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Month: September 2017

Keeping your sales pipeline full with leads is hard work.

It never ends and you can’t get lazy.

When I think of personality traits that lead to success in sales, a few come to mind like:

  • Courage – asking a difficult question or saying ‘no’ by qualifying someone out.
  • Curiosity – experimenting with a new tactic or taking a real interest in your prospect.
  • Creativity – operating outside of the box or putting out a fire.
  • Empathy – the ability to see the world through the lens of your prospect.
  • Flexibility – re-scheduling last minute or calmly handling a double booking
  • Resilience (aka – thick skin) – negative responses won’t affect your mood or mission.

You can get blindsided.  For every person you convert to a warm lead or new client via cold email, there are going to be folks who say no.  Some do it with tact, others…not so much.

Whether you are just getting started or already scale up your cold emailing, your prospect’s responses will fall into one of a dozen different categories.

Here are the 12 types of replies you’ll get and how to manage them, good or bad.

Interested, ‘Let’s Talk’
"Sounds interesting.  Timing is perfect.  We were just talking about this!"

What you want to do: Fist pump then reply back to their email suggesting a time to speak or sending a calendar link to schedule.

What you should do instead – Pick up the phone and call the prospect back using the phone number in their signature (leave a voice mail if they don’t pick up).

If they answer the phone, your call should go something like this:

You: Hi Corrie.  I saw you replied to my email and thought it made more sense to give you a quick call than send another email.

Them: Some variation of 'Ok'

You: Is this a good time for us to speak or should we look to later this week or next?

Them: Some variation or 'Now' or 'Later'

You: If they said 'Now' start with your qualification questions.  If they said 'Later', say 'Great!  To make sure we don't waste any time when we speak...' then start with your qualification questions.  Then, get the meeting booked.

Don’t make the mistake of blindly booking the call.  Try to extract whatever information you can.  If your prospect is busy or tells you something like ‘I’m looking at my schedule, how’s Tuesday’ just go ahead and book the meeting then ask if there is anyone else from their team that should be invited.

If your prospect didn’t answer and you left a voicemail, follow this with an email right away referencing your call and suggesting a time to speak or sending a calendar link to schedule.

Hi Corrie, 

Thanks for the quick reply back.  I just called and left you a voice mail with my 
contact information so we can get a quick call booked for next week.

How do mornings work (EST)?  Skip a step and use my scheduling link or send yours.
Looking forward to speaking with you.

Cheers, Ryan

 

because…. they are replying back from their smart phone or they are sitting at their desk.  The average person gets over 100+ emails per day and you don’t want to run the risk of them missing your email or their perception that your response just created another task that the prospect will ‘get to later’.

Interested, not a good time
"Thanks for thinking of me.  We don't have time to focus on anything like this.  
Check back next year."

What you want to do: Reply back and tell them that ‘this is a good time’ or ask a weak question like ‘when is a better time’.

What you should do instead – If they suggested the best person to speak with, find that contact’s email address, change the subject line of the email to ‘referral from Bob Smith’ (or ‘Bob Smith suggested we speak’) then send an email to the person referred with the referrer notified they’ve been moved to bcc (Thanks for the intro, Susan (bcc)).

Hi Corrie, 

Thanks for the quick reply back.

I realize that timing isn't always going to be perfect especially when I reach out to someone new.   

I'll set a reminder to follow-up with you in December in preparation for next year. 

In the meantime, if sales performance becomes more of a priority, please reach out to me directly.

Cheers, Ryan

ps - if there's someone more junior on your team, who may have more time than you  to test out Replyify, please ask them to drop me an email.

 

because…. an internal referral (someone recommending a colleague) is one of the most powerful source of referral that exists.  There is a lot of pressure within a company amongst employees and this is the type of interaction that doesn’t get ignored.  You may not get an immediate reply and you may need to follow-up several times, but you will always get a reply with enough pressure.

If you follow up 3 times with the referral and still don’t have a response, add your first contact back to the email thread and say something like: ‘Hi Bob, I sent a few emails to Corrie (cc’d) and haven’t heard back.  There’s a chance my emails aren’t even getting to her inbox.  Would you mind sending her a note to ask her to check her spam folder?’  Chances of a reply to this is 75%+.

