B2B Email Cliches That Make You Look Like a Beginner

Whenever we mention the importance of personalizing email sales templates for particular clients, people inevitably ask: How do you personalize hundreds of emails for thousands of clients? 

The B2B style is not rich with metaphors and colorful phrases, like B2C. You’re bound to use the same lines for different messages. It may seem harmless and almost natural but when you see your target audience showing the first signs of email fatigue, you start wondering what you did wrong. 

Email personalization hasn’t been easy for us as well. It never is. B2B trends, communication preferences, and spam filter settings change constantly and what works for us today won’t be the same in three years. 

This means that personalizing emails is a matter of experience. The more you work on emails, the better you understand the patterns and the more your knack for choosing the right line develops. 

However, if you’re new to crafting unique sales emails, it would be much easier if you knew what shouldn’t be done. There are several email cliches that kill all your chances for catching your prospect’s interest — we’ve encountered them in our practice and now we’re sharing them with you. 

Cliche #1 “Hello {Name},”

We put that opening line ahead of the rest because it’s not only a cliche, but also it’s a spam word. We know because we had to do a major revision of all our emails to learn this phrase the reason for increased spam filter activity. 

Turns out, spam filters have added “Hello” to their hit list due to many spammy senders using that opening line. Therefore, any email that starts with “Hello” is now on the spam filter’s radar and are given less credibility than emails that don’t use that line. 

The same thing happened to exclamation marks and capitalized headlines. Everything that is used by spammers ends up on the watchlist. 

What should you do? You can be polite without saying hello. You can start your introduction email with “Hi” since it’s perfectly acceptable in the B2B world. You can also start your email with just “{Name},” and continue introducing your product and services. Trust us, your recipients will appreciate you making each line count and not wasting their time with lots of meaningless words. Our personal suggestion is to take a look at one or two spam emails every once in a while. It will let you see risky phrases and words and help ensure you don’t use any of those in your templates. 

Cliche #2 “Hope you are well”

That line is almost irresistible to anyone wishing to make evoke instant sympathy from their recipients. It sounds nice, harmless, and so compellingly well-meaning that the prospects won’t find it in them not to respond. It used to be that way, but nowadays this line is received a bit differently. Many sales executives prefer not to use it. 

To some of our team members, the line sounds condescending and insincere, especially when you send thousands of hope-you-are-wells to all your prospects. To others, this line serves no purpose. Why the prospect wouldn’t be well? What kind of impression are we trying to make? Is it a business email or an epistolary novel?

What should you do?  Although both sides are right, we wouldn’t say that you should scrap that line completely. It always helps to show your good intentions. But if you want to make your message truly well-meaning and genuine, don’t limit yourself with that overused phrase. Your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) offers a lot of material for crafting personalized alternative lines. For example: 

Example A

{Name},

Since this season is particularly challenging for {IndustryName} industry, I hope your plans for this quarter are coming together nicely…

Example B

{Name}, the first half of 2019 was productive for {IndustryName} industries in {LocationName} and I hope you made the most of it. Following up on our previous conversation, I’d like to…

Example C

{Hi Name}, 

Hope your week is looking good. In case your schedule has been keeping you busy, I’d like to remind about my previous email… 

Cliche #3 “I’m sorry”

By that we mean almost every type of apology you usually find in a B2B email: 

“Sorry for interrupting you.”

“Apologies if that email finds you at the busiest moment.” 

“I’m sorry to distract you.”

There is literally no end to apologies and it’s bad. Even though it may look like a polite thing to do, starting your message by apologizing is dangerous.  

Why are we so harsh about apologies?

  • You instantly put yourself in a lesser position. Acting apologetic about introducing services that assist your prospects doesn’t make the best first impression. Your prospects want to deal with someone who is polite and confident about their unique value proposition.
  • You come off as cynical. Your prospects have experience. They know most senders don’t apologize for the sake of apologizing. They do it just to start a conversation and they don’t really feel bad about disturbing their recipients. Therefore, the apology looks more like a reluctant tribute to basic decency guidelines.
  • Apologies are cheap. It’s very easy to say that you’re sorry, so when you say it all the time, your apology loses its value. If you’re careless about apologizing, your recipients may think that you’re as nonchalant about your customers and business.

What should you do? Save your apologies for the times you really owe them and don’t use them in a regular business conversation. Yes, your recipients are busy and your emails distract them from their routine. However, if your message is interesting and provides useful information, without taking much of their time, they won’t mind the interruption.

Cliche #4 “I hope you don’t mind this email”

This is the previous cliche’s ugly cousin. It has creates the same bad impression. 

Being self-aware is one thing, but that line takes it too far. Your prospects don’t decide whether they mind your email or not before they see what it’s all about. However, if you start making it look like they should mind your email before you even get to the point, you’re building a certain mood for closing and moving your sales message to the trash.

Some senders practice that approach because they don’t want to come off as foot-in-the-door salespeople. The bad thing is, that’s exactly what a FITD would do. While you shouldn’t be too salesy, you also can’t be too shy. That doesn't do you any good because your B2B prospects don’t evaluate the quality of your services by how humble you are. They assess your business by looking at how well it benefits them. If you’re so hesitant to talk about it, then your services are probably something they’re not going to want. 

