As we near the end of 2021, many foodservice industry trend reports are showing people are hopeful about the future, but still uncertain. Operators have been faced with so many challenges from forced closures to labor shortages, to now supply chain issues. However, operators are not as locked down as they have been before. Datassential shared on a recent webinar that “operators want more product information from their suppliers as well as better access to value-aligned products”. We are not out of the woods yet, but we know operators are open to innovating and expanding their menus. So it's the perfect time to prospect, right?
Sales activity slowed down in the past year and half, but it is gradually ramping up. Recently, I have been asked by many salespeople in the industry looking for suggestions on how to craft the perfect sales email. I usually respond that I have been in foodservice sales for over 17+ years and I still struggle with emails. In fact, writing and rewriting emails takes a lot of my time. I’m not sure there is such a thing as a perfect sales email but here are a few tips I learned along that way.
1. Use your network
We often forget that pre-call planning in the sales process starts before you write the first email. Research the company and the individual on LinkedIn to find out if you have someone within your network with a mutual connection and ask for an introduction. A subject that says, “Jeff Miller recommended I reach out” goes a long way, better yet, have Jeff send introductory email.
2. Do your homework and make the prospect the main character on that page
The recipient wants to know you are not a robot nor a lazy salesperson. They want to know that you have studied their company and feel that you can add value or help them solve a problem. Try using less I or me but use more you or your. Recently, I received an email from a salesperson in the tech space who started the email with “Your recent post on LinkedIn…”. I opened that email. At first, I was curious if they had read my blog/post, but more importantly, I thought if they took the time to read my blog/post, I certainly can take the time to read their email.
I recently spoke to an executive who leads supply chain at one of the largest healthcare organizations in the country. She said that when she gets a solicitation email, she rarely scrolls down past the first page. It’s not that she’s being rude, it’s simply that she doesn’t have the time to read a long email. We tend to over think and over complicate emails. Remember, it’s an introductory email and you’ll get a chance to sell yourself and your product. One of the best coaching I received early on helped me put everything into perspective. He said “your job today [in this meeting] is to live to fight another day”. What he meant by that was to to have a goal and achieve it. The goal for the sales email is to get a meeting. Keep it short, simple, professional and get to the point!
Have a Call To Action! Ask for the appointment/call!
5. Finally… Don’t be tone deaf
Operators have been through a lot. The past 19 months of multiple forced closures, labor shortages, to now supply chain shortages are challenges that have been impacting our industry. Our operators are constantly playing a game of “block and tackle”. If they don’t respond or show interest, respect their time and give them space. Follow up in a reasonable time and in a respectful way.
More and more, I am hearing from suppliers that they have products and solutions that can help bring value to the operators, reduce pain points, and solve problems. An effective sales email will get people to want to respond.