Posts Tagged ‘sales pitch’

Possibly Your Email Automation Messages Are Killing Sales?

Most of us have experienced those email automation messages.  We download something and then we get an automated message for some follow-up or worse yet a direct sales pitch. Yuck.

Email Automation Reality

These  automation messages probably kill more sales than people realize.  Today I download some sales enablement research for an article I was writing.  I received the following message:

Leanne, I noticed you have downloaded the CSO Insights Sales Management Enablement study. What triggered your interest in this paper? Would you like to arrange a call to see if there is a fit for me helping you with your objective?

Now this was not someone from CSO Insights, but another firm that had access to this particular study. Did you notice the not so subtle sales pitch?

I did respond with the following:

Thank you, I write a column for the Chicago Tribune as well as other publications. I am quite fine with my objectives, thank you.

The return personal response was “Okay.”  Do you think this salesperson gave up too easily?

Now here was the perfect opportunity to do some further research before responding.  This individual could have checked out my LinkedIn profile or undertake a Google search.  He might have realized I am a possible sales influencer.  Instead he let this sales opportunity pass because he saw my response as a sales obstacle.

Email automation messages serve a purpose. They are the first step to discovering unqualified sales leads, qualified sales leads or centers of influence.  The next step is to make a second outreach to confirm the initial discovery.  This second step is the one many people fail to undertake.

What happens is salespeople are busy and in some instances truly crazy busy. All this being busy becomes an excuse not to do any additional research.  Possibly this is why most salespeople only make two contacts and then go onto the next sales lead?

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Lazy Salespeople and LinkedIn

A colleague, David Brock, made an update posting on LinkedIn  sharing his frustration about people using company profiles wanting to connect with him. Then if he did accept, the next action would be a sales pitch. Beyond being a violation of LinkedIn policy, this action demonstrated how many lazy salespeople still exist. (Note:  Only a person not a company can send a LinkedIn invitation.)

Lazy Salespeople and LinkedIn Invitations

Then there are those template LinkedIn invitations from people.  I have been tracking mine recently and in the last week all 20 plus invitations used the general, template invitation. Not one person took the time to personalize the LinkedIn invitation. Several did send me a sales pitch after the invitation was accepted and I immediately disconnected from them.

Imagine how refreshing it would be to actually receive a personalized LinkedIn invitation.  The invite would educate you, the recipient, as to what prompted the invite.  Then you don’t have to rack your brains or do your research to figure out who in the heck this person is or how in the heck do I know him or her.

LinkedIn Coaching Tip Courtesy of Viveka von Rosen:  If you are using the mobile app, there are 3 little dots on the top right and by clicking on these dots you can see the option to personalize the invitation.

LinkedIn Messages and Sales Pitches

How about those LinkedIn email messages and their sales pitches? Many if not most of these LinkedIn members never truly read the profile of the person they are pitching.  Again, their desire to pitch demonstrates their laziness.

LinkedIn is an excellent social media platform to locate sales leads and then to begin to build a relationship.  Making a sales pitch right out of the gate is beyond ridiculous. This sales strategy and tactic will not increase sales.

LinkedIn Profiles and Lazy Salespeople

Possibly the most obvious laziness is in LinkedIn profiles. Beyond having a headline that looks like all the other headlines for a particular industry, the summary is usually a regurgitation of the person’s resume. Many even lack a professional photography.  The attitude is throw up anything and it will stick while the reality is throw up anything and it will probably suck.

If your goal is to increase sales, then revisit your LinkedIn profile and your marketing strategy. Yes LinkedIn can increase sales and quickly demonstrate to others if you are one of those lazy salespeople.

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Automated Marketing Creates An Automated Response

Yesterday I received an automated marketing message via Twitter and it read as follows:

“We think it’s wicked awesome that you’re following us and hope you’re getting value from our perspective on leadership. If we can help you with your self, professional, or team leadership we would love to lend a hand. Not sure what leadership and management skills to improve? This download with 27 areas will help you decide (link removed).”

People in business receive daily automated marketing messages via Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and email. For most their automated response is:

“Ignore” or “Delete.”

If the purpose of marketing is to attraction attention, hopefully positive attention, the action of ignore or delete is not the desired result.

Of course SMB people have limited resources including time and money. The solution of an automated marketing appears to be doable.

