Written by Jeff Hoffman
As a rule, salespeople should never call or email outside normal business hours -- before 8:00 a.m. or after 6:00 p.m.. You’ll read many articles recommending salespeople call after hours to get past assistants or front desks -- but I wouldn’t recommend it. Why?
Well, the only time you should reach out to a prospect is when you assume they’re also working. When sending emails over the weekend, it’s likely you’re the only one on the job. To your prospect, weekend correspondence looks like you can’t manage your time efficiently or, worse, you’re desperate.
Of course, there are circumstances when a weekend email might be appropriate. Luckily, I’m sharing three emails you should never send over the weekend and two that are O.K..
If you take one thing away from this piece, remember a busy and efficient sales rep isn’t spending weekends calling and emailing prospects. They’re enjoying their time off, because they kicked ass all week. Take a look at these email do’s and don’ts, and always send the right message.
3 Emails to Never Send Over the Weekend
1. Question or exploratory emails
Never send an email asking a question or attempting to explore a new topic over the weekend. You’re likely unsure whether your prospect will or can answer your question outside the office, so it’s best saved for regular hours when they have access to the information and people they need for a timely response.
Questions like, “I wanted to check the status of our contract in procurement,” or “Were you able to check with accounting on the status of your budget?” might seem easy to fire off over the weekend, but your prospect won’t be able to answer until Monday.
So, avoid the Monday morning slog through countless weekend emails and slide into their inbox with a fresh message they can answer immediately.
2. Opportunity advancement emails
Don’t attempt to advance an opportunity over the weekend. If you send an email to a prospect who’s skeptical of doing business with you, you’ve just handed them an easy way out.
Because your emails are not a priority for them, they’ll likely wait to respond. And, when you check in a few days later, you’ll probably hear a line explaining, “I don’t check email over the weekend.”
You want to encourage every prospect to answer your questions immediately after you ask them. By sending an advancement email over the weekend, you pollute the close by giving prospects too many excuses not to return your correspondence.
Prospect’s generally need approval from management, accounting, or legal to move deals forward. Don’t ask for something your prospect can’t give you over the weekend. You’ll dilute your ask and risk losing steam on your deal.
3. Prospecting emails
Email open rates and click-through rates on the weekend are notoriously low. This means most companies aren’t sending emails on Saturday and Sunday, leaving your prospect’s inboxes gloriously uncluttered.
It seems like the perfect time to send a message, right? Wrong. The only thing a lead or prospect will think when they see your email arrive in their inbox at 10:30 a.m.
Sunday morning is that you’re not successful enough to enjoy your weekend free of work. And why would they want to work with an ineffectual rep?
You also risk them thinking your email was sent by mistake, as part of a mail merge or email campaign, which removes their obligation to respond.
2 Emails It’s O.K. to Send Over the Weekend
1. Organic or inspirational emails
If you come across something over the weekend your prospect might find interesting or thoughtful, by all means, send it.
For example, let’s say your prospect is leaving on a trip to Iceland next week and you happen to watch a documentary on Icelandic Sheepdogs on Saturday night. It would be perfectly fine for you to send a note letting them know you thought of them -- and that they’d better take a photo of any sheepdogs they meet on their trip.
This genuine thoughtfulness translates well in a weekend email. It’s topical, not trying to move the deal forward, and friendly.
2. Preparation emails
If you have a customer-facing project or presentation due Monday and your performance is in jeopardy if you don’t get an answer to an important question over the weekend, send an email.
Apologize and own up to your mistakes by saying, “When we spoke on Wednesday, I made a mistake. If you get this email over the weekend, could you please share the updated user count with me? Thanks.”
Be humble, apologetic, and never demanding. It’s not their fault you made a mistake. All you can do now is send an email and hope they read it before Monday rolls around.
Don’t confuse persistence with self-confidence. Self-confidence drives sales behavior. But when you’re persistent without confidence, you’re annoying. When you have confidence, you can be persistent without pestering.
Before you send an email over the weekend, make sure it sets a confident, helpful tone. Then -- and only then -- press send.
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