The secret to unlocking more sales…Don’t be annoying


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I am not a sales person and that is exactly why I am writing this article. I am on the receiving end, and I am here to help you out in a big way.

#1 Listen and take notes
Sales is a lot less about ‘selling’ and much more about understanding the needs and wants of your customer. When you first come in contact with a lead, it is important to sit back, take out a pen and a pencil, or if you’re on it, open up your CRM, and start listening and taking notes. Take in everything that your lead is saying, from what they have used in the past, what they are looking for, how many kids they have, and any other facts that could help you out The more you know, the better you can service them.

A CRM lets you house all of these notes you should be keeping, so you can keep track of every conversation and what was said during that engagement. User data can also be collected and stored for sales and in marketing purposes down the line, including creating your buyer personas and client profiles.

#2 Go beyond business
People like doing business with people they like. If they don’t like you, chances are you aren’t getting the deal. I am not saying to try and be their friend, but too often, I find myself on the phone with a sales rep that is clearly reading from a script, and has one thing on their mind, “is this person going to buy or not.” If I get that feeling from a salesperson, I am immediately turned off. Be friendly, ask questions that go beyond the product or service you are selling, and engage in REAL conversation. The more personal you can make it, the more likely they will pick up your call or return your email in the future.

For example, if you have a client that lives in Colorado, why not ask them whether they ski or snowboard? Getting people talking about themselves is a great way to break down barriers and, eventually, close more deals.

#3 Nurture
Follow up is one of the foundational pillars in good sales etiquette, and, today, even more so. With so much information coming from literally everywhere, being succinct, methodical, and consistent in your follow up is key. Thank goodness for CRM and marketing automation platforms that make this process a whole lot easier.

Your follow ups should come in an array of shapes and sizes. For example, an informational drip campaign, a personal email, a personal phone call, a visit or follow up meeting, among other activities. The trick here is not necessarily how you follow up, it is making sure that each time you follow up, you are bringing something new, relevant and valuable to the table.

For example, instead of just emailing to see if the lead has any questions about the proposal you sent over, why not send them an interesting article relating to your industry and their decision? Perhaps, send them a case study of a client that has achieved great success once they started working with you. Inviting clients to interesting webinars or events is another great way to show your value as their sales contact.

Sales and marketing automation help you streamline your nurturing with these tools:
– Workflows
– Drip campaigns
– Lead scoring automation
– Triggered emails based on activity

Automating and streamlining the process by implementing drip campaigns and setting up follow up workflows keep you on track, make you a better salesperson, and bring you close to the customer and eventually the sale.

#4 Don’t let them disappear
This concept piggybacks off the last. Letting your lead sit and go cold is a major faux pas in sales. If you have someone talking, keep them talking, unless explicitly stated otherwise. The hardest part about getting a sale is getting that foot in the door. If you’re one foot in, keep pushing through until all body parts are successfully inside.

Make use of lead scoring and cold contacts automation features that some CRM platforms come equipped with. Cold contact automation notifies you and triggers a follow up workflow when a particular lead has not had any engagement or activity within a specified number of days and/or if they drop below a certain score.

#5 Don’t be annoying
Last, but certainly not least, just don’t be annoying. There is NOTHING more irritating than getting a sales call once a day for two weeks in a row, and not having a chance to even get back to the person. I can guarantee that I will not be purchasing from that person. Persistence is great , being bothersome, not so much.

Tips for not being annoying:
– Follow up a phone call with an email: If I don’t pick up, it is probably because I do not recognize the number and assume it is a sales call. So, after you call, and leave a message (if that’s your style), send an email. Sending an email, first, lets me know who called, and secondly gives me an alternative way to communicate with you. Now, I have a name, a number, your company, and maybe even a face (Thanks LinkedIn). I will more likely be in touch when I have more information at my fingertips.

Leave a message when you call: A lot of sales professionals do not agree with this, but as a person on the receiving end, nothing is more annoying than getting a phone call from a number you don’t recognize, and then no message to go with it. Frustrating. If you want me to even consider calling you back, let me know who you are and why you are calling. If I keep seeing the same number pop up on my phone and not one voicemail, you better believe I will never pick up. You are a spammer in my eyes.

Let the person know when you will be following up with them next: Don’t just keep calling and emailing, let me know exactly when you will be contacting me, and make sure that is an appropriate and convenient time. Nothing is more annoying then being in the middle of something and getting an unwarranted sales call. I don’t mind you calling if I am expecting it. I will be more prepared and better suited to answer you questions and take time out for you. If you are respectful of my time, I will be respectful of yours.

Ask the person how they like to be contacted: Some people prefer phone calls, others prefer email. Know your prospects preferences before you start bombarding them with communication. This relates back to the first point- always listen to your prospect or customer.

Before asking for time to speak, make sure your services are something that person is ACTUALLY interested in: More often than not, I get an email stating, “Do you have 20 minutes to talk about (insert product or service)?” Well, in fact, no, I do not have 20 minutes to talk about something that may or may not be a waste of my time. I want to know that it is NOT a waste of my time. I am too busy to just jump on a call with you.

Don’t send a random email that doesn’t identify who you are or what you want. Asking, “appropriate person?” in the subject line just shows me you haven’t done your due diligence, and is, once again, annoying. Let me just show you an example of what I am talking about. I received the following email the other day…

Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 2.32.25 PM

Let me explain everything that is wrong with this email.

1. Subject Line: With all the information floating around the web, you should know who I am and what I do.

2. “I see you were previously working with Alex…”: First off, who is Alex? Secondly, I have no clue what RJMetrics is and what role you play.

3. “Wanted to check-in on how things have progressed since we last spoke.”: Didn’t you just say I was working with Alex? When did we speak? What did we speak about?

4. “I would love to chat and learn more about your goals and priorities with data and analytics moving forward here in 2015.”: So, I am pretty sure they sent the exact same sentence to everyone she was reaching out to. There is no specific reference to my business or my needs. You are providing no value to me here.

5. “Do you have time for a chat…?”: No, no I do not. I do not know who you are, what value you provide to me, and you give me no reason to speak with you, so no, I will not be calling or emailing you back.

This may seem harsh, but, let’s face it, this is the most generic type of sales call and does not give me any information or provide ANY value whatsoever. If you want someone to buy something, they have to understand why it is critical in their lives.

Moral of that email beat down:
– Show that you have done your research
– Know who you are emailing and be specific when you reference their company, needs, past conversations, etc.

So many sales professionals write these articles from the side of the sales rep, but what it comes down to is how the person on the other end perceives you and your intensions for the call or email. Take this advice, use it, and see how your leads respond to you in your next sales calls.

Alessandra Gyben
With an iPhone, MacBook and iPad on hand at all times, Alessandra's enthusiasm for marketing and social media landed her the position as the Director of Marketing for a leading software company. After graduating from the University of Southern California, Alessandra gained years of experience as a Public Relations executive in both San Diego and Los Angeles. She was responsible for developing and executing marketing campaigns, both online and offline, for numerous companies across multiple industries. Her passion for small business and online marketing led her to her current position, Director


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