According to a recent seminar from the Sales and Marketing Management Association, the average corporate business person gets 100 emails a day, with some folks at the 200 email a day mark.

As pressure from the economy has increased, people have to do more with less support staff and work longer just to get the work done. Every morning, people in these situations hold a Delete-A-Thon. The goal of a Delete-A-Thon is to eliminate as many of your morning emails as possible without opening their content. The winner is the one with the fewest emails left to handle. Think about your own situation. When you open your computer in the morning doesn't it feel great to just go down the list and dump all that junk off your email before the day starts?

The seminar also officially declared voice mail systems as "Dead." To avoid spending time listening to voice mails, many people automatically convert voice mails to text and read them on their phones or computers. If the voice mail is from someone they do not know or is too lengthy, they just delete it.

A sales person's email must grab the prospects' attention within 2.7 seconds or it will be deleted before even being read, so here are a few techniques to keep your emails from the Delete-A-Thon.

Make sure your subject line grabs their attention. We often just consider the subject line as a throw away item, but if it is not enticing then the email will be deleted before being opened. Subject lines are the perfect place for a reference to a mutual friend, interest or referral.

The body of the email should be short and to the point. Limit the body of the email to 3 or 4 sentences. People can read about three short sentences in 2.7 seconds and if the email does not grab them it’s gone.

Include a call to action statement with an email link and/or a short video to lead the person on to more information. If your email has grabbed their attention, the option to click on the link will be inviting, not threatening.

Educate, don't sell. If the video or link is just sales messages about how great your product is, you will lose their attention. Instead focus the links on ways you can help or educate them. For example, if your company makes furniture, the video could be about "3 quick tips for touching up scratches in your furniture."

Referrals from friends are 10x more likely to be opened than non-referrals. Use the web to research the person before sending your email. Do you share any mutual friends, hobbies or business connections? Use those connections in your subject line to get your email opened. Email addresses for prospects are often found on the web through web searches of their hobbies, associations, LinkedIn, Facebook and from their friends. Asking past customers for referrals is extremely important in your prospecting activities, so make it a habit to ask on every call.

Keep a database of the customers’ addresses, emails, family, hobbies and interests. These can be used whenever you need to make a connection.

Remember, people are working very hard, longer hours, with less support and pay than before. They are scared to make radical changes or big decisions that might backfire on their reputations. Small, quick emails that lead them to discover the information themselves have a better chance of succeeding than lengthy diatribes of your company’s features and benefits.

Good Hunting,


Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.