The “experts” say executive officers aren’t open to being pitched via email and LinkedIn InMail. But they’re wrong. You can you spark conversations with chief executives. Discussions about them. Their pains, fears and ambitions … and bold public statements they make. Then, gently ask permission to connect that discussion to a new solution-what you sell.
You’ll get some yeses and some nos. It’s all part of an effective, repeatable social selling process.
Hyperpersonalize: An Effective InMail Template
Many of my students are brilliant. They take a bit of wisdom I give and run with it. Recently, my student Sam combined one of my InMail copywriting approaches with a hyperpersonalization technique: Using email recipients’ own public statements.
This approach stops busy chief executives in their tracks, and gets them to reply to his emails.
Let’s have a look at Sam’s practice so you can give it a try. I’ll turn it into a email/InMail template of sorts.
Follow These Guidelines
Sam crafts a handful of short email messages for testing using a few guidelines. He writes messages that:
- Are three to four sentences long maximum.
- Apply the words “I” or “my” minimally.
- Quote and compliments the chief executive in context of a hot industry issue.
- Align that meaningful quote with a conversation he would like to initiate.
- Ask for a brief email exchange to qualify a larger phone or face-to-face meeting.
The approach works. Because it is so personal, so authentic it busts through gatekeepers whose job it is to block unsolicited emails from pouring in.
It gets seemingly unreachable executives to invite discussions about issues that (ultimately) relate to what Sam is selling.
An Effective Email Template
My student, Sam, is a real person. He asked me to avoid sharing his full identity for competitive reasons. But he wants to help others, so I’ll describe his technique in a way you can copy. However, please don’t copy this template verbatim. Use your creativity and experiment with variations on words.
Create multiple versions of this approach using different kinds of quotes and issues. Discover what gets the best response and do more of what works, less of what does not.
Here is the template:
Hi, [first name].
Your quote in ___ magazine was stunning. Your perspective on _____ [burning issue] is vitally important to all of us working in _____ [industry]. Have you considered enhancing _____’s [target company] capability to ________ [insert challenge to overcome]?
There are alternate means to achieving ___ [goal]. Would you be open to learning about an unusual yet effective approach to ____ we use with clients like ___? [your current client].
Please let me know what you decide, [first name]?
[your name & signature]
Beware: Don’t Threaten the Status Quo
Use the above template as a guide. Create your own, provocative email approach to a CEO, CIO, CTO, CFO, etc. Don’t limit yourself to quotes in magazines—leverage trade show speech quotes. Don’t limit yourself to the issues you believe are important to buyers—make your approach using what they say is vitally important.
Then, gently position yourself as a thought-provoker. Beware of being a cocky thought leader. That’s not your job. Your approach must not threaten the status quo or the way your prospect currently views the world. It must compliment (via the quote) and then gently nudge.
“Have you considered enhancing …” is a nudge. It’s less assertive than, “Have you considered replacing …” or “Would you be interested in talking about …”
The Experts Are Wrong
Once again, the claims of “experts” sabotage our ability to succeed. They say you can’t use LinkedIn’s InMail or standard email to sell. Why? Because chief executives “aren’t on social media to be sold to.”
But effectively written messages can get chief executives to stop, listen, respond and converse with you. There is a proven technique to increase InMail response rates.
Yes chief executives are difficult to sell to. But you can you spark conversations with them using email, InMail and LinkedIn. Not about selling. Instead, make your message about anything that matters to them. Literally.
Then pivot. Connect your conversation to what you sell—if and when appropriate. What do you think?