When you’re canvassing for new business and you get an out-of-office reply from a prospect, how often to you delete it because you consider it a dead lead?
Over the years, I’ve had so much success form working out-of-office emails that I now consider them a sales tool. I even get excited when I see them in my inbox!
There’s a whole load of gold in these emails that you can use to create new – and sometimes better – recruitment sales leads.
Here’s what to look out for…
1. Mobile numbers and direct dials
Avoiding gatekeepers is always part of the sales strategy, and in order to do this we need our prospect’s direct dial or mobile number so we don’t need to call a gatekeeper at all.
It can be tough to track down these personal numbers online, but I find that often decision makers will leave their mobile in their out-of-office replies in case of an emergency.
To capitalise on this, run an email marketing campaign to go out to prospects during the summer months or on a bank holiday when you know a large proportion of your prospects will have their out-of-office messages turned on.
You can then use all the information you gather from these OOO emails to update your CRM and for your next BD golden hour.
2. Another decision maker’s contact details
Out-of-offices emails can be a great tool for working out the decision-maker hierarchy within a business.
For example, if you get an out-of-office response from someone who isn’t actually a decision maker, they’ll often ask that urgent enquiries go to someone higher up the business food chain.
A CEO’s out of office will often list contact details for functional heads within the business too and many of these will be hiring managers.
When you’re reaching out to someone because they’ve been referred to in the CEO or MD’s out of office, mention that you have sent an email to the CEO and have been referred on to them instead. Technically, you have been referred to them thanks to their boss's out-of-office message!
3. When to get back in touch
The most awkward BD call you can ever make is when the prospect answers their mobile and you can literally hear the sound of the sea and their children playing on the beach!
The best that can happen when you call a prospect on holiday is that you apologise and arrange a time to call back.
Sending a barrage of emails when someone’s on holiday is a sure-fire way to be a pest and completely sever any potential opportunities for a relationship with this prospect.
Therefore, it’s extremely important to work out a time when you’re going to get back in touch.
All you need to do is leave a note on your CRM with the date you’re going to get back to them and even set yourself a reminder. Hey presto! Problem solved.
4. Prospects who have moved to new roles
Out of offices are also the perfect tool for keeping your database up to date.
So for example, if you notice that someone has a different job title than you have on your records, make sure you update it. If they’ve moved up in the business, this is also an opportunity to backfill your records with whoever has replaced them.
Similarly, every time you get an out of office that saying the contact no longer works there, always find out their replacement and use LinkedIn to update their record with their new company, job title and contact details.
Keeping in touch with a prospect when they move companies and keeping everything on record will help you build a lasting relationship where you can reference your journey with them throughout their career. This will also prevent you having messy duplicated records on your CRM and contact records for people who no longer work there.
An added bonus of this is that director-level prospects often make purchasing decisions soon after joining a new company – and this includes hiring! A friendly congratulatory email is a great way to get them talking.
The congratulatory email is just one of the 10 sales email templates we pulled together for the tool below. You can download by clicking the link.