Many consultants often get stuck when it comes to figuring out how to outbound. That is why prospecting has been a topic and a task that is avoided by most. Jason Bay, the Co-Founder and Chief Revenue Officer of Blissful Prospecting, is someone who has figured out prospecting from personally going through the pain points of building a sales pipeline and later on discovering great resources to share. Jason talks about how we can speak the language of potential customers or existing clients, reach out to them, and then apply it to our own marketing. As Jason gets into the details of this whole process, he shares the best practices when it comes to prospecting, providing a sample of an effective campaign. Learn more from Jason on how you can reach out with the messaging that will have the people on the other line engaged and put you on their radar.
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Prospecting Tips For Consultants with Jason Bay
I’m excited to have Jason Bay joining us. Jason, welcome.
Thanks for having me on, Michael. I’m looking forward to it.
You consult for and you also provide done-for-you services for B2B sales reps, SMBs, nonprofits, to help them to set appointments and do more effective prospecting. Let’s start off by having you share how you get into that world of prospecting?
When I left my corporate job in 2013, I was a VP of Marketing. What I was doing was primarily running and starting a marketing department from scratch for a large construction company. This is about $35 million residential repaints. I wanted to leave them because I was like, “This is cool. I want to help other companies do this.” I experienced the pain points myself that I didn’t know how to do outbound. I was working in a business to consumer industry. I didn’t know once the pipeline dried up, word of mouth, referrals, I didn’t know how to go hunting for business. I wasn’t at the point where I felt like I could create a lot of content and things like that because I didn’t have a niche either.
I experienced a lot of those pain points myself. I found all the resources out there were geared towards people at the time that wanted to break into the enterprise and do these large-scale outbound campaigns. I learned through trial and error and honestly doing it the wrong way, by sending out those crappy spam blast emails, people responding, getting angry and getting blacklisted my domain. I started to pick it up when I started looking at what are the people that are doing this? I’m like, “What if I talk to some people that are doing inside sales and sending stuff in what they’re doing?” Over time, I found out how to do this successfully. I got my first clients as a consultant before we started Blissful Prospecting. They’re like, “You reached out to me with this email. Can you do this for us?” I had a light bulb go off at that point. I was “Yeah, we can do it.” I had no idea how to price it or what the engagement should look like. We started out charging $100 a month for done-for-you stuff. Now we do $3,500 a month. I learned a lot along the way, but it was through my own personal struggles of building a sales pipeline and not being able to do it effectively that we started Blissful Prospecting because we didn’t see resources out there for small businesses and people running small shops.
It’s interesting because prospecting is an area that many consultants avoid and quite frankly they dislike. Why do you think that is? From your own experience of doing prospecting, not having it work and figuring out how to make it work, why do you think it’s uncomfortable and an area that a lot of people shy away from?
There are two things. One, there may be a misunderstanding of how to go about it correctly. When I was working for that construction company, when I started out with them, I started as a freshman in college that I was making sales. I went door-to-door. When I started the marketing department, we started to inside sales departments, a call center and they were doing outbound cold calling with consumers. It’s rough. I thought that’s what you’re supposed to do as B2B. I thought outbound was you pick up the phone or you go door-to-door. Knowing that it doesn’t have to be the old school way, you don’t have to pound the pavement, make a bunch of cold calls and do all this other stuff. It doesn’t have to suck. The first part is the mentality around it. The second part is if you know who you’re reaching out to and you know a little bit more about what that person does in their job, what they’re trying to accomplish, challenges that are keeping them from accomplishing that. You can start to use language and lead with a challenge in a cold call. You can lead with a challenge in a cold email and people resonate with challenges. It’s the way that we empathize with people is by sharing a challenge and showing that person that I might not have walked in your shoes, but I understand what it is like to walk in your shoes.
Give us an example of what that looks like. I want to make this tangible for our audience, maybe in a recent campaign.
