Archives for March 2011

Image only emails – why???

I’ve received two emails in quick succession today that left me wondering if I’m out of step with the rest of the world…

Do you receive emails that look like this:

where you are clearly expected to download their images – otherwise you can’t see the message.  Or this one that has lots of images:

Clearly the sender is expecting me to download the images in order to read their sales message.  But why would I?

The format of the email immediately marks it to me as a promotional message that does not even have the courtesy of explaining what it’s all about before I have to take action to read it.  Forget it – DELETE!

This is part of a wider concern over the sender’s views being paramount when considering communication.  In both these instances the sender is most concerned that their emails look “great” and so have failed to grasp that 80% to 90% of their audience are going to see what I showed you above.  If they had paused to consider their transmission medium and audience, they would have realised that a large part of their message should be text that is displayed whether the recipient downloads images or not…

I further advocate putting images on the right hand side of the email or at the bottom so that if they are not displayed, the email is still legible and the message gets across to the 40% to 50%  of their audience who read the email in the preview pane but don’t download their images.

I prefer to get my message read over showing off my design skills.  One brings me business, the other… !

‘Email Selling’ – comparing apples with apples!

Email system providers are often very good at developing great, feature rich email and communications platforms. Even if it’s a great system what they are often less good at is making clear how you generate profit and business from them. As one of our contacts has said; Getting it right is one thing. Just doing it and following up is another.

“the key skill is getting the message right and to all the right people. And that’s still up to me”.

Most well respected email marketers tend to focus on and be satisfied with generating email and web clickthroughs. The traditional approach says:

  1. Decide who your whole market is (eg. Facilities Managers in companies of more than 100 staff, Sales Directors in Southern England, etc.)
  2. Acquire their contact details. If you already know how to build a list of clean, opted in contacts, we suggest you start here now. But if you don’t, talk to us and we’ll show you.
  3. Send a series of emails to this contact list, gathering response data (open and click data as you go).
  4. Then they will get in touch with you and buy – right?

Wrong! These contacts, if they are interested, will click through on the links you include in the email but many of them will never get in touch with you.

Our aim at Nett Sales is to introduce you to ‘email selling’ – sending short emails that share knowledge and advice, to help you find, convert and retain customers. As a company that can really show you how to send short emails to get more sales, you can engage us or ask for help in getting the best out of your email and sales campaigns; whichever email provider you use.

So, now you might begin to see how you could send a series of emails to your contact lists, to share knowledge, market insights and resources with them. Your aim is to build your credibility in their eyes over a period of months. So then you call up the ones that have clicked on links as they are leads?

Again No!

What these contacts have done is to make an “Expression of Interest”. They may be nosey but with no need, bored, vaguely interested or not interested right now. All these contacts require a qualifying call to discuss the issue raised in the email they clicked on. This is not a sales call – view it as a customer service call.

Then (finally!) contacts that express interest, engage with you and are qualified in conversation  (they have a need, budget and authority) are the leads that get fed to the sales team and get turned into orders.

The remainder of the contacts are recycled, sent next month’s email (or targeted follow ups) and can be re-qualified time and again until they are ready to be fed to the sales team.

Now that is a repeatable process to feed the sales team with leads!

To see more on this new sales process follow this link. And if you are looking for advice on retaining or regularly communicating with your contacts, take a look here.

Five simple rules to help you succeed in sales

Here at Nett Sales we are always looking to broaden our skill set by employing different selling techniques. This week I have been reading ‘You can’t teach a kid to ride a bike at a seminar’ by David H. Sandler, I will be posting information and useful techniques as I read the book, I hope you find it useful!

Before reading the book I did some research and found many testimonials like these:

“We have consistently grown 15 to 30% per year with virtually no attrition of clients.” – W. Scott Gantt, President, Benefit Controls of the Carolinas, Inc.

“(Jim) helped me and my sales team to raise our sales by over 25% during the first year.” – Harvey Eden

“My business has doubled since I began the program.” – Lou Amico, President, L.A. Management Company, LLC

“After one year in Sandler our sales jumped 30% and now after three years in the program sales continue to climb.” – Rhett Seel, SVP, Bonitz Contracting

Obviously these were testimonials for the ‘face to face sales training’. Is the book equally helpful?!

