5 Rules for Getting a Response to Your Prospecting Email

  1. Prospecting emails vs. marketing emails. There is a huge difference between marketing emails and prospecting emails. Marketing emails are usually sent out to large email lists. The email is one communication going to many contacts on the list. Prospecting emails are sent out individually. The email is an individual communication going to one individual prospect. Make sure that your prospecting email sounds like it was written by you and not by your marketing department.
  1. Be clear. The rule, in a cold call and in a cold email is that you must be crystal clear. If your prospect does not understand what you are talking about, that prospect will simply delete your email. On the phone, your prospect will say, “I’m not interested” and hang up.
  1. Craft your message. It is far too easy to type something quickly and then hit ‘send.’ Take time to craft your email and focus it on how you help your customers, challenges you resolve for customers and/or outcomes you’re able to achieve for customers. You won’t be able to get that email back for a rewrite so take the time upfront to make sure that you’re communicating exactly what you want to be communicating.
  1. Use voicemail too. Research done at the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business found that when people hear you talk, even on a voicemail, they are more likely to take action than if they simply read something (your email). Response rate goes up if you also leave a voicemail.
  1. Be prepared for multiple touches. Many research studies have shown that it takes multiple touches to get prospects to respond. One email may not be enough. If you do not hear back from your prospect, be prepared to reach out again.

While these three rules will not guarantee a response from a prospect, following these rules will increase the possibility that your prospect will see you as someone who is credible with an interesting offering and thus they will be more likely to respond.

The Relationship that Wasn’t

I have a business credit card from Bank of America. I never use it, but I’ve had it for years. We have no other banking relationship, just the credit card.

Earlier this week I got a call from an associate at Bank of America. I answered the call as I usually do, with my name, “This is Wendy Weiss.”

The associate then said, “May I speak with Wendy Weiss?” The conversation went downhill from there.

Wendy: This is Wendy Weiss. How may I help you?

Associate: This is __________ from Bank of America. Is this a good time to talk?

Wendy: I’m busy. What’s this about?

Associate: This is a relationship call.

Wendy: I wasn’t aware we had a relationship.

Associate: I’m calling from Bank of America.

Wendy: Is this about my credit card? Is there a problem?

Associate: There is no problem with your card. I’m calling to invite you to come into our branch and discuss your finances.

I declined.

I have to say I felt sorry for this associate. He was probably repeating this conversation over and over and over again. Someone at Bank of America had obviously told him that he was not cold calling but rather calling warm leads, “relationship calls.” They probably also told him that “relationship calls” would be easy and welcomed. I doubt they were.

Had this poor associate said anything of interest to me about my business the outcome might have been different. Financing or credit options or lines of credit or cash flow… Any of the myriad of things a bank might offer to help a business… We might have had a conversation and I might have gone into the bank to talk about it. Alas, he did not because he was relying on the label, “relationship call,” to do the work for him.

The lesson here is that there is no such thing as a “relationship call” unless your prospect thinks you have a relationship.

Are You Ready for 2020?

It’s now almost 2020. Almost a brand-new year. Are you ready for it?

You may have spent the last month or so planning and setting your goals for 2020. Or maybe you’re just getting around to it now. Unfortunately, so many people set goals that do not come to fruition.

In January every sales professional or business owner says to herself/himself, “I’m going to make this year my best year ever,” “I’m going to make more prospecting calls,” “I’m going to network more,” “I’m really going to build my pipeline this year,” “This year, I’m going to close more sales,” “This year, I’m going to hit my numbers out of the park…” and so on. And so few do.

Here is The Queen’s recipe for setting goals that you can accomplish. The secret is in setting yourself up to succeed and then following the Law of Action.

  1. Identify the goal and write it down. Be specific. It’s not enough to say, “I’m going to make more prospecting calls.” You need to identify the specific number of calls you’ll make. If your goal is to “network more,” define the word, “more.” Exactly how and how much?
  2. Identify the reasons you’ve picked this particular goal and write down those reasons. If you don’t have really strong motivation for accomplishing the goals you’ve set out, you likely will not accomplish them.
  3. Write down the exact date that you want to have accomplished your goal. This gives you something to work towards. Or set up bench marks for yourself with goals for particular dates that build on the goal before.
  4. Break your goal down into bite-size pieces or the bite-size steps that you’ll take to reach that goal. If the goal is too large it will overwhelm you, so break it down. Write down all of those smaller pieces or steps.
  5. Set yourself up to succeed. Ask yourself the following question: “Is my goal realistic?” Often people set totally unrealistic goals and then it’s no surprise that they are unable to accomplish those goals. Set yourself up to succeed by picking a goal that you can actually accomplish. Make it a bit of a stretch, but something that is a real possibility.
  6. Follow the Law of Action. Nothing happens until you take action. Take action consistently every single day toward your goal and you will be astonished by what you’ll be able to accomplish.

