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Required Reading: Staying Out of the Spam Folder
For the rest of the February 2007 issue of CRM magazine please click here
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An estimated 16 billion sales emails are sent every day. Since email has revolutionized the way we do business in the 21st century, companies need sales professionals well versed in email techniques to get their message across efficiently, effectively, and successfully. Author Stephan Schiffman provides all the answers and more in his new book, E-Mail Selling Techniques. Schiffman focuses on how sales professionals can increase revenue by using email and stresses the importance of effective emailing communication to move client relationships forward. CRM magazine's Colin Beasty spoke with Schiffman about his new book. CRM magazine: A recent study covered on our Web site says that 85 percent of those corporate professionals surveyed said they are overwhelmed by too many emails at work. How are salespeople supposed to utilize email as an effective selling tool? Schiffman: There are two issues. First, salespeople are dealing with the filters that prevent spam from letting emails through. I have a client in England whom I can't get through to because of his spam blocker. We've been relegated to writing letters. The second issue is to use email judiciously. Email should be used to get a client's attention, to get their interest in what it is you have to say. Simple things can account for this, such as the subject line. A good rule of thumb is to include a little bit more about what it is you're planning to discuss. Anything that triggers the response on the part of the client to open the email is good, because you're right, there is a lot of noise around email at work that prevents important messages from getting through. That subject line is crucial, because that's the first thing people see, and the filter they use, to determine if they're going to open that email or send it into the abyss that is the delete folder. CRM magazine: How should salespeople use email in conjunction with, as opposed to as a replacement for, phone calls and in-person meetings? Schiffman: Salespeople need to be consistent with their use of email. If you use only email to confirm your meetings or to elaborate a point, it should only be used for that purpose. The biggest mistake a salesperson can make is using email to give him all the information, such as sending an email and saying, "Here, look at the link." The reason is because all Web sites, and I don't care how good they are, will eventually take that potential customer down the wrong path. You have to use email in conjunction with, as a complement to, other communication channels. Salespeople need to be consistent with what channels they use for what purpose.
CRM magazine: What will readers find most interesting about your book? Schiffman: It's okay to use email, but you have to use it properly. By themselves, emails aren't going to get you the appointment or make the sales for you, they're part of the larger sales process. Salespeople must learn to follow a sales process that makes it consistent with your selling style. In other words, if you're not writing emails for a certain purpose, then don't start. Clients get used to how you respond to certain situations and learn your processes, so salespeople shouldn't change them. Other Page Turners:
  • In Who Stole My Customer?? Winning Strategies for Creating and Sustaining Customer Loyalty, author Harvey Thompson dares to look at the darker side of customer relationships, urging readers to examine which competitors may just have a better pulse on their customers. By systematically understanding which customers to target, and by dispelling 10 common myths about customers, this book teaches how to best personalize products and services, segment based on customer life cycle events, and more.
  • In his new book, Run With the Bulls Without Getting Trampled, corporate psychologist Tim Irwin talks about how the "bulls"--inept managers, downsizings, misguided compensation systems, and constant churn--can hurt both an organization and its employees. Irwin speaks to workers' most identifiable points of pain and makes clear how employees can learn to cross the finish line in one piece.
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