Put up your hand if you want lots of new business leads.
OK, pretty much everyone.
So it’s worth asking why you aren’t meeting as many decision makers as you’d like. And what does it ACTUALLY take to get a steady stream of new opportunities?
We have a client who gets fresh leads almost every single day. She gets so many leads she had to build a team around her just to handle the new opportunities.
It gets better. Her conversion rate is so high that her cost per lead is just $40. Forty bucks a lead for a $10,000+ service is crazy.
So what’s her secret? Why does she get so much interest, when other companies in her industry are struggling?
Actually it’s pretty simple (and definitely not a secret).
She knows that generating new business leads requires providing value. The more value she offers, the more leads she gets.
So in this article we’ll look at how to use cold email to create value.
Relevance as Value
They say that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
And that’s an important axiom to remember for cold email lead generation. Ultimately, value is in the eye of the beholder.
So be sure to know your audience so you can create an offer that has deep appeal.
Consider a local meat producer who sells to restaurants. Their claim to provide the cheapest meat cuts in the area will be very interesting for Brazilian BBQ restaurants.
But for vegetarian restaurants, not so much.
Even though both restaurants are nearly identical by most measures, the price of meat is irrelevant to the vegetarian restaurant.
So understand your sales targeting at a deep level. When you know what your clients really want, it’s not too hard to deliver.
This sounds pretty obvious, but spam folders are filled with cold emails that offer a ton of value, but missed the target.
Do The Thinking For Them
Be intentional about who you are contacting.
People want to know that you are reaching out to them as an individual. Not as part of a 10,000 person campaign where everyone is just a number.
The best way to show you understand their situation is to do their thinking for them.
Huh? What does that mean?
It means figure out how you can solve a real problem. Do this and you’ll have already provided MASSIVE value for your prospects.
Here’s what I mean.
Every month I get cold emails from software companies. They want to know if we have any software projects coming up. Usually the email looks like this:
Do you have any software development projects coming up? We’re experts in the following technologies:
You get the idea. They’re giving me a menu of services and expecting me to choose one like I’m customizing a Chipotle order. It’s not going to happen!
So what would it look like if they did the thinking for me?
If they took 15 seconds to check, then they’d know Sales Higher is a b2b lead generation agency. That’s on our home page. And they know we use cold email to generate leads.
So it’s easy to envision a software solution that might be helpful to Sales Higher. Here’s a message I would 100% respond to:
As leaders in the lead generation space, I was wondering how you verify your email addresses?
We recently built an email verification tool. It does everything that the expensive validation tools do. Including spotting bounces, catch-all emails, and easy export.
I’m sure you use a ton of verification credits every month. Would you be interested in having your own system instead? It’ll save you money long term. And the quality of the results is almost certainly better than what you are already using.
Would love to hear your thoughts.
In less than 100 words they would have provided me with a software solution we could potentially use.
The best part is, a high value message like this isn’t limited to just one person. They can contact all our competitors, too. If they contact 100 lead generation companies they can reasonably expect 10 strong responses and a couple of sales.
So make the effort to understand the people you are contacting. Cold email works amazing when you are intentional about your contacts.
Provide Proof of Value
The easiest way to get new business leads is to provide proof of value.
Fortunately, that’s easy to do.
Simply show people what you can do. And make it clear how that outcome was achieved. It’s that easy.
Case studies are perfect for this sort of approach. But if you don’t have one, just make sure the reported results are verifiable.
If the outcome in question is highly desirable then it’s a safe bet you’ll get lots of interest in providing similar results for other companies.
Here’s what a value-lead outreach message might look like:
If Sales Higher is like other lead development firms then clean data is one of your biggest expenses.
We recently helped HappyB2B shift their data expenses from a variable model to a low cost fixed price. They cut their annual data spend by 47%. And the data quality is better than what they were previously using.
Does this sound like it might be of interest? Let me know if I can share some details.
Damn right it sounds interesting! I’d love to chop our biggest cost in half.
Leading with value isn’t difficult. But very few companies make the effort.
At the risk of repeating myself, separate yourself from the pack by being intentional about who you contact.
Put more effort into contacting fewer people, and you’ll generate lots of new leads.
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How To Capture New Business Leads
The idea to provide value is simple enough.
But what does that look like in the real world?
Here are 11 ways we’ve seen clients make their cold emails stand out from the pack.
Provide Proprietary Information
During the course of normal operations, your company probably generates a ton of proprietary data. Use it!
For example, at Sales Higher we contact 1000’s of people every month. That creates data related to open rates, response rates, and so on.
People are curious, and data that’s otherwise difficult to obtain is interesting.
If your data can improve how they do their work, then that’s even better!
Share A Case Study
Case studies are used to illustrate the benefits a company realized by using your solutions.
You can think of them as an educational advertisement. And they’re great for generating new business leads.
Prospects love case studies because a good case study shows exactly what is required to achieve a desired outcome. They’ll (hopefully) learn something valuable.
And vendors love case studies because they are a chance to brag in humble wrapping. It’s a win-win for everyone, and a great way to grow interest in your solution.
Teach Them Something
Decision makers love to learn – that’s part of how they came to be in charge.
So offer them to teach them something that will make them better at their job.
For example, the meat supplier mentioned above is selling to restaurants. Their audience might appreciate a webinar on ‘6 Ways The Most Profitable Restaurants Cut Costs And Increase Sales.’