Happy holidays. Happy New Year.

Amazing Sales Lessons I Learned from My Cat

I love my cat. Her name is Ms. Kitty. She was named after Mr. Cat, who died many years ago, and after Amanda Blake of “Gunsmoke” fame (I realize I’m dating myself here).

Those of you who are cat lovers are nodding your heads and smiling. The rest of you probably think I’ve totally lost it. But before you tune out completely, let me share some of the amazing sales lessons that I have learned from Ms. Kitty and from all the cats in my life.

Be clear in knowing your goal.

Ms. Kitty always knows what she wants. Whether it’s more food or to be petted or not to be petted, she knows what she wants and when she wants it. She spends much time pondering her wants. All that time spent sleeping on the coach is not what it appears. She’s really planning her next move.

Ask for what you want.

Once Ms. Kitty has determined her goal, she asks for it. Clearly and concisely. “Meow.” She lets me know in no uncertain terms what she wants. And if I’m not clever enough to understand the first time, she is patient with me until I do.

Ask again.

If at first you don’t succeed… Ms. Kitty asks, and asks and asks. She won’t go away. She won’t stop saying, “Meow.” She wants what she wants when she wants it, and she lets nothing stand in her way.

Ask a lot of people.

Ms. Kitty has learned over time that I don’t always immediately accede to her demands. That’s okay. She just asks someone else. And then someone else. Eventually, some human being says “yes.”

Be persistent.

Ms. Kitty never judges herself. She doesn’t worry about being “too pushy” or “too aggressive.” She doesn’t worry that her prospect might be “too busy” or “already have a cat.” She believes in herself; she knows what she wants, and she keeps asking until she gets it.

Don’t take “no” for an answer.

Ms. Kitty is clever and creative. She keeps asking. She asks many people. She reworks her pitch and starts over. She does not hear “no.” She realizes that sometimes humans are slow and she just has to keep after us till we “get it.” It’s a process.

For you non–cat people, I will be back in my right mind for the next newsletter. I promise.

 

Just Follow The Script

Do you have a system that is proven to work? Do you follow it…?

There are many ways to generate leads for a business, SEO and email marketing and social media and content marketing and Facebook ads and on and on…

One of the things that distinguishes those who are successful at generating leads by any of the above methods and those who are not successful is that the really successful marketers test. They try out an approach on a small segment of their list, measure the results, perhaps tweak the approach and test again. They do this over and over and over again until they are sure that they have the best approach to generate leads. Once they are sure, they repeat the process over and over and over again for just one reason: They know it works.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for sales professionals and telephone prospecting.

I have been working with a coaching client who is the CEO of his company. He is a very busy man. We developed a prospecting process for his business including a list of pre-qualified leads and a complete set of scripts; appointment setting scripts, voicemails and email templates; to enable him to schedule qualified appointments.

My client then tested the system. He didn’t have a lot of time to make calls, but when he did, he consistently converted 40% – 50% of his conversations with decision-makers into qualified appointments. He proved the model and it was clear that the process and all of the scripts worked.

Then my client hired an appointment setter.

The appointment setter’s job was to follow the system that was already set up using all of the scripts that were already written and proven to work and to make appointments for my client, the CEO.

Unfortunately, once the appointment setter started, the number of appointments plummeted. Why? The appointment setter did not use the scripts that had already been proven to work. Instead, he was winging it on almost every call.

This is very puzzling to me. When you have a system that is proven to work, why would you ever do anything else?

And, what is more curious, every once in a while, this new appointment setter would use the script. When he did, he made an appointment.

The data was very clear: Use the script, make an appointment. Don’t use the script, don’t make an appointment.

Sales professionals could learn from successful marketers. Create the approach. Test it. Tweak it if necessary. Test it again. Once you have something that is proven to work… Keep using it.

Sell or Die

September is an interesting time. You may still be in vacation mode and/or believe that all of your customers and prospects are still in vacation mode. September, however, is officially here. And after September comes the fourth quarter sprint when for far too many business owners and sales professionals it’s time to…

As we head into the fourth quarter of 2019 are you on track to make your sales revenue goals for the year?

If you’re like many, the fourth quarter can mean it’s time to panic because the end of the year is fast approaching and the finish line is much too far away. Here are some recommendations to stop the panic and to start selling more to finish out the year exactly where you need and want to be. If you manage a team have your team go through the steps below.

