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Six Words You Should Stop Using in Sales Emails

3 min readJanuary 20, 2020

I can’t stress how important writing great emails are to succeeding as an SDR. Prospecting emails have to be great because you not only want to provoke a reply, but it’s also a branding exercise. Prospective customers may not be familiar with your company, and a great email can help shape their impression.

Stop using these six words in B2B sales emails

I recently blogged about a fantastic cold email I received. I thought it might be equally valuable to discuss what not to include in a B2B sales email. Here are six words that should virtually never be included in a cold sales email.


B2B sales emails should be all about communicating value. Simply offering a discount doesn’t communicate why they should buy your product and it can often sound too salesey. Not to mention that “discount” is on Hubspot’s list of email spam trigger words!

As a caveat, if you’re selling something with an instantaneously understood value prop (e.g. Office Depot or selling Aviation parts) discussing a discount might be appropriate.


Here’s one I see all the time: “To be honest, I think that my product could be a great fit with your company.” This has the exact opposite of its intended effect. Every time I see the word “honest” or “honestly” in a sales email, it makes me wonder if they were being honest before. I think about whether, at times, they are not honest. Instead:

  1. Tell your prospects the truth
  2. Assume that your prospects will respect that you’re telling them the truth


A lot of B2B sales emails I get begin “Hey Jesse.” The word “hey” is meant to assume familiarity, but this can easily come off as disingenuous. According to sales trainer Babette Ten Haken, ” ‘Hey’ and ‘Hello There’ are easily perceived as disrespectful greetings in many professional contexts. It’s just bad business etiquette that can have serious repercussions on your brand.” So if you don’t actually know someone, feel free to just use their first name with a comma after it or skip the salutation altogether.


I recently read a blog post by biz dev coach Liz Wendling in which she makes a compelling case that the L word is severely overused in sales emails. Her reasoning is that saying something like “I’d love to set up a meeting next week” puts the focus on you instead of your prospect. Instead she advises that you shift the focus to your prospect: “Are you available next week to discuss X?”

Don’t name any of your competitors in a cold email. Your prospects might not even be aware of certain competitors and if you bring them up, you could be creating unnecessary competition for yourself. Let your offering stand on its own merits. Focus on the value you can add, not what’s wrong with a competing solution.


A lot of sales reps have sent me letters that state something like “I would love to discuss your lead gen/marketing automation/strategic plans for the upcoming quarter.” I get it, they’re trying to position themselves as expert consultants. But it ends up sounding transparent and self-serving. Unless you are actually a high-level expert or consultant, avoid asking what prospect’s plans are. Instead, focus on communicating the value of what you’re offering.

By avoiding these words you can help avert potential pitfalls and virtually assure that prospects are going to be far more likely to respond.

For more prospecting secrets watch our on-demand webinar How to Close Bigger Deals.