Sales Email Introductions: What to Avoid? (+ Ones That Work)

June 12, 2023
 min read

Imagine if every blog you read today starts with: “Hi Reader, I hope this blog finds you well”. You probably wouldn’t keep reading beyond that first line. 

The same principle should hold true for email openers. And yet, in the constant rush to reach revenue targets, many salespeople fall into the trap of using overused and ineffective opening lines like "Hoping this email finds you well" or "I know you're busy, but…"

These openers don't add any value to your email and can turn your prospects off before they even get to the meat of your message. 

When it comes to writing sales emails, it’s important to understand that each part of your email has exactly one job. Your from line should get people to read your subject line. Your subject line should get people to open the email. 

And the first sentence of your email will likely determine whether or not they continue on to read the email, if there is enough relevancy to them in it. In this article, we'll explore why these types of opening lines are ineffective plus provide you with far more effective approaches that will grab your prospect's attention, keep them reading and start building rapport.

The problem with overused openers

Openers like "Hoping this email finds you well" or "Did you know that [insert random fact]" get a lot of flack today but might have been effective at one time. So much so that they likely made it onto some sort of listicle. Once those floodgates opened, they were then likely used so often that today they're considered clichéd and insincere. 

The overarching problem with bad openers is twofold: they’re not adding any value to your email and are wasting precious space that could be better used to capture your prospect's attention.

Likewise, a generic opener is a clear signal shouting “this is a sales email” and you are one of hundreds of people receiving the same message. Your prospect is likely to question why they should bother reading your email at all (hint: they probably won’t).

"I Know You're Busy" isn’t as kind as you think

While you may think this opener shows empathy and understanding, it can actually have the opposite effect. 

By making assumptions about your prospect's schedule, you’re shifting their focus away from the email and toward asking themself whether they should be reading your email at all. 

Additionally, it can make you seem like you're not confident in the value of your message. If you’re not reaching out to the person because you’re certain they could benefit from your product, then you shouldn’t be reaching out to them at all. 

No more yes/no questions

Starting your sales email with a yes/no question like "Are you looking for [specific product/service]?" is another common faux pas. 

While it may seem like a straightforward way to gauge your prospect's interest, it actually puts them on the spot and doesn't give them any reason to keep reading.

Instead of starting with a yes/no question, try framing your question as an open ended question and in a way that encourages your prospect to think about a specific pain point or challenge they're facing. We’ll get into that shortly.

Using “I” more than “you”

Getting right to the point and pitching your product will make it clear that you’re not interested in helping or building a relationship — your goal is making a sale. This approach makes you seem pushy and self-centered, which is (understandably) a turn-off for most people.

Instead, focus on building a relationship with your prospect by providing value before asking for anything in return. 

Remember: that first email is just the first step in building a relationship with a prospect. By focusing on building rapport and credibility, you'll increase the chances that future emails are read and responded to, and that you're able to build a long-term relationship with your prospects.

Did you know will assess your I:You ratio in your emails before you hit send? Download our free Chrome extension today to try it out. 

3 sales email openers you should be using

Now that we've covered what not to do, let's focus on some alternative approaches that will grab your prospect's attention and make them want to keep reading.

Start with personalization

One of the best ways to grab your prospect's attention is to start with personalization. Reference something specific about their company or role that indicates you've done your research and are genuinely interested in working with them.

For example, "Saw your latest podcast interview on [topic]. I especially appreciated your thoughts on [specific example.]" This opener shows that you've taken the time to learn about the prospect or their business and are approaching them with a specific value proposition.

From there, continue on the 1:1 tone so it feels like the email came from a person and isn’t just another mass email.

The Regie. Chrome extension can find dozens of relevant data points on your buyers, such as podcasts they;ve been on, to help you craft a perfectly personalized cold email. 

Use open-ended questions to hook them

Another effective approach is to start with a question that hooks your prospect and piques their interest. This approach uses the open loop copywriting psychology, which creates a sense of curiosity and keeps the reader engaged.

For example, "How is your team handling tighter tech budgets in a down market?" This opener acknowledges a problem that your prospect may be experiencing. From there, you can position yourself as someone who can help them solve it.

These options are well suited to automated sequences or in cases where you can’t find specific information on the prospect. You can very easily tailor these questions to be about their role, industry trends, and the like.

Provide context for your email

It’s extremely likely that your prospect hasn't heard of you, or even your company, before, so you don’t have a strong association of self in the inbox just yet. The question that’s going to be top of mind isn’t going to be “hmm, I wonder if [company] can help me?”. It’s going to be “why is this person emailing me?”. 

Provide context for why you're reaching out to them. This can help them understand why your email is relevant to them and increase the chances that they'll keep reading.

For example, "Saw your company is expanding into [specific market]. I’ve worked with companies in that space and wanted to share some insights that may be helpful to you." 

This opener provides context for your email and positions you as someone who can provide value to their specific business challenges.

Two secrets of powerful email openers

There are two things we want you to take from this post. 

1) Whatever you do, never ever hope that an email finds someone well because this might be the result:

2) Stealing email templates may seem like a sure fix for lagging outreach efforts but that will only take you so far. 

If you’re looking to build a meaningful connection with your prospects it's essential to invest time in research and personalize your approach. 

Solutions like the can significantly cut down the time spent on research, making it easier than ever to tailor your emails to each prospect's unique needs and interests while still scaling your outreach. 

By taking the time to understand your audience and craft genuinely engaging messages, you'll not only improve your chances of securing their attention but also build lasting relationships that translate into successful business outcomes. 

Don't settle for shortcuts – invest in understanding your prospects and watch your cold email game reach new heights.

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