One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned over the past year is how powerful storytelling in sales can be.
I always try to incorporate stories when I’m describing a product for a few reasons:
When I’m communicating with a new acquaintance (especially when I’m pitching), I try to humanize myself as much as possible. One way to do this by making yourself more relatable. Bullet points and statistics are not relatable. A story about that crazy family member that always has a few too many beers at every family party is. Typically, the more we can relate to someone, the more we like them…and people buy from people they like. This is why I always try to supplement information with relatable narratives from my own life.
Prior to SinglePlatform, one of my biggest business development mistakes was failing to include a measure within my hitlist that allowed me to prioritize opportunities.
For those foreign to the concept, a hitlist (or pipeline) comprises of all of the companies that you could potentially partner with, sell to etc. It’s essentially a list of targets.
Inevitably there are going to be some target deals that move the needle for your company more than others. Doing a deal with Google, will probably make your company more valuable than doing a deal with a startup that may not be around in a year. Thus, as you build out your hitlist it’s important to be able to quantify how much value opportunities might drive …
Every time I’m pitching someone, I always try to make fun of my life in some way. In fact, I intentionally seek out opportunities to do this.
A lot of business development and sales is about likability. Given two equal products, buyers will purchase from the seller they like more. Hence, by making myself more likable, I increase my odds of succeeding.
There are many components to likability; some which we can control, others that we can’t (like being 6’4, tan, and really, really ridiculously good-looking – crap). One aspect of likability we can control is how relatable we are.
How Being Relatable Enhances Likability
People like people that they can identify with. There’s an inherent sense of understanding injected into an interaction when you …
One of the biggest fallacies I see amongst professionals who write cold emails is their failure to follow up. Knowing how to write an effective follow up email effectively is probably the easiest way to increase your response rate if you aren’t already doing it.
Make It Easy
The optimal way to follow up to an unanswered email is by replying to the first one you sent. This practice allows you to:
Keep the followup short
Make the initial context easy for the reader to find
Emphasize that they have not responded to you
By initially following up on a separate thread, you’re putting an onus on the reader. Often they didn’t read or forgot the initial email. As a result, when they receive …
In the business development world, the world silence usually has a negative connotation, but when you’re pitching it can be a good thing.
People are naturally uncomfortable with silence during a phone conversation with a new acquaintance. When they encounter it, they don’t know what to do…so they just start talking.
Often there are valuable pieces of information that prospects hold close to their chest. An example might be how interested they are in buying your product or service. Just like on a car lot, they might not want to seem too interested to maintain bargaining leverage. Other times there’s questions that are just awkward to ask directly.
You can use the silence disposition to your advantage in these type of scenarios. Purposefully …
One mistake people make in BD and sales is they assume prospects speak their language.
“We provide a free API….”
“It’s the simplest CMS on the market…”
These are presumptuous statements. I’d like to think that the prospects I reach out to know what an API or CMS is, but it’s just not always the case. If understanding my value proposition is contingent upon familiarity with specific terminology I risk losing an opportunity. Why? Because people are too lazy to investigate something they’re not familiar with. That’s why it’s imperative to communicate your value in such a way that anyone can understand. It sounds incredibly obvious, yet I see people make this mistake time and time again.
For initial outreach I aim to include …
In the first part of this post, I talked about ways to prevent prospects from going cold. The reality is that even when you do all these things, people will still go cold…even after they act super interested initially.
Here are a few tactics I’ve used to reinvigorate a cold conversation, starting with the least obvious first.
Blame Yourself/Act Like It’s Your Fault
Again, my thesis is that people who initially seem interested go cold because they’re weary of confrontation. They’d rather just ignore someone than say “not right now” or “I really like this but my boss thinks its not worth our time.” Communicating these type of responses makes them uncomfortable. They anticipate you’ll react by continuing to sell and they don’t …