Harrison Rose

Articles on sales, biz dev & startups

The Yes/No Formula - Improving your reply rates.

When chatting to other startups doing outbound sales, one question is always asked, “How can we improve our outreach templates?”. Or, “We’re not receiving enough interested replies; what can we do?”. It’s a problem we’ve all faced; so what do you do about it?

In my experience, if you’ve got your ideal customer profile nailed down, following the “Yes/No Forumla” will guarantee you a minimum 30% response rate on your outreach.

Ask yourself this question

When drafting your outreach template, ask yourself one question;

Can my prospect reply with a “Yes” or “No” to this email?

Of course, sometimes things are more complicated. Perhaps that “yes” becomes a “#1”, or a "no" becomes a “Tuesday”. But the sentiment remains.

Does your question meet the following criteria;

  1. Is it accessible/readable in the email body?
  2. Does the customer know the answer without much thought?
  3. Can they reply to in 1-3 words?

If your answer is yes to the 3 points above, you’re subscribing to the “yes/no formula”. If you’re still receiving low replies, try tweaking your question/copy. If you're having further difficulty, you may be contacting the wrong prospects!

What are we trying to achieve?

The sole purpose of the initial email is to get the prospect to engage. This is the biggest hurdle in cold outreach, and once engaged in conversion the likelihood of conversion increases dramatically. Without conversation establishing product-fit is impossible!

In making this initial engagement as simple and easy as a “Yes” or “No”. Your increasing the chances in that initial conversation taking place. Thus, increasing your response rates.

Picking the right question

You must be asking a question that is valuable, and actionable. To decide what this question is, consider the following;

What is the single most valuable thing I want to learn from a prospect?

Once you’ve established what that information is, you have the basis for your question. Their answer, whether that’s a “Yes”, “No”, “Chuck Norris” or otherwise must allow you to move forward with your sales cycle.

A working example

When outreaching about our mobile analytics at Paddle we ask as a part of the initial email:

“Are you doing any analytics in APPNAME currently? eg. custom events in-app”.

  • The customer knows the answer to this question without thinking.
  • The answer is a “Yes” or “No”
  • An example is provided for clarity.

The example is often tweaked, but the answer is always an incredibly valuable piece of information to us, as it’s the basis of how this sale can move forward.

  • If “No” why not? Can we solve that hurdle?
  • If “Yes”, who are they using? Is a swap to our service plausible? If not what features are they providing that we should be. etc.

Both answers are valuable and actionable, but most importantly fit the formula’s requirements.

We see a very standard 70% OR, and 30% RR on this email across 1000+ sent.

What methods do you use?

Are you using a similar formula to generate replies on outreach? Let me know what tips & tricks you're using, or your experience with the above! Drop me a note via twitter or email.