The “Land a Meeting with Anyone” Email That Works 9 Out of 10 Times
Scenario: You’re trying to find the decision-maker in the company
Contributor: Bryan Kreuzberger, Founder of Breakthrough Email
This first touch email leverages existing corporate hierarchies to schedule your first meeting. Nine times out of ten, this template is all I need to book a meeting.
First Touch Best Practice: Email Back Strategically
Scenario: Your prospect emails you back with a ton of questions
Contributor: Rachel Miller, Sandler Training
When we receive inquiry emails, we often find they are loaded with questions. For instance: “How much does it cost?”, “What kinds of services do you offer?”, “Yes, I did request that white paper—now how do I take the next step?”, “What can you tell me regarding how you might be able to help my company?”, “Could you send me a list of the different products that you have and their pricing?”
These questions are a good thing. The prospect, interested in learning more, reached out and started a conversation. But, as you’ve probably discovered, trying to answer all the questions through email just results in an ineffective volley of hollow emails that bounce back and forth indefinitely, and make it nearly impossible to close an initial sale. In many cases, these back-and- forth emails are not even an effective way of selling after the person has become a customer!
When the email comes in, you have a few options on how to deal with it. You can wait to address it. You can send an email reply. Or you can call the person directly.
As a go-getter, your first instinct might be to pick up the phone and dial the number immediately. Resist that urge.
When prospects make this type of inquiry, we suggest you respond by email first without answering ALL of the questions. It’s okay to volley the conversation back and forth a few times over email, so long as you don’t send too much or inaccurate information.
Remember, your goal should be taking the conversation offline, not on closing a sale through email. The point bears repeating: If you try to close via email, you’ll likely get stuck in a confusing and frustrating back-and-forth cycle with a prospect’s who’s probably getting frustrated, too. Another problem, of course, is that if you give a great deal of information via email, you fall into the traditional (ineffective) selling approach of premature presentation. Prescribing a solution to your prospect’s problem before you properly diagnose it is sales malpractice.
Frequently, your call will go right into the prospect’s voice mail and get lost in the clutter. If that happens, your odds of having a meaningful conversation with the prospect decrease drastically. If the prospect wanted a phone conversation right away, she would have called you instead of emailing!
What if you had simply responded through email with something like this?
“Hi Mary, thank you very much for thinking of us. Would you mind if we took this conversation to the phone?”
A message like that will substantially increase your odds of closing the sale with Mary. She knows you’ve seen her phone number at the bottom of her email. But even if the contact phone number isn’t there, you’ll find that prospects frequently respond positively when you ask for permission to speak on the phone. Prospects will say, “Yes, that’s fine. You can reach me this afternoon at 123-456-7890.”
One reason this works is that even though you could have called Mary, you didn’t. Therefore, you don’t appear to be needy or unsuccessful. Rather, you’re portraying an attitude of experience and success. You demonstrated respect for the boundary the prospect created by using email, and you didn’t come off as desperate. People love to do business with successful people, and this approach helps create that impression.
Of course, what you write in your initial email response depends to some extent on what the prospect said or asked you. Let’s imagine Mary sent you an initial email loaded with questions, and she expects some answers in your response. You can try using what we call a “reverse” – a response that answers a question with a question – in your email.
Note the strokes and softening statements before the question. That’s what effectively reversing a question in an e-mail looks like. Instead of listing features and benefits, you answered her question with a question of your own. Why? Because getting her on the phone will help you more effectively understand her situation and discover her pain, which is the true reason for her email. Additionally, verbal communication gives you a much better opportunity to build rapport, an essential prerequisite to effective communication… and to closing the sale.
In some cases, you may decide to answer some of her questions when you are sure that there is no risk in answering those queries. In this situation, you’re not giving away information that will help Mary to “shop you” against competitors. Instead, your answers will help you establish enough rapport to get a phone conversation.
For example, let’s say you are in the computer network support business and you feel it’s safe to answer a question like this: “We have local area networks and use some cloud-based applications. Can you support a network like that?”
Your email might both respond and reverse:
“Hi, Mary. Thank you so much for thinking of us. Yes, in fact, we do support local area networks as well as the cloud. Could you be kind enough to tell me a little bit more about your project?”
With her initial questions answered, Mary will likely respond with some more information and probably a few more questions of her own. At this point you’ve established some rapport, so you would answer with:
“Thanks again for reaching out. I want to answer all your questions, and I also want to be sure I’m giving you accurate answers. So, I have a few questions I’d like to ask you. Would you mind if we took this conversation to the phone?”
In all likelihood, when you send this, you won’t look like a tiger prowling in the grass for prey, but as a conscientious person struggling a bit, and trying to do a good job. Often, the prospect will agree to the phone call.