Tag: prospecting

17 Tips On Cold Emails – Don’t Make These Mistakes!

17 Tips On Cold Emails – Don’t Make These Mistakes!

It used to be fashionable to make phone calls to unsuspecting people at companies to try and create interest in your product. With the advent of caller ID, voicemail, and smartphones, the practice of cold phone calls has seen a severe drop in productivity. It is still possible to find a lead this way, but due to the low hit rate, it is better to delegate this activity to junior employees that are not carrying a multi-million dollar quota.

In my book “Eliminate Your Competition” I suggest that salespeople send a series of emails to potential prospects in a targeted campaign before trying to make a phone call. I call this the 6-3-1 Program. It won’t guarantee you success, but it has proven to be far more effective than just blindly dialing for dollars.

I understand that your manager may disagree with this campaign. Most managers earned their stripes “back in the good old days” when people answered their phones. Some managers are as old as me and remember actually walking into the front door of a business, asking for a person with a particular title, and being reasonably confident that the person would come out and talk to you for a few minutes.

Let’s be perfectly honest; the world has changed. In those olden days:

  • Telephones had numbers that went in a circle.
  • Telephones were physically attached to a wall by a wire.
  • You had to pay extra to make a “long distance” phone call.
  • Correspondence was written on ground-up trees.
  • Front seats of cars may or may not have had seat belts.

If you are still prospecting with the same techniques as when any of the above was true, then you need to re-think your strategy. It is the 21st century and Ford, Carter, and Reagan are no longer President.

The most effective way to prospect is to include some email correspondence. Unfortunately, email has its challenges. First, an email address is very similar to a phone number – it is wrong then you won’t reach your intended recipient. In the past, I have spoken about Hunter, and it is a great way to start to find email addresses that actually connect to people.

The next challenge with email is that your prospect probably gets A LOT OF EMAILS. You need to make it past the spam filter of the company, the prospect’s spam filter, and the prospect’s “this is junk” rapid deletion techniques. Hopefully, the rest of this article will make that easier.

The number one rule is to send email to your prospects like you were sending email to your old college buddy or your mom. The more fancy and highly formatted your email is, the more likely it looks like spam and less like honest correspondence with your friends.

To determine if a message is spam, most spam filters check for appropriate email authentication and your sending IP reputation. To avoid having your emails considered spam, use email authentication and protect your sending reputation.

Email Authentication

If you use a service for sending your emails, make sure it has good and appropriate safeguards. Email authentication helps ISPs determine whether an email is coming from a legitimate source. Setting up your email authentication is crucial for good deliverability. The two most common authentication standards are SPF and DKIM. Every major ISP and most major spam filter providers check for one or both of these standards when determining what to do with an email.

Sending IP Reputation
Your sending IP reputation is based on many factors, including:

  • Bounce rates
  • Blacklistings
  • Spam complaints

Be careful sending from Salesforce.com.  I have heard that spam filters can easily be configured to block Salesforce.com. I say this because of the domain name of the sending servers, i.e., salesforce.com, and the domain of your ‘from’ will not be the same, in both cases. If a client has strict email rules which verify the sending services with the From address, it may mark it as higher on the spam list.

