How to Get a Meeting When Your Prospect is on Vacation

August 28, 2014 Sam Laber

For many executives, it’s vacation season. Time to relax, find a beach and lay off work emails for a few days (or at least a few hours).

For the brave sales development reps (SDRs) who decided to grind it out in the office, I wanted to share a best practice with you that helped me meet, and sometimes exceed quota back when I was an SDR.

Out of office doesn’t necessarily mean out of touch

This tactic is a little on the bold side, but I’ve found that replying to your prospect’s out of office email works pretty well, if you’re smart about it. Let’s say you put in the time to research a top prospect and send this person a tailored email. (For cold email advice from a VP of Sales, click here).

Now, despite your best efforts, you’re greeted with this not-so-marvelous reply:

At this point, most SDRs would move on to the next lead, but I urge you to reconsider, especially if your inbox is full of these automated responses and you’re working with a finite number of accounts. Instead, I would send something like this the next day:

Hey [Prospect],

Hope you’re enjoying the beach.

For reasons unknown, I still find myself checking email once or twice a day, even when I’m taking the week off. If you happen to be doing the same and are interested in taking a call when you get back, I’d really appreciate the time.

Feel free to send over a good day/time, and I’ll take care of the rest.

All the best,
Sam

Here’s why this works. By simply sending a follow-up email, you have already tried a teeny bit harder to reach your prospect than the majority of sales reps — that’s half the battle in sales development. Also, since your prospect is on vacation, he is probably not receiving too many emails from colleagues or other work-related contacts who are privy to his whereabouts. This gives you a better chance of cutting through the noise, which is critical for reaching the C-Suite.

Once your prospect sees that you’ve taken the time to, “Wait, what?!”, reply to his autoresponder, he’s likely to at least investigate the situation. This is where the content of your second email is crucial.

In the example email, I’ve made sure to acknowledge that my prospect is on vacation, but have also acknowledged the fact that he has probably seen my email come through. Most executives have trouble separating themselves from their work, so asserting that I have this same issue indicates that we operate on similar wavelengths.

Finally, by giving my prospect explicit instructions on how to reply and indicating that I will take care of the rest, I’ve assured this person that they only need to do one thing — send over a day and a time to meet.

Now, it’s your turn

If you’re skeptical, that’s great! I urge to try it out and leave a comment with the results. I also encourage you to play around with my example email – it’s far from perfect, and I’ll bet you can get the point across in even fewer words.

If your prospect doesn’t respond, leave him be. In this case, the best thing to do is Boomerang an email for the day they return. In fact, I would recommend following up the day after your prospect returns as they are most likely playing catch up their first day back.

Good luck!

About the Author

Sam Laber

Sam is the director of marketing at Datanyze. He's a big John Hughes fan who occasionally fills the DZ office with the sweet sweet sounds of 90s rock giant, Creed.

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