LeadSeek Blog

Avoiding Common Sales Communication Missteps

Navigating a sales conversation can be tricky.  You and your prospect may have different or even conflicting goals or expectations. You may have the best intentions for your prospect, but often their instinct is to be skeptical, and your communications may not be straightforward.  Wouldn’t it be nice if we could avoid the ambiguity and stop miscommunications from slowing down the sales cycle?  Here are a few ways to start moving in that direction.

1. Mistaking the correct contact

First, make sure you’re speaking with the right person.  This can be tricky, but it’s essential.  The person you’re speaking with may be enthusiastic about your company, and that’s great, but that doesn’t mean they’re influential or that they’ll be your advocate with others in their organization.  If you get push-back from your main contact on things like extending the purchase timeline, or they mention having to get the approval of people you’re not in contact with, consider leveraging your existing relationship to get the necessary people involved directly in your conversation.  Things will move along much faster if you’re speaking directly to the people who make the decision and sign the check.

2. Relying only on email

Email is an extremely effective tool, but like any tool it is only suited for certain parts of the process. Statistically, email is the most effective way to begin a conversation with a prospect, or rejuvenate a conversation that may have gone stale. The mistake some sales reps make, however, is the reluctance to step away from email because of the initial success they have experienced with email in a prospect relationship. At some point, you’re going to have to pick up the phone and talk with the prospect directly. Begin with email in order to introduce yourself and gauge interest, but once you have started that conversation, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone.

3. Letting the Prospect Dictate Too Much

While you should always make sure you’re not being pushy or inconsiderate, your prospects may need a little nudge in the right direction during the sales process. Staying committed to a timeline, for example, can be one aspect where keeping things on track can help move the process along and ensure you don’t lose your sale. Even if your prospect is interested and intends to buy, letting the timeline slip too much can allow your competitors to step in and steal your deal, or allow the project to get pushed to the back burner.

Sales Emails – What NOT To Do

As we all know, in the sales world, first impressions are everything. It’s important to make sure you put your best foot forward with every message you send. Each message needs valuable information for the recipient and a clear call to action. Let’s talk about a few things to avoid in your emails to make sure you get your message across effectively.

1) DON’T Make it all about you.

Your prospects, just like you, are very busy. Any time you’re reaching out to a prospect that isn’t expecting to hear from you, you are asking them to stop what they’re doing to listen to you. If you make the benefit you can provide to that person the focus of your message, they may be motivated to continue reading and to take further action to learn more. If not, you’ve lost them before you even began.

While you’re writing your message, every time you want to message yourself or your company, try thinking about how you can flip that sentence around to highlight the problems that your prospects face day to day and how your offering will solve them. It may seem like a subtle difference, but it will make all the difference in the world.

2) DON’T Over promise.

You may be tempted during any sales call to tell the prospect whatever it is that you think they want to hear to make them buy. However, promising results that your solution can’t deliver will only cause you and your future customer headaches. Either they won’t believe your fantastical claims in the first place, or they’ll become a very unhappy customer. Either way, not a good result.

Just remember that sales calls are like interviews. They’re an opportunity for you and your customer to feel each other out and see if a relationship will be beneficial for both of you. If not, there’s no reason to do business together. So be straightforward about your offerings and the features and benefits your solution provides. If your prospect isn’t a fit, no harm no foul. There are plenty of fish in the sea, and having one happy customer is better than many unhappy ones.

3) DON’T be deceitful.

Many sales people think that the ultimate goal in sending emails is to get the prospect to open it. They even go so far as to trick the prospect into opening their emails by writing the subject line to make it seem like an internal email or something that urgently requires their attention. A common tactic is to use “RE:” in subject lines to make the recipient think that this email is related to a conversation they’re already having.

Tricking your prospects may increase your open rates, but once they open the email, you’re just going to make them mad. No one likes to discover they’ve been tricked, and once they do find you out, that bridge is likely burned forever. Stay straightforward and professional. You have nothing to hide, and if you lose some people who aren’t interested in your offerings, what have you really lost? Again, what you’re looking for is solid, interested prospects who will become happy customers. Beginning the relationship with deceit is not the way to go.

Need a better way to manage your email campaigns? Drop us a line and let’s talk about how LeadSeek’s email expertise can boost your numbers next quarter.

Vastly Improve Your Emails with Two Simple Rules

  1. Keep it short.  Many people add unnecessary words to their writing without realizing it, and that can have serious consequences for your response rate.  If you can cut out any words and still get your message across, do.  Prospects will maintain their attention to your message for longer, and for the most part, they’ll appreciate your straightforward approach and respect for their valuable time.
  2. Stay focused. It’s very tempting, especially when you’re keeping an eye toward making your communications conversational, to add superfluous language.  Context and tone are very important, but it’s possible to craft a message with the feel you’re striving for that still stays focused on forwarding the ultimate goal.  If you find yourself wanting to address several unrelated points with a prospect, think about including them in separate emails, or just focus on one smaller goal at a time.

That may seem overly simplistic for an entire email strategy, but keeping these simple rules in mind while writing all of your sales communications will help make sure your emails are read and that you get the information you need to put your best sales foot forward.