Sandler likens teaching someone to sell to learning to ride a bike. You can think about it all you like (attend all the seminars in the world) but ultimately, the only way to get better at selling is….Selling! You have to put yourself out there, taking yourself outside of your comfort zone in order to grow as a salesperson.

So, down to business, the 5 key concepts for “mastering the sales dance” are:

  1. Qualify your prospects
  2. Extract your prospects “pain”
  3. Verify the prospect has money
  4. Be sure your prospect is a decision maker
  5. Match your service or product to the prospect’s “pain”

I will break down each of these 5 points in my next posts with my take on how to implement them successfully.

I hate this…

There is nothing that makes me mad more than someone telling me that they are “allowed” to send me email because… This is a good (or bad) example:

Maybe they are legally allowed to send me an email – but why rub my nose in it?

And to make matters worse, I know I’m not in their address book and there is no way that anyone will have recommended me to them.  They’ve found my email address by using a “bot” to trawl the web automatically and grab it from a “contact us” page.  I know this because that’s the only place this email address is used.

So, what to learn from this email:

lesson 1: Don’t lie to potential customer in your email.  No one wants to deal with liars!

Lesson 2: This email was the equivalent of an advert beside the road.  Boring, bland general and talking about the advertiser.  Don’t do any of these things.  Talk about the recipient, their challenges and give them knowledge that can help them.  Don’t know what their challenges are or what knowledge can help them?  Don’t email them till you do!

Fuelling your sales engine

Sales teams need new leads.  A lead is a new opportunity to engage in a sales discussion with a new or existing contact.

Sales is an engine that takes leads (raw commodity) and turns them into orders for the business to fulfil.  Depending on the business, sales may need 3, 5, 10, 20 or 100 leads to “make” an order.

But who in the business is responsible for providing the sales team with these new leads?

In a traditional company model, the marketing department is running campaigns that will raise awareness of company / product / service and cause potential customers to get in touch.  A percentage of these inbound enquiries will turn into leads which then feed sales.  If sales need more leads, marketing undertake more activities.

But what if marketing does not exist, or is not producing the leads that sales require?  Another model is required…

What are the options?

1) Sales can generate their own leads. This requires (often expensive) sales resource to “hit the phones” in the hope of uncovering leads from yellow pages, old customers, competitors, industry publications, etc, etc…
2) Pay a telemarketing firm to call on your behalf
3) Use social media to generate leads (good luck :))

And that’s about it…

But here is a different approach.  Decide who your whole market is (eg Facilities Managers in companies of more than 100 staff, Sales Directors in Southern England, etc.) and acquire their contact details.  If you already know how to build a list of clean, opted in contacts, we suggest you start here now. But if you don’t, talk to us and we’ll show you.

This should give you tens of thousands of contacts who fit your customer profile but who have probably never heard about you.  But this contact list is too big to telephone everyone economically…

So send a series of emails to this contact list, sharing knowledge, market insights and resources with them.  The aim is to build your credibility in their eyes over a period of months.  Then they will get in touch with you and buy – right?  Wrong!  These contacts, if they are interested, will click through on the links you include in the email but won’t get in touch with you.

So then you call up the ones that have clicked on links as they are leads?  No!  What these contacts have done is to make an “Expression of Interest”.  They may be nosey but with no need, bored, vaguely interested or interested right now.  All these contacts require a qualifying call to discuss the issue raised in the email they clicked on.  This is not a sales call – view it as a customer service call.

Then (finally!) contacts that in this call express interest and qualify (they have a need, a budget and authority) are the leads that get fed to the sales team and get turned into orders.

The remainder of the contacts are recycled by next months email and can be re-qualified time and again until they are ready to be fed to the sales team.

Now that is a repeatable process to feed the sales team with leads!

To see more on this new sales process follow this link . And if you are looking for advice on retaining or regularly communicating with your contacts, take a look here .