Sales Training: When You Walk the Talk, Expect to Stub Your Toe Occasionally

By John Aberle | Business Lifestyle

Mar 07

John Aberle enjoys a sunny day in the park, 12/20/08

John Aberle enjoys a sunny day in the park, 12/20/08

I admit to having egg on my face. You probably gathered from this headline that I believe in walking the talk. I have put in hours on the copy in my website to be sure that I approach everything – as best I know how – from the viewpoint of “What’s in it for me?” where the “me” is you the reader. Additionally, when I do sales training, I constantly emphasize the importance of benefits instead of features.

Well, last night I sent off a prospecting letter for a job I would like to get, even if it means convincing the prospect that they need such a position. Typical salesman, I see the need or suspect there might be a need. Now I have to find out if the prospect agrees that they do indeed want such help. I was really excited about approaching them to sell them on my services. There in lay the potential problem. I got so excited that I didn’t double check my benefits statements.

It wasn’t until I was listening to DeBorah Beatty’s interview of Barry Friedman of that I realized I failed to do what I teach clients to do. I sent a list of my accomplishments, which I expected my prospect to translate into benefits instead of my doing it for her.

Now in my favor, I did propose a benefit in the first part of my email. It could have been stronger though, like, “Would you like to take more time off to enjoy your success? My management skills and experience will enable you to leave the office with peace of mind that your business will be thriving when you return.”

The other positive was that the tone of my letter carried the viewpoint of what I wanted to be able to do for them. So that’s why I only take credit for stubbing my toe instead of scraping my nose, elbows and knees. Ah, well, that’st the other part of what I tell clients to do. After a sales call, ask, “What could I have done better?”

Here are some quick tips of how to improve on our sales and marketing letters:
• Have people you respect for their writing ability, especially marketing copy, review your letter or email before sending it.
• Sleep on it and re-read it – preferably with a notecard in front of you that says: “So what?” (If it doesn’t answer the question, “So what?” it’s not a benefit.
• Have a checklist for what you want each propsecting email to contain:
o Benefits — be sure you stated them clearly.
o Call to action — “Request your gift download now.”
o Ways to contact you — set up your email signature to include phone and email address at the least.

Recognize that despite your best efforts, sometimes you won’t do everything “right.” Accept it as a learning experience: review it then take action to ensure you avoid that mistake in the future. I gave three suggestions above that I hope will help you – as well as me – be sure your communications with your prospects are as effective as you can make them. And while you’re at it, request my report, “Easier Sales: 7 Steps to Winning Customers,” in the box at the top of the righthand column. May your sales be fun and mutually rewarding.


About the Author

My first Kindle eBook, How Relationship Selling Rewards Small Businesses, went live on April 24, 2012. I've lived a lifetime of service and spiritual search so it's natural for me to incorporate these attitudes into my work. I believe that selling and marketing are spiritual service when done with a heart-centered, relationship selling approach. All of business success comes down to building strong relationships.