This leads to the question of “How do I reach my ideal customers with these limitations and still use the benefit of today’s Internet automated marketing technology?”

Possibly instead of making a sales pitch, maybe a better response would be to ask to verbally talk with the individual. The use of a calendar scheduling technology provides an opportunity for the other person to verbally connect with you.

LinkedIn provides a canned automated marketing invite, but you can personalize it (at least from the desktop). The personalization should indicate why you extended the LinkedIn invitation.

When you accept an invitation, send a personalized message asking what prompted the outreach.  If the individual appears to be a potential sales lead to a center of influence, ask if a phone meeting is possible and provide some dates.

Remember…

People buy from people they know and trust.  Just because people followed you or your SMB via a social media channel does not mean they know and trust you. Knowing and trusting takes time.  The last action you want a sales lead to take is to ignore or delete your marketing message.

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I Have 13,000 LinkedIn Connections Now Justifies Bad Marketing

Bad marketing is rampant on LinkedIn. Yesterday after accepting a second degree connection, I received a message to read his article and get on the pre-order list for his book.  My response was:

So you reached out to me to make a sales pitch? Not the best use of LinkedIn. I will be disconnecting from you. Possibly next time attempt to establish a more personal relationship before the sales pitch.

He then said “The article is free.”  I responded “But the pre-order is not.” His comeback response once again reflected he is clueless about marketing:

Correct. I have over 13,000 connections. I have been forced to compress the “establishment of personal relationships” somewhat. No offense was intended.

Hmm, “forced to compress the establishment of personal relationships, somewhat.”  Double speak and makes sense since he teaches at the college level.

Real world translation is:

“I don’t have time for you to get to know and trust me. Just pre-order my book because I have 13,000 contacts.”

Personally I don’t care if this individual or anyone else has over 13,000 or 50,000 LinkedIn connections.  Plain and simple this type of email marketing is bad marketing.

Unfortunately social media has only worsened the problem of bad marketing.  People fail first to have a sales process and second fail to walk through that sales process without skipping steps. They believe they can send a sales pitch without developing any personal relationship.

The first phase of any sales process is marketing.  Here is where you as the salesperson get to know the sales lead and hopefully the sales lead is qualified.

If you are fortunate you are invited for a face to face meeting or even a phone call.  Now you are entering the second phase of the sales process – selling.

By listening and asking the “right questions,” you further learn the sales lead’s situation and may discover not only wants and needs, but more importantly what this potential ideal customer values.  Then you can connect your solution to his value drivers.

If you wish to increase sales, stop with the bad marketing (sales pitches), stop with justifying bad marketing and look to build real, authentic, personal relationships.

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Be Selective Before You Send that Prospecting LinkedIn Email

How do you tell a potentially clueless or desperate LinkedIn member?  One potential identifier is a prospecting email sent by a professional colleague from over a 1,000 miles away to attend his workshop for executives just like you.  Gee, you think he would have known better. Of course with the extensive sales research regarding prospecting on LinkedIn, maybe he thought he could take a short-cut?

prospectingEmbracing the send all approach is a sales prospecting loser.  Yes going through your LinkedIn contacts one at a time is more time consuming.

Additionally what your LinkedIn email message says reveals a lot about your overall sales process (marketing, selling and keeping).  For example in a more recent LinkedIn email here is the first line:

“It may have been a while since we have connected but that does not mean I have not been thinking of you in some way!”

Really if this was true, why not pick up the phone and give me a call?  Even if I believed this first statement, the rest of the email shows me this is a 100% sales pitch. The email continues:

I have spent the better part of the last year focused on some of the biggest challenges that middle market businesses face on a regular basis and thought the result of that effort might interest you or I would appreciate your introducing this e-mail to someone that would benefit.

Given I am not this person’s target market, he thought his sales pitch would be of interest or I would willingly share it with my contacts.  I do believe in developing communities to expand one’s marketing efforts.

Using LinkedIn email in this manner is probably not the best tactic.  Additionally, we belong in a LinkedIn group which would have been a much better vehicle to share this event.

LinkedIn is a great marketing tool to prospect. As in the use of any tool, it must be used continually honed and used wisely.

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What’s Your One Word Equity Sales Pitch?