We work with nonprofits a lot and they’re hard to sell too because they do budgeting once a year. An example of this is we’re reaching out to chief revenue officers at nonprofits. When we first started doing this, we didn’t know how to talk about their goals. We said, “We can help you raise revenue.” When we started having conversations with chief revenue officers that we figured out is that they use the word, impact. They don’t use the word, revenue. They use fundraising. That’s how they talk about this stuff. When I started asking them through calls about what their challenges were, I heard all kinds of interesting answers, but primarily it focused around, “We’re tight on bandwidth. Our development department is being pulled in 100 different directions. We don’t have the time to do the prospecting or we know who to reach out to. We don’t know how to get their attention.” Those are the two big things I heard in almost every call that I did.Empathize with people by sharing a challenge and showing them that you understand what it is like. Click To Tweet
To jump in because I don’t want people to pass that and that is the importance of honing in on the language your ideal clients are using. You started off talking about revenue. That’s not what they were using. They were using fundraising or impact that they’ll also lead the question of people to get that and go, “That makes sense. Maybe I’m not using the right language and that’s why I’m not getting the response that I desire.” How do you get those first few conversations to be able to identify what language your ideal clients are using?
If you’re starting from scratch, this is exactly how we started Blissful Prospecting. As a consultant, what I did is I had a hypothesis. I use LinkedIn and Sales Navigator. I said, “There are other people out here like me that are having this challenge. I’m going to look up and create an account profile on LinkedIn.” I had a lot of experience in construction. I was like, “What about the people that sell business to business to construction companies, software companies, professional services? What if I create some profiles in there and start reaching out to them on LinkedIn?” That’s what we did. We did a lot of that. I would hop on fifteen to twenty calls a week and I say, “I found you through here,” and say something personalized. I’d say, “Are you having any challenges these days? Is there anything we might able to help you out with?” I got a lot of responses.
Some people didn’t respond. Some people are like, “We’re good.” Other people were like, “I noticed it looks like you help businesses with this. Let’s chat.” I had a website at JasonBay.com that shared a little bit about what we did. I didn’t have any case studies or any services even. I wanted to learn about the challenges. That’s what I led with, “I want to learn a little bit more about your challenge and see if I’d be able to help you out here.” I would get on the phone I would ask them like, “What are your biggest challenges in this area?” I keep a close track of how they talk about it.
Were you leveraging your past experience in that early job out of the outside of the university? You were running the marketing department. Is that the leverage that you use to be able to contact them and say, “Maybe I can also help you with this,” or were you using something else?
I was fortunate to leave my employer in good graces and they became my first case study. Even though they were a B2C company and not B2B, it was still a case study I could have on the website. It’s still a testimony. I had done freelance work before too like building Weebly websites or doing some lead gen for people. I had a few things on the website. I thought hard about, in one or two sentences we help this type of business, we’ll solve this type of problem. How can I come up with something that they might relate with and have a few testimonials and case studies to show people I know what I’m doing? That was all I had on the website. I did leverage past experience, talked and used my ex-employer as the first case study.
That’s so important. You have these hypotheses, these assumptions. What you go and do is you validate them to make sure that they’re correct. You might find that sometimes they’re right, other times they’re not. What you’re learning in those conversations is what those who you want to serve care about. You’re able to take that knowledge, those learnings and apply it to your marketing, to your LinkedIn profile, your website. Everything else that you’re doing with your messaging and now the next round of people that you reach out to is going to be even more effective.
I would think of this a lot like when you’re first starting out, you’re traveling with a compass versus a GPS. You know which general direction you should be going, but that’s about it. As soon as you get on the road and you start seeing signs, you start talking to people and doing all this other stuff, you start to figure out a little bit more about where exactly you’re supposed to go. That happens over time and through conversations.
Even with people who do have clients, maybe they’ve been in the business for quite some time but they want to get their marketing to that next level and they want to start building a pipeline of business and opportunities. Maybe most of their businesses come through referrals, their network and now they’re realizing like, “I need to up my prospecting game a little bit. I need to commit more to marketing.” Maybe they don’t necessarily know what their ideal clients care most in terms of their language. They’re wondering, “Is my messaging as effective as it could be?” Would you suggest that they take the same approach to go out, this time go ahead and talk to their existing clients? Is there something else that they could be doing to validate their assumptions around their messaging to have a message that they can use in their marketing to new prospective clients?
You definitely want to go after existing clients and I’m under the assumption that you have clients who you like working with, that’s first. If you’re serving clients you like working with, they’re paying you the amount that you want to get paid, then go with that. The way that you want to approach this is we started working with nonprofits by the way by accident. Someone approached us and they’re like, “This looks cool. Can you do this to help us with corporate development?” What we didn’t know is that would be one of our most successful case studies. What it made us realize because we never reached out to the nonprofits directly and did outreach to them, is that the best way to do outbound is if you have a very specific case study.
