CHAPTER FOUR. The Introduction Email. Tips to Getting Read. How many emails do you receive each day? And how many of those do you delete without reading more than a few words, the subject line, or anything at all? What it is that gets you to read the few you do actually read?
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The Introduction Email
Tips to Getting Read
How many emails do you receive each day? And how many of those do you delete without reading more than a few words, the subject line, or anything at all? What it is that gets you to read the few you do actually read?
Let’s face it. Sales is a volume game: you’re going to have to spend some time fishing before you catch a fish. But if you’ve got an empty hook, you’re very unlikely to catch anything.
Here are nine tips to sending emails that actually get read:
Use a reference whenever possible. Did someone internally refer you to them? That’s optimal, but not common. Have you previously done work for their company, or even their industry? This creates immediate credibility and significantly increases your chances of getting a response.
Personalization. Personalizing both the subject line and the greeting maximizes the prospect’s likelihood of recognizing that you are a person, not a machine, and are sending this email to them directly. If you are sending emails en masse, personalizing the email wherever you can is critical – as long as it’s done in a natural, conversational way.
Keep it short. That’s all.
Did the prospect respond and say they weren’t the right person? Always thank them and kindly ask them to redirect you to the correct person if they can.
Double Bonus Tip:
Have some fun! When you’re doing your lead generation work and come across a funny name, title, etc., keep a whiteboard in the office (or a shared document) and share it with the rest of the team. A little humor makes a tough assignment a lot more fun.
Avoid attachments. Most companies won’t let emails with large attachments through, and the ones that get through will have scary-looking warnings all around them. Hyperlinks are good, but not more than two or three, including any in your e-signature.
Avoid attention-makers. Italics, boldface, and exclamation points – all of thesecan get your email stuck in the junk filter. Be careful about getting too cute with subject lines…a little intrigue is OK and can pique curiosity, but they are closely scanned for certain keywords that are likely to indicate a non-work related email. And be careful with e-signatures; they account for a surprisingly large amount of undeliverable emails, probably because so many of them include pictures, hyperlinks, bolding, underlining, and italics…all the things you should be avoiding in the body of your note.
Should you start with the most senior contact and then work your way down? Or will you have more success if you start with the junior folks and work your way up? There is no hard-and-fast rule about this. Sometimes, the senior person will forward your email to a more junior person, asking them to contact you and “screen” you. This is good, because the junior person is less likely to ignore the request from their boss. Other times, the senior person is less likely to respond, and you are better off starting with the junior person and working your way up the seniority chain. It really depends on the company, the size of the research organization, and the individual, so do both until you start to see some trends emerge.
“Professional Persistence”. Getting emails read is also largely a matter of timing and persistence. If your prospect is slammed, he or she may just delete your email because there’s too much work to do. Or it may seem somewhat interesting, but shipped off to an unread mail folder, waiting for that elusive day when there might be time to read it. So to increase the chance that your email will be read, follow-up…and be professionally persistent. Bridgemark Solutions recommends sending a follow-up message about four or five business days after the initial email, by forwarding the initial email and appending it with a new, short message reinforcing the points in your original note. After that, follow up on a similar schedule for a total of three or four weeks. Don’t create a new email every time…forward the ones you’ve already sent so that a.) the prospect knows you’re a real person, not a blast email machine, and b.) our conclusion is that junk mail filters tend to allow more emails through that are forwarded, as opposed to new.
Plan for Success
While the email is important, it must be supported by a consistent process, or it will just be a random activity. Set aside a time for lead generation, and stick to it. In addition to being consistent, the process must be repeatable, or it will not be efficient. Create a set of emails that work for different services and under different conditions, and customize them for each prospect. Use a CRM tool (like www.Salesforce.com) to keep you and others honest in following the lead generation schedule. Keep track of, publicize, and reward your team’s lead generation metrics (emails sent, follow-up’s made, leads generated, etc.), so that you have accountability to yourself, as well as others in your company who are involved in these tough-but-critical business development activities.