Of course, you have to talk to strangers in order to network, prospect and grow your business. However, too many small business owners and sales people are using email to prospect strangers and to do that type of communicating.
There are several problems with this practice. If we remember that sales is about relationships and trust, we can start to see why attempting to prospect strangers via email can be a problem.
Think about how you react to emails you receive from strangers. Are you suspicious? Cautious? Disinterested?
Well, guess what? So are your prospects.
I believe that people prospect strangers via email because it’s easy and nonthreatening. After all, if the recipient doesn’t respond, you don’t hear their rejection. So you don’t feel anything negative.
Unfortunately, those who prospect strangers by email are missing the whole point of prospecting, in my opinion.
Why You Shouldn’t Prospect Strangers Via Email
Prospecting is about building relationships and identifying who might need what you have to sell. In order to do this, you have to have a conversation. You can’t have one via email.
When you pursue prospects by email you are telling them that you don’t really have an interest in doing business with them. You aren’t willing to do the work of finding out about them and their needs. It’s more like you are just engaging in an activity so you can say that you did something.
Harsh? Maybe. However, if you think about it – you’ll see what I mean.
When most people send emails to strangers, they end that email telling the stranger to reach out if they are interested. Here’s the message that is received:
I don’t know you from Adam and have no idea whether I can help you or not. Nor do I care to really find out. I’m sending out a bunch of emails to a bunch of strangers in the hope that one or more of them will respond.
I’m sorry to tell you that this will not get you business because you aren’t doing anything to engage the prospect.
Try This Instead
1) Identify your target market. What does an ideal client look like? This is a person or company who can benefit from what you offer.
2) Identify where they are and then do your research. Learn as much as you can about them so you have something to talk with them about.
3) Determine if you know anyone who can introduce you to them.
4) If so, ask for that introduction. If not, call them. Either way, you have to call them and engage them in conversation.
5) Lastly, please don’t leave the activity up to them. Keep reaching out to them, tell them that you will if you have to leave a voicemail message.
When you do this, you are letting them know that you are interested in exploring whether you can help them or not. You are taking responsibility for moving the relationship further. You are appreciating that they are busy and have a lot on their list of priorities. And you aren’t taking anything personally.
There are a myriad of reasons why someone might not want to meet, or might not call you back. Don’t assume you know what that reason is.
Create your own outreach system and stick to it. When you take the powerful action of calling instead of emailing, you’ll find that people respond and your business grows.
Suspicious  Photo via Shutterstock