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Posts Tagged ‘Tips’

Email

We are all on email overload – all the time. For many of us, email is our first line of communication. Email has, in many cases, taken the place of the business letter or marketing kit. As I write this, I must confess that I have a growing number of unread emails I have yet to sift through and respond to this afternoon. Forget about spam, which is so not cool… even my ‘priority’ emails can quickly become a wasteland where information goes to die.

The same is true for my prospects. When sending them an email, I can safely assume mine is not the only one they will receive that day. Chances are they already have 1-3 emails sitting in their inbox asking them for “time to connect” or telling them about some “really great opportunity”.

Statistics show that most sales emails have a response rate of about 1%. In other words, if you send an email to 100 prospects, you most likely will only get one response back.

So, how do you make your email stand out from the crowd? How do you catch their attention? How do you make them an offer they cannot refuse?

Below are four simple tips to keep in mind as you master the art of composing a sales email that your proects cannot pass up.

  1. Subject line will matter. It needs to be intriguing, something they feel compelled to click on and open. People have little time and even less desire to open an email that is not useful to them in some way. Avoid “spammy” words like complementary, discount, and sale.  Your subject line should be personal and grab their attention. Know your prospect’s needs. Offer advice and solutions.
  2. Email body must have a purpose. Now that you have piqued their interest and they have opened your email instead of deleting it, you need to clearly state your purpose for reaching out. Whether you are trying to: warm up a cold lead, set a time to meet, or close a deal – your message should convey value and offer them something that aligns with their goals!  Less is more, so keep it short and simple. If you want to ensure that you stand out from the pack, only share clear and relevant sales content. Cramming your email full of too many details about a service or product, will only ensure it gets deleted before they have read through the entire text.
  3. Closing should finish strong. Here is where you should give them a clear path to action. The last thing they read should leave them thinking about their next step. End with just one question, one that prompts a response.
  4. Signature line is important. Do not forget to include a phone number in the contact information after your signature or name. Including your email address is a little redundant, but your phone number is a must.

For more sales email tips, come back soon for 3 Do’s and Don’ts of prospecting emails.

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leader1Below are 5 tips leaders may find helpful to increase their influence in the business world.

1.  Invoke The Platinum Rule versus the Golden Rule – Treat people as they want to be treated!

2.  Go the extra mile:

  • Do what you say you are going to do
  • Embrace the Cajun term Laniappe: “A little something extra”

3.  Do the right thing by:

  • Being consistent in your leadership and management approach
  • Recognizing you are the driver and the role is different than a passenger
  • Telling people what they need to hear versus what they want to hear

4.  Use words that invoke unity – “We” versus I or They.

5.  Practice sincerity in praise.

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leader1Here are a few tips for leaders to consider with giving statements of appreciation to employees and team members.

Understand there are 3 types of compliments:

  1. Directly given to the person
  2. Indirectly given about the person to someone else
  3. Sharing with the person through someone else

6 Tips to ensure the perception of sincerity:

  1. Don’t compliment or thank the obvious.
  2. Never compliment or thank the [what],unless you tell them the [why].
  3. Compliment and thank actions and accomplishments versus appearances.
  4. Compliment and thank everyone!
  5. Pass on compliments you hear about someone.
  6. Written compliments and thank you notes go a very long way!

 Take the Compliment Challenge! 

I agree to give ______ sincere compliments per day for _______ days. Of these, at least _____ per week will be written

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“We don’t argue with those who sell for less as they know what their product and service is worth.” – Lee Dubois

calc_file_moneyAnyone who knows me knows that I love what I do and would do it for free. Does that mean I should lower my price every time I get the price objection?  No! As a matter of fact,
that can backfire and create a perception that the product or service is not worth the value.

