I recently came across this great infographic provided by my friends at Unifyo. It goes a long way to explaining why cold calling by phone is no longer successful and why warm calling by email is the way to go. Check out the infographic and then I’ll tell you more…
Why prospect using email?
The fact is that prospects don’t want to be contacted by phone and are very resistant to buying when approached this way. Also modern comms technology means that it’s easy for people to hide behind voicemail, checking out caller IDs or just letting everything go to voicemail and then deciding whether to respond.
According to Unifyo’s research prospects claim they would far rather (77% vs. 2%) be contacted by email. The astute amongst you will be thinking that sending strangers emails is a far from certain way of winning business! So the issue is how we can successfully prospect using email?
Measure twice, cut once
If you’re going to prospect for B2B customers by email then your mails must be personalised. By this I mean it has to be specific to that person and company not just a merged email starting “Dear f_name”. You need to do some research to find the right companies, the right contacts and background on them. I’ve written on this before if you want to find out how.
Having done this I always start the email with “the hook” which is something linking me to that person and/or that company. There’s a pecking order in terms of the hook…
1. You know the person personally.
2. You have a contact in common.
3. You have a personal link to the person. e.g. you went to the same college.
4. If all else fails manufacture a link! E.g. You read in the press about their latest announcement (from the News section of their site) and felt moved to write.
- Subject: Eye catching, compelling and specific to them.
- The hook: above…
- The body: Brief and to the point summary of what you do and why it’s beneficial to companies like theirs. If you’ve done your research properly what you do/offer should be of interest to this person.
- The call to action: Short, simple and specific. A good one is to ask for a brief conference call at a specific time/date.
- The “get out of jail free” clause: Words to the effect “If this isn’t of use to you please let me know. I don’t want to waste your time”. It’s professional and better to get a “no” now than waste your time chasing them 10 times.
It’s not over ’til the fat lady sings
It’s not unusual to have a very low response rate to your first email. I get a far better response rate to the polite reminder that I send them a couple of weeks later. How long you’re willing to chase someone is up to you, but I give it 2 reminders and assume if they haven’t responded by then it’s unlikely they ever will.