The Cold Email I Read Through to the End - Is  There Hope for Salespeople and Marketers?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Feb 22, 2022 @ 15:02 PM

email-1

I bought my first cell phone in 1985.  The enormous device was hard wired to the car, connected to a heavy metal box, and cost $2,000 to install.  All calls in and out were billed by the minute and my bill averaged around $1,500 per month. The coverage was so spotty that most calls were dropped several times per conversation.  The only practical way to use the "car phone" was to find a coverage area, find a place to park in that area, and then have a conversation.  It took a good 15 years for the technology to catch up with the concept!

The same thing has happened with email prospecting.  I had my first email account in the early 90's.  My email address at the time was sales guru at prodigy dot net. Since then, marketers and BDRs have been sending dreadful emails to drum up interest and I believe it has been an utter failure. Over the past few years, they added artificial intelligence (AI) to their efforts and despite the time it saved, it was far worse.  Emails generated using AI were absolutely dreadful.  Until now. Sunday I received a cold email, generated using AI that was actually personalized.  Not with just my name, but it included information about my company, where I attended college and more.  While I still have no interest or need for the service being pitched, I actually read it instead of deleting it.  Here's what it said:

 

Hi Dave — We hope you're well, and having a great start to the new year and the Q1. I'm inviting CEOs with similar backgrounds to an exclusive session below.

I love that Objective Management Group continues to pioneer the sales assessment industry by providing crucial insights to maximize sales performance in companies of all sizes and industries. It's clear why you do it. I have been researching the importance of creating "perfect pitches" for consistent conversions when selling candidates quarters!

I'm [his name], [his title] at [his company] We recently invited a number of companies similar to yours, please accept our intro session for Objective Management Group (attached deck here) to learn more about how we've helped them.

I've noticed that you graduated from Assumption College, hope it was a great experience! Have a wonderful rest of your week!

I'm not saying this is good because it's not even close to good.  It's just better than what I usually get.  The second paragraph is copied from OMG's website and the college information was probably taken from LinkedIn. Every sentence has grammatical and style errors and it has a terrible call to action but it is SO much better than the dozens of emails that you and I receive each day. Those are so, so awful and without any good reason ask for us to hop on a call this afternoon for a discussion.   

Worse, their workflow was overly aggressive.  Without indicating that I was open to a meeting, I received a calendar invite for a random time.  I declined the invite and then received a meeting confirmation.  The potential is there but the execution, from writing to workflows was still horrible.  It makes me wonder.  Companies and marketers invest the money for these AI applications but don't invest in copyrighting, messaging and getting the workflows right.  Why bother?

And in case you got the wrong idea, I'm not suggesting that you run out, get an AI application and begin sending better automated messages.  I'm suggesting that if you are going to bypass the phone and resort to prospecting by email (I'm not a fan), then invest the time to manually target, do your own research, invest in better messaging, take the time to plan your follow up and don't follow the email I shared.  That's your only chance if you actually want and expect anyone to read a cold email.

Image copyright 123RF

Topics: Dave Kurlan, prospecting, selling via email, email prospecting, cold emails

Are You Using This New Technology to Generate New Opportunities?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Nov 13, 2019 @ 13:11 PM

rainbow-flatware

Do you have Rainbow flatware?  Biomagnetic ear stickers? A diamond-shaped ice cube tray? Baby feather wings?  Yah, these things exist here.  You don't?  Me neither.

Have you signed up to use a company that uses AI to generate leads for you?  You haven't?  Me neither.

It seems to me that the only companies using AI to generate leads are the companies trying to sell you their services using AI to generate leads.  How ironic!

AI-generated emails make up the majority of the digital solicitations I receive and they are all from companies offering their lead generation services.  These emails are very easy to recognize.  The personalization is nearly non-existent, the formatting is awful, the message sucks, and they lack traditional signature panels.  But the easiest way to recognize that these are AI-generated emails is the workflow.  They never send one email.  There are usually five or six more that follow and they all seem to include some of the same requests to "bump" their email to the top of the inbox, to "take another look" at their offer, "acknowledge" how busy I am, and the one that drives me crazy, that they "hope" I'm doing well.

In addition to AI, some marketers and sellers utilize workflows from their Marketo, Hubspot and similar marketing/prospecting applications.  Emails and workflows from these applications are usually better composed and formatted.  I'm looking at one of those now, from a UK-based technology firm, attempting to sell outsourced IT consulting.  This particular workflow has sent me 9 emails in the last 5 weeks.  They all begin with "Hope you're doing well."  Then they follow with:

  • 1st email: I am getting in touch to make sure your fieldwork and data collection needs are met.
  • 2nd email: This is a quick note to make sure you received my previous email
  • 3rd email: In case my previous email was an educated stab in the dark,
  • 4th email: I am connecting with you to ask if you need additional support
  • 5th email: I hope you had a chance to review my previous email and hope it didn’t get buried in your inbox.
  • 6th email: I am sorry if I caught you at the wrong time with my previous email.
  • 7th email: see 1st email (back to the beginning)
  • 8th email: I am getting in touch today to see if there is a chance for us to collaborate on your current/upcoming projects.
  • 9th email: I was just curious to know if you received my previous email, and if you had all the information you need in order to get going!

