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6 Ways to Become a Kickass Seasoned Seller

From the 1980’s until now the sales process is a whole new ball game. From closing the deal on a cocktail napkin to now using various tech-tools to simply land a meeting. Sales has indeed changed. I was lucky enough to sit down and chat this past Labor day weekend with one of the greatest saleswoman I have ever met. Back in the day the companies she worked for insured her due to how valuable she was to the company. Wowza.

 

 

Backing her game up since the 1980’s, she shared with me some of her most simple tips around being a successful seller. So grab a hot dog, take a seat, and enjoy a few insights around how you can learn from the seasoned sellers and step up your own sales game.

1. Grab a coffee with a potential buyer

Forget that you are trying to sell and focus on the person you are engaged with. This will not allow you to build a foundation for a solid relationship but give you the opportunity to listen to their story and their needs.  Listen intently and ask questions. Drop your phone, close your laptop and listen. You can tell a whole lot from a potential buyer by just listening. Time frame, budget, issues, pain points, hesitations, even methodologies. Sometimes selling isn’t at all about the actual selling. It’s about understanding the needs, wants and issues of the person that is about to be your potential buyer.

2. Be Persistent

A lot of times your potential client is busy and doesn’t reply to your emails, show any interest, or even buy from your service at that time. Don’t show your disappointment. Be a good sport. Hang in there, keep forging ahead with emails and calls. Continuous follow up is going to be key. Let them know you know they are busy but you are there when they need you.

 

 

My Sales Tip: Put them on a nurtured drip campaign using ToutApp. That way they are getting highly personalized and consistent follow up over the course of weeks or months.

Most negative reactions I have recieved thus far:

You are persistent…do you know that? Let’s hop on a call.

Consistency and persistency will pay off in the end. Just don’t go too overboard:

Ease up on the fun dip Jen.

3. Be Transparent and True

If you are asked a tough question that you cannot answer… be honest…don’t wing it. Instead of fumbling, let them know you will get back to them the same day with the answer or will have an engineer call them back with the answer. Never drop the ball on any of their requests!

4. Train, Practice, then Throw the Pitch

Did you know that 66% of opportunities close the deal with the person who helps them create the vision and teaches them something new? Pretty neat…right? The salesperson that educated them with new ideas and perspective are more likely to close the deal. You want to add value. And interestingly enough, the #1 reason that people buy is not only due to need but for the sales experience. Train, teach your potential customers first then close the sale.  If you’re good enough, they will ask for more and make selling that much easier.

 

 

5. Build Trust

Trust is built on listening and understanding the customers wants and needs. Do what you say you are going to do. The potential customer must trust you in order to be your partner. You must nurture and care for them. Think authentic, relevant, and personal communications. Think of how you feel when you are do business with people you trust. Be yourself, don’t always feel sheltered by professionalism.  I am more likely to trust someone if I can tell they are real with me. Sharing a joke or a story may not only put them at ease but allow for certain barriers to be broken down and allow them to open up to you.

My Sales Tip: Get to know your prospects. Beyond the sales workflow and pain points, try to dig deeper. Favorite football team, hometown, hobbies even favorite sales tumblr. Find that personal touch and build that trust.

Every Wednesday, I shoot over this video to my potential customers and they always get a kick of it. Make your communication unique and engaging.

6. Knowledge is Power

 

 

But seriously, I cannot stress this one enough. Study, learn more about your customer and what they do and what they will need prior to chatting with them about your product. You should always be craving to learn more. Know and understand the ins and outs of your industry. Biggest pains, puns, latest innovations, selling strategies, best practices. This will give a fresh and insightful perspective for your potential customers. Always try to be the best at what you do day to day.

Master the crap out of your sales market. Read articles on your target industries, join webinars, go to a sales Meet-up, or network events in the area. Follow the top twitter accounts, top bloggers and influence leaders in the field. And soak it in and apply it to what you are doing. You will only become more successful as a sales professional and leverage that knowledge to become a thought leader within your industry.

Sales is truly an art. One can never be perfect at it and there is always room for growth and improvement. It takes years to become a master of sales. Be persistent, be transparent, teach, listen, build trust and throughout it all have your own voice.

