Cupid has sharpened his arrows and Valentine’s Day is here! Whether you’re looking forward to a candlelit dinner for two or you’re spending February 14th with a microwave meal for one, online salespeople can learn a lot from the dating game. Check out these 9 Reply dating rules to romance your next sales email campaign off its feet.

Rule #1 – Make sure your ‘little black book’ is up-to-date

Back in the days before Tinder, it wasn’t uncommon to keep a little black book of prospective romantic interests, the ones you could call to make sure you weren’t alone on Valentine’s Day. Of course, today it’s usually a section in your smartphone contacts. Now, while playing the field can drop you in a whole world of trouble, no salesperson in their right mind is putting all their efforts into just one prospect.

Whether you buy a list or build your own, you want to make sure your ‘little black book’ of prospects is always full of new leads and up-to-date. This means having a decent CRM system that meets your needs. For example, Reply has all the tools you’ll need to create and manage your contact lists, along with all the information on what your contacts are up to. That way you’re never left wondering where your next sale is coming from.

It’s also a good idea to validate your emails with a service like Name2Email or to make sure you’re sending your emails to the right address and not getting hard bounces. After all, there’s nothing worse than using the wrong name, either in sales or dating).

Rule #2 – Know the line between personal and creepy

Everyone likes the personal touch, and when dating it can stop you from making embarrassing mistakes. Taking her to a fancy Italian restaurant when you know she loves pasta is a nice touch. Taking him to the circus when he has a clown phobia… well, don’t count on a second date.

It’s the same with cold sales. No-one likes to be treated like just another name on the list; if your email is an impersonal message blasted to thousands of people, trust me, it’ll show. Now, we’re big fans of personalization, with good reason. However, there’s a line between personal and well… just plain creepy. With all the new personalization options open to us it’s easy to get carried away. If you start talking to your date about how impressed you are with her latest medical records or how you think he looks much better at 15% body fat than 22%, you’re more likely to get a restraining order than a follow-up.

When you’re writing your next personalized message, take off your marketer hat and ask yourself how you’d feel getting a similar message. Better yet, get some impartial feedback from a non-salesperson friend. As a rule, focus on segmenting your list and personalizing your message so it’s useful, not to show off how much you know about them.

Rule #3 – Be ready to pick up the phone

As much as it’s easier to just message each other, sometimes it’s better to pick up the phone and have an actual chat. There’s something about hearing another human voice that’s so much more personal than a ‘Had gr8 time, cu again’ message.

First off, if you’re still texting like that you need to up your game. Second, despite all the benefits of cold emailing, picking up a phone is sometimes the best way to make a connection.

Let’s be clear: I’d rather swim through shark-infested waters smothered in bait than pick up the phone and cold call someone. Why phone when you can easily drop someone an email, or message them on Facebook? Sometimes though, you’ve just got to take a deep breath and dive in. While your emails and messages may be missed or pushed through to the ‘maybe someday’ pile, a call allows you to have actual two-way communication, right then and there. Some people still insist on talking before doing business. Of course, some hate phone calls as much as I do, so you may want to try email first. But if that doesn’t work or your research suggests you need to make a call, pick up that phone.

Rule #4 – You have to stand out

In the pick-up artist community ‘peacocking’ is a common technique where men wear over-the-top garish clothing or accessories, all in an attempt to get more attention from ladies. Whatever your opinion is of pick-up artists and whether you dig a guy in a top hat or not, one thing’s for sure: as a marketer, you absolutely need to stand out in your prospect’s inbox.

With over 247 billion emails sent every single day, you’re competing for attention with a lot of different messages, so you need to differentiate yourself. That doesn’t mean adding a ton of exclamation marks (!!!!) after your sentence or writing in ALL CAPS. Sure, you’ll stand out, but in a bad way.

Instead, stand out with clarity and relevance in your subject lines. Remember, you’re not trying to trick your prospect into opening your email, you’re trying to give them a good reason to open and then read your message. It’s important then that your message content delivers on any promises you made in your subject line.

Rule #5 – Follow up

If you’ve seen any romance movies ever, you’ll know there’s this whole thing around how soon you should wait to call after the first date. Do it too soon and you seem desperate, right? But how soon is too soon? A couple of hours? A couple of days? Or is any follow up bad? I mean if they wanted you to follow up surely they would have called me first? Why haven’t they called? Am I destined to die alone, surrounded by cats?

Before you know it you’re doing in Bridget Jones Diary territory and wolfing down Ben and Jerry’s.
Before you finish off another tub of ice cream, don’t overthink it. Give them a call and let them know you had a good time. Simple.

