How to and Why to Cold Mail – Sales eXchange 2032

by Tibor Shanto – tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca

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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

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2 Comments

  1. Karagh

    Hi Tibor,

    Interesting read – where did you pull the stats from?

    Karagh

    • Tibor Shanto

      It was from a presentation at a sales conference, I will look up the presenter. There are a number of studies that speak to the number of touch points, how many are needed and how many are actually executed. Take this job and love it is one.

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