When you get a template email with your name haphazardly pasted at the top, how do you react?
For most people, that lifeless document is heading straight into the spam folder.
If you want people to respond, you’ve got to make it personal.
In this Takeover episode, host Sanjana Murali speaks with Amy Franko, Founder & CEO at Amy Franko Associates and Author of The Modern Seller, about how to implement better personalization in your sales outreach and prospecting.
Personalization in sales
Thirteen years ago, Amy transitioned from a decade spent selling in the tech world — at IBM and Lenovo — into an entrepreneurial role at Amy Franko Associates, her learning and development company.
Now, she gets to combine her love of selling with her love of learning by helping sales organizations accelerate their growth results.
The organization is now thriving, but when she made the transition, she had exactly one client.
She had to build her company from the ground up.
One client at a time
In the early days, she was all about outreach. Every conversation meant another opportunity to win a new client.
“We build a business one client at a time.” — Amy Franko
But, unlike some high-pressure salespeople, she wasn’t planning to propose on the first date — her approach always involved piquing the interest of the prospect and hoping to advance the conversation.
Maybe later, once a connection is established, she could work with them and help solve their problems.
But to establish that connection through cold outreach, she needed to put herself in the shoes of the other person.
And if you want to improve your sales, you should, too.
Why personalization works
Before you send an email, you should always take a step back and ask yourself:
How would I react to this?
It seems simple, but so many people obviously aren’t doing it. And you know how you can tell?
Because everyone still gets cold, impersonal emails with a name so obviously pasted at the top that it has a couple of extra spaces after it or an underscore that slipped through the cracks — sometimes it’s even in a different font.
If you stop and ask yourself what will pique your interest, you’ll realize it’s all about personalization.
Personalization works because it shows you have taken the time to actually customize the message for that person and not just the name at the top.
You are demonstrating right off the bat that you intend to form a relationship with the person, qualifying the next conversation and saving the proposal for when you’ve had a chance to find out if you have anything in common.
There are a ton of misconceptions when it comes to personalization.
Let’s take a look at a couple of the biggest misconceptions tripping up those who want to personalize their sales outreach.
An email for all seasons
The most important misconception to avoid: Personalization can be mass-produced.
This is the mentality that leads to emails with pasted names above a novel written for an airport bookshelf with only one chapter relevant to you.
This is not personalized.
“I will pick quality over quantity, any day of the week.” — Amy Franko
You have to put in the work to personalize your outreach.
You can be more effective and efficient, definitely. But if you can mass produce it, it’s simply too impersonal to be effective.
Don’t feed the wildlife
The other big error to avoid is any scenario where you start over-prospecting.
If you send an invitation over LinkedIn and the person at the other end accepts, that was not a contract to start flooding their inbox with a million messages trying everything under the sun to get a sale.
That’s like firing off a Gatling gun of first-date proposals all at once.
And again, if you follow the number one rule of outreach, you’ll be well aware of how annoying that would be if you were standing in their shoes.
Always think about how your message is going to be received.
Making it personal with video
Personalization is all about showing you are willing to put in the effort, proving that you know your recipient, and building a relationship.
Put simply, it’s about person-to-person communication.
And one of the best ways to do this at a distance is through video.
Video humanizes your messaging
Video is rapidly becoming the go-to way most of us consume content, so, in terms of the market, it makes sense to incorporate it into your sales process.
But the medium also humanizes your communication, capturing the subtle nuances of tone, body language, and facial expressions.
As far as person-to-person communication goes, it’s the best you can do without actually being face-to-face.
Video is easy, but it takes practice
Incorporating video emails, how-tos, and anything else that helps your customer solve their problems into your sales outreach is extremely rewarding.
It’s a great way to engage your prospect — which ultimately leads to more conversations and, eventually, more sales.
Yet, many are reluctant to incorporate video because it’s new and different.
If you’re somebody who is worried about screwing up, I have good news and bad news.
First, the bad news: Yeah, you might mess up at first.
The good news: It doesn’t matter.
“I don’t know if I actually remember what my first video was. But I can tell you, it wasn’t good. It just takes practice and experimenting with tools.” — Amy Franko
Incorporating video into your sales process is all about experimenting with what works for you with the tools at your disposal.
Just like anything else in your sales toolbox, you need to practice with it to build confidence.
But once you do, it allows you to add a personal touch — using the full range of human expression — into your outreach.
People buy from people.
So, humanize yourself and personalize your message.
You’ll be glad you did.