My dog Bonnie is up for a ball game at any time of day or night. When I’ve been sitting at my desk for too long, she’ll remind me with a wet nose nudge or a paw on my leg. If I’m not responding she’ll simply drop the ball on my lap. I usually cave in because she’s cute and fluffy, not that I’m desperate for a game of fetch.
It’s a fine line between prompting and pestering. When you’re reaching out to new corporate prospects you need to push for a connection but you can feel like a serial stalker if you don’t get an immediate reply. That makes some partnership managers reluctant to keep nudging for that important meeting.
Here’s how to reframe your approach and avoid feeling like a serial pest
If you feel icky about sales, it’s helpful to reframe your thinking. You’re not doing a hard sell with something they don’t want; you’re offering solutions that will be valuable for their business and the community. Businesses love to hear about something that saves them money, makes their staff happier and inspires their customers. Of course, they know you want something in return, you’re a charity. But changing your mindset from hard sell to offering solutions will strengthen your proposition for the corporate and remove that uncomfortable feeling of being a charity spammer.
Don’t guilt trip your prospect
If you didn’t get a reply to your email, did you re-send with “as per my earlier email”? Not a good idea, as it looks like you’re pressuring your prospect. For your follow-up approach, write a fresh email with something engaging or an interesting news snippet that’s relevant to their business. Don’t be like this tech dude who has been spamming Stellar for the past few weeks:
“I tried to call you last week and sent an email on the 5th and 13th of July…”
Consider their work schedule
Who’s in the office five days a week after COVID? Many people are working a hybrid week or part time. If you didn’t receive a response to your first approach, you may have chosen a day when they’re not working or just offline. If they’re working, they may just be in a regular team meeting. That’s why it’s never a great idea to email at 9am. A partnership may be the highest priority for you, but your prospect is probably attending to urgent requests or priority emails at that time. When you reach out again, do it on another day and another time and you may have a better chance of getting their attention.
Consider their preferences
How many emails do you receive every day? 20,30, 50+? It’s no different for your corporate prospect. There’s a lot going on and even the most organised people can simply forget to reply. If you’re making your approach via email, think about mixing it up. Try text or phone or even old-fashioned snail mail. Receiving a personal letter is rare these days as mail goes digital. Consider what will get their attention and how preferences are very personal. Sharon rarely answers the phone but she’ll always respond to text. A community manager at Officeworks once said that never responds to a charity enquiry unless they have contacted her three times. She’s testing to see if they’re serious about the approach.
You don’t have to be like a dog begging for a morsel when you prospect for a corporate partner. Stand confidently in the solutions you can offer to your corporate and be prepared to tweak your approach. Your prospects are just human after all and we’re all multitasking frantically. If you haven’t got a reply from your first approach, don’t take it personally. Your prospect could be juggling school holidays, missed trains, or demanding bosses. Get creative with the days, times and modes of contact and you’ll soon get your breakthrough. Must go, there’s a four legged friend demanding her next ball game.