The other day I received a cold email from a program owner. In eight SHORT sentences she did two things, she made me want to find out more about the program and in my reply email I gave her the names of a few organizations that could probably send her a lot of business.
If you’re not getting that kind of response to your cold calls and cold emails, let’s make some adjustments.
Over the last 24 years I have been both a provider and a sales and marketing professional. Now that I am back to having my own full-time practice, I do both simultaneously. When I was in sales I regularly was asked the same question from colleagues and people I supervised. “Why won’t they return my calls or emails?”
The answer is quite simple. First of all you need to have a clear understanding of why you are reaching out to this particular person. What is your purpose? Secondly why would this person call you back? What’s in it for them? If you’re not providing a strong enough answer to those questions in your voice mails or emails, you probably won’t get a response.
Throughout the last six weeks, I have been, (gratefully), incredibly busy with clients. I have also received a ton of voice mails and emails from marketing professionals, and have responded to very few.
Why haven’t I responded?
- If I’m not with a client, writing, marketing my services or books; I’m not making money. That is honestly where my priorities are. So I need a really good reason to call you back. And that probably goes for most people in private practice.
- You left me a voicemail, and did not follow-up. One and done, really? Follow up is to sales as location is to real estate!
- The voicemail you left me did not sufficiently answer why you are calling and /or why I should call you back.
- You used the line, “It’s my job to know who is doing great aftercare work so when I have clients returning to your area, I can refer them to you.” I have been using that line since 1997. I heard someone else use it and thought it was great. It is and it’s true. However, if you are someone I don’t know and who is representing a treatment center I’ve never heard of, that sits in the middle of the country, I’m not buying it. Be strategic not generic when doing your outreach.
- You or your company sent me an email that was way too long and was just a synopsis of your webpage or brochure. (I am up to 25 unsubscribes this month).
There are a few people who I respond to every time they reach out even though I have never personally met these individuals. Every email they send is clear and concise and let’s me know exactly why they are reaching out, what they need, and what is in it for me.
My life coaching practice focuses on women in transition. Primarily I work with women going through a career change, relationship issues, dating, divorce, and health and wellness changes. These individuals I respond to, write for major outlets that focus on my niche market. Every time I contribute to their articles, my name is highlighted and links back to my website. They still continue to email me, even though I can’t contribute every time. Continually maintain your relationships, not every interaction is going to be a win.
How to get a return call or email.
- Be clear and concise.
- Know your whys. Know why you are calling and let the individual know why. What result are you looking for with your call? Are you calling or emailing just to give an update or are you looking to engage? There is a big difference. Just because you want to have a conversation about the fact that you are in network with XX insurance company, doesn’t mean the person you are reaching out to will feel the need to reply. Create the need for a response.
- What is in it for me? What is the reason I should engage with you? Ask yourself, “why would this person call me back?” Again if it is just information that you left in the voicemail or information that can be easily accessed on-line, you probably won’t get a response. Collaborate with your team members and figure out what works and what doesn’t. Draft various emails and voice mails that will most likely get responses. For example: Do you solve a problem for a certain group of providers? Do you have an opportunity for a provider to collaborate with you? Do you have a program that caters to a population that is difficult to place?
- Be strategic not generic. Know whom you are reaching out to and which of your highlights, programs, or opportunities will be of most interest to them. Solve a problem they may have or satisfy a need.
- Evoke emotion. Get creative with your outreach. Make someone laugh or create a sense of urgency. Do something different; send a personalized video versus the standard email.
- Follow up. Follow up. Follow up. If you are reaching out for the first time and do it via voice mail, try following up with an email. For me, if my last session wraps up at seven in the evening, I am much more likely to email you at that hour versus return a call.
- Engage. Those email blasts that your company sends out are typically filled with updates about your company. These are great; however, if you want people to engage, provide information that would be helpful for those professionals you are trying to reach. Perhaps an article about tips and tricks for marketing a private practice or streamlining their billing process. Update providers on new regulations that every provider must adhere to and ways to go about doing so. Give your audience a reason to not just read headlines; but, actually click over to your site.
Here is to you and more returned calls, emails, and engagement!
Sarah Stewart, MSW, CPC
Life Coach, Sales Coach, and Author