Engage prospects with the perfect call to action sales email

In other words, how to avoid feeling like you’re screaming into a void

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So, you’ve sent out hundreds of sales emails and have hardly received any feedback; at this point, you’d be happy for someone to send even so much as a “No, thank you!” What’s with the radio silence?

Perhaps the problem lies with your calls to action, or CTAs. If you’re not familiar with what this means, it’s that line in your email where you suggest one simple, immediate action the prospect can take that brings them closer to becoming an established customer. Of course, a powerful call to action sales email will include a well thought out body and subject line too, but for now let’s look at the specifics of the CTA.

As a general rule of thumb, a perfect call to action will be specific, easy to say yes to, and well-timed. It tends to be placed at the end of the email — which should be kept brief enough so that the recipient can actually get to the CTA before losing interest!

Knowing precisely what kind of call to action to send in a sales email and when to send it is crucial. To make it easier to visualize, we can split CTAs into three timing groups:

  • Initial outreach
  • Follow-up period
  • Closing the deal

Techniques for CTAs vary at each stage, so let’s take a look at what to ask of your prospects — and when.

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Ace the cold email

That initial email trying to start a relationship with the customer is arguably the most difficult step. Cold emails can be daunting; it’s hard enough trying to get the prospect’s attention in a succinct yet convincing manner, and trying to get them to do something concrete may sound even harder. Actually, though, a powerful CTA in that first sales email can be the glue that brings it together.

The first actionable call should be the easiest for the prospect to say yes to. Remember, you have no rapport with this person, and you can’t really ask for a whole lot at this stage. At the same time, the call to action shouldn’t be too generic: instead of words like “order now” and “click here,” use strong action verbs and specific wording.

Here are a few examples of effective calls to action in your first email and why they work:

  • “I’d like to get in touch with whoever is in charge of software purchasing at your company. Can you connect me with the person who handles this?”

Using this CTA, of course after a brief introduction of your product and why the customer might find it useful, might help you pass the gatekeeper of this sale. After all, it’s no sweat off the recipient’s back to pass you along to someone else!

  • “Can I share a 3-minute presentation to show how our services can streamline your hiring process?”

Again, this is an easy action to respond to. Saying yes doesn’t promise a great deal of the recipient’s time, and it doesn’t even promise it right away. Even if they say no, they’ve still replied.

  • “We’ve got a temporary free trial going for our product this month only. How about you try it out and let me know how you find it?”

This call to action incorporates a few techniques. First and foremost, it offers something to the recipient: a free service. It also places a time limit on that service, prompting them to move faster. Finally, it asks for feedback, which will be a simple step once they’ve already put the time into the trial.

Remember, a perfect call to action for the prospecting stage is easy for the recipient to do. And while it’s important to send out plenty of emails, be sure to personalize them so that they aren’t viewed as spam.

Follow up with some homework

Tried the above techniques and still didn’t get a reply? Or perhaps a message and then silence? Don’t worry. Most sales require at least 5 follow ups. Here are some follow-up call to action techniques to try on those withholding types:

  • “I’m following up after not hearing anything back from your team. If it makes sense to keep going let me know what your availability is for a chat.”

This puts a little more pressure on your prospect to respond.

  • “Is fixing [problem] a priority for you right now?”

Present them with a simple yes or no confirmation question. Doing the right research, knowing their needs, and timing this well can induce a positive reply.

  • “I’ve been trying to get in touch to chat about improving your inventory management but I haven’t heard back. Can you please let me know which of these applies to you?
    A. We’re all fine and not interested in a new provider for this.
    B. Your product seems appealing, but now isn’t the right time.
    C. We’d like to chat about options!
    Feel free to reply with just an A, B, or C.”

In this example, the prospect doesn’t have to formulate a response or invest a lot of time to answer this CTA, thereby increasing their probability of reacting.

Even if your leads are responsive, be sure to scatter some well-placed CTAs in the back-and-forth. The more actions they can take the better: each yes brings you closer to the sale.

  • “I’d love to chat with you for 10 mins about how our company can help you. How about Wednesday, August 5th at 2pm?”
  • “Let’s talk about how our product can help you achieve those results. I’ve linked my calendar if you’d like to book some time. [Calendar link]”

This is a technique to use when you’ve been interacting with the prospect and they seem ready to get on a call. Selecting a time for them takes away the pressure of having to think of a window. It also saves the lead from having to go through their own calendar because they can simply say yes or suggest a nearby time, or look through your calendar to narrow down the options. Of course, be flexible!

  • Let me know what makes sense for you as a next step.

Wherever you are in the follow up stage, this can be a useful line to gauge where the customer is in their decision-making process. Once they’re ready to buy, the final key is coming up with the perfect call to action to close the deal.

Close the deal

After speaking with your point(s) of contact a few times, you’re ready to see where this lead can, well, lead you. You’ve already put 90% of the work in – don’t drop the ball at the last minute! Choose a powerful call to action in order to move the deal forward. Here are some examples of time-tested CTAs:

  • What do you need from me to close this deal?
  • All that’s left is for you to do ____, please. When do you think you’ll complete this?
  • To get the rates we’ve discussed, I recommend moving forward with this today.
  • It sounds like you’re ready to buy! Here is our purchase page. [Link] Shoot me a message when you’re ready to get started.
  • I’ll send you a calendar invite for [date] about finalizing the paperwork. Let me know how that sounds!

As before, include timing, be specific and use timing. Don’t use a multi-stage call; stay positive, keep trying, and build up to a close. Then finish with a simple action!

Final considerations

When the potential buyer commits to one small step, it’s more likely that they’ll follow through with another. That’s what makes it so important to keep providing simple actionable items for them to carry out.

Always keep in mind: your call to action should mirror the customer’s need and the most recent interaction. Is the customer engaging barely or not at all? Approach with some humor or a multiple choice prompt. Do they seem ready to make a commitment but need a push? Add some urgency or scarcity to trigger fear of missing out. Try to sound inviting rather than bossy. These techniques will help build the perfect CTA for each email message.