by Brittany Ferrera, Customer Success & Marketing Manager at Communications Edge Inc

Standing Out from COVID-19 Noise

Your customers' inboxes are flooded. But this time everyone is blasting empathy and adding value ("making deposits first").

We have a problem.

Given the global crisis, messages are using the same words -- pushing the same opportunities and challenges relevant to coping with and overcoming the crisis.

According to Jeremy Donovan at SalesLoft...

"referencing 'covid' or 'coronavirus' in subject lines decreases reply rates by 40%."

Everyone is pushing faux (insincere) empathy. You aren't fooling anyone. Everyone assumes to know your problem -- and is offering to fix it. 

Beware: You are likely blending in with all the value-pushers.

Consider: Are any companies pushing empathy on you lately fooling you?

Probably not. And they could actually be hurting your sales efforts if you're the one trying them.

"Lame or inauthenic sales outreach damages your company brand and your personal reputation," says Michael Phelan, Founder of Go-to-Market Pros.

Example: WFH/work from home messages are pummeling our inboxes. Messages are using identical empathetic openings, as seen below and reported by SalesLoft. 

These patterns are making deleting/spam-binning your messages easier. Anything COVID-19-related is reaching saturation point.

Cold email empathy pattern:

[ first name ],

Hope you are remaining safe...
(choose one): in | during
(choose one): the | this
(choose one): current | new | weird | challenging
(choose one): environment | time

[ insert your same-old value prop / pitch ]

Source: SalesLoft

Follow-up empathy pattern:

[ first name ],

I know this is not the right time to pitch a product. Sales are going down gradually...

[ insert your unsolicited 'value' ]

The Answer is Right Under Your Nose

Most sellers (and nearly all marketers) believe sending educational content to prospects is an effective way to start conversations. We should make deposits first... help people solve a problem. Be of value to them.  

We want to believe this.

But even assuming if information we offer is (actually) useful the act of offering (without being asked to) will risks losing. 

Instead, helping the right customers feel an honestly uncontrollable urge to request help tends to start more conversations.

Because this leverages fundamental human behavior.

We value more what we ask for, less what is offered freely to us. Humanity has decades of research proving this fact. But don't look to science. Just consider your own situation.

The more we see people offering, the less we want what's being offered.

And the problem is, mentioning the current economic situation really is doing absolutely nothing to make the prospect go, "Wow, he/she gets it," because, let's face it, we're all living it, and we all know exactly what's going on.

Tammy Troutman, Senior Director at HotSchedules, advises,

"Everyone knows where we are in the current climate. Please don't mention it. Now is the time to understand... their specific crisis. Ask good questions, really listen then offer a solution if you have one."

Conditioned to Resist by Law

Consider dating: The more the man or woman you desire wants you... the less you desire them. The less the person who you desire wants you... the more you desire them.

It's a behavioral law.

Consider every conversation you've ever found yourself in -- where someone was offering knowledge as a "proof" to earn your attention and consideration; persuade you with evidence.

Our natural inclination is to resist. But the more we feel in control of our desires -- even if prompted -- the more value we assign.

If the other person holds back it creates an urge within us. An urge to ask for another encounter... or more information... or to take a next step.

If, in fact, it's the right thing to do. (we qualify ourselves)

Less is More

COVID-19 is only amplifying this fundamental behavioral law in sales and marketing.

Helping the customer feel an urge to ask for what they need (value) is a proven, everlasting concept which GOOD copywriters know how to apply.

Cold emails should be short anyway, right? Without extra information or words that you just don't need? 

Alex Muchaluv of ANBISYS (smartly) says,

"I don't even mention any 'situation' in my prospecting emails. It's understood times are tough but we have to carry on. I don't tend to include any extraneous info in my emails."

But faking empathy as a way in? Sorry, it's NOT helping you stand out, nor convince customers to take the next step.

In fact, it's likely spam filters are removing your message entirely.

Come and learn more about how to best go forward in our
online Academy!


About the Author

Brittany Ferrara gives our customers and internal team everything needed to stay focused, on-task, effective and ultimately successful. She gives us an organizational, marketing & customer support edge. Brittany brings seven years of customer service, administrative assisting and marketing experience to us. She is a successful entrepreneur, having operated her own successful venture, Pro-Assist, LLC for five years before joining our team.

Brittany Ferrara

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