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Saying the right thing at the right time can be difficult. For the most part, you don’t truly know what the “right thing” may be. Excellent sales reps usually have to prep well and be ready to read the room to decide on the best tactic for each pitch.
For most people, saying the wrong thing is generally forgivable. However, in the field of sales and marketing, there are specific phrases you should avoid unless you want your sales leads to desert you.
There are many examples of tactics of what you should be said during a sales pitch, but you should also be aware of the various lines that are big no-nos. Here are our top picks for the worst phrases to mention in sales.
In a normal conversation, people tend to use the word “like” a lot, even when it’s not used to mention examples. It’s become a filler word similar to “um.” However, it’s bad for your sales pitch because you’re using it not to express favor or similarity, but to fill gaps in what could be areas that lack clarity. It can be hard when it’s a large part of your vocabulary, so here are some tips to stop saying the word “like.”
Don’t treat the prospect as though they’re inexperienced or slow. You don’t need to lower your conversation to close out a deal. It’s better to say “Do you have any questions?”
This might be your way of making the conversation personal, but this can backfire. It might make your prospect think that you’ve been putting on an act up to this point or that you’ve been lying to them or to other people up to that point.
While you should make sure you’re not dumbing the conversation down, you should also make sure that you’re not using industry-specific jargon. Many prospects you approach will have no experience in your industry so it’s a good idea to stick to language that everyone can understand.
Making big promises like this is like grabbing a shovel and digging your own hole because when it takes more than the time you mentioned, the person may lose their cool and leave your pitch hanging.
Prospects don’t listen to your pitch as a favor. Instead, look at it from this perspective: you’re trying to help them. You have something they need, and they should be the one expressing gratitude for this. It would be better if you were to ask “Was this call helpful?” to gather feedback.
This phrase just doesn’t have enough content to it. It makes the pitch super casual, and you don’t want that. You want the perfect balance between casual and professional. Also, the person won’t feel important or prioritized because it may make you sound like you’ve “checked in” with numerous people.
Four words: This isn’t about you. Make sure that your sales pitches are about your customer or potential business partner. You might want to make things personal, but your wants don’t really matter to other people, especially in a sales pitch. So forget about what you want for a second and find out what matters to your prospect so you can deliver a pitch that’s perfect for them.
Just like with some other phrases, you could get yourself into serious trouble with this question. Asking a question that has a “yes” or “no” answer can be an easy way out for them. And, this question makes is sound as though you’re assuming that they’ll be buying or claiming your service, which may make them feel uneasy or pressured.
Even though the person you’re pitching to isn’t a solid lead, you still want to make them feel that this is a valuable conversation for them. You don’t want them to think that the time they’re spending with you is a waste. Act like it’s an opportunity for the prospect, because, after all, that’s what it truly is.
Maybe you’re big company, but you’re no Mariah Carey. In reality, it’s likely that not everyone has heard about you. If they have, awesome. But if they haven’t, presenting your company’s credibility and achievements won’t add much to the probability of them saying yes. Instead of focusing on your brand or product, focus on providing a solution to their unique problem.
This puts a negative tone to your sales pitch right away. Your apology and the nature of “bother” might already make them think that they are being inconvenienced. Stand up and make your voice commanding. Like a person who just climbed the highest point of Mt. Everest. Be confident that whatever you’re selling will make their life better.
Not just to save everyone’s time and effort, but to be honest, all your sales pitches should be presented to the right person. This presents more as poor preparation on your part and less as complimenting the person you’re pitching.
Again, giving them an opt-out in the sales pitch is you shutting the door in your own face. You can improve your position by presenting the strong points of your product or service. Make them tell you what they want and not vice-versa.
Make the call really worthwhile. You’ve already got them listening, so you got to put your best foot forward and think that you’re going to close them right away. This is another phrase you should avoid because it presents the prospect with an opportunity to say “no” there and then.
This phrase immediately throws all your preparation out the window. To a person, this sounds aggressive and desperate. Try using the phrase, “What’s holding you back?” as it opens up a dialogue for you to talk about what the prospect wants in order to close the deal.
The sales pitch or call itself says outright that you’re selling something to them. Don’t make yourself a liar by starting out this way. You’re bound to present a product or service that can help them. Don’t shade the truth; simply acknowledge that you’re there to provide an opportunity!
Bad-mouthing your competitors doesn’t help you in any way. The person you’re speaking with might have an existing relationship with your competitor, and if he likes it, you’ll find yourself in an argument and you don’t want that. Here are some other reasons to avoid bad-mouthing your competitors.
