Posts Tagged ‘sales pitches’

When Your Sales Tank, What Do You Do?

sales-tahkMany tines when sales tank salespeople have a tendency to blame the economy, the marketing department (no sales leads), sales management, competition or even the potential customers? Yet maybe this is the time for inward reflection and realize they have potentially violated the first sales buying rule.

People buy from people they know and trust.

Possibly, your sales leads do not know you and do not trust you.  Yes this is a rather simplistic answer to when your sales tank because the focus is now on the buyer and not you the seller.

Yesterday I received a follow-up call from a webinar I attended. To say the seller was a bit aggressive is an understatement.  Since I did not know her and truly did not know the presenter, I did not trust her.

When I politely told her I was not interested in what she was offering, she said to me “So what is standing in your way?” My response was “You are.  I don’t know you and therefore I don’t trust you.”  This was not a sales objection she had heard before due to her immediate silence.

Attending one webinar that I left after 20 minutes because of the numerous “minnie sales pitches” as well as the ongoing “look at me (self promotion)” comments did not build my knowing of this person and my trusting of this person. In reality, this webinar diminished any potential trust I had for this individual.

Sales Coaching Tip: Self promotion comments do not build trust.

If your sales have tanked, maybe the issue is not your lack of sales skills, but you are rushing the knowing and trusting aspect of the buying process.  Sales research suggests it take five to 12 touches before someone is ready to make a buying decision and that is provided they meet the sales buying criteria so these sales objections are avoided.

Sales as Zig Ziglar stated is “the transference of feelings.” This is the foundation for building a sense of knowing and trusting. Maybe it might be wise to reconsider your own behaviors before you start blaming everything and everyone else for when your sales tank.

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Click to Download This List, Cheap, Bad Marketing

If good marketing is to attract attention and to begin to build positive relationships, then bad marketing is just the opposite.  One very common bad marketing strategy is to build a list such as Top Salespeople and then have others click on the list to download.



Several of my colleagues were recently recognized as being in the top 100 sales people (I did not make that list). Those who downloaded the list were immediately called or received a generic email.

Jeb Blount, founder of Sales Gravy, identified this as a lead generation campaign to get these top salespeople to share this so called recognition and status award with others so this lead generation tactic would capture more sales leads.

“Pure click bait!” Jeb Blount

Many SMB owners, sales professionals and entrepreneurs invest tremendous time in content marketing and building their own lists.  These lists should be guarded and not randomly shared with lazy SMBs that fail to understand the essence of marketing and look instead to the quick fix solution.

And for heavens if you are going to email someone who downloaded your click bait list then at least use that person’s first name.  To send out generic emails only reaffirms you are 100% into bad marketing.

These individuals who did click to download and left their email addresses will be continually bombarded with additional sales pitches even though they may not be the ideal customer. Each day I receive easily an hundred emails to which I never subscribed.

The use of permission based marketing through double opt in feature is rare these days. Those who are marketing appear to believe as long as I have your email address I can email you my sales pitches.

If you want to increase sales, then engage in good marketing.  This may mean you may actually have to pick up the phone and talk to someone directly.

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How Sales Pitches Keep the Reticular Activator on High Alert

Social media is one of the primary reasons for the increase in sales pitches.  All these usually free social media channels now have conditioned sales leads to be very wary of any inbound marketing messages.  What has really transpired is all these prospecting activities have put the sales lead’s reticular activator on high alert.



Just as a quick review, the reticular activator is really a system within the human brain that essentially stays on high alert.  The actual name is “reticular formation” and it is located at the core of the brain steam between the medulla oblongata and mid brain.

What happens is the sales lead’s brain first recognizes sales pitches. Then the brain is now on high alert. These marketing messages are immediately discounted.  This might explain why messaging may require updates and changes as people become overly aware or sensitive to certain marketing messages.

The more the salesperson engages in sales pitches on social media the greater the chance to turn off all sales leads.  This is probably why education based marketing now considered influence content marketing continues to grow.

No longer is the salesperson or marketing person sending out buy this or buy that updates, but rather these individuals are  providing interesting, informative and relevant content with the intent to educate and ultimately influence a positive emotional reaction. From this emotional reaction, then a more logical action is taken such as sending a LinkedIn invitation or following the person on Twitter.

