Updated: Aug 3, 2020
How much do you love getting sales emails?
Does your heart sing when someone connects with you on LinkedIn, immediately messages you with their exciting offer, and then emails you again directly 'just in case'? Who can resist a detailed dissertation about XYZ company, product and opportunity? What if the message includes a vague offer of a hot beverage with a complete stranger at some point in the coming weeks? The more links and attachments the better, because we've got all day!
Okay, I'm being a bit sarcastic. Still, there's a good chance you or someone in your company is sending messages just like these. And, they provide incredible insight into the culture of your business, the mindset of the person sending them, and the strength of your value proposition.
Personally, I love receiving bad sales messages. That's a good thing because I get a LOT of them, and they all go into a folder called, "Future Clients."
Here are just a few things I evaluate as both a prospect and a sales coach, along with a few tips:
Is it about you or your customer? Many of my clients will tell me that their customer is their number one priority. They started or joined their business because they want to help people. It's all about the problems they solve and the people they serve. Whether this describes you or not, your prospects will decide the truth when they get your email. They know if you really care more about you or them based on your language. Look at your standard sales email right now. How many paragraphs and sentences start with I, We, Our, My, or the name of your business? Fix that. Make it about your customer: their pain, their life, their quest. (Note the name of this blog post. The repetitive YOU is intentional!)
What is your goal? Of course, this is a useful question in all areas of life and business. Yet, when I ask business builders about their goal for the emails they send, they are often perplexed. Do you want a meeting? Are you trying to build a relationship? Are you looking for referrals? Are you trying to "close" them for yes or no immediately? Know the outcome you seek, and then craft the message to drive towards that goal. If you're confused, your prospects will also be confused. If there's a disconnect between your goal and your approach, your prospect won't trust you. If they don't trust you, they won't do business with you. Ever.
What's it going to be like to work with you? There's an expression, "How things start is how they go." If your very first outreach attempt is all about you, feels inauthentic or "icky salesy" in general, the prospect won't want to engage. If you got their name wrong, have grammar mistakes, or the formatting is a mess, they might question your credibility or attention to detail. If your email is lots of paragraphs, hard to read, and requires them to click links, they'll worry you don't value their time. Keep your emails short and simple. Be critical of your words, the structure of your message, and your call to action. Put your best foot forward. Showcase that you are all about making their life easier, not more difficult. You are here to ease their pain, not create more pain. Your prospects are evaluating whether or not they want to work with you from the very first email.
Do you believe in your own value proposition? One of the best parts of my job is helping business builders with success mindset. A common scenario is a founder or CEO who is so naturally successful selling their solution, they can't understand why their sales staff is struggling. We work through a process to fix this, and it boils down to how well everyone has internalized the value and mission of the business. Underperformers are attempting to sell instead of solve. Even if they know the value proposition from an intellectual perspective, they don't feel it and express it from their gut. This especially shows up in follow up emails. When your second email says things like, 'Sorry to bother you...,' 'I'm just following up...,' 'Feel free to tell me to go away...', 'Me again....', or 'Do me a favor...', it betrays your untrained mindset. When you know you have a solution that your prospect is likely to need, a much better mousetrap, or remedy for their pain, it comes across. Your prospects want to talk to you. When your head and heart are in the right place, you are never "bugging" anyone.
Why aren't you making more phone calls? See also #2 and #4. Despite my ever-growing "Future Clients" file of sales emails, I hardly ever get sales phone calls. Even though my direct phone number is widely published online, I get one call per month (if that). Please know that I say this with love: Stop using email as a crutch. If email could do all the selling, we wouldn't need you. There are many innovative marketing automation options that do email better than you do. We need people to sell because, well, they are people. Be a person. Use your voice. Call first, then email if needed. Aim for meaningful conversations where you can ask questions, listen to the response, and say brilliant things like, "Tell me more about that." Pick up the damn phone.
If any of the above points resonate with you and your sales revenue isn't where you want it to be, don't worry. All of this is fixable. Start with a helpful, free consultation to dive in a bit deeper. Click here to learn more.
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JUST ADDED: Read actual examples from my "Future Clients" file, along with a brief explanation of why they are ineffective. This is where emails go to die.