When you make sales calls, to prospects, referrals or existing customers, you likely have an outcome in mind. Perhaps you believe it will be an immediate sale. Or maybe you are aiming to strengthen and expand an existing relationship. Or maybe you want to begin what you know will be a slow, multi-step process.
So, when your outcome is not realized, what do you do? Do you shrug it off with a “You can’t win them all”? Do you chastise yourself for not being successful? Or do you take a few moments to analyze the steps you took, how you communicated, and how you can improve?
If you followed all the same steps and communicated in the same way that has previously brought you great success, then certainly shrug it off. But if your approach is consistently falling short of your goal, analyzing both your phone and written communication will make a positive difference.
How can you analyze your sales communication? And what might you discover?
Recently I was approached by someone in the financial industry, a company where I do have a small account. They left me a voicemail and sent an email a few days later. Below, using these as samples, is how I analyze my own and my clients’ sales communication.
The Voicemail Message
Hi Mary Jane. How are you doing? My name is —. I’m calling with —. I’m a senior financial service advisor here.
They did say their name very quickly. I listened to the message several times and was never able to understand their last name. Immediately including their title indicates a sales call and can increase a prospect’s defensiveness.
Just calling, it’s been a while since anybody chatted with you. Many of my clients have been experiencing changes given the environment.
Most of you know I’m not a fan of the word “just”. It minimizes the value of the call. And in this case, no one has ever chatted with me. Saying this undermines the possibility of trust. Referring to existing clients and the changes they are experiencing – excellent! It is likely that everyone they are calling is experiencing some financial changes.
I’m just reaching out to see how you are. I want to better understand your current financial situation and how I might be able to help.
Again there’s the “just” and also the call isn’t about seeing how I am. Letting me know they want to learn more about my financial situation is truthful and forthright. Perfect! But then it is followed by another “iffy” word – “might”.
If you want to give me a call back, my number is ——–. (twice)
They left their phone number twice – also perfect. But then they stated that I didn’t have to call them back. As a consequence, I did not call them back.
Hi Mary Jane. My name is (slowly and clearly) with (company name).
The reason for my call … many of my clients have been experiencing financial change given the environment. I want to learn about your experience and share some valuable information.
I’m available most days between 10 am and 2 pm and you can reach me at (phone number slowly and clearly). That’s (phone number slowly and clearly).
If you do reach my voicemail, know that I’ll get back to you promptly. I’ll also follow up this message with an email in case that’s easier for you, so look for me in your inbox. And I’ll reach out to you again early next week if we don’t connect.
Subject Line: Let’s talk about your goals
Hello MARY JANE,
I’m —, from your local — team. I tried to call you but wasn’t able to reach you. I’ll try again but in the meantime, you can always call me directly at —.
Because my name is in capital letters, I know this is a cut-and-paste email. This doesn’t motivate me to begin a relationship with them. And, they didn’t “try” to call me; they did call me and their voicemail did reach me. I know the sound of their voice. I have a sense of their energy level and enthusiasm for their work.
At —, we’re committed to helping you achieve your financial goals with expert financial advice. I’d like to learn more about your financial priorities so that I can help you achieve your goals faster.
There’s nothing terribly wrong with the above paragraph but it avoids the personal. And given how many times I’m approached by similar companies, making the message truly about me would increase my interest in responding.
Thank you for your ongoing relationship with us and I look forward to connecting with you soon.
Subject Line: My Voicemail Earlier Today (We don’t know who is checking what when. It is valuable to mention voicemail in an email, and email in a voicemail.)
Hello Mary Jane,
I’m connecting to learn more about your financial experiences this past 18 months. The majority of my clients have been experiencing big changes and I’d like to hear if that is true for you as well. I’d also like to share with you some current information that I believe you’ll find valuable.
Is a short conversation possible? Please use this link to view my calendar for the next week and choose a time for a 15-minute call that works best with your busy schedule (Link here – customized if possible.)
Thanks, Mary Jane. I look forward to our conversation.
I did reply to the email. It takes diligence and planning to approach potential clients multiple times. I answered honestly … I have financial advice and support that I’m in contact with regularly. So, while I’m not a valid prospect at the moment, we’ve had a bit of a conversation and anything is possible.
In 34 years of selling, all my sales have happened because of conversation. Excellent sales communication is not about “yes” or “no” but about connecting, listening, sharing your value.
6 thoughts on “Sales Communication That Inspires Conversation”
Brilliant! Love to see these examples showing how every word is important.
Thanks, Linda. I know it sounds intimidating – when we think that every word is important – but taking the time to consider the impact of our words, whether on the phone, video, email or in-person, can really make a huge difference in our sales results.
I need to remove JUST from my vocabulary!
Great article Mary Jane.
It is a tough one to eliminate for sure! It took me ages. Thanks for taking the time to comment, Donna.
I MIGHT JUST TRY to use these tips when communicating with clients- thank you Mary jane!
Thanks, Aviva, for taking the time to comment. If you think of it, let me know how the tips work for you.