Have you ever sent a cold email and had a response and have been unsure of how to reply? You aren’t alone. Most people get excited about the possibilities of sending a cold email and quickly implement an outbound prospecting strategy based on sending a cold email. Where the big gap in the system lies is around how you are going to reply to that email.
Are you going to reply by email or are you going to pick up the phone? My suggested mechanism for responding to cold email responses is always to pick up the phone. This can be daunting for many people, so let me identify the key steps and show you how easy and non-intimidating it can actually be.
Here’s how you can bridge the gap in the system.
Identify Common Prospect Responses
First of all, take out a piece of paper or go to your whiteboard and write down all of the typical responses that you’ll receive from a cold email. You might think that will take ages, since there are so many responses but there are never more than 10 main ones. These will be unique to your business but include things like:
- Please contact us
- Send more information
- We don’t have a budget
- We already have a similar product
- We don’t see a need
Once you have your responses established you’ll have a known quantity that you can plan for.
Establish Your Sales Response
With those common responses in hand, the next step is to determine your response and your next steps. Whatever your response, make it company-wide, so that all salespeople are approaching it the same way. This ensures consistency and measurability.
Here are some examples of prospect responses and your response:
Please contact me: Set a secondary performance indicator for your prospector that these emails should be called within an hour. You can then monitor your efficiencies.
We already have an existing provider/vendor: Take advantage of the fact that they just replied, and said, hey, we buy what you sell, or we’re in the right category for your ideal prospects. The fact they have an existing vendor does not mean you can’t add value to them. You may actually complement what the other vendor offers. Until you speak to them you just don’t know. That phone call is an opportunity to see if there is a fit with your expertise either now or some time out in the future. If the time is now, you can sell them on a first meeting. If it isn’t right now you can ask for permission to send them ‘authority information’ so that you can be positioned as the logical right choice when there is a time to meet.
Hi John. Thanks very much for your email. I was going to reply, but I
thought it made more sense to give you a call. In your email, you said you’re
under contract for another 12 months.
I’ve got three quick questions for no more than 60 seconds to see if there
is a fit some time out in the future. Is that OK?
That call enables you to get into that conversation, ask them great questions, and if there is a valid reason to meet now you can sell them on the value they will get from having that first meeting with you.
I’m not interested: What aren’t they interested in? The same script above can even get you into a value based sales conversation with these tough prospects. If you have identified them as a strong enough likely fit with your Ideal Prospect Profile, then you owe it to them to help them see if there is a fit with what you do and not stop at the first contact. A sample script for this is:
Hi John. Thanks for your email. I was going to reply, but I thought it made more sense to give
you a call. In your email, you said that you weren’t interested RIGHT NOW and
that’s OK. I’m curious, I have three
questions for about 60 seconds that will help to identify if there’s a fit some time out in the future.
Lastly, clearly stating the time frame to speak (60 seconds) shows that you appreciate their time, and that you won’t take much of it. It’s tough to say no to that, and you’re taking away sales pressure.
Another key aspect of the script are these phrases. Firstly, “you said that you weren’t interested RIGHT NOW”. This takes control of the conversation and identifies that while they have said they aren’t interested now, you haven’t allowed that to mean that they will never be interested, which many timid sales people would do. By expressly saying “some time out in the future” you are relieving any sales pressure built up due to a fear you are going to pitch them.
The Next Step: Discovery Call
Once you have the prospect interested and they are a good fit for you, transition into selling the discovery call. For example:
Well John, because of what you told me, we look like a great fit for the next stage, a discovery call with our account executive, Steve. That call will last around 20 minutes, depending on how many questions you have for Steve, and on that call you will get the following immediate benefits…
Then transition into 3 strong bullet points that sell the value they will get from that call with you.
A phone based system like this is so much simpler to implement than trying to respond to every inbound email with a further email. That causes too many workflows and is a nightmare to track and manage. And besides, this brings far greater results.
Try it out and let me know how it works.
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