My last post covered why sales leaders need to call their lost opportunities and gave some tactics for doing so. Here, I’ll share the templates and scripts I use when making my initial reach out. Have something better? I’d love to hear it in the comments.
Hi Customer, this is Jim. We haven’t met, but I am the VP over here at Acme Co. I’m calling to ask for some quick help. I know you’ve been working with my colleague, Mr. Sales Rep, to evaluate our product, and I’d love to get 5 min to get some feedback on how Mr. Sales Rep did.
I know you’ve decided to go in a different direction so I’m not trying to sell on us, but we are always trying to get better here at Acme. I’d really appreciate your perspective as we work toward that goal. I’ll follow up on this with an email in case that’s a better way to reach you, but also feel free to call my cell at 555-123-4567.
I like this voicemail for a few reasons. One, the focus is on feedback as opposed to selling. If you say “I want to know why you didn’t pick us”, you make the prospect feel like you’re going to sell them again. I’m making sure they understand this isn’t a sales call (why? see the previous post). Two, I’m throwing my rep out there (and yes, my reps know I’m doing this). If the rep has built any rapport with this prospect, I’m going to leverage that to get them to call me back. If the rep was rude or upset the prospect, I’m creating an avenue for providing that feedback to me.
Some people like to put their phone number in the first sentence so that when the recipient needs to replay the message to write down the number, it’s right there at the beginning. Frankly, I don’t expect many people to call me back on this (most prospects I’ve worked with will instead respond to the email I send), and the biggest challenge with any voicemail is getting your audience to hear your ask before they hit delete. Adding the number up-front increases the chance of a delete before they hear about you (since you’re clarifying this is a message from someone they don’t know).
Subject Line: “Acme / Customer’s Company – Requesting Feedback”
Hi Customer –
Following up on my voicemail, I’m reaching out to ask for some feedback.
While Acme doesn’t expect to win every sales opportunity, we do expect to learn and get better with each. With last month in the rear-view mirror, I’m reaching out to see if you’d be willing to chat for 5 minutes to help.
Mr. Sales Rep had you as a late stage prospect, and I’d love to hear if there is anything we could have done differently (process, product, etc.) or if maybe we just had you in the wrong bucket.
What’s the best time to reach you for a quick chat?
Thanks in advance,
This email is echoing the important aspects of the voicemail. I want feedback (not sales), your decision (like last month) is in the rear-view mirror, and I’m putting my rep out there. This time, I’ve throwing a bit of a softball at the prospect by saying that the rep “maybe just had you in the wrong bucket” of his forecast. I’m cueing the prospect to either come to the rep’s defense (after all, his boss is calling and maybe he’s on the hook) or to throw my rep under the bus (“What? He thought we were late stage? OK, here’s what happened…”). Either way, my reps know I am doing this and appreciate that this feedback is going to help us win more deals.
I’m also borrowing a few tricks about email I learned from Jeff Hoffman. It’s a bit long, but designed to be read on a smartphone. I’m trying to get your attention and interest early, and then quickly ask an open-ended question which is easy to outbox. Prospects who get this email can easily reply with “give me a call Tuesday at 3:00”, archive the email, and continue on with their day. And I get what I wanted this whole time: a chance to talk to people who told us “no”.
Give some of these a try and let me know what you think. Or have other tactics? I’d love to hear them in the comments.