I got this email from a sales professional last week:
My initial response was, YES, definitely do this.
I’ve been marketing myself, as a job seeker, and then my business, for 9+ years. What I’ve learned is that if you do not put yourself in front of people, they forget about you. You are responsible for getting and staying in front of your audience.
I’ve also learned that the initial contact is just barely breaking the ice. They key is to get in front of them regularly, as appropriate. That is one reason why you have CRM systems. If your company doesn’t provide a CRM system to you, then use JibberJobber. If your company does provide a CRM to you, but you are making great friendships and professional contacts that you want to take to your next job, then use JibberJobber
Here are my specific thoughts and reactions to this person’s questions:
Is this going to be okay with your company/boss? I can’t imagine a sales professional getting into trouble for sending this type of email, but you might want to check with your boss. They might know something about a customer they fired (that you shouldn’t get in touch with), or they might point you to some tools or queries to make what you want to do easier.
Should it be one bulk email (BCC, of course!) or multiple individual emails? Pros and cons of both. I would say it depends on a few things… where are you sending it from? If you send from a Gmail or Verizon or a personal account (which I wouldn’t recommend), they have daily sending limits. Going over those limits might get you in trouble (ie, getting locked out of sending email for 24 hours). If you bulk send from your work account, and your email server is on blacklists, count on maybe 5% of your emails getting through (I don’t know the percentage, but just assume hardly any get through). The idea of doing one bulk email is nice because it’s faster, but I’m not convinced it’s that reliable.
Sending individual emails is more reliable, I think, and you might do 20 – 50 each day. This will even help you manage the responses, over days, instead of all in the first day or two. But it will obviously take more time. The real question is how many emails are you sending? If it’s 10,000, do bulk and go from there. If it’s just a few hundred, send a few dozen each day until you finish.
About the “personal touch,” you can easily do that with individual emails… but you can also do it in bulk. There are programs you can use (like mailchimp, and even outlook) that can merge names with a general body of text…
What information should the email have? The number one purpose of this email is to introduce yourself. In doing that, you’ll reinforce the branding of your company (in other words, remind the customer that your company exists and has stuff for them). You should give them contact information… work and cell # (that’s how salespeople roll, right?). Keep the email short… don’t go into new products, etc. I would let them know I’m the new rep, I’m excited to be there, and I’m easy to reach (and I’m responsive). I want them to know that I’m their partner and want to help their projects be successful. I will include a one-liner about my company, like “we manufacture the best widgets for the _______.” so people can remember where I fit into their life. And, as overwhelming as this might sound, I invite them to call me in the next week (or two) and tell me what projects they are working on, what they have coming up, any issues from past projects with our stuff, etc.
I want this email to start the relationship, and invite them to let us take it to the next level. That might be a emails, it might be a phone call, it might be a face-to-face… but let me introduce you to me and let’s start a relationship.
How often should I follow-up? What should the follow-up have? Make sure this first email is not the last email. As a customer I know I need multiple communications before I trust you, and I need you to hit me at or around the right time (or, when I’m in the market to buy your stuff). I suggest doing a blast, en bulk, each month. This can be short, it can talk about new products, or it can talk about case studies where your products/services helped other customers. The last thing would be the most interesting read for me. It keeps me engaged (because it’s fun to read), and shows me that you understand that my success is important to me, and it’s also important to you. I’m not just a customer to help you meet your quota, but you really care. The key? MONTHLY.
How do I justify future follow-ups? What if I have nothing new to say or report? Then create something. Talk to your customers and ask them if they could share some of their wins with your list. If you don’t get those stories, then create information that will help others… suggestions, tips, best practices, industry news, etc. Don’t write too much – we all suffer from information overload, and you don’t want to be that email that I’m sure to delete.
Is that it? Will I be successful with this strategy? I don’t think so. I think you need to have an integrated sales/marketing approach… that is, pick up the phone. Meet customers in person. Don’t just rely on email. But you already knew that.
