Why You Can’t Sell

When you are selling something, anything, the most important principle of all is that you believe you genuinely have a valuable proposition for your customer or client. If you don’t believe in the product you are selling, then why on earth would anyone else?

However, in this post I am going to answer a question which many salespeople and managers ask themselves on a daily basis; why on earth aren’t anyone biting on my pitch?

The Issue of a Perceived Sale

If you read my previous blog post from earlier this year where I go through how perception is everything you’ll know how I’ve just scratched the surface of why it’s more important how someone perceives something you say or do, rather than what you actually try to say or do. This is the short lesson of today’s post as well; no matter how you pitch your proposition to a cold customer, as long as their perception is telling you they are being sold to, chances are you’ll lose the sale.

So What if Someone Realizes I’m Selling?

Good question! Think of it this way, as I’ve said before in my introduction to selling anything to anyone, the art of selling is making a certain impression. To create the sense of value you need to close a sale, you need to convey a certain impression to your customer. Because each customer is different, you will essentially need to manipulate in order to sell efficiently. Though a harsh reality, it’s something which is important and helpful to be aware of when you are selling.

What happens when someone is aware you are selling to them is they feel as though you are trying to manipulate them and their guard comes up. Closing a sale requires trust, and more often than not that requires you to take other routes than the script your manager has put in front of you.

How Someone Perceives you are Selling to Them

The idea is simple; if someone’s perception of what constitutes a sale is aligned with your process of selling something, then they will experience your method as selling. However, if your sales process steers clear of your target’s idea of what “selling” is, then your chances of building trust, offering something of value and closing a sale skyrocket!

This requires a different way of selling to different kinds of people. Yet another reason why sales scripts are a bad idea. Write the main points down which you want to get across in a call or a meeting, and then feel out your customer and figure out the best way for each particular target to realize the value of what it is you are selling, and what good it would do them.

If you have any questions or topics you would like me to write about, please do let me know from the Contact Us page or in the comment section below.

 

Cold Calling is Dead – Do This Instead

Before you start reading, just ask yourself: when is the last time you received a cold call and enjoyed it, or didn’t hang up immediately?

Your answer is likely “a long time ago” if ever, at all. In this brief article I will show you why cold calling the way we all know it is dead, and how there’s a whole new way of reaching out which is constantly underrated, particularly by larger corporations and companies. However, by adapting to a couple of these tips, your small business can be prospecting with results unlike any other!

Traditional Cold Calling

What we know as cold calling today consists of getting a list of phone numbers online, from lead generators, bought from a third party (whom you allowed to sell your information by clicking “I accept”) or just about any other way companies can get their call center employees on the phone. Usually you have a group of telemarketers who use a software which dials for them. The moment someone hangs up, the software is already dialing the next prospect.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve tried being a telemarketer, and I respect them more than most! You have to give every bit of yourself in every phone call, and no matter the outcome you’ll have to start over the moment the call ends, regardless of its outcome. Do this about 200 times in one day and then tell me you don’t respect someone who does this all day, every day.

However, I strongly believe these skills can be put to much better use.

The new way of prospecting

New and better way of prospecting
We live in an era where there is no limit to how you can get in touch with someone if you really want it. From drones delivering parcels, to notifications on phones. It’s a beautiful thing, really. The problem is how many salespeople don’t understand the balance of what’s to vague and what’s too intrusive. Take calling as an example; I don’t even speak with my girlfriend on the phone on a regular basis. I can assure you if you cold call me, I will certainly not want to talk to you. It’s much more intrusive these days, as opposed to those times where phones and written letters where the only ways to communicate from afar.

What I’ve found, and the reason Becama is successful in helping businesses expand their “sales horizons” is how you can warm cold leads up in a way which brings massive value to your product, makes it seem personal and if done correctly, even make your prospect feel guilty for not getting back to YOU.

It’s certainly not rocket science, but it’s not commonly practiced. If you have a lead list, you need to put together an email. The email needs to be nothing short of perfect. You follow up 4 times, at distinct times which I’ll tell you later. If you haven’t heard anything by now, you can call them. However, if you have sufficient a amount of contacts within the company you are prospecting (usually go with 5-10) then you’ll hear back from someone more often than not.

How to write the perfect sales email

How to write the perfect sales email
I have a secret (until now), but deadly formula for writing emails. I’ll also tell you what’s wrong with your sales emails if you’re like 90% of other companies when they prospect; it’s way too long and/or too salesy.

Subject Line

Keep it short. Stick within 3 words, no more than 5. Hubspot have found that even the subject line “(no subject)” has 8% more opens than everything else. However, you may not want to do this as it can come off as unprofessional. An open is only so good if they’re “open” to what they find inside… See what I did there?

