Tue 12 Sep 2006
I get a lot of prospects emailing me each day. I like it, of course, but it's very time consuming to respond to each one. I'm reluctant to send an automated message. What should I do?”
Thanks for the question, Conner. You definitely don't want to miss the opportunity to sell to each prospect. But don't disregard automated messages completely. I think they have value in two scenarios: if you are a one-person-show and you're on vacation for a week, they can let your prospects know that they have to wait. (You need a break, too!). If you're getting a serious backlog each day, consider an automated message that says “We will respond to your message, however, due to the volume of emails we receive it could take up to 24-hours.” Include a link to your website, of course. Also, consider not responding to emails during business hours. If you do a lot of face-to-face interactions, those emails can keep you from a critical part of your business. Jumping back and forth between the two can actually make both very time consuming. You might save time by letting your emails build up and responding after you close up shop for the day. Lastly, determine if you're answering the same questions over and over. We easily forget but that's the function of the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section on a website. If people are still asking you questions and you are unable to post your answers on the web, create small snippets of well-written responses and cut and paste them into each email. Use Word's Office Clipboard for this.
Good luck! I'm glad to hear you've gotten so much business.
If you have questions you'd like me to answer, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.