5 Tips to Master the Art of Cold Emailing

Prospecting either over the phone or email has changed drastically over the last two decades. In the modern world, the term is more flexible and encompasses unsolicited outreach as a whole. For some cases, dialing up a non-qualified prospect might be a good option, but in other circumstances it may not. It all depends on your industry and the target market.

1 in 50 business owners list their phone as their preferred method of contact. A long time ago, when cold callers were reaching prospective clients on their office lines,  cold calling was the best means of communication. Today, with more individuals relying on their personal smart phone devices for work, sales calls from an unknown number feel more intrusive. The ubiquity of caller ID also makes these attempts easier to screen.

If you are one of those industries that has a difficult time with cold calling, cold emailing may be the solution for you. But of course, breaking through crowded inboxes is a difficult task of its own. Social media can be effective, but here too exists a subtle balance between being useful and obnoxious. We are here to offer up practical cold emailing tips you can use today.

An effective cold email does five things. It should:

 

1. Tailor the message to the recipient

You need to do some research. But there’s a right way and a wrong way to do that. Personalizing your email blast means that you’ve thought about who the recipient is,  what interests them, and what products/services they may need — you’ve created a “working profile” about the recipient. I say “working profile” on purpose because it is not set in stone and should be changed frequently as the relationship evolves. This shows them you have put work into understanding them.

 

2. Validate Yourself

When we meet a stranger or get an email from them, we first want to find out who they are and why they matter. Having a connection that validates your product/service is the strongest form of social proof you can offer to prospective client you are cold emailing. If you have any direct connections, mention them. A mutual connection means you are no longer a stranger.

 

3. Keep it Short

Keep the email short and sweet – 2-4 sentences; 5 sentences at the MOST. Anything beyond 4 sentences will see your response rates decline. Include visuals, such as videos, infographics, cartoons, photographs etc. Visuals make information easy on the eyes for recipients.

 

4. Add as Many Details in Signature

Your email signature needs to include your business address, links to social media profiles, and contact information. All elements must be present to build trust and credibility with the person reading your cold email.

 

5. Include Post Scripts

Post Scripts are useful in that you can use them to ask to speak to someone else. This also serves as a way to fulfill the opt-out responsibility in your email and still keeping it personalized. A lot of people will read the P.S. before the rest of the email. A good example of something to add to post scripts is a call to action for a white paper or enewsletter.

 

Easily create professional email marketing campaigns and email templates, manage subscribers, and send to unlimited contacts all for one flat fee. Click here for more info.

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How to Make Successful Cold Calls

What do the best cold calls have in common?

3 things: persistence, charisma, and product and industry knowledge

But that’s not enough to get the prospect to listen and not to hang up.

In your description, you asked how a prospect who is guarded can trust a complete stranger. That’s a good question. And in my opinion, the answer to this question is key.

To make a successful cold call, you should not feel as if you are a stranger.

Of course, you are still technically a stranger because most probably your prospect doesn’t know who you are and what you do until you call the. But you can change the dynamics by doing any of the following:

  • Research about your prospects and personalize your call
  • Write a customized sales script
  • Find a referrer

Make sure that before you cold call, you know relevant facts about your prospect. Make sure that you have read about their company and their industry. If you know a lot about your prospects, you can ask better questions. Talk less and listen more.

And one of the best ways to not be a stranger in cold calls? Find someone that can refer you to their friends, family members etc. Referrals are a good way to earn your prospect’s trust immediately. Look for a network and ways to connect.

Most Important Cold Calling Tip

Don’t jump to memorization.

The first thing most cold callers do when presented with a script is jump straight to memorization because they do not want to be caught reading from a script word for word. Improper memorization techniques are the primary reasons sellers end up being insincere and inauthentic. An experienced actor will be the first to tell you that they read through a script several times before attempting to memorize it. This allows for thoughts, ideas and questions to develop naturally as he familiarizes himself with the content. Get the big picture of the script first and let memorization be a natural byproduct of that familiarity.

It’s quite common to think that over-practicing a script will cause you to sound phony or insincere. This belief is simply a misconception  Knowing your lines well enough so that you don’t have to struggle for the words or meaning frees you up to place your energy on delivering your message in an impactful and persuasive way.

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3 Common Issues with CRM Implementation Solved by InfoFlo

If your business is suffering from any of the following — disorganization, low ROI, high operational costs, and lack of productivity and customer service – it’s time to invest in a CRM system. Having a a tool that manages all of your customer relationships helps streamline your business, improve staff productivity, and can lead to greater revenue and growth. The following are some of the most common problems our customers faced before implementing InfoFlo CRM.