Possibly this may also explain some other behavior such as why people are reluctant to leave LinkedIn Pulse posting when directed to click on a link to read the rest of the article.  Their conditioned behavior of being aware has them potentially jaded as to what they may encounter if they leave the LinkedIn posting.

The goal of marketing is to create awareness and begin to build a relationship. Understanding how the human brain works including the reticular activator will support forward thinking salespeople to avoid sales pitches in their marketing and sales conversations.

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The Forgotten Word in Social Media

Social media has taken front and center stage in the B2B marketplace.  Yet as another report, the 2016 State of Social Business,  has revealed this one word – engagement – appears to be necessary in the digital marketing evolution. Yet from my experience in working with B2B salespeople and SMB owners this word is dramatically missing.

social-mediaHow many times do you receive an invite from LinkedIn and just accept it?  Do you make an effort to go beyond the initial acceptance to physically speak with that new LinkedIn connection?

Or what about those who like, share or comment on your LinkedIn Pulse posting to your blog content?  Again, what efforts do you make to engage in further conversations with these individuals?

Then there is the constant stream on Twitter where people maybe retweeting your posts.  Do you ever thank them or acknowledge their efforts?

How to engage people should be part of this social media integration.  People buy from people they know and trust.  People can’t know you until you authentically engage with them.  As the old expression goes, reach out and touch someone.

In the sales world, the quick fix has always been present.  Technology has opened up this world of social media and coined a new term social selling.  Old habits are hard to break and social selling for many translates into social sales pitches.

From this report, the shift is to integrator which requires considerable strategic thinking.  To be efficient and effective from a strategic perspective requires a strategic plan.  Unfortunately, many SMB owners have never invested in creating a comprehensive strategic plan.  Instead they believe a marketing plan is all they need.  BIG MISTAKE!

Additionally, building deeper relationships through engagement is the held as the second of five top external objectives by 53% of those who responded. Internally, closing the people and process gaps in this social business evolution is critical with the development of new skills leading these internal objectives.

Engagement is the bridge between marketing and selling regardless of the platform.  Within social business, the digital marketing trend will return back to the buyer and his or her experience.

Remember: No one wants to be sold be it face to face; tweets, LinkedIn Pulse Postings or updates, podcasts or blogs.

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Sustainable Sales Success – Tip #16 – Authentic

One of the most consistent attributes for those wishing to have sustainable sales success is “be authentic.”  Today’s far more educated buyers or decisi9on makers can spot a phony a mile off.

sales-successPart of the problem is the constant stream of poorly designed sales pitches within all sales communications from text, telephone, voice mail to email. Social media continues to foster this tsunami of sales pitches.

To be authentic begins with an individual’s positive core values. What behaviors do you demonstrate 24/7? When I wrote Be the Red Jacket, the second chapter was all about one’s positive core values, business ethics.

Possibly the next step is to be who you are and not someone else.  Sure listen to other sales experts; read books on sales, business and leadership.  Then take those key points and integrate them into your own “being.” One question to ask yourself is “Do I really know my key talents, what I do really well?”

There is only one you.  When we embrace who we are, one of the results is we realize that we have no competitors. Sure there are people who do similar things, but there is only one you who does things the way you do them. Yes you can improve upon who you are, but never lose site of your own uniqueness.

Sustainable sales success is comprised of many beliefs, actions and results. Within this mixture are you experiences, your talents and your commitment to be the best you can be, to be you.

Today being authentic does come with challenges.  Some of those challenges may require you firing a client; turning down a sales lead to telling a client or sales lead the real problem that others have failed to acknowledge or may even have fear of speaking.

Remembering the wisdom of Socrates also helps to achieve and maintain sustainable sales success.  Through the three Socratic filters, you can still be authentic.

  • Is what you say kind?
  • Is what you say truthful?
  • Is what you say necessary?
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Reframing Your Sales Conversations to Feel, Know, Do and Remember

How many sales conversations leave you confused, wondering what was just said?  Maybe others may feel the same way about your interactions?



Imagine for a moment if you would embrace just these four words – Feel, Know, Do and Remember – into ALL interaction with your sales leads to professional colleagues to centers of influence. What changes would you experience?


