I’m going to say it — prospecting sucks. The thought of picking up the phone and reaching out into the unknown just feels all wrong. Think about it, throughout our childhood, we were told not to talk to strangers. “Stranger danger,” right!? Fast forward a few years and here we are in our career in media sales only to find that “talking to strangers” is an integral part of the job description. Awkward!
That said, those prospects are not going to come to us. We’ve got to go to them. So, what is the most effective way to reach that prospective advertiser? Should we walk into their brick-and-mortar location? Should we dial their place of business? Or should we send them a quick email? The answer is a resounding all of the above. (Bet you didn’t see that one coming.)
A blend of calling, personal visits, and e-communication works beautifully. I have become such a believer in introductory emails I thought I would pass on to you a two-step email campaign that I have found to be very successful.
Step one, I like to start with a brief introductory email. Don’t get too “salesy” here. (Is salesy a word?) Face it, no one wants to receive a cut-and-paste email promoting our newest package, promotion, or sponsorship. Keep your correspondence short, keep it simple, and play it kind of “cool.” Here’s an example:
I wanted to quickly introduce myself as our company [p1learning.com] works with companies like [Bob’s House of Socks] and [Papa’s Pizza] to help extend their branding and customer awareness.
If you have a few minutes, I’d love to learn about [ABC Company’s] promotional initiatives. How does your calendar look next Tuesday, Jan. 17?
Bryan C. Marriott | President/General Manager | (888) 944-9377
Love it! It’s short, to the point, we are able to name-drop a couple of businesses we currently work within the market. And we finish by asking for the appointment. Perfect, right?
OK, there’s a catch. We know that 99.9% of the time they’re not going to click and respond. And to add insult to injury, those few folks that do click on this literary work of art are most likely going to delete this email without even reading it. (Ouch!) I know what you’re thinking, “Well why the heck did you ask me to send this?” The answer? You’re simply setting the table and, as long as you didn’t butcher the first name of your prospect or their company’s name, you’ve just sent them the perfect intro.
On to step two! Once again, the first email was designed to serve as a starting point, an introductory foundation to build upon. Now comes the more critical step — the follow-up. After reading about every “email follow-up template” on the web, I came across an article on Inc.com that nails it. Wait a day, probably two, and navigate back to your original email. Click the “respond button” and try something along the lines of…
Hi again, [Karen],
I’m sure your inbox is a busy place, so I just wanted to send you a quick follow-up. I’d love to chat with [ABC Company] to learn about your branding and promotional initiatives. My original email is copied below for reference.
Look forward to connecting,
-[Bryan] (PLEASE NOTE: In this email, I generally place my name above the footer. It’s more personalized.)
Bryan C. Marriott | President/ General Manager | (888) 944-9377
This second email generally does get a response! Hey, don’t just take my word for it, give it a try. And to help illustrate your findings I suggest looking into products like HubSpot or Active Campaign. They have programs that allow you to track your emails so you can see whether your prospects are receiving and opening your emails. A good rule of thumb on this is if they open your email 0 – 2 times, they’ve probably trashed it, 3 – 5 times and they’ve probably glanced through your message. But if they have opened your email 6 – 10 times, it’s more than likely that they have an interest — so call them. But assume this first intro will only receive an open rate of 0 – 2. If it’s any higher, stop what you’re doing and go buy a lottery ticket because you, my friend, have excellent luck. Reach out to them with a phone call. Once again, give it a day or two before making the call, and tread lightly on mentioning you noticed that they opened your past emails. In fact, that could be downright creepy.
This process isn’t perfect by any means, but do you see the simplicity here? Touch them once with a quick and friendly introduction. Follow up a few days later to request a meeting. That’s it for now. For more sales tips I’d encourage you to log in and watch “Email Etiquette: 01. To Email or Not to Email‘ or “Establishing Credibility.”
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