 

1. Losing or Forgetting Important Information

Disorganized information is an insidious drain on your company’s wallet. When life throws us a curveball, we tend to accumulate clutter and become disorganized, in the process. It’s happens to everyone. We become ill, a family member becomes ill, we are assigned a project that requires heavy paperwork, or our filing cabinets are running out of space.   With CRM software, you eliminate all the paper clutter by keeping everything in one digital place (a central database). When a new lead comes in, a file for that contact is automatically created and stored in a safe place for easy access at a later date.

 

2. Employees Resistant to Change

One of the main reasons why the customer relationship management (CRM) implementation failure rate continues to be high is user resistance. The predominant reasons for this are: fear of losing job to automation;  the fear of CRM being too high-tech; it delivers a blow to established work habits. Failure to convince employees of the benefits of CRM often results in passive resistance and low employee-adoption rates.  Effectively communicating the benefits of CRM to users should bolster their confidence in and comfort levels with the new system. It’s crucial to “sell” those benefits internally both before and during a CRM initiative. Companies must not only create buy-in, but must also maintain users’ enthusiasm.

The InfoFlo CRM implementation team provides comprehensive online training services to all new customers and their employees. We also provide customer support over the phone and via chat/email for issues that arise after implementation. We don’t rest until you are fully trained and satisfied with using the CRM product on your own.

 

3. Breaking the Bank

Many small business owners perceive CRM systems to be costly and overly complex.  And indeed, we’ve found some are too difficult to learn and expensive. Those CRM tools are better suited for larger corporations. Our recommendation is to shop around and make comparisons. But before you do that, we recommend you make a list of all the features you will require to run your business more proficiently. Once you’ve done that contact a few CRM companies to receive quotes on products that feature your MUSTS.

What helps us stand out from our competitors are two things: 1) one time fee and 2) free upgrades for life. We work within your budget to customize a CRM solution that works for every business size.

Check out our product comparison charts to learn more about what makes us stand out from the crowd:

InfoFlo vs. ACT! CRM

InfoFlo vs. Zoho CRM

 

If you want to find out more about what InfoFlo can do for your business, register today for your free 30 day trial. No strings attached; registration for the free trial does not necessitate credit cards, commitments or contracts.

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10 Questions to Make Testimonials Authentic

Tips for Soliciting Authentic Testimonials

Testimonials are  powerful and cost effective selling tools you can use as marketing arsenal. They will prove that you are legit. Your prospective clients will be much more inclined to do business with you if you can show examples of their peers achieving success with your help.

Here are ten questions you can ask your customers to get meaningful, authentic testimonials for your business’ products or services:

1. What made you to choose my business to assist you with your needs?

2. What were your preconceived notions about using our products/services?
3. How has you perception changed since you hired me/bought my product/service?

4. What do you like most about working with me/using the product/service?

5. Did you expect it would work as well as it did?

6. Did you have any objections/hesitations before you decide to hire us? If so, what were they? How did we overcome your hesitation?

7. What are the three biggest benefits of working with us?

8. If you were to recommend me to a colleague, friend, or business associate, how would you describe the way I provided my service to you?

9. Is there anything else you’d like to add that I haven’t yet asked about?

10. Can I share this information on our website?

If you don’t have any client testimonials on your site, it’s not too late to go out and solicit your customers for some. Use some or all of the questions noted above to increase the trust visitors have in your services and products and increase your sales dramatically!

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How to Deal with Unnecessary Disruptions and Increase Productivity

Years ago, the telephone and the occasional drop-in visitor were the main sources of interruptions for a manager. Then email came along, followed by cell phones, instant messaging, etc. Now managers are inundated with beeps and bells and ring tones. Sure there have been productivity improvements as a result of these tools. However, due to misuse and abuse, often they actually hinder productivity.

Too many managers today just blow with the wind. They may come to work with a list of things to accomplish that day, but typically the list just grows as managers drift from one interruption to the next. The only way to make a dent in their to-do lists is to put in extra hours. Extra work time breeds resentment and eventually burnout, resulting in a whole new set of problems.

Smart phones, social media, and instant messaging are not evil, and they are most certainly here to stay. They can be extremely helpful if used in the right ways. The following are a few tips to help avoid the pitfalls and improve your effectiveness.

1. Set Aside Time for Disruptions

Since you know that, sooner or later, at least one of your colleagues or customers is going to interrupt you when you’re doing something, set some time aside specifically for them and their needs.

 

2. Try to Postpone Non-Emergencies

Once you’ve identified an interruption as something that needs attention and not just a waste of time, try to postpone your involvement.  Take a moment to understand what the distraction involves. Is anyone dying? Is there a deadline being missed? If it turns out the situation is not an emergency, postpone your involvement or delegate as much of the work to somebody who is available.

 

3. Turn All Counterproductive Electronic Devices Off

Before embarking on an important task, turn everything off! This will eliminate the possibility of a distraction killing your productivity. The key is to concentrate on the work at hand.