Good examples are using something your proposition is targeted towards. If you’re going after a banks’ business accounts, just say “Your Business Accounts.” Or if you want to install security cameras at Chelsea FC’s stadium, just make the subject line “Stamford Bridge.” Lastly, if you don’t have a direct target, just write “Good Morning” or “Good Afternoon.”

PS: Notice I capitalize all words as this is also proven to get more opens. As is including numbers in your subject line if that’s relevant to what you do.

First Name Only

That’s all you need to write. No “Hi” or “Hello,” no “Dear” or “Ms.” Assert yourself right away, show that you’re not here to smother someone with sweettalk, but that you’ll go straight to the point.

Body

This is the most important thing. The body should consist of three sentences and a link. If you don’t remember anything else, just remember this:

Sentence 1: I am looking to set up a meeting with [Company Name] with regards to your [Target]
Sentence 2: [Insert sexy one-liner about what you deliver, exactly] – No more than 1 sentence!
Sentence 3: A link to a page relevant to what you are pitching. Product page, About us page, or similar.

Ending

 

Always end with a question. This was you enforce subconscious guilt for not responding to your email. I simply end my emails to prospects with:

Would you be available for a chat this week or the next?

Some variations depending on the companies I’m prospecting, but that’s the essence. A simple, informal invitation to a conversation.

Example

Here’s an example for how I reach out when I wrote a template email for the company UBINU. The target was to get in touch with football clubs in order to install a massive solution which is based on proximity marketing to make the most out of the loyal fans.

Email Subject: [Stadium Name]

Email Body

“[First Name],

I am looking to set up a meeting with [Football Club] to discuss a potential partnership. Our technology allows you to contextually engage and interact with each of your fans through automated studying of their behavior and everyday values. Take a look at this video for a quick introduction to scratch the surface of what we can do for : UBINU for Stadiums. (link to intro video on Youtube)

How is this week for an informal chat?”

This is just starting to get into email marketing, but follow this template example and you’ll be off to a flying start, miles ahead of anyone else.

Pro Tip

It’s important to keep track when you’re sending emails to 5-10 people for every company, with about 4 follow-ups per person. I personally use Yesware to do all my tracking. I am not affiliated with them in any way, nor do I get any referral pay, I just genuinely love it for all my emailing purposes!

If you’re worried about people starting to talk and find out you’re sending emails around – don’t be… Just imagine this. How many emails do you get in a day? How many of those do you share with your co-workers? Probably pretty few…. How many emails which you’re not even interested in do you share with your co-workers? Presumably, none…

When I first reached out to Premier League clubs, I picked 10 teams as a trial for the template I just shared with you. I got in touch with 9 of them. Manchester City opened, clicked and forwarded my emails, but I guess they didn’t like it enough to get back to me. On the other hand, I had about 10 contacts per team, and even when I got responses from several of them in the same team, no one ever mentioned I had already been in touch with their colleague, so don’t worry. Be aggressive! You have value to offer, so make sure you find the one willing to listen! This is just one example, where I’ve had similar success rates in many other verticals. Try it!

If you’d like help with writing templates for your company, or would like Becama’s 6 page prospecting guide which includes writing of emails, but also how to use Yesware and find contacts for companies when you don’t have any to start with. Just follow this link to Becama’s contact page and drop me a note. I’ll get back to you in no time.

Call Centers – Should you look into one?

We’ve all been there; we get a call, from a number we don’t know, and in the spur of an adventurous moment, we decide to answer the phone. A representative on the other side tells you they promise to not take much of your time, and depending on their reason for reaching out to you they’ll tell you one of the following:

  • Are you the one responsible for recruiting in your company? (or something similar)
  • Are you aware that you can retrieve a lot of money by letting us handle your PPI claim?
  • We see here that you were in a car accident in the past three years, is this correct?
  • Are you happy with your current energy provider?
  • … and soooo much more!

    Chances are these calls have come from a call center. This means you have a bunch of people who are constantly on the phone, calling to sell or survey. If you’ve called a large company you’ve probably also called a call center where another bunch of people sit to take calls.

    Do call centers work?

    Many look down upon call centers and find it annoying to constantly get unsolicited calls because we left our number on a website three years ago. However, as someone who has actually worked in a call center, I can assure you, they work. When you’re constantly on the phone, making a few hundred calls per day, your skin hardens and the word “no” goes from annoying to synonym for “onto the next!”

    Who works in call centers?