Now, get your email constructed, proof it for type-os and grammar, and make sure the messaging is exactly what your customers should understand, and then send it.
I hadn’t thought about it much because I focus so much on forward-facing stuff, not what to do to tie up loose ends from a job you have left. But Leslie Moser is absolutely right. Her six things are (read her post to get more):
Write a transition plan
Archive, archive, archive (don’t archive information that is not yours, though)
Figure out your health insurance (COBRA is a joke… it is SO expensive)
Have an exit interview (be careful not to burn bridges in this interview, though!)
Keep in touch! (I know this can feel very awkward)
Plan a vacation (take some time, but NOT TOO MUCH TIME!)
A book I’ll recommend is Scot Herrick’s I’ve Landed My Dream Job – Now What??? This book helps you plan your first 30 days on the job, and includes thoughts on wrapping up well from your last job.
In the amazon review I love the person points out that Scot’s book helped her put together a 30/60/90 day plan… FOR AN INTERVIEW! So maybe this book is a great interview prep book… ?
Well, I finally did it – I finished the recordings for the fourth edition of LinkedIn for Job Seekers. This edition will be streaming only, which will cut the cost down on producing DVDs as well as make it easier for me to do updates.
The most apparent change in this series is the layout change. The third edition is, I think, almost two years old, and there have been a lot of changes to LinkedIn’s layout. The most notable would be the header/menu, which has significantly been pared down (some of the favorite things are missing ), and the huge, massive overhaul to the LinkedIn Profile.
Functionally, the biggest change would be the absence of LinkedIn Answers, which for many years had been my #1 favorite feature. Most of the functionality that you found in Answers can be done in Groups, but not as easily, and perhaps not as effectively. We go into that.
There were other functional changes… most of which had to do with stuff either disappearing completely or moving from a free to a premium feature. I have a free account and focus on helping you get more value from the free account.
In this video series, which is appropriate for job seekers as well as business owners (who probably feel like job seekers every morning!), I want you to learn out to OPTIMIZE.
Optimize your chance to be found when someone is searching for you – this has to do with your Profile, and somewhat what Groups you (a) are in and (b) participate in.
Optimize how you share your brand – what message are you sharing, where, how often, etc.
Optimize your Profile, and the messaging you give there. I was finally inspired to update my Profile (which is a fluid, changing project) and made some really important enhancements.
Optimize your results – we’re on LinkedIn for a reason, right? Make sure you understand that reason and work towards that reason, instead of just being there because everyone else is. I’m not about herd mentality… I want you to purposefully seek, and get, value.
The cost of this training is $50. You have access to it as long as you wish. I ask that you do not share access with others, and you don’t show it in “public settings,” like at a university. However, if you want to show a video or two at a job club, feel free to do that.
Finally, did you know we’ve been working hard on enhancing JibberJobber and making it more value-add to you? Not only have we added new functionality, and cleaned up some stuff, we dropped the price of the optional premium level by 40%… to $60. If you are interested in the awesome premium features (including the oh-so-useful Email2Log feature), you can get both the 12 month upgrade and the LinkedIn video series for only $99.
Let me know if you have any questions, and if you want me to add any other trainings into the LinkedIn series.
I got a ping from my blog when he linked to one of my favorite posts, and checked out the context. I really like Scott’s thinking – he is very purposeful, and very experienced. I would pretty much listen to anything he said/wrote. Check him out at Cube Rules. Here’s his book on Amazon: I’ve Landed My Dream Job–Now What???
I’ve run JibberJobber since 2006 and have found that January through March or April is the time when most people are (finally!) really serious about their own career management.
December feels like a month when you can’t really do anything… people complain that it’s a horrible month for the job search. Employees are out of the office, on vacation, and hiring decisions are left until the new year… so why try?
