want to show that we’re a real human being. So, don’t strip out so much that you become robotic, and it’s very dry.

 

Will Barron:

I’m going to ask you in a second about humour, using images, GIFs, that kind of thing, because that was a real trend, I guess, a couple of years ago, and I think it’s dying off a little bit now. Thank the Lord for that, Kim. And a good example here, if everyone’s listening, of the difference between somebody who uses filler words and use qualifying words, as well as the other term you used there, Kim, was the difference between me and you.

 

Will Barron:

I use all kinds of filler words when I’m talking on these episodes, all kind of qualifying words, I speak too fast. I need to add more pauses. If you just listen, sales nation, as I speak directly to the audience and bypass you, Kim, which is a weird thing for me to do, and I’ve never done this on the podcast before, right?

 

The Dos and Don’ts of Using Informal Language in Your Sales Emails · [15:56] 

 

Will Barron:

But sales nation, as you listen to this, if you listen to how Kim speaks, Kim sounds intelligent, conversational, yet, there’s gaps, there’s wide space. Versus if you listen to how I speak, I’m just throwing it down on the page, right? Is that a fair example, Kim, of how our email should look? The difference between perhaps how I speak on this show as… To be fair, I’m managing it, asking questions and monitoring things as well. Right? Is that a fair way to look at it of how you speak very professional… Not necessarily professionally, but eloquently, versus how I’m just like, just throwing things out on the page.

 

Kim Arnold:

Well, thanks for the compliment. First of all, Will, that’s a nice analogy, but I think it does go to my other point. You know, we don’t want to strip out all of our charm. Sometimes, a little bit of informality… We’ll talk about humour in a minute, getting that personality across, sometimes, that’s more important than perfect grammar and being incredibly precise.

 

Kim Arnold:

And actually, with email, we tend to err on the side of formality. I was speaking to a lot of sales people, and in fact, every everyone who writes email tends to sort of put on their jacket a little bit more like I did for this podcast, and we sort of turn into a slightly posher, more formal version of ourselves. So, in person, we might say, hi, how are you? But on email is I trust this email finds you well, or here’s the report, here with, please find attached the information report. And we get quite stuffy and stiff. So, I think personality trumps being precise. So, it’s a delicate balance. More than anything, we want a connection.

 

“Personality trumps being precise. But it’s a delicate balance. More than anything, we want a connection. So, let’s not be too stiff or too formal. Writing like we speak, in general, is a really good piece of advice.” – Kim Arnold · [17:40] 

 

Kim Arnold:

So, let’s not be too stiff, too formal, writing like we speak in general is a really good piece of advice. It stops us using words like utilise and leverage that just a really clunky and businessy and ugh, we’d never say them. So, it’s a balance, I would say. We don’t want to be too prim and proper, but we also need to be careful that we don’t ramble.

 

The Psychology of Using GIFs and Memes in Your Sales Emails · [18:25] 

 

Will Barron:

Sure. Okay. Is the line here, then, for being more personable in emails, not sending GIFs of cats, having a party or something stupid that kind of emphasises the point that we are selling whatever, party product or whatever it is, is it safe to say that if we’re selling in the B2B environment, not that’s not appropriate, but it’s probably not going to enhance your chances of getting an executive, a CFO on the phone?

 

Kim Arnold:

I would agree. Yes. Then, more than anything, it feels generic, unless if it was something that was really targeted to the specific person that you were writing to, really, really relevant to them, you know they had a really great sense of humour, you could directly relate it to something that you’d heard them say at a conference, for example, maybe, then, it might be acceptable, but GIFs tend to be quite polarising. And most people don’t like them, most people see them as a gimmick.

 

Kim Arnold:

It’s the same with very clickbaity subject lines, as we started talking about in the beginning. Points of connection are one thing, but if we get an email from a stranger with a very clickbaity headline, then, a subject line like, Kim, you won’t believe this, and then, you open it and it’s that crushing disappointment. It’s just a sales people… You know, sales email from someone you never met. No, we actually want to keep the energy levels up. We want to intrigue people, but not disappoint them. You know, there’s no point with this sort of bait and switch.

 

Kim Arnold:

A subject line has got to hold attention, has got to get your attention, and the email’s got to hold the attention. So, we can’t be too gimmicky. Humour, on the other hand, in general, I think can be used to really good effect, particularly in follow up emails.

 

Will Barron:

I’ve got a… Hopefully… You might enjoy this as well, kim, a good example of humour and a GIF is the only GIF that’s ever been said to me that warranted a call. It was on a podcast I did years and years and years ago, different studio, different set. Someone had clipped this point in the podcast where I pretended I was just joking with the guest, but I pretended to walk out. I just stood up, walked off, my headphones were attached to the table and all the cable, so that got all dragged off. And it was just a funny moment… Like a funny throwaway moment in a podcast episode.

 

Will Barron:

It was, obviously, a listener of the show who remembered that, they clipped that clip as a GIF, put it at the end of an email that they sent me, and I can’t remember the call to action, but it was something along the lines of, when we get on the call, this is the response that you’re going to have. You’re just going to walk to my office and buy the product. It was something along those lines. It actually made me laugh. It was super appropriate in that…

 

Will Barron:

I don’t want to name the brand because I think I actually went with a different brand. It was a transcription company. I think they were trying to get me to pay for transcripts for all the podcast episodes, and they didn’t win the business, but they got on a few calls with me on the back of it. So, it was a super appropriate and linked with the podcast as well. So, I really enjoyed that, and I thought that was funny as well.

 

Ways to Integrate Humour in Your Sales Emails · [21:40] 

 

Will Barron:

But how do we know when… scenes as humour is subjective in general, you are going to have a different sense of humour, Kim, to what I have. I’m going to say something that you’re going to go that’s just stupid, that’s not even funny. And perhaps vice versa. How do we implement this over email? And there’s even less social cues and more chances of it to blow up in our faces. Is that just a risk that comes with this, and is that risk worth it?

 

Kim Arnold:

I would recommend using humour when you have some kind of established relationship with someone already. So, humour works really well in follow up emails. For example, if you sent a proposal over, and you get nothing, and you send a chaser email, you get nothing. So, what do you do now? And sometimes, using humour in those instances works brilliantly, because it removes all of the guilt. Because generally, that person, they either got the… A few things might happen. They’ve got your proposal and they haven’t read it. They’ve got the proposal, they’ve read it, but they still need to get opinion from other people. They got your proposal. They think it’s a little rubbish, and they’re feeling awkward about getting back to you.

 

Kim Arnold:

You know, so it’s probably one of those things, or they might have an answer for you, but they’ve been too busy and you’re not a priority. And so, what we tend to do is send emails, a follow-up email saying, “Have you had a chance to look at the proposal yet? If we haven’t been a good salesperson already, got that follow up meeting in the diary, of course. But we send these sort of chases and we are just making that person go, oh gosh, yeah, I haven’t done it. I haven’t done it. I need to do that. Or add it to my list, add it to my list.

 

Kim Arnold:

But humour can be really great. I know someone who sent some great emails entitled, “Did you slip and fall in the shower?” You know, are you… She referenced a… Because this chat was older, a episode from, I think it was Dallas, these sort of ’80s American soap opera where one of the characters emerged from the shower having had amnesia. So she said, “You like Bobby Ewing from Dallas? Have you had an amnesia episode and forgotten all about me?” And that worked a treat for her because it was her personality as well.

 

Kim Arnold:

So, I think we need to think about who it is that we’re speaking to. You know, if they got a sense of humour, if they’re super buttoned up and formal, then, it’s probably not the best approach. But if you can have a laugh with them, you’ve had that relationship, and if it’s your personality as well, if you like the joke, if they associate you with being a fun person, then, let them feel that, you know, “Did you get buried under a pile of invoices?” You know, so many different things that you can just have a joke with, because it removes the guilt.

 

Kim Arnold:

And generally, you’ll get quite a funny response. Even if it’s not the one that you want, or you’re hoping for, sometimes, it will, at least, get a “I’m so sorry. I haven’t got back to you.”

 

Will Barron:

We don’t need to dive into this in too much detail, because this could be a topic, a show in its own right. But I found there’s a element of cultural difference here of I find that people in the UK are way more accepting of a bit of dry humour, especially if I’m doing outbound sales, selling our train product to the enterprise, a lot of people I reach out to even know who I am because the team listens to the show, or they will Google me or click a link in the email signature. And so, they’ll have a rough idea who I am, how we do things, before they reply to emails.

 

Will Barron:

And I find these follow up emails I get to send to these individuals… I hope this word translates across the Atlantic and elsewhere in Europe and that, but I can use a little bit more banter than what I would perhaps do with an American audience or European audience. So, I guess some of this is knowing the person the best you can, having a good hypothesis on the person you’re out reaching to, because if I was selling to the CFO of a bank, I probably would not be trying to have banter with them in that engagement.

