How to get clients by email; the right and wrong approach


I just got an email from a investment company representative that is a classic illustration of the WRONG way to use email to generate new business.

Hi David,

My group wanted to reach out to you to see if you have any interest in our services.

We are an independent, fee-only investment advisor with a proven track record and compelling value proposition. We have a sophisticated investment process that combines individual bonds and equities/ETFs to produce a tax sensitive, highly liquid, totally transparent, risk managed portfolio. Our philosophy is grounded in academically proven methodologies. We don’t do broker talk, just easy to understand investing.

Our CIO was formerly an executive corporate risk manager at BIG COMPANY, and a MAJOR UNIVERSITY grad and CFA. We have a solid understanding of not only equities and bonds but also foreign currency and interest rate risk management. We have retained over 95% of our clients over the last 5 years.

I wanted to see if you were open to exploring opportunities with us? Perhaps I can email you a 1 page breakdown about our firm, bio’s and performance?

Apologize for the email intrusion, however we believe it’s a less intrusive way of an introduction.


Managing Director
Company Name

Okay, what do you think? Is this likely to bring in any business? What would you do differently?

I’m not concerned that it’s unsolicited. It’s okay to approach prospective clients or referral sources to introduce yourself in an unsolicited email. But you’ve got to do it right and the first thing that’s wrong with this email is it seeks to do much more than that and takes too much for granted about my interest in using this company’s services.

Too much, too soon.

Selling investment services is like selling legal services. It’s a process, over time. It’s based on a relationship between the professional and the prospective client or referral source and trust is integral to that relationship. Trust takes time and must be earned. (It can also be borrowed from a mutual contact who refers the parties).

Before marriage there is courtship and before courtship is the first date. You haven’t even asked me out but you want me to meet your family?

Too much, too soon.

So what’s a better offer? How about information that could help me save or make money, like a report or mp3 or newsletter with investing tips, strategies, or predictions? Or, how about an invitation to a free tele-seminar or web-inar? This would not only provide value it would also allow me to identify myself to you as a potential prospect for your services.

Offer something I want and I can have without a big commitment or a sales pitch. Make it easy for me to say yes.

(There’s another benefit (to you) of offering valuable information: it gives you an opportunity to demonstrate your expertise, which is much better than you simply proclaiming it.)

An offer must contain a benefit. What’s in it for me? What do I get out of it? Had this email offered valuable information I may have been interested in receiving it. The door to our relationship would have opened. You would have gotten my attention and eventually, over time, as trust is built, we might begin courting.

Another problem with this email is that it’s all about you–your firm, your experience, you, you, you. Talk to me about me–my concerns, my desires, my portfolio. I’m interested in my life, not yours.

Show me made an effort to learn something about me and what I do, perhaps a comment about my blog . I know it’s a form letter but if you had made any effort to personalize it, you’d have a much better chance of getting my attention.

Marketing is common sense. If we met in person, what would you say to get my attention? What would you offer that might make me interested in speaking further?

Emails like this make me think that common sense isn’t really that common.