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You Can’t SPIN Email, But You Can SWIM INC (Part II)

Updated: Jun 20, 2018

In May, when I recommended the book SPIN Selling, I hinted at a problem: SPIN isn’t made for email. Here in Part II, I’ll deconstruct the sales email to fill in where SPIN left off.

Neil Rackham, the author of SPIN Selling, could not have covered email. He published the book in 1988, well before email went mainstream. The SPIN method – which involves asking questions about the Situation, Problem, Implication, and Need-Payoff – doesn’t work in an email. I mean who’s going to respond to a message with answers to 20+ prefabricated questions?

Part I ended with the SPIN-inspired principles I’ve used for the past decade:

  1. Get buyers to sell themselves the product.

  2. Be useful and likeable because customers buy from people they like.

These hold true in email, so let’s break down the method with that in mind. Our goal is to get the recipient on the phone so you can use SPIN. In homage to SPIN, I’m introducing a new acronym for email: SWIM INC

Subject Line

Keep it short and honest. Some salespeople use cheap tricks like adding a “long time no talk” to the subject line. That way, the recipient thinks you’ve had a conversation already. In reality, it makes you look like an annoying twerp. If you need a B.S. subject to get my attention, why should I trust you and your product?

Instead, try some proven formulas: “[Prospect’s Company] Partnership,” “An Opportunity for You,” or the good old “[Prospect’s Company] and [Your Company].”

Better yet, throw an action into the subject line. For EVENTup, we’ve used, “Bring More Event Planners Your Way.” If the person ignores the email, follow up by replying all to the email chain. In that case, the “re:” is legit.

Read the rest on Forbes.



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