The Role of Email in Your Sales Cycle

 

OK, let’s start with this truth – there is no avoiding email.  In our electronic age, email is as real as gravity and despite the impact of text mail and instant messaging, in the sales cycle, email is still king.

There are about 124 billion emails sent each day and an executive can expect to get 150 – 250 every single day.  So, if you love email as part of your sales process, you might want to re-think about its overall impact. It’s just part of the communication map and it’s up to you where to place it in the journey of your sales activity.

 

 

How to Get the Most Out of Your Emails

 

When we started talking about communications and building relationships with million dollar sales professionals we heard about how they think about every form of communication they use, including email.  Their answers, behaviors, and perspectives about communicating formed Secret # 9 – SELL SMART. Here are some things that could help you, a link to a podcast we did on the subject, and some helpful statistics for you to take a peek at. 

 

 

AT THE BEGINNING 

Pinnacle sales performers know the value of the “beginning” of building a relationship.  They set the table when the sales process/relationship building starts. The key question is; tell me how you like to communicate? Let the client open the door for your sales communication strategy.  If the answer is email, a million dollar producer might ask; you must receive hundreds of emails a day, is there anything I can do to gain your attention?  Can I add something to the subject line?  Let the client help design the communication approach.

 

KNOW THE GOAL

In a well-laid plan, every piece has its place. Email fits that description. Email has its place. Think like a million dollar seller; what is the goal of this communication? What is the desired outcome?  Is it a “please do this” or an “ask” for something communique? Think of it as strong and weak actions.  Strong actions probably are best served in person or on the phone, but a weak push, like sending support material can be best served by an email.  Sales professionals THINK, they PLAN and choose the right communication tool to serve the object of the interaction.

 

THE ENERGY OF THE PLACE

A good sales process is about energy and momentum.  Each part of a sale process generates a form of force.  Force can change momentum. It can affect the magnitude and direction of the action.   Email can play a key role in the level of energy you find the relationship developing. Email is a great tool for touching base, checking on an action item or just following up during the sales cycle.  It’s low on the energy scale and can, at times, carry momentum, but it’s really hard for an email to generate momentum. So place your use of email in-line with the momentum of the sale’s progression. Here is a simple rule –  three unanswered emails, pick up the phone or get in the car.


 

The key is not to allow yourself to simply default to an email and consider it a full next step in procuring a sale. An email is simply a communication tool. Million dollar producers have a lot of tools in their toolbox and you won’t find them looking for the easy way through a sale!

The Power of Story Continues . . . . . .

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A number of our clients are actively moving many of their communication strategies to the idea of STORY.  Our platform, The Once Upon a Time Project is our approach to empowering the idea of story as a real and true strategy.

The CEO of the design and consulting firm IDEA, Tim Brown, in his new book Change by Design says;  “Storytelling, NOT marketing, drives engagement.”  The idea that you can commit to story as your method of client engagement is gaining more and more momentum across all lines of business.

We often think of story as something done by creative writers, authors, poets and marketing/advertising professionals, but the truth is that story is our most natural way of communication and it only takes a little leverage to apply that natural skill to your business.  Just think about it, we have been storytellers from the time we could walk upright.  From the cave paintings of Chauvet Pont-d’ Arc in France (+/- 35,000 years old) to the greatness of the original HBO series ,Game of Thrones, we humans are experienced storytellers and when you deliver a message in the form of a good story, we can’t help but listen.

Story has only two components; Crafting and Telling.

Here are a few “crafting”  ideas to help you get started:

  • PROTOTYPE:  This is a key process in The Once Upon a Time Project and it involves getting something down on paper as quickly as possible.  This usually takes the form of a storyboard or a sketch of the initial elements of the story.  It is critical to jump into the “drafting” process, to create a prototype of your story.  Without something on paper the story is an ethereal idea.  When something physically exists you can fix it, change it, embellish it, you can mold it.

 

Woman Drawing on Digital Tablet

 

 

  • THE PIECES:  Once you have a preliminary storyboard you will rapidly be able to see the three key pieces, beginning, middle and end.  Spend quality time on ONE PIECE AT A TIME.  This allows you to provide the proper level of attention to each critical piece.  There will be time to see the big picture later, but at the initial crafting phase attack each piece individually.  Here is a good filter to use. The beginning has to be strong enough to grab me.  The middle has to keep my interest.  The end, well the end has to be a killer, something that drives me to action.

 

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Those are just a couple of ideas we teach in the crafting phase of a story.

Need some help?  Give us a call or drop us a note.