1.) Calculate exactly where you are in terms of your 2019 sales revenue. You also need to go back and look at your initial 2019 revenue goal to see how close you are to achieving it.

2.) Next, take a look at what’s in the pipeline and likely to close in order to get you that much closer.

3.) Go back and take a look at deals from earlier in the year that have not closed. See if you can resurrect any of them.

4.) Make a list of existing customers that might need additional products or services. Make a plan to start reaching out.

5.) Make a list of everyone that you know or would like to know that should be buying from you. Make a plan to start reaching out.

6.) Make a list of everyone that you know or would like to know that might be able to refer business. Make a plan to start reaching out.

7.) Create your Wish List of Ideal Prospects that you believe might have a need of your offering. Make a plan to start reaching out.

When you do all of the above you will not only be much closer to achieving and/or exceeding your 2019 sales goals – you’ll also be setting yourself up for an even better 2020!

If you are a business owner, entrepreneur or sales professional and you are sick of the stress and frustration of not knowing where your next client or sale will come from… If you are ready to make changes that will enable you to finish this year strong and set yourself up for an amazing 2020… Then I invite you to apply for the Master Sales Coaching program where you will coach directly with me to achieve and exceed your goals. There is no fee or commitment when you apply. We will simply have a conversation to see if the program is a fit for you.

Do You Know Your Numbers?

Are you a business owner or sales professional worried about where your next sale is going to come from? Do you wish that you had more control over filling your pipeline? The answer always lies in the numbers…

Last week we finished the last session of the Prospecting Mastery live, skills training and coaching program. In this last session, the majority of the participants said for the first time in their sales career, they feel that they have control of their sales process. They know exactly what they need to do to keep their calendars and pipelines full of the best opportunities. They also know how to control conversations with their prospects. That is a powerful feeling!

Part of that feeling of control comes from knowing the numbers.

Here is an email that I received from a client that had someone enrolled in the Prospecting Mastery program:

As a sales manager, the number #1 challenge is for sales people to know their numbers.

A sales person must know their:

    • Ratio of Dials to Conversations with Prospects
    • Ratio of Conversations to Appointments Scheduled
    • Ratio of Appointments to Proposals
    • Ratio of Proposals to Sales

When you know your numbers, you can calculate your Revenue Per Dial.

Powerful!

When you know your numbers, you can also:

    • Improve your ratios
    • Determine how much you wish to make and what it takes to make it
    • Take charge of you career

Powerful!

A sales manager can plan their sales goals if they know their numbers:

    • Know how many sales people will be needed to achieve their sales goals
    • Know at an early stage when a sales person is not going to succeed
    • Know who needs coaching and in what area
    • Improve the sales team’s ratios

Powerful!

This seems obvious, yet so many sales people and sales managers have no idea of their numbers.  This is the #1 challenge.

I am indebted to my client, Keith Oliver, Principal, Oliver Insurance, http://oliver-insurance.com/, for the outline above. He is 100% correct. When you know your numbers, everything changes.

If you are a business owner and/or sales manager and would like to have a serious conversation about knowing and improving your numbers, click here.

More Appointments Does Not Equal More Sales

Do you find that it is difficult to schedule appointments with prospects?

Do you find that although you are scheduling appointments, not many of those appointments stick?

Do you find that while you are scheduling appointments, not very many of those appointments turn into sales?

If you answered, “yes” to any of the questions above, the solution is most likely in how you are prospecting.

I started to think about this last week after a conversation with client who owns an independent insurance agency. My client told me that his new salesperson was getting a lot of appointments, he just wasn’t closing any sales. My client thought that his new salesperson needed help with his closing skills.

Upon diving more deeply into the conversation with my client, it turned out that the new salesperson also worked part-time, at night, as a bartender. He met a lot of people at his nighttime job and he set a lot of appointments with the people that he met. Unfortunately, many of those appointments did not stick and almost none of them turned into sales. (And yes, this is a true story.)

My client thought, as many do, that more appointments should equal more sales.

The real issue was, however, that while the new salesperson was making a lot of appointments, most of them were completely inappropriate. The people he had made appointments with were just not good prospects.

This new salesperson does not actually have a problem with closing. He has a problem with prospecting. He is not likely to close a lot of sales, because he is making appointments with folks that are unlikely to need, want or say yes to his offering.

Effective appointment-setting always starts by identifying the target. The answer to “what makes a good lead?” is not, “Everyone.” Step one is to identify the parameters that define the “best fit” type prospect for you in your market with your offering.

