If a prospective customer actually opens your email, the last thing you want to do is irritate or bore the customer. Here are 12 very common phrases that should be avoided:
1. "I hope you are well."
This "hope" is always followed by a page of boilerplate. In any case, if you don't know me, don't pretend you care about me.
2. "I thought I would reach out..."
That expression — which has suddenly gotten popular — always makes me imagine a baby reaching out of a stroller.
3. "We guarantee the lowest price..."
There's always somebody who can undercut any price plus you're forcing the customer to think about price rather than value. Bad idea.
4. "I'll be in the neighborhood so I'll just stop by..."
This is a lie. You know it's a lie and the customer knows it's a lie. Starting a relationship with a lie always ends badly.
5. "I was looking through my contacts and..."
Same as #2.
6. "...a free estimate, with no obligation..."
The customer knows by agreeing to the estimate the customer is now socially obligated to listen to a sales pitch.
7. "If I could show you a way..."
This is corny sales-talk from way back when. Customers never want to hear a sales pitch or anything that sounds like one.
8. "A major firm in your industry..."
Customers don't believe reference accounts unless you can name the company that bought from you.
9. "Our product increases revenue and reduces costs..."
You've just made the exact same claim that every B2B firm makes. If you can't be specific, don't bother.
10. "For more information, click on this link..."
In most cases, the sales email has already barraged the customer with information but no reason whatsoever to spend time learning more.
11. "If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to call me at..."
The customer knows that your contact information is under your name. Putting it in the body of the email just makes you seem desperate.
12. "Sincerely Yours,"
I have no idea why anybody would put this phrase in a business email. Same thing starting an email with "Dear..." Hey, the Victorian era ended 100 years ago.
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GEOFFREY JAMES writes "Sales Source on Inc.com," the world's most-read sales-oriented blog. His new book, Business Without the Bullsh*t, will be published in early 2014. To get weekly blog updates, sign up for his free "Insider" newsletter.