In one of my training sessions, someone asked how to follow-up after sending an introductory email. If we group the email with the phone call, then we can create a solid strategy that works well in opening a sales call. Incidentally, this strategy also works with direct mail campaigns or as a follow-up to a white paper download.
Structure for Using Email in Opening a Sales Call
Here’s the fundamental building block in this strategy. When you make your follow-up call to this person, you need to know enough about their organization, business, and challenges to begin a conversation. That’s never going to change in your overall sales strategy, so just plan for it. However, you use your email or your direct mail piece as a lead-in to the conversation. So, when creating your email, make sure it incorporates relevant information that’s of value to your prospect’s business. In the past, we have used a number of tactics in the email. Highlighting 3 benefits from our other clients have worked well.
Now, when you follow-up on that correspondence, the one thing you don’t want to say is “Hi Bob, did you get my email?”
By asking this yes/no question, you will shut down any chance of building a conversation right out of the gate. The obvious fact here is they really don’t care about your email. By itself, your email has no value to them.
So instead of asking if they got the email, reference something in that correspondence that they will find interesting. Remember, you have done your research, so you should have some idea the challenges facing people in their industry. And those elements should be outlined in your correspondence or email so you can reference them in your call. For additional ideas on opening your sales call, see this post on 4 Adaptive Selling tactics.
An Example of Opening a Sales Call Referencing an Email
Here’s an example of a call built on an initial email:
I understand that you are the VP of Sales – is that correct?
Bob, in an email I sent your way last week, I outlined 3 methods salespeople can use immediately to improve their effectiveness when making phone calls. These methods are extensive public speaking, taking a psychology class to learn how to ask better questions, and taking an improv class to learn how to speak extemporaneously. Bob, which one of these methods do you think will best benefit your team?”
Now Bob is thinking about the three options you just offered in addition to how they will affect his team. And if he didn’t read your email, he’s now wondering what other business-relevant information is in it.
Your email, like any white paper or direct mail piece, is an entry vector into your relationship with that contact. The email exists to facilitate your conversation, not to be the focus of your conversation. You are not selling the email.
You are selling yourself and your ability to identify and solve their challenges.
Here’s the summary. If your call is referencing a previous email, talk about items that will force your contact to think about specific challenges. These conversations will build rapport with your client and build forward momentum in your sales process.
P.S. Remember to download your free copy of our sales brief on uncovering and handling objections, Seven Steps to Handling Objections here.