According to Microsoft, human beings have an attention span of 8 seconds. A goldfish has an attention span of 9 seconds. Possibly this is one of the reasons for the one word equity sales pitch as described by Dan Pink in his book To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth in Moving Others.

sales-pitchThe one word equity sales pitch is the brain child of Maurice Saatchi who believes in this digital age brevity must be pushed to its breaking point. This one word is the word you want others to think about you and your company.  It can be a noun, an adjective or even a verb.

Saatchi provides the example of the word “search.” Who or what comes to mind.  For many that entity is Google. He contends today only brutally simple ideas get through because they “travel lighter and travel faster.”

Now the difficult part:

  • What is the one word you want others to think when thinking of you?
  • When anyone utters that word, he or she thinks of you

Recently when speaking at a conference for executive coaches, organizational and lean consultants I shared this one word equity sales pitch as an activity.  The activity was difficult. What the 30 plus participants in attendance said, it helped to bring clarity and focus to their marketing and sales messages.

One path to find this one word equity is to return to your purpose statement if you have one.  Possibly within that statement you may find that one word.  For me, the word “trailblazer” has been part of who I am and what I do.

Another path is to ask others to share with them that one word that comes to mind when thinking of you. This path may surprise you.  If the word is not to your liking, then it may make sense to re-frame your sales pitch within your marketing messages and sales conversations.

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Deliver Empathetic Energy Not a Passionate Sales Pitch

Sometimes in sales, people confuse energy with passion.  What ends up happening is the passion sounds like a sales pitch.

sales-pitchWhen salespeople infuse emotional intelligence into their sales conversation, they now are delivering empathetic energy.  Empathy is a measurable talent and can be further developed through emotional intelligence as well as neuro-linguistic programming (NLP).

Low energy does not sell.  Misplaced high energy also does not sell.

What does sell is energy that focuses on the sales lead (prospect) with a underlying caring desire.  President Teddy Roosevelt said it best:

“No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”

This does not mean the salesperson must be “touchy feely.” What it does mean is to recognize that people buy from people they know and trust.  By demonstrating your knowledge and you are trustworthy, reinforces this first sales buying rule.

Of course you must believe in your solution.  However your belief, your passion must not overwhelm your ideal customer.  This is when your energy is still very visible, but is not viewed as the all too common sales pitch.

Empathetic energy can be quiet and still high.  A smile, a nod, a well placed remark all contribute to this type of sales behavior.  The goal is always to build the relationship while also demonstrating your understanding of the current situation.

Being prepared is another aspect of empathetic energy.  Anticipating what the sales lead may ask and having that document or documents ready again reflects your knowledge and credibility.

Choosing words that reinforce empathy and are not judgmental also reflects this type of energy.  Words such as think, should and especially need all contain a perception of judgment.  The last sales behavior any salesperson should strive for is verbally judging the sales lead.

In your next sales communication experience, listen to yourself.  Possibly to increase sales, you may wish to decrease the sales pitch passion and increase your empathetic energy?

Leanne Hoagland-Smith is Trusted Authority for Forward Thinking sales culture. She works to close the knowing doing gaps of people and process that restrict sustainable business growth. Call her at 219.508.2859 Chicago USA time.

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Sales Prospecting in the 21st century – Part 3

If people buy from people they know and trust, then it seems reasonable all sales prospecting should build upon that fundamental buying rule.  Yet, salespeople in their hurry and up sales pitch behaviors send duplicate messages that fail to acknowledge any previous conversations.

sales-prospectingIn yesterday’s mail I received a direct mail piece from a realtor with whom I had an extended conversation. His latest direct mail marketing message which was a duplication of the first direct mail piece totally ignored that sales conversation. Now I am wondering if somewhere down the road I will receive a triplicate marketing message.

His marketing and selling behaviors are why customer relationship management programs exist.  Had he inputted our conversation into his CRM he would have realized that we had already communicated.

Now my initial somewhat favorable reaction to him has turned south because his sales prospecting behavior shows me he is disorganized and possibly even desperate for sales.  The good news is his mistake became another blog on sales and ultimately leadership.

How can I even consider buying into the solutions he had to offer when his sales behaviors are sloppy? He could have sent me the duplicate and add a handwritten P.S. to show he acknowledged our previous conversation.

