Tag Archives: e-mail prospecting

What Would Happen if You Knew Your Prospect Was Reading Your E-Mail?

Every now and then I stumble across a superb new product or innovation.  This is one of them and it has the potential to radically change the way tele-sales people do business.  If you use e-mail in your selling process then read this now!

Okay …The problem with prospecting e-mails is that salespeople have no clue what happens to their messages after clicking the “send” button.

There is an information void because you don’t know if someone has read your e-mail or, more important, has any interest in it. For salespeople, this creates “prospect paralysis” because they don’t know whether to follow up and, if so, when and how.

The Solution

But suppose you knew.  Suppose you knew the moment the prospect got your e-mail and opened it.  How would that impact your approach to following up and selling?

Well you can do that now with a cost effective software program called Contact Monkey.    It’s a new and nifty e-mail tracking service for Outlook and Gmail that tells you in real-time if, when, how many times and where a message is opened, as well as what device or browser was used.

Think about this now: Armed with this knowledge, a salesperson has valuable and actionable insight to make better and more informed selling decisions so they can focus on the most promising prospects and opportunities.

The idea for ContactMonkey emerged when Scott Pielsticker, a serial entrepreneur, was frustrated with not knowing if his sales pitches were getting read or were resonating. To solve this problem, ContactMonkey’s developers created the software, which was recently launched.

How it Works

Here’s an example to illustrate how ContactMonkey works.  Suppose you send a proposal to a prospect. After the e-mail has been sent, you will be able tell if and when the e-mail has been opened. There’s a couple of benefits to you:

  1.  The more the message is opened, the more interest someone likely has in the proposal.  It suggests a certain degree of interest; a warm lead perhaps.
  2. Second, and more significantly, because you get real time notification that the e-mail has been opened you can pick up the phone and make your follow up call.  In other words, you increase the odds of reaching the prospect. The more your contact rate increases, the more your opportunities to sell.

What this really means is you’ll be spending more time in conversations and selling, and less time in dialing and leaving messages or making fruitless follow up calls.

But, says Pielsticker, there’s even more insight that can be gleaned. Another feature within ContactMonkey is knowing if a message was opened on a mobile device, within the Chrome browser or Outlook. If an -email is originally opened on an iPhone, and then opened on Chrome or Outlook, it could mean the proposal generated solid interest.

The same approach works for location. An e-mail opened by recipients in Toronto, Boston and London is another indication of good interest.

For you, this information makes it easier to focus on better prospects interested in their email, while you can quickly ignore prospects who paid little or no attention to the e-mail. In other words, it points you in the right direction.  You’re using your time better and smarter!

For “warm leads”, you can figure out the best time to follow up. If there’s a lot of interest in a message in a short period of time, you can strike while the iron is hot — knowing that they will likely get a good reception.

Finally, a very handy feature is that the recipient of your e-mail does NOT get a ‘read receipt’ request.  Your prospect or customer is unaware of the notification.

I’ve been using it for about 5 weeks.  I don’t get notifications on all my e-mail deliveries; there are still some restrictions. But so far, I get notified on about half the e-mails I send.  I’ll take that.  And because it is open on my Outlook I don’t have to log in and determine if the e-mail was received and opened.  It just pops up and that’s when I turn to the phone to make the call.

A Bargain

Here’s the neat thing: ContactMonkey  only costs $4.99/month or $49.99/year. It currently works with Gmail for Chrome and Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010.

For people who want to get more out of their email, ContactMonkey offers an attractive return on investment. Hey, if you close one deal, it would more than pay for an annual subscription.  Test it out!  Try it.  If it doesn’t work for you, fine.  Your investment was minimal.  But I’d bet you dollars to donuts it’ll make a difference to your contact rate.

Go here for more information.

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Don’t Send a Prospecting E-mail Like This

A good prospecting e-mail makes a follow up call easier and often more successful.

But the operative words are “a good prospecting e-mail.”  Here’s an example of an e-mail I recently received. It has just about everything you shouldn’t do when prospecting.  Read the e-mail and see my comments in bold.

