E-mail Strategies that Reach Decision Makers

March 25, 2013

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In today’s wild world of corporate America, it can be difficult to get a decision-maker on the phone. Sometimes email is your best—or only—option. If a gatekeeper or assistant tells you the best way to reach a particular prospect is by email, then definitely send one. Here are some strategies that may increase your chances of beginning a conversation with a prospect.

  • Use an attention-grabbing subject line
    If a prospect does not read your email—or worse, deletes it—the sales process stops. A compelling subject line grabs the reader. Magazine and newspaper headlines make great models, even though the topic of your sales pitch will, of course be different.  Asking questions or using the prospects name can be effective, but be careful – make sure to follow spam rules which state that you subject line must reflect the body of the text you are sending to your prospect.  If you receive a referral to the prospect, use the referral’s name in the subject line: “John Smith recommended that I contact you.” Also, avoid using spam triggers such as “Affordable,” “Limited time,” or “Increase sales.”
  • Be aware of timing
    Try not to send emails on Friday after the noon hour or right before a holiday as most people are wrapping up, winding down, and preparing for a break at that time. It’s also a good idea to avoid the day or two after the return of an extended leave to avoid being lost in the bottleneck of catchup emails.
  • Keep it short and sweet
    The email should quickly get to the point and be no more than one screen in length. Just like a voice mail message, be sure to focus on a benefit or result that you, the company, or the product or service can provide.
  • Include a call-to-action
    What is the prospect’s next step? If you want a phone response, be straightforward and say, “Please call me.” Do not expect him or her to automatically know what to do. An effective, but less, in -your-face approach to the same call-to-action is to say something like, “feel free to say no, but allow me to ask, might our service or product  be of interest to  you either now or at some point in the future?”
  • Avoid attachments, HTML, and fancy graphics
    Remember that the prospect could be reading on a smart phone, which may alter the format of attachments, HTML, and graphics. In addition, such items often get caught in spam filters which may prevent the email from being delivered in the first place.Email can also be an effective follow-up method to a cold call where you left a voicemail. If you leave an introductory voice message about a product or service and intend to send a follow up email, be sure to get that message out within the day if not sooner. This allows the prospect to maintain association between your voicemail and email message, creating temporary brand awareness. The email should be a simple recap of your voice message with few details.If the prospect does not respond, try repeating a similar call the following week, and if you must leave another voicemail, follow-up with a second email in a different tone; this time make it a reassurance statement encouraging a response, even if it is a no. Also let the prospect know that before you move on, you want to make sure he or she is not just too busy to respond. If so, the conversation can be filed for a later date.

In today’s age where electronic communication is more dominant, individuals tend to be conditioned (and more comfortable) sending a response via email. It is not likely that someone will call to say “no thanks,” for fear of being talked out of their decision. Remember, a big function of telemarketing is categorizing and qualifying, so even when the answer is no, you can always push for further detail of what no means: “my brother does that service for us,” “call me back in six months,” or “we are going out of business.” The more information you have about a prospect, the closer you are to better qualifying your list through email.


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