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How to and Why to Cold Mail – Sales eXchange 2032

by Tibor Shanto – tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca

e-mail

If you are a regular at this blog, you know that I am big proponent and supporter of cold calling.  I don’t fall into a camp.  I think clod calling is a necessary part of a multipronged approach for engaging with potential buyers you have not have not spoken to before, or have a means of generating a referral to.  While social media is a big plus, there are times when still the most direct, cost and time efficient to get “in front” of someone is to pick up the phone and make a cold call.

Unlike some others who will tell you to use only one method over another, I have more respect for your intelligence and time than to tell you to only cold call and ignore referral selling, I believe you need to leverage as many tools and resources as are available to you to get you message to the right person.  Furthermore, the reality is that in some markets, with some products, where the audience is not involved in social media, or is unreachable through referral, your choices are limited, especially if your goal is to engage and sell, not just to look cool and modern.

One key reason you want to use as many tools as possible, is that it could take many touch points to get someone to engage, not to buy, but just to engage, depends who you read it could take anywhere between 5 – 9 touch points for the nickel to drop with a potential buyer.  Consider:

  • 48% Of Sales People Never Follow Up with a Prospect
  • 25% Of Sales People Make a Second Contact and Stop
  • 12% Of Sales People Make a Second Contact and Stop
  • Only 10% Of Sales People Make More Than Three Contacts
  • 10% Of Sales Are Made On the Fourth Contact
  • 80% Of Sales Are Made On the Fifth to Twelfth Contact

To make the most of the touch points, you need to mix up the modes of approach.  As with most tools, it is important you use the right one for a desired outcome.  What follows assumes:

• You need to have a direct conversation with the prospect to sell successfully, either face to face or by telephone.  • The e-mail in question is your very first attempt to reach the prospect.

Given the above, especially the second point, you need to determine what your objective is.  If you have never spoken to the buyer, the objective is clear, to schedule a firm time for the first conversation.  It is not to sell, deliver your value prop, start a relationship, or anything other than getting their commitment to speak at a specified time.  You want a call back to confirm the call, or as you will see in a moment, to actually schedule a meeting.  If your goal is different than that, what follows may not be for you.  On the other hand if you have never spoken to them before, and you need to direct, then what other outcome could you hope for?

The Format

Keep it short, two or three lines – in a 140 character world, you need to focus.  Chances are your e-mail will be read on a mobile device, if you don’t capture them in that first screen, you won’t.  You may get one flick of the thumb, the second will be to delete.

The Subject Line – think of how you do things, first question do I know this person? If not, you look at the subject line, if it doesn’t grab you, delete.  If it does, you may open it, as a result the subject line is crucial, as the reader will not know you.  This is why your subject line should be your call to action with a question mark.

Example (from a few years back):

Subject:  Meeting June 30, 9:30 am?

Dear Mr. Prospect,

I am Tibor Shanto Principal with Renbor Sales Solutions, over the last three years we have helped The Business Development Bank of Canada set more appointments with Canada’s small business owners.  I read about The Scotia Bank RV, and am writing to set up a meeting to discuss how we may help you and Scotiabank reach your objective.

How is Monday June 30th at 9:30 am?

Thank you in advance, Tibor Shanto

Result, within 90 minutes, I had response saying the date did not work, but they suggested an alternative time for us to meet.

Doesn’t work every time, about 10% – 20% of the time it does, but it is just one of many tools.  Combined with voice mail, a presence in social media, and you have an effective means of engaging, or at the least, an effective touch point.

An interesting observation, while the perfect result is 10 – 20 percent, I do see a number of people visiting my site after getting the e-mail, and while many may not call back, when I follow up with my next touch point, they are more aware of who and why.  When they visit the site, check out the blog, see what I am up to on social media, I am willing to bet, that some of the appointments I get through other channels with these same people was helped by the initial short and direct e-mail.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

Solving The E-Mail Black Hole1

By Tibor Shantotibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca

e-mail

I have always been a fan of Star Trek, and intrigued by some of the possibilities presented in the original and even Star Trek NG.  Interesting how some of the things that seemed farfetched, now are not.  One that always fascinated me was the black hole; little did I think we would experience it in selling, specifically when using e-mail.

We all wonder when we hit that send button “what will happen with this e-mail?”  Will it reach its desired destination will it invoke the desired reaction, what reaction will it initiate, what will its fate be, ignored, read over and over, create action?  Hard to tell in the black hole that is e-mail.