The Prospecting E-Mail from Hell

Subject: Inquiry Localization Services (Okay, not bad.  I had no idea what this was or meant but the “inquiry” could have been about my services (in other words, a lead)…so I opened it.)

Hi Jim, (personalized and informal: good)

(GROAN! A quick glance at the length of the e-mail staggered me.  Clearly a pitch. Look at the length of some of those paragraphs!  Who has the time to wade through all this? I read it only because I felt an article brewing deep inside me)

Hope this finds you well and on a great path! (Trite. False. Waste of time. Credibility drops. Get down to business)

My name is _________ and I represent ­­­­­­­­­__________, an award winning e-Learning localization company.(ya…whatever…) I write this email to solicit an opportunity to meet with you and discuss our services around localization of content and e-Learning development.   (I see.  And what’s in it for me? What do I get out of it?  Talk about me, not you!)

(Man! Are you kidding me?  Look at this long, rolling paragraph! Am I supposed to be impressed with these features? It ain’t workin’ for me!) Since 2000, _________ has vastly expanded its e-Learning translation capabilities and in just 2011, we localized 200+ courses in 50+ languages both eastern and western. ____ has huge experience within localization of training materials, and now additionally providing extensive translation, engineering, and testing services for a wide array of e-Learning infrastructure software and content. We have saved thousands of dollars for our clients by rightly managing the source files (such as externalizing content in XML files) allowing customers to easily and more affordably perform localization of all titles. (Oh … here’s the benefit, nicely tucked away.  If the rep had told me this up front, I might have been a little more interested.  I suspect that 99.965% of the readers never got this far) Whether the content is scientific, commercial or legal, with _________ localization service at the helm, your content receives focused treatment, testified by quality of the output.

(Incredibly, there’s even more features… not that I care. Can you imagine the telephone pitch or the voice mail that this rep might deliver?) With a team of over 5000+ multi-disciplinary translation specialists, ________ does more than million words of translation and voice recording across 100+ concurrent projects every year. _________ localization services have proven their effectiveness at more than 50 training design companies, and with many leading publishers. G-Cube’s clients include Huthwaite, Corpedia, Kaplan, Omega Performance, ESI International, Sunwin Services Group, QA, Practice IT, Skillsoft, Cigital, Datatask, Incisive Media, Oilennium and many more.

Here are some of the examples of language works:

SSQM Chinese: <link> (Stop, buddy!  You’re killing me by overwhelming me.  Do you think I have the time in my busy day to read all this and STILL click on the Chinese link?)

SSQM Spanish: <link> (see above comment)

I’ve also attached a calculator that will allow you to calculate the expenses if ________ were to do translation, voice recording and repurposing for you.  (Don’t tell me there’s an attachment too? Who would open it?)

_____ is the one amongst very few organizations in the world to be assessed at Level 3 in SEI-CMM (look at the jargon!) frameworks. Its solutions have won prestigious awards including Brandon Hall, APEX, Codie, and Deloitte Fastest 50 Technology. 

I would like to trade 30 minutes of my ideas with 30 minutes of your time.  (isn’t that clever and cute!)  Are you free on 21st  August (Tuesday) at 10:00 am your Local Time for a quick call? Later works well too.   (Oh dear… you can bet I won’t reply.  And just to be sure, I’ll screen every call on the 21st just in case the rep decides to call anyway. I mean, what more can he “tell” me?  EVERYTHING  has been laid forth in the e-mail)  

Look forward to your reply. (Ain’t gonna’ happen)

Best Regards,

How to Improve Your Prospecting E-mail

Look:  I know I was being somewhat sarcastic and flippant in my remarks. But these types of e-mails are typical and I am tired of them, aren’t you?

If you’re  using e-mail for prospecting your message has to be about me, about problems I might have or about opportunities that I might achieve. You need to offer hope.

Next, your message must be short and to the point.  I’m going to scan it, not read it.  So you better make it crisp and clear. It must look short and read even shorter. It’s not something you whip up in 2.5 minutes.  It takes time and effort to compose an effective message.

