If you are a human being with a heartbeat, the ability to fog a mirror by breathing on it, and in possession of a work email address you were foolish enough to use to fill out a form on a website, then you are in someone’s prospecting sequence. You are likely in dozens of sequences, few of which are relevant, many being nothing less than an automated, brute force form of persistence.
You must know how it feels to be on the receiving end. Here are five enormous mistakes you make in your prospecting sequence.
Less Human Than Human
The first mistake in prospecting sequences is fully automating every step. What makes them worse is including the prior email in each successive attempt, an arrogance that suggests that your request offered some form of value when it was nothing more than a straight pitch for a meeting, sent one-to-many, making it spam.
Humans don’t reply to others of our kind by replying to an email that was ignored, including a new message referring to the previous email. No one would dare continue responding to the string as if it was an actual communication.
If your prospecting sequence isn’t mostly real, human interactions, with few automated emails, you can quickly improve your progression.
Email Alone Approach
If your sequence is all email, you don’t have a sequence. Only asking for meetings through email sequences is the same as not prospecting at all. First, by choosing a medium that allows the recipient to hit delete or reject your request without speaking to you, you have limited your effectiveness to some percentage between zero percent and one percent.
You are not asking for a meeting when you request a meeting by email. If your prospective client hasn’t heard your voice, you’re not prospecting. If you don’t have the common decency to call them and offer to trade them something of value for their time, your sequence is not anywhere as near as it could be.
Too Few Phone Calls
Some sequences start with email, move on to LinkedIn, followed by a personal note, followed by an email, followed by another, with the phone as a last resort, only employed when you run out of emails.
Your prospecting sequences should be phone heavy, and especially at the beginning of your pursuit. The phone allows for synchronous communication, with both parties to a call possessing the ability to respond to the other in realtime. Not only does the phone best facilitate a request for a meeting, but it also provides the ability to resolve your dream client’s concern that you will waste their time.
The phone offers other benefits, as well as conversation. Much of the time, you will find your way to your contact’s voice mail, something salespeople avoid, even though they should embrace the idea of leaving a message. You can leave your connection a message, telling them who you are, why you are calling, and offering them a commercial for the value you want to trade them for their time.
Hearing your voice makes you real. It’s no longer the Chief Marketing Officer spamming them into oblivion, but a real person who dialed their number to speak to them personally. You need to be known, and you need to establish yourself as someone worth knowing.
If you like email, use it to send a follow up to your voicemail, promising you’ll try to call them again before the end of the week.
No No Ask Content
Most sequences are ask, ask, ask, ask, ask. A better series might be ask, ask, ask, provide value without any strings attached. Your sequence should not be “asks” alone, especially with cold prospects. Instead, you should begin the process of becoming a trusted advisor by providing advice.
There are many things you might share with your prospective clients that are not advice. Information about your company is not advice. Describing your products, services, and solutions are not advice. The results you have helped others produce is still not insights.
Sharing an article about your client’s vertical with an insight you believe is important is advice. You are recommending they read the article to gain an awareness of something worth knowing. When you use neutral content, something from outside of your company, it is not self-oriented. You might also preview an executive briefing, sharing the key takeaways, even without asking for a meeting.
The value of “no ask” content is that you are attempting to establish yourself as a value creator, and you are making deposits in your future relationship. You should be liberal with the content.
For the Love of All That Is Good and Holy
Of all the things that are of no value, your straight pitch LinkedIn InMail with a Calendly link (you know, the one with every appointment time as yet unclaimed) is not of value.
LinkedIn is a useful tool. A good portion of your clients are on the platform, and some large percentage are engaged there daily. You are better off providing information that is of value rather than trying to cheat the system by hiring someone who reeks of the nostril-burning stench of “a get rich quick scheme” to automate your outreach by spamming people.
Your prospecting sequence should be human, smart, relevant, and professionally persistent. It should help your contact say yes because you are other-oriented and aware of the things your dream client cares about or soon will.
If you want to get a meeting, avoid these mistakes, and use your sales sequences and touch points to earn it.