The Sales Dialogue
Sales at its core is a form of communication, and that is more than just communicating value to your buyers. It includes modes of communication, be that phone, face to face or e-mail, and it also includes listening, the often overlooked aspect of effective communication. Communication goes well beyond the spoken word, and in fact, many suggest that body language is close to 60% of communication, about 30% intonation, and only 10% are the words. Great news if you are selling face to face, a bit of a challenge if you are selling and prospecting by phone or e-mail, or more likely a combination of both.
As a result, you need to ensure that your e-mails, phone calls, and other approaches to prospects, or in communicating with current clients, that you add some personality to those to compensate for the lack body language, and in the case of e-mail, intonation. This leaves you with personality, one can say, the e-mail version of intonation, and a few other ingredients that will make your e-mail communication more effective, and in the case of sales and prospecting, that means, more engagement and more sales.
Sales people tend to approach e-mail from one of two extremes, on the one end is the “Dot Com Buddy” style, there are note written without punctuation, all lower case, slangs, and acronyms; these notes are so cool, you need to put a sweater on just to read them. While it may be (or more accurately was) acceptable in some circles, especially when communicating “internally” or work groups, but it is not how you want to present yourself to a prospect. The other extreme is the formal, text book like tone. Prospects are left wondering whether they are corresponding with a robot, or a new template created by an unpaid intern. Be yourself, ‘speak’ the way you would if you were there in the room, let your individuality and personality come through.
Much like you would in person, pay attention to how your prospect’s communications habits. This will allow you to respond in a manner that will make it easier for them to consume. If they talk about “how thing look”, how “it appears” to them, they are clearly visual, and you should lean that way in your notes. If they instead how they “feel” about things, they are more tactile, feel me? It may seem trivial, but when you are evenly matched with your competitors, and the prospect is needs to decide, they, like all people will feel more comfortable dealing with people like them, and that e-mail style is often the subtlety that tips the scale just a bit your way.
Of course it all starts with intent, yours, and it needs to be more than just your intent to close the deal. To do that, you should think of e-mails in one of two categories, one to deliver insight; the other to drive action or at minimum a response. Looking at the latter, the goal is to keep the deal in motion, bit of information that prompt the prospect to take steps, forwarding documents or specs as an example. If you are using e-mail to prospect, trying to set a call, you take on the action, don’t lay it on them, state when you are going to call, feel free to ask them to suggest an alternate time, but be sure you end your prospecting note with what action you will take and when; and do what you committed to, on time.
Beyond the cold e-mail, the former above, are those where you are trying to deliver insight. Forget content, we’re talking insight marketing. And it needs to be insight, not your usual marketing stuff with a fresh coat of paint, but real insight, stuff that will make them put down what they’re holding, lean back and really think through the insights in your e-mail.
Each of these two categories allow you to present personality and the opportunity to differentiate, all by allowing your e-mail be an extension of you, not sounding like a collage paper. And again with both of the above, you have the opportunity to know how they are interacting with your e-mails, and then take further action to move the deal forward.