December has always been a fascinating month for me. Filled with the anticipation of what the next year will bring as well as contemplation of what the last year has been. It also includes the chaos of preparing for the holidays, seeing friends and relatives and working to finish things up so you have a clean start after the new year.
For me, the last month has been very intense as we’ve been working (hard) to close outstanding business, and to move opportunities along so they’re in a strong place post holidays. While the phone is still a very important tool for any salesperson, email communication has become more important than ever. In today's world there are times when email is more conducive than the phone to move things forward.
Over time, I've found three emails that I go to time and again to move opportunities along, and I'm going to share the approach of these emails with you today. It's important to note that there's no such thing as a "magic-bullet" email. Email works when it's personalized to the situation, and fits the context of everything else you are doing. I share these emails for inspiration.
1. Getting Introduced to Someone Higher Up
An increasingly common situation for salespeople today is the need to begin the sales conversations at lower levels of the organization. While this can be advantageous in building a strong business case before you talk with the executive level, it does complicate the process and it means that you have to make "multiple sales" to close business.
The main point to keep in mind when writing these emails is that your real audience isn't the person your writing to, it's the person you want to be introduced to.
2. Addressing a "Zombie" Opportunity
Zombie opportunities are ones that start off strong and suddenly lose all signs of life (though they still show up in your pipeline report). I wrote about addressing zombies in a previous post, and here's my go to email for these situations. By the way, credit to my friend and prospecting genius John Barrows for the subject of the email.
A key to this email is to be direct in your request, and to leave them with something of value. Many zombies are actually lost opportunities and you won't be able to recover them in the short-term. When that's the case, you're goal is to leave them with value and look to reinitiate actions in the future.
3. Confirming Next Steps
One of the biggest leaks I've seen in most salespeople's process actually occurs after a positive conversation. The salesperson follows up in a manner that is not crystal clear, and/or doesn't focus on the actions the prospect should take; and that lack of clarity actually contribues to turning it into a zombie. The key to this email is to be clear, assign actions and to give deadlines.
An advantage of having go-to emails like these is the ability to turn them into templates and then track the effectiveness of the emails you're using. Sharing the best emails with your sales team, makes everyone better. Additionally, by tracking their performance you're able to continuously tweak and improve your efforts and continously improve your effort and drive better results.