- We have reached peak email prospecting, the point when its effectiveness begins an inevitable decline.
- Two emails aren’t better than one, and any more than two undermines your goals.
- It’s time to reimagine email’s role in prospecting.
Every day, your clients wonder if they’ve been sentenced to one of the lower levels of Hell, perhaps a floor or two above politicians and attorneys. Surely, they think, low-level demons are behind the constant stream of sales emails, each one describing the wonders of Imp Inc. and their solutions, then asking them to click a link to book a meeting. Even the emails with a veneer of relevance soon degrade into the same old pitch. Were you to tour this level with Virgil and Dante, you would hear these poor souls’ pained cries of frustration: every time they delete an email, they’re damned to get an instant replacement, just in case they missed the first one.
It sometimes takes us longer than it should to recognize the second-order effects of our actions—even seemingly good ideas can turn out to diminish your results and your reputation. The idea that unsolicited emails are somehow less intrusive than an unsolicited phone call is false. In fact, now that we have reached “peak email,” every additional unsolicited email is more likely to do harm than good.
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What Your Message Says About You
In part, the medium is the message, but the content of your email may also send clients a message you didn’t mean to broadcast. Notably, starting by providing information about your company, your clients, and your solutions projects one thing: you have something to sell and you believe this person should buy it. Anyone with a heartbeat and a working email address would qualify for that pitch, and I’m not so sure about the heartbeat.
But that utterly and completely commoditized approach also suggests that you have nothing of value to offer your prospective client. Asking for a meeting after what amounts to an inverted value proposition is evidence that you are clueless about earning meetings by trading enough value to deserve them. And bumping your message after a whole 24 hours of non-response suggests an even bigger bump to your head—the only reasonable explanation for pretending that your prospective client didn’t just delete your first email.
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How to Automate Away Your Reputation
You would rather be a value creator than a time waster, wouldn’t you? You want your prospective client to recognize that you can help them improve their results, don’t you? You want your prospective client to look forward to a meeting with you, knowing that it will time well spent, right? Then listen up.
The first quick-pitch email you send is likely to be deleted, along with seven to ten other pitches that look exactly like yours. Your client won’t recall your email or your name, so the only advantage is that you have done little to harm your reputation. But sending that second email, especially if you include the original one below it, may cause your client to chafe at your arrogance. Each email after the second will just confirm that you’re a spammer.
Automating a sequence of emails to badger and bother your prospective clients mistakes activity for effectiveness, and replaces value creation with value destruction. Instead of attracting clients, you repel them. By identifying yourself as a person who routinely spams your prospective clients, you reduce your chances of ever scoring a meeting.
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Making Email Valuable
When something is commoditized and transactional, the way to improve it is to increase its value. You can do that through novelty, creativity, and greater caring. A mail-merge “personalized” greeting won’t cut it if the rest of your content is indistinguishable from the rest of the spam folder.
Imagine, though, if one of those tortured souls received an email with actual insight: information and observations that left them better off after they read it. Imagine that they found it so helpful that they distributed it to their colleagues and even printed out a copy to refer to later. Imagine that the message didn’t just try to sell them something but explained their world to them, helping them better understand their challenges and identify a potential way forward. Now imagine an actual human on the other end of that email, ready and willing to partner with the reader to help them make decisions and improve their outcomes.
Not too long ago, someone suggested that you should not provide free consulting. But if you stick to that rule, your pitches will lack relevance and distinctiveness, making them even easier to ignore. You want to stand out, and you want to be known for the value you create and your ability to improve your client’s results. Sending the same email as all your lemming-like peers will earn you a one-way trip to the trash folder.
Do Good Work:
- What kind of value do your emails provide?
How does your email justify a meeting?
How could you improve your emails and better position yourself?
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