That moment when you get that out of the blue email enquiry that you weren’t expecting.
A new client.
They’ve found your website somehow. Someone may have referred you.
All the hard work that you’ve been putting in feels like it’s starting to pay off.
What’s the first thing you do? Well, probably send them an email right back.
You answer their questions about what is you can do for them. Perhaps they’ve even asked for your charge rates and an overview of how you work. They’ve emailed you specifically about you and your business so it’s obvious they are interested in spending money with you.
There’s no need to hold back here, is there?
Or is there?
This particular topic came up on this week’s School of Marketing weekly call. One of the members had got 4 or 5 really great leads about the events that she runs; all email requests about dates, prices and availability.
She emailed back each one excitedly …. but then nothing!
Nada. No a sausage. Not even a sniff of a reply for days and days.
The problem with email enquiries is that you are working in the dark. You have no idea where the person is in the decision making process, how many other supplies or businesses they’ve been in touch with and what else is going on their lives.
They’ve sent you an email and yes, they are showing they are interested in what is you do. But how serious are they really?
If you’ve got similar frustrations like this – you are either getting the odd out-of-the-blue email enquiry or a steady stream of them but your conversion rate stinks – then follow this simple process to fix it.
Turn your email conversation into an in-person conversation
Emails are very one dimensional. You can’t hear or see any emotions from the other person so you are relying on the static words you get in the email. Nor are you able to frame the request; its sense of urgency (or lack of it!), your competition, budget, etc, etc. So the sooner you turn this email enquiry into an in-person conversation, the better.
Before anyone gets het about hating to sell and cringing because they don’t like calling people, this in-person conversation should never be seen by you as a sales pitch. This is of course only a first stage enquiry and the person may not be quite ready to spend money just yet. So there is absolutely no need to go into premature selling mode (and you’ve probably scare off the enquiry anyhows!)
This is a conversation – a structured call where you ask questions and dig a little deeper in the motivations of the person, timeframes and requirements – but this is NOT a selling call.
A selling call or meeting may come next depending on what it is you offer. But this particular call is about 20 to 30 minutes long (shorter if they turn out NOT to be your ideal client) and when you frame it as a “chat”, your prospect’s defenses will drop and you will have a far more pleasant and productive call.
The easiest way to do this is to send back this simple email:
Thank for reaching out to me. I’m delighted to have heard from you.
I can absolutely help you with your XYZ request. The first thing we need to do is set up a time for us to have a quick chat on the phone.
The next times I have available are 9am or 10.35am Wednesday or 1.15pm Thursday.
Which one would work best for you?
Please reply back to me within the next day to ensure these spots are still open. And let me have the best phone number to call you on, too.
I look forward to finding out more you and what it is you are looking for help with.
First of, do re-write this to suit your own style and personality. Copy and pasting is not only lazy but you will miss engaging your audience with who exactly you are.
Notice how I give explicit times and days. NEVER ask when’s a good time for them; not only is this a more difficult question to answer than simply picking 1 out of 3 times but you don’t want them to suggest a date sometime next month. The longer the period it is until you speak, the cooler your lead becomes.
And again notice how I asked for their phone number for ME to call THEM. The last thing you want to be doing is to be waiting by your phone, twiddling your thumbs when they don’t call you. Be in the driving seat and take control of the call.
What about online diary booking systems?
If you do have one of these set up, then I encourage you to use this. Online diary booking systems have revolutionised my lead to client conversion process over the years.
Email tennis games are boring and frustrating. And when there is often a chance that they can’t do any of the times you suggest, there starts the email tennis game.
I go into detail how to get tools such as Scheduleonce and Timetrade working efficiently for you in the brand new Clicks To Clients programme that’s due out real soon.
The actual setting up of these diary systems is quite simple when you follow their integration and set up instructions … but when you bring these tools into your lead generation and email marketing follow up systems and get them working on auto-pilot, that’s when they can rocket fuel your leads and get prospects booking themselves in your diary with very little input from you. And this is what I will be teaching in Clicks To Clients.
But for now, all I want you to do is focus on is converting those email enquiries into an in-person call from the simple email script above.
Giving people a choice of 3 times within the next few days will speed up your conversion process and ensure you stop that whistle-in-the-wind response to your email follows up.
Now before I go, I must address the fear that I know some of you may be thinking; what if the person doesn’t want to speak or doesn’t come back with a time to talk?
Sorting the wheat from the chaff
This process helps sort out the wheat from the chaff.
If someone doesn’t have the time nor the inclination to speak to you in more detail about what help they are looking for, are they really a serious client enquiry for you?
I’m not for one moment suggesting you become arrogant or ungrateful to potential time-wasters. After all, some people may just not be ready to talk and they are fearful of getting into a “sales pitch” before they are ready to spend money. Always remember that their buying cycle may not have reached the point where they are ready to start committing to a phone call.
So you may have jolly them along with a reminder or two or even change tacks and start asking them questions via email.
However, it does test out potential time-wasters and tyre-kickers, especially those of you who in a business where “asking for quote” can take time, energy and effort. A quote can only be given once you have all the facts … so if someone doesn’t want to book that phone call with you, you could be saving yourself several hours each month from doing “comparison quotes”.
In future articles, I will be going into more detail about what happens during this conversation; the sort of powerful questions to ask that ensures people buy from you rather than you having to sell to them (and then often end up not making the sale!), the structure to the call and how to follow up and take your prospects on to the next step of the journey with you if a sale is not agreed on the phone there and then.
But for the moment, stop responding to email enquires with an email. Get the person to schedule a call with you and you will see your conversion rates go through the roof!
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