The restaurant owner learns valuable information. And the meat company can mention their USP (cheap meat) as one point in the information deck.
Webinars are perfect for this sort of approach because they are interactive and easy to scale.
Send Them Something
People love getting stuff.
If you have a (low priced) physical good then send it to your potential partners. They’ll appreciate you making the effort. And it’ll give them a more tangible experience with your product.
Consider writing a book for this very purpose.
A physical book is like a giant business card that’s packed with your expertise and experience.
They may never read it, but it’ll sit on their desk for months. And it’s a great reminder that you can be of assistance.
Experience The Outcome
It’s one thing to know a solution might be useful. It’s another thing to experience it for yourself.
So find ways your prospects can experience the benefit you provide.
For example, if you’re selling a SaaS solution, give them a free account.
If you are designing a building, let them participate in the design choices.
The more your prospect engages with your solution, the better. You want them to feel a sense of ownership and connection.
Invite Them To A Function
Getting to know our peers is a great way to learn new things, and make important contacts.
So why not host a function that’s genuinely useful for your prospects?
They’ll appreciate all your efforts. And you’ll become a ‘connector’ in your industry.
It’s a fantastic way to add value, and your prospects will be thrilled to hear from you.
Ask Their Opinion
Decision makers are experts in their field. Unfortunately, few people actually want their opinion.
Instead of reaching out to offer a solution, ask for their expertise. It’s a great icebreaker, and a good way to introduce yourself.
If they are interested in your solutions they’ll let you know. So you don’t even need to ask.
An often overlooked way to add value is to be a specialist in your niche.
Consider web design services. If a company is already running a WordPress theme like Divi on their website then they probably won’t be interested in general design services.
But they might be very interested in a company that specializes in design for sites that use Divi.
The more your solution aligns with what people are already doing, the more interested they will be.
Ask For Help
A few years ago a university student from eastern Europe sent me a cold email to request assistance with her homework. It was really random!
Even though the timing wasn’t good, I didn’t really have a lot of options. If a student asks for help with their homework, you take the call.
People are hardwired to help others. Don’t be afraid to reach out to prospects to ask their thoughts.
You may think you know what they want to buy. But they can tell you if you’re on the right track. Or if you should go back to the drawing board.
Request An Interview
You’re probably going to create content on topics that are interesting to your audience. So why not get the audience involved?
This instantly shifts the focus of the conversation from, ‘I want to tell you something’ to ‘I want to ask you something’.
So reach out to decision makers and ask to interview them. It could be for a video, podcast or even a blog round up post.
It’s a great way to get to know influencers in your field. And as they come to know you and your solutions they’ll let you know if they’re interested to work with you.
Add To Their Content
People put a lot of work into the content they share. Show how engaged you are by making an offer to contribute to their content.
For example, if they write an article that’s heavy with data points, then offer to create an infographic.
Look for ways to add to what they are already doing. Something as simple as a guest post offer is really appreciated.
They’ll appreciate your investment in their success. And it becomes the basis for a strong relationship going forwards.
What’s It Going To Cost?
Hopefully you have some great ideas for cold emails your prospects are excited to receive.
When we talk about value, we weigh perceived benefits against known costs.
This is important for cold email because people want to know what your proposal is going to ‘cost’ them in terms of time, effort, or dollars.
To illustrate, recently a friend told me how they started to apply for a job they were 100% certain they would get. The job required skill sets, experience, and certifications that almost no one else in the city possesses. Almost no one else was even qualified to apply.
But part way through the application process he stopped. Some of the questions were pointlessly invasive. And he didn’t feel comfortable sharing personal information for no reason.
In other words, he decided the cost of applying was bigger than the opportunity itself.
And like it or not, your prospects evaluate your cold emails in a similar way. When reading your message they try to figure out whether the perceived cost of doing your Call To Action is worth the implied value.
Think of the decision process as a weighted scale. On the one side is the perceived benefit of your offer. For example, an ebook that promises very helpful information.
On the other side of the scale is the perceived cost. In cold email it’s very common to ask prospects for “just” 30 minutes of their time. Even though this is actually a very BIG ask!
Even if the prospect is very curious about your solutions, they may not be ready to hop on a call.
Because of this, the benefit side of the scale needs to be overwhelmingly weighted against the perceived cost.
So put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Give some thought to what you are asking for in the context of their situation. Would you take action?
Look for ways to minimize the size of your request.
For example, instead of requesting a meeting, offer prospects the information they need. Let them decide what the next steps will look like. This reduces the friction of replying to your email.
Remember the client who gets leads every day? She doesn’t ask for anything at all. She just offers a ton of value and asks for nothing in return. So there’s nothing to stop decision makers from taking action.
New Business Leads Are A Function Of Value Provided
The point of lead generation is to get people to invest in our solutions.
But it’s a bit much to expect strangers to suddenly care about you because you sent them a message. Most people just don’t work that way.
So make an effort to add value.
Which of the methods above are most interesting for you?
Drop me a line and let me know which ones you tried. I’d love to hear how many relationships you created, and how they helped your business grow.
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Matthew Murray is the Managing Director of Sales Higher. He knows any company can THRIVE with enough qualified sales leads. So he’s spent the last decade helping companies meet engaged prospects and win new deals.