What I appear, especially as a consultant, you want to be a specialist. When we started looking at nonprofits and I was like, “We got something here.” My next task was to make sure that they were a good case study. The task after that was, “Let me talk to our client and figure out a little bit more about how they talk about stuff, the language that they use, why they decided to hire us and what position they were in.” I wanted to get down to the specific situations that they came across throughout their workday or workweek where they would talk about the pain points they were having with prospecting. That’s how specific that I wanted to get. Through that, that’s where we learned all the language and all the specific things to approach other nonprofits. Definitely start with your existing clients and create a profile from that. The number one reason why you should niche down into ideal client profiles is that the case studies that you share are going to be dialed in and specific. I wouldn’t be able to use a professional services case study for a nonprofit. It’s not the same type of company.
This is exactly the reason why we often recommend to our coaching clients to do exactly that, to hone in on the ideal client because even from a marketing perspective, a messaging perspective, a service offering perspective. The more segments or different groups or different types of clients that you have, you have to update and change all those things. If you’re going to have a message going to one type of industry that works, but if you want to take that to a different industry, now you’ve got to change your messaging to be relevant for them or your case studies for them. The more that you add, the more different markets that you go after, the more complexity that you add. It’s not that it can’t be done, but if you want to be running lean, efficient, profitable, especially in the early days of your marketing. Getting a clear focus and building around that until you’ve built to a great enough level is almost always the best way to go.
The big thing is that when people receive cold outreach, they’re thinking a lot of different things. First, the person is thinking, “Who is this? What’s in it for me?” The second thing is that, “Is he or she one of us? Do they speak in my language?” You need to have a huge budget for marketing and sales if you want to be generic because you’re going to have to pay a lot of money to get attention and get in front of a lot of people. No one hires a consultant. I don’t think. It’s not looking for a specialist.
Typically, their organization is already filled with generalists. If they had the answer already there or if they knew the answer, they have the resources, they wouldn’t need the consultants. Let’s now get into some best practices when it comes to prospecting because I know you’re a believer in omnichannel. When we talk about omnichannel, not just only doing email, but also looking at how does email play with video and how does it play with maybe a phone call or LinkedIn and all these other different types of mediums. It would be great if maybe you could share an example of an effective campaign. What does it look like for you? What are some of the best practices that you’re using in your own business and also with clients from a campaign structure if they were a line of force? What does it look like? What does it include?
You’re going to hear this called a sales cadence. Essentially that’s a fancy word for a sequence of activities to get a prospect’s attention. My wife and I run our business. We work with six or eight freelancers. We’re lean. We don’t have a lot of time to do a lot of cold calling, sending videos and doing all this other stuff. My first piece of advice is don’t treat prospects equally. What I mean by that is people that you email, not all of them are going to open the stuff that you send them, they’re not all going to be receptive of it. Spend the extra time you have focused on the people that are showing signs of engagement. Cadence might look like this. Typically, what you’re going to want to have is eight to twelve touches and that’s between phone, email and you could throw social in there as well.
Over what period of time would those eight to twelve be typically?
Everything depends on who you’re reaching out to, but a good rule of thumb is 30 to 45 days. You don’t want to have outreach less than two days apart. Don’t send some email to someone on Monday and email them on Tuesday. Give it a 48-hour arrest. Typically, we find something that works well like this. Week one, we might send an email Tuesday, send an email Thursday. Email number one is going to be introductory email like, “We help so-and-so with these types of challenges. Is it cool if I send over a case study with a client that we’ve worked with years?” You may or may not get a reply. The second email is going to include that case study no matter what.
Week two, what I’m looking at on Monday and Tuesday is who is actively opening those emails? You should have an open rate above 50% ideally. Most of our campaigns have 65% to 70% open rate. You should be at least 50%. What you’re going to find is if you sent 50 emails, 25 people opened them. What you’re going to find from that is that if you’re using a sales engagement tool, you’re going to find that there are certain people that opened the email even more times than once. You might have people opening the email half-a-dozen times. What we find is the extra effort is best spent on those people. I have an email campaign going 68 emails and it’s going to keep going, but I’m going to call people on Monday or Tuesday or send personal one-on-one videos to them or hit them up on social if they’re engaging with the emails that I’m sending them.