She incorrectly assumes that after 9 emails, she has developed a relationship, participated in positive, constructive conversations with me, and that I have moved from cold prospect to closable prospect.  All this despite hearing nothing but crickets from me.  This is insane!  Why are people wasting their time on these "please delete me" emails?

Back to the AI-generated emails.  They are exponentially worse than what I just shared above!

My recommendation?  Use this powerful game-changer instead or use video conferencing.

Are you in?  Share your comments on the LinkedIn discussion for this article.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, prospecting, lead generation, email prospecting, AI

How to Write a Sales Email That Works

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Jan 03, 2018 @ 14:01 PM

email2.jpg

I receive so many unsolicited emails each day that it makes my head spin.  Most of them, like the cold calls I get, are simply horrible.  Delete.  Delete.  Delete.  Junk.  Block.  Unsubscribe.

This week I received the daily double - a cold call with an identical, corresponding email.  The email read like this:

Hi Dave, 

I hope this message finds you well.

We spoke in the past regarding the copier equipment in your office.  At the time you indicated that your existing contract will be ending just over a year from now.  Have you started to look into this yet?  Our company would love a shot to earn your business.

 

I'll go through this line by line and explain what's horrible, what's OK and how I would change it.

 

He began with "Hi Dave."  That's the best part of the email!  Seriously.  It was personalized, but not too much.  I would have cringed if it said Hi Dave Kurlan.  Or Hi Kurlan.  Or Hi DKurlan.  I also hate Good Day, Hello, Dear Dave, Sir, Dear Sir, Good Morning, Good Afternoon and Good Evening.  Greetings, Dear Reader, Dear Subscriber and Mr. Kurlan.

 

Then came, "I hope this message finds you well."  OMG!  That is completely inauthentic and way too typical.  You don't even say that to your friends!   Saying nothing at all is better than saying that.

 

He followed with, "We spoke in the past..."  Unfortunately for him, we didn't speak in the past so that makes him a liar.  Why say that?  And even if we had previously spoken, I wouldn't remember it so in my mind, that would still make him a liar.

 

Next came, "regarding copier equipment in your office."  That's right at the top of my list of exciting things to talk about.  Copier equipment.  Again?  Didn't we just do that for 3 years?  I have people for that.

 

"At the time, you indicated that your existing contract will be ending just over a year from now."  I don't know about you but I don't start looking at cars a year before my car lease ends so that certainly wouldn't be part of the plan for copiers.  It doesn't matter when my lease ends!!!  We could be two years out but if he could help me identify something that my current machines don't provide - that would help my business - I might make the switch today!  One year out might as well be 3 years out.  There isn't a good reason to talk about the timeline for a new lease because we don't yet have a reason to take any action.  He just skipped from reminding me that there is an alphabet all the way to the letter Q for qualifying in one sentence.

 

"Our company would love a shot at your business."  Isn't that a terrific incentive for me to meet with him?  Because he wants a shot at my business?  Geez!  

 

A better approach to the ingredients in this email that follow Hi Dave should be something more like what I wrote below.  I used CEO because he called and emailed me and that is my title.

 

A lot of CEO's tasked their last copier to staff and as a result of them paying more attention to lease terms instead of capabilities, companies can't leverage the capabilities of their machines to generate revenue, improve communications, and move away from paper.

 

It would be cool for me and powerful for you if we could help you with that.  Would you like to talk with me about how we have helped other CEO's?

 

If you must use email as a way to get prospects to raise their hands, wouldn't it make sense to consider your audience, understand what they would find offensive and useful, and take the time to compose a more effective email?

 

Image copyright iStock Photos

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales emails that work, email prospecting

Difference Between a Good Sales Email vs. Bad

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Apr 27, 2015 @ 06:04 AM

Good-Vs.-Bad

Last week I received a request for help via email.  The reader asked if I could recommend a response to an email reply he received (at least he got a reply!).  The thing is, he deserved the reply he received because his introductory email absolutely sucked!  In today's article I'll share what he wrote, the reply he received, and my recommended response.  All of the names and organzations have been changed to protect the innocent.  Ready?  Here's his original introductory email:

 

From: <The Salesperson> [mailto:thesalesperson@thesalespersonsgmailaccount.com]
Sent: Thursday, April 23, 2015 4:15 PM
To: <The Prospect>
Cc: <The Salesperson's Boss>; <The Referral Source>
Subject: <The Referral Source>/Toner from <The Company>

Hi <The Prospect>,

I wanted to connect with you as our company would like to get on your bid list for toner, both black and colored. <The Referral Source>, the CEO of our company and I engaged in a conference call a few months ago. <The Referral Source> and I finally met today and he mentioned you were the go to person for these items.  I believe you have 10 or 11 HP 9050's but we could not find out what model printers have the colored toner.