Finally,it must intrigue me.  It must make me want to learn more.  You do this by teasing me about the potential benefits you have to offer.  Get me salivating with curiosity.

What to learn more? Visit the other articles on this page.  Learn to write an e-mail that gets prospects to turn their heads.

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The 2012 B2B Tele-Sales Trend Report

What’s in store for B2B tele-sales departments in 2012?

This Special Report provides you with an abbreviated ‘executive summary’ of 10 trends that are impacting the world of telephone sales.

Tele-Trend #1: Telephone Selling Growth Spurt -Again

B2B tele-sales is growing at a rate of 7.5% compared to field sales at only .5%. Clearly more companies are jumping on the telephone band wagon. Telephone selling applications are also growing in complexity and sophistication thanks in part to technology and the internet and thanks in part to a newer generation of buyer who is relatively comfortable with less face to face interaction. However, growth means more competition and more options. Smart telephone executives will emphasize the quality of the sales call to give themselves a distinct, competitive advantage.

Tele-Trend #2: The Decline of the Cold Call

Cold call to closed call ratios with drop like a stone which means it will take more dials and connects to achieve the same results. With so many companies turning to the phone your buyer has more options. Savvy companies will look for ways to become more effective with the smart use of the internet (see below) combined with a higher quality call. More emphasis will be placed on ‘smart dialing” (more skills, finesse and expertise) and less on ‘hard dialling’ (cranking out more phone calls).

 Tele-Trend #3: The Growth of Visual ‘Calls’

‘Visual prospecting’ is the intelligent use of e-mail to prospect because today’s buyer is linked to visual messages through their smart phones at work in meetings, commuting, at home, at leisure, on the weekends, 24-7. Smart, 1-to-1 e-prospecting customized to the individual prospect and integrated with a well planned voice follow up campaign will change the telephone prospecting landscape.

Tele-Trend #4: The Rise of the Hybrid Rep

 An interesting trend that seems to be emerging is that of the “hybrid sales rep.” The hybrid rep is a cross between a field sales rep and an inside sales rep, often working from a remote location. What this means is the scope and dimension of selling will change significantly. A pure ‘field selling’ model and a ‘pure telephone selling’ model will merge. It will require a different type of rep and a different approach to account management and account development.

 Tele-Trend #5: Finding (and Keeping) the Good Rep

Perhaps the single biggest challenge in the world of B2B tele-sales continues to be finding and keeping high quality sales reps.  Whether it is for a telephone selling position or for a ‘hybrid’ position there is no doubt that the quality of the rep is paramount. To distinguish themselves from their competitors and to implement more complex selling programs, companies need to re-think how they will attract better AND keep better quality reps. Radical shifting in compensation, training and coaching will be required.

Tele-Trend #6: Managing Less, Coaching More

Tele-sales managers absolutely MUST manage less and coach more. Sales reps typically don’t sell more than they could or should simply because they are not very effective at selling. They forget, ignore, dismiss or dilute their skills sets. Managers must be actively engaged on the floor beside their reps getting them better at the sales game. Nothing – absolutely, positively nothing- will provide you with a better return on investment than coaching . Period. But the single biggest challenge is that most sales managers don’t know how to effectively coach behavior … if only because they have never been taught.

Tele-Trend #7: Relationship Marketing and Selling Facelift

Relationship selling and marketing seems good in theory but in practice it seems to have flopped. The problem is implementation. Companies flog their customers and prospects with offers and promotional literature but seem to do little to engage the client at a personal level. This can be tough on the phone but enhancing a relationship and building value over the phone needs a radical facelift.

Tele-Trend #8: Re-Focus on Measurement

Forget about dials and connects. They’re like bikinis: they show a lot but not everything. Today’s telephone sales application must also measure e-mail contacts, e-mail responses and e-dialogues . The way B2B communicates has changed and so too must be the way we evaluate the effectiveness of a rep.