 

4. Turn Off All Notification Devices

Resist the urge to answer your phone or email notification every time you hear a beep. Finish up what you are doing, then retrieve your voice mail or email message and act accordingly. Follow up is critical, but following up within 3 seconds is not.

 

5. Avoid Getting Swept up in Reactive Mode

It’s an easy trap to fall into. It can be quite exhilarating “fighting fires” all day. Jumping in to solve crises is rewarding and addictive. Being needed is feels good too. It’s also much easier to bop from one task to another than to take time to think, prioritize, and plan.

 

6. Divide Your Day up into Targets

Distractions are most dangerous to the person working without short-term goals. You can keep yourself out of the danger zone by setting goals throughout the workday. Make sure these targets are Smart: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.

 

7. Think Before You Interrupt Another Person

This way you won’t be contributing to the problem.  By taking responsibility to minimize other’s interruptions, you can greatly improve workplace productivity.

 

Managers will always have to deal with interruptions. How they deal with them is a major factor in determining their effectiveness. In today’s world, the proliferation of interruptions caused by productivity tools has made it increasingly challenging for managers to do their jobs well. Learning how to use the tools effectively, which sometimes means turning them off, is critical to achieving success.

Minimize disruptions by investing in a customized CRM tool that fits your business needs. Download our 30-day free trial here. No credit cards and long-term commitments needed.

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5 Tips for Improving Your Processes to Better Customer Service

Why is it that many businesses perform well some days, but do poorly the rest of the days?

At first, many businesses assume that their employees are the problem.  Businesses who assume this are almost always wrong.

Although firing some of your staff may be quite tempting at that moment, it won’t solve the bigger issue at hand. When employees are using stickies to record customer complaint and calls instead of a CRM system, then the process itself is the issue; not the employees.

Finding such businesses is not difficult. In fact, 100% of companies have some sort of process problem. Remember: Only 1 out of 25 unhappy customers complain. The rest leave and never come back. If you’ve got multiple customers complaining about the same issues, or if you’re losing more deals than you’re winning without explanation, here are some tips to help you out:

 

1. Be more transparent

Processes should be simple and transparent.  Assign ownership to every step of your process, so everyone is aware of who’s responsible for which part. By doing this, you will eliminate “that’s not my problem” from your employees’ vocabulary. This step also makes it easier for customers to address any issues they are experiencing as quickly and less painstakingly as possible.

 

2. Automate important actions to make sure your process runs smoothly

Manual tasks are time consuming. They must be performed by humans who are prone to making errors; no one is perfect. Automation frees up your time to work on items that add genuine value to the business, allowing you to be more innovative and increasing your employees’ levels of motivation. 

 

3. Provide multiple ways for your customers to reach out to you

Unfortunately, it can still be difficult for customers to get in touch with companies that they want to do business with or are already doing business with. That’s why providing different ways for customers to easily communicate directly with your business is important in today’s day and age. The goal should be that every customer should be able to contact you via phone, email, chat, social media etc.  Be transparent about the wait times for responses.

 

4. Borrow ideas from others

This does not just apply to competitors, or you’ll just be another me-too company. Be curious and open-minded about how other industries and cultures do things. Learn from them, apply and experiment, and permanently employ what works.

 

5. Evaluate your policies, processes, skills, motivations, products and services

Assess them from the customer’s viewpoint. Always keep on the lookout for ways to reinvent the wheel and improve customer experiences. Perhaps send a survey out to customers on a quarterly basis to get their input on how you can best meet their needs. You may also wish to follow-up with customers after the transaction is done to see what made them happy, what they feel should change etc.

 

Investing in an all-encompassing, affordable CRM software will go along way to repair some of the issues you are experiencing with customer service.  Download our free 30 day trial today. No deposits or commitments needed.

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7 Habits for Improving the Quality of Your Life

Are you finding yourself feeling frustrated day in and day out? Do you feel like a zombie, waking up each day to the same mundane things that seem never-ending? Has the quality of your life decreased every year, resulting in a loss of energy, vitality, and enthusiasm? Here are 7 habits to adopt in order to improve your quality of life in 1 year from now.

 

1. Read a book every month

Even if you’re relatively new to and not particularly fond of reading, you will learn a lot. Some books will disappoint you with their mediocrity, some will make you happy with a good plot and some more will have you running to the dictionary every few pages; all of them will teach you something new.

 

2. Think carefully before making a judgement

I used to be very judgmental. However, over the past year I closely thought about how unfair I have been in the past and all the things I have done because of this. Before you make a comment about someone and their actions, put yourself in their shoes and think about why they do the things they do. You’ll see them in a different light. And even if you don’t, at least you’ll puzzle over instead of making a snap judgement.

