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Salespeople: ditch the emails, pick up the phone

We recently came across an article that really piqued our interest. Written by Simon Hares, Sales & Management Trainer, who shared his opinion on the topic of cold calling. He makes a bold point: “email is killing the personal interactions between salespeople and clients, and picking up the phone should be at the forefront of the mind of a sales rep, not an afterthought.“

An interesting one; particularly in the modern age of communication – with emails and messaging applications at our fingertips. We were keen to catch up with Simon to gather his thoughts and to capture his view to share with you, our clients and candidates.

enable: Simon, in your recent opinion piece you mentioned that if sales are not coming in, it’s nothing to do with sales process or closing skills, but everything to do with the sales approach…

Could you share what made you come to this conclusion, and are you able to share some practical suggestions to shift the focus from emailing to consistent cold-calling amongst sales teams? How can salespeople implement a self-managed strategy?

Simon Hares:

The sales process is the name given to the pathway that is engaged by the salesperson when they are talking or meeting with clients, this pathway or sales process is based on two fundamental elements. Finding Out and Showing How. The former is there to establish the key goals, needs, wants or desires of the client and the latter is how the salesperson can fulfil those things that have discovered with their own product or service.

When the sales pipeline needs topping up, it is often the case that salespeople can be overly reliant on email as a way of cold calling. The thing that salespeople forget is that when an unsolicited email pops into an inbox, the client will do with it exactly what anyone would do – and ditch it.

The golden rule is based on the sales approach: always call first, call again and keep calling.

Only send information on email if the client has specifically requested it, or if you simply cannot reach them.

On this latter point, it is worth stating in the email that you have attempted to be in touch. The email should hold a statement that grabs their attention and is really powerful. A bit like a newspaper headline, it should include something that really makes the receiver want to know more. Make it compelling. Use the subject line creatively, use the main body of the email to get the client thinking about how you can be a resource to them that represents real value.

The key to this is to talk about the client and not yourself. Think about it, who do people like to talk about the most? Themselves right? So it stands to reason that they want to read about themselves too. This approach is refreshing to read and is so much better than the dross that usually reads, “Hi my name is XXX and I work for the UK’s largest biggest and best thing ever and we have some exciting opportunities for you that really make us different, blah blah blah.”

Do your research, talk about what you currently know about the client, their business and their website, get them intrigued. Oh and one final thing on sales approach, stop using the word ‘different’, everyone says it, and so everyone is the same.

Use something that is more applicable to the client, because if salespeople are challenged on how they are different, they usually fall back on the same things, service, cost, response and quality. Well hey, guess what, that is what everyone does so when a salesperson says the word different, the client hears the word ‘same’. Use the word ‘relevant’. Wow, what a word. It really makes you come up with something that will substantiate what you are trying to say and really differentiate yourself.

The best way to approach this is to work out what makes what you offer relevant to the client, how does it work, how can it make the client money or save them time. In training, I always bring relevance to the way training can make clients money, improve staff retention, saving recruitment costs and how easy it is to measure from an HR point of view.

As I talk to HR people mostly, this really resonates with them and is highly relevant, this gets me in.

So in short, think about your sales approach, use a great process and be relevant.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Simon!

SerialTrainer7 can offer your business effective sales training that really impacts the behaviours and effectiveness of your teams. Simon can be contacted on 07979 537824 or [email protected]