The Buyers Have the Power

All the power in the sales process used to lie with salespeople. Then came the internet. Now your buyers have access to all the information they need prior to reaching out to any organizations like yours. In today’s business world, the power lies with the buyer. Inbound sales is forced to transform to meet that change head on.

Inbound sales strategy is essential for businesses of all sizes, sales cycles, and strategies, even those that rely heavily on outbound sales. Regardless of the origin of your leads, you’ll want to learn how to sell the way your empowered customers want to buy.

So, if inbound sales doesn’t indicate origin of the lead, what does it mean?

Inbound sales is a methodology based on personalization, helpfulness, and selling the way modern buyers want to buy. It focuses on the prospect’s pain points and presents the sales people as trusted consultants by adapting the sales process to the buyer.

It starts with attracting qualified leads through marketing. It could be email or social media outreach, video marketing, ads, or blogging – as long as it brings interested audiences to your sales team and allows them to begin conversations.

The next step is consultative sales. Connect with the prospects and learn as much as you can about the problem or challenge that brought them to you or prompted them to respond. You will find some leads during this process that aren’t a fit, and now is also the best time to find that out.

If there is a mutual fit, it’s time to dig a little deeper. What pain points can your company or solution address? How will you be able to improve this prospect’s life directly? Really focus on hammering home how you can help this person specifically in achieving their goals more easily. If you listen well, with genuine interest in helping them, the sales will follow easily for the right customers, and you can stop wasting your time on uninterested prospects or those that aren’t a fit.

Writing Effective Sales Emails

Sales and prospecting emails are all about catching your prospects at the right time, in the right situation, and in the right mood.  Many sales people swear by one tried and true template, and while that template may be well-tested and optimized to the fullest, it can still be beneficial to give a few different strategies a try to make sure you’re maximizing your chances of speaking to your whole base.  Here are a few different things to try out in your email strategy.

Personalized subject lines

We all know the subject line of your email is key because if the prospect doesn’t open your email, you could write the best sales email the world has ever seen, and it wouldn’t matter.  One proven way to catch a recipient’s eye is to put their name in the subject line.  This is simple and easy to do with most automation software products, and you should definitely consider it with one off emails.

Asking a question in the subject line

Another strategy is to intrigue your prospect into opening the email.  This is a great way to get a recipient’s attention at the beginning of the body of an email as well.  The main thing to keep in mind is that you want to communicate to your prospect that you can solve a problem they experience.  Asking a good question is a great way to let them know that you feel their pain and that you have the solution.  Some good examples we’ve come across are questions like “Would you like to spend less time on payroll?” or “How much money are you spending every month on energy?”.

Avoid certain words, especially in the subject

There are certain words that will heighten your chances of ending up in the spam folder, and even if you do end up in the inbox, you’ll probably turn your prospect off as soon as they read them.  Words like sale, exciting, state-of-the-art, discount, excellent, and free are trigger words on many email servers because they’re common “salesy” terms, and that’s the same reason they’ll turn your prospects off.  Avoid sounding like you’re selling something.  Instead, aim to inform and inquire.  There are plenty of prospects out there for you.  You’re not desperate, so don’t sound like you are.

Personalize your opening line

For whatever reason, the worst email opening lines are often the most popular among sales people.  While there’s nothing wrong with being straightforward about why you’re reaching out, simply announcing yourself and asking for interest is ineffective.  We have all balked initially at a sales pitch without even knowing what was being proposed.  That’s simply a common knee-jerk reaction.

But if you begin by asking an intriguing question, complimenting the reader on a piece of recent news related to both their business and yours, or reference a mutual connection, the reader might be more inclined to listen to (or read) what you have to say with a more open mind.

Keep Your Signature Short

The closing of your email is also crucial.  You’ve gotten your prospect to read (or at least skim) your message all the way through so you want to leave them with a good impression.

Email signatures are like business attire.  Simple and well-organized signatures give an impression of professionalism and class.  Too much flash or information overload will become more of a distraction and a big put-off.  Your email signature should have relevant contact information and feature your name and logo prominently (but not too large).  No one should ever have to scroll through your signature or stare at it for too long to figure out how to contact you.
There’s nothing wrong with putting a few social media icons in there but keep those and other external links to a minimum if you do that at all and make sure the icons are small and that they link to recent, relevant information.

Bottom line – keep your emails professional, straightforward, and customer-focused.  You’re not desperate and you don’t need to sell to people who wouldn’t benefit from your offering.  Focus on finding the right customers, rather than trying to look attractive to everybody.

We can help!  Drop us a line if you’d like to learn more about how LeadSeek can help design professional, effective emails for your business.

Habits of Successful Sales People

Life will always hand you uncomfortable moments.  You can choose to avoid them or plunge into them head-on.  We recommend the latter.  Those uncomfortable experiences give us strength, teach us powerful lessons, and allow us to gain the ever-elusive skill of self-control.  They also keep us from getting too comfortable and stuck in a rut.  If we never experience discomfort, our brains get complacent, and we cease to innovate.  We thought of a few tips for facing discomfort that we’ve found helpful to sales careers.

 

Practicing your public speaking skills

Most people hate public speaking.  The all eyes on me nature of giving speeches can be terrifying.  Standing in front of a room in the pressure-filled situation of entertaining, convincing, or informing your audience can make you feel like any mistake or idiosyncrasy will be jumped on by your audience.  It can feel impossible to succeed.

But public speaking doesn’t have to be such a challenge.  All it takes is a little practice and the realization that your audience actually instinctively wants to see you succeed.  Once you can make that stick in your head with confidence, most of the secret to public speaking comes down to remembering the gist of your main points and then being your confident self.

Once you have public speaking down, facing even the most impossible prospects is a breeze.

 

Understanding Metrics

Many sales people leave the reporting and data insights up to higher-level managers and the marketing team, but that’s a mistake.  Understanding your own performance metrics can help you identify areas of strength and weakness, which are equally important in maximizing your efficiency and focusing your efforts for optimal success.

If you use a CRM, it’s likely there are built-in features that can help you gain some great insights into your metrics, along with reporting templates and training assistance.  If you don’t use a CRM, get one!  But if you’re not heading that direction, start small by finding a single metric you’d like to track and start mapping it in a spreadsheet.  Just changing your routine to start paying attention any metric will likely improve it.

 

Adopting New Technologies

Since the advent of computers, technology has advanced at such a rapid rate that it can feel completely overwhelming and sometimes impossible to keep up with it.  We all have our obsolete technologies that we refuse to abandon.  I still use a clock radio.

But the more technology advances, the more the wheat gets separated from the chaff.  Technologies that used to be on the fringe and just seemed like passing trends when they emerged become more and more improved and efficient, make your life better and easier, and can become invaluable to your process and ensure you’re not falling behind your industry peers.

Technologies like smartphone apps, CRMs, data analytics software, and of course, (shameless plug alert) email marketing programs, have become essential in the modern business world.  As these technologies become more pervasive and businesses across the board come to realize the benefits, you may find yourself unable to keep up with the improved efficiencies that these technologies bring if you insist on doing things the old-fashioned way.

 

These are just a few ideas on how to take the plunge into discomfort that helps us all grow as people.  Bottom line – as terrible as they may seem at the time, any uncomfortable or unfamiliar experience is likely to help you learn, grow, and improve yourself.

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.