Well, I am a great fan of emails. After the invention of wheels, I consider email application as the greatest invention. Even after whatsapp, messenger, skype etc, email still holds its place in this era of instant communication.
But do we really know how to write an email?
That sparks interest in the reader’s mind to know more about you, your company, your products etc.
I received an interesting email today from someone trying to sell me something. This was her second email. The first email from her was received by me on the 19th of last month. I am not letting you know who that is. That’s not important.
In the first email she had said that my company [with name] has been shortlisted as the “most powerful company in XYZ domain” and will be featured in their magazine and she had stated the benefits of getting published in their magazine. Then she had asked me to revert so that she can share the quote. Wow! From “Cold Call” stage to “Quotation” stage in a snap. I wish I can do that as well. Not really.
I replied to her then, asking her to remove my email id from her mailing list since it didn’t interest me. Neither did I subscribe to anything nor did I express interest on any of their services.
After a month, today I received the second email in spite of me asking her to remove my email Id. What’s more. This time it was more stronger in language.
Excerpts [if the language is not right, please excuse me, it is published here exactly as I received]:
In the rare opportunities, I have to work on client acquisition, I have not had much success reconnecting with you. It might just be that you don’t have any interest in talking with me — and that’s okay. I just need to know whether or not to keep trying.
So, to make this nice and easy for you, you can reply with a simple keystroke. Just reply with either A, B, C, D, or E and I’ll know what to do, but please do reply so that I can stop emailing you if you’re not interested.
A. Stop emailing me with attempts to connect but continue to send invites for future opportunities.
B. Don’t send me anything, remove me from your list. We don’t currently and won’t ever need your opportunity.
C. I want to talk, we need some help, but the timing isn’t right. Keep trying.
D. I would like to schedule a time to talk. We need some help. Please send your calendar link.
E. I forgot who you are. What’s this about?
The funny part is this: “to make this nice and easy for you…..”. In fact she wants me to make it easy for her. You can’t do prospecting over cold email and also automate it. It is so naive, unprofessional, bossy, accusing, all rolled into one.
Instead, the sender should have used a professional email marketing tool with “unsubscribe” buttons and sent an intro email with few lines and asking for permission to continue writing without any demands. Forget business.
Clients are not waiting in queue with the cheque to handover to you. Stop dreaming.
Serve without any expectation.
Pick up the phone and ask for an appointment.
See if they have any problems that you can solve.
Where is this sales person right now, in this process? She hasn’t even started yet. But thanks to her for teaching us how not to write emails.
Got up early today at 5 am. Then, the usual morning routine continued. Quickly, started my digital assistant ‘Google Now’ to tell me where I should focus my time today. First off, what’s the news today? How is the weather? Traffic in the route that I am likely to take today?
Can you give me a snapshot of people I am likely to meet today and also let me know what their political affiliations are? What are their food preferences? What are their priorities at work? What characteristics do they expect in a vendor? Why did they fire the last vendor they had? What are our chances of winning this deal? How should I tweak the proposal to make sure that I get the deal?
What should I eat today? I have taken too much protein this week till now. So it is essential to consult Google Now what I should eat to get a balanced diet for the week. Can you build up my menu for the day? And can you ask Roger [robot] to pick them up from the stock in kitchen and refrigerator and set my breakfast at 7:08 am at my work table at home office?
How many hours of work have I put in this week and how am I doing against my goals for the week? What are the pending tasks? Can you prepare a spreadsheet and line them up all? I have no time you see. Send it to my mobile phone when I go out for a walk.
The clock showed 6:23 am by then. Went out for a walk. Google Now sent me the report as requested. I viewed it. Took some action on it during my morning walk. Sent out mails to customers that were pending. In fact Google Now assembled the mails and asked for my approval to send out those mails. Just had to swipe and the emails were sent.
6:43 am: Returned home. Took bath. And it was 6:48 am then. Time to pray. Took 23 seconds and looked at my tablet and recited a prayer. Took a deep breath.
Asked Google Now, what dress I shall wear for the meeting. Asked, how shall my handshake be? Is there something I should carry with me for the meeting? Is the customer I am meeting this morning at 8:12 am, business like or friendly or ethical? [Mutually exclusive.:)]
Took my digital assistant’s help and got the deck ready. Checked out if the customer I am meeting is on his way to office.
7:08 am: Roger brought the breakfast to my work table. Thanked him. Quickly finished the grub and saw google now updating my weekly calorie intake and it said what I need to take still so that I can get the balanced diet for the week. It searched online for organic food vendors and it went about ordering my food for the rest of the week, of-course only after taking my approval. It was by then 7:31 am.
7:33 am: Cab arrived. Took the self driving cab to the metro station. 7:37 am. Waited for 60 secs. Took the 7:38 am train to MG Road.
Prepared for the meeting by going through the decks assembled by Google Now. Spoke to a colleague for some information.
