Manage episode 358654999 series 2952524
There was an excellent effort on display here. A salesperson was using LinkedIn to find potential buyers and conducting energetic prospecting activities to reach out with cold emails. A total waste of time though. We all get tons of these cold emails on social media and we religiously delete them and move on, because we are busy, busy people. I asked how many of these emails had been sent out? The answer was “hundreds”. While I applaud the commitment, it is always better if it produces results. The obvious next question from me was “how may responses did you get?”. You all know the answer don’t you – none.
The email being sent introduced the salesperson, the company and what they did and mentioned if they had any questions to reach out. My immediate question was “What is the hook? What is the element of this email which will hook the interest of the reader, such that they will keep reading and actually respond?”. There was some fairly benign information in that email, but nothing addressing any possible issues facing the reader.
To be fair, the motivation to take any action will vary from reader to reader, so you cannot accurately gauge what that will be, when sending the email. However, there are common issues which companies face in their industry. When we are working with buyers in those industries, we note there are some common themes and one of these can become our hook.
We can improve this salesperson’s efforts and success rate substantially with a few tweaks. Firstly, we are going to put the potential buyer’s name in the subject line, rather than some boring title which screams “I want to sell you something”. We all get hundreds of emails a day. However we are more likely to check the email which features our name before we look at the others. If I see a subject line with just “Greg”, I cannot resist clicking on it to find out what this is about. Obviously if I were writing to a Japanese potential buyer, I would write “Suzuki san” in the title, as that is more polite and I don’t have any relationship yet, which would allow me to write their personal name.
I would also send this email at around 1.00pm. When we get to work in the morning there are tons of emails from the night before piled up. Throughout the morning, new ones turn up, flooding our inboxes. We probably take lunch around 12.00pm-12.30pm and so do all of those people sending us emails, so that when we come back from lunch there has been a slight break in the email traffic. Our email therefore rises to the top section of their inbox, featuring their name in the subject line. There is a much higher chance of them seeing it and clicking on it as a result.
After the typical Japanese aisatsu or greeting (“The Sakura blooms will be early this year and are a nice signal of the warmer weather arriving”), we very briefly explain in the email who we are and what we do. For example, “Dale Carnegie is a global company specialising in soft skills training. In Japan, we have been doing that for the last 60 years”. That short, simple sentence says a couple of things – we are global which means we have scale. We only teach soft skills (and every company needs soft skills capability for their people). The 60 years in Japan is a sign of longevity, credibility and that we have a proven track record here.
We now immediately mention a trend (the hook) we are seeing amongst this person’s competitors. We would say, “Lately we have had a lot of enquiries from companies looking for solutions for ‘x’ problem”. This is a good start, because it tells the reader what their competitors are doing and it raises the possibility that being in the same business, they may also have a need for this ‘x’ solution.
Now we add in some evidence. We talk about a similar client to them and the result for their business after we worked on their issue. We say, “A client similar to you had this ‘x’ issue and we worked with them using our ‘y’ solution. Within three months, they saw a 45% rise in their quality and an 80% reduction in customer complaints”.
Obviously, these numbers have to be real. If the client calls you out for the proof to back up these claims, you can’t be floating results around which are pure fantasy. Lying to buyers from the very start of the relationship is a really dumb move from every angle. If you don’t have concrete numbers, just say, “the client was really delighted with the results”.
Having offered the hook of another buyer getting results, we now make the point, “Maybe we could do the same for you. I am not sure, but in order for me to understand whether that is possible or not, let’s get together. How is next Tuesday or is next Friday better?”.
We don’t say, “we can definitely do the same for you”, simply because we have no idea yet. We don’t want hard sell tactics, because the delete key will get hammered. We don’t know their situation at this stage and our objective is to get them to respond to our email. We are only trying to get the meeting. At that meeting, we can ask all manner of well designed questions, which will reveal if we can actually help them out not.
We also have a call to action at the end. We suggest some possible days to meet using an alternative of choice approach. Maybe neither of those days are doable. That is okay, because what we want is to get a response, start a dialogue and then fix a day and time which works for them.
So putting the whole flow together, it would be physically well spaced on the screen to look like this:
“The Sakura blooms will be early this year and are a nice signal of the warmer weather arriving. Dale Carnegie is a global company specialising in soft skills training.
In Japan, we have been doing that for the last 60 years.Lately we have had a lot of enquiries from companies looking for solutions for ‘x’ problem.
A client similar to you had this ‘x’ issue and we worked with them using our ‘y’ solution.
Within three months, they saw a 45% rise in their quality and an 80% reduction in customer complaints.
Maybe we could do the same for you.
I am not sure, but in order for me to understand whether that is possible or not, let’s get together.
How is next Tuesday or is next Friday better?”.
I like to space the sentences so that visually they seem light, easy to access and quick to scan. People are time poor and a solid thick, heavy duty paragraph has them reaching for the delete key immediately.
Cold call emails are always going to be a tough gig, but this idea will certainly go a long way to helping get a response from potential buyers.