Just remember, a good salesperson takes their job seriously and wants to be the at the top of their game. They are competitive and do not want to lose. Have conviction that what you are offering will greatly add to the prospects’ life, belief that this is the best offer the prospect can choose, determination to communicate that you are right and drive to close deals on deals on deals.

P.S. If you aren’t already – start Touting, for crying out loud.

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How to reach your Salesforce A-HA moment

I finally experienced my Salesforce A-HA moment. The realization that Salesforce is AWESOME and actually makes life 10x easier.

Before the BIG A- HA moment this was a pretty standard conversation at ToutApp.

TK: “Can you clean up Salesforce? Is Salesforce up to date?”

Me: “Yes… sorry I’ve been meaning to do that just haven’t had time. (my week excuse for avoiding Salesforce because it seemed like a beast to tackle. * I did see the end value, but the reality was I struggled to integrate Salesforce into my workflow, which resulted in it being “just another tab on my chrome”)”

My biggest piece of advice is take the time to set up Salesforce. Not halfway set it up, but go all the way. The hour or two (if you’re quick) or even the day you sacrifice will be worth it.

Three things to keep at the top of mind.

#1 You may need to tweak your workflow just a bit. Be flexible to change.
#2 Remember what has been successful in your sales process and incorporate these practices into your new Salesforce workflow.
#3 Mistakes are okay.

Let’s dive in…

#1 You may need to tweak your workflow just a bit. Be flexible to change.

Here’s how it all started. We sat down and decided to take advantage of the Salesforce Lead View. This is the moment my whole blog post was building up to!

Beforehand I’d been using opportunities and contacts, but without using leads these two views lost value.

Here’s how it works now:

The new lead comes in and another salesperson is about to discover how ToutApp will help them be more productive with their email and close more deals. Check out our tips on how to rock your lead gen here.

Whether it is a webinar lead or just one of our wonderful customers sending us a referral, the custom “New Leads” view shows me everyone who I should ultimately help be successful with ToutApp.

How do you manage leads and know who to follow up with?

Based on your own parameters here are some tips.

  1. Score leads. Some examples: qualified, unqualified, qualified- webinar lead, qualified- big deal, qualified- conference.
  2. Assign the lead owner to yourself or maybe it’s another person from your team. This makes it really easy to work from a lead list with your team. There is clear visibility to make sure all the leads are handled.
  3. Follow up with all your “qualified” leads at once by exporting a report from Salesforce and importing them into a ToutApp group. Then you can easily follow up with leads who are at the same stage of the sales process.

And finally convert qualified leads to contacts and create an opportunity (of course only if there is actually an opportunity there! Example… you’ve scored a demo.

Why is this such a game changer?

  • It is easy for leads to go cold pretty quickly, so being able to create a streamlined process for handling leads is key.
  • Scalability. When there is a clear, effective and simple process new guys can plug in.
  • I tweaked my workflow and was flexible to change. In the end now our team can handle more leads effectively. On a side note, I do have to give ToutApp templates some credit here for eliminating the time spent writing the same emails over and over.

#2 Remember what has been successful in your sales process and incorporate these practices into your new Salesforce workflow.

The biggest change for me is I start my day logging into Salesforce and jumping into the view for “New Leads”.

Although, Salesforce has changed my sales process the important thing to keep in mind is to not lose sight of the small practices that worked before.

Maybe this is as simple as a great template or asking the right questions on a call.

For ToutApp, our mantra is “Be Human”. I’ve made sure to not lose sight of this.

#3 Mistakes are okay.

I may have oversimplified the Salesforce setup just a bit in my post. The reality is either you or someone on your team needs to be Salesforce savvy or have the drive to tackle the ins and outs.

Mistakes are inevitable. It may take a few tries to get the filters perfect, mismark a lead, navigate through FAQ’s to find an answer or clean up some of the earlier mess.

We had some minor road bumps along the way and I am sure we’ll run into others, but here’s what it comes down to…

The conversation after the Salesforce AH-HA moment.

Me: “TK, I’ve come to the conclusion… Salesforce is GREAT. Now I know why everyone has been raving about it including you! This change just made my workflow way better.”

TK: “You should write a blog post about it.”

If you’re already a ToutApp user check out why you should integrate with Salesforce here.

If you’re a Salesforce user be sure to start your ToutApp Trial here to see how we help make email follow up easier and save time with your day-to- day emails.

