Do Your Prospects Truly Feel They Are Important to You?

The Key to Getting Your Prospects Interested

A few months ago, I took on the task of conducting email campaigns for our organization. This was on top of everything else I was doing, and it proved to be real challenge.

You know how it is. You have limited time to get this stuff, everyone wants it done yesterday and all eyes are on you.

So, to meet the crazy time constraints, I resorted to what I call the standard operating procedure for creating and running email campaigns, appropriately called the email blasts.

Anyone out there ever conduct one of these?
This is where you compose a really generic email touting the benefits of your product or service, add some behavioral verbal spice such as, “Buy now. Limited time offer,” pull out your entire email database (because you know everyone just loves your product) and you let that puppy fly!

Yeah, I’m guilty of performing this travesty. I took to doing what was expedient and convenient for me over what was good for my clients.

I got the task completed with as little effort as necessary in the shortest amount of time possible. And when someone inquired if the emails were sent, I was able to say yes and cross the task off my list. Sound familiar?

By doing the email blast, I was able to complete the campaigns with no responsibility for the outcomes. Sort of like making cold calls just to make my numbers–not to generate results.

The problem with the email blast was that it didn’t engage my customer base, except to encourage them to click the opt-out link. What I sent didn’t specifically address any of their interests or needs. To them, it could have been SPAM.

Recently, I’ve taken a different tack toward these campaigns. I’ve started focusing on a specific audience and writing more directly to them about their specific needs.

Now, the email campaigns look more like a tightly focused cold calling campaign. They are sent to a targeted audience, highlight a specific challenge that their industry is facing, and outline how other companies, similar to theirs, are dealing with the challenges.

The responses to the most recent campaigns have been much better. They actually encourage client engagement, revealed by how many links they click. And the opt-out rate has dropped dramatically. These results will continue to improve with targeted testing and development.

Here’s the point: In your email correspondences, just like your cold calling campaigns, you need to segment your market and make your communication as specific and personal as possible. If you can’t engage your prospect or client, you won’t move them forward in the sales process.
One of the tools that we use–and you will find useful in engaging your clients–is called the credibility statement.

The credibility statement is a focused opening that targets your conversation on specific challenges over general product features. It will help you to focus your writing and vocal exchanges on the prospect’s or client’s point of view.

A few years ago, before social networking became a dominant force and faxing was all the rage, we used this technique to send out a fax to specific clients and prospects. Then, when we placed the phone call, the contact was prepped on the reason for the call. The same format can be modified and applied to your email campaigns or your voicemail messages.

Here’s what you need:
1. Identify your target prospect. It pays to know some things about your target contact up front. Familiarize yourself with some of the problems their company is facing. Understand some of the issues people in their position have to deal with. Remember, you want to move away from the general to the specific as much as possible. No one wants a generic, one-size-fits-all solution. They want something that is going to address their specific challenges and issues. And by moving the challenge and the solution closer to their specific situation, you will increase your prospect’s level of interest and engagement.

2. Try to honestly see things from the prospect’s point of view. Everything stems from getting out of your head and into your prospect’s head. Once you can do this, you can get an idea of the issues and challenges they face and what they want. If you can’t do this, then all of your correspondence, regardless of the channel, will take a product-centric or a company-centric view of the relationship you are establishing. You want to have a client-centric view.

3. State what you’ve done for other companies. When engaging your prospect, start off with a statement of what you’ve done for other companies in their industry. State the achieved benefits from the client’s perspective. And only use specific companies and names when you know that your prospect will respond in a favorable fashion. Oh, and to avoid starting your correspondence off with “I” or “We” take your client’s perspective. Begin with “Our clients tell us…” and your statement will take the form of a third-person testimonial instead of a statement from you that can sometimes come off as an empty claim.

4. State how you did it. More to the point, state how your client leveraged your processes and products to achieve their gains. This is a process statement that adds solidity to your previous statement of achievement.

5. State how you might be able to do the same for your current prospect. When I was in customer support, one of the principles we learned early on was to under-promise and over-deliver. With this one-line statement, you are suggesting that they may see similar results, not claiming that they will see the same results. You can’t make any promises at this point because you don’t know the details of the prospect’s environment, their challenges, or the requirements. You need to sit down with them and conduct an in-depth review and analysis, the next stage of the sales process.

6. Make the commitment to follow up. At this stage, as in a voicemail message, you want to retain control of the process. Let your prospect know the time and date that you will call them. Or you can ask them if they have time for a few questions. But always maintain control of the process and let your prospect know when and how you will contact them again.

The key here is to always talk from the client’s perspective, give them client-centric perspective of what is possible, and always stay in control of the sales process.

If you are writing email campaigns, writing emails to single prospects as an opening tactic, conducting link-building campaigns, or creating an opening statement for a phone cold call, always take the client-centric view. Know your prospect and try honestly to see things from their perspective. It will give you insight on how to conduct your process as you move the sale forward.

Good Selling!

Author: Larry Prevost

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