It’s the hardest part about making “yet another” follow-up call to a prospect…
Rainmaker, I’ve told you before that one of my “secret weapons” in selling my copywriting services… That was also my secret weapon in selling $30,000 IT training solutions… Is simply continuing to follow up…
Over, and over, and over again…
Trying to make myself a welcome guest, not an annoying pest…
And not stopping until I get a “yes” or a “no.”
“Maybe” or “not yet” or even no response simply calls for another follow-up call, at some point in the future.
That’s what today’s special Tuesday edition of Mailbox Monday is about: what to say in “yet another” follow-up with a prospect.
Here’s Chris’s question…
I’m just wondering (and perhaps this is best answered in one of your daily emails)… what are you saying when you follow-up?
Of course, from your teachings, I’m very proactive in finding ideas… but I won’t always have one for a specific client.
I imagine this changes from prospect to prospect — I’ll use myself as an example as you probably know more about my copywriting biz than I do…
XXXXX at XXXXX is very warm, so I don’t need to “woo” him so much. He knows me, and my copy.
But say, I’ve introduced myself once to YYYYY at YYYYY… I imagine I need to deliver more VALUE (than if I was contacting XXXXX) each time I email him, otherwise I may end up in the permanent “e-trashcan”.
First, Chris should be commended for doing everything right…
In fact, this is the same Chris whose testimonial graces the cover of The Copywriter’s Guide To Getting Paid.
Chris said, “I now earn more, from better clients who want to work with me, because of Roy and his teachings.”
But that’s not totally fair. Because it’s not just due to my teachings. It’s due to Chris’s implementation of my teachings.
You can read my book, read these emails, or follow me in whatever other way. But it’s when you actually implement that you get the real breakthroughs.
Chris has been implementing that one very important idea, but it has raised an issue…
As I recommend, Chris has continuously reached out to ideal prospects, and attempted to GIVE THEM VALUE ahead of asking anything specific.
In his case, he’s following my strategy of giving specific marketing ideas the client could use themselves, or hire Chris to help them implement. In some cases, the big idea for a promotion.
This is a strategy I’ve used throughout my career to help me get momentum and get connected with clients I’d otherwise have trouble connecting with.
This value-first approach is a much better way to get on their radar than just pushing my services on them.
But the more you do it, and the more conversations you start, the more you’re going to run into that point during the “long tail” of follow up where you need to follow up, but you don’t necessarily need to give them another big idea. Where you’re mostly just trying to stay on their radar.
Here’s my #1 recommendation for these long tail follow up situations…
Don’t be a marketer. Don’t be a salesperson. And by that, I mean don’t try to be whatever those titles mean to you.
Just focus on having a real communication, and say whatever comes naturally to you, to stay on the radar.
Let’s imagine for a moment an in-person situation. You’d had a conversation weeks ago with a potential client, about a really good idea that could help them grow their business.
They expressed some interest, but they still aren’t moving forward.
Then, you run into them at the store. You see each other. You recognize each other. You say “hi.” Then what do you say next?
My guess is that you don’t go into a pitch for a brand new idea…
My guess is that you say, “You know that idea we were working on, have you made any progress on that?”
Or, “I’ve been thinking about that idea we talked about — were you still interested in moving forward on it?”
Anything to stimulate a continuation of the conversation.
Sure, in some cases you might need to do more to resuscitate a cold lead…
But for the most part, if you’ve put yourself on their radar with some kind of initial conversation, all you need to do is stay in touch.
For the thinking behind these emails, I recommend following Dean Jackson’s advice…
And I’ve recommended Dean and his I Love Marketing podcast (which he does with Joe Polish) over and over and over again. Including earlier today. Meeting Dean in person in the hotel bar during AWAI was an unexpected highlight of the trip.
Well, in Dean’s Email Mastery process (described in a SUCCESS Magazine article here), he talks about what he calls the 9-word email.
The number of words isn’t the important part, even though it makes a catchy title.
The important part is the principles behind this.
This is an email sent when you’ve been having a conversation with a prospect, but the conversation has trailed off. When the lead is “dead.”
The 9-word email is what you send them with the goal of getting the conversation going again.
In Dean’s words, your 9-word email should be an email that’s short, personal, and expecting a reply.
Here’s one I sent earlier today, just before writing this essay…
“Did you guys get a chance to discuss this idea? Interested in continuing the conversation at all?”
Longer than 9 words. But short. Personal in that it’s about an idea we discussed — although this is not strictly Dean’s method, I sent this as a reply to a previous email. And expecting reply in that it asks two specific and easy-to-answer questions.
This in particular is for a lead I’d love to work with but I don’t feel a need to close the deal right away.
I’ve told them before I’m happy to get a “no” as much as a “yes.” But I have given them the chance to discuss a big idea for a financial promo that is exclusively theirs while the conversation is moving forward.
In the past, when I was selling those IT training solutions that often had to go through a corporate purchasing department, my emails would often be something like…
“I believe you’d sent this to purchasing — anything I can do to help you move this forward?”
Again, short, personal, expecting a reply.
The secret isn’t always what you say, it’s that you’re there saying something…
Long copy has its place. I get paid a lot of money to write highly-compelling long copy.
But you have to recognize when short copy is needed.
And if you say too much, you’ll get pegged as the salesperson who says too much, and who gets ignored.
A simple email like the one above is a great way to stay on their radar and present to help them move forward, without ever coming across as too pushy.
Alternately, you could do something like I did earlier today for another contact…
This is a gentleman who I don’t necessarily expect to work with, but that is a great professional contact.
A news story came across my screen earlier, that made me think of the last conversation we’d had.
I shot him a link to the story, told him it made me think of him, and simply said that I hoped all was well.
Even just showing that you’re thinking of someone could be all it takes to bring all sorts of opportunity out of the woodwork.
With that, go send some follow-up notes!
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,
Editor, Breakthrough Marketing Secrets