 

Metrics to Look Out For When Gauging the Success of Your Sales Emails · [25:50] 

 

Will Barron:

And that leads me to… I’ve got two things I want to kind of wrap up the show with, Kim first off, let’s say the audience, they go and experiment with this, Sam, the salesperson sends a bunch of emails. He’s tracking open rates. He’s tracking click through rates. He’s tracking calls, booked on his emails and all this, obviously, gets a little bit more complicated when it’s not just one email, but perhaps, it’s a cadence of else, because maybe nobody replies to the first one. But by email three, you’ve given them some insights, or you’ve shared content, or you’ve now ground them down, warmed them down with your personality and humour that they’re willing to give you a go.

 

Will Barron:

So, with that all said, and I understand, down to this question is it depends and it’s complicated. But how do we know if the emails that we’re writing are successful? Because we want to test this, right? We want to progress. We want to implement what we talked about in today’s show. How do we know if the emails that we send yesterday are better or worse than the ones that we’re going to send today?

 

Kim Arnold:

So, yes, as you say, there’s not as simple answer as that, but I think it’s where you start to have a conversation with the recipient. So, this isn’t about necessarily just getting that meeting. It’s the one where you might trade emails. They might come back to you. They might say, “Oh, that’s really interesting. I want more,” it’s the engagement that we need to track, as well as the meetings. Because quite often, we can be quite binary, you know, did that email get a meeting? Yes or no?

 

Kim Arnold:

Well, sometimes, sales cycles can take weeks, months, years even. Some of the best clients that I’ve had, that my clients have had, they can sit on your email list, of marketing email list for two or three years before they’re ready to buy. And sometimes, it’s the same, you know, you have a relationship with the salesperson. You’re not ready to buy now, but they’re giving you that time of day to stay in touch.

 

Kim Arnold:

It’s obviously about, you need to look at what it is that you want whether it’s booking in demos or meetings or what that sort of end goal is. But it is also about how many conversations are you having, where is that taking you to, where are the introductions, who do those people have in their networks as well. It is about treating email very much as a conversation, not as a monologue. This isn’t about warfare. We’re not firing out these emails. I’m really opposed to the sort of aggressive language of sales, because I think it sets us up really wrongly, targeting, attacking, firing out. All of these things get us off on the wrong foot.

 

Kim Arnold:

This is about engagement. This is about conversations. This is about a sense of connection with people. And if we get all of those things right, we don’t even have to sell, do we? We lay all the great groundwork, and then, it all becomes easier after that.

 

Will Barron:

Yep. And I think to emphasise that point, Kim, the opposite of what you just described of leaning into engagement and leaning into conversations is what a lot of sales people are doing over the past five years where, essentially marketing tools have become sales tools where you can customise a name, a paragraph, a company, and send an email to a list of 10,000 people, and you burn a lot of the prospects in your industry, depending on what you’re selling, who you’re selling it to.

 

Will Barron:

I might not be too bad in this instance selling sales training to directors and VPs of sales, because there’s, obviously, hundreds, or at least, tens of thousands, if not, hundreds of thousands of them in kind of the English be world. But if I’m back in medical devices and I’m selling camera systems to urologists, gynaecologist, general surgeons, clinical surgeons in Yorkshire, there’s like 15, and they all speak, and if they all get the same crappy email from me demanding a call because we’ve got a new product that I need to shove down their throats, they’re just going to all ignore me, and immediately going to be, via NHS hospital email filters, three or four of them mark me a spam.

 

Will Barron:

And I’m not even getting into their inbox in the first instance. That affects then the company’s domain, and we can go on and on down that kind of root to that, was kind of marketing, but now, has become more and more sales, as again, these tools trickle down to us trigger happy sales people on the back end of it.

 

Should Salespeople Always Be Sending Out Personalized Emails? · [30:20] 

 

Will Barron:

So, if you’ve got engagement at one end, measuring that, you’ve got just spam in the marketplace at the other. And I guess spraying and praying. Is there a middle around, Kim, or should we always, always be leaning to that idea of personalised emails to the right people at the right time with a product that we think can help them solve a… I’m answering my own question as I say this, I know I am. But is that the… for a B2B salesperson who’s doing, say, deal sizes of 10, 50, a hundred thousand dollars plus, is that the only emails that they should be sending at this point?

