Eight "Sorry To Bother You" Alternatives

When sending a follow-up email to a prospect, many sales reps fall into the bad habit of opening with, "Sorry to bother you, but ... " While they might think they're being polite, this cringeworthy phrase can end up killing the rest of the email.

Meg Prater, managing editor of the HubSpot blog, says sales reps should never apologize for contacting a prospect. She recommends eliminating the phrase, "Sorry to bother you" and trying some smarter, more effective approaches. In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we discuss Prater's eight alternatives for better follow-up emails.

1. Send a customer review. A customer review provides value because modern-day buyers trust their fellow buyers to give honest feedback about a product they've used.

2. Include a case study. Send your latest and most relevant case study with a note saying, "This case study made me think of your business. I know your time is valuable, and I think this is worth the few minutes it will take to read." You've acknowledged their time is a priority, without discounting your own schedule and what you're offering.

3. Link to a blog post. A blog post is a way to build credibility with prospects and provide them new information about the product and company as they start to make a decision. If you want to grab a prospect's attention, Prager suggests sending a post with an especially snappy title.

4. Reference a mutual connection. Prater says that surfacing a mutual connection allows the prospect to ask their acquaintance about the sales rep and gather more information. It also signifies that if a friend works with this sales rep, the prospect might also enjoy working with the same sales rep.

5. Offer a suggestion. One way to build credibility and add value is to provide a sales strategy tip or send the prospect a new industry benchmark report. You could also mention a recent company move and offer unique insight into how your product or service could help.

6. Don't talk business at all. If you really want to get someone's attention, Prater recommends dropping the shop-talk. You could say something like, "I watched a documentary on Colorado ski country this weekend and thought of you immediately. Have you hit the slopes yet this year?"

7. Offer to walk away. If you've reached out multiple times over the course of several weeks or months and your prospect still hasn't responded, do yourself a favor and walk away. Prater suggests saying something such as, "Tony, I've tried to reach you unsuccessfully a few times now. Usually when this happens, it means my offer isn't a priority for you right now. Is that safe for me to assume here? If so, you won't hear from me again."

8. Compliment the prospect. If your prospect recently published a new blog post or the company unveiled a shiny, new product, let them know you're paying attention. Chances are, they put a lot of time and effort into their recent project and would love for someone to notice.

Before you send your next follow-up email, try using one of the approaches above to improve your odds of a response—and, eventually, a relationship.
Source: Meg Prater is managing editor of the HubSpot Blog. She's a Bay Area marketing professional who specializes in writing, editing and strategy.

filed under July 2019
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