For you? Maybe. That’s because you’ve studied and prepared for this pitch for a long time. But to other people, they can only grasp what you tell them at that moment. You should prepare a comprehensive and digestible sales pitch so that you won’t overwhelm your prospects and kill your chances of success.
This is going to make you look bad, and the person you’re talking to feel bad. There are no wins in this phrase. If they aren’t the decision-maker, it’ll make them feel less important, and if they are the one with final say, they’ll feel insulted that you didn’t already know that. It’s like saying that their opinion regarding the sales pitch doesn’t matter if they’re not the person who makes the final decision. Isn’t that rude?
Overall, sales pitches should be about the buyer’s problems and how you can provide a solution to them. This phrase holds true in all aspects of sales, whether you’re a B2B SaaS company or fresh fruit salesman. If the phrase you’re going to use might damage anyone or anything, then you probably shouldn’t mention it at all.
So the next time you’re about to pitch to a prospect, remember to review this list so you can increase the chances of them sticking around through your closing statement.
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Every industry, business, and sales manager has a different definition of what an ideal salesperson should be. Much of the time, what works for one doesn’t work for another.
Sometimes, luck and timing play huge roles in successful selling. Perfect can be quite subjective. Some may even argue that there is no such thing as a “perfect salesperson.” Despite these, two facts remain. First, hard work always pays off in the end. Second, some salespeople are better than others.
Let’s face it. There are the great salespeople who could probably sell ice to Eskimos, and there are the really bad ones who probably couldn’t sell water in a desert. What sets the good ones apart is their personality traits and determination, which make all the difference.
Here are our choices for the top 10 traits that make a “perfect” salesperson:
Salespeople know this to be a fact. If you have a lot of friends before you take on a sales job, expect your circles to become smaller and smaller. This is because a typical salesperson fishes in their own circles before venturing out, which is quite understandable. After all, you might have friends who are really looking for what you are selling. Good salespeople handle this differently.
Instead of simply selling, they start building. They don’t just think “what’s in it for me.” Rather, they communicate, “I can help you with what you need. Let’s build together.” Connecting people to the things they need is much more powerful than selling them things you think they need. Great salespeople don’t look for specific people to sell to, they look for specific needs to address.
A good salesperson isn’t just after one client. They know that building a wide network of connections will help them in the long run. They go after referrals, not just deals.
They know that even if they can’t sell to a person, it is important to keep them on the sidelines. They understand the value of staying visible in the potential client’s line of sight in case another opportunity comes up either for a sale or referral. And this only happens if you make good connections.
A good salesperson’ circles are made up of clients who are probably connected to one another rather than clients who have nothing to do with one another.
First of all, sympathy is the ability to feel sorrow, pity, and compassion towards another person’s situation. On the other hand, empathy is the ability to put one’s self in the shoes of another person. One’s good for charity, the other’s good for selling.
An ideal salesperson is believed to have high empathy. They can comprehend what the customer needs and find good solutions because they know how to listen well. While many people think that salespeople are all talk, the good ones actually listen more than they speak.
Salespeople are often under great pressure to hit their quotas, which is not an easy feat. The ability to stick to things and see them through even when times are tough is one of the traits that make a salesperson great. They call it grit.
According to Angela Duckworth, the author of the book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, grit is one of the most important success predictors. The good news is that everyone can increase one’s inner grit level. Grit is composed of passion, perseverance, and courage.
If you’re sloppy, you will not only miss opportunities and breaks, but it is also downright embarrassing to the people you are selling to. Sales involve numbers, and numbers have to be precise.
If you’re not meticulous, people won’t trust you with their money. Second, a good salesperson’s ability to hone in on details about the client will help him find ways to offer solutions to a particular problem. This is downright crucial for B2B lead generation and conversion because they’re selling business solutions that could make or break an organization.
Good salespeople know when and how to ask questions without sounding pushy or making the prospect uncomfortable. The ability to engage a person in the conversation will deliver the same effect as it does in any other type of relationship. Make it stronger.
This ties directly into the need for good listening skills. You can’t exactly get away with asking a lot of questions if you don’t listen to the answers. Not only does it build your reputation as someone who cares, it also provides you with insights into a prospect’s interests, needs, likes, dislikes, and motivations.
The best sellers are the ones who can exude the same vibe as the products or services they are selling. For instance, if you are a salesperson for a luxury lifestyle brand, you cannot afford to look sloppy. After all, you will be selling to people who can afford the higher price tags, so you need to reflect the brand’s personality in your appearance and demeanor.
