Cultivating prospect relationships via email may be difficult, but it is critical for ongoing success.
In one of my previous posts, I talked about the secret to forging a strong, instantaneous rapport with prospects. That article focused mostly on the right questions to ask a new prospect at your initial meeting.
Today’s post focuses on how to cultivate prospect relationships using the methodology that many professionals employ when they can’t meet with all prospective clients face-to-face (especially not on a routine basis): email marketing.
Technology enables us to reach out to and connect with more people than would ever be possible one on one. It allows us to hock our wares from all corners of the world to a global audience. It facilitates economical communications to the masses and targeted, personalized messages to individuals.
Developing a rapport electronically can be more challenging than when interacting directly with someone, but many of the axioms remain equally applicable. Perhaps they are not quite as immediate, but effective nonetheless. And rapport is absolutely essential to the continuity of your business. Particularly if you hope to grow your revenues, market share and profits. People do business with people they know, like and trust.
Rapport – that magical state of connection where communication and understanding flow fluently and silently between two people – will ultimately determine whether or not your prospects buy what you’re selling. Rapport helps people feel as if they are in sync with one another. All successful salespeople recognize that building rapport with prospects is fundamental to closing more deals with less effort. But the sales team doesn’t create your email marketing campaigns.
So how do you break the ice with virtual strangers half a world away, keep them engaged and warm them up to buy from you when they come to realize that you have what they need, all through an email campaign?
Here are the first three tips you can borrow from successful door-to-door salesmen of eras gone by to develop trust, credibility and rapport with your email marketing prospects to generate more leads for your sales team to close:
1) Be authentic in your email messages
The first key to cultivating prospect relationships via email is sincerity. You have to get your prospects to trust you the hard way – without eye contact, body language or intonation. If you position your communications from the perspective of sincerely wanting to help your prospects succeed, you build a bridge to rapport. Match what you say in your messages with what you actually deliver. That’s the first step. Here are a few more:
- Be consistent
- Be helpful
- Be authentic
- Be honest
- Be forthright
- Be genuine
2) Present your emails in the best light
Because you do not have the benefit of seeing your prospects in person (and they cannot see you either), imagine that your emails are a physical extension of you. How they are “dressed” will impact how quickly (or whether) you will ever get the chance to develop a rapport with your prospects. Your emails represent your brand, so everything in them – from layout and design to imagery and content – reflects you. Your subscribers will be immediately put off by an email that has jarring, blurry, disproportionate graphics. Or content that is not relevant to them. Or fonts that are unreadable. Rapport is an entirely subconscious process for most people. Your readers may not recognize when they are beginning to develop a rapport with you, but they will definitely recognize when they do not even want to. Here are some tips for a clean, well-groomed email that will help you put your best foot forward with prospects:
- Embrace white space
- Keep articles and messages short
- Use pops of color, rather than washes
- Incorporate vibrant calls to action
- Provide the right content to the right audience
3) Be charismatic and showcase your personality
It’s a great big world out there. There are no organizations that have escaped competition. You are not the only CPA firm, widget-retailer, or celebrity lookalike in your geographic region. So it is necessary to demonstrate and communicate why you are different from the others offering the same services or products. The best way to differentiate yourself from the competition while also working towards a common bond with your prospects is through personality. Here are some tips you can use to emphasize your charm through your emails:
- Tell a story
- Use first person
- Showcase your staff
- Entertain your subscribers
- Send out a video from your CEO or managing partner
- Incorporate real photos of your people, products and office
Rapport-building through email is a long-term commitment. But with patience and time, you CAN cultivate relationships with prospects via email.
Come back to this blog regularly to learn how to build trust, credibility and the kind of rapport that will help you earn more sales and grow your business – all through your email marketing campaigns.