Time to read: 3.5 minutes. When writing sales emails don’t forget to get readers curious—create questions in their minds. It’s the best way to get more response. Today, I’ll show you a simple, effective way to write email that gets customers asking you questions. It’s as easy as planting a question in their minds. Plus, I’ll show you an example of someone using the technique to grow his business. It’s one of my best business writing tips for sales emails.

Philippe le Baron cracked the nut. He figured out how to make customers respond to him in sales emails. He writes to get customers curious in him—in a way they cannot resist acting on. The result: Prospects contact him more often in response to his sales emails.

Why do they reply? That’s the cool part. Customers reply to get clarity on the important thought his emails provoke.

In a LinkedIn InMail, regular email or on your LinkedIn profile. Be sure to plant seeds in your prospects’ minds wherever you’re writing. Then, create an urge to find out more details using what customers REALLY want as bait.

Get them asking more questions that can lead them toward (or away from) what you sell.

How Philippe is getting response

Let’s say you have a LinkedIn Group, a prospecting email list or email newsletter. Sales prospects subscribe and receive your updates. Or maybe you want to email prospects but don’t know what to write—and how. Or maybe you’re just prospecting—moving down your list, trying to get more conversations going.

Give prospects tips, tricks, answers and short-cuts. Make your advice actionable. However, create more questions in minds of buyers when giving them advice. This is the part most sellers forget.

Make sure you create an urge in readers. Speak to them in ways that provoke them … get them to ask you for more specifics about the idea you just gave them. Or maybe it’s a fear you recognize.

Quick example. Philippe, who is a sales productivity coach, has a LinkedIn Group called Sales Productivity 2.0. His Group is filled withBusiness writing tips for sales emails prospects who receive occasional updates from him via LinkedIn email. This week, Philippe sent an email to prospects.

He used an effective, repeatable approach. Here’s what he did and what you should do:

  1. Make an offer:
    Specific to buyer’s seasonal needs.
  2. Be useful:
    Give clear, understandable “next steps” to act on the need.
  3. Be mysterious:
    Be specific, actionable but incomplete to create curiosity.

STEP 1: Make a sympathetic offer

Philippe is making offers specific to seasonal objectives of his prospects. His email starts with, “Here are 3 easy ways to measure your sales management efforts better in 2014.” 

Philippe then explains why most of his customers tend to fail. He makes it clear. In essence he communicates, “I understand what you are struggling with.” He does this QUICKLY.

He continues with “Improving the impact of your effectiveness as a sales manager can be very tricky, that’s why most sales managers …”

Philippe bullet-points his buyers’ pain. He takes special care to include how it feels to fail.

Why? Because this opens the door to talk about his cure … a prescription for improvement. His remedy for buyers’ pain.

STEP 2: Tell them “you CAN”, then show them how

Next, Philippe quickly gives prospective buyers what they want: 3 simple steps that sound easy to act on. He gives this advice following the Golden Rule of copywriting: Help your customers believe they can—get them confident in themselves.

Tell them they can do it—then immediately arm them with weapons to succeed. Show them how. Free.

In his email, Philippe writes:

“Improving the effectiveness of sales managers is actually much simpler than most people think: you only need to focus on 3 very specific things…

1. the duration of your weekly 4cast meeting
2. the specific sales management productivity metrics you measure
3. the coaching questions you ask once you’ve adopted the right ‘Lion Tamer’ mindset”

Philippe’s use of the words “much simpler than most people think” and “3 very specific things” are words that create curiosity. This is part of what I teach in my writing for social media training course.

Other words that create curiosity include:

  • unusual
  • odd
  • simple technique
  • different
  • one small thing
  • surprising

STEP 3: Get them intensely curious 

More importantly, Philippe plants seeds. He creates a call-to-action without actually making the call. He creates intense, irresistible curiosity about himself (in the reader).

Here’s how. Philippe’s 3 tips create more questions in customers’ minds. Questions that he knows buyers will have a deep, burning urge to get answered.

These include:

  1. What is a 4cast meeting? Is that like a forecast meeting?
  2. What are the best productivity metrics? Am I measuring the right ones?
  3. What do you mean “Lion Tamer” mindset? That sounds like something I should know about if I want to succeed.

These questions pop into heads of readers by design. Philippe is getting customers to respond more often because he is prompting them to ask these questions—questions that ultimately relate to what he sells.

Yet the prospect isn’t being “sold to” at all. That’s the beauty of effective social media copywriting. They’re conversing with Philippe. They’re warming up as a lead.

All based on the structure of his email message—the words he uses and the timing of those words.

Now you know one of my best business writing tips for sales emails. What will you do with it?

Drive MORE response with ‘questions you need to be asking’

Want to REALLY crank-up the response to your email messages, blog posts and more? Show prospects how their success depends on an ability to effectively answer questions they are not thinking about.

Questions that they MUST answer to succeed. Just be sure the questions clearly relate to their:

  • business objective (eg. revenue, risk avoidance) and
  • emotional desire (eg. freedom, stress reduction, recognition).

Design these questions to create more questions in the minds of readers. Make your questions insightful, actionable and specific. But leave a little room for customers to wonder:

  • WHY they should ask the questions you’re recommending and
  • what they need to DO—to get the answers and experience benefits!

Resist the urge to blatantly ask them to contact you. Instead, lure them. Get them curious. Attract buyers to you.

Try this 3 step process

Customers want email messages, blog articles, YouTube videos and social media updates that help them:

  • believe there is a better way
  • realize they just found it (through you!) and
  • ACT on that realization—to get what they want (giving you a lead)

That’s why Philippe uses the technique across all digital media to drive more leads his way (not just email).

Philippe writes in a way that customers cannot resist. They become curious and cannot help but reach out—contact him. Why? To get clarity on the thoughts his messages are provoking in their minds.

Good luck!

In 1999, I co-founded what became the Google Affiliate Network and Performics Inc. where I helped secure 2 rounds of funding and built the sales team. I've been selling for over 2 decades.

After this stint, I returned to what was then Molander & Associates Inc. In recent years we re-branded to Communications Edge Inc., a member-driven laboratory of sorts. We study, invent and test better ways to communicate -- specializing in serving sales and marketing professionals.

I'm a coach and creator of the Spark Selling™ communication methodology—a curiosity-driven way to start and advance conversations. When I'm not working you'll find me hiking, fishing, gardening and investing time in my family.

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