It is a rare occurrence that a decision-maker will open and read your email. If you are unknown, your odds are about the same as winning the Powerball and Mega Millions lotteries in the same week. There are too many emails flooding into their inbox, some from their internal teams, and likely even more from external people and companies. There are ways you can break through with a BASHO email, an approach developed by Jeff Hoffman.
The BASHO approach is demanding. First, you must know your client and what they care about. It’s easier to use a BASHO email with an executive at a publicly traded company or large privately held companies that share enough information that you can speak directly to their concerns. But if you are already practicing a modern sales approach, your insights and experience can enable this approach.
First, I will cover how to write a BASHO email, then I’ll explain how to use it to acquire a meeting, something I have shared with several large companies. This approach relies on strategic empathy instead of strategic narcissism. We will also add tactics that improve your results.
BASHO Email Step 1: Research
The reason you need to do your research is because your C-Level executive already has a list of strategic outcomes they need to produce. The BASHO email is a top-down approach. By reading the annual or quarterly results and other sources that reveal the company's initiatives, you can speak to what your executive already wants and needs. It's even better if you can acquire statements your contact has made in public, proving you are paying attention. When your client knows what they need, you can use this needs-based selling approach.
You will not use a BASHO email for every contact or company because it takes time. But you would use this approach for the largest, most strategic dream clients in your territory. Any client that will require you to play the long game may be a candidate for this sales strategy and this form of sales email.
BASHO Email Step 2: Your Opening
There isn't any warmup in a BASHO email. You don't start with hello or try to warm up your executive contact. Busy executives won't get past the first time-wasting line of your email. Instead, you start by referring to the contact’s statements or what they wrote in their annual or quarterly reports.
For example, your contact has stated they are losing market share to a competitor acquiring other industry players. You tackle this by reciting what they have published and the recent acquisitions their competitor has made in the last quarter. The more you can speak to the factors and forces that are putting them under greater pressure, the more you prove you are worthy of a conversation. Your command of the message makes you credible. From this point you must explain how you can help.
BASHO Email Step 3: How You Can Help
Let's imagine this contact is doing things the way they always have. You, however, can give them a powerful advantage over their acquisitive rival. Your client may decide not to buy up other competitors, but with your help, they can steal their main rival’s clients. This has the effect of making the rival’s acquisitions less valuable overall because they replace clients lost to you rather than driving true growth.
You must add details about what you believe they need to do, and how you can help them reach their goals and them take back market share. Your executive isn't likely going to take a meeting unless you include enough details to prove that a conversation with you is deserving of their time.
The details matter. They make your email much longer than the prospecting emails most people send. It is in vogue to write short emails because people are time starved. You cannot use his strategy in a short email, nor can you use automation. These emails are only valuable to senior leaders, so they require a high level of customization and detail.
BASHO Step 4: Requesting a Meeting
I prefer not to ask for a meeting in an email. I don't find it nearly as successful a sales strategy as telling your contact that you will call them in the next 24 hours. If you have done a good job understanding the client's challenges and explaining how you can help, you have a good chance of getting a meeting.
Improvements to BASHO
One way you get your contact to open your email is to send it at 7:00 AM on Saturday morning. If it hits your contact’s inbox when far fewer emails are coming in, you improve the chances that your email will be opened. Executives check their emails on weekends.
You want to be careful with this next strategy. It is more aggressive and can bring unwanted attention to your email. You send your email to the entire C-suite. When your message is powerful, you want to ensure it is opened and read by someone with authority. The risk of this approach is that some people may be offended. This can happen with someone interprets your email as an indictment, potentially embarrassing a person of power and influence, or getting them unwanted attention.
How to write an effective BASHO email
Writing a BASHO email is highly consultative. You are using some of the same content you would normally deliver in a modern sales conversation with a decision-maker. By using this approach, you prove you are an expert, an authority, and that you have the potential to be a trusted advisor. You get a meeting because you have shown you deserve to be in the room when a decision is being made.
If you decide to use a BASHO email, make certain you do your homework. Do the reading, listen to the conference calls, and ensure you understand the executive's priorities and the risks they outlined in their forward-looking statements. Make it clear that you have the experience, the ideas, and the ability to help them meet their goals. Like any strategy, you will encounter some people who respond to this approach, and others who delete your email. The strategy is worth pursuing, especially when what you do will help your client improve their results and potentially transform their business.
My last piece of advice here is to make this a group project. Bringing in additional people and perspectives can be a big help as you gather the information you need to make a connection.