Salespeople face a similar challenge. What if you don’t get a response from your first contact, is that game over? According to Marketing Doughnut, there are some fascinating statistics on this:

  • 44% of salespeople give up after one attempt
  • 22% give up after two attempts;
  • 14% give up after three attempts;
  • 12% give up after four attempts.

So 92% of salespeople have given up after four attempts, even though it 80% of prospects only respond after this point. If you want to boost your sales, you’ll want to follow up at least five times to get the most from your prospecting and outperform your competition.

But if you don’t get a reply from your date, it’s probably not a good idea to keep messaging her. Then it’s time to take the hint and bust out the ice cream).

Rule #6 – Know what works for you (and what doesn’t)

So that cheesy opening line you stole from Anchorman is bombing, but the line from Hitch is getting smiles? Do that dress shirt and tailored suit get you more compliments than the punk t-shirt and torn jeans? Take stock of what’s working for you, then do more of it. Leave behind what doesn’t.

If you’re in sales, it’s even easier to make sure your campaign is performing at its best. While A/B split testing your last date would be tricky, modern sales tools allow you to see at a glance how your email is working. For example, with Reply you can see how your team is performing, what email templates are working the best, and what campaigns are generating the highest response rate. You can also easily track the metrics that matter, such as delivery, open, click, and reply rates, as well as stats on “Out of Office”, auto-responder, and bounced emails.

By examining these statistics, you can lock down your perfect message and optimize your campaigns for peak performance.

Rule #7 – Make sure you’ve got the full package

When you’re looking for Mr or Ms Right, there’s usually a list of things we find important. A warm personality. A sparkling smile. The ability to form coherent sentences. A Ferrari (is that really too much to ask for?). A lot of dating boils down to finding out whether or not they tick those important boxes.

If you’re in sales, you don’t just ‘sell’. You have a whole bunch of tasks tied up under the sales umbrella needing to be addressed. While some apps like to boast they do it all, the reality is you’re going to need more than one tool to do your job. While we like to think we tick a lot of boxes at Reply, we know we can’t do everything. For example, you can’t use us to boost your SEO or create landing pages.

The idea of one tool that does everything may be mythical, but thanks to integrations you can make sure that at least all your tools are talking correctly to each other. After identifying the kind of tools you need, look for ones with built-in integration. Apps like Zapier make this super easy, and they now have more than a thousand apps they can connect to perform tasks seamlessly.

Rule #8 – Don’t do all the talking

You’re sitting down with your date and everything is perfect. The setting is beautiful and they look fantastic. Then they open their mouth.

Two hours later, they still haven’t shut up. You know more about them than you ever wanted to, from where they went to school to how much money they made last year. And how many questions have they asked? Not one. You haven’t been able to get a word in. Ouch.

But how many times have we made the same mistake with our sales? Sometimes we need to give it a break and let them talk. If you’re emailing prospects that might seem tricky, but it’s still vital to make sure all communication is two way. How? For a start, make sure your message is about them, not you. Forget about how your company was formed in 1997 and you won an award in 2014 for best logo. How can you help your customer with their challenges and achieve their goals?

Additionally, don’t try and make the hard sell on the first email. Use it as an opportunity to open the lines of communication. Boomerang found that emails that asked 1-3 questions are 50% more likely to get a response than emails asking no questions. So ask them what challenges they’re facing. Ask them what they want from a service provider. You’ll set yourself apart from 99% of the other emails in their inbox.

Rule #9 – Dress to impress

When you’re heading out on a date, you don’t wear sweatpants and yesterday’s t-shirt. Not if you want to make a good impression anyway. People love to say don’t judge a book by its cover. The truth is we all judge based on appearances, even the best of us. The reason is simple; we can tell how much a person cares by how much effort they put in. If they look like they’ve just rolled out of bed, then how important is this date to them?

How much care are you putting into your sales campaign messages? Do they look like they’ve been carefully crafted? Or do they look like they were typed out in 5 minutes at 3 am? No matter how amazing your product or service is, if you haven’t taken the time to at least run a spell check over your email, why should I take the time to read it? Seriously. It costs nothing, and with free services like Grammarly you can make sure you’re making the right impression.

Whether you’re lucky in love or not, by following Reply dating rules you can make sure your next campaign charms your prospects and gets you a second date.

What about your dating rules?

Share your own tips and tricks that work for both business (especially if you’re in sales) and personal life and win one of $100-$400 prizes to cover your Valentine’s dinner or a bottle of wine if you’re a connoisseur!

Make a post in FB or Instagram within next 10 days describing your perfect rule for dating and sales with #ReplyDatingRules hashtag (2 posts per person max) and get one of our awesome prizes: $100-$125 Amazon gift cards and a free Reply account over $300 worth for sharing your wisdom!

P.S. Make sure you’re subscribed to our FB/IG channels =)
Results to be shared on Feb 20th.