Sales scripts, real knowledge . . . and relationships

sales scripts
Can you use email sales scripts to get appointments with busy people? Sure . . . but you need to do your homework first.
sales scripts
Can you use email sales scripts to get appointments with busy people? Sure . . . but you need to do your homework first.

Matt Handal observes how he has been successful almost always in getting meetings with very busy people, and he provides a sequence of email scripts he says are undoubtedly effective.

Ah, wouldn’t any salesperson sending unanswered emails or trying the old-fashioned telemarketing dialing for dollars techniques — or canvassers knocking door to door — like to have a proven-effective door-stopper script to attract the elusive “Yes”?

Matt Handal
Matt Handal

Well, there’s an important condition to Handal’s script effectiveness — and that condition both makes it much more reliable and much less capable of abuse.

Before we go to the script, and why it works, let’s explore the usual, uninvited inbound sales process.

Handal writes.

If you are anything like me, you are busy. Frankly, there’s no way I can complete everything I want to get done.

Yet, people go to great lengths to meet with me. They want to sell me stuff: branded products, telemarketing, directory listings, advertisements, etc.

Much of this is screened. I never see or hear it. My powerful junk filter or receptionist/office manager makes sure these people don’t get through.

But every once in a while, I’ll get a message like this:

“Hi, this is Bob from Directory Online. I’m calling because I was under the impression you provided (service my firm provides). Please give me a call at (some phone number).”

Inevitably, that exact same call will come in a couple of times a month.


I know exactly what you’re trying to do. You are trying to sell me a directory listing. And you are the one millionth person wanting to sell me a directory listing.

And how you are going about it really turns me off. You sound like the evil, manipulative salesman persona every person hates.

I can smell sleazy sales tactics a mile away. We all can, right? If there is one thing us humans are great at its identifying a sales pitch a mile away.

The last thing I want to do is take time out of my busy schedule to hear your pitch!

Don’t pitch me your product or service.

OK, that’s clear enough. Now, see Matt’s opening email (there is a follow-up sequence you can read here), but the key to the concept starts right at the start.  He says he usually sends this email on Tuesday.


[HOW YOU GOT THEIR NAME | Example: Bob Johnson recommended that I reach out to you] My name is [YOUR NAME] and I’m with [FIRM NAME].

I know [SOMETHING SPECIFIC YOU KNOW ABOUT YOUR TARGET | Example: you’re building a new surgery wing]. I thought you might find it helpful to exchange notes on [SOMETHING THEY’ll WANT TO KNOW ABOUT | Example: the current trends in surgery suite design.]

Would you be open to a 15-minute [PHONE CALL | MEETING]?

Certainly, the script is concise, clear and specific.

But it requires something much more  — it indicates you really know something specific about the client AND you have something that will be truly valuable to the person you are calling.

There’s other stuff, like the request for the short meeting and the clear and simple call to answer with only two possible answers, “yes” or “no”.

Nevertheless, the big issue — and the reason I think ideas Handal expresses will fall on mostly deaf ears, is that all-important specific knowledge and genuinely valuable information.

This is where you need to deviate from the can and get down to really knowing the potential client, and the reason why the relationship has importance.

For example, how effective will your introductory message be when you answer the question “How I got their name” when you say it is from a directory of business owners?  You might assert that you are a member of an association where they belong (better) but obviously the highest and best form of name-dropping would be a direct referral — ideally from one of their best clients. But you aren’t going to get your foot in the door, it seems, unless you have that kind of relationship at the start of the process.

Then you really need to know what the potential client is doing and where you can specifically help. This may be easier to pull off, of course, but only if you really have something that is helpful — and you really know what the potential client is doing (and ideally something that hasn’t been broadcast all over the news so everyone “knows” the facts.

The point here, is that Handal’s script, like virtually any effective higher-demand selling initiative, requires much more depth and background understanding, and hopefully a solid relationship base, to be effective. Then, when you get these things in place, the script effectively provides a checking/validating framework that you’ve done your homework first.  I expect you would probably succeed without the script, if you had the other pieces in place — but it doesn’t hurt to make it even better.

Handal references Ramit Sethi, a successful web entrepreneur who was studied at Stanford’s Persuasion Lab and recommends “you buy his ebook on email scripts if you truly want to understand the psychology of email and how to write emails that work.”

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