    The call center crew is made up of resilient, ambitious individuals, with an endless pit of energy and drive. You might see them as an annoying bunch, yell at them, use them as stress-release, but the truth is, seasoned telemarketers won’t care. If you said no, they’ve moved on the moment the next number is dialing. This is what make call centers so efficient and in turn, profitable. You’re paying bottom dollar for maximum value. Of course, you need to make sure the telemarketers hired are screened, promising and that you have someone who can follow up on them to make sure they’re meeting targets.

    How Becama helps you

    Becama hosts call center capabilities where instead of having to incur overheads, recruiting and all other associated costs of setting up your call center, you can start by simply starting with one telemarketer working full-time for your company. You pay one monthly price which includes everything; phones, computers, office space, bills, you name it… When you feel it’s time, you can start expanding to more than one full time marketer, getting higher value the more marketers you choose to get for your company. You can read more about our call center management here.

    If you have any questions about call centers, or are looking into the idea, feel free to ask us anything in the comments below or get in touch with us.

    What Do Motivation, Targets and Race Cars Have in Common?

    It’s always interesting to ask someone “Which of these does your company prioritize first, motivation or targets?” Because this seems to vary quite a bit, and there’s a perfectly rational explanation for it, as well as for why only one of them is correct.

    When you’re managing a sales team, you want everyone to be on the phone, meeting with potential clients, networking and just about anything in between to drum up new business, as well as retain existing customers. After all, you as a manager have targets to meet and investors, managers or even just yourself to satisfy. What many companies seem to think is that targets spark motivation. The idea that you sit with your team, go over the targets for this quarter and consequently every salesperson in the room will feel the adrenaline rush and gust of motivation needed to hit those targets! Right? Wrong… Let me put it this way, if you focus on targets before motivation, you’ll have neither. If you focus on motivation before targets you’ll have both.

    Motivation Always Comes First

    Let me give you an analogy to put it in perspective. Imagine a race car representing your company. Your company’s targets are the engine that goes in the car. It’s meant to boost growth and accelerate your company. It’s what makes your car go fast enough to win the race. There is only one problem, and you may have guessed it… the race car itself is your team’s motivation. I could even go so far as to say there are various degrees of motivation which would in turn decide if that car war was a Fiat Panda or a McLaren F1! But I’ll leave that for another time. Right now just imagine motivation as something which either is, or isn’t. Which means, if you have all your targets set, you have the biggest, fastest, meanest beast of an engine ever built, how do you intend to win the race without a car to put it in?

    Many might say “well the analogy could just be inverted; the car could be targets and the engine could be the motivation.” Let’s use the same analogy to show why this is not the case. You have the same car, the motivation is there, but you have yet to fit an engine. No matter what engine you bring, as long as it fits in the car, it will make it go around the track. It may not be the best engine for the car, but at least you will eventually reach the finish line. On the other hand, if you don’t have the car, but the engine is ready, no matter how small or insignificant it is, it will not go around a race track on its own.

    Don't be the same, be better

    In Conclusion

    Targets cannot exist without motivation, whereas motivation can exist without targets. If you are an entrepreneur trying to set targets for yourself, make sure you have a proper car to fit that engine in first! If you manage a sales team and would like to dominate the market and win the race, make sure you have the baddest car of them all to handle that engine! (By that I mean you need to make a significant investment in motivating your team)

    That’s all about race cars for now, but be sure to check out my other posts and let me know in the comments if you agree/disagree. If you have a business and would like me to cover a topic in one of my blogs, contact me directly or let me know in the comments. Don’t forget to subscribe and follow for all the most recent updates and tips.

    You’ve Got Consulting All Wrong

    People often look at the wrong side of the coin when it comes to consultants – They’re reluctant to bring in outside help because they think it’s a sign of weakness. What kind of leader are you if you can’t even take care of your own social media, create your own marketing strategy, or even implement a CRM for your business?

    But the reality couldn’t be further from the truth. There is nothing weak about getting a consultant to provide their expertise in order to grow your business. Before I get into the specifics of why, let’s first all be clear on what a consultant actually is.

    What is consulting

    What is a Consultant?

    The term “consultant” has, for some reason, developed a somewhat negative connotation over the years. Often when I talk to people about hiring a consultant, it’s as if I was waving a string of garlic in front of Dracula himself.

    The truth is, just about everyone has acted as a consultant in one way or another at some point in their lives by providing their expertise. The only thing separating you from someone making a living from consulting is getting paid for your advice. That’s all a consultant is – someone who has a greater level of expertise than the average person. Experience which can come from education, self-teaching, but perhaps most commonly, from having worked in that field and done well.

    That’s it. That’s all a consultant is. Someone who gets paid to provide their expertise. So, why should more companies look at hiring consultants?

