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Episode 149: Email Outreach to Consulting Leads and Prospective Clients—with Deb Zahn

Deb Zahn: Hi, I want to welcome you to this week's episode of The Craft of Consulting podcast. So this episode is going to be another training. And this time I'm going to be talking about outreach emails. So these are the emails that you send to leads or to prospective clients as part of your overall business development strategy. And these can be extraordinarily powerful ways to get business.

I know that seems weird because Deb, it's email, it's boring. But let's face it, and we know this is true because it's true for us, email is still one of the primary communication tools that people use. I look at my emails every single day. I usually look at them multiple times a day and that's true of most folks I know.

That's why it's so important to have it as part of your marketing mix. But it's also really important to make sure that you do it skillfully so that ultimately you get the result you want. Because let's face it again, this is true for us, is our inboxes are absolutely inundated with email. So I have three inboxes, and they are just overflowing at all times because I get so much spam. I usually have to skim them and as I'm skimming them, I'm figuring out as I go along exactly what I'm going to open and what I'm not going to open. And then when I open things, I'm trying to make really fast decisions about whether or not it's worth my time to read it.

That's why it's so important to do it skillfully is because ultimately if you're going to go through the work of doing this, you want to make sure that people are actually seeing your emails, opening your emails, reading your emails, and acting upon your emails. Otherwise, this is just a big waste of time. So I'm going to talk about, in this particular episode, some stress strategies and techniques you can use to make this a more effective strategy for you, and to encourage you to do it.

But before I start, what I want you to do is if you've ever gotten an outreach email…and I know I've gotten dozens and dozens of outreach emails in my career, and it's either someone looking for a job or exploring an opportunity, or it's for consulting work. And I've seen good, I've seen bad and I've seen everything in between. And I know that even though I really like helping people…and I really do like helping people, I don't open all of them. I don't read all of them, and I don't act upon all of them. And it's usually because of how they show up in my inbox and how they're actually put together. And it's tough because sometimes it's not about the person. Even if I know the person or I know the person by reputation, it's often just me having to prioritize things in my day. And if that's not going to rise to the top of my priority list, then I'm not going to really pay attention to it and do it.

This is why it is important for you to think about what are the ones you opened and what are the ones you read and acted upon? And then what are the ones you didn't? And keep that in mind as we go along because I think what you'll do is you'll recognize some of the dos and don'ts that I'm talking about.

And you'll have to forgive me because I got some wild kitties behind me and I've asked them to stop and for some reason they won't. I don't understand why. So just ignore the noise behind me.

But anyway, so let's jump back into it. The first thing that you need to consider is to really be clear about what your goal is. And this is where interestingly I've seen a lot of people get tripped up. So I want to be really clear about it. Your goal is to get a meeting. Your goal is not to close a deal. And that might seem really obvious. It isn't really obvious because this is where people make the most mistakes, is they put everything imaginable into an email as if the goal of that email is to convince and persuade someone to hire them as opposed to putting just enough information and the right information in an email so that people say yes to meeting with you because ultimately you are going to have a much higher chance, like a crazy higher chance of actually getting business if you are actually talking to someone as opposed to trying to close a deal in an email, which I've never done and I've never seen be tremendously successful.

You’ve got to be clear about what that goal is, and you got to ask yourself as you're going through when you're constructing these: am I increasing the likelihood that I get a meeting? And if you think back to the ones that you didn't respond to or that you didn't open, and then you're going to know, "Oh yeah, this is actually probably not helping me get a meeting." And I'm going to give some more specifics about that as we go along. So that's the first thing is to be really clear about the goal.

The next thing you want to do is you want to answer another why question. So why is it that right now you're sending outreach emails? Is it because you are a new consultant? Or you're heading into consulting, and you need to start getting business. And this is going to be your first opportunity to reach out to your network or potentially to others to try and get business? Or that you look forward down your pipeline and you see six, seven months from now, you’ve got some gaps, and you want to do outreach and you're generally going to reach out to people and let them know that you're available and what you might be able to do to help them. Or it could be that you're sending outreach emails because there's a very specific opportunity or very significant shift that's happening in a market or a threat that's coming down, but it's much more specific. And you will want to be able to talk about that to entice people to meet with you so you could potentially talk to them about being able to help them.

