How many questions can a seller ask in an email and not totally annoy the prospect?
Is it okay to ask yes/no questions?
Sales teams ask this all the time and 2021 research shows…
But wait, before we get to the answers, consider this: The number only matters when:
•you know why you’re asking even one question (What do you want to gain by asking? Why would your prospect be interested in taking time to answer you?)
•your email is relevant to your prospect.
Here is what current research says:
Yes. As long as you stack the deck in favor of the “yes” response. They are a definite plus because they engage buyers. One goal of asking questions is to collect “yesses” as your prospect reads. Of course, it matters where in the sales process you are. Is this a first cold business development outreach email? A follow-up after crickets, or after a positive response? An email to a prospect who asked for content? Regardless, the answer is still yes – but where in the sequence makes a difference.
More, there is a lot to say about the ease of answering a yes/no question (even if it’s only in their mind as they skim your email). If their response is no (to a smartly worded question), they aren’t a qualified prospect anyway. A body in action stays in action. Use yes/no questions! (Did you notice my second question was a yes/no? Did you answer it in your head?)
How many questions are too many? How many cups of coffee are too many? Slices of pie? Walks in the park? Glasses of wine? (I’ll stop now!) Research clearly indicates three questions are the max. Where you position these three questions matters. Should all three come in the same paragraph? (Almost never) And if you can – but only – ask three questions in a sales prospecting email*, what are the most powerful questions you can ask to:
•excite the buyer,
•provide emotional certainty, and
•move them to desire and action?
*If you have more than three questions in a catering/service email, it’s time to pick up the phone!
Still more, your “ask” matters. Are you asking for time, interest, commitment, resources? Commitment in the first email is simply too quick even if it is just commitment for a phone call. (Yes, SDRs and BDs, I’m talking to you here. I know you want it and are incentivized to make it a one step process but your leaders are using an outdated playbook.) There is so much new research on this aspect of the ask. Stay tuned for more hacks to make 2022 your best sales year ever! (For even better and significant results, let’s talk about a tailor-made email sales success workshop for you and your sales, service and operational teams.)
Before you go—
The whirlwind is behind us and the future is bright! With two-thirds of buyers preferring remote interactions – digital and virtual – polishing your email selling skills is key to dramatically improving sales.
It’s time to stop sending email after email only to be ignored! You can write quick, strategic, smart messages that get results and drive sales!