Feel free to email me at tara@toutapp.com with any questions or share any of your own Salesforce tips!

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Introducing: The Sales Communications Dashboard

First of all, Happy Friday.

For those of you that are already ToutApp users, I hope you had a fantastic week of sales communications with new and exciting leads. Thanks to Tout’s Live Feed, you already know who your most engaged leads were, and have probably closed a few more deals than you normally would have since you focused your time on the right people.

For this Friday, as you reflect on how the week went and what you want to do differently next week, we want to give you something that helps synthesize how your sales communications went this week.


 

Today, we’re introducing something brand new that is going to take your sales game to the next level. Today, we’re announcing something takes all of that amazing analytics and tracking data around your sales emails and wraps it into one meaningful dashboard. Today, we’re announcing our real-time sales communications dashboard.

Although its unorthodox to release stuff on a Friday, we thought it would be great because as you wind down on your long week, you can go ahead and log into ToutApp Dashboard, click on the “This Week” button, and see how your whole week looked in terms of your sales communications.

Tout’s pulse dashboard will make meaning out of all those individual email views and clicks and tell you:

  1. Which times of the weeks were busiest for you
  2. Which times of the week your customers were most engaged
  3. How many emails you dealt with this week
  4. Which templates you used the most
  5. What kind of email content drove the most engagement
  6. Who your most engaged leads/prospects/customers are

And ofcourse, the dashboard was designed for Managers and Teams in mind first, so it’ll also help you tap into the sales communications across your organization and see how everyones doing as a whole.

We’ve put in a significant amount of investment into the underlying data infrastrucutre for processing our email and engagement data. We think this dashboard is just the beginning.

If you and your sales team aren’t on ToutApp yet, what are you waiting for? Get Touting.

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If you’re not using ToutApp for PR – You’re doing it wrong.

As a PR veteran, your pitches are awesome. You know this, and your clients know this – but the journalists you’re speaking to on a everyday basis don’t. Getting their attention in the first place is difficult enough. But gettting them to read through your whole email – let alone respond? Challenging.


 

 

If you’ve been in PR for years, you’ve amassed your own knowledge of what does and doesn’t work with your pitches, but with ToutApp, you’re getting actual data. Our solution lets you nurture relationships with reporters, tailor your emails to each recipient, email multiple journalists at once, and learn what does and doesn’t work in the world of PR pitches.

Email those pitches faster. 

You can quickly send personalized emails to journalists right from inside of Gmail or Outlook using ToutApp’s customizable email templates. And with ToutApp’s group email functionality you can send a single pitch to multiple reporters.

Here is how Toni Antonetti, Founder and CEO of Chicago PR uses Tout: 

I send out lots of story pitches, but I like to tailor them to individual reporters – if there’s anything the media hates, it’s blast emails! I can use the basic template but change it to refer a recent story by a particular editor. Or I can mention the timeliness of a story. I’ve been able to improce my open rates dramatically by noticing who opens which email and when.

Track those pitches.

ToutApp’s Live Feed gives you real-time intelligence into what those reporters are doing with your email at this very moment. By tracking down views, clicks and engagement, ToutApp automatically highlights the people you should be paying attention to and see how the journalist interacted with your pitch.

Ed Zitron, CEO and Founder of EZ-PR, is pitching all the time. And doesn’t go a day without Touting those pitches. Here is what Ed has to say about Tout:

I want to keep my emails as honest, upfront and efficient as possible and ToutApp lets me do that. Tout’s view, click and engagement tracking allows me to see, in a lot more transparent manner, what clients are doing well and what effort I am putting in different places.

Tim Cox, Principal, ZingPR uses ToutApp for all his media pitching, Why?

Because, in one easy to use app, I can easily manage client-specific media lists and pitches, schedule outreach, and then track engagement (opens and clicks) in real time. It’s really useful to see who has opened an email and even how many times he or she opened it – so I then know where to focus my follow-up activites.

What is even more equally useful for Tim is seeing who has not opened an email.

Why not? Was the subject line not appealing? Am I targeting the wrong person? ToutApp highlights those people who are not engaged.

Know what is resonating.

Think of the messages you send to introduce yourself to a journalist, follow up on a pitch or nuture a relationship with a client – ToutApp will help you become smarter with your email. Above all, we eliminate the uncertainity of how journalists reacted to your email. Thanks to our insights, you can measure what kind of messaging drives engagement and successful emails.