So you have to know that going in because ultimately that's going to dictate a lot of what your content is. But the other thing it dictates is the next question you have to answer, which is the who? So if it's general, well, then you might actually send it out to everybody you know and that's perfectly fine because you're just letting them know. But if it's specific, then you want to segment essentially who you're sending this out to because what you don't want to do is put something in someone's inbox that's not relevant to them and is going to feel spammy to them because then the next time you send an email out, they're going to be much less likely to pay attention to it or they're going to be irritated, etc. Or it's not going to honor the relationship because you respect the fact that like you, their inbox is probably feeling burdensome to them right now. So you want to be really clear who should be getting these emails and that's based on you answering why are you sending these out right now.

If you know those two things, you're already ahead of the game. You're already increasing the likelihood that folks are actually going to open these and pay attention to them.

But the next thing you need to pay attention to is the subject line. And it's funny, that's usually something I think that people don't really think about and yet, and we all do this. Most open or no open decisions, that's made with the subject line. I have my email where I can actually see a little preview. So maybe you have a second chance to get them to care enough to open it.

But usually the headline is the first, or the subject line, is the first gate that you have to pass through. And if you don't pass through it, then they're not reading anything that you're doing. And I slipped up and I called it a headline because that's basically what you want to think of it as is you want to think about it as the headline that is going to make them say, "Yes, I absolutely want to open this," or, "I'm intrigued. Yeah, I actually do want to open this." And there are lots of different ways to do this, but the key really is to make sure that it's not about you and it's not about anything that looks spammy.

So it's not about you, what I mean by that is ultimately if you're trying to get business and this is true in any type of outreach you're doing, they care about them and they care about the outcomes that they want. They may like you, they may know you by reputation and respect you, but ultimately for most people, unless you have a really close connection with them, you want to make sure that your subject line is something specific to them. For example, a mistake that I see a lot of new consultants make is they will, in the subject line, just say new consultant or new two consulting, something like that. And the problem is, if that's going out to an audience that you don't have a close connection with, then they're not necessarily going to think to open it unless they already have decided that they're looking to hire a consultant.

And the thing is, is that a lot of folks that you will get work from won't have already decided that they want a consultant. They may recognize that they have a problem. They might have a true demand where they want help solving something, but they haven't necessarily gotten to the point of saying yes and we will go find a consultant to do this. You're automatically limiting your opportunities if you're only going to put a subject line that is relevant to people who have consciously made the decision to hire a consultant. You also close off opportunities because if you end up meeting with someone, they might not need you, but they might know people that actually could potentially hire you and they're going to refer you. You don't want to close off any avenues for potential business because your subject line is only relevant to some people. And also, if you just say new consultant, then it's all about you.

Now, the only place that I would say it's OK to do it is if you have a really close connection with someone. So for example, if it's somebody who's in your network and they know you've been thinking about consulting, maybe they got...They were someone you went to for advice, in which case, yeah, I think you could do that because they're going to open it because of their connection with you. And in which case I would probably do something that's attention-grabbing, like leap taken, ready to consult. Because again, it's cute, it's clever, it doesn't seem spammy and they're going to ultimately open it because it's you. But otherwise I would avoid it and I would be looking at subject lines that are much more aligned with what it is that the folks you want to open it care about.

Now, I'm going to get into what some of that is. But two things you absolutely want to avoid is, you don't want to be too clever. And the reason for that is spam is very clever. It's annoyingly clever. I have so many clever subject lines in my email right now. I don't know what to do with them. Oh, wait, I do know what to do with them. I don't open them. So too clever starts to look like spam. And anything that's manipulative like it feels like click bait also feels like spam. And so I would just avoid those. That doesn't mean that you might not put a provocative subject line or something like that, but it's got to fit within the tone that you have for your business, which ultimately matches whatever your brand is or the tone that is considered within the realm of your market.

