Handling Hot Leads & Evaluating First Batch of Cold Emails

Business woman closing a deal with a hot lead

This last post of the series “How to Master Sales with Mailbutler will describe how to handle hot leads, convert them into sales, and how to evaluate your first initial cold emails. More specifically, I will show you:

  1. Effective next steps regarding both hot leads and cold emails
  2. How to build long-lasting relationships with your leads
  3. How to learn from the work you’ve already done

Like to know more? Here are the remaining blog posts from the series “How to Master Sales with Mailbutler”:


Handling hot leads: trust sells

Every type of strong relationship has trust, caring, and consistency. But also freedom of choice. These qualities come through in our interactions; we sense whether a person cares or is just trying to make a sale.

Listening to hot leads — conversing with them instead of treating them as someone to get money from — is incredibly important. Turn your soft skills into hard skills. Be your own self, because that is who people will connect with.

When things go well…

Your lead is interested in your product and you have the opportunity to chat with them — great! Here are some important action points to hit with every person you speak with:

  1. In all of your interactions, creating an accountable commitment enhances the amount of trust someone will feel in you. Were they interested in some parts of your product more than others? Target what your follow-up actions will be and make a commitment that you will keep. Give your hot leads a clear and tangible way that you will get in touch with them again, without forcing a relationship.
  2. Respect their schedule. Did they say anything about their everyday life? You can ask when you should call them, and when they would be interested in discussing their thoughts or giving feedback.
  3. How would they prefer you to contact them? With an email? On the phone? Ask what works best for them. A task manager like Trello works great for this. You can set a reminder with a note to come back to it later on.
Here is an example of how this could look:

“Would you like to try out our service? Amazing! I will send you our onboarding guide. Feel free to reach out anytime you have a question. And if it’s ok with you, I’ll just check in with you in xy days?” I never had someone say: No. It’s because people feel respected.

Once they have committed to trying your product, it’s important to give them space before checking-in with them. Scaring away potential customers by being overeager is an easy mistake to avoid: set the time when you will contact them, and they will expect your call.

I usually get the consent of my leads to contact them again a week or two after we speak. That gives them time to explore the product and think about if it fits their needs. How much time you should give them also depends on the complexity of your product.

If you know the strength of your relationship with them, if you think the product has convinced them, you can gently mention the different pricing plans you offer. Usually, you don’t even have to, because people ask for it when they are convinced.

If they don’t seem convinced, don’t rush. There is no point insisting that they move forward before they are ready. Instead, let them explore the product more and use the time to build your relationship even further. Make jokes, be friendly, get to know them more.

Also, don’t just sell your product: you are a person who can help them. Use your people skills to show them that you want to help them in their work. Be flexible and open-minded. Deliver more benefits other than your service.

Lastly, check-in with your clients. This shows that you care. Give them time and space, but don’t undervalue the time you do put in to contact them. If someone buys your product, or your last contact didn’t leave open questions, write them to say hi, and see how they are doing.

Example: When a lead mentions they will be on vacation, friendly l ask where they are going. They might, as a side-note, tell you it’s for their birthday. Take down a note and schedule a birthday email for that date, using a service like Mailbutler’s Send Later feature. If they already are a hot lead, but have not yet purchased your product, you might offer them a special birthday deal. It WILL make a difference when you show you care. And people are much more likely to trust you. Show that your mind has space for more than the actual topic you’re selling.

When things aren’t going as well…

The most important thing to hear from leads is why they lose interest or are not as interested as when you first started speaking. Take your time. Don’t push. Listen. Their feedback is incredibly important, and can tell you how your product does, or doesn’t suit (their) needs.

Respect is incredibly important at this stage: you aren’t trying to show them that you know more than them or that you can do their job better than they can. You want to respect their decisions, their reasoning, and their time. Their answer to the “why?” question will help you in more ways than you can know.

They might have a misconception of your product which you can gently clear up. Maybe they use a different product which you can ask about. This might lead to discussing services they need which you can help cover. Or, perhaps, they are happy with their set-up. Because they are more than just a sale, this is a good thing. Maybe you can offer them a different feature or service that may be of interest to them.

Evaluation

Whether your first round of sales pitches went well or not, it’s important to take a step back. How many hot leads did you create? How many became customers?

Here you will find a few very concrete steps to take to improve your next sales run. Evaluating now will help you to define measures of success — key performance indicators — to assess your next sales pitches.

What does success mean?

Hopefully, you made a few sales in your first round of pitches. This is something to feel good about. It’s also something to learn from.

Look back through the notes you took during your calls and for your emails. Ask yourself which parts of your process went well, and what about your efforts specifically made your leads feel confident in buying from you.

Even though some of your pitches may have worked, those that did probably weren’t executed perfectly. In fact, some pitches to leads who didn’t become clients may have been really well executed.

Looking through your notes and asking yourself what was effective in the successful pitches can lend insights.

What does failure mean?

William Ritter wrote in Beastly Bones, “Failure is not the opposite of success. It’s part of it.” If you accept that some phone calls didn’t go as you would have liked, that opens up the potential to grow. If you’re in a team, include a “lessons learned” session, where you talk about what went poorly in order to improve the next time. 

Here are some tips on how to assess the effectiveness of the work you put in:

Emails:

Open rates

Because you were tracking your emails with a service like Mailbutler, you can see which emails were opened. Go back to your message templates — for example, the formal one and the informal one — and look to see which one performed better.

Is there particular difference that indicates which group of messages were more successful? Was the informal opened more often than the formal message? If not, try to find the difference that clearly resulted in different open rates.

Message Template in Mailbutler
Message Template from Mailbutler showing the “Open Rate”
Tracking details

When were the emails opened? Around lunch time? The end of the day? The end of the week? Look for trends and mark them down in your notes. The next time you send an email you can schedule it to be in the top of your inbox at that time.

On what devices did leads read your emails? Using Mailbutler’s tracking service can help you understand more about your target group’s routines, moving you to adjust your marketing plan.

Calls:

Building rapport

Did you show gratitude to your speaking partner? Were you confident and respectful? Be honest to yourself. How did you feel talking on the phone? Your leads could probably sense your emotions. What do you want to improve upon for next time?

What time were people picking up the phone? Thinking about this will save you time in the future; you can predict when people are most likely to be available and willing to take a call.

What information did people want when you spoke to them? What had you not prepared for? Write these down and have your answers and the materials ready for the next round of calls that you make.

Stay patient, gather information, be yourself

This entire process — from writing cold emails, to evaluating them after making pitches — can be repeated over and over again. You can continue to find new markets, new target groups, gather data and take notes on target groups, and make as many calls as you like.

Using services like Mailbutler make this process much easier. The information and flexibility that Mailbutler offers to a salesperson can open up this incredibly effective strategy to grow your business — and feel more confident rather than restless, at the same time.

With this tool, you can do what you need to: build relationships with people that will benefit from your product

Now you’re ready! If you’d like to talk about your individual sales strategy or ask any questions, feel free to talk to me:


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