Tele-Trend #9: Social Media Integration

Look for tele-sales departments and companies continue to struggle to come to grips with social media as a ‘selling tool.’ Be careful in determining what is marketing and what is selling and who should be doing what

Tele-Trend #10: Leveraging the Moment

With live contacts on the decline, it is vital to seize the moment. Reps must make the most out of every contact they make or take. Whether it is cross selling, asking for a referral, or gathering market intelligence or whatever, companies need to teach their reps the skills and techniques to professionally and tastefully squeeze every ounce of potential from their contacts. This means skills development and training (not to mention coaching).

Summary

The B2B approach to telephone selling is constantly shifting and changing. Old style techniques, methods, strategies and ways of thinking are not working like they once did. To survive and thrive companies need to adapt and change. Pay heed to the trends and develop your program and your people accordingly.

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How to be the “Coca Cola” of Tele-Sales- 7 Ways to Brand Yourself

People – buyers, prospects, customers- remember brands. Brands create trust because they are perceived as reliable and valuable. A good brand makes for good sales.

So why don’t you become the most trusted brand of tele-sales rep in your industry? Here are 7 ways to do just that:

Strategy #1: Become a Business Resource

To be a strong brand, it is not enough to simply be a source of information (source of brochures, promotional literature, products, prices, offers, services etc.), you’ve got to be a “resource.”  A resource is someone who supplies prospects and clients with ‘extras’ that go beyond pitching a product or service. A resource provides unsolicited Special Reports and White Papers to add value. Resources scan industry magazines and rip out articles that they share with clients. They provide links to web sites that can help the client work better, smarter and faster. They send independent newsletters and data that their competitors would never think of doing.

Becoming a resource means you have to do more homework and become the industry expert; the product guru; or the ‘go-to’ guy when clients have a question.  Resources do more. Extra. They create value.

2.  Build Stronger Personal Relationships

All things being equal, people will buy from people they know, like and trust.  In fact, all things being relatively unequal, people will still buy from people they know, like and trust.  How well do you know your clients? How well do they know you? What have you done to create likability and trust?

You see, that’s the difference between a transaction and a relationship.  Customers can transact business with any company/sales rep that is relatively decent and competent.  But they would prefer to do business with people who not only add the value (See Strategy #1) but who are interesting, likeable and ‘worthy’ of the business.

Even in B2B situations, there is still an element of emotion in the buying process.

To brand yourself, you need to tap into this emotional stream. It is planned and purposeful. That means sending thank you cards every now then. It means remembering a birthday or that their son plays hockey or their daughter plays volleyball. It means sending a Memphis Dry Rub recipe to an avid BBQer; it means sending an article from Golf Digest on chipping; it means finding memorable quotes; it might mean sending a cartoon; it could mean gentle teasing about Notre Dame losing to Michigan.

Building a relationship could mean sending homemade cookies, chocolates, or candy.  Maybe donuts. Anything that solidifies the personal side of the selling equation.

3. Plan and Prepare More

Look, with the glut of competitors calling the same target markets, your call NEEDS to be well planned and prepared if you expect your clients to listen and perceive value. What this means is having a well- defined primary objective supported by secondary objectives.  Once you know your objectives, you can define your step-by-step approach to the call itself.  Think of the questions you should ask, the points you should make, and the objections you might encounter. Figure out how to leverage your relationship. Create a pre-text for calling. Craft your opening statement so it conveys a benefit to your customer or prospect. Rehearse if you need to.

Well planned call is a welcomed call. It wastes no one’s time. It’s clean, crisp and professional.

4. Get Better at E-mail Communications and Selling

Today’s top ‘brand’ of B2B tele-sales reps must communicate at two levels. FACT: you will not achieve superior sales results if you cannot effectively use the telephone to prospect or sell if you cannot effectively craft a superb e-mail. The telephone provides audio messages (via direct contact and voice mail) and e-mail provides visual messages. In today’s marketplace, the two go together like peas and carrots.  The trouble is most reps do not know how to compose an effective e-mail that is persuasive and interesting. They write ponderous copy with a dozen sentences. The e-mail is crammed with self-serving propaganda. The grammar is questionable at best.

Learn how to write a good e-mail that LOOKS good and the READS good.  And if you don’t know how to do that, drop me an e-mail and I’ll send you a report or two.

