Sales & Marketing Strategies

Make Your Sales 'Touch base' Emails More Effective

Posted by Mark Montonara on May 12, 2016 9:20:00 AM

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How many emails (or LinkedIn InMail messages) do you receive from business associates that are just a waste of time to look at, much less worth reading. You know the ones that I am talking about.

These emails come from business contacts who want to stay in touch with you - either for business referrals and/or direct business with you.

These email senders have a reminder system in their CRM that tells them to contact you every XX days. The problem is -- those systems generally don’t come ‘pre-loaded’ with content to include in those email communications that benefit the recipient.

So what generally happens is that the email sender types some anemic-sounding message about ‘wanting to touch base’. And those emails go something like the following examples:

Lazy email example #1:

Subject: Following up

Dear [firstname],

I hope all is well.

We haven’t talked in awhile. And, I was hoping to ‘reconnect’ with you and talk about  our company’s latest products that we discussed last month.

Would you have some time to meet with me next week? Please let me know what your schedule allows.

Best regards,

[Lazy salesman’s name here]


Lazy email example #2:

Subject: touching base

Dear [firstname],

I hope all is well.

We haven’t talked in awhile. And, I was hoping to get an update of what you are doing and how I can help.

Would you have some time to meet with me next week? Please let me know what your schedule allows.

Best regards,

[Lazy salesman’s name here]


Why These Sales Emails No Longer Get a Response

The email example above (or some variation of it) fails in a couple of areas:

  1. You just asked him/her to spend time discussing YOUR business.
  2. OR, you are asking them to spend time educating YOU on their business.
  3. You are asking them to check their schedule and contact you with a meeting time.
  4. And ultimately, you add a layer of ‘guilt’ that the recipient doesn’t want. Generally, this occurs because most people don’t want to ‘disappoint’ others. But, in this case, they have to disappoint you and ignore your communication.

None of these email elements do ANYTHING to help the email recipient. In fact, you are only ADDING to their very full list of ‘distractions’.

But, wait!!.. You say, I have a solution for them that they need to know about. And when they know about it, they will surely want to spend time talking about it with me.

Dream on… sales noob.

I don’t mean to hurl insults. But, sometimes it takes a ‘shock to the system’ to get someone to pay attention. (It does with me, anyway.) And in this matter, IF you are sending emails like the above example --- you need to pay attention!

Nobody has time to help you!

It’s not that people are mean… or people don’t like you. Actually, most business people want to be encouraging and supportive. But, if you are running a business or department these days, your ‘plate is full’.

And your email request will most probably NOT get added to your prospects’ ‘full plate’.

Give Your Email Recipient What They Need (Not What YOU Need)

You have probably seen the acronym - WIIFM - or heard the saying - “What’s in it for me?” Well, you need to answer that question as you consider sending any and all ‘touchpoints’ -- especially your sales email communications.

What is in this communication that benefits the recipient?

Most people delete/archive emails in their inbox without even opening them, based solely on the subject line (and/or ‘pre-header’). I bet that you do the same thing.

With the hundreds of email communications that we receive every day, it becomes impossible to process all of them. Sanity demands that you cull out the needless, and focus on the ones that you need.

Start at the Beginning - With the Subject Line

So, what should a typical email subject line include?

There are THOUSANDS of articles and books on effective email subject lines. And I don’t mean to replace them all with this article. But, I do have experience with this -- as an email content creator, AND as an email recipient. And so do you. So, let’s look at the more obvious strategies.

An effective subject line should include one or more of the following items (depending upon your business sector):

  1. The recipient’s first name
  2. The recipient’s company name
  3. The recipient’s industry
  4. The name of the recipient’s ‘challenge’ (as you understand it)
  5. The name of the recipient’s interest (as you learn it)

As you can see from this list, NOWHERE does it mention the sender’s (YOUR) name, company, industry, challenges, or interests.

The recipient’s eyes are laser focused on picking out the issues, topics and names related to them in long data lists, like email inbox lists. So, don’t make your email communication ‘invisible’ in that list by leaving out critical elements that your prospect can  identify with.

Possible Examples of Effective Email Subject Lines -

Subject Line: Bob, the Case Company is in the News!
For a press release sent to Bob Smith at the Case Company

Subject Line: The Paper Industry is talking about this
For a shared article sent to an executive of WestRock Paper

Subject Line: Global Advances in Water Mineral Filtration
For a study sent to a contact at a Water NGO organization

 

So They Open the Email - What’s Their Prize?

When they open the email, reward them with information that they need or will enjoy.

Enterprising email example:

Subject: Bob, your industry is growing in new ways

Dear [firstname],

I just read that several of your industry leaders are adopting this new methodology for increasing production. They are seeing upwards of 20% increases in output.

Have you been keeping up with this new direction? Here’s an article that goes into more detail about it. - www.weblink.com

Our latest product - ‘Wonder Product’ - has become an integral part of this new methodology. If you see an opportunity to apply this production method to your new Smithfield operations, I’d be happy to share some more info with you.

Please let me know if there is a time when you might want to meet and discuss.

I hope all is well.

Best regards,

[Enterprising salesman’s name here]

 

What is in this communication that benefits the recipient?

First of all, the subject line and the first half of the email body focus exclusively on the prospect’s industry. The email attempts to be helpful with information.

If the prospect DOESN’T already knows about this info, you become a ‘strategic resource’ for them. And if the prospect DOES know about this info, they at least know that you are ‘in tune’ with their business and industry. Either way, you potentially elevate yourself in the prospect’s eyes.

Also, an email like this second version, only mentions the product/service as a solution to THEIR need… not yours. Otherwise, why are you bothering them with this ‘touchpoint’ email.

The ‘Bottom line’ is the Bottom line.

We must remember that the business world has changed enormously over the last decade. Most executives have more administrative and organizational ‘stuff’ on their desks to deal with. Their time is limited. They don’t have time for ‘time wasters’.

Ultimately, your touch point activity should help that prospect do their job better, or inform them of information that they haven’t had time to gather. And that impact should happen from the very beginning of the communication. IF, they can not see a potential positive impact on the ‘bottom line’ of their business immediately, your touchpoint message will be deleted.

Don’t let your sales communications get deleted.

Add your ideas below for making sales touchbase emails more effective.

And stay tuned for a follow up article on mass email touchbases. Should you even do them?
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Topics: sales email