That Crazy Email Your Team Might be Missing that Could Close the Deal

Mar 12, 2021 | Building Relationships, Business Owners, Closing, Sales, Sales Relationships

The Out of Office email. Yes! 

Out of Office messages, or OOOs as I’ve seen many refer to them, flood our inboxes especially after we send out invitations to an event or a newsletter. Typically, they are quickly deleted.

Don’t Delete! 

Make sure your sales team is not deleting those valuable OOO messages. That’s right! Read them first.  

OOO messages provide valuable information to your sales reps if they know what to look for. Some of it is more obvious than others.

Important Information 

After taking inventoryyour team will discover theres a lot of information in those OOOs.

Here are some of the valuable pieces of information I’ve found. 

Decision Makers 

Often these messages contain the names of other decision-makers or influencers: their titles, emails, and phone numbers.

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-makersGet those names and do some research. Start interacting with them on social media (Click Like, Comment And Share) then maybe send a connection request and start building a relationship.

In some cases, it may be appropriate to email them right away since you were told in the OOO to do so. Be careful, you’ll need a valid business reason for sending them a message and you don’t want to step on toes.  

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

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From: My Client

To: Alice Heiman

Subject: Out of Office 

Thank you for your email. I am currently attending a specific industry event with limited access to emails. Should you need immediate assistance, please contact Barry Jones (email, phone)Beth Peters (email, phone), or call the main office (phone). 

We are hiring. Please visit our website to apply and/or to view our Job Board (link). 

Approved timecards and expense reports can be emailed to Sally Smith at sally@mycompany.com.

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This email contains so much information! I can look up the industry event my client is at and be ready to discuss it. I’d definitely research Barry, Beth, and Sally on LinkedIn to see if we have any people, schools, or topics in common or in ZoomInfo to learn how they fit in the org structure.  

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 if they are hiring sales positions it gives me more ideas for my messages or conversations.

Amazing Assistants 

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From: Another client 

To: Alice Heiman  

Subject: Out of Office 

I am currently out of the office, returning on [date]. If you should need something in my absence, please contact my assistant Cheryl Birch (email, phone). 

While connecting with another decision-maker may seem like the best idea, connecting with an assistant can oftentimes be just as valuable. Your contact’s assistant knows that person’s schedule and preferences. Oftentimes, an admin person can be key to reaching your main target. So, don’t ignore that information. Instead, use this redirect as an opportunity to begin building a relationship there too. See Stu Heineke’s book, How to Get a Meeting with Anyone for more ideas.

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Someone I Know 

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From: Contact I Already Know  

To: Alice Heiman  

Subject: Out of Office 

Dear Valued Customer, 

I will be at a World of Concrete for a week beginning Monday.  

I will have limited access to cell phone calls and emails during this time. If you need immediate assistance, please reach out to my VP, Jane Lovely (phone, email). 

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Since I already know this personthis out-of-office message gives me a reason to reconnect, to talk about World of Concrete. I would check his social media and interact with any posts he makes while there. If he wasn’t specific about what trade show he was attending, I could check his social media to see if I could figure it outMeanwhile, if I didn’t already know Jane, his VP, I would come up with a valid business reason to contact her.  

“Jane, Ben’s out-of-office message said to contact you while he is at World of Concrete. I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself and share this article I was going to share with Ben as I believe it will be helpful to you.”  

Then I’d go connect with her on LinkedIn and if she is posting, interact with her posts and start building a relationship. 

Alternative Contact Information 

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

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

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

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

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From: Potential Client 

To: Alice Heiman  

Subject: Out of Office 

I will be out of the office Friday and returning Monday. 

If you need something right away you can contact my assistant, Deb (email, phone) and she should be able to help you. Or you are more than welcome to contact me via text or call on my cellular phone (number provided). 

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

Again, you have to have a valid business reason to use that cell number but you could certainly call the assistant and introduce yourself or try to get an appointment on the calendar for when your prospect returns. I like to get the physical address so I can mail something fun 

Personal Details 

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 the 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 (even if you are not connected).

Here are two examples of OOOs I received that included the birth of a baby and a vacation. 

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From: Expectant Father  

To: Alice Heiman <alice@aliceheiman.com> 

Subject: Out Of Office 

Sorry but I am out of the office for the birth of our son! 

I will be checking emails periodically. 

If you need immediate assistance, please contact my assistant, Bob (phone, email).

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Receiving a message like this one gives you a great reason to offer your congratulations and even send a gift. The assistant can be helpful in getting more info and the address.

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From: Hiking Guy 

To: Alice Heiman 

Subject: Out of Office

I am hiking in the Grand Canyon. I have no access to email and no access to a telephone. 

Happy Trails!

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This email lets me know that my contact is passionate about hiking! Next time we connect, I’ll have a new topic to discuss and I’ll ask to see the photos. I might check social media to see if there are any posted there so I can mention them. 

YOU’RE KILLIN’ ME SMALLS!

Yes, that’s how my favorite OOO started off and it continued,

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If you are reading this, I have been asked to go to the SANDLOT to fetch a baseball from Mr. Mertle’s backyard. Don’t worry about The Beast, I don’t think he exists- besides I’m wearing my brand new pair of PF Flyers for good luck.  

won’t be available to respond to emails/voicemails until July 8th as I plan on being very busy supervising Lifeguard Wendy Peffercorn as she tries to save Squints from drowning. If you really need me, you can call the rotary dial phone at the community pool and I will respond as soon as I find my Babe Ruth autographed baseball.  

Meanwhile, remember kid, there’s heroes and there’s legends: Heroes get remembered, but legends never die.

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Hopefully, you know what movie that is from, and if you don’t Google it. What fun I had with that. I waited until July 10th and replied,

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Does the beast exist? I’m dying to know, and I hope you recovered your Babe Ruth autographed baseball. Now that Squints hasn’t drown and you’ve got our ball, I’m guessing you’re a legend. I know how busy legends can get so I can meet you at the SANDLOT and I’ll bring the coffee. We can chat about how we can energize your team to increase revenue and win the game.”

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Do you think I got the meeting? 

Crazy

It may sound crazy but those OOO messages can be a fountain of useful information to develop relationships and move a sale forward. 

Don’t let your team miss the easy things. Sales is hard enough. Help them find useful information in those OOOs so they can find more decision-makers and get great ideas for their emails and conversations.  

As the CEO if you want more practical ideas on how you can energize your sales organizationlet’s chat 

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