Email Prospecting Doesn’t Work If Your Email Gets Deleted

Crazy busy prospects make decisions to read or delete your prospecting email in 3 seconds or less. This is the Glimpse Factor.

Three Seconds to Impact

Email prospecting is hot.

It feels much less threatening than cold calling.

No one will hang up on you. You have time to think about exactly what to write.

But it doesn’t work if prospects delete your email – and never read a word.

Within three seconds of noticing it, prospects make a decision to read or delete your prospecting email. This is called the Glimpse Factor. It is the moment of truth for your prospecting email.

Your goal is to breakthrough that first glimpse and compel your prospect to keep reading.

The Glimpse Factor Questions

Here’s how the Glimpse Factor works.  When prospects first glimpse your email they have three questions top of mind;

  • Do I have time for whatever it is now?
  • Can I delete it and do nothing at all?
  • Do I need to hold on to it to do something later?

Because they’re busy people, they’re secretly hoping that they can delete it with no further action.

Your objective is to craft emails that make contacts feel like they have to read and respond immediately. Before you can accomplish that, you have to break past the Glimpse Factor.

Breaking Past the Glimpse Factor Check Points

Email Address

To make their delete decision, the first place your prospects look is at the email address. They’re checking to see who the email is from,  If they don’t recognize your name and note an email extension from a generic provider such as gmail or yahoo, odds are they’ll hit delete.

Approach prospects using your company email address. While they may not know your company, it reinforces your credibility and they’ll jump to read the subject line.

Subject Line

In the split-second that they read the subject line they’ll ask and answer, “Is this for me personally? Is it junk that I can ignore?”

They’re looking for any excuse to quickly hit delete.

Use subject lines that require prospects to read your email.

  • Can we talk Tuesday at 10:30AM
  • A quick question
  • A thought about IT spending

If your subject line doesn’t feel relevant to your contact, it’s gone.

Opening Salutation

Next they hop to the opening salutation looking to see if it begins with their name. Including your prospect’s name alerts them that the email was sent for them specifically. Without it, discard.


While you’ve made it into the body of the email, your contacts don’t yet begin to read. Instead, their eyes drop to your signature at the bottom to check out your authenticity.

If they didn’t recognize your email address or company, prospects want to find out who you are. They’re scanning for marketing hype at the bottom.

It’s okay to have links to your social networks and website, even a tag line about your company or a link to a free resource. But a blatant advertisement is their signal that this email isn’t one they need to address.


Prospects’ final test is to determine how difficult your email appears. They’re assessing to see how much effort it’ll take to address. Simply by glimpsing the format of your content, they’ll make their decision!

To break through, keep emails brief. Use short paragraphs so they appear quick to address.

You may be tempted to use bulleted lists to accomplish this, but resist. In prospecting emails bulleted text implies marketing content or action items, both of which have negative connotations to busy people who don’t know you.

Focus On The Glimpse Factor To Improve Response Rates

In just three seconds, your prospects make a choice: read or delete. If you make it past all these checkpoints, they’ll finally begin to read the compelling message you’ve written just for them.

Remember the Glimpse Factor as you compose your messages, and you’ll see both your response rates and your new sales pick up steam in no time.

Kendra Lee and Jeb Blount teach you how to write effective email prospecting subject lines that break through the glimpse factor in Email Prospecting Subject Lines 101

About the author

Kendra Lee

Kendra Lee is a top IT seller, sales advisor and business owner who knows…

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