Every salesperson knows that email can be a wonderful tool in so many ways. This is especially true when the sales process has stalled due to lack of communication. If a client simply isn’t returning phone calls or responding to inquiries, you may have to force the issue with a tactful email. Do it cleverly and professionally, of course, but do it.`
For example, a member of our team once found himself very frustrated when a client ignored all his attempts to connect after a great initial sales call. He had done everything right before, during and after that meeting (which the client had requested), but there was just no follow-up communication from the client.
In situations like the above, too often salespeople give up just a bit too soon. Consider a piece of research (albeit a bit dated)from Xerox that revealed it took the average copier salesperson 6.7 sales calls to close a sale, but that the average salesperson stopped pursuing the business at 5.2.
Now, that doesn’t mean they would be successful if they made two more sales calls per prospect. But it does highlight salespeople’s tendency to walk away from opportunities prematurely. Email can help solve that. Our team member knew this and decided to send the following email:
“I hope all is well.
I am a bit disappointed that we have not been able to connect. I attribute that to your extremely busy travel schedule. But I would appreciate some guidance as to how to proceed.
We met on March 30 in New York and had what I thought was a productive meeting. You asked me to send some initial recommendations which I did via email on April 9th. I referred to that document as an initial proposal.
I have called several times since then without success. Again, I know how jammed your schedule is, but I want you to know I am still quite enthusiastic about the possibility of working together.
If you would please send me a brief response to this memo suggesting how to move forward in this process, I would appreciate that very much. As we teach in our prospecting course, a fair question to ask is: “Should we persist or desist?”
I look forward to hearing from you, and regardless of how this all transpires, I wish you much success in addressing the challenges we discussed.
Thank you and best regards…”
Within two days he received this response:
“I apologize for the delay in getting back to you. I have been traveling a lot. Also, I am leading a new global leadership development project. Recently, sales training has been made a 2013 priority. However, I am trying to see what I can do about getting you connected with some of our business leaders to move their initiatives along.”
And our team member responded with this:
“Thank you for the update. The new Global Leadership Development project sounds exciting. And I know firsthand how much you will enjoy working with that Group.
I appreciate your efforts to introduce me to the appropriate people. When the timing is right we will be available.
Thanks again, for the quick response. I’ll wait to hear from you regarding next steps.”
And so it was confirmed that the prospect still belonged in the active file. This wouldn’t lead to new business in the short term, but the process was able to continue.
Would it have been easier for the salesperson to just give up and walk away? Absolutely.
But instead he pursued the opportunity and we expect it to eventually result in new business – thanks to a simple, yet creatively written, email.
After you’ve written the body of your email, don’t forget that you’ve only finished half the battle. You also need to choose a catchy subject line, and your choice is just as critical as the content of the email itself. Here are a few examples of how to get a client’s attention:
- “Sam James checking in”
- “Sorry it has been hard to connect”
- “When might we speak?”
- “Asking for a two-minute conversation?”
- “I’m still interested…”
You get the idea.
Above all, hang in there. Prospecting is hard work. Everyone is busy, and too often, non-responsive. But a clever email might be just what you need to turn the tide.
Can you think of a time that an email helped you close a sale? Tell us the story in a comment below!