Originally published on Nov. 2, 2016
dialedIn, by Jack Carenza
In my peach-fuzz days as a Sales Development Representative it has been easy to fall into patterns of haste and repetition —”If I touch 100 prospects today, do I give myself the best chance to form a fruitful business relationship?”
Ultimately, I have found that answer to be no. Efficacious prospecting takes personalization and time. Gandalf did not grow his beard or gain his wisdom in a day.
It is the same in retail, the restaurant business, and personal relationships. Taking that extra step to research, learn an intimate detail about someone and most vitally, listen to them can make all the difference in building rapport: business or otherwise. If your girlfriend tells you she despises lengthy sideburns, for cripes sakes do not grow muttonchops this Movember! If you speak directly to a business prospect about his or her area of expertise, do not send a generic, cookie-cutter email template as a follow up.
If you can recall even one detail regarding a prospect or their business, you unlock a trigger through subconscious recognition. You probably do not remember your first girlfriend or boyfriend’s middle name, but if you encountered the scent of his or her aftershave or perfume, it would evoke a visceral reaction. The same holds true for connecting with a potential client. Even if an initial phone conversation consists of nothing more than a prospect briefly mentioning which software they use, before ushering you off the phone to attend a meeting as phony as George Clooney’s beard in Oh Brother Where art Thou?, you have acquired a key through this interaction.
The follow up email should reflect this knowledge. Personalization should be stated in the first line. In addition, using a prospect’s LinkedIn profile and a bit of prospective can further enhance this approach. If you can imagine, and more importantly state a prospect’s day to day activity, you are far more likely to convert that prospect into business. Let me give you a concrete example. Bear in mind, this example is the follow up to initial, phone prospecting. (Author’s note: this example utilizes a fictional product or service and is in no way reflective of a real life attempt at prospecting.)
What not to do:
Quickly wanted to follow up regarding the benefits of Beard Growth Protection Software (BGPS). My company can add great value to your current beard pursuits.
Currently we are working with clients such as GE, Bloomberg and Pfizer. Would you like to take the time to learn more about how we can provide better beard protection software than your current provider?
What to do:
It was a pleasure to speak with you on the phone today, I know you had mentioned you were rushing to a meeting; I understand how busy it must be as (Company Name’s) Beard Protection Director.
Andy, you told me you are currently using Moustache and Sideburn Protection Services (MSPS) and I understand it is comfortable to continue to utilize familiar software. With that being said, what if I told you that my company, BGPS, offers full beard protection, which quite simply is not covered through MSPS.
I would love the opportunity to continue our conversation, as I believe a continued education in the realm of Beard Protection could be beneficial to someone in your position.
Thank you for your time, and I look forward to speaking to you further about BGPS.
Notice how through simple pleasantry, and attention to specific detail, a follow up email can gain great traction. There are, of course, no guarantees that a prospect will respond to, or even read your email. But a bit of extra grooming can make the difference between a patchy response rate, and a voluminous, fulfilling business relationship.