To break this down, you’re applying the 80/20 Principle where you send 50 emails, 25 people open them, that’s 50%. Within that, maybe there are ten people who are opening them multiple times. You’re going to start your week two outreaching, which is now you’re going to follow up to those ten people. You’re going to do maybe a more personal video or spend a bit more time engaging and following up with those ten people as opposed to going after the other 40. Would you ignore the other 40 or would you make them a stage two and start with the first ten? Once you’ve done that, moved to the other 40.When you're first starting out in the business, you're like traveling with just a compass versus a GPS. Click To Tweet
Whenever you have time for. It depends on how busy you are. If you’re like, “I only have time to do two one-hour blocks of calls and videos per week,” you’re going to have to pick and choose. If you have time to do more, I would call everyone that’s opening up the emails. Another thing that I want to share though because we had a theory that when we looked at the appointments that we were setting, that there would be a correlation between how many times the person opened up the emails. There wasn’t. We thought that the appointments we set would have a high number of opens. We had people seriously opened up emails 50 times over the course of emailing them over 30, 45 days. There wasn’t a direct correlation there. Where there was a direct correlation was in the timing of sending that video or making the call.
Meaning what specific when you say timing?
Ideally, once you create a trigger in your sales engagement platform, let’s say you’re using Mixmax, you can create a trigger that says when someone opens an email three times or four times, I wanted to create a task for me to call them. Ideally, when do you send that second email on Thursday, you might like to leave some space open into your calendar and start making calls with people that are engaging with your emails. This isn’t ideal for everyone because it’s going to require you to keep your schedule a little flexible.
To confirm what you’re saying so it’s clear for everyone, you’re saying that after you send that second or third email or whatever it is, if someone has opened it, engage with that email, then you would set up your system to be notified. Ideally as soon as they open it, you’re getting a notification saying, “This person opened your second or third email, whatever it is.” That’s when you pick up the phone and call them.
The chances of you getting a hold of that person are much higher. It’s not a cold call at that point because the call is going to be, “Michael, this is Jason Bay with Blissful Prospecting. Does that ring a bell?” You’d be like, “Yeah. You sent me emails,” or they might say no. A lot of the times if you’re calling people that open the email a lot, they know a little bit who you are. They might not have looked at your website or anything, but it becomes a warmer call.
What do you say to the clients that you work with who you’re doing the done-for-you services? You’re sending the emails for them. All of a sudden, they get to this notification, “Pick up the phone and call this person.” Their hesitation is, “I don’t want to bother them. They’re busy. I don’t know exactly what to say. Isn’t it too pushy? I’m not that person.” What’s your response to those people?
My response is that if you’re too afraid to bug someone, you’re never going to set up appointments when you do outbound because everything you do is bugging that person. It’s interruption-based marketing. Even like a lot of like ads and things are interrupting people’s days. You’ve got to get yourself around the mentality that you are interrupting a person’s day. There are a lot of benefits for people to make cold calls and cold emails. A lot of organizations make their higher-ups, not them directly respond to the cold emails, but have their assistants go through it because they don’t want to miss out on opportunities. There are new tools that are coming out, etc. A lot of prospects that you’re reaching out to, the majority of them are pretty open based on our experience to receiving this type of outreach. That doesn’t mean that a quarter of them are not going to be responsive, but you’ve got to wrap your head around the fact that you have something valuable to offer them. Most of the prospects you reach out to do want to hear about things that are valuable to them.
That’s the most important part in my mind. In my observation, when you shift your mindset to not focus on interruption or annoyance or sales or anything, it comes down to if there’s someone that has a problem or they’re working towards some goal or destination, but they can’t get there because they’re stuck or there’s a challenge. You have the ability to help them. You have the capacity to add value to their lives, to their business, to leave them better off than they are right now. If you care, if you are committed to serving, you have the responsibility.
You should have the commitment to engage with them because if you don’t, you’re not going to be on their radar. You’ll remain invisible. The goal is to go from invisible to become visible. That ties exactly to why your experience is that people don’t mind when you send them a cold email or pick up the phone and give them a call if it’s relevant. If I have a bad toothache, I’m searching for some medicine and I don’t have it. I’m in a lot of pain and all of a sudden someone calls and says, “By any chance, are you having a toothache right now because I found something. If I did this, it got rid of it. Great. Call me anytime when I have a toothache because you’re helping to relieve a problem that I have.”