Genuine belief and trust in the product really show. While it is not necessary to actually use the product, you need to be a good ambassador of the brand. This ability to self-brand makes good salespeople stand out from the pack.
This could very well explain why top sales performers have their own group. An ideal salesperson would always surround himself or herself with like-minded people; the ones who are goal-oriented and driven.
They have little time for people who fall short of their own expectations. They don’t just surround themselves with high sales performers, but also like-minded people from other disciplines, friends, and clients who share the same drive that they do.
By surrounding themselves with birds of the same feather, they create more opportunities for themselves.
This doesn’t mean that they go after clients until they say yes. Rather, they park the car for now and wait for another opportunity to drive it again.
Good salespeople are also good judges of character. They know when to push and hold back. They don’t count failed deals as failures, but rather, a break or pause that could be pursued at a later time.
This is probably the most important trait a good salesperson should have. The sales road is long and exhausting. Many raise the white flag when they experience failure and rejection time and time again. It takes a toll on the person, and it shows.
Good salespeople remain optimistic that the end of the road lies a pot of gold and that the narrow road will lead to a beautiful meadow. They remain hopeful that their hard work will always pay off.
The good news is that good salespeople are not born, they are inspired. If you think you lack some of the traits, you can work on them slowly until the new traits become natural to you.
Sales training is not just about talking. It is also about goal-setting and changing one’s mindset from that of an average salesperson to that of a brilliant high performer.
Get a copy of our FREE sales-closing guide today! You can use it to teach your sales team closing best practices or simply use it to enhance your current sales strategy.
Now, more than ever, clients need sales professionals that are great advocates for them. The most successful sales people not only maintain their own priorities when selling, but they also hold and think of their prospective client’s priorities. Join our Executive President, Johanna Rivard, as she talks about the best sales tips to help you close those deals!
Selling is tough. There are many buying signals that a salesperson should watch out for to help them close as many sales as possible. Are you losing deals by missing these signals? In this video, our Vice President of Sales, Ellen Romanow offers the best tips and lessons that will improve your WIN rates.
Those of us who’ve had our family dinners rudely interrupted by a sales call know how tiresome cold calls can be. Even the most experienced sales professionals seldom relish the thought of having to pick up a phone to launch into a pitch with a total stranger. No one involved in these transactions enjoys them.
Cold calls are still an integral part of many sales teams. However, they continue to be a source of dread for both callers and callees. This is because these types of prospects have not given any indication that they’re interested in your offer at all. In order to have any success when cold calling, you need to turn these cold leads into warm leads before offering a sales pitch for a product they might not even be qualified for.
We all know that converting a lead into an actual customer is a vital step in the sales process, one that must be conducted with adequate preparation and skill. The process of warming up a cold lead and moving them further along the sales funnel takes commitment and persistence.
Marketing qualified leads make the process to conversion easier by observing key indicators that signify a strong intent to buy. Here are ways to make the process of closing sales more seamless and less frustrating for you:
Cold calling cannot be disregarded altogether because it remains one of the most effective means of generating leads. The key to increasing your batting average is in qualifying your leads better.
Create a set of criteria to help you effectively identify your target audience. Take note of their digital footprint and leverage available marketing tools to help you find and reach your ideal prospect.
Call your prospects at their place of business, not during their personal, leisure time. Also, studies have shown that the best days to call are Wednesdays and Thursdays and that the best times to call are in the morning (8am-9am) and in the evening (4pm-6pm).
Once you’ve contacted a lead, don’t leave them hanging. They’ll forget about you. Today’s digital landscape has provided marketers with numerous ways to stay in touch with prospects, so make an effort to keep them warm.
Send emails to your target audience, and share content that resonates with them. Consider setting up a content marketing strategy that includes sending regular newsletters, blog posts, and other helpful material that entertains, informs, or inspires.
Everyone knows it’s critical that you’re fluent in the details of your brand’s products or services. But, not everyone remembers to be fluent in their competitor’s offerings as well. Remain up to date on what’s new in your industry and share it with your current customers and prospects so that they come to see you as credible resource they can turn to with any of their industry-related questions.
Potential customers nowadays have the ability to do their own research, so make sure you can adequately answer their questions and provide credible advice.
Don’t force a product or service that’s clearly not right for a prospect. Again, this goes back to qualifying candidates—take the time to learn what their pain points and requirements are. Don’t run the risk of barking up the wrong tree by pressuring someone to buy something they don’t need.
Be upfront about being a good fit, and go a step further by offering good alternatives if your products or services aren’t quite right. You’ll gain their trust and respect in the process, increasing your chances of a future sale.