Are you interested in ways to streamline and boost your sales process?  Drop us a line and let’s talk about the benefits our email service can bring to your business.

Basic Steps for Writing a Great Sales Email

Email is an integral part of any sales strategy, and advice on how to write the most effective sales emails is everywhere. Rather than a magic bullet, however, following a few simple and common sense rules will ensure that your sales emails are always professional and effective.

First of all, it needs to be personalized. The best sales emails, even if they are part of a campaign, are written to make the recipient feel like you’re sitting at your desk writing an email thinking of nothing but them. Use their first name at least twice, once in the greeting and again in the closing. Not only does it make your email more appealing, it tells the prospect that responding will take them to a person, not just an impersonal form submission process.

Next, remember to keep your language focused on the customer and their needs and feelings. Think about what’s on your customers’ minds each day. You can begin your email with a pain point that typically causes stress to your prospects that your company addresses, or some other type of point about prospect and their day to day life. It might be a thought-provoking or unexpected question closely related to something the prospect encounters in their typical work day, or a common problem they face. Any of those things will grab the prospect’s attention and entice them to read on.

When you’re ready to close your email, make sure you do so in a professional manner. Make sure your signature contains enough information about you so that your prospect can contact you by whichever method they prefer. Stay away from extraneous information that’s not related to you or your business, like inspirational quotes and overly lengthy slogans. I’m sure you spent a lot of time and thought on those and they may be great to you, but you only risk turning people off or losing their attention when they have to sort through non-relevant information in order to contact you. It may seem like a small thing but it follows a fundamental rule – always make it as simple as possible for your prospects to reach you.

Want to take advantage of our email writing expertise for your own business? Drop us a line.

Finding the Right Customers and Repelling the Wrong Ones

Sales and marketing professionals focus a lot on having a great value prop.  It’s all about how you differentiate yourself from your competition.  Why is your company better?  Why should your prospects choose you over your competitors?  The first things you need to determine are the answers to these questions to make your company stick out and grab the attention of your prospect base.

While those are definitely important factors to consider, the focus sometimes tends to shift toward making your business stick out to everyone, rather than just making sure you accentuate those factors of your value prop that make you appealing to your niche. Those are the attention-getters that drive people to act, and sometimes everything that makes you different isn’t important to your target market. It’s definitely not all important to everyone.

Your prospects take action (call, submit forms, reply, etc.) because you have convinced them that you can provide them with a specific benefit that will be worth their time to consider. They won’t do that unless your message is directly applicable to problems that they face in their day to day responsibilities. You could think of it this way – it’s not what makes you different, it’s what makes your customers different./b>

Relevance is also important in relation to which customers you seek out. With the wealth of data and communication methods available to the modern-day sales person, prospects are easier to find and contact than ever before. There’s no need to waste your time trying to sell your offerings to a prospect who isn’t a fit or who won’t become a solid customer for your business. When you’re a good fit and you have happy, satisfied customers, not only will you be spending your time in the most productive way, word will get out about your terrific product or service.

Drop us a line and let’s talk about how to get more conversations with future customers that fit your niche.

How Wanting It Too Much Can Kill Your Sale

Sales is one of the most challenging professions out there. Picking up the phone and calling strangers can be intimidating to say the least. Add to that the pressure of quotas and the competitive job market, and suddenly you may find yourself stressed to the point that your nerves start to show through and are obvious to your prospects on the phone.

This is even more of a problem in the sales field than it is in any other. Prospects want to be confident in their purchase and they will feed off the attitude coming from the sales rep. They want to purchase products and services from people who are not only confident in their own offerings, but also not desperate for customers. Encountering a nervous sales rep will make prospects question whether this is the right decision and maybe even whether the rep is being deceitful. When people encounter confidence, they feel confident themselves, and ipso facto – confidence closes sales.

The mastery of confidence in sales situations, however, can be extremely tricky. Something as seemingly insignificant as a single word can change the impression you’re putting forward to your prospect. For example, when a prospect confirms their interest by requesting more information, for example, or agreeing to a phone call, answering with words like “Great!” may make you sound over-eager and immediately turn the prospect off.

When you find yourself about to react to a prospect’s response in a possibly over-eager way, try substituting a short pause, and then move the conversation along. We’re not saying you shouldn’t be polite and say thank you, but a little confidence goes a long way, especially in sales.

Drop us a line and let’s talk about how we can help you build that confidence.

The World’s Best Email Subject Lines

The subject line of your prospecting emails is your prospects’ first impression of your email and, by extension, you and your company. Of course, the body of the email is also important, but all the work you spend crafting the perfect message will be wasted if your prospects aren’t intrigued enough by the subject line to open the email.

That being said, tricking someone into opening your email is useless as well. There is no shortage of articles online that will tell you that if you just use certain words in your subject line, your open rates will skyrocket, but if your prospect opens the email and doesn’t find what they expected in the body, they aren’t going to take the action you’re requesting. Increased open rates that don’t translate to increased sales are not the goal either. We want the right people to receive our emails, open them, and take action to begin a conversation with us.

That may sound like a tall order, but it’s really a very easily achievable goal if you follow a common-sense strategy – just be straightforward. If your subject line is short, to the point, and descriptive of the content of your email, when it reaches the right interested person, they will open it, find what they expected, and very likely respond.

The take home message is this – writing email subject lines is important and not always easy, but it follows the same principles as any other aspect of sales. Be prepared, straightforward, helpful, and honest, and be wary of the blogosphere when it tells you anything is a magic bullet.

Knowing how to best navigate the world of email prospecting is our specialty. Drop us a line and let’s talk about how we can get your business up and running with an email prospecting program to keep your sales pipeline full.

Don’t Give Your Prospects the Wrong Idea

Let’s talk about some well-intentioned phrases that make you sound sleazy.

Every sales person’s goal is obviously to close each sale. But in order to do so they must master the art of not seeming like they’re trying to sell anything. Most sales people misunderstand that strategy, and sales in general has a bad reputation because of that.

The misunderstanding arises due to the “act like you’re not selling” aspect of the soft sell. You know you’re selling something, the prospect knows you’re selling something, but you’re not supposed to emphasize the “selling” aspect of your interaction with them. Many sales people fall into the trap of trying too hard to make it seem like they’re not selling anything, and therefore come across like they’re hiding something, and completely turn off the prospect altogether.

The best sales people are genuine and build trusting relationships with their customers. Take a page from their book and instead of just trying to sound genuine, just be genuine.

It’s as simple as that. You don’t have to try to hide the fact that you’re trying to get a sale. That’s something both parties in this situation are well aware of. Be honest and forthright, answer questions in a straightforward manner, and tell your prospect the truth.

Avoid phrases like “to be honest”, don’t make overly lofty promises, educate yourself about your prospect prior to the conversation, and just start an honest and straightforward conversation. In today’s sales environment the sales call is more like an interview. You’re not just blindly selling something, you’re having a conversation to find out if a business relationship will be beneficial for both sides.

Let’s talk about how to get you more beneficial conversations on a daily basis. Drop us a line any time.

Mastering the Transition from Lead to Prospect

Investments in complex marketing solutions are on the rise. Companies across all industries are spending more and more on software and consulting to make sure they’re staying ahead of the game on all the newest marketing trends. But does generating more marketing metrics like clicks and shares actually translate to more sales and revenue growth?

The unfortunate answer is no. In order to see the return on marketing investments, the products of those investments need to be able to convert into a solid pursuable opportunity for sales. While the marketing department brags about their click rates, the sales department is rolling their eyes wondering where the value is, deepening the disconnect between departments that any sales or marketing professional is already very familiar (and frustrated) with.

While email marketing is undoubtedly the most effective and preferred B2B communication strategy, the way this vital tool is utilized will determine whether the resulting leads are actionable.

A large part of the disconnect between the sales and marketing departments can be attributed to the fact that they’re focused on totally separate metrics. Marketing departments tend to monitor statistics like click and open rates and website traffic. While those metrics are valuable, a marketing campaign that scores high in these metrics and doesn’t translate to more solid prospects in the sales department’s pipeline is all for naught.

A large part of the disconnect between the sales and marketing departments can be attributed to the fact that they’re focused on totally separate metrics. Marketing departments tend to monitor statistics like click and open rates and website traffic. While those metrics are valuable, a marketing campaign that scores high in these metrics and doesn’t translate to more solid prospects in the sales department’s pipeline is all for naught.

That’s what we do. Drop us a line and let’s talk about how we can do it for you.

Avoiding Prospect Objections Before they Happen

One of the biggest challenges faced by sales people is to get your prospects, who are busy people, to see the value in working with you – a person/company that they may have never heard of. On your average cold call, once you have the prospect’s attention, the next step is to overcome the most common initial objections. An even better strategy, though, is to do everything you can to prevent objections from coming up in the first place.

If you encounter the objection that your prospect is too busy or doesn’t have a budget for your offering, the deeper implication is that they just don’t see the value of your product or service and therefore don’t see a reason to make time to hear about it. You can avoid this objection by beginning every communication with a buyer-centric value proposition. This process is all about the prospect, not you or your business, so make sure your prospect knows how you can solve a problem they’re experiencing or make their life easier right off the bat, and emphasize a respect for their time and that you won’t take much of it.

Next, make sure you don’t jump the gun and ask for the purchase right away. Your prospect is most likely not ready to discuss buying right now. This is an initial conversation, not a closing call, and you’ll lose them if you try to push the sale too soon. In your initial conversations, you’re not selling your product; you’re selling the next step in the sales process.

Of course, you will still encounter objections from your prospects. Some, like “we don’t have a budget for this” or “just send me some information” may be due to lack of knowledge about your offering. Those can often be overcome by respectfully questioning the prospect to uncover the reason at the heart of the objection and further explaining your value. But it’s still always important to keep in mind that there does come a time when no means no. A very large part of being a successful sales person lies in knowing when to move on.

We incorporate these principles into our email messaging to set you and your team up for success in every initial call. Drop us a line and let’s talk about how we can help you avoid frustration.