Interested, not the right person
"Thanks, but I'm not the best person to make a decision about this."

What you want to do: Mark the contact as ‘dead’ and move on to the next one.

What you should do instead:  Reply back and ask them who the right person is.

If they didn’t suggested the best person to speak with, head over to LinkedIn.  Search for a likely alternative contact at your prospect’s company and suggest this person in the response back to the Find that contact’s email address, change the subject line of the email to ‘referral from Bob Smith’ (or ‘Bob Smith suggested we speak’) then send an email to the person referred with the referrer notified they’ve been moved to bcc (Thanks for the intro, Susan (bcc)).

Corrie, thanks for the quick reply.

Would you mind making a quick intro to the appropriate person?  
(Based on my research, it could be Bob Smith)

I'll follow up with them directly unless you want to stay in the loop. 

Cheers, Ryan

because…. even though this isn’t as strong as an internal referral, it’s still considered an internal recommendation and the likelihood of a response is high.

Interested, no budget
Thanks, but we can't afford anything like this right now.  Not in budget 2018.

What you want to do: Reply back and tell them that ‘this is a good time’ or ask a weak question like ‘when is a better time’.

What you should do instead: If they suggested the best person to speak with, find that contact’s email address, change the subject line of the email to ‘referral from Bob Smith’ (or ‘Bob Smith suggested we speak’) then send an email to the person referred with the referrer notified they’ve been moved to bcc (Thanks for the intro, Susan (bcc)).

Corrie, thanks for the quick reply.

This is exactly why we have an upgraded free trial and a 'free forever' plan.  

Our bet is that you generate a more profitable pipeline and we grow together?

We can schedule a quick call (here's my link) or start a trial?

Ball's in your court. -Ryan

 

because…. getting a reply that a potential client doesn’t have budget is either a signal that they really don’t have money (which doesn’t bode well for business) or they are reluctant to pay for things that could help them succeed (and you’ll be fighting an uphill battle).  So, call them out.  Put the ball in their court.

Working with a competitor
We're already working with XYZ to do this for us. (or) 
We already have a solution for this.

What you want to do: Reply back and tell them all the ways that you are better than the competitor they mentioned.

What you should do instead: Demonstrate that this isn’t your first rodeo.  I like to ask something like, ‘How’s XYZ been to work with?  Are you married to them?’  This response tends to elicit a reply that can tell you what they like/dislike and how much time may be left in their contract.

If the prospect gives you a date range for the contract expiration, confirm with them that you’ll follow up 30-60 days before their renewal so they can compare your product (with a free trial) to their existing vendor.  If they didn’t tell you who the other vendor was, ask them (then ask them what they like/dislike)!

Corrie, thanks for the quick reply.

I expected someone with your skillset to have another option in place as opposed to manually trying to send your cold emails.

Who is it and are you married to them?  

Ryan
ps - goal is to deliver the best product with the best value and I won't waste your time.  will you give me a chance to compete for your business?

 

because…. the door is not closed.  Your prospect has not explicitly said ‘no’ and you need to acknowledge this, then set a reminder..  This is a temporary calm in the storm.  When the time comes to follow up, don’t be surprised if you don’t hear back immediately.  Your best chances at getting a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ will come after you follow-up your emails with a phone call or two.  They’ve given you permission to continue the conversation so don’t stop until you hear an explicit ‘no’.

Not Interested, offer not relevant
"We don't have a need for your cold email automation platform"

What you want to do: You want to say ‘ok’ thanks for letting me know and mark the contact as unsubscribed in Replyify.  Don’t fight fire with fire here. I’ve even been told before that they would report me to the police.  I tend to believe that the police have better things to do.  Just imagine having this person as a client.  No thank you!

What you should do instead: Take this as an opportunity to learn and grow.  Acknowledge the courteous reply and ask them a low commitment question.  Follow-up that question with a display that you’re serious about working with them but respectful of their request.

Hi Corrie, 

Thanks for the quick reply.

What is the team doing as an alternative to cold email for prospecting?  
(hopefully they aren't waiting for the phone to ring or sending emails 1x1).

If it's a timing thing, can I follow up with you 2 months from now? 

Cheers, Ryan

because….if you act desperate, you run the risk of turning a courteous ‘no’ into a cold email spam complaint or you will run the risk of losing any chance you have in the future of working with this prospect.