5. Practice Add On Selling

Over 70% of calls to clients and prospects end up in voice mail.  What this means is that you must make the absolute most of the 30% or so calls that reach a live decision maker. Add on selling (AOS) is a means to squeeze, leverage and extract every single ounce of potential from the calls that you make in a professional, value added manner.

In practical terms, that means cross selling or up selling in a manner that educates the client and makes them want to listen and learn. For you that means additional revenue, usually at a better margin and typically, that means a better, bigger commission. AOS means asking for referrals because a good referral closes at a rate of 75%. AOS means getting curious and asking questions that gather ‘market intelligence’ by ‘picking’ your clients brains to get their thoughts, feeling and suggestions.

6. Work Just a Little Bit Harder

Do you want to quickly get a good name for yourself internally or externally? Then simply work harder. The top brands – products or people- did not become the top brand by sitting on the sideline watching their competitors waltz by.  Top brands worked hard to achieve the #1 spot.  It doesn’t have to be 14 hour days. Translated, working hard means cranking out a few more calls in a day or arriving a little bit early – even fifteen minutes or staying late every now and then, and doing some work from home. It means searching for value added articles or recipes or thank you cards to send to clients to build personal relationships. It means learning your products inside and out. Break a sweat now and then.

7. Invest in Yourself

Invest a few bucks in yourself. Buy a book. Order some DVDs. Pay for a download. Sign up for a Send Out Cards program.  Attend a webinar or conference and do it on your own dime. Invest in yourself and you invest in your brand by making it better, sharper, more professional.  The moment YOU take some financial risk is the moment you’ll want a greater ROI. You’ll push yourself. You’ll work harder because of it (see above).  You’ll buy those thank you cards and use them. You’ll follow up a little more closely.

Summary

Are your ready to take advantage of the changing marketplace? Becoming your own brand and being the tops in your department, market or industry is not terribly difficult.  But it does take focus and discipline. Follow these seven steps and you’ll be the best ‘brand’ in the business.

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How to Create a Hela’uva Subject Line (and get your e-mails opened)

The better you are at composing intriguing e-mails the better your tele-sales results.

E-mail and voice follow up (either live or voice mail) go to together in today’s marketplace like peas and carrots. However, this supposes that your e-mail is intriguing enough to get noticed and opened.

Therein lies the challenge.  The majority of your clients and prospects are swamped with e-mail messages. To cope, they tend to devote no more that 2-4 seconds  scanning your subject line. If that line does not grab them by the collar and tug their interest, the e-mail gets put aside and ignored, or gets deleted and forgotten.

So, in a nutshell, what you want is a ‘hele’uva subject line that screams to the recipient “Look at me! Open me! Now.”

Here’s how you do it.

Step #1: Use their First Name

When you insert the client’s first name in the subject line, they see it and pause.  Your written name is not unlike your spoken name: it gets attention.  When you use a person’s name in the conversation, they tend to listen very carefully to the next 12-15 words.  No surprises here.  People have been conditioned to respond to the internal radar of their name.

The same applies to a written name (especially the first name). It  draws the eye like a powerful magnet to the remaining words in the sentence or phrase.  This too is human nature. The name creates an itch that needs to be scratched.

Step #2: Use a Number in the Subject Line

The second step to creating a hela’uva subject line is to insert a numeric value.

There is nothing particularly mysterious about this approach except that it cleverly plays on human nature; on the average person’s sense of curiosity and wonder.  By using a numeric within the subject line you get your clients intrigued. They wonder what the “10 ways” are or what are the “7 possible courses” or what are the “3 things” they must consider. Most recipients  like to take a quick peek and et voila, the message is opened.

Subject Line Examples

The challenge for you is to create something that you can itemize. Here are some examples.