According to research done by InsideSales.com, and outlined in their report, The Power of Prioritization, “Higher-rated prospects convert 2.6x better than lower-rated prospects.” In other words, “best fit” leads convert almost 3 times better than leads that are not “best fit.”.

When the lead you are reaching out to is well targeted and a “best fit” you are much more likely to 1.) Schedule an appointment and then, 2.) Close a sale.

More appointments do not necessarily equal more sales. Better prospecting, however, will lead to more qualified appointments which will then lead to more closed sales.

 

© 2019, Wendy Weiss

Caller Beware!

From time to time readers of this newsletter or visitors to the web site will email scripts to me to ask for my comments. Here is a script I recently received. Beware. Do not let this happen to you:

Script: Hello (Prospect’s Name) this is (Name) with (Company Name). Did I catch you at a bad time?

Wendy’s Comment: Everyone is incredibly busy these days. The most likely response to this question is, “Yes.” Why set yourself up for failure in your first breath?

Script: Once again, my name is (Name) with (Company Name). The purpose of my call is to simply schedule a brief 10-15 minute phone conversation early/late next week. Can we carve out a few minutes next (Tuesday at 1:30 pm) or (Thursday at 1:30 pm)?

Wendy’s Comment: This is all about what the caller wants. The caller wants to schedule an appointment. He doesn’t even say what it’s about and yet expects the prospect to jump up and down with excitement and say, “Yes!”

Script: The agenda of our appointment is to introduce myself and (Company Name) …and the work we’re currently doing). And learn a little bit more about your (Company/Department) I only need 10-15 minutes. Can we carve out a few minutes (Day) or (Day)?

Wendy’s Comment: This caller has yet to say why the prospect should be interested in speaking with him, interested in the company or interested in the work they’re doing. In addition, prospects today have no interest in wasting their time teaching sales people about their company. They expect sales people to have done their homework, something this caller clearly has not done.

This caller was struggling and it’s not surprising. He was missing out on the very first rule of prospecting. He needs to answer the question: Why should your prospect be interested?

This script is all about the caller, what he wants and what he expects from the prospect. Unfortunately, that doesn’t work these days. These days it’s all about the prospect. Forget that at your peril.

 

© 2019, Wendy Weiss

Letting Go is Hard to Do

By Wendy Weiss, The Queen of Cold Calling™

Every sales professional has them. Those deadly lingering prospects. The ones that never buy anything. They say, “Not just yet….” They say “Not quite ready….” They say, “Call me back in a couple of weeks…” or “Call me back in a month…” or “Call me back in six months…” over and over and over. And you do call them back over and over and over and they never buy anything. They say, “Not just yet….” They say “Not quite ready….” They say, “Call me back in a couple of weeks…” or “Call me back in a month…” or “Call me back in a few months…” over and over and over.

We’ve all been there. Calling that prospect, hoping this time will be different, hoping this time they’ll say, “yes” and that this call will make up for all the previous calls and all the time spent. Besides, if you don’t call them, then maybe your competition will… the nightmare of all nightmares… your prospect that you’ve been calling for years now will buy from someone else. You don’t want that to happen. Oh no! And so, you do call them again and they don’t buy anything. They say, “Not just yet….” They say “Not quite ready….”

So how do you end this vicious cycle that breaks so many sales professionals’ hearts?

Step one: Identify and only pursue qualified prospects. Make sure that you know what makes a prospect qualified for you. One reason prospects do not convert into customers is that they were never really qualified in the first place.

Step two: Ask the tough questions. In your conversations with your prospects, look to qualify prospects out. Ask the questions that you need to ask: Questions about the process, the budget and how that decision will be made. If your prospect gives you information that tells you that you’re no longer speaking with a qualified prospect, stop pursuing them.

Some times prospects do have legitimate reasons for asking you to call back at a later date. And that’s ok. If a prospect has a legitimate reason, then by all means call them back when they have asked you to call back. (Just make the call a little earlier than the prospect has suggested. It’s always better to be a little early than to be too late.) If, however, your prospect has not explained why they want you to call back at a later date then make sure to ask what will have changed between now and the time they want a follow up call.

And lastly, if you have prospects that you have been following up with time after time after time and getting nowhere, ask those prospects if there is a real and legitimate possibility of doing business together in the foreseeable future.

If your prospect cannot give you some assurance that there is legitimate interest, stop pursuing them. They are not going to become your customer.

Letting go of prospects is hard to do. When you let go of those inappropriate prospects, that will never buy from you, that will free you to pursue real prospects. The ones that will say, “yes.” Letting go is hard to do… but well worth it in the end.