The ghost
Bueller?  This person is opening and/or clicking your emails but won't reply.

What you want to do: After your cold email campaign ends, it’s easy to continue emailing them with the same message over and over hoping for them to respond.

What you should do instead: Let your email campaign run its course.  If you’re noticing activity like opens or clicks for a prospect…. call them!.  If they answer, let them know you use Replyify which updates you in real time when a prospect may be interested in your message based on their interaction with the send email.  Follow-up your phone call with an email and/or a connection request.

Corrie,

I noticed you checked out our site from an email I sent.  

Anything I can better explain about how to scale your prospecting process using the right sales automation?  

Ryan
ps - I'm using an awesome email delivery service called Replyify that updates when it may be a good time to call and I just left you a voicemail. 

because…. if your prospect is opening or clicking your email, they have an interest in what you have to offer.  It may not be a good fit, but you’ve piqued their curiosity.  Since they haven’t replied yet, what makes you think they will reply in the future?  Let your campaign sequence continue to run its course, but don’t be afraid to tell them that you’re on top of your game and using the best tech to do your account development with cold emails.

Opt-Out
Thank you for the email, but please remove me from your list.

What you want to do: Process the unsubscribe or opt out from the cold email campaign sequence and move on.

What you should do instead: Be sure to stay CAN-SPAM compliant and honor the opt-out.  Depending on the tone of the prospect’s response, you may want to use this as a last opportunity to communicate with them on the off chance the unsubscribe may have been influenced by factors out of your control.  (ie – they’re on vacation or just having a bad day).

Corrie,

Thanks for the quick reply. 

I'm confirming that this is the last email you'll receive from us.  

Maybe you already have a solution in place or just don't like emails like this.  

Either way, best in the future.  

Ryan
ps - is there something I could have improved with my communication approach?

because…. someone who has opted out has made it clear that they don’t want to work with you.  I like to make one last attempt at continuing the conversation or building a relationship for the future.  You can gauge a lot from a person based on how they respond to this email.  A ‘no reply’ is most common, but the folks who do engage are likely not completely dead.

Polite ‘No’
No, thank you.

What you want to do: You want to take the easy way out and give up on this person.  Chances are low that you will convert them, but there’s still a chance.

What you should do instead: Take this as an opportunity to learn and grow.  Acknowledge the courteous reply and ask them a low commitment question.

Follow-up that question with a display that you’re serious about working with them but respectful of their request.  ‘You didn’t get to where you are in your career by chance.  At some point, someone gave you a chance and you took the ball and ran with it.’

Corrie,

Thanks for the quick reply and I'll make sure we don't send you a follow-up. 

Is there something I could have improved with my communicating of how we help 
companies, just like yours, build a more efficient sales pipeline?

Ryan

because…. they said no and there is a low likelihood of getting this deal done but there is still value to be extracted from the conversation.  You have the chance to learn how you could improve cold email messaging to get more replies in the future.

THE Anti-Cold Email Reply
I don't respond to cold email blasts.

What you want to do: You want to say something snarky like, ‘but you just did’ and then delete the message.

What you should do instead: Here’s a trick I learned from Sean Campbell who runs a must listen podcast called B2B Revealed.  Go to the company’s LinkedIn page and search for folks who work in ‘sales’.  If they have anyone with the title Sales Development (SDR), Business Development (BDR), Sales Operations Specialist, Sales Associate (etc) chances are high that these folks are doing the exact same thing that you are to start conversations with sales prospects.

Make sure you acknowledge their preference to not be contacted but call them out on their sales team engaging in similar practices.  Don’t hold your breath for the response but you may be surprised at the reaction you generate and meeting that you get booked.

Corrie,

I understand where you're coming from & confirming that this is the last email from me.

Cold emails aren't my favorite thing either. 

They are a necessary evil for me to do my job effectively and deliver value. 

Since email is out, what could I have done differently to start a dialogue?

Ryan

because….this is the weakest most passive aggressive type of reply you can get.  Imagine this person as your client.  Acknowledge the courteous reply and ask them a low commitment question.  Follow-up that question with a display that you’re serious about working with them but respectful of their request.  ‘You didn’t get to where you are in your career by chance.  At some point, someone gave you a chance and you took the ball and ran with it.’

