How to Get Your Emails Opened and Read



Many sales trainers talk about the “good ole days” before email. When the phone was your weapon of choice. Many even suggest that email has ruined the sales process.   I could NOT disagree more. In my sales training workshops, I teach that email is an amazing piece of technology. If used in the right way it can truly help the sales professional win and grow business.

Before we get into the best sales subject lines for email success, please allow me to offer three pieces of email sales advice.

  1. Email does not replace the phone. The phone is an amazing tool when trying to build a relationship with a prospect from a distance.
  2. All too often you ignore the phone and only focus on email. Sales superstars know how to balance phone, email and face time to maximize the total sales process.
  3. Email lacks tone and emotion. Of course, you can YELL and ;-), but, your voice is a powerful sales tool. During my sales training workshops, I teach a pattern of voice mail and email prospecting that gets results!  Do not give up on the phone when these sales email subject lines get you results.

Here are my top 10, email subject lines that have been getting me results in the last 30 days or less. I will also provide email examples and advice on each as well.

1.     Subject line: (Name of a mutual connection) recommended I get in touch.

The body of the email: “Hi Donnie. Ryan Dohrn recommends that you and I touch base about _______. He and I mutually felt that this idea could benefit you. Could I have 20 minutes via phone to discuss this week? I promise just 20 minutes. I take pride in not wasting people’s time.”

Advice: There is clearly no better way to connect with a new sales prospect than through a referral. Agree? Also, notice that I assure the prospect that I will not waste their time. Many sales people before you have wasted a prospects time. You want to take pride in not being one of those “vampires of time.”

2.     Subject line: I was just wondering…

The body of the email: “Hi Rachel. I was wondering if you would be open to a 20-minute phone call about (insert sales topic here)? I promise to respect your time. 20 minutes is all that I need.”

Advice: This sales subject line is often used as a follow-up or can also be used as a way to offer a meeting invitation. For example,


3.     Subject line: May 29th?

The body of the email: “Hi Ron. I will be in Clinton, IA on May 29th for a meeting. Could I get on your calendar for 20 minutes in the morning? I promise just 20 minutes. I take pride in not wasting people’s time.”

Advice: I often use this subject line to request a meeting date or to offer a follow-up date for a meeting.

4.     Subject line: 3 reasons…

The body of the email: “Hi John. I truly feel there are three reasons why we should work together.
1.     Your mission. I understand your company and appreciate your mission.
2.     Your support needs. I have a quality reputation for offering best in class customer service.
3.     Your budget. We are the only company offering your payment options.
Advice: This subject line is most often used after you have tried several times to connect with a prospect via email. The idea is to list three reasons why the prospect should re-engage with you via email.

5.     Subject line: Did something happen?

The body of the email: “Hi Terry, Was there something that happened after our meeting that I can help you resolve? You sounded very positive about setting up a follow-up call. I am not a high-pressure type of guy. I truly want to help you with ________. ”

Advice: After a proposal or a meeting this subject line will often play with a prospect’s emotions and get you a response.  I might even say in the email

6.    Subject line: New idea for you.

The body of the email: “Hi Bob, I would love to share with you a new budget friendly idea that is really working for other companies like yours. 20 minutes is all that I need. I promise just 20 minutes. I take pride in not wasting people’s time.”

Advice: I like to use this subject line right out of the gate when trying to set a meeting with a new prospect. Of course, you need a new idea to share. Or, you can share a thought that will give your prospect a slight competitive advantage.

7. Subject line: (Name of a competitor) is marketing very well? Or, just the company name of a prospects competition.

The body of the email: “I see that John Doe is really marketing a lot these days. I have an idea to really give them a run for their money.” Or, “Hi Rex, I see that John Doe just launched the new ABC Model. I have a unique idea to share with you that could give them a run for their money.” Or, “Hi John, your competitor John Doe just bought into our system. I truly feel you need to take a look at this as well.”

Advice: This subject line is most often used by my media sales coaching clients. But, it applies to other sales sectors as well. This sales subject line will ruffle a few feathers. So, be careful. I never EVER share client information with other clients. I am simply using this subject line to prompt a reply based on friendly competition. Again, you want to be ethical with what you share using this approach.

8. Subject line: Wrong person?

The body of the email: “Hi Michael, I hate to be that sales guy that keeps emailing the wrong person. Any chance you could point me in the right direction of the person that handles _________ ?”

Advice: Often used as a last ditch effort, this subject line allows the client to provide you information that you can use to move them off your prospect list. Be real and often you will get a reply. This truly only works if the sales prospecting pattern you use is aggressive. If you only email once a month, forget about it.

9. Subject line: 20 Minutes?

The body of the email: “Hi Nicole. I saw on your website that you just launched the A350 Model. I have an idea to help you promote that to our client list of 36,0000. 20 minutes is all I need to share with you an idea. I promise to not waste your time and keep you on the phone for 45 minutes. I pride myself in not being that type of sales person.”  Or, “Hi Nicole. I saw on your website that you just won the contract for Jayco. Congrats. I have an idea to help you with the staffing issues related to that contract. 20 minutes is all I need to share with you an idea. I promise to not waste your time and keep you on the phone for 45 minutes.”

Advice: This subject line can be tricky if you do not also include a promise. You will need to tweak the above based on what problem you hope to solve. Or, what your idea can do to save her time, money or effort.

10. Subject line: I will respect your answer.

The body of the email: “I would very much enjoy working together, but if you have decided to not move forward I will be very respectful of your decision. Any update on your project decision status is appreciated.”

Advice: Not used enough. It is often taboo to allow a client to say no. To encourage them to say no is also taboo. But, what I have found is that when the client feels like they can tell you no they will at least reply.

In conclusion:

There are certain sales training programs that teach you “sales tricks”. Those zinger lines of narrative that force a client to a “yes decision”. In the day and time when there were not many options for products and services those “sales tricks” worked well.   Today, most buyers will not tolerate the high-pressure sales tactics of the past. I find that my systematic approach to sales relies on three things… working the right client on the right pattern with the right message. Relevance is key.

How can I help you and your team? Each year I train hundreds of sales professionals. My methods are fun, ethical and based on the simple fact that I sell every day to feed my family. My ideas are fresh, relevant, tactical and you can use them right away.

About this blogger:

Ryan Dohrn is a 25-year sales and marketing veteran. He has trained over 4,000 sales people in 7 counties. He is a best-selling business book author and international sales and business coach.

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Get out there and sell something!

Ryan Dohrn

Publisher, Sales Training World

[email protected]

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Ryan Dohrn

Ryan Dohrn, CEO of Brain Swell Media LLC

Ryan Dohrn is an Emmy award winning TV producer, has overseen over 3,000 Web site builds, is a nationally acclaimed speaker, has been featured in USA Today, on ABC, CBS and FOX TV stations, on and has personally impacted millions of dollars in online and related media revenues for media companies large and small.

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