Subject:  Sarah, Special Report: 10 Ways to Get Your Calls Returned

Subject:  Eric, 5  Possible Course Selections for Accreditation

Subject:  Dr. Anselmo,  The 7 Ways to Increase Patient Traffic

Subject:  Kirsten,  2 Quick Items

Subject:  Steve, 3 Things to Consider

Subject: JP: 7 Elements that Impact Your Employees Effectiveness

Subject: Gina, Important –  1 Quick Question

Subject: Rachel, The Top 10 Things Every Single Mom Should Know About Investing

Subject: Mark, The 5 Reasons Why You Don’t Sell as Much as You Could (or Should)

Tip: Odd numbers seem to work better at arousing curiosity compared to even numbers.  That doesn’t mean you can’t use an even number but where possible look for that edge.  Incidentally, “Top 10s”  (an even number) are always great attention grabbers.

Summary

These tips are not huge, earth shattering epiphanies that will sky rocket your sales results but they will help!  They are small things but in sales, small things can give you an edge.  These subject line examples are a bit unusual from most; they’re distinctive.   And because they are you improve your chances of the client opening them and taking positive action.  Make your next subject line a hela ‘uva subject line.

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E-Mail Selling How to Get Your E-Mails Opened and Read

There are two fundamental challenges when you use e-mails in the selling process. Challenge number one is to get your e-mail noticed and opened. The second challenge is to get the e-mail read. And it is not as simple as it sounds.

In this issue we’ll tackle the first challenge:  how you can your e-mail noticed and opened.

Strategy #1: Prospecting by E-mail

Strategy #1 is not a strategy. In my opinion (and many others) B to B, e-mail prospecting is a colossal waste of time.  I won’t flog the point to death because we all know about the evils and perils of SPAM.  Don’t kid yourself, unsolicited e-mail prospecting is an exercise in utter futility. They won’t get opened much less read. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. Period. End of story.

Strategy #2: Sales Support

Strategy #2 is a very viable strategy: using e-mail to support your selling effort can pay big dividends. This strategy works extremely well with existing customers because you have an established a relationship. When prospecting however, the strategy works ONLY after you have spoken with the prospect and ONLY after he has given you his e-mail address (thereby implying that you have his permission to use the medium).

Getting Your E-Mail Opened

Regardless of whether you are contacting a prospect or a customer the next challenge is actually getting the e-mail noticed and then opened.

Why?

Sheer volume.  Everyone on the planet is competing for your client’s attention.  Internally your clients are being  bombarded with e-mails from bosses, other departments, committees, project groups and employees. Meanwhile externally, they are being inundated with every manner of e-mail from vendors, suppliers, customers, friends, newsletters, associations, SPAM artists and the like.

Think about this for a minute. E-mails are flooding in. Your client downloads a pile of messages. Each message that is downloaded gets maybe one to two seconds of attention.  Studies show people look at two things: who the mail is from and the subject of the e-mail. So you’ve got two seconds to catch the attention of a busy client. What do you do?

The Subject Line

Unless the client is urgently expecting something from you, it is doubtful that your name is compelling enough to get him or her to open it right away.  What that really means is you need a subject line that catches the attention of the would-be reader. Your subject line will stem from one of two approaches.

I. An Expected E-Mail

In some cases your client may be expecting your e-mail. Perhaps you are sending a quote or a proposal.  Of course your odds improve considerably depending on the urgency of the issue. The trick is to get it opened as soon as possible instead of having the client defer it to later.

Here’s one technique that can help you e-mail get noticed:

Subject:  John, here’s the quote you requested for the accreditation

The key to this subject line is the use of the client’s first name. It works because names act as a visual beacon for attention. Our names draw our eyes because it implies a personal message of some sort. In effect, it is irresistible.

The subject line continues with an explanation of what the e-mail is about. It quickly reminds the client about the nature of your e-mail (remember you have maybe two seconds –max- to catch their eye).  Naturally, there is no guarantee the client will open it up but it will get NOTICED.  In an addition, it increases your odds because at least the client knows what is inside.  This is much better than a vague or generic subject line.

Of course, you can add those little red exclamation marks (!) which may help draw the eye to the message. But use this only if there is something urgent within the e-mail. Be aware that  exclamation points are often overused and maybe be overlooked. Another way to create urgency however it to develop a subject line that has a call to action:

Subject:  Kathy, Please open. Time sensitive quote.