To go along with that example because a lot of times the people reaching out to are not having a pain point quite that strong but it might be right before it. If I was reaching out to someone like that, it might sound something like, “Do you ever get a sensitive tooth maybe in the right of your mouth or the left side of your mouth? It keeps you from like chewing food on that side. It’s annoying and one side of your mouth is getting a little torn up.” You’re like that kind of challenge, you can tease something out that’s a little less extreme.
Let’s do an example because I’ve taken us on to this tooth pain image that everyone’s probably going to go like, “Michael, that’s not relevant to us.” Share maybe a more relevant example because it’s important what you’re talking about where you’re not reaching out and using messaging necessarily on the pain point that is the end goal or issue. It’s what they’re starting to think about because most people that you reach out to aren’t necessarily ready to buy right now or at this exact moment. Give us an example maybe of what the end core pain is and what will you use in your messaging to set up an appointment?
This is great that we’re doing this because the stats is 2% or 3% of people are ready to buy at any given time. An example of this will be if I’m reaching out to a sales manager to sell our prospecting training. A big pain point they might have is they have to fire reps because they’re not hitting quota or they have to lay off people because the expenses are way too high and they’re not hitting quota. That’s a very extreme thing to say in an email. I would never say that. What I would say and what we have said that works well and this is because I’ve heard them say this is the email would sound something like, “Michael, a lot of sales managers have been telling us that one of their biggest frustrations is walking out onto the sales floor and it’s silent. They’re not throwing a lot of activity. They’re not sure how to increase the level activity per rep. I wasn’t sure if that’s a challenge that you’re having right now, but we did work with similar client to yours. Is it cool if I sent over a case study?” That’s how the email would sound.
What you’re finding is if we look at some metrics or targets that you work towards internally and with clients, there’s a 50% open rate. What response or reply rate do you aim for?
What we care about more is a conversion into appointments. Reply rate is a good indicator of that. You want to make sure it’s not negative replies, but you want to be 10%-plus. Our best campaigns are 15% to 20% with cold outreach. It’s 15% to 20% of the 100% of people you’re reaching out to.
What about the actual appointment rate?
Appointment rates are going to vary, but we’re looking for something between 3% and 8%. It depends on the deal size too. If you’re selling something that might cost $50,000 to $100,000, 3% or 4% conversion into a meeting is great. If you’re selling something that costs $3,000 a month, you want to be on the higher end.
Let’s say that you’ve sent out this email. Do you ever do this through LinkedIn or are you going in and using email right away in most campaigns?
I like using email as the foundation because I can get good analytics. What doesn’t exist with LinkedIn right now because of their APIs is that you can’t look at open rates across the board on LinkedIn or reply rates. Email is the foundation and supplement with calls, videos on LinkedIn.If you don't engage with people, then you're not going to be on their radar. Click To Tweet
Let’s talk about tools. What are you using to manage this whole process? We’re talking about being able to send emails, be able to track different steps, being able to look at people in a pipeline, videos or phone. What are some of the tools that you use internally and that you recommend to clients?
I love Mixmax. Mixmax is a great tool because it works within Gmail. What you can do is you can upload called sequences, but it’s a cadence. You can say, “You can map out that eight to twelve-part cadence in advance.” You send an email. You can say, “If he doesn’t respond, I want to send this email automatically. If he doesn’t find that, I want for it to create a task for me to call, etc.” I like Mixmax. It’s going to help you keep track of all that stuff. The other tool that I like for data is a couple of them. It feels like you’re list building. LinkedIn Sales Navigator in tandem with LeadIQ works well. It’s going to be a little bit more on the expensive side with those two tools. It’s about $150, $160 a month between those tools.
LeadIQ, I’ve heard the name before but does that also provide you with phone numbers for people or are using a different service for that?
That’s why I love LeadIQ is they’re going to have the most accurate and volume of direct dials. You’re going to get people cell phones. It might only be a third of the prospects, but everyone has got a company phone. The reality of it is most of the calling that you’re going to be doing is probably going to be through the company phone and leaving a voicemail.
You’re following up after that voicemail with another email or a LinkedIn message referencing that voicemail.