7:59 am: Reached MG Road. Cab sent me a message that it is waiting. Took the cab to reach the client’s office. On the way went through the info sent by colleague and assembled by Google Now. Went through the report it prepared about the client and their project. Reached client’s office at 8:06 am. Too early for the meeting. All set for the meeting at 8:12 am.
8:12 am: Client side manager arrived. Shook hands as suggested by Google Now. Talked to him as suggested by Google Now. Shared docs as suggested. Spent a long time with the client. Exactly 6 minutes and 15 seconds. Had black coffee in between. Promised the client to start the project once we get an agreement. He promised to talk to his boss and send the confirmation around 10:08 am.
10:09 am: Received the order confirmation. Informed Google Now. It was the first to know this. It celebrated the order by ordering [?] a cake online for me. I asked it to deliver it at my office. And asked it to inform my team members and get ready to start working on the project.
10:30 am: Reached my office. Team members were ready to start the project. Google Now had sent me a rough draft of roles and resp of each team member. I approved it and they received it. They all agreed. 10:45 am: Project work started.
10:50 am: I took my digital assistant’s help to scout for new customers. Saw what my competitors are up to. Where are they focusing their energies? What is their road map? Where are they likely to be in 5 months? Have they recruited and expanded their team or not?
12:42 pm: Got back home for lunch. Finished lunch at 1:05 pm. Decided to work from home post lunch. Did prospecting. Lined up prospects for meetings and demos the following week. Kept google now informed. It celebrated the appointments and cheered me to do more. It sent me a nice book written by Chet Holmes. I decided to call it a day by 2:00 pm.
What a hectic day it was.
Accomplished much. Planned even more for the coming week. Will do as planned.
How was your week? What are your plans for the next week?
Let us get this straight. Sales is Tough. Right? If it was easy, they wouldn’t need you. The reality is also that YOU are tougher. Else you wouldn’t have chosen Sales as your career. Well done. Now, some pointers for you to keep up the momentum and truly embrace what drives you:
Do you stand for something? What’s that?
What should customers remember when they think of you?
What is that one thing that makes you forget everything else?
What is more important to you than money?
What makes you feel really accomplished? An order? An appreciation from a customer? What?
How often do you make a To-do list and how often do you tick everything in it?
What’s your Dream? Is your work today in that direction?
What if you are the CEO of your company? What will you change today?
Don’t forget the last time you were in the trenches and how you bounced back to life.
“Face the brutes”: When you stop running and start facing, the hardships of life fall back. They are no match to you and your strengths.
Situation, Problem, Implication, Need-Payoff, popularly known as SPIN
Keeping it Simple, being iNvaluable, Aligning your activities with your Customer’s priorities or SNAP
Conceptual / Solution Selling
Do you have a proven Sales process ?
The steps right from leads / cold calling / known universe to various sales stages till closure including but not limited to Prospecting, Validating, Needs assessment, Budgeting, Mapping Customers Org Structure, Demonstrating, Proposing, Closing, Following-up is a Sales Process. The question is to ask is: Is your Sales Process proven? Has it delivered the desired results quarter after quarter?
Do you need a CRM [Customer Relationship Management] Software? Why?
What problems are you trying to solve using a CRM ?
How are you currently handling sales ?
Where and how do you find your clients ?
Why should customers buy from you ?
What implication will CRM have on your organizational goals ?
Why is it important for your Organization to think like your customers ?
Do you know the things you should keep in mind while implementing a CRM ?
Why is CRM Adoption more important than anything else ?
Do you know that a CRM can be used for Field Service, Channel or Partner Management or even for Product Management ?
And it can be used for Banking and Financial Services Sales ? Have you heard of Vertical CRMs ?
Do you understand the power of CRM Analytics or in other words Customer Analytics?
Why do you think CRM Analytics important ?
Lead stage to Close – how much time did the Prospect spend at each sales stage
Activities Vs Deal size – is your salesforce spending time and effort on high value deals
Weighted Vs Goal, Balanced Vs Goal, Pipeline Overview & Other snapshots
Forecasting, Forecasting Vs Actuals
Is 20% of your prospects giving you 80% of your revenue and vice-versa ?
Have you invested on Customer Analytics ?
How Dashboard Creation can help you and your Top management ?
What is the purpose of Campaign Analysis & Customer Segmentation ?
Why should anyone undertake Trend, What-if & Pipeline Analysis ?
Are you getting actionable insights from your customer data ?
Sales Training and Motivation:
When was the last time your Sales Force attended a Training program?
How often do you train your Sales Force?
Are they equipped to take your company to the next level?
Are they motivated enough?
Who fixes the compensation for your Sales Force?
What incentives do you give them?
Do you recognize your best sales persons?
What plans do you have to continuously educate your Sales Force?
Is your back end team [Product Management, Delivery Teams] taking regular feedback from your Sales Force?
Are you occasionally involving your Product / Delivery people to meet prospects and customers along with your Sales Force?
I am sure these questions will help you frame fresh Sales Strategies, Process and Methodology. Spruce-up is not just desired but mandatory for growth.