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When you’ve been in sales a while, it’s easy to develop bad habits. You pick them up from colleagues or take a shortcut during an especially busy week and, all of a sudden, you’ve added some skills to your repertoire that aren’t helping you meet your target. If you’re not regularly checking your behaviour and results, these habits can cause mistakes that end in deals falling apart, annoyed prospects, or missed numbers.

Seemingly innocuous phrases like, “Sorry to bother you,” sneak into our regular sales emails and phone calls and poison our relationships without us even realising it. Here’s how to stop it.

You Should Never Say, “I Am Sorry for Bothering You”…. It implies you’ve done something wrong and it signals desperation.

There are several ways to provide value in a sales follow-up email. Here are a few I suggest.

Alternatives to Saying, “Sorry for Bugging You”

1. Send a customer review
A customer review provides value because modern-day buyers trust their fellow buyers to give honest feedback about a product they’ve used. Think they might not trust a written review coming directly from you?

2. Include a case study
Case studies allow prospects to discover how a business in a similar position to theirs solved its problems. You’ve acknowledged their time is a priority for you, without discounting your own schedule and what you’re offering.

3. Link to a blog post
A blog post is a way to build credibility with prospects and provide them new information about the product and company as they start to make a decision.

4. Reference a mutual connection
Surfacing a mutual connection allows the prospect to ask their acquaintance about the sales rep and gather more information. It also signifies that if a friend works with this sales rep, the prospect might also enjoy working with the same sales rep.

5. Provide a suggestion
A small strategy tip can help sales reps build credibility and showcase the value of their insight to buyers.
Send them a new industry benchmark report or a mention a recent move their company made, and offer unique insight into how your product/service could help.

6. Offer to walk away
If you’ve reached out multiple times over the course of several weeks or months and your prospect still hasn’t responded, do yourself a favour and walk away.
You should be spending time on deals that actually have a chance of closing, and pleading with an unmotivated prospect to respond to your emails isn’t doing either of you any good.
Simply say, “Tony, I’ve tried to reach you unsuccessfully a few times now. Unless I hear back from you I’ll assume that you’re not interested in taking things further, at least for now, and I’ll make a note to get back in touch in few months. Of course, if there’s anything I can help with, please let me know.”
If your prospect is still interested, this should grab their attention. If not, it gives them an easy way out. You can always leave the door open for a call or email six months down the line to see if things have changed.

7. Compliment them
If your prospect recently published a new blog post or the company unveiled a shiny, new product, let them know you’re paying attention.

Great emails build rapport and credibility. By looking for this deadly phrase before sending your emails, you can improve your odds of a response, and eventually, a relationship.

If you’re struggling to engage with your prospects, get in touch.