The Threatening Reply
"If your company contacts anyone at my company again, I will notify my lawyer!"

What you want to do: Don’t fight fire with fire here. I’ve even been told before that they would report me to the police.  I tend to believe that the police have better things to do.  Just imagine having this person as a client.  No thank you!

What you should do instead: Take this as an opportunity to learn and grow.  Acknowledge the courteous reply and ask them a low commitment question.  Follow-up that question with a display that you’re serious about working with them but respectful of their request.

Nothing.  Write nothing as they are baiting you and have already made a threat.

because….this person will never be a client, and that’s a good thing for you.  And if they are this much of a jerk, they deserve to wallow in the squalor of life without the benefit of your product or service.  I have a folder in my inbox for these types of folks.  Maybe I’ll surprise them with a starbucks gift card one of these days.  Life is short.  Move on.

THE ALL CAPS ‘NO’ or Nasty Response
STOP SENDING ME EMAILS AND TAKE ME OFF YOUR EFFING LIST RIGHT NOW!!!

What you want to do: Don’t fight fire with fire here. I’ve even been told before that they would report me to the police.  I tend to believe that the police have better things to do.  Just imagine having this person as a client.  No thank you!

What you should do instead: Don’t fight fire with fire here. I’ve even been told before that they would report me to the police.  I tend to believe that the police have better things to do.  Just imagine having this person as a client.  No thank you!  Honor the opt-out unsubscribe to your cold email.  Take this as an opportunity to learn and grow.  Acknowledge the courteous reply and ask them a low commitment question.  Follow-up that question with a display that you’re serious about working with them but respectful of their request.

Hi Corrie, this email is to confirm we will not contact you again. 

Cold emails aren't my favorite thing either. 

Is there something I could have improved in my attempts to start a conversation?  

Best, Ryan

ps - we don't mass mail folks, opting instead for highly researched 1:1 email.

because…. you never know what someone else is going through.  Imagine the worst then give this type of person the benefit of the doubt.  But, as long as you’re not trying to fool this person for the second time with the Nigerian Prince scam, anyone who has the time to click the CAPS LOCK button before composing an email reply to an ambitious sales development rep deserves whatever they have coming to them.  Good news for you is that you’re resilient, and demeaning replies like this don’t get you down.

Pro Tip: Be sure to include your email signature in your reply back to your prospect in case they change their mind now or in the future and want to contact you directly.  I like to include my calendar scheduling link, a direct phone number, email address, a link to Replyify and one last call to action like this:

-------
Ryan O'Donnell
ryan@replyify.com
p: 330.552.8283

Schedule a Call with Me

Still sending cold emails one at a time? Check out Replyify

 

It’s easy to take an ‘angry’ reply personally.  Don’t.  Flip the script.  Ask yourself if this is the type of person you even want to have as a client.  Maybe there are just complainers and detractors and just did you a favor by self selection.

Maybe you the 10th person to cold email them with the same offer the same day they got passed over for a promotion or were didn’t get any sleep the night before .  Keep your head up, take action, and move on.

ps – we’ll be updating this post over time.  If you have a ‘category’ to add or an alternative response tactic, email us at team at replyify.com

Read More

The most efficient way to maintain a consistently full sales pipeline is to run an outbound campaign that includes an automated sequence of activities like cold email sequence, followups, phone calls, voice mails and social selling.

If you write emails for work, you are a copywriter.  Copywriting is the secret ingredient of writing and words are your most powerful tool to communicate effectively at scale.

Structuring a cold email campaign is no different than how a copywriter (aka – author) would structure a book.  The author’s goal is to deliver the reader value as they consume the content starting with the prologue continuing through the plot which is which is broken up into chapters.

  • Prologue = A targeted ad, a profile visit, a follow (warming up your prospect)
  • Plot = The story you tell (ie – your pitch), the knowledge you share (ie – links to content) and your CTAs
  • Chapters = Sequence of cold emails, follow-ups, social selling, phone calls & voicemails
‘Write Drunk, Edit Sober’ – Ernest Hemingway

Hemingway (never) said, ‘Write Drunk, Edit Sober’.

Maybe it was Hunter S. Thompson (it wasn’t), but it’s easy to imagine if you’ve ever read (or watched) Fear and Loathing or The Rum Diaries!

