How to Stop Sending “Beg Mail” and Maintain Relevancy with Anthony Coundouris
The Sales Conversation
“Beg mail is infamous for its ability to hinder the sales process by irritating buyers. You can learn how to drop beg mail for its more powerful sibling, value mail!”
In this episode, Bruce Scheer talks to Anthony Coundouris about what you can do to add value to your emails and maximize your success with buyers. Anthony is an independent marketing officer and the author of run_frictionless, a book that explores the importance of building sales systems to achieve predictable sales results. With his global experience in marketing, Anthony has learned the importance of turning beg mail into value mail. Today, we discuss the reasons why beg mail is often ineffective and how you can add value to your email strategies for more effective sales.
Beg Mail vs. Value Mail: Thinking Differently About Communication
Over the last few decades, email has become one of the central ways that businesses communicate with their customers. Technology, however, has its downsides. Nearly all of us have experienced spam in our email and on our phones, whether in the form of unsolicited calls, constant email reminders about a product, or even emails about products you don’t need. While most of these messages are automated, some fall under the rubric of “beg mail.”
Beg mail refers to the often-repeated call or email to a potential buyer to get a decision on a sale. Typically, beg mail involves asking a buyer for a decision on a sale, either by repeatedly sending messages asking for another meeting or directly asking if they have made a decision. This format does not add value to your buyers and feels more like a sales “prayer” than a cogent sales strategy. More importantly, Anthony Coundouris argues, buyers usually perceive beg mail as pushy, pressure-oriented, or annoying. A follow-up message often won’t annoy buyers, but repeatedly contacting your buyers with similar messages will lead you to beg mail territory.
Sales companies resort to beg mail when they run out of energy for communication that adds value (i.e., something new) to a conversation. Anthony Coundouris, for example, found that most of the companies he researched in the United Kingdom switched to beg mail after their initial value mail. These later messages became distracting for the same reason as email spam.
But is there a better way to interact with buyers? Anthony Coundouris thinks so. He argues that salespeople should emphasize the alternative: value mail.
What is value mail, and why does it matter?
In contrast to beg mail, value mail does not focus on the “chase” but adds something new to the conversation. This might include useful resources and information, tools, and other materials that your potential buyer may find useful. Value mail emphasizes building relationships with buyers rather than simply selling a product. After all, your buyers know you want to sell them something; focusing on communication that helps buyers think about the services you offer and how those services meet their needs will be more productive for both you and your buyers.
Value mail is an essential part of any sales strategy with several crucial benefits:
- It builds stronger relationships with buyers
- It increases the likelihood that buyers will respond
- It avoids burning out your buyers
- It teaches you to find new approaches for sharing your product or service with others
- It maintains your relevance with buyers
Remember that buyers have a limited amount of time and interest. Beg mail can often appear copied and pasted, which gives the buyer the impression that you don’t value their time nearly as much as your own. Your time is irrelevant in any sales conversation. Value mail, however, can demonstrate your interest in the needs of your buyers and in applying your solution to help them meet their goals. Ultimately, value mail requires changing the way you think about sales conversations.
How do you change the way you think about buyer interactions??
Anthony Coundouris suggests that all salespeople need to make two mindset changes to move away from beg mail to adding value to their engagements with buyers:
- Get out of the mindset of the quota
Paying too much attention to meeting sales quotas or merely earning the sale can lead you to send communications that lack value. While salespeople have to make sales, they also need to establish trusted relationships with their potential buyers.
- Get out of the mindset of desperation
The mentality of the quota can sometimes lead to desperation, especially if you are struggling to make a sale. However, instead of falling back on beg mail and other forms of repetitive sales tasks, you should step back and assess your strategies. What are you doing right? What are you doing wrong?
Additionally, it is essential to recognize when you need to do more research on your current, potential, and future buyers. Think about the various uses of your product or service. How can you introduce those variants to different buyers? From there, you can consider the ways that you want to create value in your conversations. These might include pointing to new tools or resources you want to offer your buyers or new ideas and product uses you want your buyers to think about.
What can you do to add value to your sales communications?
There are dozens of different strategies you can use to add variety and value to your sales conversations. That said, Anthony Coundouris suggests beginning with the following elements:
- Consider interactions you desire
Put yourself in their shoes. When someone tries to sell you something, what do you wish they would do to keep your interest? Additionally, you should always think about the types of interactions you want to have with your customers and incorporate them into your communication strategy.
- Develop a system
Instead of focusing on a single interaction, a sales system will force you to design the entire sales experience. As a rule, sales systems should help guide the experience with your product or service. Consider the various details about your product or service you want your buyers to experience and weave your communication around those experiences. In other words, a sales system will have a variety of pathways you can follow to guide buyers to the details you think will most matter to them.
- Favorite Features
One easy way to add value is to include a list of five favorite features about your product. The list should provide direct and specific detail about the features without being overly longwinded. If your buyers want to know more, they can ask you directly; alternatively, you can include links to relevant webpages or feature demos in emails.
- Reliving the demonstration
If you have a demo of your product or service, consider sending it as part of a future value mail or as a new message to other people in the buyer’s organization. The latter can start a conversation about your product or service, which can build buzz for your company.
Anthony Coundouris also emphasizes the importance of what he calls “thickening the middle game.” Most salespeople pre-qualify their buyers before an initial communication to make sure they are focusing on the right people and businesses. These initial interactions should consider the changes and developments within an organization so you can better tailor your solution to help a buyer meet their goals.
However, the middle part of the sales game presents new challenges for salespeople. For one, the middle game usually occurs after your buyer is already primed with information about your solution; in some cases, the middle game occurs after your first sales meetings. As a result, many salespeople fall back on beg mail instead of rethinking the interactions they want to have with buyers. To avoid this, you should create different types of interactions that you can use at different points in your communication pathway.
Lastly, consider crowdsourcing with other people in your industry. Engage in conversations with other salespeople, especially within your sales team, and find new approaches you can bring to your sales playbook. Remember that organizations that do not rely on beg mail are more likely to last. After all, if you add value in your conversations with buyers, they are more likely to move forward with a sale!
If you want to learn more about how to move away from beg mail to value mail, check out some of the resources listed below and consider grabbing a free copy of Anthony Coundouris’ ebook, run_frictionless!
- Beg Mail vs. Value Mail – One major problem with beg mail is that it so often has the opposite of the intended effect. Buyers often see beg mail as pushy, annoying, or overly focused on the sales chase. These perceptions make buyers less likely to continue a sales conversation. In contrast, value mail ignores the chase and adds useful resources to the conversation. Focusing on value mail can build professional relationships and the brand of your company.
- Thickening the Middle – Building a strategy for moving a sales conversation from the beginning stages to a sale is no easy task. However, you shouldn’t neglect the middle of the sales game, which many people often do. Instead, send different, valuable interactions to the buyer. Always consider what you can do to create value in your next interaction and what kinds of valuable interactions you want to have. Then design your future email exchanges accordingly.
- Variation Matters – You can maintain your relevance by creating a range of email responses for different buyer needs. This might include letting a client re-experience the demonstration of the product, sharing a list of favorite features, or sending recommendations or materials that enrich a buyer’s experience with the sales process. In doing so, you’ll create a conversation about your product or service and help them make a buying decision based on the value they can see through you.
- Anthony’s Links:
- Follow Anthony on LinkedIn
- Check out his website for run_frictionless
- Grab a free e-book of Anthony’s book, run_frictionless
- Read Anthony’s blog post: “Stop Writing Beg Mail and Begin Writing Value Mail“
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