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What is assignment prospecting?

Learn how to write prospecting emails that get opened, establish trust, and prompt the ideal buyers you're trying to reach to actually take action.

What is assignment prospecting? Blog Feature

Liz Moorehead

Editor-in-Chief, Speaker, Host of 'Content Lab' Podcast

April 15th, 2021 min read

I never thought I would be the person to say this, but I genuinely enjoy LinkedIn. Of course, don't take my word for it – I side-part my hair and wear skinny jeans, which is apparently a sign that I'm approaching ancient fossil-hood.

But there is one thing I cannot stand about the platform, and I'm not sure it's the platform's fault... 

Screen Shot 2021-04-15 at 8.21.51 AM copy 2

...every single day, I'm bombarded with impersonal, useless prospecting spam. Sales communications from (likely) well-meaning reps whom I've never met that are just absolutely awful.

Screen Shot 2021-04-15 at 8.21.51 AM copy

You have a feeling? What is this feeling based on? I'm sorry, have we met?

Screen Shot 2021-04-15 at 8.21.51 AM

On what planet am I ready to schedule a demo for something I've never heard of from a stranger who clearly doesn't know me? This is like saying "I love you!" or proposing on a first date.

So, inevitably, all of these ill-fated sales emails of these end up deleted... if I even end up reading them at all. For the most part, I leave them to rot in my inbox, unopened. Forever. Which is where your problem begins, as the sales pro, right?

3 problems with sales prospecting emails

Prospecting is the first stage of the sales process, wherein you identify "ideal buyers" or "potential clients/customers" and then reach out to them with the hopes that they'll want to talk to you about what it is that you do or sell.

Or, more simply, it's virtual cold calling with (hopefully) a little more refinement around who it is that you're reaching out to. 

Of course, the three most problematic outcomes from these efforts are:

  • Someone doesn't open your email.
  • If they do open your email, they don't understand the context or the "why."
  • Someone reads your email but still doesn't take action.

Why does this happen?

  • They don't open your email because your subject line sucks.
  • They don't understand your intent because you don't make it clear. 
  • They read your email but they aren't ready to take the action you want them to.

So, how do you fix this? How do you create prospecting emails people actually open, read, and take action on even if they haven't met you? You do it with something called assignment prospecting, the powerful cousin of assignment selling.

What is assignment prospecting?

A proven sales technique in which you send one-to-one sales emails that freely offer up genuinely helpful content (written, video, or audio) to potential buyers during the prospecting stage of the sales process. 

What does a great assignment prospecting email include? I'm so glad you asked...

  • A personalized subject line
  • A great first sentence that agrees with (or relates to) the subject line
  • A personalized one-to-one video message with an animated thumbnail
  • A strong closing with a clear call-to-action toward a piece of helpful, relevant content on our website (which was mentioned in our video)

Here's an example to show you what a great assignment prospecting email, from our recently released assignment prospecting course:

Screen Shot 2021-04-15 at 8.56.32 AM

Here's what's great about this email:

  • The subject line is personalized and makes me more likely to click with "(Video)" mentioned in it.
  • The video is clearly meant just for me and is not a one-to-many video that's supposed to seem personalized. 
  • Not only that, the first line (A) relates directly to the subject line, and (B) mentions that the video is only one minute long, making me way more likely to watch it.
  • Finally, there's a clear call-to-action to the educational resource he mentioned in the video that is genuinely relevant to me. 

It doesn't try too hard. It doesn't do throwaway pretending-to-know me lines like the one I received pushing for a demo. It doesn't force me to immediately talk to someone in sales or to go into demo-mode with a brand or product I am not familiar with... and on and on and on. 

In short, assignment prospecting emails stand out by being genuinely helpful and a communication that is much, much more likely to build trust with me (the recipient), which means I'm much, much more likely to take action. 

Ready to take your sales emails to the next level?

IMPACT Chief Learning Officer Chris Duprey has your back...

...with his brand new IMPACT+ course all about how to craft assignment prospecting emails that get opened, are understood, and prompt action... so you can close more deals faster. 

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