Now, again, if your market is tongue in cheek and it's fun and it's fabulous, yeah, you can get a little more wacky with it. If it's not, then you consider what your subject line is relative to that. And also who you're ultimately trying to get business from because they might have a different feel in flavor than the overall market itself. But avoid anything that looks like the spam that is currently in your email box.

Now, if you have something valuable for them, so there's an opportunity, or a shift in the market, or a threat, or there's some recent outcome that you helped somebody else achieve, or you have something like a new report or something like that that is free to them, it's valuable to them, then that's what I would actually make the subject line about because then you've segmented them, you know it's something that they care about, and it's very specific to what that thing is. Now, that doesn't mean that you're not going to ask them for a meaning, but that's the thing that's going to entice them to actually open it.

Now, if you don't have that, if you don't have something that you can easily say, "Have a new report released, love to talk to you about it," then you have to put something a little more general. This is where it gets a little bit trickier because if it's someone that you know, or they like you, or they know you well by reputation, then you might just put, and I've actually done this a whole bunch with a lot of success, willing to talk with a question mark. And that's the subject line. And it works if I already have a connection because again, they're like really going to open the email because we have a connection and I'm asking for something.

So it's really about the relationship and less about what the subject line is. But I like it because it's upfront. It's not manipulative. It doesn't bury the lead. They know exactly that I'm trying to talk to them. But if you don't know them well at all, the reason that could backfire is that you're asking them to say yes to something before you're actually giving them something, before you're actually giving them anything of value. In which case I would try and think of something that is relevant in your market, relevant to the work that you do and the outcomes that you help achieve, and put that in a subject line, particularly if you know that that's something that they care about or they should be paying attention to. And that's where you got to get creative about what matters.

For example, at a point in my market, there was a significant shift in the way that the folks that I work with got paid. My subject line would have been about new developments in value-based payment. And then I would put that I’d would love to talk because again, I want to make sure that they know that I'm actually asking for a meeting. You don't have to add the “would love to talk.” Again, I only did that with people that knew me or knew me by reputation. Otherwise, you can just put the first part.

But that's how to approach a subject line is, think of what's that headline that's going to make them want to open that email that's relevant to them, but not spammy, not manipulative and will actually increase the likelihood. And truthfully, I will change the subject line depending on who I'm sending it to. And again, depending on the connection I have with them, depending on what I think they would care about. So for example, if they're in a different sector that thing I put in the subject line about, the new ways that they're getting paid, I might change that because they're going to care about different things. One sector might think that it's a great thing. Another sector might perceive it as a threat. I might switch up a little bit what's in my subject line to reflect that. But again, that's the place where you want to think about how am, I going to get folks to open this and to do it respectfully in a way that actually honors the relationship.

If you do that, you got a fabulous subject line and you think they're going to open it because they see the subject line, you now want to pay attention to the body of the email, what actually goes in the email. And my singular advice, so the thing I would put on a mug in a sweatshirt and a t-shirt would be, say less and direct more.

I'm going to break that down a little bit because that's such an important concept. But the say less is about all the really, really super long emails we get. And this happens with networking emails. Now, sometimes it's because they do think that they're needing to close the deal in an email, but otherwise, they just tend to put way too much information in it. That isn't really the thing that I need to hear to be able say yes to a meeting. So the key is, it should not be very long. It's not where you need to say everything to convince him to hire you again. You're trying to get a meeting. All roads should lead to that, and it should be a pleasure to look at and a pleasure to read.

If you're saying less, you're going to have a lot more white space. Break up your paragraphs a little bit. With dense paragraphs, I got too much information flowing in my head. Don't make me go through that. I want to see it broken up a little bit. It should fit on one page if they printed it. And I typically, my rule is, it should be no more than two thirds of a page if I printed it. I want to see a lot of white space because to me that feels respectful because they know I'm busy and they know I probably have a lot going on. And I have gotten networking emails. I kid you not that if I printed them, they would be three or four pages long. And if you want to meet with me, don't give me War and Peace to get me to meet with you. I want more like a haiku or a little bit longer than that. But I want something relatively short that gets to the point now I know, oh yeah, this is a good reasoning and yeah, I want to meet with this person.