    Economics: Specialize and Trade

    When I started Becama, I began consulting in sales, marketing and business development. But I’m an economist by education, which I am eternally grateful for as it has given me a different perspective on a lot of things, consulting being one of them.

    One of the most basic principles of economics is the idea of specialising in what you’re good at. If you’re the best designer the world has ever seen, don’t lose valuable time by trying to also make homemade hamburgers on the side to sell. Instead, let Bob sell his signature hamburgers, which he’s had tremendous success with. If you need burgers, you go to him, just as he’ll come to you if he needs that 30-year-old sign replaced with something more modern.

    If you think about it, this is something we do all the time, but if it’s not our industry, we don’t think about it. We go to restaurants for a nice meal, we go to the bank for someone to handle our money, the car dealership for a vehicle, and so on…

    If you look at it, as an individual or as a company, there is very little we do in-house. But that’s easy for me to say, because who would build their own car to drive around in? Right? Not to mention the costs associated with building your own car, both monetary and time-wise.

    Specialize and Trade

    Why is hiring a consultant any different?

    It’s not. Someone who already has the expertise and experience will not only save you time and money, they’ll greatly help your business (depending on the quality of your consultant, that is). If you run your own business, there is nothing more important for that business than you getting to spend your time doing what you do best, rather than spending time trying to do something you feel you don’t have a grasp of.

    You wouldn’t perform surgery on yourself, so if you’re a developer with no prior sales experience, why are you trying to also market and sell the product? Just like a marketer would come to you for development, you go to them to get your name out there.

    What if I Can’t Afford a Consultant?

    When you’re just getting started with your business, the reason you do a bit of everything is simply because you can’t afford paying anyone for their help. Believe me, I completely understand this and I am not telling you that you should hire someone for their expertise if you can’t afford it.

    If you’re in the situation I just explained, I’m happy to announce that Becama has been working on a project which will provide consulting completely free to start-ups. The “BecamAccelerator” will give you the opportunity to strategize with industry experts to help grow your business. I know what it’s like trying to build something with nothing. The BecamAccelerator is simply an attempt to give back to the community which has given me so much over the years.

    Rethink Consulting

    You may have noticed that this as Becama’s slogan, but what does it mean? Rethink Consulting… It means it’s time to see that getting help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Focus on what you do best, let others do the same and work together to grow a truly successful enterprise.

    Consulting and making a deal

    If you’re looking for some expert advice for your business, Becama is always here to help. Ask questions in the comments if you’d like some help in growing your business or if you’d like me to highlight something in particular in my next blog.

    Perception Is Everything

    One of the most fundamental necessities Becama helps companies to understand when prospecting, negotiating, selling or in any way communicating with a potential buyer is that everything falls on their perception. Far too many companies out there focus on a pitch or product presentation which looks amazing to the provider, but without ever considering for differences in perception. Different perception can be a result of differences in culture, values, experiences… just about anything, and if you can learn to learn and adjust to your prospect’s perception you’ll be the most dangerous salesperson on the force.

    pexels-photo-29594.jpg

    So what does it mean, “perception is everything?” Well, from my experience, it simply means that it’s never about what you say or do, but about what your prospect(s) understand. For instance, when Becama helps companies develop their business and improve their lead capturing and conversions, I work with all industries, from tradesmen working with their hands, to financial institutions working with computers and software. As you can imagine, when talking to managers and founders of these companies, their personalities tend to differ greatly from one another. I can assure you, if I attempt to sell Becama’s services and expertise to every single company in the exact same way, I’d be digging a deep hole for myself. I have to take into consideration how each individual will perceive what I am saying or presenting.

    Take this image for example. I took this during a vacation. Imagine you are the one lying in the hammock. What do you see? Why are you there? How are you feeling? What time of day is it? Where in the world is it?  Think as much as you can about the circumstances of the image.

    Kent In El Salvador

    Your perception of this image will dictate how you feel about and interpret it. The image is actually from when I visited a dear friend in El Salvador over spring break, 2014, during my college times. Though you may have seen something completely different. Please do let me know what you saw in the comments below.

    When I talk to a tradesman, I talk about physical, simple changes which can be implemented such that you can see the changes made. This could be something as simple as adding a contact form to a website, having a visible phone number, or even just a brief introduction to social media marketing. However, looking at a tech company, all of a sudden technical improvements are much more interesting. This includes adding code for online chat support, email automation to decrease time spent emailing people, newsletter design and social media automation or even as far as their digital structure and search engine optimization.