Nonetheless, this concept was interesting and I was up for the challenge.

Benefits of Booze + Writing:

  • Creativity – unusual cognitive connections/associations formed
  • Imagination – boosts inner consciousness
  • Thinking outside the box (citations linked below the article)
Working the Second Shift

After getting the kids to bed, it’s not uncommon for my wife and I to retreat to our home offices to get caught up on work.  I call this ‘second shift’ and it’s one of my favorite times to work.  It’s a 50/50 split between the non-urgent tasks/activities and new projects/experiments that allow for creativity.  (like writing this post)

And…IMHO there’s nothing wrong with having, in moderation and ‘of age’, an adult beverage during ‘second shift’.

Sometimes I break out the ‘Adult Oreos’ which consists of sourdough pretzels dipped in Woodford bourbon.

I digress.

In my constant pursuit for improvement, I’ve been experimenting with attacking my outbound sales copywriting from the perspective of a Journalism major, not an MBA.  Keep reading for the exact 12 step cold email and cold call outreach campaign I created late at night and edited in the morning.

My High Performing 12 Step Cold Email Campaign

Step 1 – LinkedIn Profile Visit

I view a profile automatically during the initial prospect list building exercise which starts the campaign.  Viewing a profile signals to the prospect that you decided to initiate a conversation with them because you’ve conducted your research and have determined they may be a good fit.

Step 2 – Intro Email 1

The goal of this email is to introduce myself without starting with the old ‘hi, my name is ryan and I am the [insert title] at [insert company].  I preempted their likely next mental question of ‘how did you find me’ and I just told them how I did it.

If the prospect replies back to this email or any email in the future, they will be automatically paused and will not receive any future emails unless I choose to ‘Resume’ the campaign.

Subject: Found You on Linkedin
Hi {{ first | default:"there" }},

Your profile popped up in the 'People also viewed' section on Linkedin and you're probably wondering why I checked you out.

We work with companies similar to {{ company | default:"yours" }} to free up an extra 5-10 hours a month, so you can spend more time meeting with prospects and less time trying to find their contact info.

I see a lot of potential for streamlining your outbound sales using tech to automate prospecting and cold emails.

Are you free for a 10 minute call this week?

Cheers, Ryan

Step 3 – Wait 3 days then Email 2 

I ask a rhetorical question in the first sentence to get them thinking about their process.  The 1-2 punch is to follow the question up by mentioning other clients we work with that they likely know or compete with (based on my research).  The goal of this sentence is to instill a sense fear (FOMA) and to demonstrate credibility that there are companies out there who pay for the service we provide.

My last sentence tells them exactly how I can resolve their fear and I convey that this will be ‘quick’.  I go back and forth on if or when to use a calendar scheduling link, but I do include a link in cold email 3 and 4.

Subject:
Quick Question

Hi {{ first | default:"there" }},

What are you doing to make sure the top of the funnel is full of fresh leads every month?

We've helped companies like {{ competitor | default:"comp1, comp2 and comp 3" }} 2-3x their demos per week by automating their prospecting and sales intelligence. I believe this same concept could apply to {{ company | default:"your company" }} .

When is a good time next week for me to share a few quick ideas I have?
Thanks, Ryan

Step 4 – Wait 7 Days then Email 3 

Email 3 is my offer.  I concluded that the prospects who heaven’t replied by this point weren’t convinced by the social proof in email #2 or the value proposition in cold email #1.  Rather than keep saying the same thing over and over, I decided to give them an offer.  A little quid pro quo.  I’ll give the prospect something valuable in exchange for something value…their time.

I also suggest one of three quick replies –  ‘Accept? Decline? Go Away, Ryan’ to help me figure out their personality and follow-up to the reply (positive or negative) accordingly.

Including a scheduling link is debatable, but I offer it in such a way that demonstrates a respect for their time and mine.

Subject:
{{ company | default:"You" }} + {{My Company}}

Hey {{ first | default:"there" }} ,

{{My Company}} is the most accurate prospecting solution on the market but I don't expect you to just take my word for it.

I'd like to offer you a very simple trade:
OFFER: 100 prospects
ASKING: 15 minute call to show you how I found them.

Accept? Decline? Go Away, Ryan?