Whether it is real estate agents to financial services providers to marketing firms, sales prospecting is a skill set that many in sales or SMBs that requires drastic improvement. For example, how many LinkedIn invitations (electronic direct mail) have been customized instead of the basic template?  I really love it when a marketing person sends me the template invitation.  This behavior does not build within me any knowledge or trust for that individual.

Sales prospecting is comprised of strategies and tactics.  Your behaviors are the tactics or execution of those strategies. When salespeople send duplicate marketing messages and fail to acknowledge past sales conversations with sales leads, this reveals both poor strategies and even worse execution of tactics.

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How Sales Coaching Improves Novice Salespeople

Maybe it is just me, but there appears to be an onslaught of novice salespeople.  And this also means a lot of unnecessary sales mistakes. Sales coaching is the simplest solution to insuring the success of those new to sales.

sales-coaching

Credit www.funnysalescartoons.com

Yesterday I spoke to someone who was new to sales within the real estate industry. As I listened to her, she made several rookie mistakes that with some coaching could have been avoided.

Mistake #1 – Presumptions

Experienced salespeople know never to presume anything.  This is why asking questions is so important especially in overcoming stalls and objections. This sales eager beaver was very intent on telling me her message based on presumptions probably learned in some questionable sales training program or seminar.

Sales Coaching Solution – Effective coaching especially through role play is a great way to overcome any presumptions. Of course, the sales manager must also not have any presumptions which is another topic for another day.

Mistake #2 – Honesty

Even though she thought she was being honest, she made one significant glaring mistake which immediately brought into question her honesty.  Actually this was quite ironic given she had just told me she is always honest with her clients.  My sense is she just didn’t want to tell me how she came upon the information that our home was listed as For Sale By Owner.

Sales Coaching Solution – Role play returns as a way to overcome any potential miss steps that may be viewed as deceitful.  Learning to tell the truth or say “I don’t know” is always better than telling a little white lie or a big lie.

Mistake #3 – Violating the Sales Process

People buy from people they know and trust.  Until people know you, they cannot trust you.  With limited time, many novice salespeople jump into the sales pitch (selling) before the marketing has actually started.

Sales Coaching Solution – Understanding the sales process is key to sales success. Rushing into selling without building a relationship especially in B2B or even B2C industries can spell disaster.  Customers are becoming far more educated.

Many novice salespeople cannot afford a sales coach. This is way it is essential for sales managers or SMB owners to understand the coaching process and ensure it is present in their organizations.  Failure to bring coaching into the business only sets up these novice salespeople for failure and may ruin a truly good to great salesperson.

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Three Sales Behaviors That Kill Deals

When meeting with a new sales lead, we as salespeople must be extremely careful about our sales behaviors.  How we interact with the potential ideal customer is the first step in building trust and demonstrating our knowledge.

sales-behaviors

Credit www.funnysalescartoons.com

 

Cliche Rapport Building

Your sales leads are busy people just like you.  Wasting their time with cliche rapport building questions or comments does not strengthen the trust and knowledge factors. Also in this sales behavior is using “cliches” or acronyms to suggest you are truly knowledgeable.

Rushing into the Sales Pitch

Possibly the one sales behavior that is the most obvious and still is the most committed is rushing through the marketing phrase to making the sales pitch or sales presentation.  Yesterday I saw this again when speaking to a realtor who wanted to list our home.

She did not take time to see the extra features or values our home had, but wanted to get down to her sales pitch of a competitive price.  Translation for us a much cheaper price so she could sell the home fast even though we told her we were willing to be patient and wait for the right buyer.

Her sales presentation and what she did differently was similar to all the other realtors we have had sales conversations with.  Actually earlier in the week, we did have a realtor who did not rush the sales conversation and his sales behaviors built far more trust than many of the other ones we have met.

“I’m So Busy Impression”

Another common sales behavior is to share how busy you are as a salesperson.  “I am in a hurry because I have to meet with this client or that appointment.”  Possibly you are quite busy.  Then it is imperative that when you schedule the appointment to let the person know the length of the meeting.  Rushing in and rushing out does not speak well for your sales behaviors. Buyers are more educated and I believe more cynical today.

After nearly 40 years in sales, I believe it is the small things we say and do that kill most deals rather than the big things.  The big things we notice right away and correct.  Those smaller sales behaviors slip through the cracks and go unnoticed and therein lies the barrier to increase sales.

 

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