Geoffrey James of Inc. wrote a post on sales development, 6 Steps for Developing Sales Opportunities and he makes a good initial point (with a caveat I’ll add below):
Salespeople similarly expend a huge amount of thought and energy on closing deals that turn those sales leads into real, live paying customers. Ironically, the beginning and end of a sales process aren’t as important as what happens in the middle.
The middle part is developing the sales lead to the point where it’s possible to close the sale. This typically entails having several conversations to understand the customer’s needs and determine how you might help.
While it’s a good piece, it’s really this quote that’s relevant to your new business strategy.
What agencies consistently tell me is “We nail it in the pitch, it’s getting there that we have trouble with.” (One of the big reasons RSW/US exists.)
But some agency principals also have a misconception about that middle part, and that’s the caveat I mentioned earlier.
Before you ever get to those “several conversations,” first you actually have to break through.
That really is the hardest part.
The reality is, your prospects are incredibly busy and there are many agencies knocking on their door.
One of the most important ways you’re going to break through?
Brief, well-written sales emails.
Sure there are exceptions/other ways like social, direct mail, etc., but I see agencies too often gloss over emails, thinking only about the great conversations they’re going to have with a prospect.
And when that happens, they write generic or overly-salesy emails, almost as an afterthought.
In the coming weeks, we’ll be releasing some email examples, so consider this a shot across the bow.
Email is only one part of the new business equation, so I don’t want to overemphasize its importance, but take a step back today and evaluate your email correspondence.