Prospects do not want unsolicited cold calls or cold emails bombarding them each day. They resent them and they will resent you if you add to their admin overload.
Even though I only run a small media business I get over 120 emails a day. Routinely if, they’re not from someone I’m closing a deal with, I don’t know the sender, a fan of the Salesman Podcast or the subject line doesn’t shout “I’m genuinely going to make your business more successful” I delete the message before I even open them.
The next layer of deleted emails that lay burnt and dead on the floor of my virtual mailroom are the generic ones that make me feel like I’ve been spammed.
“Dear owner”, “Hi [name]” are far to common introductions.
Then come what I call the ‘nice try’ emails. They are addressed to me personally, they may even have a shred of credibility through the sales persons association to a big company perhaps. They may even have pulled a slight bit of intrigue and make me feel that this might be something worth reading.
Then they cut short. They pull out before the best bit. They try and trick me.
“When is it a good time for me to call and see if I can add value to your business”?
I don’t have the time to have someone who I’ve never met consult me on the phone and try and find problems.
I want solutions or entertainment. Nothing else in my inbox.
Never Hear Back
Most of the time that’s the last I hear from these sales wannabes.
We’ve all heard the statistics before –
- Only 2% of sales occur on the first meeting/call/email
- 44% of sales people give up after one “no”
- 22% give up after two “nos”
- 14% give up after three “nos”
- 12% give up after four “nos”
These salespeople are not adding value nor are they following up. Therefore they don’t deserve my time or a response back.
And I’m small fry! Good luck closing a sale with someone who has some serious budget like this.
These sales fakers need to focus on two things –
- Push Pull Prospecting
- Monitoring For Follow Up
A) Pull Push Prospecting
Pull push prospecting turns the baity and value suck model of regular cold emails into a future proof prospecting model and can be replicated by skilled salespeople but not automated by marketing.
Would you reply to an email if it was from an industry expert who’s blog you regularly read? If they emailed over a couple of thoughtful links, one of which was explaining how to perfect the golf swing you’ve been working on for months?
At the very worst I’d say thank you. Likely though I’d try and carry on the conversation…
To achieve this level of immediate interaction requires 3 simple but time consuming steps. I see the fact that they take time as a positive, it means your competition won’t do it and so you’re going to stand out even further as an industry expert.
Having your name known within your industry is actually simple but it takes effort.
First you need to publish something. Anything. It could be a blog, you could speak at industry events or you could make helpful videos on youtube. It depends on your industry and where your prospects spend their time.
For me to be seen as an expert within the sales/marketing industry (expert used loosely here) it took writing a book, blogging, building Salesman.Red up to over 15,000 visitors a day and interviewing other industry experts on the Salesman Podcast (expert by association).
Often when I email a sales director to build a relationship (before I pitch my consulting services) I get an immediate message back explaining that they love the podcast and they’d be honoured to take me for a pint (this literally happened this morning which is great apart from the fact that I don’t drink).
The difference between a good email and one that’s instantly deleted is how much data you’ve pulled about your prospect.
Once I click that subject line and gmail opens that next window you have half a second tops to impress me.
If I see anything about the UK basketball scene, fast RX8’s, rock climbing or podcasting you’ve got me hook line and sinker.
A quick google search for my name and you’d be very clear on my hobbies and what I do out of business hours. A more sophisticated search leveraging facebook, twitter, linkedin and the other social networks would give you the perfect ammunition to instantly make me like you.
I recently got straight through a series of personal assistants and other gatekeepers and had a great email conversation with a fortune 100 CEO.
I shared a link which showed this family name originated from Manchester, UK and as he supports Manchester United football club he was more than happy for me to take him for a couple of drinks next time he flys over to watch a match.
People used to buy from brands. Now most brands and products are pretty similar and are quickly becoming commodities. Heck, I’m not sure if I even trust most big brands with all the tax dodging and shady labour practices that are regularly reported.
However, people will always buy from people.
If you pull good data about a prospect, package value together and push it to them without expecting anything back they will have no choice but to like you. It’s been drilled into all of us by thousands of years worth of social construct.
As most companies move towards mass automation of marketing communication to cut costs and they see short term benefits, the sales person who can be an individual and offer value on a 1 to 1 basis will thrive.
There has always been value in building relationships in B2B sales and until companies start using software to buy products this will always be the case.
However the days of sucking value and asking for time in prospects calendars is over. You have to give them an opportunity to ask to meet you.
B) Monitoring For Follow Up
The most important technology development in the past 5 years is software which allows us to be active rather than passive in the sales cycle.
There is much less value in pushing content, links, white-papers or anything else to a prospect if you then just sit back and allow them to read it at their own pace (or ignore it completely).
With the amount of noise, marketing and complaining that hits the average decision maker in the internet age there is value in keeping on top of your conversations with them and keeping the momentum moving forward towards a buying decision.
I’ve been told a number of times that I sent a follow up email at “just the right time” or I called just as the prospect was “walking down to their bosses office to get things signed off”.
My secret weapon?
Clearslide (a partner of the Salesman Podcast) which is a sales engagement tool which alerts me in real time when a prospect is reading my email, looking through a presentation I’ve fired over and a host of other occasions.
It lets me know when it’s the right time to pick up the phone.
It lets me know when the prospect seemingly isn’t interested at all.
It allows me to add value by taking control of the sales conversation and I only wish the sales fakers who email everyday would use it too.