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5 Secrets to Writing Sales Emails That Prospects Will Reply To Think it through from the POV of your prospects. Visualizing how much of it they are actually going to view tells your exactly where to focus your efforts. Fire off some boilerplate with just a name change? Game over.

By Marc Wayshak Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Are your prospecting emails getting ignored all the time? If the answer is "yes," you're not alone. Most salespeople today struggle to write sales emails that convert to actual business.

But before you take it personally, try putting yourself in the shoes of your prospects. High-level prospects receive hundreds of prospecting emails every single day -- personally written ones, not spam or bot emails. No one has the time to carefully read that many messages! Your prospects have no choice but to scan them all and quickly decide what's worth their time, and what's not.

If your email doesn't make the cut right away, it's lost forever. Luckily, there are surefire ways to get your emails read by any prospect, so you can crush your sales goals. Check out these five powerful secrets to writing sales emails that your prospects will actually open and read:

1. Focus on the subject line and first sentence.

Far too many salespeople spend all their time crafting the message body of their sales emails, and then they quickly slap on a subject line at the last second. Instead, you should be laser-focused on crafting your subject line, and pay special attention to the very first sentence.

Related: 3 Reasons Email Campaigns Remain the Best Marketing Tool

Why? The vast majority of your prospects are scanning their emails on a mobile device or within an email program that displays a preview of each email's subject line and first sentence. If your email is ever going to get opened in the first place, then you must be strategic about these two components, above all else. Make sure your subject line provides compelling value up front, and that it's simple and straightforward. The first sentence of every email should look like it was written specifically for each individual prospect.

2. Drop the formality.

You shouldn't be trying to impress prospects with the quality, structure and formality of your writing: Your prospects don't care about any of that. In fact, a formal-sounding email is far more likely to get deleted in today's business world. Conversational and casual is where it's at. Keep your sales emails friendly, low-key and informal to put prospects at ease and dramatically increase your chances of setting a sales meeting.

3. Research and personalize.

While you don't need to do a tremendous amount of research for every email you send, you should do enough to show you know who the recipients are and what their deepest frustrations might be. Use social networks and search engines to figure out each prospect's current title, recent projects and other relevant information that will dramatically increase the chances your email is opened, read and replied to.

Related: Starting a Business? 4 Ways to Research Your Potential Customer.

By the same token, always personalize sales emails by greeting prospects by their first name. And don't send the same boilerplate message to everyone! If your prospect evens thinks you're copying and pasting the same email to multiple recipients, only changing the first name, then it's game over for you. Instead, include a challenge or accomplishment specific to the prospect's organization to show you've done your homework.

4. Keep your message as short as possible.

Writing too much is one of the biggest mistakes salespeople make when it comes to sales emails. Remember, you goal isn't to educate the prospect or inundate them with information. Rather, your goal is simply to elicit a response. That's all. Prospects don't want to read multiple paragraphs. If your message is too long, they'll quickly move on without responding, even if the subject line and first sentence caught their attention. Your sales emails should never exceed five or six sentences -- and shorter is even better.

5. Always ask a question.

Since the goal of every sales email is merely to elicit a response, you should always ask a question at the end of each message. Don't end your email by saying, "Let me know if you have any questions," or "Let me know if you'd like to talk more."

Related: 4 Questions to Ask When Planning Effective Customer Messages

Instead, encourage your prospect to engage by asking, "Do any of these issues ring true to you?" or "What is the best address for me to send this to?" A simple question makes it far easier for your prospect to respond and engage, ultimately leading to further conversation.

Marc Wayshak

Sales Strategist and Author

Marc Wayshak is the author of Game Plan Selling . As a sales strategist, he has created a system aimed at revolutionizing the way companies approach selling.

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