Think Before Hitting Send

Prospecting is an important element of the sales process and here are 5 common ways in which people tend to approach looking for new business:

  1. Make phone calls
  2. Send email
  3. Attend in-person networking events
  4. Leverage social media like LinkedIn
  5. Solicit referrals

These are not listed in any particular order, and it is pretty likely that like most of us, you are using a combination of these approaches to achieve your sales goals.

Like any sales tactic you use, it is important that the tactic delivers the return on the time invested. Is the activity driving sales revenue or not? That’s the question you want to be asking yourself all throughout the day.

I want to focus in on email prospecting for a moment, because coincidentally two sales leaders that I respect – Jill Konrath and Jim Keenan – both wrote blog posts that zeroed in on how salespeople are using email to prospect. The answer…not well.

Jill shared an example on her blog that is so horribly written and wrong in so many ways that I have to ask who the heck is monitoring what salespeople are saying to prospects in their email exchanges? This salesperson wasn’t thinking before hitting send.

Sales execs…this part is for you.

Remember that crazy old saying…”You never get a second chance to make a good first impression”? That applies here. Do you know what happens to any chance of a sales opportunity when your sales rep sends sales spam is that not targeted, not relevant to the receiver, poorly written and not well thought out?

The best you can hope for is that the email is merely deleted and your name is erased from their minds. The worst scenario can look like me telling all my colleagues to steer clear of your company, product and service.

It is time to pay attention to what your salespeople are sending out on behalf of your company each and every day.

What can you do to solve the problem?

Work with team members to craft several different emails based on buyer personas. This will prepare the majority of the message up front and you want to use it consistently with each prospecting touch. This will also squeeze time out of the sales process, because your folks could send batch emails based on industry or title.

And…

Craft emails thinking about the prospect and what’s important to them – avoid the sales pitch. Batching emails as noted above is a good idea as long as you remember that a little customization will be needed based on each prospect situation. Boilerplate emails that are sales pitches do not work.

Teach your salespeople to do their homework and leverage real-time information available on the web to tailor their message. Now, more than ever, is it easy to do a little digging to quickly identify triggers that help you to spot potential sales opportunities.

Regularly monitor and spot check the emails that your salespeople are sending out. They represent you, your company and themselves. It is up to you to know exactly how well they are living up to their responsibility.

Develop a system to track whether or not sending email is actually working. Frankly, this suggestion applies to the other four ways that people prospect too. But here’s the thing about email:  92% of buyers say that they ignore emails from people they do not know. If that’s true, why are your salespeople relying so much on email to sell for them?

Prospecting in the right way yields better results. Continuing to do things they way you’ve always done them while expecting different results? Not gonna happen!

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