Sure, you can ask for a “read receipt”, so what, the is still an information void because all you know is if the opened it, you don’t know if someone read it more than once, where, if they read it on their phone or office or both, or if there is any interest. For salespeople, this creates “prospect paralysis” because they don’t know whether to follow up and, if so, when and how.

But recently I discovered a tool that helps me have a better grip in the black hole.  ContactMonkey, a new smart email tracking service for Outlook and Gmail that tells me in real-time if, when, how many times and where a message is opened, as well as what device or browser was used.

Armed with this knowledge, a salesperson has valuable and actionable insight to make better and more informed selling decisions and actions, so they can focus on the most promising prospects and opportunities.

The idea for ContactMonkey emerged when Scott Pielsticker, a serial entrepreneur, was frustrated with not knowing if his sales pitches were getting read or were resonating. To solve this problem, ContactMonkey’s developers created the software, which was recently launched.

Here is an example, a seller fires off an e-mail to a prospect.  After the email has been sent, the salesperson will be able tell if and when the email has been opened, which is a great starting point. The more the message is opened, the more interest someone likely has in the proposal.

But there’s even more insight that can be gleaned. Where was it read, what device was it opened on.  ContactMonkey allows you to know if a message was opened on a mobile device, within the Chrome browser or Outlook. If an email is originally opened on an iPhone, and then opened on Chrome or Outlook, it could mean the e-mail and or any attachments generated solid interest.

The same approach works for location. An email opened by recipients in Toronto, Boston and London is another indication of good interest.  Especially if you are working with prospects with decision makers in multiple locations, as it makes its way around you gain insight.

For salespeople, this information makes it easier to focus on better prospects interested in their email, while they can quickly ignore or reformulate plans for prospects that paid little or no attention to their email.

For “warm leads”, you can figure out the best time to follow up. If there’s a lot of interest in a message in a short period of time, the salesperson can strike while the iron is hot — knowing that they will likely get a good reception.

ContactMonkey allows you to add a new layer of intelligence to email so salespeople — and other people who want to know if their email attracts any interest — can work better, more productively and close more deals.

I speaking with the team, they tell me they are planning to add a dashboard to let people take a holistic view of their email activity to extract key trends and best practices.

If you are a seller and you want to get more out of your email, check out ContactMonkey and see how it can help you Sell Better.

Please note – I get no commission or compensation from ContactMonkey.

Enter the Art of Sales Contest – Win Tickets

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

5 Ways to Boost Your Email Prospecting Response Rate26

The Pipeline Guest Post – Kendra Lee

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Prospecting via email can be wildly rewarding, or incredibly frustrating. Get it right, and each of your campaigns can deliver you fresh sales opportunities within days, and sometimes even minutes. Get it wrong and you risk wasting your time, or even worse, irritating potential clients.

So what makes the difference?

After years of experience, and dozens upon dozens of successes, we’ve found that it’s all in the approach.

In fact, we’ve coached clients through a number of simple steps that have helped them double or triple their prospecting email response rates virtually overnight. Here are a few of the highlights.

1.    Keep it short. To respond to your email, the prospect has to read it first. The shorter and less intimidating it looks, the more likely they are to do just that. At KLA Group, we have a rule of thumb: no prospecting or lead-generation email should be more than 175 words, and they all need to be three paragraphs or less.

Go any longer, and it’s very likely your message will be deleted, or saved until a time when the prospect “has more time,” which isn’t likely to ever happen.

It should go without saying that the same applies to your email subject line. It doesn’t have to be two or three words, but don’t try to write an entire sentence. Just stick to the topic and a reason to keep reading.

2.    Be personal. Are the emails you write to your friends, colleagues, and clients filled with links, attachments, bullet points, and fancy graphics? I’ll bet that more often they’re short, personal notes that mention a specific situation or problem.

Too many sellers make it hard on themselves by trying excessively hard to put on their marketing caps, rather than simply writing to the prospect as a person.

Don’t be afraid to use short sentences, abbreviations, and less formal language. You don’t want your email to be sloppy, of course, but you don’t want it to look like a strict marketing message, either.

3.    Open up with something compelling. One of the best ways to draw prospects into your email is by mentioning a “triggering event,” which is some issue that they are facing right now and that you can help them to resolve. This could be a change in their industry, new legislation, or even just a common challenge for companies like theirs.

