If you send an email ad, the your prospect or customer doesn’t buy the first time, do you quit? Do you give up and assume that the decision is made, and the answer is “No?”
Zig Zigler is an American salesman, author and motivational speaker. He was born in 1926, the tenth of twelve children. When he was six, his father died, and two days after losing his father, he lost one of siblings…his sister. He faced adversity throughout his life, but developed a strong Christian faith, and a sales ability that brought him friendships, wealth, and admiration. His books, and the lessons he shares provide great insight into the nature of ethical selling. One of those lessons is the lesson of understanding. Understanding that “No” doesn’t necessarily mean “No.”
He never spoke directly to email marketing and its unique challenges in closing a sale, but certainly his lessons for successful sales apply to email marketing in the same way they apply to other marketing avenues. What Zig says, is that when a customer says “No” they won’t change their mind. At least they won’t change their mind based on what they knew when they made the decision.
That doesn’t mean, however, that they won’t make a different decision when they have new information. Your job, whether you’re selling face-to-face, over the telephone, or through email marketing, is to make sure your customers or prospects have the new information that will allow them to re-evaluate. Your job is to provide new reasons, new benefits, new features or functions that will allow them to say “Yes.”
Let’s apply this to email marketing. Let’s say you’re a small business owner selling a service…landscaping. Last year, Joan Smith subscribed to your lawn and yard maintenance services, offered in an email advertisement, and received a 10% new customer discount. Since she isn’t a new customer this year, she isn’t entitled to the new customer discount. When you sent the email advertisement for this year’s services, she didn’t initially respond. Should you just accept her non-response as a “No” and go looking for more new customers? Or…should you follow up and see if you can find a reason for Joan to say “Yes.”
There are several strategies you might consider before sending your next email. You review your records and determine she was a satisfied customer. She had signed up to have her lawn mowed weekly, her flower beds, trees and shrubs sprayed for weed and bug control twice during the season. She had paid her bill monthly. Her season review…an email survey, of course… of the work performed was very good. When your salesman had called her in January, however, to see if she had any additional landscaping needs that could be scheduled for this year, she had indicated she had found another company online. She said she was considering using their service for lawn and yard maintenance…as they had offered her a slightly lower rate for the “same” work.
You investigate and determine the company she is considering offers a comparable service. They’ve only been in business for two years, however, while you’ve been in the landscaping business for nearly ten years. The benefit you can offer Joan immediately is the testimonial of hundreds of satisfied customers, with the higher probability of continuity into the future.
The first message you want Joan to get is one that congratulates her on making the wise decision to evaluate and compare services. Your primary objective is a satisfied customer. This is a good time to talk to Joan in person. If that isn’t possible, however, you can send a personal email that addresses her “stated” concern…cost of the services. “If it weren’t for the price that Company Y quoted you, is there any other reason that’s keeping you from signing up for our lawn and yard maintenance service now? I’m glad you’re looking for the best value available, and I believe you’ll find that’s exactly what we offer. I want to make sure that’s true for you, however, so I hope you’ll take a few minutes to answer a few questions about how you want us to provide lawn and yard maintenance. If you’re willing to take that time to help me provide the best service not only to you, but to my other customers, you’ll receive our Preferred Customer bonus. And if there’s any other way that I can ensure you continue to have the lawn and yard your neighbors envy, please call me directly at this phone number…”
Your bonus could be a discount for prepaid services for the season, it could be a discount on more services, or various other offers. However, many of your questions can and should be directed to helping Joan see the value that using a company that’s been in business for a long time brings, and should be linked to testimonials of satisfied customers.
And, of course, by responding to the survey, Joan has an additional “investment” of her time, and another reason to maintain your relationship. By providing a variety of new reasons, new benefits, new features or functions for Joan, you open the door for renewing and strengthening the relationship.