Today I'm going to teach you a trick so simple and yet so effective that when you try it you'll be absolutely astounded by the improvement.

As I explain in my free weekly newsletter (where I critique reader emails for free), the purpose of every sales email is to get a positive reply from the potential customers, a.k.a. prospects.

Since everyone knows that's the case, why do so many sales emails make getting that first "YES" so damn complicated? I constantly see emails with calls-to-action like:

  • "To set up a demonstration, call me at 212-555-1212."
  • "Go to our website for more information."
  • "I've attached a brochure that explains all the details."
  • "If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact me."
  • "The product demonstration will take about 20 minutes."
  • "I can conference in your senior managers."
  • "I have left you a voice mail with all the details."

Those calls-to-action are all ways of getting to "YES," but they're also asking the prospect to jump through hoops in order to give it to you.

For example, to respond to the "set up a demonstration" call-to-action, the prospect must:

  1. Check her calendar
  2. Figure out some times
  3. Go back and get the telephone number from the email
  4. Give you a call
  5. Leave a voice mail (probably)
  6. Play a few rounds of phone tag
  7. And finally, as a reward, get to listen to a sales pitch (!?!)

Now, I suppose it's within the realm of possibility that that this might actually happen, providing your email is spectacularly compelling and perfectly on target.

But it's not. Trust me on this. Most sales emails are never even read all the way through. When you top them off with burdensome calls-to-action, you make it highly unlikely that any prospect will ever get back to you.

The point of the first sales email is to get into an email conversation--a back and forth trading of emails that might, if the conversation continues, eventually lead to a phone call or in-person meeting.

Let me repeat that: The purpose of the first sales email is to start an email conversation, not give the prospect homework in order to earn the right to hear your sales pitch.

They're just not going to do that. It's not a realistic expectation.

So, instead of loading up your email with distracting links and items for the prospect's to-do list, instead fish for the easiest possible response that entails the least commitment from the prospect.

Therefore, your initial sales email should end with a YES/NO question where a "YES" entails no commitment from the prospect other than a second email from you, an email that presumably includes some more details.

Because most emails are read on phones, I call that kind of easy, low-commitment response the "Five Golden Taps," because it consists of five movements of the recipient's fingertip on the screen:

Now, isn't that is a lot easier than all that rigmarole? More important, when you get those five golden taps, four spectacularly wonderful things happen:

  1. You are now in an email conversation with the prospect that could lead to a future telephone conversation or demonstration.
  2. Your email address is now on the prospect's "white list," so that your future emails won't end up in a spam folder.
  3. The prospect, by expressing interest, has now given you permission to provide more information that could increase the prospect's interest.
  4. The first "YES" builds momentum for the future "YES" responses, like when you ask the YES/NO question "Should we set up the meeting?"

Getting these five golden taps is not difficult. Make the email short (two to three sentences), make it about what the customer needs (and about you or your product), and then ask:

"Is this of interest to you?"

If the prospect truly is a potential customer, you'll get the five golden taps. It really is that ridiculously easy.