When I was in my job search I didn’t care what holiday it might have been, or whether it was a weekend or 3 am. I had anxiety, and I felt a great sense of urgency to do something to end my unemployment! I wasn’t doing the right things, but I certainly wasn’t going to celebrate anything (like a national holiday) simply because everyone else was. It’s hard to feel festive when you feel like an incompetent.
What’s more, many job search coaches say the holidays are definitely a time to do job search stuff, even if you employ different tactics. But let’s say you doing believe any of that stuff… what COULD/SHOULD you do between now and January 2nd?
Whether in a job search or not, smart, astute, “self-driven” professionals are going do something. It might be as baby-step simple as listing 10 – 20 people they need to talk to, or 10 – 20 companies they want to network into come January.
It might be something as in-depth and time-consuming as writing a book (even if it is a small ebook) with the purpose of establishing and enhancing their personal brand.
Depending on what your year (or last quarter) looked like, you might simply take this month off to do “nothing” – like read some books or articles you’ve been meaning to catch up on, take a real vacation and mentally, spiritually and physically recharge, to be ready for the next year.
Whatever you do, please don’t give up on December. Whether it is a strategic and very tactical job search to hopefully get some interviews or offers lined up in January, or a more long-term career management strategy, take the time to do something on purpose to finish out this year.
I can’t tell you what it should be – so you tell me… what will it be?
Dan Schawbel finally got his next book out: Promote Yourself. I don’t have a copy but there is a lot of info you can find in blog posts online (like this one from LinkedIn global spokeswoman Lindsey Pollak).
Dan has done a masterful job promoting himself. I’ve watched his career/business blossom over the years. I even shared the stage with him in North Carolina (Charlotte). It was the one and only time we’ve met in person.
Apparently it took Dan’s website down. That is a big deal. I used to crave mentions like hot superstars like that, tweeting and blogging about my stuff… Dan has worked very hard to get the attention he is getting.
I’m guessing this is a personal branding + career smarts + generational stuff (Dan is a big Gen Y advocate) book… if that sounds like your cup of tea, check it out here.
Still, one of my favorite quotes in the reviews, by Mike Hudson:
51 Alternatives is not an answer book, it is a question book, and that question is “Why not?”
This is definitely a why not book. I think some of the ideas in here are “too far out there” for many people. But if you get tired of having layoffs hanging over your head, or if you wonder why you are only making $x/hour and barely scraping by, or if you just want to feel more empowered personally, then WHY NOT?
I’ll never forget an email I got from a friend who makes a bunch of money in a job that takes him away from his family 5 or 6 days a week, for the last many years. He commented that he didn’t have the guts to do what I was doing… here is his question with my reply (which I blogged, of course):
Do you have the guts to ask WHY NOT? Check out the WHY NOT book, 51 Alternatives to a Real Job. Now on your kindle browser
I got a great email from someone… their email is in bold and my response is in not-bold:
I’ve been in ________ Management for several years and that’s what’s on my resume, but it would be nice to turn my hobby and first love of video production, editing, and graphic arts into a source of income.
Cool… big transition! It’s good to know what you want to do and pursue it, if it can support your lifestyle.
Problem is, NOBODY will simply hire me to do this without a competitive resume with years of experience.
I think the video production, editing and graphics arts are specialized enough that I might hire three different people to do each of those. I’m not sure a “resume” is going to get you the gig, because you have to get into the right interview first. Regarding “years of experience,” above you say this is your passion and first love, so I wonder what other projects you’ve done. Maybe no commercial projects but if you have done projects that might be all I need to take a gamble on you…
I wonder if you focus on one or two of the three things you list, instead of all three. For example, bring a graphics artist in to complement you. If you network enough and well with those specialists, maybe they will bring YOU in on video projects…?
Replacing your last job is hard enough, but changing careers requiring a whole set of skills (which you may have sans the experience part) is nearly impossible.
