“Whatever you do, be different — that was the advice my mother gave me, and I can’t think of better advice for an entrepreneur. If you’re different, you will stand out.” — Anita Roddick, The Body Shop
Sme’s chat with Phillip Chichoni
Email has made it easier and cheaper to communicate with people. You can send an email at any time. Those buyers or business owners who are difficult to reach by phone or in person can be reached by email. “But”, I can hear you start to complain, “Most of the senior executives do not respond to emails!”
That is true. Some time ago I was trying to invite a prominent business owner to come and speak at one of the BusinessLink breakfast meetings. I managed to get his email address on LinkedIn and I sent an invitation. I waited. Nothing happened. A week later I sent another email as a follow up. Still there was no response.
Later on when I was having a conversation with a business associate, I told her about my difficult in getting in touch with this prominent entrepreneur. “Let me help you,” she offered, “I have met him before and I can call his personal assistant to arrange an introduction.” Two days later the business owner’s secretary sent an email confirming that he would be happy to come and speak at our next event, which was in October last year.
I never bothered to ask him if he had seen my previous emails because I had been told that he was a very busy man that rarely opened emails that came through his business address, nor did he take calls without prior confirmed appointments.
If you have found it difficult to get your emails read by senior executives or potential customers, it is because of this reason: they are insanely busy.
Considering that they receive a hundred or more emails daily, these people ignore those emails that don’t attract their attention immediately. Worse still, if you are selling something or asking for something from these executives, your email will be deleted instantly. These people actually get sick and tired of receiving hundreds of prospecting emails from marketers selling things they don’t need.
Here are some tips to help you create emails that would get read and responded to:
Avoid cold-call emailing
You have probably received a phone call from a stranger and got irritated when he or she started asking you questions before introducing themselves. That is exactly how a busy person feels when they receive an email from a stranger; the next thing they do is to just delete it. If you are not well-known enough or the person you are trying to communicate with is unlikely to know you, get introduced by someone they know. Increase your visibility through referral-building, public speaking, writing articles, or blogging. If someone introduces you to a prospect, if you receive a referral, or if the prospect already knows your name, your chances of getting a response will increase dramatically.
Align with their objectives
Research your prospect’s specific company, industry or position. You must have a valid reason for contacting the prospect, not just to sell your stuff. They will want to know why it will be worth their valuable time to communicate with you. Make sure your email mentions an important business objective, strategic imperative, issue or challenge. It is essential that your subject is relevant to your prospect.
Focus on immediate priorities
Identify key business events that may be impacting your prospect’s priorities and tie your message into that. Examples might be: relocations, mergers, management changes or new legislation.
Keep your message simple
Your email needs to be less than 90 words. Use two-sentence paragraphs so it can be scanned. Stick with common black fonts and never include more than one link or attachment.
Be an invaluable resource
Your product or service may be a commodity, but you’re not. In your emails, focus on the ideas, insights and information you can share that will be of value to your prospect in reaching their goals. Your approach must position your services in such a way that prospects immediately grasp what’s in it for them. Focus on tangible benefits and results for the client, not on descriptive features or the process you use to do your work.
Craft enticing subject lines
Your subject line determines if your message gets read. Avoid sales hype and focus on business issues such as: “Quick question re: outsourcing initiative” or “Reducing product launch time.”
Try these tips and see how responses to your email to prospects will change. Please share your experiences on this topic and on other business issues by sending me an email or dropping a comment on my website.
Until next week, best wishes in accelerating your growth.
- Phillip Chichoni is a business development consultant who works with SMEs and entrepreneurs. You may contact him by email: