Therefore, I emailed a few potential suppliers - asking for recommendations on the above - and awaited replies (just like many of your potential customers would do, too).
Then I got this, which actually made me a bit giddy - quite simply, I thought it was a perfect response.
The response email
Aah, yet another advocate of Bullefproof coffee!
If you wish to stick as closely as possible to the extremely stringent
criteria of the Bulletproof regime, then you would need to go for our
Organic & Fairtade Colombian coffee.
This is a dual certified, 100% top quality arabica coffee, grown at high
altitude, and wet processed, from the Central/South American region.
However processes are slightly different here in the UK than in the States,
and 99% of ALL our coffees are wet processed anyway, with the exception of
only Brazilian and Mocha. We also only supply the highest quality arabica
beans, all grown at high altitude.
We also have, as a standard operational procedure, regular lab testing of
all our coffees to test for any moulds, toxins, mycotoxins, or residues of
any kind, and we can be fully confident in stating that there are never any
positive results for such issues.
The fact that all our coffees are also only freshly roasted to each
customer's order, and not sitting for long periods of time as roasted beans,
plays a huge part in the extreme freshness and quality of our coffees.
Therefore in theory you really could choose ANY of our coffees for your
Having stated that, please note that our Organic & Fairtrade Colombian, and
all our Origin coffees are roasted to a medium roast, making them suitable
for brewing in a drip filter or cafetiere only.
If you will be brewing through an electric espresso machine and you order
the Org / F/T Colombian, please ensure that you order the DARK ROASTED
version - this is listed under the Espresso Coffees section of our site.
Alternatively please make a coffee choice from our dedicated Espresso
Coffees section on our site at www.realcoffee.co.uk.
Please do not hesitate to get back to me if you have any further questions.
The Roast & Post Coffee Co"
Here's What I Loved About This Email
The General Tone
First off, the general tone of the email is perfect (I think anyway). It's friendly and pretty laid back, but with an air of authority that hints at deep knowledge and experience. 10 out of 10 here.
Trust And Confidence
Leading on from the above, the email filled me with confidence and I immediately trusted the business. I'd never heard of Real Coffee before I found them on Google, so I was glad that my mind was put at rest so quickly. I hadn't mentioned Bulletproof Coffee, but by instantly recognising that my enquiry was related to such, they showed that they know their industry and customer base.
The email also showed the level of expertise that the company have. The reasons I wanted such a specific coffee were exactly as the email described - mostly to do with myotoxins. By drawing attention to this area of concern, plus explaining the testing and roasting process they have, they again show that they really know their stuff and that they take it seriously.
Above And Beyond
Another thing that I love about this email is that I didn't ask for the vast majority of the information provided - all they really had to do was provide a link to a recommended coffee. Actually, one of their competitors replied with just that - a link to their website with a basic greeting. The fact that Real Coffee went into so much detail and provided so much help and assurance meant that no other supplier was getting a look in.
"To my mind, Real Coffee went above and beyond - this gave me great confidence in their product too."
Further Help If Needed
Finally, in case the email itself wasn't enough, Tabitha made it clear that she was available to answer any further questions I had. Okay, this is basic, although it just added to the overall tone of the email and the sense of trust in the product offered. Great stuff.
Although you can't tell from the text above, the response was delivered within (what I would call) a good time-frame. It wasn't super-quick, but it got to me in the same afternoon - as it wasn't really a time sensitive issue I don't think it mattered too much that it wasn't within the first hour. Plus, the content of the email more than made up for the fact that it wasn't the first response I received.
For more information on the importance of timing, please see this post.
What Can We Learn From This?
I think this this email can serve perfectly as an example of how we can respond to inbound leads. I've written a fair bit on this blog about how inbound leads are pretty 'unstable' - they need to be handled quickly, efficiently and we also need to bear in mind that half a dozen competitors will probably be dealing with the very same enquiry. Also, as with all leads, they're normally the first contact we have with the potential customer so the response has to do a great job in building trust.
To my mind, the email from Real Coffee dealt with all of the above and more. Here's what you can learn when it comes to responding effectively to new inbound leads by email:
- Think about the tone of your email. This email was friendly, but authoritative too - a great combination in my eyes
- Try to build trust and confidence. It will go a long way to helping a new lead decide to deal with you
- Show that you have expertise. Perhaps find a way explain the level of experience you have, although try not to overdo it. Reassuring rather than arrogant is what we are going for here
- Go above and beyond. Give more information and help than you are asked for - this goes a long, long way in terms of winning new customers
- Be available to help more if needed. It's reassuring for your leads to know that you're there if any further questions come up - it also helps to set a good overall tone
Note: this is obviously a B2C scenario. If you are dealing with a B2B lead (or a higher value product), I'd always say that it's best to take care of the above by phone. The same idea still applies though, it's just through a different medium.
Thanks for reading,
By Alan MacDougall
Got a nagging marketing question? Ask me here.
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Revenue Builder is a small business marketing strategy advice blog, written to help small business owners and startups maximise sales revenue.