I’ve seen a lot of posts on LinkedIn talking about “cold lead” sales techniques and the failure of using email. I mostly agree with them.
I am deluged with these things and honestly delete most due to volume, but a few things ensure that happens:
1) My venerable Exec/GM is in going to be in Europe and you could get a chance to meet him (oh, lucky me)
2) I’m following up on our previous discussion (a lie often used when trying and failing to bypass PAs, but somehow people think it works by email as my memory work differently)
3) inconsistent or wrong values in mail merge (I had someone who got my company name right, but kept starting the email “Dear xxxx” xxxx was a randomly changing name, of which there were some really strange ones.
4) tell my colleagues I recommended you to them without my permission, or tell me about a fake agreement you have with my colleagues. It is madness to think you won’t get found out.
If you want to get pique my interest:
1) show you’ve done some proper up-front research in me and my company (I’m honestly too busy to be interviewed over and over by salespeople), but also don’t just paste it from a website. I’ve already read that copy. You can show me that I don’t have to spend time teaching you in points 2 and 4.
2) tell me about the value you can offer that is relevant to me in as few words as possible. Guide: If I have to scroll down once on my mobile, it is probable I won’t read on or I will delete.
3) 30 second / elevator pitches work. If I can’t understand why I’m reading your email or speaking to you within 30 seconds, I start to think about other stuff I need to do and will probably wander away mentally.
4) Make an effort up front. Follow me or my company on Twitter/LinkedIn, read my/our blog posts, read my/our press articles. This isn’t a cry for attention (or followers) but it shows me you see value in a relationship after doing the research.
5) Use different mediums and creative methods to get in contact. LinkedIn “InMail” is as bad as email, but using replies/comments to posts or tweets shows you are interested in what I/we are saying and you have something to say that is relevant to that.
I’ve known some really successful sales people who are highly active on Twitter and don’t see social media as just another (lazy) way of getting their old email content out there. There is a fine line between modern sales and digital marketing, where one is just an extension of the other.
Many sales pitches are about improving our company’s efficiency, adding value and saving me time and money, so why start off a pitch in a way that does the opposite?