You meet a client at a conference and they express how excited they are to work with you.
So you both enthusiastically agree to catch up in a few days, but they don’t respond.
What went wrong?
Were they just too busy to reply back?
Was it just polite conversation with no intent? (Yes, we TOTALLY should get lunch again soon)
Did they find another vendor in the meantime, since you were too slow to respond?
Were your messages so canned that they thought it was a robot versus a human (lost in spam)
An MIT study discovered that calling a lead within 5 minutes makes you TWENTY ONE TIMES more likely to qualify a prospect.
Other researchers found that it takes 7+ touches, on average, to close a B2B deal– even more in enterprise B2B.
The VP of Marketing for a major entertainment company saw us speak at a conference. He came up afterwards to give us his business card. They needed full-service help, since they didn’t have the staff or expertise. We were slow to follow up. That was before Marketo and InfusionSoft, of course.
But fortunately, he saw us speak at yet another conference and came up again to present his card.
We had a call among stakeholders– everyone was pleased, but they just had to get the buy-in from another department.
We tried sending multiple generic emails with canned subject lines and little personalization– nobody responded.
So here’s the trick to break through to them:
Set up a Google Alert in their name to find a new angle.
Then you can send them your insightful analysis on current events as it relates to your field of expertise.
In our case, someone fell from one of their roller coasters and died– major negative press, as you can imagine.
But the bright light was that social acted as their PR voice.
Thousands of fans came to this company’s defense, saying that roller coasters are safe (1 in 250 million chance of a fatality, compared to X in driving a car) or even that the woman was at fault (since she was too big for the ride).
The voice of your fans is far stronger and more credible than the most spin-savvy PR firm.
The top fans here got over a hundred likes each and likely tens of thousands of views each.
Are they listening to these folks across Facebook, twitter, YouTube, blog networks, and every other channel?
The voice of the mainstream media doesn’t reflect general public sentiment. Building a strong supportive base of high power fans balances out ups and downs. A brand is the sum of positive and negative deposits made into fan trust accounts over time. So when there’s a major withdrawal, the brand has plenty of balance to draw on.
Your message should have 3 parts linking together
The subject line is key— it can’t be something a smart auto-responder would generate.
Hint: putting their name in the subject line isn’t good enough– most email programs do that already.
If you’re well-known, your subject line can be “This is Dennis Yu” (insert your name)
You can mention the news event with specifically the person’s name and some stats associated with it– numbers increase open rates.
Then you lead into the analysis.
You’re not selling, but providing truly insightful commentary that will be helpful from their point of view, whether or not it has anything to do with your product or service. In this case, I wanted to provide some firepower to their PR team, so they could see social is doing a great job assisting their efforts.
“Having a strong social presence has the hidden benefit of protecting against negative PR.
So when there are mishaps, like the news today about Rosy Esparza on the Texas Giant, it’s drowned out by the existing positive sentiment. “
And finally you tie it into your offering, but gently.
We’re selling social analytics tied into ads– to find their top fans and amplify their actions.
“Would you like to see what folks are saying here across different channels and who is truly your top fan? It’s quite positive, not that you want a PR crisis to bring these folks out.”
When you help the client tell their story– providing something that makes your contact look good, you can bet they’ll return your call.
Make them look good. Give them something they can forward to their boss and other colleagues.
Ironically, when you try to “sell” them, you’re less likely to close a deal.
Always look at it from their perspective.
About the Author
You can find him quoted in major publications and on television such as CNN, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, NPR, and LA Times. Clients have included Nike, Red Bull, the Golden State Warriors, Ashley Furniture, Quiznos-- down to local service businesses like real estate agents and dentists. He's spoken at over 750 conferences in 20 countries, having flown over 6 million miles in the last 30 years to train up young adults and business owners. He speaks for free as long as the organization believes in the job-creation mission and covers business class travel.
You can find him hiking tall mountains, eating chicken wings, and taking Kaqun oxygen baths-- likely in a city near you.