If I was evaluating a technology-based sales person with a lengthy resume, I would base it on more recent sales history – no farther back than the last 10-15 years. Back 20+ years ago computer and technology sales people could boast big impressive sales numbers because sales were “easy” compared to selling in today’s highly competitive marketplace. Why? The world was switching over from paper and fax machines to computers and networks. Plus, connecting to the early stages of the Internet. Every company was buying technology and computer related products.
Back then the sales approach was totally different – you could make an easy sale on computers and networks based on price or superior technology because it was changing so quickly. Companies were buying entire telecommunications and computers systems – they were all basically building from scratch.
Now successful new-age sales sells the “value” of a company’s technology – because there isn’t as much difference between the competition as there was in the early technology days. Yes, most companies now think they have something new and different, but typically not different enough for the customer to recognize or understand the difference without a lot of marketing and sales communication.
A new-age sales person articulates value propositions and creates the perception in the customer’s mind that the product and company is unique and offers a better value than the competition. That takes additional time, effort, and patience
Additionally, it is equally important for the new-age sales person to partner with marketing because a successful sales person is part of the sales process and not the whole process. They are patient and learn how to become an important part of the “social media engagement” process. The new-age sales person understands how social media marketing and a company’s website are now an integral part of the entire sales process, as they are not the lone-wolf sales person glad-handing and selling like the good ole’ days.
Whether you’re a millennial or an old dog, here are some easy and new tricks to get higher readership out of your emails.
This blog’s subject line (which could also be an email), uses these 7 tricks that are likely to get more readership:
- Putting quotation marks around a phrase or statement increases readership
- The word “How” makes people think (rightly) that they will get some advice.
- The word “these” makes the advice sound specific.
- “Simple” makes it sound easy – and the word “easy” in the subhead also increases readership – because people hate hard work.
- “Tricks” makes it seem easy as well.
- The phrase “get your emails read” increases readership because it makes the sentence active – that simple approach does the trick.
- The word “your” helps, too, because people are interested in themselves.
Eight more tricks you can use …
1. When providing a list, use numbers instead of bullets to increase readership. Readers typically finish reading a numbered list to see if something resonates with them – and refer to the number of solutions or tips like I did using the number “7.”
2. Use the words “you” or “your” it’s certain to increase readership.
3. But that’s not all. (Use bold text for subheads or as an introduction to paragraphs like I did in this long-winded blog – it breaks up lengthy text and creates more visual interest).
4. The subhead needs to encourage people to start reading your full story – it’s a bit like an appetizer in a restaurant.
5. Does the use of questions keep people reading? Yes, because they suggest answers to come, so does a list of specific examples – because when someone suggests something to you, you often say to yourself, “What do you mean?”
6. Did you notice that the paragraphs in this blog vary in length? One is only nine words long. The mind enjoys variety, and the empty spaces allows the eyes to rest.
7. “Use simple words everyone knows. Then everyone will understand.”
8. Should the writing style be the same as casual chat? Typically it’s more formal – but writing is really nothing more than a well-organized speech. And when you write you have time to think things out and arrange them in ways you cannot in the rush of a speech.
Wether you are new to the game or an old dog learning new tricks, keep your message simple and to the point – because people have little time to dig for what they are looking for.
When writing text for a company’s products, clearly communicate the value and benefits of a product. Figure out what the benefits and advantages really are, and don’t just creatively describe the features as given to you by the company’s engineers. Most copywriters and marketers don’t differentiate between features, benefits and advantages because it’s like pulling teeth to figure out why a customer needs a product and why they should buy it. Yes, it takes time to think that out, but think how long it took to design and develop the product – and the marketing of the product is just as important as the product itself, so it needs proper marketing effort for the product to sell.
The difference between the features, benefits and advantages:
A Feature is the function of a product – specifically what it can do.
A Benefit is why a product’s feature is desired, needed or a good thing.
An Advantage is why someone should buy the product and why it is a better choice than the competition.
