We’ve all been there. You think you’ve finally figured out how to increase your reply rate and you’re feeling a notch above the average salesperson.
You’ve even read a few blog posts on how to optimize your sales cadence — the email sequence used to engage prospects — like the one about following up with recently active leads within 5 minutes to be 9 times as likely to convert them.
Whether you’ve invested in an awesome new platform, or were simply organized enough to do it on your own, a meticulously crafted email cadence has been built and you’re ready to sit back and watch the replies flow in.
But days go by with no response…
Now you’re left looking at the metrics and they aren’t at all much better than they were before. What could have possibly gone wrong?
Your reply rate sucks and it’s beyond frustrating.
So how do you actually increase your reply rate?
It’s simple. Quantity and diversity in your touch points alone will not make your sales team more competitive.
The secret ingredients are a mix of creativity and empathy in order to deliver value.
Be helpful. Be humorous. Be human.
Before you roll your eyes and write this post off for a lack of actionable advice, let me share some tips and tricks that have produced real results for me, helping me achieve a 40-60% response rate.
Your first touchpoint is an introduction
Your first touch point is not likely to get a response no matter what you do. They say it takes an average of 7 touches before someone buys. Those are just the stats (but the tactics that follow can help you bring that number down).
Keeping this in mind, don’t bring out your best and most creative tactics here.
Keep the first touch point short and sweet. Give a quick description of why you’re reaching out and how you can add value:
- Start with a super short introduction of you and your company
- Tell them you have ideas on how to solve X (save your solutions for the call).
- Have a quick call to action at the end. Suggest specific times and days so they can quickly check their calendar and respond.
Once that's out of the way, it's time to have some fun…
Be helpful and value their time
All touch points after the first are integral to your success.
My favorite thing to do is add a piece of content—whether it’s a case study, a recent webinar, or blog post that you think will actually add value to their day.
Don’t always be so obvious that you’re selling or prospecting. It’s okay to send resources that aren’t your own content. In fact, it might be more compelling.
Just remember ABH: Always Be Helping. Nothing is worse than someone recommending you a piece of content that has no relevance to you at all.
Content marketing is all about gaining your audience’s trust. The best way to do that is by being a source of knowledge that helps them do better at their job or become thought leaders in their industry. Good content is a powerful tool to use in your cadence.
Make them laugh (or at least smile)
I’ve found a lot of success in using this strategy.
Try adding a picture of yourself, a pop culture reference, a funny video, or a GIF. Don’t be afraid to break that wall of impeccable professionalism that can often separate you from an interested prospect.
Think about the dozens of emails your prospect is getting each day. The only way you’re going to get a response is by standing out.
Giving your prospect a reason to smile or a distraction from their daily routine with something new will increase your reply rate. Think about it. How often do you open an email and smile? Wouldn’t you want to reply to that person?
I decided to add a quirky introduction of myself because, well, why not? Anything to change up the pace and get your audience to snap out of auto-pilot mode will be worth your time.
Want them to respond really quick? Give them a list of reasons why they haven't already responded and ask them to choose one. But add your own flare:
When all they have to do is type one letter, all of a sudden it’s not so hard to reply. You’ve got your response and now you’re happy.
Tug at their heartstrings
This approach has worked time and time again. Your prospects don’t want to respond to a robot, but convince them you've got a beating heart and you’ve gotten past the biggest obstacle in any kind of automation: Proving that you're human.
Flat out tell them: “Emailed you and called you a couple days ago but never got a response…”
Or why not send them a song in one of your emails? It’s creative and sends a pretty clear message. Here are some of my favorites:
Whether they know it's an automated message or not, showing them that you're putting in the effort to reach them can entice an answer from them.
Don't be afraid to break up with them
Tried all of those and still no response? I love finishing my cadence with a fun email. One of my personal favorites is the breakup email.
They might not want to answer you right away, but you want to create a sense of urgency. The breakup email does just that, getting those prospects who have been taking their time to muster up the effort to finally respond.
A “no” is better than no response at all. At least then you know for sure.
It should read something like, “This will be the last time I reach out to you. If I get no response, for your convenience, I'll remove you from my list.”
But have some fun with your subject lines. Here are a few of my personal favorites for my last touch point:
- Should I stay or Should I Go?
- Unrequited Love
- Awaiting Response
When people are opening and reading emails they’re pretty much on auto pilot—think of ways to snap them out of it and your email will have caught their attention.
All of these trigger an emotional response within your prospect and might even make them do a double take. Do whatever you need to do to stand out.
Automation with a personal touch
Remember, a cadence naturally implies some level of automation. It’s trickier to add personalization to sales cadence than with typical outreach.
Being able to integrate a personal touch into your cadence will allow for both quantity and quality. This is your recipe for success.
Most people these days are smart enough to know when you’re just a robot, so even the most well-thought-out cadence might fail.
You need to prove you’re worth their time and being unique is your ticket to getting their response.
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