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Bad Email Addresses and Your Sales Process

SCENARIO: You've got the email addresses of 200 executives in your target market. You periodically send them emails describing recent product offerings and other information that might interest them. Every few weeks, you get a "bounce back" showing that an executive has left the company where he or she was working. Because that email is no longer a good way to get that vital information in the hands of a prospect, you delete it from your list.


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The correct answer is: No. It's still useful information.
In fact, that dead email is the most useful thing that you'll ever get from that email list, according to Craig Elias, author of the very cool book SHIFT!:

The truth is that your SPAMmy newsletter isn't really worth all that much as a sales tool. Probably almost nobody is reading it anyway because executives don't give a flying doughnut about your products.

The value of the emails is that they tell you -- via the bounceback -- that an executive has left his or her current position. That's a HUGE trigger event that should IMMEDIATELY kick you into sales overdrive. Here's what you do:

  • Contact the executive who left. Find out where he or she landed. Remind that executive who you are and of any prior successes that you've worked on together. Ask if there's anything that you can do to help in the transition.
  • Contact the boss of the executive who left. Explain the relationship that you've had in the past and offer to in the transition. With any luck, you can establish a higher-level contact with more decision-making power... without irritating your previous contact (who left.)
  • Contact the replacement executive. Explain the relationship that you've had in the past and offer to help in the transition. Chance are the new executive wants to make a mark on the group; you can be of assistance in that.
Change equals opportunity. And that's especially true of every change in personnel at a customer site. Only a fool lets that kind of opportunity slip by.

READERS: There is ONE kind of trigger event that's even more important than an executive leaving a customer organization. Do you know what it is? (Hint: it also involves somebody leaving a job.)