Think of voicemails like retargeting ads. It is the purpose for people to click on it, but it’s them seeing your ads in a lot of different places. A little click-through is not a bad thing with retargeting. It’s the same thing with voicemail. Don’t expect them to call you back, but they’re definitely either listening to it or reading a transcription of it in their email.
You’re creating this omnipresence where you’re being seen or being heard everywhere. They’re always thinking of you. Any other tools that you use that you’re a big fan of?
There are so many of them, but those two are the ones that I like the most. Grammarly is another one. It’s a simple tool. I’m bad at this. Bad grammar or misspellings in your emails is a huge no-no. Grammarly is free to use, so definitely install that extension.
You mentioned some targets, 50% open rates, 3% to 5% or so in terms of appointments being set. Let’s say that you’re sending out a campaign and you’re not hitting those metrics. If the emails open rate is only 25%, what do you do?
There are two things I’m looking at here. The obvious one is the subject line. Your subject line needs to be between three and six words. Ideally, you have some personalization in there. You can do this through merge text.
Do you mean first name or company name?
One of my favorite subject lines is, “Michael, we’re doing research…” or “We’re doing research on consulting success…” It’s a little bit longer, but it’s got your name and your company name in it, and that has a high open-rate.
You’re saying people shouldn’t do, “Jason, here’s why you should buy my tool because it’s better than something else.” It’s probably not going to work. It’s a little bit too long and a little bit too salesy.
The big thing I always say is don’t prospect to make a sale prospect to start a conversation. You’re not going to sell the person the first time you send a cold email to them or cold call them.
That’s such an important point because a lot of times people look at sales and prospecting as pressure. It’s like, “I need to make a sale. I need to create this final result.” What they’re missing is the whole human side of this stage, which is about building relationships. The conversation is the first part of building the relationship.
That’s why it’s important to keep a fat sales pipeline too. It’s like the seven Super Troopers, desperation is a stinky cologne. You’ve got to build a fat pipeline. With the subject line, I’m looking at three to six words. I want to make it relevant. You could try testing one-word subject lines too. SalesLoft did a cool study on that. They had the highest open rates. Sometimes we’ll send an email that says “Prospect” in the subject line. The most important part, this is underrated, are the first two lines of your email. People aren’t thinking about the fact that a prospect is looking at the preview text too. If the preview text of an email looks like a newsletter that they didn’t subscribe to, they’re not going to open it. Those first two sentences need to be personalized.
Give us an example. You’ve already done that, but to recap for our audience and for myself. What would be a good opening first two lines maybe? What’s your classic go-to first couple of lines?
If I’m reaching out to a nonprofit, it might be, “Michael, it looks like you made a big impact in 2018. I love that you were able to help 10,000 homeless people. Keep up the good work.” I’ll go into the rest of the email. The personalization, you want it to be scalable. Don’t say like, “I’ve got to get a LinkedIn page and find out where they went to college.” That stuff doesn’t work that well. It needs to be contextual with what you’re doing. Make it about what they’re doing in the business. If I’m reaching out to marketing agencies, for example, to help them with prospecting, I know that marketing agencies care a lot about their portfolio. When it’s personalized, it’s going to be, “I saw this project and here’s what I liked about it.” Every personalization to a marketing agency is going to follow that same exact pattern. “I saw this case study here. Here’s what I liked about it.” It’s repeatable and scalable and something you could have a virtual assistant do at that point.You can't go wrong by trying to send something valuable first. Click To Tweet
That’s what people should be looking out for. Another common question that people have or at least one or both, when they’re thinking about prospecting and doing outreach is how soon you should be asking for the appointment? How much value do you try and deliver? How much do you focus on building that relationship before asking for an appointment?
This is a complicated one because it does depend. It depends on a couple of things. It depends on how high ticket your thing is that you’re selling or how complex the sale might be. If you’re selling something that’s complex that has a long sales cycle and it’s a six-figure plus deal, you’re probably not going to get a meeting on the first email. You’re letting them know about you, offering some value, sharing some content, some insights, maybe a case study. If you’re selling something more, probably most people are something that might be $15,000 to $50,000 job size over the course of a few months. You can definitely ask for a meeting a little sooner. I don’t like to do it in the first email, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try it. Don’t make it about hopping on a meeting. What I have been doing that’s working well is we talked with a lot of sales teams. I’d love to share with you the best practices that the successful ones are using right now, “Do you want to hop on a call? I’d love to share some ideas with you and talk about how we might be able to help you?” Something like that.
