Heather here 🙂
In my last few blog posts, I’ve been expounding on my strategy for writing cold email copy.
This week, we launched a sales campaign via LinkedIn offering decision-makers digital PR services. It’s my first experience using LinkedIn (and writing actual sales copy). Normally, my digital interactions with external individuals is all PR-based. While there is an element of sales involved in this process, it’s mainly an intellectual property transaction (not usually money-based).
Firstly, writing copy for LinkedIn outreach was a new learning curve. It has to be more conversational and much, much shorter than standard outreach copy. Luckily I had a lot of support in the form of Lokesh, one of our team veterans, who patiently walked me through the process.
Some of the stuff I’ve learned:
1. Focus on the objective.
With LinkedIn, your word count is very limited. When writing longer copy, it’s fine to get creative – but there isn’t as much room for that here. Lokesh would point out that my initial goal (getting them to hop on a call) and the reason for it (to offer PR services) needed to be clear.
I’m a huge fan of beating around the bush, adding lots of padding to my pitches and throwing in self-deprecating quips and winky faces ;). Learning how to ‘curb my enthusiasm’ and cut to the chase was definitely a new lesson for me.
2. “Character is important.”
These exact words were said to me by one of the people I reach out to on LinkedIn. He was less than impressed by what he considered my ‘automated outreach’ and pointed it out quite sternly.
I couldn’t help injecting my reply with my usual mixture of self-deprecation (“Sorry you didn’t like the caps – guess I got carried away…will just stick to emojis from now on”), good vibes (“Really glad to hear things are going well for you on the PR front – it sounds like X is doing an excellent job!”) and shooting my shot (“This is what we
can do for you though…if it ever sounds interesting, let me know”).
He wrote back:
“Character is important (as is demonstrated by your reply).
Send X over your slide deck and we’ll have a look at it. I can’t promise anything but at least we can say we tried!”
And then he even put a winky face!
This was an important lesson – one I’ve already been learning but it was interesting to see it reinforced in the sales world. People appreciate the personal touch, a good sense of humour and the ability to laugh at one’s self.
3. Sales is tough – be kind!
This is a lesson for me as someone usually on the receiving end of those irritating cold emails. Normally I’ll just delete them without a second glance. Occasionally, it’s a cold caller, or even a person on the street with a clipboard (pre-covid era, of course). I’ve always striven to be at least polite in my rejections. Usually a simple, “Thanks, but I’m alright at the moment” does the trick.
Not everyone is polite. In fact, managing cold email campaigns at Pearl Lemon has shown me just how brutal some people can be (and how unnecessary it is to be so). Replies like, “Take me off your list at once – this is offensive and intrusive”, “Stop emailing me – this is harrassment”, and even “This is a crime in my country and yours!” …these are all from people I am approaching to offer an interview or collaboration feature! I literally want to give THEM free press.
But when it comes to direct sales, people can be even meaner. One person, in particular, stood out to me from this LinkedIn campaign.
“Heather. Sending me generic automated templates, then offering me a generic slide deck, is weak. Try again. Actually, don’t even bother.”
Fortunately for my frail ego, most of the people who replied either expressed interest or politely explained why they didn’t need our services right now. Others simply didn’t bother replying. All of those are fine with me!
Going out of your way to be rude to somebody who is just doing their job is uncool. I’ve always believed this, but never really thought about it in sales terms. I do actually get annoyed by cold callers and the clipboard people (emails don’t bother me – one simple click and they are banished to Spam-land). But salespeople are real humans, and unfortunately, there’s not a lot of subtle ways they can do their jobs. They have to be direct – and be prepared to face a lot of rejection on a daily basis as a result.
If you get hit with a cold email or caller out of the blue, think twice before you hang up or type out a scathing reply. Let’s make 2021 the year we all give each other a break and practice kindness.
It isn’t rocket science!