Editor's note: "The First 90 Days" is a series about how to make 2016 a year of breakout growth for your business. Let us know how you're making the first 90 days count by joining the conversation on social media with the hashtag #Inc90Days.​

Once you're past the startup stage, growth is all about getting more clients and customers into your sales pipeline in order to keep money flowing in.

Conventional wisdom says that new clients come from high-cost sales and marketing, like cold-calling, advertising, and email blasts.

However, in most cases, you can load up your sales pipeline in a day or two by sending out twenty or thirty simple personalized emails to people whom you already know.

Below are three templates that include an initial email and, where necessary, the subsequent emails that create the conversation that leads to either a referral or a meeting.

1. "How else can I help?" (current client)

This template is easy. Do a bit of research or deep thinking about how you could help your current clients accomplish their goals. Then open a conversation via email. Since you already have an active business relationship, you can go straight to the close, which is a telephone call where you can further assess needs and propose a solution.

Subject: Status Report

Joe,

As you know, we're well into the implementation of [whatever it is that you're working with the client upon.] It occurred to me that there are some other areas where we can work together. Can you spare ten minutes on the phone to hear some ideas?

Jane

2. "What's been the outcome?" (past client)

This template requires a bit more finesse because there may be a reason why a past client is no longer working with you. The template will smoke that out and, if there's not a problem, give you the opportunity to resell to that client.

1.

Subject: Business Results

Joe,

Do you have time to answer a quick question?

Jane

2. (If response is "yes" to No. 1)

Subject: RE: Business Results

Thanks! When we worked together [whenever that was], you were trying to achieve [whatever goal that was.] What was the final outcome?

Jane

3. (If you get a response to No. 2)

Subject: RE: RE: Business Results

Thanks for giving me "the rest of the story," and I'm glad I could help! It sounds to me that you might need some help [in some area related to your product or service.] I've been working on [whatever you've been working on.] Would you like to see a quick description?

Jane

4. (If response is "yes" to No. 3)

Subject: RE: RE: RE: Business Results

Thanks for your interest! Here's what's up: [Description of your product or service, ideally in terms of benefits to the client rather than features and functions. Keep this as short as possible and remain focuses on the individual client's needs.]

That's the gist of it. Should we schedule a short telephone meeting to discuss?

Jane

3. "Congratulations!" (business contact)

This template is for people you've met at conferences, networking events, or through LinkedIn. You research the individual, find something interesting about that person, and use that to segue to a conversation.

1.

Subject: Congrats on the New Job!

Joe,

Your promotion came up on my radar screen when I was [doing whatever you were doing when you found the hook.] That sounds really challenging. [One- sentence anecdote about somebody successful in that role.]

Hey, on another matter entirely, can I ask you a quick question?

Jane

2. (If response is "yes" to No. 1)

Subject: RE: Congrats on the New Job!

Thanks! I've been working on [whatever you're selling.] It helps people accomplish [a benefit that would seem meaningful to the recipient.] Do you know of anyone who might be interested in this?

Jane

3a. (If response to No. 2 is a referral)

Subject: RE: RE: Congrats on the New Job!

Wow! I really appreciate the pointer. Would it be possible for you to make the introduction by sending [him or her] an email and CCing me?

Jane

3b. (If response is "Actually, I'm interested.")

Subject: RE: RE: Congrats on the New Job!

That's great news. Here's what's up: [Description of your product or service, ideally in terms of benefits to the client rather than features and functions. Keep this as short as possible and remain focused on the individual client's needs.]

That's the gist of it. Should we schedule a short telephone meeting to discuss?

Jane

If you're interested in crafting sales message and emails, I critique real-life messages and emails in my free weekly newsletter.

Meanwhile, here's how to write killer sales emails and how to get your sales emails opened -- both useful posts from what readers have told me.

Published on: Jan 28, 2016
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