One of the most frequent questions about prospecting is some variation of, “How do I get my prospective client to respond to my email?” The question itself carries a lot of information, as does the frequency with which it is asked, both of which offer some guidance for those who want better prospecting results.
Making Prospecting Easier
The primary reason that some salespeople prefer selling over email is that they believe it is easier than cold calling the client to ask for a meeting. In some ways, it is easier, as you are not interrupting your prospective client while they’re in the middle of something, and you eliminate the risk of having to speak to the person who might have a negative response to your call.
In the past, this behavior would have been called call reluctance. Still, it is more accurately described as being conflict-averse, and unwillingness to deal with the small amount of conflict that comes with professional sales because it is part of business more generally. Those who ask questions about how to handle rejection are mostly still referring to the small bit of conflict that comes with having to make a case for the meeting they want and asking a second time after their contact has said no.
You can spend hours and days crafting the perfect email, not too long, not too short, just the right number of links, and the careful mentioning of a number of competitors with whom your company is already serving. To get your contact’s attention, you attach several PDFs, one about your company, one about your solution, and one case study that is sure to grab your client’s attention.
In an attempt to make it easier for your client to schedule with you, you place a link to your calendar so they can schedule a time to speak with you. And then, you wait for the notification that your dream client has scheduled a meeting with you, the disappointment mounting over time, as your pitiful, sad calendar link never garners a single click. Even the request to call or email you does nothing to improve your results.
Why No One Responds
The proliferation of email and automated tools has resulted in people getting more emails from more salespeople in their inbox every day. Because your email is one of the dozens, there is very little you can do to differentiate your email—and more importantly—it does nothing to distinguish you.
More still, it isn’t easy to craft an email so compelling that your contact picks up the phone and calls you to ask you to meet with them, or emails a response asking you to call them, or clicks your calendar link to schedule a meeting with you. Without having something so compelling that your contact should stop what they are doing to read it, your email isn’t even going to get a glance before your contact deletes it.
But even more important than the fact that your contacts already get too much email and that yours lacks anything that would compel them to take action, it isn’t your prospective client’s responsibility to respond to your email. Your contacts are not pursuing you to solicit your help; you are pursuing their business. You are expecting too much from an email—or a dozen emails, especially the fully automated campaigns so many weak sales organizations believe to be more “efficient,” even though almost all of their effort is greeted by the delete key or the spam filter.
How to Get a Response
The very best way to get a response from your client is going to be to use a prospecting sequence that includes phone calls, voice mails, email, the careful use of social sites, and the application of a set of nurture tools that allow you provide insights and ideas that are compelling to your contacts without you making any ask in the communication.
Instead of ending your voicemail or email by asking your contact to call you back or reply to your email, you state that you are going to call them in the next couple of days, in hopes of scheduling a meeting to share something you believe will benefit them—even if they never buy anything from you, and even if there is not going to be a next step.
Instead of sitting at your desk with a heavy heart and a sense of deep disappointment, take responsibility for communicating with your contact and earning your right to a meeting by trading value – offering them something valuable enough to command twenty or thirty minutes of their time.
You also persist in your professional pursuit long enough that you prove that you are worth their time because you are doing more than sending emails—and that you are a real person, not fully-automated sequences being sent on behalf of a salesperson who doesn’t even know the emails are being sent from their account.
The variables of success in prospecting include targeting your dream clients, having something valuable enough to trade for your contact’s time, a strong conviction that you can create value for them, and your willingness to persist. If this sounds a lot harder than sending an email, it is because it is more difficult. But it is also more effective, making it easier and faster than anything you might do to make getting a meeting easier.
Like all things in life, doing what is difficult—and that most people refuse to do—makes things easier. Trying to make things easier often makes them even more difficult.
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Filed under: Sales