 

“In sales, you’re trying to establish a relationship and you can’t do that with generic emails.” – Kim Arnold · [31:23] 

 

Kim Arnold:

I think there is a… Marketing needs to be that one to many function. I think you need both, ideally. Sales should be super personalised… You know, with these big deal sizes, it’s worth it. It’s worth putting that bit of extra effort into personalised things. And then, marketing can provide the sort of, you know, the newsletter or the updates, all of those things, but you’re to establish a relationship and you can’t do that with generic emails.

 

Kim Arnold:

I remember when I used to work in house, I was a global head of comms for a fintech business. And there was one vendor who used to write to me once a month, and his hook was that he would… It was a bit insulting to me actually, but that he would take me out for a certain type of food. And this has clearly worked for him. So, in the winter… In December it would be, “Hey Kim, are you free for a coffee and some mince pies?” And then, around pancake day, it would be, “Hey Kim, are you free for a coffee and a pancake?” And literally, every month… And it became a running joke in my department, what is this guy going to serve up next? It’s donuts, it’s this, it’s Easter hot cross buns, all this kind of stuff.

 

Kim Arnold:

And as you say, you can burn through lists. You can burn through goodwill so easily. Most of our prospect lists are really not that large, and we think that we are saving time and saving effort by doing the spray and pray, and we’re just chucking it all at the wall and seeing what sticks. But we’re not, we’re wasting huge amounts of time.

 

Kim Arnold:

One brilliantly thought out, personalised, clever email can make all the difference, and can be worth every single minutes of that two hours that you spent crafting it. So yes, less is more.

 

Will Barron:

Did that person win any business from you?

 

Kim Arnold:

No. But I took the donuts.

 

Will Barron:

Well, because the reason I asked that is, this is where metrics can be deceiving, right? Of you probably opened every one of those emails, that person’s getting a ping on the dashboard.

 

Kim Arnold:

Yes.

 

“Just because a prospect is opening an email doesn’t necessarily mean that they care about what you’re saying.” – Will Barron · [33:45] 

 

Will Barron:

Every time it gets opened, it’s like Kim’s loving these emails. These are super effective. Send more of these out. He’s getting this whole team to double down on these food-based emails, as we record it, it’s pancake day to day, so I’m sure that would’ve been the… It’s probably top of mind for you. I’m having pancakes after this, Kim. So, I’ll be appreciating any pancake emails that come my way. That’s what I wanted to wrap the show on, Kim. I think that’s really valuable of just because one’s opening an email doesn’t necessarily mean that they care about what you’re saying.

 

Will Barron:

And then, very quickly, that email ends up in spam and you go from hero to zero in two seconds. Which is why I love the piece on engagement, conversations. And obviously, we’ve got to qualify our prospects as well, right? Because it might be the right product, it might be the right company, it might not be the right time. In which case, you can send an email follow up six months from now when everything falls into place, and you’re more likely to win the deal than if you hammer that individual over the next six months with weekly, daily, hourly spammy emails, texts and calls, and then, you’ve lost the deal before the opportunity for it has even arrived.

 

Parting Thoughts · [34:23] 

 

Will Barron:

So with that, Kim, tell us about the book, tell us more where we can find out about you, and then, anything else you want to share with the audience as well.

 

Kim Arnold:

Thank you so much. So, my book is Email Attraction. You can find it on Amazon. So, it’s got all of my tips around subject lines, how to structure your emails, how to write really great follow up emails. And it’s not just for sales, it’s for all people who write business emails. So, you can apply it to all sorts of different emails that you write.

 

Kim Arnold:

I also run email engagement, which is a in-company programme that will allow you to train all of your staff whether sales people, marketing, HR, all across the board, how to write emails that engage and inspire and get people to jump into action. So, that’s an in-company programme as well that I roll out with organisations too.

 

Kim Arnold:

You can find me at kimarnold.co.uk with all the information, and you can email me at [email protected] if you need any of my help on writing engaging emails.

 

Will Barron:

Amazing stuff. I’ll link to all that in the show in the episode over at salesman.org. And with that, Kim, I want to thank you for your time, your expertise on this. I’ll just plug this, right? It’s actually difficult to have questions just now because we’re so aligned of everything that we’re saying, right? And everything that we teach aligns with what you teach. I don’t want to rehash things that we’ve covered in the past.

 

Will Barron:

So, you did a great job with some the, I guess, curve ball questions I’ve thrown at you. So with that, Kim, it shows that you’re an expert. It truly does. I appreciate you. I appreciate your time and energy, and appreciate you coming on the Salesman Podcast.

 

Kim Arnold:

Thank you so much. It’s been great. I really enjoyed it. (music)

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