Email templates. Call and voicemail scripts. These are components of your sales communications technique — not your philosophy. Your tactical approach to starting conversations from cold. What’s the No. 1 trait possessed by today’s best producers? Communications technique.
Want to make yourself un-fireable to your employer, put more money in the bank and make yourself attractive to future employers? Develop a communications method to start conversations exploiting all tools: email, phone/voicemail, LinkedIn and direct mail.
Diligence is key. Persistence. It often wins conversations — and closes business. But without an effective, repeatable communications technique, you’re dead in the water.
Not able to interrupt — start conversations from cold with customers? Not good at keeping existing conversations alive — or re-starting them? You’re done.
True, many of today’s top producers hate prospecting. Some loathe it. But they have a reliable method to use over-and-over … to provoke email and voicemail replies.
They may not love prospecting, but they don’t fear it. They don’t rely on pumping out emails containing regurgitated marketing prose either. Instead, today’s best performers are figuring ways to help prospects feel an urge to ask for more. They have a way to spark curiosity from go.
One Size DOES Fit All
One of my students, Glen Scotzin, sells telecommunications services to small business owners. Another, Mark Lentell, VP of services at Accucode, sells multi-million dollar IT deals. But they each use similar techniques to get more replies from prospects using LinkedIn, email and voicemail.
Are there scripts the same? Not exactly. Are their sales cycles different? Dramatically. Price point is also very, very different. But their communications tactic is simple: Provocation.
Glen and Mark both use a repeatable method that is unlike 95 percent of what flows into their customers inboxes and voicemails every day.
And it works. Mostly because Glen and Mark both:
- Believe what they’re selling has merit. This drives words choice.
- Research and understand intimate details about their targets.
- Are distinctly different. They look/sound unlike others trying to gain favor of targets.
- Apply trigger-words and often use a “less is more” provocation technique.
“I have fundamentally changed the way I look at (and practice) prospecting,” says Mr. Lentell “because I now how a deep understanding of the psychology of selling.”
The Psychology of Prospecting
Customers ignoring you? There’s a reason — a really, really good one. The way customers behave is driven by what they experience. If they experience emails like this all day long, they have been trained to delete them:
We have connected on LinkedIn but not met.
Would you like to catch up for a coffee so I can hear more about what you do?
The above message is:
- Typical — 95 percent of people are sending Janet that after connecting on LinkedIn.
- Shorter than average (most are equally benign but verbose).
- Delete-able for a half-dozen reasons.
You’re a busy person. How busy are your targets? If three, four or even six people per week asked for your time — so they could get to know you — would you have the time to spare? If yes, for how many of them — each week?
The ask (for a meeting) is too big. Way too big. It is also without a compelling reason.One that is in the selfish interest of Ankur.
Your Customer Sees Through You
Think about your inbox. Whether sellers say or imply it, the request isn’t to get to you as a friend. This is about getting to know you — to sell something to you.
Sharon Drew Morgen is a buying psychology expert. She says there’s too much focus on building relationships when trying to sell. Instead, relationships are outcomes of effective conversation-starting tactics. Focus on a better tactic instead.
“As a carryover from Dale Carnegie, relationship building has been used as a ploy to manipulate a sale,” says Morgen. “If buyers like us, the thinking goes, they’ll buy. But everyone knows your pretending. Your relationship will not facilitate a sale.”
Here’s the rub:
- Buyers cannot buy unless they have managed their internal change management challenges.
- Buyers know you’re motivated by an agenda to sell something.
But this can be overcome — not by becoming a completely un-biased person. Instead, Morgen promotes a better method. A more honest one: asking un-biased questions.
Picture yourself asking questions that don’t relate to your agenda. Instead, the questions are hyper-focused on the potential buyer’s “decision-making tree.”
Morgen rightly calls such questions “facilitative.” These flavor of questions are the key to facilitating conversation that puts the buyer in charge.