I recently I had an opportunity where I did not fall victim to the price war. In this example, the client knew I wanted the business. After arduously working on a proposal that met my HR contact’s business needs, timeframe and budget; the company’s purchasing department got involved. They stripped my services and then asked me for the best price as they were comparing it to others who charged less, i.e. “the shopping around objection.” So what did I do? Per their request, I stripped the add-on services and I raised the price on the main offering. The lower price in the original proposal was based on volume discount and this revision changed the numbers, disqualifying them from the previously offering pricing.

While I did not really feel the shopping around objection was valid.  I also felt if they did not value the results they have already experienced from our offerings then they should in fact go with their other option. When the third party negotiator gets involved, often purchasing, they treat programs that change lives as they do a commodity. While they may have the power to choose to have cheap toilet paper for their employees, I and others in sales must realize we offer value over price.

5 Tips on How to Sell Value over Price:

  1. Don’t undervalue your products and services. Know the value of your offerings, know your competition and create the right price point.
  2. Sell the value of your offerings. Use statements including our product offers XXX and what that means to you is……
  3. Break your total price into components, example: $X per employee versus only giving the total
  4. Deliver a piece of meat with the onion. When people see price, they often have a psychological response that says, “I don’t want to pay that.” After you lay out the price, in the written proposal or the spoken word, state what happens when they do this business with you.
  5. Identify decision makers. Ask your contacts what the process is for securing business and ask them what they need from you to help support this any other parties that may be involved in making a discerning decision.

You might ask, “Did I close the deal?” The answer is “No.” Remember, the first objection is not usually the real one. While they used the “shopping price objection,” I later learned that there were no other competitors. The purchasing manager was using this as a negotiation tactic to get me to lower my price (lower than the already built-in volume discounts) to make up for some other losses the organization incurred for projects outside the scope of my work.

So remember to do as I teach, “Know your Value, Sell your Value, and Defend your Value.”

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meetingOne of the greatest complaints from corporate executives about attending professional networking events is they feel like a target for hungry sales people and job seekers.  One client of mine will not divulge her title and avoids sharing her company name at all costs.  I invited another client to a meeting and they shared with me they received six sales calls the next day, thus to say, they never came back again.    Below are ten best practices for networking, becoming known for what you know, and having your target prospects see you as a valued resource.

10 Best Practices for Network Meetings

  1. Reciprocity is the rule. If the group is one that hosts your typical prospects, get involved and serve.  Remember, give and you shall receive – it works as simple as that. The difference is, it means you have to give your time and energy versus making a quick call to someone who you see as your prospect.  You will meet people in a servant role versus your sales role.
  2. People Watch. Look out for newcomers or introverts.  Introduce yourself to them and others.  Next meeting, they … you got it, will look for you!
  3. Connect through meaningful introductions. Become a connector and when you introduce any two people, create a little 10 second introductory commercial that states a claim about the person. As an example I was introduced recently in a networking setting as “This is Mary Anne, I describe her as the glue that holds the world together”.  She then had a nice statement about the person I was being introduced to.
  4. Do not interrupt two or more parties. If you want to join a conversation, stand behind and find a nice time or place to interject then reach out and make an introduction.
  5. Forget about yourself completely. Ask open ended questions about them, their interests and business.  You can certainly state your 30-second commercial  when asked what you do.  Be sure it is compelling.  As much as possible, keep the conversation on your prospect.
  6. People will lose your card. Networking is not about handing out cards.  I rarely carry them.   I do however ask people for cards and follow up with a signed note and my business card.
  7. Offer value versus follow up. If you learned about their interests, take notes promptly so you do not forget.  Then, instead of calling to “follow up”, send them something they might find of value including information that matches the interests or business they mentioned during your conversation.
  8. Practice networking. If you are introverted, and networking is difficult for you. Make it a point to only meet two or three people.   Twenty or more years ago, I walked into an international meeting for trainers (ATD).  Although an extrovert, I was nervous; my background is sales, these were trainers.  I was a Bostonian, these were Texans.   I got my drink (yes, they served drinks back then), and I hovered in a corner, looking for what to do next. Two women walked up to me, shook my hand and I remained friends with them for many years and am still active in that association.  They later told me, they were “practicing networking.” If they did not introduce themselves, I may not have made it back to the next meeting.
  9. Ask before you spam. Do not add people to your mailing list without their permission.  If you do, they may look at your email promotions and newsletters as spam versus the valuable content it really is.
  10. Use “by the way…” prospecting. If you do all of the above, serve with your heart, make connections to help people; you will know when the time is right to say, “By the way, could I share a bit about our business”. Or to say “By the way, I would like to have a coffee, learn more about what you do, share what I do and see if there is any way to assist one another.”  Going for the appointment without the relationship, more often than not, is a turn off.