You use this ONLY if you have a special offer or quote or whatever that has a time limit to it. And by time sensitive I mean that the offer or sale item is only for a few days, not for a few weeks.

II. Unexpected E-mail

Your approach to the subject line however, will be somewhat different if you are sending an e-mail that is designed to nurture or groom a prospect or to add value to an existing client.  In other words, the client isn’t necessarily expecting your e-mail

In this scenario your subject line has to have something enticing and intriguing. Your objective is to create curiosity.   Here are some examples  of what I mean:

Subject:Sarah, Special Report: 10 Ways to Get Your Calls Returned

Subject:Eric, 6 Possible Course Selections for Accreditation

Subject: Dr.Anselmo,  7 Ways to Increase Patient Traffic

Subject: Kirsten, 2 Quick Items

Subject: Steve, 3 Things to Consider

You can easily spot the common threads.  First, the name is used for the same reason as mentioned above and second, each message has a numeric reference.

There is nothing particularly mysterious about this approach. It plays on the average person’s sense of curiosity and wonder.  By using a numeric within the subject line you get your clients intrigued. They wonder what the “10 ways” are or what are the “6 possible courses” or what are the “3 things” they must consider.  Most recipients  like to take a quick peek and et voila, the message is opened.

The challenge for you is to create something that you can itemize. In the last two examples you see the “2 Quick Items” and the “3 Things to Consider.”   When the reader sees smaller numbers part of him or her is tempted to open it right away and deal with it. It plays on the concept of “let’s quickly deal with this and move on.”

Summary

These tips are not huge, earth shattering epiphanies that will sky rocket your sales results.  They are small things. But in sales, small things can give you an edge.  These subject line examples are a bit unusual from most and because they are, you improve your chances of the client opening them.  In the next issue, we’ll look at how you can get your e-mail messages read after they opened.

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How to Use E-Mail and Voice Mail to Get a Return Call From Your Prospects

Are you frustrated by the lack of response to your voice mails and the impact it has on your cold calling efforts?

You can increase your odds of getting a return call by integrating e-mails with your voice mails. Here is a simple, easy to use 3-Step combination that you can adapt and use in virtually any industry.  It combines polite persistence with a touch of humor to compel the prospect respond.

Step #1: 10 Minutes of Your Time Voice Mail and E-mail Combo

Assuming that you have made several attempts to reach your prospect live, the first step in the process is to leave a simple voice mail message using the template below. The key to the message is the request for a 10 minute chat:

“Hey Dan, This is Mike Wray calling from Logistical Shippers. We work with freight handlers who are frustrated with late and delayed shipments. Dan, the reason for my call is to arrange a brief, 10-minute chat to learn more about your situation and to see if we can reduce some of the hassle associated with shipping delays.  Please call me at ____. In the meantime, I’ll send you a brief e-mail.”

The subsequent e-mail you send echoes the voice mail message by providing a visual message to the  audio message you left.  It begins with a good subject line,

Re: Dan, request for 10 minutes of your time

The subject line contains the prospect’s name and references a ‘request’ for 10 minutes of time. It not only echoes the voice mail message it creates a degree of curiosity especially if the prospect has not yet heard of the voice mail i.e., ‘what request?’ ‘Did I miss something?’

The body of your e-mail should contain elements of your voice mail:

“Dan, as I mentioned in my voice mail, we work with freight handlers who are frustrated with the hassle that delayed shipments can cause. We have a simple solution that virtually eliminates these headaches.

Could we chat for about 10 minutes so that I can better understand your situation and needs, and to see if we might be able to make your job a heck of a lot easier?

My number is _______ or simply  reply with a time and date.”

The  e-mail provides a lot of ‘teasing copy.’ It references both the ‘pain motivator’ (frustrated and hassle) and the ‘gain’ motivator (a heck of a lot easier) without belaboring either.

Step #2: 8 Minutes of Your Time Voice Mail E-Mail Combo

Persistence is the key to make this process work. Wait three days for a response before leaving your second voice mail/e-mail combo. Three days courteously gives the prospect enough time to reply and helps avoid the “stalking syndrome” that typically occurs if you follow up too soon.

