5 Crucial phrases to put in your first email to new prospects

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Your first email you send a new prospect is the most important one. A bad, mediocre, or even average one will instantly send up to 90% or more of them away.

A good one, though, will get you a reply back and open the door to further communication.

And further communication leads to winning more projects.

Makes sense, right?

Sidenote: Once you finish, read how 4 freelancers built recurring revenue models that changed their business. You'll love it.

So with that said, here are 5 phrases to include in your first email to help win more prospects over.

#1: A BIG “thank you”

As an experiment, I reached out to a dozen or so freelancers with an inquiry for a project.

I was amazed that only ONE out of the group actually thanked me for writing in.

Why is it important to thank your prospect?

A few reasons:

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1. They took time out of their day to reach out to you. The longer you’re in business, the more you understand this is the biggest hurdle you can possibly overcome – getting people to actually take action.

2. They wrote YOU of all people. Sure, maybe they wrote a few others – but still, something about you caught their eye. Take it as a compliment.

3. It makes people feel good and appreciated. Honestly, this should be reason #1. But best for last, right? 😉

Make your “thank you” the FIRST line of your email, like so:

Hey, NAME!

THANK you for writing in 🙂

#2: Affirm that you’d love to help them.

Customer service these days is horrible. People make you feel like you’re a burden – like you’re just bothering them.

This is the WORST feeling you can give a prospect.

So erase that feeling by telling them, plainly, that you’d be thrilled to help them with their project, like so:

I’d be thrilled to help you with your project!

#3: Ask them how they heard about you.

This is key for tracking your marketing.

How will you know which channel are bringing you clients if you don’t ask?

Yes, you can track Analytics, but those only go so far, and often they leave you with as many questions as they answer.

So go old fashioned and ASK how they heard about you, like so:

Would you mind if I asked how you heard about me? (Google search, a blog, etc.?)

#4: Ask them why they reached out to YOU.

You can phrase it like this, “Just curious – why did you decide to reach out to me? Was there something about my website that called out to you?”

Again, this helps you refine your marketing.

If you know what copy / design elements in your marketing are really resonating – you can make sure to include more of them, and you can include them sooner in your marketing, too.

Also: This actually flips the conversation around a bit and makes the person sell themselves on YOU.

By re-affirming what they really liked, it causes them to stop and think about it and draw more attention to it.

You can include this phrase for great results:

Also – I’m curious – what inspired you to reach out to me? Was there something on my website that really spoke to you?

#5: Next steps

What happens next? Do you need to get on a call? Put together a proposal?

Explain it clearly and give deadlines (i.e. say how long it’ll take to get them a proposal).

Be super CLEAR.

Often sales are killed in the beginning because people don’t give prospects a clear direction to follow.

Don’t let that happen. Clearly state what needs to happen next, like so, and try to include some urgency too (urgency is a huge multiplier of sales):

The next step is to get on the phone so I can learn all about you and your project.

What’s a good time for you? I’m free [insert times] today and tomorrow.

(The sooner the better so we can get started right away if this is a good fit.)

BONUS: #6: Thank them AGAIN.

Sign off with ANOTHER sincere thank you.

Appreciation goes a LONG way in separating you from the crowd.

Just sign off like this:

Thanks again! I’m looking forward to talking to you soon,

Your Name

Do you have any killer tips for getting new clients?

Did you learn a lot from this post? Leave me a comment and let me know! I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Till next time,
David

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About David Tendrich

David Tendrich is the co-head of creative agency Unexpected Ways, as well as the co-founder of Reliable PSD: the first-ever PSD to HTML & PSD to Wordpress service run by designers, for designers. He co-runs his companies from Portland, Oregon with his lovely wife and biz partner, Lou Levit.

 

More about David’s business: David is co-founder of Reliable PSD – what happened when a group of designers got fed up with PSD to Code companies… and created their own. Check them out, and see why freelancers & agencies are head over heels for this amazing new service.

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Comments

  1. FINALLY, an article all about something I’m already doing. I’m so used to walking away with a mental checklist of everything I need to correct about my business 😉

    In all seriousness, this list is spot-on. I realized super early on that communication is 100% key, especially if all you have to go on is an email. It’s a whole other thing when you can talk with them face to face, be visibly enthusiastic, and let body language do the work for you.

    I’m amazed at how many people sound like robots online, even when they’re so animated in real life. It all comes down to making sure every email I send out is sound like me, something I might say in real life.

    Great read. Glad to know I’m on the right track!

    • hey, way to go! sometimes it’s nice to see someone else doing what you do – very acknowledging.

      yes, it’s crazy how some people, no matter what, just come off really robotic or even negative in email. then you talk to them on the phone and they’re extremely awesome and you’re like, “who the heck are you? i thought you were an [censored]…”

      thanks for your comment 🙂 really appreciate it

  2. Is awesome to have this as a list. I use a couple of this points in my emails (even if they are not prospects, but already working clients), but this as a list help me to improve. Thanks!

  3. #4 brought back memories! A few years back someone contacted me and wanted me to start designing for them…right away. I asked him if he saw my portfolio and if my work was the style that he was looking for. He said he hadn’t looked at it. Then I asked how he found me and he said I was at the bottom of the google search and he just needed somebody. He was desperate. All of a sudden, my calendar was full. Great read! Thank you! Being active on social media has helped me meet those across the country or even the world, that I would never have connected with otherwise. It has helped me gain confidence, grow in my craft and makes it easy to thank, compliment and encourage others. Social Media is invaluable for the growth of a freelance business. I home school my three children too, so I appreciate those relationships that I have formed online. We make each other better!