Send a few times for this week or skip a step and schedule here. I look forward to speaking with you soon!

Best, Ryan

 

Step 5 Wait 1 Day then Email 4

Email 4 is my Offer Follow-up combined with a Profile View and sent 1 day after my last ‘offer’ email.  It’s a ‘bump’ email that references the offer email I sent them and simply asks them if they have any thoughts on my offer.

This is a low commitment question and because it’s a bump (a reply to a previous email), I’m demonstrating to them that this is likely a person sending these emails not a machine.  This can help to tip the scale in your favor if your prospect is considering whether to reply.

Subject: re: {{ company | default:"You" }} + SellHack
{{ first | default:"Hey there" }}, any thoughts on my offer?

ryan

Original Message:

SellHack is the most accurate prospecting solution on the market but I don't expect you to just take my word for it.

I'd like to offer you a very simple trade:
OFFER: 100 prospects
ASKING: 15 minute call to show you how I found them.

Accept? Decline? Go Away, Ryan?

Send a few times for this week or skip a step and schedule here. I look forward to speaking with you soon!

Best, Ryan

 

Step 6 – Wait 3 Days then a LinkedIn Profile View

Step 7 – Same Day Call + VM

Phone: 440.552.8283

Call Script:
If you reach voicemail:
"Hi Prospect Name, _______ here with Replyify."
The reason for my call is to show you and your team how to take prospects on professional social networks, grab phone number and email address, and sync it directly into your CRM. It's solving many companies lead gen issues and we believe we can help you set up more qualified appointments. Please respond to my email or give me a call at ***-***-****.
Thanks Prospect Name, ____ here from Replyify.

Step 8 – Wait 7 Days then Email 5

I offered to show them my outbound sales process in Email #3 and since they didn’t reply, I told them exactly how I’ve been communicating with them for the past few weeks using Replyify.

I want them to imagine being able to have the same balance of control scale when reaching out to their prospects.  Notice my subject line states the purpose for my email…a ‘Demo’.

Subject: Demo
I know these emails can be a little awkward, but you're probably reaching out to your prospects too, right?

After researching your profile, SellHack verified your email address, and I used Replyify to create a personalized sequence of emails and follow-ups.

Imagine how much more time you could spend selling, not digging around your inbox, if you had a cold email automation tool like this.

I can show you how to set this up 10 minutes. Interested?

Step 9 – Wait 5 Days then Email 6

Part of this copywriting experiment was to leverage things that have worked for me in the past and trying new ways of increasing my response and demo rate.  I noticed that I was getting trapped repeating things I said in earlier emails when trying to extend the number of contact attempts I was making.

This is my sign-off email, and it’s generated an incremental increase in the response rate.  While these numbers aren’t that impressive on paper, these are folks that I would have otherwise missed speaking with if I ended without signing off.

Subject: Thanks

Hi {{ first | default:"there" }} ,

Since I didn't hear back after offering to show you how to automate your outbound sales process, I'm going to assume that at this point that you're not interested.

If this is not the case or even if timing isn't right, please let me know.

Otherwise, all the best and thanks for your time!

Ryan

Step 11 – Wait 2 Days then Email 7

Wait…One more thing!  This is the ‘Bob Vila’ of emails and is effective way to have another touchpoint to ask or a referral or suggest that you connect on LinkedIn.  Timing may not always be right for your offer to line up with a buyer’s decision cycle.

Leaving the door open by connecting online or giving them an option to get you ‘off their plate’ via referral is a great way to demonstrate that you aren’t desperate or short-sighted with regards to the opportunity of working together.

Subject:
one more thing

Hey {{ first | default:"there" }} ,

Is there someone else at {{ company | default:"your company" }} that I should speak with about automating your sales process?

ryan

 

Step 12 – Optional LinkedIn Connection

You may not want to connect with all of your prospects and that’s ok.  Also, be mindful of how many connection requests you send compared to the number of folks who actually connect with you.  If your offer is sound, you communicate respectfully and your profile is professional, asking for a LinkedIn connection may be a good step to include in your campaign.

If you drink, Please drink Responsibly

If you write your cold emails with a glass of bourbon, please remember to edit with a cup of coffee before setting your campaign live on Replyify.

 

sales cold email copywriting

 

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