What should you do? While it’s important to give your prospects some breathing space and show that your email offers a conversation, not a monologue, don’t act like writing your B2B message gave you a panic attack. Don’t be too pushy or assertive in describing your services. Show your recipients that you’re interested in what they have to say. 

Example A

I’d like to chat with you in person to get a more in-depth look at {CompanyName} and see if there’s a fit. If you’re interested, please let me know your available time slots. 

Example B

Since our range of services at {SenderCompanyName} is extensive, I’d like to jump on a 10-minute call with you to explore {CompanyName}’s needs and ways we can assist. 

Cliche #5. “My company specializes in…”

This line is wrong in several different ways: 

  • Lines like “My name is {Name}, I work in {SenderCompany name}. My company specializes in {Serivice name}” are constructed like something out of a grade school English workbook. If you use it and expect to be seen as a professional, the results will be pretty disappointing.
  • Expressing yourself separately from your company doesn’t do you any favors. If you’re speaking as a professional, you shouldn’t make it look like your company has nothing to do with you. You want your prospects to become the company’s customers—not your personal clients.
  • “Specialize” is a very dry, formal word. It doesn’t matter if it’s active or passive, it has no dynamic. It’s not juicy, it doesn’t speak to your audience. It’s just…there. Because of this, your entire email looks like a hastily written homework.

How you present yourself affects how your prospects see you. And, with that line, your prospects see nothing but another generic sender who hasn’t upgraded their templates since 2000. 

What should you do? Look alive. Think about how you would introduce yourself on the phone or when talking to your colleagues. Think about the strongest qualities of your company and what makes it different from the rest. In addition, avoid using dry, formal words like “specialize”.  

Example A

I’m the {Title} of {DeparmentName} at {SenderCompanyName}. Working across {LocationName}. We’ve become a reliable {ProductType} vendor for such businesses in {IndustryName} industry as {ClientName1}, {Client2} and…

In some cases, it won’t hurt to drop your name and title completely. There is no need to waste characters on anything your email signature can’t handle. The more room you leave for the information that is relevant to your prospects, the more interested your prospects will be in you.  

Example B

At {SenderCompanyName}, we have been supporting {IndustryName} businesses in {LocationName} for {TimePeriod}. Since our experience covers both Fortune 500 companies and startups, I decided to reach out and see if there is a fit. 

 

Cliche #6. “Per your request”

Whether you’re attaching a case study or following up with a prospect, you’re not doing it “per request”. That line sounds robotic. You’re not an answering machine or a calendar tool, you’re a part of the conversation. You want that conversation to be productive. 

What should you do? Treat your prospects as human beings. Whenever you want to say “per request”, replace it with a more lively and proper synonym that is more accurate in communication. 

Example A

As promised, I’ve attached the case study to this email. 

Example B

Last time we talked, we agreed that I should follow you up in October. Please let me know if you want to touch base and discuss {CompanyName}. 

 Cliche #7. “I’m writing to you because…”

This one is common among people who are new to writing emails. They start off with lengthy introduction paragraphs that document the sender’s every step prior to sending an email. However before they understand their mistake, a lot of time and neural tissue is consumed for a low open rate and the lack of responses. 

What’s so bad about this cliche?

  • It’s time-consuming. Your prospects don’t like to invest their time into something that doesn’t benefit them.
  • It’s insecure. You don’t really need to explain your decision. If you position yourself as a confident expert, you know why you decided to write to your prospects. It’s your prospects who are not aware of the advantages yet.

What should you do? Avoid the lines like “I’m writing/I’m reaching out”. Skip the reasoning and explanations. Your prospects are not interested in why you decided to contact them. They want you to get to the point and the sooner you do that, the happier your prospects will be. 

Example

{Name}, kudos on entering the Fortune 500 list — and the new stage of your business roadmap.

Regarding your recent growth, I’m curious about your thoughts on cold outreach as a tool for generating exclusive leads and building a stable sales pipeline. 

At Belkins, we help businesses generate more high-value leads and increase their conversions by handling the entire lead generation process, from lead research and data enrichment to lead nurturing and appointment-setting. Since our work brought 300% ROI to growing companies in constant demand for new leads, I thought it made sense to start a conversation. 

Conclusion 

The hardest thing about sales email cliches is that everything becomes a cliche when overused. The only safe way to avoid them is never giving in to monotony and keeping your mind fresh with new information and communication techniques. Our ultimate advice won’t be revolutionary, but it has helped us a lot when we were on the edge of burning out. 

  • Read a lot. We’re not talking about sales pitches or good email templates examples. We’re talking about reading in general. Don’t lose your touch with words. Take time to read books and novels, keep consuming educational content. The more food your brain gets, the easier it is for you to pick the right lines and avoid the cliches.
  • Go outside. Although the digital era is here, browsing the internet won’t make you fully aware of the budding trends and the most recent changes in B2B communication. Keep an eye on networking events, listen to speakers and make sure to talk to colleagues in your industry.
  • Use data. Your prospects’ data provides you with exclusive content for personalizing each template and enriching every line. Keep your ICP close and take a good look at it each time you feel lost.

 

If you think your cold emails need to be checked for cliches, we’re always ready to assist you and answer any top of mind questions.

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