Sending and receiving emails is a fact of life in sales. If you are working in an inside sales position, you may end up spending half your time writing and responding to emails instead of making and receiving phone calls.
Before emails, some inside sales departments were almost like the boiler rooms depicted in movies where salespeople would pound the phones daily, making call after call. In most cases, those days are now gone. Many clients and prospects may prefer corresponding with you by email because it saves them time, or they just don’t like talking to salespeople.
You have to trust your gut when considering whether to contact your clients by email or phone. If you find that your client prefers being contacted by email, then go with that route. If he would rather talk to you over the phone, then make the call. But do what your client prefers doing, and in most cases, you will be on this best side.
Some old fashion managers feel that sending emails is a waste of time or a cop-out for shy salespeople who don’t have the courage to make cold calls. I once knew someone who worked in a sales department where her manager ordered the entire sales team to stop sending out emails. They were instructed to only make outbound phone calls. He felt that making more sales calls would help increase sales. It didn’t. Within a couple of weeks, salespeople were allowed to send emails again.
In the next couple of posts, I’m going to show you some YouTube videos on tips on how to write emails. In my last post on the topic, I will offer you my suggestions.
Here are some basic tips for sending and writing emails:
1). Keep your emails concise and to the point. From a sales point of view, the purpose of emails is to quickly attract your clients’ attention, get an appointment, answer any questions or concerns, and move the sales process forward. You are writing an email, not a novel.
2). Select an interesting topic for the subject line. Something eye-catching that doesn’t scream “please delete me.” For example, after meeting a prospect at a trade show, don’t mention your product or the conference name in the subject line. Why? Because your prospect is going to be bombarded with emails from other vendors. Instead, say “Great Meeting You!” in the subject line. Or, if you discussed a specific problem with your client, rather than mention your company’s name or product in the subject line, focus on the problem he is trying to resolve like “Question re: tax research” or “Still need office equipment?”
spelcheck spellcheck. Nothing says loser faster than misspelled words in an email.
4). Use a good signature format underneath your email text. Some salespeople like to use short signature identification these days, like their name, title, company name and that’s it. I prefer using a long and detailed signature format that includes your name, title, company name, full address, phone number, fax number, link to your website and your email address. Why? Because it gives you more credibility in the eyes of your clients. This is especially true when you are dealing with new prospects. The more information you provide upfront about yourself, the more comfortable you make a prospect feel about you. In their eyes, you have nothing to hide and maybe a trustworthy salesperson to deal with. As the old saying goes, trust is the building block for building good long-term relationships.
5). Avoid trite or cliché openings. Forget saying “I hope this email finds you well.” or “I hope you are doing well,” or “I hope you had a good weekend.” Just get right to the point and state the business of your email. Clients are busy.
6). Don’t copy everyone and their mother. No one wants to have their inbox cluttered with a lot of copied email that doesn’t apply to them, or has minimal interest or value to them. Target your emails specifically to the people you are dealing with. They will be glad you did.
7). Use hyperlink. Using hyperlinks saves space and looks nicer when sending an email. Instead of copying and pasting an entire URL of one of your company’s products and dropping it in the text, just hyperlink it in your email. It looks more professional.
8). Focus on the client, not yourself. As I mentioned earlier, clients don’t care about you – they care about their problems. Don’t ramble on about all the great benefits of your product. Instead, target your email specifically to the client’s needs and concerns.
9). Skip the jargon. While you may think you are impressing the client with your business or industry jargon, he may not always understand what you are saying. However, as a rule of thumb, if a client uses jargon in his emails to you, mimic him and use the same jargon back to him. This way the client will feel that he is communicating with a peer or expert and not just another salesperson. (However, just make sure you know what the jargon actually means so that you don’t embarrass yourself).
10). Have a goal in mind. What is the purpose of sending your email? Is it to begin a conversation with a new prospect? Are you trying to restart the sales process because you haven’t heard back from your client in months? Do you want him to trial your service? Do you want him to watch a demo?
11). Try to offer value. When it came to writing emails, we had an old saying at one of my previous jobs –“would you pay a dollar for your email?” Meaning, you should try to offer real value in your correspondence. That value could include sending a white paper, case study or interesting article that would apply to your client’s needs and industry. But whatever you do, please don’t write “I’m just checking in” – because you might as well write “I want to waste your time because I have nothing better to do right now.” Clients are busy. If you have nothing of value to offer clients, don’t waste their time.
The purpose of using email is to move the selling process along. Use it wisely, and you will be successful.
photo credit: kristiewells via photopin cc