Have You Earned A Response?

Hopefully, every sales person is prospecting. Whether it’s email campaigns, phone campaigns, or something else, we are constantly reaching out. We are constantly trying to find new opportunities to engage customers. We get frustrated because they don’t respond.

Or we may be working with an existing prospect, they may not be getting back to us. We keep calling, emailing, we’re frustrated.

Somehow, we have it in our minds that people should respond to us. After all, we’ve sent the clever email or voice mail, we’ve tried to be creative or provocative. Possibly they seemed to have been interested before., “Yeah, send me some information.”

We aren’t owed a response from anyone. We may think we are, they may have, in fact, told us they’ll get back to us but haven’t. But we aren’t owed a response.

We have to earn the response, each and every time. We have to create compelling reasons to get the customer to respond or to be willing and interested in talking the next time we try calling.

The other day I wrote a post, The Email Query. It stirred up a lot of controversy. I was ranting on the laziness of the sales person resending the last prospecting email, with the intro, “Did you receive my last email?”

Ardath Albee, is one of the best people I know on effective eMarketing and Content Strategies. She points out that implicitly this email says, “I’m owed a response, why didn’t you get back to me?” Even though they don’t say that, resending the email with the message, “Did you receive my last email,” carries the implicit expectation that we should have gotten back–positively or negatively.

Perhaps I didn’t get the email or read it. Perhaps I wasn’t interested and didn’t want to be bothered, perhaps I didn’t find the email interesting. Resending the request probably won’t change any of that, but now you’re telling me, “I am owed a response.”

We have to earn our responses. To do this we have to be interesting to the people we want to respond. Whether it’s an idea, some insight, a special opportunity. We have to provoke the desire to learn more.

If people aren’t responding, why repeat the message? Why make them feel as though they should feel bad they didn’t respond? We can’t give up because they have not responded, we must be persistent. But why not try something new, something that may be interesting? Why not keep trying until you find something that is interesting? Knowing what they are interested in in the first place improves response rates–but this means you have to do research, you have to understand them or what “their personas” are likely to be interested in.

If we’ve contacted someone, if we are working on an opportunity, it’s even more important. We have to earn the right to the next meeting by creating value in every interaction we have. If we don’t we are wasting their time.

Our job as sales professionals is to create value for our customers. We create value by bringing insights, by helping them solve problems, by being interested and interesting.

If we do this, people will respond because we have earned it and they want to respond, they want to engage.

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