Peter Himler, CEO and Founder of Flatiron Communications, works with emerging and established companies seeking to capitalize on the latest tools and technologies available to the communications professional. 

Tout helps eliminate much of the uncertainty that has historically existed when PR pros emails a story idea to a journalist. What’s more, the app allows the sender to see how the journalists interacted with the emailed query. Needless to say, Tout may one day render the journalist-hated (and PR-dreaded) “follow-up” call obsolete.

Get smarter with your pitches – get Touting.

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Top 5 Email Mistakes You Need to Avoid

I recently sent out a BAD sales email.

Bad sales emails often go under the radar because most likely they won’t result in a reply or a sale.

It’s a bit easier to identify ideas around what some of our “best” emails look like based on positive responses they’ve led to in the past. To start writing better sales emails, it’s important to take a look into what doesn’t work. 

5 Email Mistakes that most likely will result in a “Delete”

1. Typos and basic grammar mistakes. When sending a sales email the impression you make is key, especially within your first communication. Typos and basic grammar mistakes = loss of credibility. The focus shifts from selling to “why is this person wasting my time with an email they didn’t edit.” Lesson learned from the BAD email I sent. This was the response my email resulted in: 

“…even if YOUR a pro.” 

 

You still rep Tout or can I call her out on this? 

Not the type of reply I was looking for… scoring a meeting would have been better. Simple grammar mistakes, such as Your vs. You’re can kill the value of a sales email instantly.

2. Mail merge fail. Similar to typos and grammar, the mail merge fail leads to automatic disregard of your email or just a good laugh. Here’s an email one of our Tout developers Steven recieved: 

Steven, Richard, As a ruby rails developer in the Bay Area, you are one of the most saught out engineers at the moment. Feels nice huh? Although with every positive, there are some negatives (you do probably get bombarded with recruiters all the time).

We are still wondering who Richard is…No one wants to read an email sent to Dave at Company A when your name is Ryan at Company B.

3. A long and boring email. Everyone is busy. No one wants to read a 5 paragraph essay from you. Tweet size emails. Keep your emails down to 3 short paragraphs. 

4. Don’t let marketing write your sales emails. While marketing emails may look fancy and visually appealing, they do not come off as personalized or forge building real relationships. Simply said your lead wants to know their is an actual pulse on the other end. Use Tout templates so YOU can create your own sales templates easily that look just like any email you’d send out from Outlook and Gmail.

5. No follow up. This one technically does not result in an automatic delete. How can you delete an email that hasn’t even been sent? Changes are you won’t recieve a reply or close a deal after sening out just one email. Strategic follow up is key using a combination of email and phone. Well, unfortunately I can’t go back and “un-send” the BAD email I sent.

3 Tips for Successful Sales Emails

  1. Your subject line. The subject line is like a book cover. While, we are told never to judge a book by its cover, this does not hold true for subject lines. Subjecy lines make it or break it. A good subject line will give your email that “extra-edge” when getting noticed in your leads’ busy inbox.
  2. The intro. An email intro is key. Why should your lead care? Make your intro about them. Mention a referral, boost their ego, keep it simple…just don’t jump into a detailed explanation of your company.
  3. Follow up. You need to follow up. Here’s the catch to being successful, “Stop touching base and checking in.” This is the best advice I learned from following sales influencer John Barrows. Make sure you are following up with an intent to move along the sales and have a call to action.

How to follow up from a sales email

Did my lead or prospect get my email? This is the biggest question often faced even after spending the time to write an awesome sales email.

  • Use ToutApp’s Live Feed to see when your email is opened, clicked or when your lead is on slide 5 of your sales deck. Now you can spend you time following up with the most engaged people with a timed call or email.
  • We oftentimes forget about the leads or contacts we email and never respond. Maybe a lead you’re scheduling a meeting with. Emails get lost, pushed aside, and forgotten just like snail mail. Most likely these people may be interested, opening your email multiple times, clickng on the links in your email to learn more and never take the next steps to reply.
  • Use Tout templates. Make it easy for yourself to follow up by creating templates.

Sales emails are tough – let’s face it. Spend time selling, not wasting time wondering if Richard and Steven read your email.

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