No one likes sales pitches.  The reason is because they stir up negative feelings.

In sales, you want positive feelings because positive feelings begin to build trust and a sense of being comfortable, of knowing you. Sales Coaching Tip: People buy first on emotion; justified by logic.


You also want to demonstrate your own expertise. Not in a way that your ego takes up the entire room.  No, with a little more subtlety. Your sales leads and others want to feel and then know you know the:

  • Industry
  • Marketplace
  • Current trends


You want some “do” action to take place after the sales conversation.  This could be:

  • Having the individual commit to receiving something of value such as an article or a link via email, etc.
  • Scheduling an appointment
  • Connecting on LinkedIn
  • Making a sales referral


After each sales conversation, you want the other person to remember you because you have differentiated yourself. To be remembered suggests:

  • You have truly engaged the other person because you have worked with her or his feelings
  • You have imparted knowing
  • You have directly or indirectly implied some “doing” action

Now this remembering may happen after the initial meeting because you initiated some follow-up such as sending a personal handwritten note or because of your “doing” action as noted previously.

Sales Coaching Tip:  You may have to engage in more than one “Remember” action.

Sales conversations are becoming a dime a dozen especially this time of year when salespeople are scrambling to make those “dreaded” quotas.  By embracing the “feel,” “know,” “do” and “remember” verbs and reframing your sales communication, just may help you to be different, to be the Red Jacket in a sea of gray suits.

P.S. When you change your words, you will improve your sales results!

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With Sales Pitches the Season Never Ends

The baseball season is coming to an end.  Too bad the same can’t be said about sales pitches.

sales-pitchesHow many clueless salespeople continue in their prospecting by offering bad sales pitches without understanding this number one buying rule?

People buy from people they know and trust.

This buying rule is especially true for B2B services.  Sending out sales pitches via emails, cold calling or text messages without having established any credibility is frankly a waste of time.

Of course there will always be exceptions, your prospecting marketing message came at exactly the right moment in time when all the buying stars were aligned.  However, these buying opportunities will always be far and few between.

Even during the marketing phase of the sales process, eager beaver salespeople begin their windup and start throwing sales pitches.  It seems they can’t help themselves or their sales training told them to do it.

Now if this is considered a one meeting close sale as Robert Terson discussed in Selling Fearlessly, then those throws across the strike zone should be carefully timed and placed.

Sales Coaching Tip: Bob’s book is an excellent read and should be added to your sales library.

For the most part, sales pitches that happen too soon may reveal desperation on part of the salesperson.  These early pitches may also be an indicator respective to lack of understanding how the sales process or the time frame to actually earn the sale. This time frame begins with the first known contact and concludes when the sale is closed or earned.

Sales Coaching Tip:  Keeping track of all contacts as through a CRM program helps to determine this time frame.

Of course with many executive decision makers already up to 50-60% through the buying decision before outreaching to any vendors, salespeople have less immediate knowledge of when the actual first contact with the prospect or sales lead was made.

With the baseball season nearly over, maybe it is time to take a hint and stop with all of your sales pitches within the marketing phase of the sales process.  Finally, to earn the sale remember even a baseball game has nine innings.

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Time to Stop with the Cheap Sales Behaviors – Part 1

Cheap has always existed doing or wanting the most for the least. In sales cheap usually means the buyer won’t pay the big bucks or little bucks for your solution. Yet, today there are a lot of cheap sales behaviors being demonstrated by salespeople day in and day out.



Promotional Items

“I want the cheapest pen as a leave behind.”  A colleague who sells promotional items has shared this story numerous times.  He tells his clients the cheapest pen’s cap comes off to the cheapest pen doesn’t write all that well. “Never mind” or “I don’t care” is the response. Give me the cheapest pen.”  Then when the cheapest pen comes in the client complains about the cap coming off or the bad writing.

List Building without Permission

Every day I receive several to ten new emails from people I have never communicated with or met. They bought a list and then added my name to their emails.  There is no double opt in because it is cheaper (time wise) just to add names.  This sales behavior immediately creates distrust instead of trust.