The 17 “Don’t” list

  1. Don’t use embedded URLs. Embedded URLs are a red flag.  Friends send URLs that look like www.confident-investor.com/watchlist, and they don’t send URLs that look like Watch List where the text is HTML, and the link is part of the text.
  2. Don’t use email tracking. Do you really need tracking turned on? How is that going to make you more money or build your credibility with your prospect?  Emails from friends do not have tracking, so if you turn on tracking the spam filter robots will detect this and your spam scale will increase.
  3. Don’t use all caps anywhere in your email or its subject line.
  4. Don’t use video, Flash, or javascript within your email. Friends don’t do this; they only do URLs.
  5. Don’t embed forms in your emails. Friends don’t do this. Include a URL to your site instead.
  6. Don’t use spam trigger words like “free,” “guarantee,” and “no obligation” in your subject line or email body. A good rule of thumb is, if it sounds like something a used car salesperson would say, it’s probably a spam trigger word. Here is an excellent listing of words to avoid.
  7. Don’t use a red font when drafting your email (in fact, don’t use any special color).
  8. Don’t use a light-colored font on top of a dark background. Remember, your best friend from college wouldn’t do that to coordinate lunch next week so neither should you.
  9. Don’t use excessive exclamation points!!!!!
  10. Don’t forget to use spell check. Misspellings are yet another spam indicator in your email copy. Someday the spammers from other countries will understand how to spell and the grammatical techniques of the US, but until that time make sure your content is correct as it is a great differentiator.
  11. Don’t play games with subject lines. Subject lines that spark curiosity get emails opened, but that’s just half the story. Subject lines that misrepresent emails irritate prospects and drive them to flag you as spam. For example, some sales reps add “Re:” or “FW:” to guise their cold emails as conversations and pique their prospect’s interest. In reality, this is misleading. Moreover, why would a prospect trust you if your first touch with them is deceptive?
  12. Don’t use “hash-busting” to get past the spam filters. Hash-busting is using special characters designed to break up words or phrases (e.g. “Fr3e W!nn@r”). It might work, but it probably encourages your prospect to immediately hit Delete (or worse, manually flag it as spam).
  13. Don’t use URL shorteners. Remember your mother doesn’t use a URL shortener. Only marketers, salespeople, and spammers use shorteners in an email. Aside from being too “salesy”, it is too easy to embed an inappropriate site into a URL shortener, so many people will not click on a shortened URL. It really isn’t worth the trouble – who cares if a URL is long.
  14. Don’t use sloppy HTML code. Using Microsoft Word to design in HTML can add extra formatting to the code, which raises your spam score (and also makes your emails look terrible). If you do create in Word, you should copy/paste as text.
  15. Don’t use too many images and not enough text. Don’t embed text inside of images, or send emails that are all-image, no text. Once again, would your best friend do this when asking you to the game next week weekend? In fact, don’t put images into your email.  I know your marketing department wants you to put a logo into your email or maybe an ad for your next user group. Resist this urge and tell your marketing department to read this article. Your job is to have your email read by your prospect and it won’t get read if it is in their Junk folder.
  16. Don’t use the dollar symbol in the subject line and rarely in the text. Avoid the dollar symbol like the plague, as well as the exclamation point if you can help it. These are huge red flags for spam filters.
  17. Don’t flood your prospect’s server. Corporate server-based spam filters might mark your email as spam if multiple emails to the same company with the same subject line delivered seconds apart. I suggest you modify each subject line slightly if you are doing cold emails.

Cold emails can increase your chances of finding a qualified prospect. However, like all other tools, you need to know how to be effective at using email. My 6-3-1 program in my book “Eliminate Your Competition” is an excellent way to find more people that you can help. It combines email marketing, with phone calls and with educational newsletters. You may purchase my book “Eliminate Your Competition” from your favorite book retailer. The ebook version is available at the most popular retailers such as Apple, Amazon, Barnes & Noble. The paperback version is also widely available at such retailers as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books A Million.

 

Photo by Infrogmation

Reading upside down – are you twisted or do you have a sales skill

Reading upside down – are you twisted or do you have a sales skill

This image of upside down text (and similar ones featuring a minion or two) are everywhere on the Internet.

In case you struggle with the wording it is:

“If you can read this with ease you are twisted! And have an awesome talent! This is both backwards and upside down!”

To be clear, the image is slightly wrong. It is not “backwards.” It is just upside down. If you rotate this image 180 degrees in image viewer, it will look normal. I also didn’t fix any grammatical mistakes that may be in the text of the document.

The claim in the image is that you have an awesome talent because you can read upside down text, but you are twisted. Actually, I prefer the former since most salespeople need to work on being more observant. This is especially true with documents on the desk – which are upside down for you.