The other thing that is in the “make it easy” category that are just principles to keep in mind as you go along is if you have something to share, give me a link. I don't want an attachment. And attachment is a bunch of extra steps I have to take to open the attachment. And truthfully, most people aren't going to do it. Share a link, share something I can just click on. And if you want to show me something, boom, I can see it and it's really easy.

That's the concept of reducing or eliminating friction. Friction are those things that get in the way and prevent or impede someone from taking the action that you want them to take. The more friction, the less likely they're going to do the thing you want them to do. Any friction you can get rid of is great. And that's why if you share anything, make sure that you have a link and it works, check it. I've actually gotten links that didn't work. And that actually made me want to meet with them less. So that's what I would say. That's the general things to think about. Lots of white space. Make it easy. Make it something that isn't too long so that I'm actually more likely to consume it.

Then what you have to do is you actually have to craft essentially a story that is going to lead the person to the conclusion that they should meet with you. And you should think about it almost as if that's this narrative arc that you're taking people on that leads them to the obvious conclusion.

Now, I'm going to switch metaphors for a second because I grow food and I cook food and I love food. I'm going to use a food analogy. So for all the foodies out there, this one's for you, is you want to think of your email in these terms. You want to whet their appetite about you and your potential value to them. Emphasis on that last piece because that's ultimately what they're going to care about is how you could be valuable to them.

You want to increase their hunger to know more. So that's why you don't want to share everything because if you share everything, why do they need to meet with you? So what you want to do is, think about being at a store and getting free samples. I love free samples. It's so exciting. And my mom loves them even more. She embarrassingly will go back from multiple ones. But for normal people, you give them a little taste and then they decide, do I want to take that next step? And actually in a store, it's by and with you, it would be to meet with you.

So you want to give them a taste so that they're hungry to know more. And then you want to offer them even more of a taste if they talk to you. So we're going to talk about ways that would give them that desire to actually want to talk with you. And then the last piece and this goes back to the make it easy part, which is you want to make it super easy for them to make reservations on the spot. So you've wetted their appetite. They're hungry to know more. You basically say, "If you want a taste, then reach out to me. And boom, here's how you do it. It's super easy."

And you only want to say things to them that are relevant. So those things that they really do crave to eat. Now, it is possible that you may not know exactly what all those things are, but they should be things that matter in their market and matter to the type of company they are and matter to the type of ideal client that you have. And it always should be directed towards them and not about you. I've gotten those networking emails where people start to tell me what they're passionate about and the type of work they want to do. And basically, I'm reading their wish list. And what I care about is I care about my wish list. So that's what you want to focus on in these emails. It's value for them. It's not, "Oh my gosh, how fabulous you are." And it's not everything you've ever done, and it's not your resume and it's not even pieces of your resume.

So that's how you want to approach it. And you want to keep your brief opening, and I'm going to keep emphasizing the word brief. You want to keep it really short. And I would encourage at this stage of the game to avoid too oftenly used, if that's the right way to say it phrases like “I hope this email finds you well” because you know what, we're all in a pandemic. I can pretty much assure you for a lot of people that email is not finding them well. Everybody keeps making jokes about this on social media. So I would just avoid things like that. And again, especially these days.

But if you know the person and there's some special connection you have, it's OK to evoke that as long as it's not manipulative. So it's not like, hey, remember the time I went to your kid's soccer game? Anywho, I want to meet with you. That's bad. That's not what you want to do because that is straight up manipulative. And that doesn't leave a good taste in people's mouths to go back to the food analogy. But if they got a new job or they just accomplished something or their company or organization just hit a milestone, or there's something going on, it's OK to reference that at the beginning because that establishes that personal connection you have, or even that knowledge you have about what's going on.

