While the best way to prospect for customers is to pick up a phone and get them on the line and engaged in the sales process, more and more people only want to communicate over email. Email has definitely become the primary method of business communication You need to be sending every customer that try and get ahold of an email. It should short and to the point. It should also give them some reason to compel them to get back in touch with you.
I personally don’t like to spend a lot of time crafting a case by case basis email for a customer. It takes forever, and they don’t get much of a better response than if you’d just sent them a well written template email. The template should be similar to what you’d say if you were leaving your prospect a voicemail.
Emailing a Prospect
If you are prospecting for a new customer from cold dead leads, or from scratch, email is a good way to let them know that you exist. In this case you are really just looking for buyers and most of your prospects are never going to look at your email anyway. A good rule of thumb is when you are reaching out to someone who you’ve never spoken with and isn’t expecting to hear from you. You should be using templates. Very few potential clients are worthy of a personalized email during the prospecting stage. It keeps you from getting your hands on more leads. Here is what a good template may look like:
This is Jay with RBC Holdings. I am the representative assigned to your account. We wanted to get in touch with you regarding your interest in XYZ. We have competitive prices in the industry for your TPS report filing, but it really is our customer service that sets us apart.
I would love to speak with you at a time that works for you. If I don’t hear from you I’ll call you next week. Have a great day.
That’s it. Get in and get out. Most prospects are not going to read a novel. You want to generate interest without getting to specific. You certainly don’t want to be hitting them with any sort of pricing or super specifics. You are the sales rep. You’re looking to get an appointment here. You can get specific then.
Please note that at the end of the email I mentioned that I would follow up with them again over the phone if I didn’t hear back from them. This is a great call to action that works. Just make sure that you follow through with it. I’ve left a prospect a voicemail and email, and followed up the next week. The potential customer is going to open the call in one of two ways:
- They are going to give you a hard time for calling to much. This rarely happens, because if the customer was ducking you, they’d just keep ducking you and not pick up.
- They are going to be apologetic for being so difficult to get ahold of. When I hear that apology I know that I’m speaking with a potential buyer already.
You’ll need to make a good template for you and your business. Make sure you hit these points.
- Who you are and who you are with.
- Why you are contacting them.
- Something that sets you apart from the 20 other emails they have gotten from your competition.
- Contact information: Don’t assume that everyone is smart enough to hit reply. Some people will need to write your email address down and write later. God as my witness I have seen this happen.
Thoughts on Email and Warm Leads
First let’s get this out of the way. By warm prospect I mean someone who has reached out and expressed some sort of interest in your product/service. Your company has than assigned this customer to you and you were unsuccessful getting them on the phone. You should always call a warm lead as long as it seems appropriate. Email may be the driving force behind much modern business, but the phone is still the way that deals get done.
I’m a big believer in looking for buyers. Many of the best sales we get are from people that were going to buy the whole time. Sending out the proper email will insure that you are maximizing your incoming warm buyers.
For the purposes of this page, let us define cold calling as when you call on a business and they absolutely were not expecting your phone call. Many businesses may tell you that the leads that you get are hot. Maybe they have salesforce and tell you that you are calling a market generated lead based on this persons interest in your product or service.
It’s a numbers game
Sales truly is a numbers game. You need to know exactly how many dials it is going to take to make a qualified lead.
If they aren’t specifically expecting you to call you need to know
You are going to get blown off (a lot)
You are going to spend many hours of your day speaking with people who are specifically trying NOT to let people like you speak with their boss. Here are some helpful hints to get you past the gatekeeper:
Do not obfuscate or otherwise hide why you are calling them. Gatekeepers hate that, and will see right through it. Many companies and sales managers are going to ask you to ask for the decision maker like you two are old buddies. They’d have you say something like this:
“Is Tom in.” While that may work on some gatekeepers, it’ll often get you hung up on.
Instead what you want to do is give them a firm instruction. Nearly all gatekeepers are used to taking instruction. They are not leaders. They will respond to a command. I’m not saying be rude, because that’ll get you hung up on quick as well. Here is a good intro: “Hi Jan, It’s Jay calling with BRP Company. Tom had filled out a form on my website. I’m trying to get in touch with him regarding that. Could you put me through please?” You let the decision maker know who you are, a little bit about why you are calling, and a clear order to put you through.
The phrase “could you put me through please” has a ton of benefit. You’ll be amazed at how many people will put you just go ahead and put you through. Instead of saying that though, you could say: “Would you tell Tom that Jay from BRP Co is holding please?”
There are a lot of sales people that would describe themselves as “sharks” or “cold blooded killers”. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with that, but it is a good idea to lock that portion of your personality up when trying to get a decision maker on the phone.