Show them that you understand what they’re going through, and they’ll reward you with a reply to begin a conversation.

4.    Show a result. Naturally, you don’t want to just mention a problem to your prospects. They’re busy people and don’t need to be reminded of issues. Rather, briefly explain how you helped someone else to solve a similar issue.

Without going into detail, show your prospect what possible improvements in their business you might be able to provide. If possible, mention a return on investment that the client with a similar issue realized. Numbers carry a great deal of credibility.

5.    Ask them to take action right away… and make it easy for them to do it. Limit yourself to one clear action you want your prospect to take. Make it one that only takes a few moments for them to follow up on.

Whether it’s clicking through to a link, hitting the “reply” button, or confirming a time for a phone call, make it very clear what you are hoping to accomplish.

A favorite approach of ours is to suggest one or two times for a brief phone meeting. Something like: “I would love to discuss my idea with you further on Friday the 12th at 1:30. By chance would that work for you?”

Suggesting specific times that your prospects can quickly check on their calendar makes it easy for them to respond and can do wonders for your response rate.

If you haven’t gotten the results you want from email prospecting try these tips. A few adjustments to your emails could find your inbox filled with replies from potential new clients.

About Kendra Lee

Kendra Lee is a top IT Seller, Prospect Attraction Expert and author of the award winning book “Selling Against the Goal” and president of KLA Group. Specializing in the IT industry, KLA Group works with companies to break in and exceed revenue objectives in the Small and Midmarket Business (SMB) segment. Ms. Lee is a frequent speaker at national sales meetings and association events. To find out more about the author, read her latest articles, or to subscribe to her newsletter visit www.klagroup.com or call +1 303.741.6636.

Prospecting With E-Mail13

Last week we looked at means of leveraging voice mail in prospecting.  This week we continue exploring some hurdles in prospecting, and how to overcome them; this week we look at e-mail.  As with voice mail, it is not going away, it is everywhere, we live in a BlackBerry world, well we used to, now it is as much likely to be iPhone or Android, but still e-mail on the go and everywhere.  This all presents a number of opportunities to leverage e-mail and the culture that goes with it, to engage with potential buyers.

As always, give it a go, see how it feel, to date no one has died using the techniques, but sales people have starved when they don’t address and leverage all prospecting means.

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What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

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Five Tips to Negotiate Your Deal Through Email5

The Pipeline Guest Post – Jeanette Nyden

We have a love hate relationship with email. We love instantaneously sharing information with a lot of people. But, we also get spammed or deluged with irrelevant “reply all” responses.

We have the same love hate relationship with using email to negotiate deals. Sometimes we love how efficient email is. But, studies show, we lose more than 50% of our deals when we negotiate exclusively using email. Email negotiations are here to stay. What can you do to effectively negotiate your deal through email?

1)    Email Has Limited Value to the Negotiator. Recognize that email messages are easily misunderstood and can create a cascading effect of communication problems with buyers. So much of human For example, when answering a buyer’s questions about her shock at the price increase in your latest proposal, acknowledge her surprise in the email. Simply answering her with a canned pitch that prices go up every year is not appropriate, especially in an email.

2)     Carefully Select Subject Lines.  Subject lines are your first impression. Use them wisely, and don’t be afraid to change the subject lines to fit the body of your email.

3)     Structure Your Email for Impact.  Long, rambling emails will confuse the buyer. Time is at a premium with buyers. Clearly structure your emails to make it easy for the buyer to follow the back and forth negotiation process.

4)     Learn to Engage the Buyer in a Back-and-Forth Conversation.  Negotiation is all about the conversation. It requires a lot of back-and-forth conversations to get to the final deal. Ask the buyer questions before dumping data or throwing out a proposal.

5)     Make Effective Tradeoffs.  A tradeoff is a mutual exchange of value. Times are tough; margins are tight and buyers want more from you. To balance their demands with sound business judgment, make a tradeoff.

Email is here to stay as the preferred business communication tool. Learn to use email effectively by recognizing its limitations. Then make small, significant changes to what you include in your email message. You will increase the odds of negotiating a great deal using email.

About Jeanette Nyden

Jeanette Nyden, author of Negotiation Rules! A Practical Approach to Big Deal Negotiations and the co-author of The Vested Outsourcing Manual, is an attorney, mediator, and professional speaker. As the president of J. Nyden & Co., Inc, she provides negotiation skills seminars to mid-market companies. For free negotiation resources, visit www.jnyden.com.

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