How to communicate and get what you need from decision makers

I learned of a technique in a training session given to Yammer Sales and Customer Success Management (CSM) staff in 2012. The technique adopts an approach for emailing someone, typically for the first time, that you are keen to get something from – essentially you would be cold calling them. We called the technique “the Hoff mail” after the person who taught it to us – see link below. The person being contacted is also typically senior and difficult to get hold of. They will have many people contacting them and have limited attention so the Hoff mail is first and foremost intended to be impactful and to the point. It is also often a first step in achieving an ultimate outcome, for instance, closing a sales deal but starting with agreement on a first meeting or call perhaps. Or it could be to get a commitment to do something or provide some key information like a use case need, etc. A CSM could also use it to branch out of existing relationships if they are being single threaded or stuck in IT (so building relationships with business decision maker’s). The key principles can be applied to communications means beyond email, e.g. LinkedIn, etc.

The training was provided by http://www.mjhoffman.com/

THE MAIN CONSTRUCTS:

  • Sentence 1 is a specific reference to the person or company that makes your “ask” relevant
  • Sentence 2 is the connection to your company / solution
  • Sentence 3 is the close or what you are asking for

THE COMPELLING “CLOSE”:

  • Something you want
  • Easy to Deliver
  • Open-ended questions only

ADDITIONAL TIPS:

  • Don’t include links in prospecting emails. The Idea is to get their attention, not to sell them on the first email
  • Don’t make mention of your name or company in the beginning of the email
  • Do not make reference to failed attempts at outreach
  • DO NOT use “tell me about your business” or make any reference that you don’t know about theirs
  • DO reference how our customers are gaining value from Yammer. People are far more interested in what our customers have in common vs you
  • TRY KEEP EMAILS IN THE SHAPE OF AN “F”: The first sentence is longer than the second which is longer than the third and closing sentence.
  • Subject line could be a shortened version of Sentence #1. It has to be relevant
  • Most likely be read on a iPhone

ADDITIONAL READING:


Example provided by Jeff Hoffman:

Hello …, 

I saw that ACS was named to Training Outsourcing’s annual top 20 list, and I was inspired to email you directly. I found your approach to learning and education refreshing.

We offer a revolutionary approach to sales training based on sales efficiency and pipeline management. Some of our notable clients include SAP, Deutsche Bank Alex Brown, Forrester Research, and Akamai Technologies. 

Who do you recommend that we contact at ACS to introduce our programs?

Best regards, 


Example of what has worked for me:

Dear …,

As (customer name) have invested substantially in Office 365 technologies, I have been assigned to your business as a global specialist based in London, to ensure you derive maximum value from the technologies for your users and the business. 

I have experience with (industry) across EMEA and will be in (location) 23-27 November. I typically engage with customers to support roll-out of the technologies in digital innovation initiatives.

Can you and your team be available on the morning of the 24th as well as for calls beforehand to start preparing? 

Warm regards, …

#help #workingoutloud

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