Editor’s Note: This is the ninth article in a ten-part series identifying the best sales techniques for 2015. To view the rest of the series, click here.
20. Be smart about email subject lines.
In the maze of corporate America, it’s sometimes difficult to get a decision-maker on the phone. If a gatekeeper or assistant tells you that the best way to reach a particular prospect is by email, by all means send one. To maximize your chance of a response, make sure you have an attention-grabbing subject line. Go to the newsstand and look at some magazine headlines. Use them as a model for your own. Also, choose subject lines that ask questions or include the prospect’s name. If you have a referral, put the referrer’s name in the subject line (i.e., “Jane Jones recommended I contact you”).
— Wendy Weiss, President, ColdCallingResults.com
19. Revamp your lead magnets.
Offering free whitepapers to generate leads is not a new tactic. Internet marketers have been giving away freebies to collect contact information for years, and it can still be an effective way to add new prospects to your pipeline. Advisors, however, should not underestimate the importance of a whitepaper’s content. A whitepaper could be your first chance to share your expertise and insights with a prospect, so in some ways it’s like the meeting before your first meeting. You could blow your prospects away with actionable advice that speaks to your credibility and value as an advisor, or you could shortcut your whitepaper development with a bunch of useless fluff. Unfortunately, downloading a whitepaper only to discover that it just doesn’t live up to the hype is all too common. If you pursue a whitepaper tactic, do it right, even if it means hiring a writer to help. This whitepaper could be your first impression, so make it count!
— John Pojeta, Vice President of Business Development, The PT Services Group
18. Find the right seminar topic.
Finding the right seminar topic will contribute to 90 percent of your success, from the first meeting all the way to your prospect becoming a client. Here’s how to do it.
- Reflect and write down what you love talking about and teaching to your clients. Passion is powerful; we should sincerely enjoy every opportunity we have to share our knowledge with those who are seeking it.
- Go to your clients or a client advisor board and ask them what their friends are concerned about in their financial lives. You might be surprised to find out how many great ideas are not being used in the seminar marketplace that your clients will tell you about.
- Search the Internet and find the current topics your target audience wants to learn about. There are many sources, but the two I like are Facebook and Twitter, because of the analytics and real-time data.
- Reverse the order by doing the research and then taking a list of topics to your clients or client advisor board and asking them to rank what they believe their friends would want to learn about. You can even ask them to take a week or so. Go to these friends to find out exactly what they want to learn, and rank the topics.
— Jason Jenkins, Co-founder and Partner, Jenkins Wealth Management
17. Engage, don’t sell.
The way you word and present your referral requests is critical. Here’s an example: A large insurance agency was smart enough to touch base with their customers and ask why they were not referring friends. They learned that customers felt the referral program was a marketing gimmick. They felt odd about sharing something for a freebie. With this information, the company re-launched the program showcasing tips from actual customers on how they manage their insurance needs. They asked their customers to share this with their friends. The program was a raging success and the company later thanked each customer with a gift as a token of appreciation. They spread the word and established loyalty.
16. Choose your words carefully.
The single biggest problem in corporate America is distance from customer. Your language can lessen the gap. Words that tested well two years ago, like “certified,” no longer have quite the same impact. “Exceptional,” “extraordinary,” “excellence” all tested well in 2015 — they are not overused or hackneyed. “Forward thinking,” “innovative,” “visionary,” and “creative” are also impactful.
In contrast, “groundbreaking” is an example of a word to lose.
Other words recommended as carrying business currency in our times include
“A lifetime of;” “the cost of everyday life;” “no excuses;” “real/genuine/authentic;” “setting priorities;” “our mission/commitment;” and “the simple truth.”
— Frank Luntz, Luntz Global
15. Make your emails readable.
Write like you talk. When you talk, you use short words, short sentences and short paragraphs. Make most sentences active, not passive voice.
You would never say: “Reclining on the floor covering is a Felis domesticus.” You would say: “The cat is on the mat.”
If you wouldn’t say it, don’t write it either.