Don’t Stop Selling

There’s a little more than two weeks left in the year, and less than 10 real working days before 2017 arrives.

And if you’re a sales leader, you probably hear these complaints from your sales reps:

“I can’t make the sale before the end of the year! Everyone is on vacation!”

“I can’t get a hold of anyone.”

“I keep getting out of office messages.”

It’s frustrating! But, I am here to tell you that I close a lot of deals in December and it’s a great time to reach decision makers, but you’ve gotta believe.

In fact, it’s likely that each member of your sales team has a treasure of new sales data, ready to be mined in their inbox. They just need to know how to look.

Out of office messages can actually be your salvation and provide new, valuable information for your sales reps.

So, make sure that no one is deleting those valuable messages. That’s right! Read them first. I took inventory of the out of office messages I recently received so that I could share all the valuable pieces of information I found with you.

The Names of Other Buying Influencers

Often these messages contain the names of other buying influencers, their titles, emails and phone numbers sometimes. Your initial contact is telling you who to reach out to while they are gone, and many times they are sharing the names of other decision makers. Get those names and do some research. Start interacting with them on social media (Click, Like, Comment, And Share) then maybe connect and start building a relationship.

Here’re some examples of emails I’ve received that include this type of information (names and details have been blurred to protect the innocent!)

trade-show

This email contains so much information! I can look up the event my client is at and learn more about their industry. And, I’ll definitely research the alternative contacts listed to see if we have any connections in common. Finally, even the link to the job board can help me find more information about what types of positions this company is hiring for and what their needs might be.

alt-contacts-4

While connecting with another buying influencer may seem like the best idea, connecting with an assistant can often be just as valuable. Your contact’s assistant knows that person’s schedule and preferences and they can be key to reaching your primary target. So, don’t ignore that information. Instead, use this redirect as an opportunity to begin building a relationship with that person as well.

alt-contacts-3

Since I already know this person, this out of office message gives me a reason to reconnect. Even though the message wasn’t specific about what trade show he attended, I can check his social media to see if I can figure out what trade show it was. Then, I can ask him about the show.

Alternative Contact Information

Sometimes people leave their cell phone numbers or other alternative contact information in their out of office message for emergencies.

Now, you shouldn’t use this information unless you really are in an emergency! Be judicious how you use it and remember that selling is about building relationships based on trust and respect.

That being said, a cell phone or home number can come in extra handy in an urgent situation. So, store that information in your address book for another time.

Here’s an example of an out of office message I received that included this type of information:

alt-info-2

This example is great since my contact is inviting me to contact her on her cell phone. Score!

Personal Information

Your contact may be out of the office on business, but they may also be on vacation, and sometimes they share where. Sometimes they are out for a wedding or birth of a baby. Now, it’s time to use that info to send a card in the mail or even a gift if appropriate. You can often check Facebook for more details.

Here’s an example of an out of office email I received that included this kind of information:

proud-dad

Receiving a message like this one gives you a great reason to offer your congratulations and even send a gift. Just because someone’s out of the office doesn’t mean you can’t build your relationship with them.

hiking-out-of-office

This email lets me know that my contact is passionate about hiking! I’ll check social media to see if there are any posts about hiking with which I can interact. Next time we connect, I’ll have a new topic to discuss.

One final tip: Check out LeadGnome. This exciting new web service mines email replies to your campaigns. Specifically, it can generate new account-specific leads and schedule a follow-up based on the information in an out of office message. It also mines each email for data about the person and the format for corporate email addresses. Finally, it links out of office messages to a specific marketing campaign.

Make the most of this holiday season and start mining those out of office messages!

I originally shared this information in my friend Keenan’s ebook: 22 Crazy Sales Hacks That Work. To read more sales hacks, check out the full free ebook here.

Are you a sales leader or manager that needs more specific sales tips and coaching? I can help! Give me a call at 775-852-5020 or schedule an appointment with me. 

 

About the Author Alice Heiman

Alice Heiman has been helping companies increase sales for more than 20 years. Her innovative sales leadership programs, coupled with her top-down approach to creating long-term change, set up sales leaders and sales-managing business owners to get consistent and sustainable growth.

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