Smart salespeople make sure to follow best practices for writing a sales follow-up email. They’re also confident that whatever they do, they don’t make these mistakes.
Let’s be real for a minute. Mistakes happen. That’s true whether you’re writing a check, planning a vacation, or writing a sales follow-up email. Most mistakes aren’t a big deal. You take a wrong turn going somewhere, and you turn around. You step on someone’s toe, you apologize. Take someone’s coffee by accident? Okay, that one might not be forgivable. You get the point, though. Make a mistake, take a breath, and reset.
However, in sales, some mistakes are worse than others no matter how you try to sugarcoat it. And that’s not even counting those emails that are so bad they make it into the “You won’t believe this!” section of your favorite website. In fact, you could find plenty of mistakes just by looking at that sales follow-up email sitting unread in your inbox right now.
Don’t worry, though. Even if you are the one making these mistakes, the fixes are pretty easy – especially the first one.
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Don’t let these sales follow-up email mistakes ruin your career
1. You don’t send a sales follow-up email.
Is this the single worst mistake you can make? It’s certainly possible. However, it’s also the easiest one to fix. But why is this such a bad thing? You are, after all, making phone calls and talking to prospects, so why do you need to send an email, as well?
To put it simply, your sales follow-up email is like the keystone at the apex of an arch. You could ostensibly build an archway without the keystone, but there’s a high possibility that it would collapse. Similarly, you could plan a sales strategy without emails. And likewise, it could easily fall apart.
That follow-up email pulls everything together. It supports the value proposition of your product or service because it gives your prospect something tangible to look at and think about. Without it, your conversations could quickly fade into the mist.
2. You aren’t personalizing your emails.
We’re big proponents of email templates. They make your sales process more efficient. You can proofread them to ensure your copy is engaging and error-free. You can A/B test your templates to refine them until you have an email that works. But…
Using a template doesn’t mean you can skip the personalization. The email you just received that began with, “Dear Sir or Madam,” probably went straight to your trash. Am I right? Sure, adding your prospect’s name and the details of your conversation takes time. But when 90% of consumers prefer personalized content, it’s worth the effort.
You can personalize a sales follow-up email template without rewriting the entire thing. Just add in your prospects name, write the specific details of your conversation, and avoid this next mistake.
3. You are personalizing your emails – poorly.
It’s great to get a personalized email. Multiple studies confirm that we like hearing people say our name, to the point that a unique part of the brain is activated upon hearing it. We wouldn’t be so bold as to say the same happens when someone receives an email addressed directly to them, but it can’t hurt, right?
As it turns out, yes, including someone’s name in an email (or a sales call, for that matter) can be a bad thing. In a recent TED article, Gerardo Ochoa refers to a significant name blunder that resulted in Nike losing an estimated $14 billion in sales to Under Armour. $14 BILLION!
In a meeting with basketball star Stephen Curry, Nike executives not only mispronounced his name, but they made no effort to correct themselves. To make matters worse, one of the PowerPoint slides in their presentation (aka sales pitch) featured the wrong name altogether: Kevin Durant. Incidentally, Curry was already signed with Nike, so it’s not like they didn’t know who he was. This was an attempt by Nike to retain him as an endorser.
Needless to say, Curry was unimpressed and soon signed a sponsorship deal with Under Armour.
So, yes, personalizing your emails is important, but whatever you do, don’t make the mistake of misspelling someone’s name – or using the wrong name altogether. One easy way to avoid that is to proofread. Unfortunately…
4. You aren’t proofreading.
Ever had a sales email that was ful of speling mistakes, wierd formatting awkward sentences or bad grammer. probably you thru it away.
Seriously, just take two minutes to read over your sales follow-up email before you hit the send button. That’s one way to avoid some big mistakes. Using (and correctly personalizing) a template can also help. Once you write and edit your template, 80% of your work is done. All you need to do is add in the specific information. In other words, you only have to proofread a tiny part of your full sales email.
5. You are failing to outline the next steps
Your follow-up email is excellent. All the essential stuff is in there, you’ve proofread it, and ensured it’s going to the right person. It could win Sales Email of the Year, except for one thing: you didn’t outline the next steps of the sales process.
Will you call the prospect? Should they call you? Are we switching from a phone sales strategy to email? Is someone going to visit with the prospect in person? If you don’t know what comes next, there’s no way your prospect will.
Always outline what is going to happen next. That could be taking them through the onboarding process, detailing the critical paperwork that they will need to sign, reminding them of the date and time of the next call, or any number of things. What’s important here is not what happens next, but that there is a timeline and your prospect knows what to expect. Otherwise, you’re leaving this sale to the fates.
The silver lining to all of these mistakes is that a little time and attention is all you need to avoid them. You’ll still make mistakes. Most of your prospects will be forgiving. Just try your best not to make these.
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