We talked about this on my Dick Bolles Ask The Expert call. It is definitely not easy but you can do it. How do you position yourself? Generally, my simple thoughts are to figure out and talk about your “transferable skills.” You’ll probably have to pull from your off-time for graphics and video products you’ve done. BUT, what if you pull together some contractors you can tap into and then focus on the product/project management of the project, as well as sales and marketing? Get some great commercial projects under your belt and that should lead to more.
Again, watch Dick’s interview. I don’t remember when we talked about this but his response blew me away.
The ONLY option that I can foresee is to go independent and adopt a very aggressive marketing and networking campaign to drum up business.
The “very aggressive marketing and networking campaign” you would do to drum up business is virtually the same you should do in a job search.
In my job search, seven years ago, I had to make a decision. Do I spend time working towards “a job,” which someone might take away again, or do I spend time working towards long-term financial independence, which do I do? I chose to shift gears, work as hard as I was on my job search, and took a gamble.
For you, what I would recommend is to build up a portfolio of projects. Make some up for yourself, or beg and convince friends at businesses to do things for them. As your portfolio grows it will be easier to have people know and think about and choose you for their projects.
I was reading Ditch! Dare! Do! (a great book on personal branding by two friends and saw an interesting line.
The story was about someone who was communicating their brand using what has been historically been called an elevator pitch.
You know, the one that you should spend no more or no less than 30 seconds on? (Story: I was at a networking meeting where they had you do your 30 second pitch and if you went over 30 seconds they would annoyingly ring a gong. It was horrible!)
In the book they gave a great example of someone answering the question “what do you do” with a 28 word response.
28 words… intriguing!
Maybe instead of shooting for 30 seconds, which for some people can sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher blabbing on, let’s talk about getting it down to something shorter… 28 or 30 words!
This is hard stuff, but if you can brand yourself well CONCISELY you can have more power in the conversation.
I regularly consult with small business owners (aka solopreneurs) about how to network and market.
Those two are almost one-in-the-same, aren’t they?
On a recent call I was talking to a solopreneur about doing webinars or teleseminars.
You can get a lot accomplished with a teleseminar, but what if no one comes?
Same question with a book… what if you write a book and no one buys it?
My answer: IT IS OKAY.
Perhaps the purpose of the teleseminar, webinar or book is NOT to get it in front of people, have people buy it, or even come (to the webinar or teleseminar) or read it (the book).
Let me give you an example: When I go somewhere to speak I might speak in front of 100 people.
That isn’t very many people! I don’t want to get on a plane, take about a week from my schedule (a trip can take a week… 2 travel days, the day of the presentation, the prep before and the catchup after) to get in front of 100 people – especially if I do that for FREE! (I usually waive my fee to job clubs)
No money (or, the opportunity to make a sale, but I’m usually not even going to break even), all that time, for only 100 people?
That’s not entirely why I do it.
Would I do it if it were 10 people? I did that before (even though I was told there would be 100 people there).
Where is the value?
Here’s the value… and this is important for you as a solopreneur to know, and it is important for you as a job seeker to know:
The value is in the pre- and post- marketing.
The group who has 100 people coming… they might have an email list of about 4,000 – 10,000 people.
I want (them) to TALK ABOUT me, my message, and my trip. I want them to email their group twice before I come, and twice after I’ve left.
I know have given this job club organizer something to say, about me, to his/her audience.
And in addition to the 100 people who actually come, I’ll get four touch-points to the 4,000 people on the list. That will result in:
more evangelists talking about me,
curiosity and branding.
Is THAT worth it?
Shooting an email out to 4,000 people randomly is not a big deal. It would likely have a negative impact.
But for the TRUSTED organizer to shoot the email out, and have them say something like “ JibberJobber is the best and most important career management and job search organizer out there,” is really, really, really valuable.
My point is, I’ve given them something to talk about.
What can YOU give your network to talk about?
What I’ve learned is it can’t be one single thing or event.
Think of something you can do monthly, or every other month, that they can say “oh, that sounds cool. And I’ll tell my friends about it…”