One of the challenges in making cold calls for our assisted care photography business is knowing when I’m being ignored and when I’m dealing with someone who is just busy. We will be shooting a school virtual tour tomorrow…four months after our first email. I called and emailed the Director of Marketing in January then called again about a week later to see if my email had gotten to her. It took over two weeks before she responded and her response was like many I have received…
I’m not ignoring you – as a matter of fact, XYZ company would be very interested in talking to you. Unfortunately, our marketing budget is depleted for the year, so it doesn’t really make sense to talk now. Could you please contact me again in April?
It can get frustrating to send out multiple emails and leave repeated phone calls and not get responses but it’s part of the process of building our virtual tour business. This particular client told me that she had kept my emails in her inbox but she just hadn’t gotten back to me because things kept coming in that were more urgent. It wasn’t that she wasn’t interested in what I was offering – she absolutely was!
It’s been a while since I have been in the corporate world but when I was, my contact information was usually posted on the website of the company I worked for because I was usually my company’s marketing person. In fact, my face was posted on the website as well in many cases. As a result, I got dozens of unsolicited emails, phone calls, and lots of snail mail every week from people who wanted to sell something. That in addition to the hundreds of emails we all receive on a regular basis meant that I had to prioritize what got my attention.
To this day, I have a folder in my inbox labeled “Follow Up” one called “Research” and one called “File”. I have to move things from my working Inbox or else they get lost. By having the Follow Up folder, I can move things that are important but not urgent and deal with them when I have time. The Research folder is for things that sound like they may be interesting but I need more information to decide whether I want to follow up.
When I send out emails now, I figure I have about five seconds or less to make it into the “Follow Up” folder or be deleted. The key to sending an email that will actually get answered is to provide enough information to capture the readers attention without overwhelming them. I have to provide everything they need to know if that email — if they have to go to my website for more information, then I will likely end up in the trash.