One of my old classmates used to love it when I got mad. I’m not sure whether to take that as a compliment or an insult, however, after a couple of really bad contact initiatives from lousy sellers, I got mad again. One thing led to another and after some consideration, I decided to turn my anger into something constructive again, hence this blog post.
Are you getting spammed too?
I would guess that you are.
I know I am.
Apparently, I’m in a lot of weird registers. Despite GDPR, if you’ve ever signed up anywhere with your email on the internet, it probably happens for you too. If you’re a business owner: congratulations! Then you already know that the amount of sellers spamming you with (mainly) completely irrelevant content and offerings will most likely increase with about 300 %.
Let’s stop here for a while and let me make one thing clear. I don’t hate sellers. On the contrary. There’s actually nothing I adore more than a great salesman or saleswoman who knows what he/she is doing. I’ve been in sales and customer service myself for several years and due to that, I’ll always have the deepest respect for professionals within this area.
Having cleared that one out, let’s move on.
So you say your sales and marketing automation is working for you? I don’t think so.
Just during the past two weeks I’ve been getting some of the worst sales emails of my life. Out of respect for specific individuals, I will not share them here, but all these sales proposals did share some similar traits:
- None of them had a clue of what kind of company Ambaurora Communications was when they got in touch with me
- None of the sellers had bothered to check whether I actually have employees or whether I’m a single business owner
- All of the sellers were too eager to cut to the chase
- None of the sellers demonstrated any skills or knowledge whatsoever about the industry I’m working in
- None of the sellers had ever been in touch with me before in order to try and build up a relationship, yet, they approach me the first time expecting us to immediately – wait for it!- book a meeting
- 50 % of these sellers were not able to proofread their own emails and offerings. I don’t know about ya’ll, but forgetting this when you’re also trying to sell something to someone working with writing on a daily basis…. Let me just quote Dr. Phil on this one and ask you: “How’s that working for you?”
- Several of the sellers did not hesitate but actually lied straight to my face, stating that they had been trying to get in touch with me. Yet: there were no previous emails, calls or texts to me. Spoiler alert: when I asked when and through which channels they had tried to get in touch, they quickly disappeared and became silent…
5 tips for contacting your most critical prospects
I’m not in sales but as I do feel both angry and annoyed over these lousy contact initiatives, but also sad for all of the sellers out there, let me provide you with some free advice. It will not work for all of your prospects and I understand that there are probably lots of prospects out there that don’t give a shit whether you can spell or not (good for you!) but here’s a couple of tips you can start using ASAP in case you want to work on your most critical customers:
1)Don’t ever lie to us!
Seriously – if you dream about me opening my wallet for your products and services, don’t you ever start of by accusing ME of not answering when you haven’t even bothered to do your job. Did anyone say crisis of confidence?
2) Proofread and spellcheck
Yes, I know: there are people out there struggling with dyslexia and other challenges related to reading and writing. However, no matter how harsh it might sound: your customers and prospects will not be thinking “Oh, how sad, perhaps he/she has some issues he/she needs help with!” when they read your email. Instead they will judge you and your potential performance entirely based on that first impression.
If you know that you need help with these matters, please make sure to ask for it. Whether it’s from your boss, your coach or a teammate. Just swallow your pride and go ahead and do it.
3)Do your homework before you try to present it
So, here you are then: contacting single business owners and starting of by asking them if they are the ones that makes decisions in their own company, or should they perhaps talk to someone else? Eh. #epicfail
Yes, research may take time and sometimes it sucks (been there, done that myself) but how did you intend to ever get through that first contact phase if you don’t even know who you’re talking to?
Most of your prospects probably have their own website and if not, you can probably find them on LinkedIn. Do your research.
4) Find a functioning substitute for a meeting
I can’t stress this enough: no, we do not want to book meetings. Neither to we want to set up phone calls, Skypecalls or receive a link to a webcast. Ouch! I can hear how this sounds, but still: it’s painfully true. Most of us hate these meeting suggestions. We don’t want them. I’ve got limited hours in my day and I don’t wish to spend them on getting educated in systems and products I don’t have a need for.
I’ve yet to see a company or a seller coming up with a more innovative way to meet and greet and sell, so there should be plenty of room for innovations here. See what you can come up with that fits your unique niche!
5) The power of patience (and feedback)
Anyone who’s ever worked in PR already knows the power of patience. At some point on we’ve all been guilty of sending that lousy press release or spamming our own target groups with messages they did not know they weren’t interested in until we reminded them with our mismatched messages. Yup. It hurts for us too, don’t think anything else.
Good news: we can learn from it. Did you know that 50 % of all sales happens after the 5th contact? Most sales reps tend to give up after 2 contacts. Thus, instead we should go home, lick our wounds, analyze what went wrong, where it went wrong and hopefully read through some useful feedback – from some annoyed besserwisser like yours truly – and get back on the horse again.
If you get feedback: use it to your advantage! It will probably not be very nice to hear when you get it, but try to switch perspective instead and use it as a competitive edge. You just got firsthand feedback and got to hear what your potential customer thought about you/your company/your current sales process. No need for guessing anymore so now you can get started on changing what not longer works for you (and perhaps never did).
Last but not least: did you plan to sell a marketing/sales automation system to a single business owner? Please immediately rethink that decision. We’re probably your worst nightmare and also probably too busy writing blog posts like this about why we don’t need and want marketing automation.
Peace out and good luck with your sales efforts!