Email subject lines can be the beginning of closing a great deal or the reason your email winds up in the trash bin. Sales reps know this better than anybody.

While most people spend time agonizing over the copy in the body of the email, salespeople never forget one of the most important ingredients of sending an email:

If your subject line sucks, it doesn’t matter how great your email actually is because it’s never going to be read.

However, what we’ve seen a lot of sales reps struggle with (and we struggle with too from time to time) is the fact that there isn’t a whole lot of space to work with when trying to craft an action provoking subject line.

Today, we’re going to help you become a boss when it comes to writing subject lines for emails that get your foot in the door and help you meet your lead quota.

How to Write Better Subject Lines Than Other Sales Reps

First things first, make sure you’re familiar with all the points on the checklist below so you know what to look for when assessing if you’ve written the best subject line for your email or not:

  • Summarizes the intention of your email
  • Clearly, connects to the first line of your email
  • Reflects the type of email you’re sending (initial, reply, forward, or follow up)
  • Grabs the attention of prospects and stands out when they scan their inbox

Because if your subject line doesn’t meet all of that criteria, it’s not going to mean anything if you’ve written the perfect email that’s the perfect fit for the prospects needs and sent it at the perfect time. Why? Because like we said before, it’s most likely going straight trash.

Phrases Salespeople Should Avoid In Subject Lines

Tip of the day:

Join Us For
Appropriate person?
You’re invited to
Exclusive invitation to
This week’s call
Something of interest?
Can you chat
Trying to connect

According to Yesware, on average, all of these have open rates less than 38% and a reply rate that’s virtually non-existent.

If you’re using any of these phrases, you’re sabotaging your email from the start.

Phrases Salespeople Should Try in Email Subject Lines

Ditch the list above and try out these phrases in your subject lines instead:

Follow-Up 68% 48%
Contact Info 70% 43%
Check In 70% 49%
Next Steps 71% 50%
Today’s Call 70% 51%
Status Of 73% 57%
Meeting Today 71% 55%
Introductions 77% 58%
Confirming 72% 53%
Catching Up 71% 52%

Other techniques you should try and avoid:

Include numbers (Subject lines with numbers has an average open rate of 53% and average reply rate of 32%) Assuming things based on your own needs (i.e. they want to connect too or you just need to find the right time.)
Mention your prospects name in addition to another customer’s name the recipient likely know and respects Asking a question and expect a response when you haven’t earned their trust yet. Reply rate for initial emails with sub lines as questions is 18%.
Get Creative – find an interest of theirs and connect to it Using exclamation points. It lowers opens rates and can get you flagged for spam.
Try sending a blank subject line – research shows blank subject lines have a >60% open rate. Using “free consultation.” If the inbox spam filter doesn’t grab it first, your recipient is sending it straight to the trash.

Now that you’ve got an idea of some of the big dos and don’ts of crafting a sales email subject line we can give you some brilliant examples to help get you started.

Best Subject Lines For Salespeople

5 of the Best Email Subject Lines for Salespeople to Try

  1. “I hope all is well”

    The reddit user who suggested this subject line says that “it gets a lot of reads from decision makers who are tired of people trying to serve their own self interests.”

    In other words, demonstrating genuine concern isn’t something people see a lot of and it’s refreshing when it happens.

    Sales reps who focus primarily on building relationships rather than just trying to make the sale are more successful in the long run. Prioritizing the relationship from the beginning is what will set your message apart and help you score more in the end.
  2. “[Name] referred me to you”

    Smart salespeople know that referrals are pure gold. According to, referred prospects have a whopping 50% close rate.

    Why? Because salespeople who get referred to new prospects “borrow trust” from the person who referred them. The relationship between the rep and the prospect is automatically warm thanks to the relationship between the prospect and the referral source.
  3. “You aren’t alone”

    Most of your prospects only have visibility into their own organization. As a salesperson, you often have a broader vantage point that spans innumerable buyers and customers.

    The Reddit user we mentioned in the first subject line suggestion also pointed out that “You are not alone” provides a good opening to an email containing a case study or testimonial from an organization similar to the prospect you’re emailing.

    This works because nobody likes to think they’re the only one. The fact that other people have faced the same problem as them and found a solution for it (in you) is often enough to sway opinions and drive action. It’s called the bandwagon effect.
  4. “Possible meeting [date] at [time]”

    A Reddit user who’s trained with Kate Kingston disclosed that she recommends sending with subject lines such as “Possible meeting at your office Tuesday, August 1st at 10:45.”

    Setting an appointment on the :45 is much less pressure than setting it on the :00 or even the :30 because it gives the illusion you’ll only take up 15 minutes of your prospects time.

    It’s also been noted that specific subject lines convey more valuable information to the email recipient, which draws them like a magnet into the content.
  5. “Can I help?”

    To be successful as a salesperson, you must practice Always Be Helping. Use subject lines like “Can I help?” shows prospects you don’t just view them as dollar signs.

    As soon as recipients see this subject line in their inbox they’ll immediately wonder, Help me with what? To find out, they’ll read your email. The well-written, personalized content inside will prompt your prospect to respond.

Most email subject lines have two to three words. Subject lines under 5 words are generally the ones that win open rates above 50%.

Final Thoughts

Never forget, if you’re going to crush it when it comes to writing better email subject lines that get results you have to know your readers and you have to deliver value.

Take the time to provide your recipients with relevant sources. Remember, you need to give in order to get. It’s also beneficial to toss in a compliment, pick at a pain point, and not be afraid to think outside the box of traditional sales emails.

Did you find this post helpful? Have some sales email subject line tips of your own you’d like to share? Leave us a little somethin’ somethin’ in the comments.