And if you don't really know that because you don't have a really close connection. I actually been saying things like, I hope you're doing well, or as well as can be expected these days. And actually I've gotten very good responses from that because I'm acknowledging reality. And I'm also not going deep into it and telling them about how stressed out I've been or this has happened or that has happened. But the opening really short. Should be really one or two sentences. And I wouldn't make it any longer than that because what you really want to do is you want to get to the appetite stimulate part. So this is where you want to say things that they're likely going to care about.

I'm going to give some examples of those and you have to the one that's right for your market and ultimately who you're trying to get business from. But it might say something like, given the shifts in X market, I've been helping companies achieve these things. And this is where you want to focus on some of the outcomes that you've been working on helping folks achieve or you've actually achieved. This is where I would not just focus on what the actual work is. And the example I like to use and I've used before is, I wouldn't necessarily just say, "In this volatile time, I've been helping X organizations do strategic planning." That's blah, boring, and it really doesn't tell them anything.

I will focus on what the outcomes of strategic planning is, which was really charting a course that enables them to succeed no matter what happens and including in a volatile time. And I'm going to focus on those types of things that I know matter to them. So if the way that they're being paid, if it's existential issue because there's a whole bunch of mergers or acquisitions happening in market, I'm going to focus it very much on what that thing is that I think that they will care about or that they should care about.

If I am giving them something of value, I might say, "I just completed a white paper on X that I thought you would find very helpful," or "A new report on X that I think has some information that's relevant to what you're working on." Something that ties it to their specific work. And this is, again, where outreach emails…you don't want them to necessarily be generic that they cover everybody. If you've segmented market, you're going to say things that are specific to that person or that group of people that you're talking to.

The white paper is not relevant to somebody else in my market. So they don't get that email. But I'm going to reference that and then I'm going to have a link to it. Or if you're brand new and you need to get business, you might say, "As you may know, I recently took the leap into consultant, and I'm looking to work with organizations to..." And then you have bullet points on the outcomes you want to help them achieve.

Now, this is where you break the rule a little bit about not talking about yourself because you do need to tell them you're a consultant if the last thing they heard about you is that you weren't, but you want to as quickly as possible leap to something about them. And that thing about them are the outcomes that you can help achieve. And again, you focus on not just the thing you do, but the thing you actually achieved. And the way I like to think about those bullet points is that you should be able to literally copy and paste them and put them into a contract. So you want it in that language where you would say in a contract, "I will help you achieve these things." And so that's how you want to write about it. And that's the type of stuff that tends to get their attention.

The other thing I would say is, after you say that, so that's stimulated their appetite, and it's gotten them a little hungry, you don't want to then bury your lead, which is that you want to meet. So you don't necessarily want to wait all the way to the end to say, "Hey, I want to meet with you." So you might put something in that says, "Would you be interested in talking more about this?" Something very clear like that. Or if it is that you gave them something very valuable, you could say, "I'd love to share some of what I've been seeing in the market," or "Share some of the critical steps that actually got us to these outcomes." That then creates even more hunger for them to talk to you because it's not just, oh, you just pointed to something and say, I got someone else, but now you're going to share some insider tips. You can't share anything is confidential, but you can pull up things that are very helpful.

And one example I was thinking is a lot of my consulting clients right now and a lot of other...They're just having a hard time hiring. It's hard to retain, and it's hard to hire. It's the Rreat resignation. And so if I were an HR consultant or something related to that, our employee engagement, whatever it is, I might say that “I'd love to share a couple of the strategies that we've seen that have been effective even now.” And that's going to get them interested in having a conversation with you. And then when you talk to them, you will actually give them some value if they do meet with you. Or you might say something like, "If you're interested, I'd love to share some of these strategies that I've seen work before." So that's like the HR example where, again, you're telling them, "I'm going to give you a taste of some of the value that I can provide if you hire me."

And that's really the next piece of that email. And again, now you've gotten them really hungry. So even better, if you have a link to something that can give them immediate value or sparks their desire for reciprocity, so you just gave them something valuable, now, they want to give something back, and that thing that they can give back is to actually meet with you, then you might also share that and give them, again, a link to it. So if it's a tip sheet or if it's a checklist or an article or report or something that is going to be of value to them in some way, then it's worth actually attaching or including a link to that. Again, no attachments, but including a link to it. And that's another way to whet their appetite because you're giving them something of value immediately.