Pre-Formatted LinkedIn Invitations

If people buy from people they know and trust, why would any salesperson use the pre-formatted LinkedIn invitations?  Here again this is another cheap sales behavior.  Sure it is easier, but what message does it send? Are you unintentionally building distrust with that first outreach?

Sales Pitches

Making a sales pitch before establishing a relationship is 100% cheap.  People buy from people they know and trust. Top sales performers understand developing authentic relationships is essential especially given much of the buying decision has already been made before any contact with a potential vendor.  Yes this does take time and effort on the part of the salesperson.

There are many other cheap sales behaviors. Part 2 will identify another four more. The real two questions you may wish to consider asking yourself are:

“Am I demonstrating any of these sales behaviors?
What is the impact on my SMB business?”

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Simply Speaking Email Marketing May Turn Off Sales Referrals

Being connected within the sales community, I receive a lot of emails.  This past week I received an email from a colleague who was seeking either my direct business or sales referrals.



The content of his email (see below) took me by surprise because we had actually spoken.

While I don’t know yet if our training methods are right for you and your company, I thought the best place to start would be a short conversation, allowing me to get to know you better.

My initial thoughts upon reading his words were:

  • “Get to know me better”?
  • Did we not talk?
  • Do you not know what I do?
  • Is this how you treat people you know by making irrelevant sales pitches?
  • What would you do if I sent you some sales referrals?

Emails such as this are quite common in the realm of cold calling through email marketing.  Personally, it is not a practice I engage in, but I do know if I believe the sales research this marketing is quite effective.

If the goal is to fill the sales funnel with sales leads, then this suggests to be far more judicious in the actual email content.  Mass emailings have the potential to create more distrust than positive attraction especially when they are worded poorly.

#1 Sales Buying Rule

People buy from people they know and trust.

I so believe in this #1 sales buying rule. Your ideal customers or clients must begin to know you and begin to trust you. This is why content marketing such as this blog, LinkedIn Pulse or other social media sites are so popular.

Sales referrals along with daily prospecting are necessary sales activities.  The goal of both is to work with the #1 sales buying rule not against it. My marketing and selling suggestions today are:

  • Review your email list before sending out a generic prospecting email
  • Tailor your message to your prospective sales leads
  • Get a second opinion on your message to ensure you are not building distrus

Listen to some of my thoughts about SMB sales at Sales Scenario’s podcasts.


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The Subtle LinkedIn Sales Pitch

Possibly because my sales pitch radar is always on I find LinkedIn becoming the most favored place for those subtle sales pitches. Do those who make these outreaches ever truly read the LinkedIn profiles of those they are pitching to?



Today I received another one (name left out):

Over the past 30+ years I have been blessed to own and operate multiple successful businesses. Over the past 10 years, I built a thriving consulting business helping small business owners get maximum results.

Growing your business can be challenging to say the least. I will periodically share some of the best ideas I come across that will directly benefit you in you personal life and business.

Please let me know how else I might be able to serve you and your business.

Really, did you, LinkedIn Connection,  read I have been in SMB consulting and executive coaching for nearly 20 years? Did you do a Google search on my name to see if I have a market presence?  I just did and found I have 14,000 hits compared to your 2,030.  Now I realize Internet market presence is only one factor, but it is an important one.

Being in business for nearly 20 years, did you ever consider I have individuals who can support me in both my personal and professional lives? Why I would even respond to a sales pitch from for the most part a stranger?

Yes we have exchanged a couple of LinkedIn emails. However we have never spoken on the phone.  If people buy from people they know and trust, wouldn’t it make sense to schedule a phone call instead of making this subtle sales pitch.

Please if you are a SMB owner or sales professional, do not use LinkedIn to make a subtle sales pitch.  Instead use this incredibly powerful social media site to build strong and mutually beneficial relationships.  Be authentic. Invest time to know more about the person beyond his or her LinkedIn email.  And for heaven’s sake, at least really read the damn profile!

* * * * *

Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver for leaders who desire a Forward Thinking Sales Culture. She supports executive leadership in bridging the sales culture gap of people and processes that restricts SMB sales results. If you want to increase sales, then call Leanne at 219.508.2859 central time USA to solve your unproductive workforce and ultimately your disengaged sales culture as well as improve your overall sales results. Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.

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