Here’s a simple example of using the above definitions:
Feature: This kayak is made out of hardened fiberglass
Benefit: So it won’t ever leak or break
Advantage: Meaning you can take on more extreme rapids than ever before
So many times I see the features of a product called a benefit, and or features mixed in with benefits and written under the heading of benefits. Clearly communicate the differences between a Feature, Benefit and an Advantage – and let the follow-up info for responses to inquiries be used to fill in additional information on the features. Give customers a reason the product is needed and is better value than the competition’s product.
A 2016 Pulitzer Prize Winning photo. Take a close look at this image; check out the expression of the two men in the front of the boat, kids waving their clothes, two men trying to keep the boat for capsizing and especially the lighting and composition – it tells a story, truly a picture that speaks a thousand words. Congratulations to Sergey Ponomarev of the New York Times.
(If you ever think your day sucks, trade places with them). Caption to the photo: Migrants arrive by a Turkish boat near the village of Skala, on the Greek island of Lesbos. The Turkish boat owner delivered some 150 people to the Greek coast and tried to escape back to Turkey; he was arrested in Turkish waters. The New York Times – November 16, 2015.
Sony’s ad is slick and well produced, but does it communicate its value to the consumer? No! When I watched the commercial, the main actor looks like a hit-man stalking a ballerina and getting ready to take her out. When the video shows a single ballerina dancing in the darkness be tracked by a phone-type device and the voice over asks, “Can you feel it — the power — all in your hands — trust the power”, I realized it wasn’t just a phone but a targeting device for a drone. Does the Sony Xperia have more advanced and useful technology than the iPhone? How would I know from that commercial?
Sony mentions these two features; curved glass and seamless metal. Ok, so show me – I didn’t see anything curved and was the closeup of a metal rectangle rising up from a brushed steel plate the high tech-desk of the hit man or his phone? And Sony never did tell me why those two features have value to me. The art direction of the ad is so overproduced with effects, that I don’t know what the Sony phone’s camera can or can’t do. It seems it can shoot a ballerina jumping in midair and cowboys riding on horses, but what percentage of their target audience is shooting ballerinas and horses? And what about all the other video effects in the ad, can it do those too? Sony creatives need to take a lesson from Apple and focus on the value to the user of what makes their phone useful and how it can improve their customer’s life experiences. Sony, listen up, you are not selling beer where you can get all creative and sell just your phone’s image, but you need to create an emotional connection with your customers that communicates how your phone can change people’s lives.
How to create a video testimonial of a client who is hundreds of miles away – for very little cost: Ok, the “right way” to do a testimonial video is to hire a video crew and bring them to the customer’s location – that is also very costly and may not be within your client’s marketing budget, nor the expense be a cost-effective marketing ROI. Here’s an alternative: I called my client’s customer, who was on the opposite coast, and recorded our 20-25 minute conversation, (using a Flip HD video camera recording an iPhone in “Speaker” mode). I asked questions, he had some great responses and I edited our conversation down to less than 4 minutes, and rearranged the audio so it flowed better. Yes, the audio sounds like it is over the phone – but also adds to being more authentic. If the audio sounds to polished, then it may not sound believable. I added some still photos, stock videos and a branded video opening and close — done, and the client was very happy with the result.
I could do that for you, (call your client’s customers and create a value-based testimonial). See the example video below. Just call Gary at 727.409.2326, to add testimonial videos to your services.
The New Year marks a time for reflecting on the past year and contemplating what we learned from the last 365 days to make the coming year even better. Yes, it’s a time to celebrate past success, but it’s also a time for bold moves and fresh starts. It’s a time for dreams and friendships both old and new. It’s an opportune time to raise a toast to those who share your business success and those who cherish your personal happiness and hopes for the future.
The New Year marks a new beginning. New people to meet, new adventures to enjoy, and new memories to create. Here’s wishing you the gift of peace and prosperity throughout 2016, and wishing you a Happy New Year!