You’ve just wrapped up the initial connect call with a prospect. Since you know first-hand that following up can mean the difference between a lost deal and a new customer, you immediately open your email, copy and paste a follow-up template, insert the prospect’s name and company, and send it off. Mission accomplished.
Whoa — not so fast. While email templates are awesome, they can also be dangerous — because if you don’t customize them, your prospects will undoubtedly notice. According to a new study from HubSpot Research, almost 40% of consumers say they had a negative sales experience because their rep failed to personalize his or her messaging.
To make sure that your follow-up emails don’t sound canned, personalize your template based on how the conversation went. Here’s how.
Scenario #1: The Prospect Seemed Extremely Interested
It’s the type of meeting salespeople dream about: Not only was the buyer completely focused on you, she was enthusiastic about the product and readily agreed to a second conversation within a couple days. Reflect her excitement in your email and build on the rapport you created by referencing a specific detail of your conversation, giving her a genuine compliment, showing you were paying attention to her pain points by paraphrasing them in your own words, or all of the above.
Scenario #2: The Prospect Seemed Neutral
You’re probably more familiar with this scenario, in which the prospect listened to your pitch and asked a couple questions, but didn’t seem overly enthusiastic. Your goal in this email is to reiterate the value of the product for his specific needs, so that he’ll want to invest more time with you and potentially advance in the buying process.
A great way to do this is through sharing a customer story, suggesting a reference call with a current client, or even linking to a third-party review site, where he can get an unbiased look at your product and how you compare to the competition. Offering a demo or free trial can also show prospects how the product would improve their lives.
Scenario #3: The Prospect Was Polite But Uninterested
Despite your best efforts to ask thoughtful questions and engage the prospect in a needs conversation, she was clearly going through the motions to be polite. When you asked if she’d like to speak again in a couple of days to review an ROI projection for her company, she said, “Maybe next quarter.” And that essentially means “never.” (Sound familiar? Learn how to overcome the five most common sales objections.)
In this scenario, since the prospect didn’t give you much insight into her needs or situation, use your existing data or what you can find online to inform your message. Has she or someone from her company written about a related topic on social media? What problems do people in her company and role usually face? Pick a challenge, and explain how your product could help, like so …
Scenario #4: The Prospect Had Several Objections
During your short conversation, the prospect brought up several reasons why he wasn’t interested. And that’s not a bad thing keeping in mind that objections are often signs that a buyer is seriously considering your product.
In this email, focus on the prospect’s biggest reasons not to buy, and try to neutralize their concerns with customer case studies or anecdotes.
Scenario #5: The Prospect Blew You Off
It can be a little demoralizing when a prospect is clearly trying to get off the phone as quickly as possible. However, that doesn’t mean you should give up — it means you should provide a solid example of why your solution will give her company a competitive edge. (And if you hear the dreaded “I’m not interested,” check out how to salvage the conversation.)
By personalizing a follow-up email template to reflect the prospect’s response, unique situation, and personality, you keep the conversation alive. And conversation is always the first step in any sales process.