Are you doing that in the first email? Are you doing that after you send an email saying that you have a case study once they respond to that?
We aren’t doing that in the first email for our outreach, but for some of our clients, we do it in the first email.
Do you find it works well?
Yeah, it depends. I would test both versions. You can’t go wrong by trying to send something valuable first.
What we’re getting to here is such an important point. I’m glad that we’re pushing back on it and saying like, “Yeah, you have to test it.” I’m trying to push you to get the best answer for everyone, but the reality is you’re pushing back and say, “Michael, it depends.” That’s the truth because it does depend. Any experienced marketer knows that it’s all about testing. We’ve seen this over the years of all the different businesses that we’ve been involved in, that oftentimes something that we think is going to work when we try it, it doesn’t. I can remember updating a webpage with a sign that we thought from a graphic that looks way better but performed significantly worse than saying that it looked a lot worse but performed a lot better.
It does come down to testing things. Also what’s important is some of those people have that hesitation around, “No, I need to put out something that perfect because I need to have the right first impression. If I contact them now and they don’t respond, I’ve missed that opportunity with that person.” What I think people need to keep in mind is that this is all about building a relationship. A relationship isn’t necessarily decided with one outreach. You have plenty of opportunities to get in front of someone. If you provide value, if you follow up, if you ask for a phone call, they don’t say yes to it right away, it doesn’t mean that you’re done. It doesn’t mean that you can’t contact them again. You definitely can and definitely should. Anything else that you would add to that, Jason, in terms of the mindset and also the mechanics and what you do for your own business and for your clients in terms of reaching back out to people even if they don’t respond to you?
It comes back to what Albert Einstein said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.” If what you did first didn’t work, try something different. If you send a bunch of emails to someone and they didn’t open it, stop sending emails to them. Try calling them, try to engage them on social or send a video. You absolutely should not quit. You mentioned this 80/20 rule, is to have a list of dream clients and logos you want to work with and a list of regular companies that would be cool to work with. The regular companies are probably going to be thousands or tens of thousands of companies. It might not be worth going back to all of those because you have fresh lists but your dream clients, it might be 50 companies that are ideal. It might take a year. Our normal sales cycle is three or four weeks. I’ve had sales cycles that are eight months. I definitely believe in follow up. The stats are incorrect around follow-ups. You have to do a lot more follow-ups to get a sale than eight times or whatever the stats say I’m around it. Most people do give up after two or three. I keep track of the cold emails I receive. Most of the time, the most amount of cold emails I’ve ever gotten is four. They had six touches. That’s weak. Most of the people only reach out once or twice though.
How do you keep track of all that internally? Is that all done through Mixmax? Are you using a separate CRM? What are you using to manage that process?
We use Mixmax and Pipedrive. If you’re a consultant, you’re running a smaller shop and you’ve got a couple of people on board, I love Pipedrive. It’s easy to use. Mixmax works directly with it. Most of this information, because it’s at the top of the funnel before it becomes an opportunity lives in your sales engagement platform. It lives in Mixmax or whatever other software you’re using for this stuff.
Jason, there’s a lot more that we can definitely be diving into. This is a big topic. I want to thank you for bringing a lot of value to our audience. There are plenty for people to implement, think about and decide how to best act on. I also want to make sure that people can learn more about your work, see what you’re doing as well. Where’s the best place for them to go to do that?
It’s a couple of things. We didn’t get to dig into something we came up with called the reply method. If what we shared to you and you’re like, “This is so much.” We have a five-step framework on a one-page PDF to explain all this stuff that you can use as a checklist. You should get that at BlissfulProspecting.com/consulting. That’s a one-page cheat sheet that’s going to run you through the reply method, which is basically a more structured version of all that stuff that we did. You have something you can use. Other than that, BlissfulProspecting.com, there are tons of guides and content on there. I would do that to get a good idea of what we do for free. If you vibe with what we’re doing and you want us to either prospect for you or train you a little bit on how you can do this so that you’re not spinning your wheels, let us know. We’re more than happy to chat.
Everyone, make sure you check out what Jason is up to here. Thanks so much for coming on.
- Jason Bay
- Sales Navigator
- Blissful Prospecting