There are three sections to a well-thought out email. First, it has a catchy subject line that resonates with your readers.
Second, the body of the email concisely demonstrates useful information that connects with your readers. Avoid using this space to write about your company or product, and include links to blog posts, articles, or other reputable sites that offer solutions to common client pain points instead.
And finally, don’t forget to include a call to action to direct them to your site or contact details should they require further assistance.
Offer a free trial so that clients have a better grasp of what it’s like to use your product. Or you can schedule a demo with interested leads at their convenience. After all, there’s no better way to show them how awesome your product is then by letting them use it first. Furthermore, free trials have been proven to reduce the cost per acquisition for new customers.
Once a prospect has indicated interest, do a timely follow-up call. Remember to refer to your previous conversation or email, and ask questions that engage and interest them.
It’s absolutely critical to respond quickly if you want to improve your chances of converting. Inside Sales conducted a study implying that leads are 6 times more likely to become qualified if contacted within the first hour of expressing interest.
The process of closing a sale is a lot like running a marathon. Unlike a sprint, it shouldn’t be rushed. You can’t force someone to buy without first going through the necessary steps of targeting and qualifying them based on specific indicators.
There are specific behaviors you must take note of to gauge a prospect’s readiness to convert. Keep these tips in mind and be persistent. Doing so will help increase your sales team’s chances of closing the next time they make a sales call.
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Sales and marketing alignment is key to driving success regardless of your industry. It’s also an issue that many companies find to be a struggle.
The disconnect stems from these teams’ seemingly disparate goals. The marketing team is expected to generate as many leads as possible, while the sales team is under pressure to turn those leads into paying customers. Often this causes the former to focus on volume at the expense of quality, while the latter tends to blame failure to close on the marketing team for not qualifying leads effectively.
One way to unify these two teams is to focus your efforts on results by making ROI the responsibility of the whole company, not just individual teams. When both teams see the bigger picture, the whole organization benefits by having a shorter sales cycle and better target market profiling. This gives you the ability to close the gap between lead quantity and lead quality.
Here are a few best practices you can implement to help align your sales and marketing teams:
It may sound obvious, but it can be a challenge to set aside time for regular meetings especially when there are deadlines to meet and time becomes a scarce resource. Whatever the case, you should always make time to catch up because these knowledge sharing sessions play a significant role in the alignment process.
Make the most of these meetings by having a clear agenda to share processes, resources, and best practices on both ends. Marketers must be kept updated on the sales team’s progress when it comes to meeting their quotas and goals because it allows marketing to offer specific support when needed.
You have a better chance of success if you secure the backing of key personnel from the C-suite. This puts a considerable emphasis on unity and sends a clear message throughout the organization that you mean business.
This is especially important in companies where the rivalry is clear between these two functions. Executive level buy-in will help neutralize tensions and ensure that everyone is on the same page.
Marketing has traditionally been more concerned with bringing in as many leads as possible. As such, most have failed to keep track of how their lead generation efforts contribute to overall revenue.
Alignment between the two teams means that marketing has to develop strategies with metrics focused on revenue generation. KPIs such as “deals influenced” or “deals sourced” can be included to help tie in campaigns with bottom line results.
This ensures that both teams are on the same page both literally and figuratively. This also promotes clear and effective communication across teams, so confusion and misunderstandings are minimized.
For example, a “lead” can mean different things to different departments. How qualified are these leads and what does it take for a prospect to be classified as a lead? Don’t hesitate to be as granular as possible for best results.
Both teams must take the time to define their exact target audience. There must be a clear picture of the ideal customer, which can be achieved by sharing what both teams’ unique knowledge.
Familiarize yourselves with each customer touchpoint until you come up with a well-rounded picture based on mutual insight and common goals.
Make an effort to ensure that any new campaign or content launched has been shared with the sales team. This promotes a seamless front so that the sales team can directly engage the leads who have consumed these new marketing materials.
Make sure that marketing is coordinating with sales whenever a new email blast is sent out, or any new leads have been acquired. This will not only give additional insight into a customer’s interests, but it will also provide sales reps with an idea of what motivates leads to take the next step.
The sales team communicates with leads or prospects regularly, so they are in the best position to tell you what your customers need. However, they don’t always have the time to record these insights, which can lead to a breakdown in communications.
One way to address this issue is to use shared documents to collect ideas and references. Another way to bridge the gap is by holding regular brainstorming sessions where the sales team can share what they know about attracting leads or what types of content would resonate the most with prospects.