Salespeople visit the working environments of others. While some will say that it is “quaint” to look for pictures and quotes to gain clues about the prospect, I disagree. There is nothing more important than trying to create a personal bond with the person you are speaking with during the sales call. You can obviously try to talk about things that are interesting to you (outside of the product and service that you sell), but it is much easier to talk about something of interest to the prospect. There is no harm in asking about golf if there is golf memorabilia in the office. Or, if there are pictures of children playing sports, asking about those is completely relevant.

Try not to be so obtuse and shallow that you see a picture of your prospect with children and spouse that you ask how old the children are now. You can do better than that!

It is important that you notice documents on the prospect’s desk. You aren’t trying to be nosy, but you are trying to understand your prospect. You don’t need to read his personal email, but you should look for logos on documents from your competitors. You should also look for literature or reading material. Books on the bookcase on topics in your industry will be helpful as well.

When you are in front of a prospect, your job is to completely understand his or her world. Don’t just assume that you will be told everything that you need. A professional Trapper salesperson is looking to understand the lay of the land. Where are the game trails? What other competitors are in play? All of these skills are important – even reading upside down.

upside down minion

Image source

Disqualify Sales Prospects to Facilitate Sales Cycles

Disqualify Sales Prospects to Facilitate Sales Cycles

Guest Article By Michael Halper

As a sales person needing a commission and to hit quota, we are usually in a mode where we are telling sales prospects why our products are the right product for them. But if the sales opportunity is not moving in the direction or at the speed that you would like, it can be powerful to do the opposite and disqualify the prospect by questioning if our product is the right fit for them.

New Car Example

Let’s take an example of a new car shopper to display how this could work. The prospect has been looking at cars, done the research, completed the test driving, and narrowed the choice to one car. She has expressed interest but is hesitant to move forward to the next step in the process which is to purchase.

At this point the momentum and speed of the sales cycle has slowed so the sales person has three options:

1. Do nothing: The sales person could do nothing and let the prospect manage the speed and direction. This can lead to getting stuck in “idle land” which could result in more time being wasted on both sides and increase the probability of “no decision”.

2. Push harder: The sales person could push harder and try to sell more aggressively to the prospect. The risk here is that, if there is internal confliction going on in the sales prospect, then by pushing harder could push them away.

3. Disqualify: When the sales person notices the hesitation and confliction, they can disqualify by mentioning that maybe the purchase is not right. After this is done, if the purchase is a good fit, the sales prospect will begin to respond by selling on why it is a good fit and get through their hesitation.

As you can see from those options, disqualifying a prospect when they show resistance or hesitation can be a very powerful sales tactic. Below are some of the key benefits from doing this at the right time in sales opportunities:

Improve Momentum

When you do this on a qualified prospect with genuine interest and authority to buy, when you push them away by disqualifying, they will typically come back by selling you on why it makes sense. By the prospect selling you, this can take a deal that is either not moving or moving backward and create new momentum.

Uncover New Information

When a sales prospect begins to sell you after a disqualification, you will stand to uncover new information as they will likely communicate in their own words why it makes sense and that could uncover new details on their needs and how they stand to benefit.

Establish Credibility

By disqualifying a sales prospect, you will take a huge stride in the area of establishing credibility. This is powerful as the typical sales person will opt to be more aggressive in a scenario where they sense hesitation. By you disqualifying, not only do you stand out from the competition, but you also appear to be putting the interests of the prospect before your own interests of closing a deal.

Michael Halper is an ICF certified coach that works with individuals and organizations helping to drive growth and improvement. For more information about coaching and development visit Compass Coaching you can read more about Disqualifying Sales Prospects or Sales Coaching.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Michael_Halper

http://EzineArticles.com/?Disqualify-Sales-Prospects-to-Facilitate-Sales-Cycles&id=5415606

 

 

Photo by familymwr