We believe we can outbid your best competitor on these items and provide you with outstanding service.  We currently service all of <Other University's> printers and several other facilities in RI.  I am extremely fond of <This University> as my son <Salesperson's Son>, graduated from <This University> in 2006. 

I currently have my nephew attending, <Salesperson's Nephew> who is currently a freshman.  I met with him today while I stopped in to meet <The Referral Source>. He has been great with trying to assist us in our endeavor. We would greatly appreciate your assistance.  Kindly provide us with the printer model for the colored toner and any paperwork that needs to be completed to get on <This University's> bid list. In addition, an estimate of your usage monthly.  Attached you'll find a partial list of some of our major customers and our value proposition. I look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,

<The Salesperson>
Business Development Manager
<The Company>

###

<The Salesperson> got this reply one day later:

From: <The Prospect>
Sent: ‎4/‎24/‎2015 12:28 PM
To: <The Salesperson>
Cc: <The Referral Source>;<The Salesperson's Boss>
Subject: RE: <The Referral Source>/ Toner from <The Company>

<The Salesperson>,

We are currently dealing with two suppliers for our Toner and other consumables needs for all printers and some MFPs. Both of those companies are under contract and at this point I think we are all set.  We will keep you in mind if we find they are unable to serve our needs.

<The Prospect>

<The Prospect>, C.P.M., CPSM
Director of Purchasing and Auxiliary Services
<This University>

###

<The Salesperson> sent me an email asking, "Hi Dave, how would you respond to this reply?"

I said, "First, the opening paragraph of the email you sent him positioned you all wrong for this – so you probably deserved to have gotten blown off…"

He did everything wrong!

  • He failed to start with the relationship building facts and went right to business thereby sounding like every other salesperson attempting to get a foot in the door.
  • He didn't ask for a meeting, a call, or a discussion - he asked to be put on their bid list - thereby confirming what <The Prospect> suspected - he was just like all of the other copier salespeople on the street.  And why would you want to be on a bid list?  Wouldn't we just want to get the contract?
  • He positioned his service and company as one that could beat the prices of the competition - thereby confirming that he was not providing any value.
  • He talked about great service and value but didn't back it up instead assigning homework.  I like homework assignments but not until the prospect wants help!

###

That said, I suggested that <The Salesperson> respond with:

 

Thanks for responding to my email, <The Prospect>.

I understand that as the director of purchasing, it’s your job to reject, refuse, rebut, and turn away salespeople that are simply further interruptions to your day.  But I’m shocked at how you treated the father of an alumni, who paid more than $150,000 to attend your fine school, and the uncle of another student in the midst of forking over six figures…

Is that how <Dir of Admissions> or <CEO of the University> would want you to treat outside influencers?

As the director of purchasing, I know you take pride in providing <The University> with the greatest value and efficiencies available and I know we can help you achieve that.

Won’t you reconsider your previous reply and schedule some time to talk?

###

So we'll see what happens when and if <The Salesperson> sends that email and whether or not <The Prospect> responds...

In the meantime, what should his original email have said?  If it were me, I would have called, but since this article is about sending an introductory email, I would have sent this:

Hi <The Prospect>,

<The Referral Source> strongly recommended that we talk.

But first, to provide you with some background and to establish my ties to the school, my son <Salesperson's Son> graduated from <This University> in 2006 and my nephew, <Salesperson's Nephew>, is currently a freshman. 

Anyway, <Referral Source> met with me and the CEO of my company and he thought we could provide some additional value and efficiencies for the school.

Would you be willing to schedule a short phone call to see if there's a fit?

Thanks,

<The Salesperson>

Notice that there was nothing about the product or service, no bid request, no pitch, and nothing about about pricing or homework.  Emails must be concise and provide a reason for the prospect to engage.

It's really not that hard to write a great, simple, effective email.  But most salespeople continue to send the junk we saw here.  You can't make this stuff up!

Topics: Dave Kurlan, scheduling sales appointments, email prospecting, good sales email, effective sales email, introductory email

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Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader,  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog earned awards for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog for eleven consecutive years and of the more than 2,000 articles Dave has published, many of the articles have also earned awards.

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