Hi Dan, Mike Wray calling from Logistical Shippers.  Dan, I am following up on the e-mail left about setting up a telephone appointment to review your freight handling needs. I asked for 10 minutes of your time but I suspect you’re busy – perhaps dealing with a late shipment or two. Kidding aside, how about 8 minutes of your time?

I’ll send you a quick e-mail with some additional information. In the meantime, my number is…”

It is vital that the tone of your voice is light and easy. Notice the request for time has diminished to 8 minutes. It’s a light hearted message that acknowledges the importance of the client’s time.  Also notice the fun little jest, “dealing with a late shipment or two.’ This is a brief reminder of a possible motivator.

The e-mail follow up continues the theme in the subject line:

“Dan, how about just 8 minutes of your time?”

As you can see, reduced time request is emphasized once again. This is deliberate. It’s what makes the message unique and catches the eye. It also has a playful ring to it. The body of the e-mail looks like this:

“Dan, I know how busy things are  in the freight business. I deal with handlers every day…so I’ll only ask for 8 minutes of your time instead of ten.

In that time, perhaps we might be able to explore some ways to help streamline freight tracking and delivery.

Sound reasonable?

In the meantime, my number is _____ or simply reply to this message.”

The message is very brief and colloquial in nature. “Sound reasonable?” is an incomplete sentence but it gives it that ‘off the cuff and no big deal’ flavor to the message.

Step # 3: 5 Minutes of Your Time Voice Mail/E-Mail Combo

The final step in the strategy is to wait another 3 business days and give the prospect time to respond. If that doesn’t happen your third voice mail/e-mail combo should follow the same pattern as the first two messages by making an easy quip about the time

required.

“Hi Dan, it’s Mike Wray calling from Logistical Shippers.

Okay, it sounds like you’re super busy so here’s my one last shot. How about 5 just minutes of your time AND I promise you it will be the best 5 minutes you spend this month. My number is…”

There are a three things at work here. First, is your persistence. You have made two sets of five follow up contacts spaced about six business days apart. By now the prospect will realize you are tenacious.

Second, you create ongoing interest – and maybe even amusement- by whittling away the time that you’re requesting.

Third, is the sincere promise of the chat being “the best 5 minutes you’ll spend this month.” Delivered with conviction, this is a bold and confident statement. Let the prospect hear it.

The follow up e-mail has the following as a subject line:

Re: Okay Dan, here’s my last shot: only 5 minutes of your time?”

If your prospect reads nothing else, he’ll read the subject line and rememberyou. But your subject line also reveals a graceful way of saying you won’t pursue himbeyond this message. This can help buy some good will and perhaps urge the prospect to respond.

The body of the message does not have to be elaborate but it should maintain the easy nature of your earlier messages.

“Dan, here’s my last kick at the can: 5 minutes of your time.

No more.

Promise.

But kidding aside, if you can spare just 5 minutes of your time there is a very good chance that we can help reduce or eliminate the hassle and headaches of delayed shipments.

Using a simple process, we take the checking and verifying out of your hands and put it into ours. It’s all we do. And that gives you time to work on other more significant matters.

5 minutes?

Please give me a call at ________ or simply reply to this e-mail. Otherwise I will call you next quarter.

Note the layout of the message. Short sentences. Lots of white space. Easy to quickly read and understand. The ‘look’ of your e-mail reflects what a quick 5-minute look might feel like.  Also take note that there is a reference to the solution you offer. It’s not a pitch but just a broad overview. And finally, the message points out that if there is no reply, you’ll call next quarter. In effect, you are saying this is the last chance they have to respond.

Summary

This process works. It’s been ‘borrowed’ from IT specialist Brian Borrows who explains that he gets a 30% response rate. This is not surprising.  The process combines persistence with creativity. It’s easy going, amusing, and gentle.  It creates a one-two punch by marrying the power of audio messages with the power of visual message. Because it is a process, you can use it repeatedly with virtually every prospect as long as you change the name. This saves you time and effort.

Take the time to adapt this process to your situation. It requires a little thought and effort but the return can be significant

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