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Sales Netiquette Pays Off

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 Professional Email Selling Skills

 

The Internet and e-mail have become a primary means for communicating with customers and prospects. Yet how effective are we as salespeople in selling over the Internet to get the results we need? Can email be just as effective as in-person or telephone contact?

 

Before communicating with customers, salespeople should understand each customer’s preferred method of contact (e.g. email, phone calls, visits). While some want personal contact and look forward to chatting with you, others prefer quick and to-the-point e-mail messages.

 

But beware! Without having had prior personal contact or a referral, emails or Social Media contact attempts are not likely to significant sales or appointments. Having worked with hundreds of sales teams, we’ve found that prospecting success rates are usually lower using email vs. proven tele-prospecting techniques

 

Below are some tips for ensuring your efforts to sell via e-mail and over the Internet are effective:

1). USE CLEAR, CONCISE SUBJECT LINES that convey the key point of your email message.

2). KEEP IT BRIEF. Just as good business letters should be kept to a page or less, emails need to be short and concise (25-line maximum, but less is better). Be sure to read and edit emails to cut out unneeded words. Likewise, using shorter sentences makes the email quicker and easier to read.

3). KEEP IT SIMPLE. Address only one topic per email and be clear as to what action is expected (or what action you will take).

4). PAY ATTENTION TO FORMAT. Breaking up the email into short paragraphs (rather than one or two long ones) makes it easier to read. Avoid using either all caps or all lower case letters. And be sure to use proper punctuation for a business email.

5). DON’T USE IT TO REPLACE PERSONAL NOTES. While selling over the Internet via email is quick, recipients rarely get the “warm feeling” of a handwritten thank you note or birthday card. So, when the relationship is important and you want the impact to be high, use other means to communicate (e.g. carefully selected cards or a personal phone call).

6). COUNT TO TEN IF YOU’RE EMOTIONAL. Once sent, an email cannot be retrieved. Worse yet, it can be forwarded to many other people without your permission or knowledge. So, if you’re upset or tempted to send a very negative email, think twice before selling on the Internet and consider the impact if others were to be copied.

7). ALWAYS PROOF AND SPELL CHECK. Your professional reputation is key to your success. Misspelled words, improper punctuation or poor use of the English language can hurt your chances for generating sales, particularly if you sell premium-priced products or services.

8). CREATE TEMPLATES TO SAVE TIME. When you write a good email (e.g. a thank you, appointment follow-up or proposal submittal letter), save it as a form or template. With just a small up-front investment of time, you’ll save lots of time on the mechanics of selling over the Internet.

 

While email can be an effective sales tool, it is not usually a good substitute for things like telephone prospecting, negotiations or personalized notes. Since others can easily be copied on emails, selling over the Internet can be fraught with danger.  Remember, emails that are poorly written, misrepresentative or emotional are permanently irrecoverable!

 

Since the benefits of email are substantial, all salespeople would be wise to adhere to these “netiquette” tips when selling over the Internet.

 

All Rights Reserved.  The Sales Alliance Inc.  San Diego, California.

 

 

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Sales Tools Key Component of Training

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Effective Sales Tools

 

Several studies have shown that people retain less than 15% of what they learn in just one month!  Moreover, most people lack the sales tools and coaching needed to permanently change their selling approaches.  So, how can sales training classes have a long-lasting impact?

 

Training effectiveness is greatly enhanced by providing sales tools that help salespeople apply specific techniques they’ve learned. Examples of effective sales tools that we help salespeople develop during sales training sessions include:

 

Effective Sales Tools

  1. Prospect research checklists
  2. Prospecting call and campaign openings
  3. Elevator speeches for profitable networking
  4. Qualification questions list
  5. Prospect ranking criteria (e.g. A,B,C quality rankings)
  6. Telephone openings
  7. Voicemail sales tools and approaches
  8. Phone tag reduction strategies
  9. Needs assessment questions
  10. Major account profiles
  11. Problems-solutions checklists
  12. Objections and responses list
  13. Commitments lists
  14. Negotiation concessions
  15. Key information to track on a CRM

 

Although managers have developed and supplied their people with some of these sales tools, salespeople rarely use them!  Why?  In short, “people support what they help to create.”  If salespeople create the sales tools, they’re much more apt to buy into and use them than if the tools are given to them.  After all, the truth most sales managers hate to acknowledge is that their suggestions are often downplayed or ignored.

 

In summary, when post-training sales coaching is combined with effective sales tools, long-term behavioral changes are likely to occur.
 
 
 

All Rights Reserved.  The Sales Alliance Inc.  San Diego, California.

 

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