So now, you've got their appetite wetted. They're hungry to talk to you. They know that they're going to get a taste of even more value if they actually talk to you. So this is where we go back to the no friction principle. This is where you want to eliminate any friction for them being able to schedule a meeting with you. So you want to actually make that call to action. And the call to action is meeting with you. Super clear. Don't be coy, don't couch it in other terms. Essentially just say you want to schedule a meeting with them, and only have one call to action. Now, it's OK if earlier in the email you included a link to something that you did or that might be valuable to them. But I have actually gotten emails where there were four different things they wanted me to do.

So what did they want me to do? They wanted me to check something out. They wanted me to go to their website. They wanted me to follow them on LinkedIn. They wanted me to sign up for their email. So it might be five...Oh, and they wanted to meet with me. And I had attachments and links and everything like that. And the problem is, is if you include more than one call to action, you could produce two results. One result you could produce is that they will choose which one they want to do. And it may not be the one you most want them to do because what you most want them to do is actually meet with you. Or is just too much. And now I'm not going to do any of them. Now, they're not going to do any of them because now you've overwhelmed them a little bit. Because remember, every time they have to make a choice, they're using their executive function and they use that a lot. So don't make them use it anymore. Make it really obvious what you want them to do.

Again, you want to make it easy for them to do it. So if you give them something valuable, put that earlier in the email, but the only link they should see when you're asking for a meeting is a link to schedule with you. And it really should be a link that lets them book a meeting with you on the spot. So if you've not signed up with an electronic scheduling system yet, I would 100% convince you to do that. My clients have told me they love this when I send them an email because the back and forth, you've heard me say this on other podcast, the whole back and forth, "Oh, can you do Tuesday at four?" "Oh, OK. No. Well, how about Wednesday?" It drives people crazy. We hate it. And guess what? They hate it too. And you're going to have what's called lost to follow up. You're going to have a number of people who just never schedule a meeting with you because they get tired of it or they get busy and now they're not answering anymore.

So you want to make it as easy as possible. And usually what I will say is I did have someone ask me once like, "Am I making them do extra work by making them a schedule with me?" Like if you go into a grocery store and there's the self-checkout lane, and it seems like they're helping you, but really what they're doing is they're not hiring somebody and they're making you do the work for free, and it never works and all of that.

So somebody did ask me, "Am I creating a burden for them?" And again, my experience has been no, pretty much everybody tells me they like it. But I will usually say something like, "You can use this link to find a time that works best for you." I'm being respectful to them, I'm making it about them, and I'm making it easy for them to do it. And truthfully, if they have a scheduler, they're going to send it to their scheduler who's going to find a time. Or they're going to click on it and say, "Oh yeah, boom, that works for me." And now you've got something that's actually on the books.

Now, if you know that they're super busy, another thing that I like to do is I will actually indicate that it's a 30-minute meeting. It can be really hard for folks to find an hour out of their time, but for some reason, when people say meeting, they automatically default to, it's an hour. It just happens in our head. I don't know why. I was actually working with a client once where I suggested they changed because everybody was too busy. And I suggested they changed their meetings to 45 minutes and then they would get back several hours out of their day and they said, "But that's arbitrary." And I said, "60 minutes is arbitrary. An hour is arbitrary." And so we, for some reason, get stuck on that hours of meetings.

So I like to say it's 30 minutes because if I know they're super busy and that I'm going to increase the chance of getting a meeting if I shorten it, then it's worth it for me to do it. And I will do that one of two ways. I will either say it like, "You can use this link to find 30 minutes that works best for you," or in the actual link itself, it says it's a 30-minute meeting. Now, I don't do that with everybody because sometimes it's really hard to have a good discovery call in 30 minutes. But if I know they're swamped and I know that their time is of premium, I will absolutely do that.