A closed-loop feedback system will ensure open communication and that all opportunities to leverage customer data are being taken advantage of.
Don’t simply leave content creation to the content team. Your entire company is full of potential knowledge that can help improve the quality of your content, and you should be taking advantage of it.
Your sales teams have an intricate knowledge of what customers want, so why not use them to help develop content that is more appropriate for your audience? You can interview them, ghostwrite for them, or if they’re so inclined, have them write the post themselves. This will provide you with new knowledge channels and empower your best sales reps.
Lead generation companies optimize their lead generation efforts by finding the right balance between lead quantity and lead quality. The best possible combination will differ depending on the type of company and its industry.
To find a balance that works specifically for you, you’ve got to test, test, and test some more. Ask yourself questions such as:
Find out how shifting the focus affects ROI to find the best possible practice for your business.
Brochures, presentations, overviews, and other marketing materials should be placed in a shared area (like Google Drive) so that the sales team can easily get hold of these resources to support their activities.
Include your marketing strategy, campaign calendar, relevant offers, blog posts, and other content tailored for specific customer personas in this shared file. With more contextually-relevant information, sales teams will be able to tailor their sales pitch more effectively.
In most organizations, sales and marketing have historically operated independently of each other. It’s rare to find these two functions working perfectly as a unified team with common goals.
In many cases, there’s even a rivalry between the two, because both sides fail to see how each one can benefit from the other. While some teams have successfully found common ground without outside interference, the best approach is to assign managers and personnel to oversee their alignment.
This responsibility primarily rests on key decision makers, as they have the power to set operational objectives. Expect some form of resistance from your marketing and sales teams, because nobody likes change. But with a keen focus and a proper plan in place, you’ll be seeing higher conversion rates, better performance from both sales and marketing teams, and a more functional working environment altogether.
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Think of a sales funnel as a device you can use to create customers. While it seems that many businesses find customers, a closer look will show you the process involved in generating sales. Simply put, a sales funnel conceptualizes the process of turning prospective leads into loyal customers.
Paying attention to your funnel can improve marketing performance because it provides an ideal process for a customer’s lifecycle. It guides the marketing team on the steps needed to improve a prospect’s experience—from considering the product to maintaining loyalty to the brand.
A consistent flow of leads into your pipeline keeps the sales cycle steady and reliable. In a nutshell, understanding the sales funnel can help businesses improve their relationship with customers and develop an efficient strategy to nurture prospects right through to the end of the buyer’s journey. This is where inbound and some outbound marketing techniques come into play.
SiriusDecisions reports the average sales cycle has increased by 22% over the past 5 years, attributed to more decision makers involved in the buying process than in previous years. That the process of buying B2B technology has lengthened is a surprise to some. The decision-by-committee structure of so many tight budgets elongates many processes, vendor selection simply one of them.
As a marketer, it is critical that you understand this lengthened buying cycle and maximize your content and its positioning appropriately for this changing buying dynamic. A few things to consider:
The strategy of “targeting the decision maker” used to be easy enough. But with several layers of approval, that target is broadening and difficult to pin down. When you tailor your content for specific personas, realize that you may need to create multiple pieces of content with a similar message to various different people in the same organization.
Creating content just to address the value your end users realize is not enough. Content must also highlight the ways your solutions improve team productivity (for Director level) and the broader business problem your solutions address (for the VP and potentially C-level).
Where once it was straightforward to discern the decision maker’s title and target content distribution accordingly, today’s content syndication must span the breadth of decision makers within an organization while targeting content appropriately. That is no easy balancing act.
Today’s buyer – and their boss and colleague and boss’s boss – are educating themselves well before they ever interact with vendors. Content syndication and other distribution strategies are critical to ensure that your content is in front of the people who would buy your product if only they knew about it.
In a 2014 study by Regalix Research, 87 percent of marketing professionals prioritized improving their knowledge of a customer’s purchase journey.
Indeed, analyzing what motivates prospects at every stage of the sales funnel is vital to a marketer’s or sales person’s success. Furthermore, a well-utilized sales funnel will ensure that every stage’s initiatives are well thought out and directly stimulating a specific action.
It’s not enough to simply throw generic sales promotions at potential customers. In today’s highly saturated market, rising above the noise is not sufficient to ensure a purchase. Nurture your leads at every stage in the buying process by providing exactly what they need, when they need it most. Using the sales funnel as a foundation for your target marketing strategy ensures that you’re doing everything you can to maximize your conversion rates.
With a better understanding of your sales funnel, you can serve prospects with more relevant content. Check out our FREE content marketing whitepaper today!