My Latest on Using Email to Book New Meetings

Using email to book new meetings sounds awesome. Unfortunately, it isn’t, because email does not work effectively.

We produce a lot of trash at our house and every Monday night I wheel two big trash buckets down to the bottom of the driveway and repeat the process in reverse on Tuesday nights.  The only thing enjoyable about trash days is that Dinger loves to “do the trash” with me.

As much as I hate trash days, my feelings about email are filled with even more hate.  Let’s exclude newsletters, product updates, emails from other legitimate companies that you may or may not have signed up for, all of which you get but delete.  Let’s also exclude phishing emails that you used to report to nobody in particular but later realized reporting them was a waste of time and now you just delete them.  After I moved all of the legitimate and very illegitimate emails into trash, I identified 26 emails – from yesterday – that were cold solicitations from BDRs, account managers, customer service reps, marketing reps, and even CEOs.

I can’t show all 26 emails here but I will summarize so that you can see that:

  1. They ALL will be deleted
  2. They ALL suck
  3. They ALL lack credibility
  4. They ALL use automation and/or AI
  5. They ALL waste yours and everyone else’s time

The screen shot below shows the percentage of yesterday’s 26 emails that had:

You can determine that automation and/or AI was used because they lacked graphics like a logo.  You realize they were mass emailed because of the lack of personalization.  10% were personalized but it was creepy personalization.  The emails had zero chance of working because they all asked for meetings – 35% of them in the first few sentences – before establishing any reason for having a meeting.  Emails lack credibility when they don’t include a last name, company name, or title.  The writing is cringy awful.  Not poorly translated into English cringy, but more like seventh grade education cringy. And even if the issues I mentioned weren’t problematic, most emails are pushing services that most of us don’t need or want.

Their offerings fall into the following categories:

  1. Offshore SEO/web/software development services
  2. Lead Generation/Appointment Setting services, lists, marketing etc.
  3. (Questionable) Access to Capital
  4. Recruiting software/services
  5. And in my case, Guest Posts, Articles, Paid Speaking Engagements, etc.

Why would anyone, in any role, at any company, choose to waste the time, money, resources and effort to send out prospecting emails when in the worst of circumstances, they could make cold calls and one in fifteen calls will be answered? One in five will convert to a meeting.  I get around 600 of these shitty emails each month and two cold calls. These emails not only don’t work, they are a disservice to shitty. There isn’t much competition on the phone, so why aren’t salespeople making calls?

I’ll tell you why.

Salespeople have been spoiled by inbound leads, outbound emails, and BDRs generating leads for them.  As a result, those in sales for fewer than ten years never learned how, and totally suck at cold calling.  Those who used to cold call but have since stopped, forgot how and sucked at cold calling when they were doing it.  That’s why they stopped!

Salespeople have three options:

  1. Send emails that don’t work
  2. Push through the discomfort, get trained in the art of making cold calls and call your targeted audience
  3. Get enough referrals and introductions so you don’t have to use either 1 or 2.

I’ve written about using the phone before.

Here is a link to self-directed online sales training that will make you better on the phone.

Using email to book new meetings sounds awesome. Unfortunately, it isn’t because it simply does not work effectively. Unless…

Ed Marsh commented that, “just because most cold calling sucks, many decide it doesn’t work. you make a good case for why that’s mistaken Dave Kurlan.
of course the same can be true of email, direct mail, social selling, networking, etc. Sucky technique is prevalent in all. Statistically we know only 5% are 2nd SD talent and performance. Because you have particular expertise on the phone and helping others in that discipline, you see how the phone can be effective. Same is true of the other techniques as well.  It’s not a channel issue – it’s an execution issue.”

Well said, Ed, and I agree 100%. A business-like subject line, with an appropriately personalized email, that tells a compelling story, evokes engagement, with a call to action, signed by a real person, with a title at a real company, will work much more effectively than what we receive in our inbox each day. The problem is that almost nobody is doing that.

What will you do?

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