So overall, what you really want is when people see your email and it pops up in their inbox, you want them to basically go through this thought and feeling process, "Oh, this looks worth opening." "Oh, that's interesting," or, "That sounds helpful. Let's do this." And so if you look at whatever it is you crafted, ask yourself if you were on the receiving end of that, is that the response that you would have? And when you think about some of the emails that you've gotten, the outreach emails you've gotten before, does it actually match that so that this would be what you would go through? And if it isn't, change it. If you're not sure, check with some folks in your market, share it with somebody and say, "What do you think about this? And would you open this? If you saw this subject line, how would you tweak this so that you would really have a desire to meet with me and then tweak it based on that, it's always great to get some market intelligence on this."

And then you experiment. So if you don't get many or any replies, then start to play with your subject line. You might even test a few different subject lines and see which ones get opened more. You might tweak your email a little bit and look it and say, "Ah, it's long," or, "I really did bury my lead and they don't even know I'm trying to meet with them until they get down to the third or fourth paragraph." So you might just switch things up, get some feedback in your market until you get one that works. And then of course, you adjust it for whoever you're sending it to and what the purpose that you're sending it to them for it is.

And I would also say don't be afraid to send out one or two nudge emails. They might see it in their inbox and go, "Oh, I totally want to open that later." And then later means they've gotten 300 emails on top of it. So it's OK to send a nudge. You don't want to be stalking them, but nudging is OK. In which case you might start off and say, "Hey, in case you didn't see this," and then you can go back in into the body of your text.

Now, I have told people before if you use an email system, you can tell whether or not people opened it and if they didn't open it, you could send it again. There are apparently ways that you can set that up in Gmail and Outlook that will get you close to being able to tell if somebody actually opened it. And it's worth looking at some of those things to see if that's possible because then you can just resend it to anybody who didn't open it.

So those are some of the technology things that you might look into to see if there's a way for you to be able to do it. If it is a really important email for me, and I know that there is something that I could really do to help them achieve something that is important to them and I want to make sure that they see this, then I actually will do it out of my email system because that's going to tell me exactly if they opened it or not. And if they didn't open it, I can click one or two buttons and it resends it to them. That can get cumbersome if you're doing a whole bunch of them, but for really important ones that might be worth it if the options that are available through email systems don't work for you.

So that's generally what I wanted to say in this training. I really do encourage folks to use outreach emails as part of the way that you're doing outreach. They really can be powerful and you're going to get better at doing them over time because you're going to see what works and what doesn't. When you get meetings with people, you're also going to see what resonates with them. So what are some of the things that they're talking about that they care about? And then the next time you're sending out to folks who are similar and you want to do similar work for, you're going to be able to make adjustments based on things that you're hearing that people are talking about.

And even some of the seasonal things that go on. So for example, I do strategic planning, and I've had a ton of people reach out to me recently asking me to do strategic planning. Now, because I'm well-established in my market, people are reaching out to me, but I also tend to know what people's budget cycles are. I know in my sector when they have to do their strategic planning because they're under some regulations. And so if I'm doing outreach because I want to be able to do that type of work for people, then I'm also going to adjust it based on whatever that seasonality is or whatever I know that's actually important and relevant to them. Or if two or three people start reaching out to me for the same thing I might say, "Oh, wait a minute. This seems to be something that there's a demand for." If that doesn't fill up my pipeline, maybe I'm going to reach out and do some more.

So this is where you want to be as strategic as possible. You want to be responsive to what you're seeing in your market. Proactive whenever you can be proactive. But definitely use this. You're going to get better over time. People are not going to see it as a burden as long as you are respectful, it's not spammy. And this is going to be one of the ways that ultimately, you're going to get clients.

Thanks so much for listening to this episode of the Craft of Consulting Podcast. I want to ask you to do actually three things. If you enjoyed this episode or if you've enjoyed any of my other ones, hit subscribe. I got a lot of other great guests that are coming up and a lot of other great content and I don't want you to miss anything. But the other two things that I'm going to ask you to do is, one is, if you have any comments, so if you have any suggestions or any kind of feedback that will help make this podcast more helpful to more listeners, please include those.

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