Recently, one of my clients was complaining about how difficult it is to get hold of the prospect again after sending them a written proposal. He told me that this happens often; he has a good sales meeting, the prospect seems eager to proceed and invites him to follow-up with an email. Then nothing.

I asked if I could have a look at one of his proposals. When I’d read it, I phoned him and asked him to tell me what he thought the prospect would gain by working with him. I wanted him to tell me why the prospect should say yes. So he did. In fact, he spent three to four minutes on the phone explaining the benefits and outlining the value for the prospect in a very persuasive manner.

I then got him to think about the information he had shared with me on the phone and asked him to tell me where, in his email, all these “benefits” were described. Silence.

He acknowledged that he had not written a sales proposal to the client. Instead, he had drafted an accurate version of the minutes of the sales meeting but with no mention of the benefits, no value proposition and no “what’s in it for me” statements.

Have a look at your recent follow-up emails – do they let down a powerful sales discussion by being an ineffective email follow up? I suspect this happens more often than we think.

But it doesn’t have to - here’s some tips for writing an effective follow-up email:

  1. Put your ace down first
    Deliver your most important benefit right at the start
  2. Develop this benefit
    Illustrate that this is the one thing you can do better than any of your competitors.
  3. Show the rest of your hand
    Present the rest of your “what’s in it for me” benefits
  4. Involve all the senses
    Include visual terms, feelings and, where possible, graphics.
    We don’t all think in the same way. For many, a picture of an event on opening day with crowded aisles is much more powerful than a paragraph trying to describe it. This picture can be formed in the prospect’s mind by using a powerful graphic.
  5. Make them feel in good company
    Your prospect wants to know that he is making the right choice. Use testimonials and quotes from satisfied clients to confirm for him what a good choice he is about to make. Let him know how many others have made this choice too
  6. Urgency
    Add a time limit. Let your prospect know why urgency matters – generate a need to act now. And put a precise date/time in when you will make contact next.
  7. Repeat your ace
    Finish with your opening benefit – restate your most important benefit

Your email must sell your product/service – again – to the original prospect. They need reminding of the sales discussion. It also needs to sell to other who have a role in the buying process. You may not have spoken to them so the only thing that they will see is your email selling the benefits. Make sure that your written proposal will be the next best thing in your absence.

Paul Streeter Training Services, Woodhill, Bathampton Lane, Bathampton, Bath BA2 6SW
Tel: +44 (0)1225 443882 • Mobile: +44 (0)7785 340775 • Email:

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