In my efforts to help my clients grow their businesses, I have to work especially hard to get them to stop simply emailing prospects. After all, they like email because it’s easy, it’s safe and there’s hardly any rejection involved, right? I mean my clients are prospecting with B2B high level decision makers. And as they like to remind me, those people are busy and important so email is so much better…hmmm. Guess what a new research found out? Face-to-face requests are 34 times more successful than email. Imagine that.
Email Clearly Less Effective
In the study conducted by Western University, researchers instructed 45 participants to ask 450 people (all of whom were strangers) to complete a survey. Those who asked by email had slightly more confidence of success than those doing the asking in person. The results? Well, the face-to-face was significantly more successful (34x!!!) than email. Stats don’t lie people!
Why Email Is So Weak
When I ask my clients to call prospects to ask a series of scripted market research questions, they have strict instructions to phone first or to see the person face-to-face to make the request of a 15 minute informational interview. What gets me even hotter under the collar is that they are calling people they know from a past life. They are not cold calling these people. Well, luckily most of my clients listen to me and either call or see the person they’re trying to get valuable market information from in person. Others though, go ahead and even though they know it’s against my advice, they email the person. Then they wait and wait and wait. Most of the time, they meet me at the next session and the next few sessions and tell me they didn’t get anything done because nobody got back to them. That’s because people are drowning in email. An average buyer gets 100+ emails a day, opens just 23%, and clicks on just 2% of them*. Yours most likely won’t be one of them especially if it’s asking for a favour so passively.
How To Use Email Better
Now, we know that face to face works but I can hear heads shaking about the fact that calling isn’t always a sure thing either. In fact, 90% of first time voicemails never get returned**. I could argue that one with my clients because they supposedly know the people they’re calling or have been introduced to them through a trusted contact. So it’s not exactly a first time voicemail. However, I do have a more foolproof technique of reaching decision makers that I teach if you can’t see the prospect in person. It’s call the ‘sandwich’ or (Call-Mail-Call) method. This is where you leave a brief but urgent voicemail about why you’re calling (“Hi Adam, it’s Chala Dincoy. It was great to see you last year at the WBENC conference and I’m doing a bit of strategic work in your industry and need a 15 minute favour to pick your brain on a quick call. I know you’re busy so I’ll shoot you an email and call you this week to follow up since I need your info by next week if at all possible! I’m at 555-5555. Talk soon”). Then you email a very brief email about the same thing using similar words and then call back when you said you would. Most of the time this technique gets results. Try it.
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**Source: The B2B Lead