Happy Networking!

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Call Center OperatorDo you ever procrastinate making that sales call? How often do you wish your rep’s would just “get on the phone”? Would it help to know how to make a cold call warm?

Below are two ways you can turn a cold call into a warm lead:

  • Use social connections. Understand and believe in the power of six degrees of separation.   Use LinkedIn as a resource to see who you know that may know the prospect and will be kind enough to help with an introduction.   Then utilize the personal connection with current clients by asking if they may know a person you are trying to reach inside their organization or in the company you are trying to gain as a new customer.  If they do, ask for an introduction. This takes work on your end, but you can easily turn cold calls into warm leads this way.
  • Ask for Referrals. I am amazed at how many people walk away from a satisfied customer forgetting to ask for referrals. You know this; they are the best avenue in when calling. A person is more inclined to talk to you if you have a common friend or relation than if you are a complete stranger.  I challenge you to look at your prospect list, ask yourself if you are satisfied with the number of referrals on this list.  Based on your particular business, create a Project 100 or 200.  They say the average number of people at a funeral or wedding is 250.   Build up your base of referrals to the number you feel needed to get ramped up.

For more tips on sales calls, see my article:

How to Get Appointments via Phone Calls: Five Tips for Sales Success

And/or these previous posts:

The Sales Messenger on Telephone Calling

Eliminate the Dread of the Cold Call

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calc_file_moneyI hope you did not misunderstand me on my previous post on Sales Negotiation Strategies.  Some sales and some contracts do require skilled negotiations and the ability to create a win-win outcome.   That is not the majority of the time, it is typically the minority.

Here are my five additional strategies at the time of negotiation:

  1. Know how to isolate the real objection. Sales 101, you should know this, “The first objection is rarely the real one”. Smoke out the real objection.  Example: If they ask you for a lower price or tell you they can get a lower price, use a question such as, Obviously you have a reason for asking (or stating that), do you mind if I ask what it is”.  This statement/question keeps you in a two way conversational dialogue versus haggling over price.
  2. Prior to any call, do a blueprint. Strategize what it is you want to accomplish in this meeting and plan a call strategy, a customer blueprint to gracefully leads you to that end.   Ask yourself, what do I want to accomplish in this meeting, identify the buyer’s needs, wants, buying motives, budgets, and competitive threats before or during a call.    Identify their potential objections and identify in advance what you plan to do to manage them.
  3. Be willing to walk away. Understand yours and your organization’s bottom line profit margin.  Many great companies have failed as they were not profitable. Know what you can give and know when to walk away from a deal.
  4. Do not knock the competition! Know the competition in advance, show respect for the competition, and then be sure to state some of the advantages of your products and services.
  5. And, lastly, at the time of the ask, when the real negotiations begin, watch your fighting words. “But” and “however” lead mostly to the graveyard of dead sales.  Replace your but’s with the word “and.” Once again, this simple little transition word will keep your conversation in control, but not obvious control.

Use these tips to make sure your sales representative are selling the value of a product, service or added benefit.  Help them to build skills that manage prospect objections so they do not instantly cave when asked for a lower price.

If you missed part 1, go to prior post to get the first five tips.

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