    In conclusion, the subject of perception is massive and I will be writing much more about it, but in short; what someone is willing to spend falls on their perceived value of what you are selling. The more you can influence and increase your prospect’s perceived value, the more you can charge for your product or service. The next time you pitch to someone, make sure to do a bit of research; what industries are they familiar with? What are their background? Do you have any common ground to leverage? Any specific analogies to other companies just like theirs?

    If you have any questions or comments on my brief introduction to bending perception, by all means, feel free to leave a comment below. Have any questions you’d like me to elaborate on? Comment or contact me and I’ll be happy to write a blog post explaining my take on what you might be going through.

    “How Dare You Reach Out to a CEO?”

    If you’ve ever been in sales where part of your job is “bringing in new business” (as you’ll see any job description tell you), then the headline of this blog is something you’ve either told yourself or heard from others in some form or another. CEO, Board Member, Executive – you name it. The larger the company, the more taboo it is to try and dig up the CEOs contact information. The reasons vary; CEOs don’t have time for this, their information is impossible to find, they have people checking and filtering their emails and so on. Well… I’m here to tell you this is simply not the case. To show you why, let me break down the three reasons above with a specific example for each based on my own experience.

    time-management

    CEOs Don’t Have Time For You

    Though an understandable point of view, don’t you find this a bit counter intuitive? Certainly, if you’re selling encyclopedias to anyone willing to listen, this falls true, but in that case Becama’s blog is not for you. However, if you do your homework and find prospects where you are convinced you can provide value to their business, why wouldn’t a CEO have time for you? Whether the CEO started the company or not, isn’t the whole reason someone occupies the position of Chief Executive Officer that they’re considered the most equipped to lead their respective company to prosperity?

    While doing work for a client, I once reached out to the CEO of one of Northern Europe’s largest banks. I did my usual research, found and verified the email address and started sending emails. I knew I had value to provide and saw from day one my emails were opened (let me know if you want more information on email tracking). A couple of follow-ups later I heard back from one of the top-executives. She had received my details from the CEO and they were interested in learning more.

    In short, if you provide value, even CEOs of large companies have time for you. That’s what they are there for. Whether you hear back from them directly or not, they will at least consider what you are proposing, if you do so correctly.

    confused

    Their Information is Impossible to Find

    Yes and no. Their information is certainly not impossible to find, though if you want to target someone like Tim Cook or any other CEOs of global companies who are seen a lot in the media, you’d probably struggle to find the correct email address. Otherwise, executives and managers are just as, if not even more dependent on their emails as you are, which means they need to have an address which people recognize and are able to use. Sometimes you can get lucky with these free CEO email websites, but more often than not you won’t. However, there are certain hacks which can be used to figure all of these things out, which Becama offers, so get in touch if you’d like the latest on how to find the people you are looking for (sorry, had to insert a little plug for our prospecting guide here).

    When digging around for direct sellers, I decided to try and reach out to one of the largest multi-level marketing companies in the world. One of those where they play around with both the left and the right side of the @ in their email format. However, after doing some research it turns out, though a different format than most others, the CEOs actual email address was as normal as can be, provided you find the right email domain, for which a website didn’t exist. It might require some work, but it’s not impossible!

    spam-emails

    CEOs Have A Team Filtering Out Irrelevant Emails

    This one is just about never the case. Large companies like Barclays will have a “CEO’s Office” where there is someone in charge of filtering some emails, but the accounts they monitor is not the CEO’s “direct line” if you will. They are looking for any relevant emails which may have been sent to one of the distractions. If you are good enough to dig out the direct line, you can reach just about anyone.

    Another important point here is that the individual who is filtering the incoming emails will be trained to quickly dispose of irrelevant ones, but is still obligated to actually look at any personal looking emails in order to determine their relevancy. This means, if you can optimize your email and personalise to a point where it catches their interest, then you may be able to get them to report your email directly to the CEO as one of the relevant ones. Lastly, this requires you to follow up more than once, I can assure you! Have a look at my post which explains why you need to make sure you’re not coming off as someone trying to sell for a bit of extra juice on this topic.

    As en example here, I actually did reach out to Jes Staley many moons ago, now CEO of Barclays. After 3-4 follow-ups I got in touch with his office and things became interesting from there. Goes to show with the right email templates and optimization, your reach is endless.

    In Summary

    I hope by now you’ve realised I used CEOs as an extreme. These points are applicable to several levels of management, anything from directors and department heads, to mid-level managers; both in the public and private sector.

    Never be afraid or think they don’t have time for you. Managers are managers for a reason, they (usually) are good at what they do. Which means, if you are genuine about providing them with value, they will listen.

    Until next time! Please leave any questions or comments in the section below and I’ll do my best to answer.