 

3. Reduce smartphone usage

If you have one, that is. If you don’t, more power to you. I cannot tell you how many times I go out with people and they stick to their smartphones. Some are Whatsapp-ing, while others are checking office e-mails and taking pictures. They’re so busy interacting with people online, they pay little attention to people around them.

 

4. Smile and talk

Greet everybody you know. Also, try to smile while you talk to people. This makes you appear approachable, and amiable.

 

5. Exude Positivity

Try being honest with yourself and others, refrain from gossip and be willing to forgive people who make mistakes because no one is perfect. As well, stop hanging around with negative people and spend more time with happy, productive, and smiling individuals.

 

6. Choose a hobby you like

It could be anything…biking, writing, exercising etc. Or go back to one you left. And keep a record of your work. As you change, your work will also change to reflect you. I like writing and I have a blog. Once in a while, I read my older entries and don’t even recognize the person who wrote them. It teaches you a lot about yourself. It shows you how far you have come, and sometimes how you need to go back to being that person in the past.

 

7. Make time for people

Make time for family. Make time for your hobby. Make time for work. And most definitely, make time for pleasure. The most valuable thing you can give to another person (and yourself) is time, which in turn will make you invaluable.

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How Useful is Role-Playing in Sales Training?

Looking to make sales training more practical and fun for new hires? Here are a few tips. As an educator and a hands-on learner, I am the type of person that has to see and experience something in order to understand it. I am sure there are many more business people who share my sentiments:

  • Record them – it’s not enough to complete the role play – you must record them. MUST. Our team went back and listened to their entire sales process from discovery to proposal – and that is where they learned the most.
  • Have each role player analyze the situation – getting multiple vantage points will help you see issues that you cannot see for yourself. It’s a great way to find your blind spots.
  • Learn with zero risk – the most important reason we do role plays at KiteDesk is that they give you the chance to learn without risking losing the deal. Our philosophy is that it is much better to learn from each other vs. learning from the market. Plus we can create situations that are more difficult then what most reps will see in the market – that way they are prepared for the worst
  • Role playing isn’t a one and done – you should make role playing a part of your regular routine. It’s one way you can continue to work together to get better.
  • They are incredibly useful – to finally answer your question – role plays are a great way to 1) see where each of your team members are at in their sales skills, 2) learn from each other, 3) due post deal reviews, 4) work on consistent messaging/process, and 5) build a culture of learning.

I direct you to read Harvard Business Review’s article entitled “Role Playing as a Sales Tool”: https://hbr.org/1987/05/role-playing-as-a-sales-training-tool. I am sure we all faced a situation where one of our employees was ill equipped to deal with customer questions and concerns. Giving them the practice during training will certainly avoid incidents like the one mentioned in the article.

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10 Essential Elements of Effective Teamwork

What is it with team work? Some teams seem to work better than others. Those teams that work well get consistent high level results and people love working in them.

Other teams wallow in never ending mediocrity. It’s like watching a horrible movie played out day after day after …

If you are responsible for leading teams, you obviously want one to be one that gets results. But how does that happen?

Fortunately, effective teamwork isn’t a great and obscure mystery. Here is an infographic that highlights the ten essential elements of teamwork:

 

10 elements of effective team work

Certainly, you don’t have to be the actual leader of a group to successfully lead a group, nor should you sit back and say “not my problem” and let the group collapse around you. Anyways, this is what I learned. What elements work for you? Share your insight in our comments section.

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The Secret to Hiring the Best Customer Services Reps

I believe that hiring the most productive customer service employees really comes down to hiring for attitude over skill.

I once heard a quote at a business conference I attended in Toronto, Ontario, Canada that is very applicable here: “Hire slowly, fire fast”. Taking your time with this decision is crucial, regardless of how badly you need the extra help. Think of the Japanese word “Kaizen” – it means taking a little time to get better every day.

Your mindset should be set on long term growth and success.  You want your business to be a kaizen. Think for 10 years from now. Sure, hiring the first person to crop up might solve a need short-term, but it will destroy you in the long run.

Here are a few tips to help you wield out the good recruits from the bad:

1. Are they making good eye contact?

If a person does not maintain great eye contact during an interview, you would never want to hire them for a customer service position. Customer service is all about being social and finding ways to connect with colleagues, management, and most of all, customers.

2. Can you hear empathy in their voice?

Another key trait of a great customer service rep is having an empathetic vocal quality that will have them practically drooling to make customers feel good and to feel comfortable. As well, their empathy should also be used to diffuse a bad situation before it escalates, i.e., a key customer terminates contract.

3. What kind of personality do they have?

The 4 most important things to learn during a phone screen are: 1. Is this person socially adept? and 2. Will this person get along with my company and my team? 3. Does this person speak with confidence and pride? 4. Is the person positively responsive to the information you provide?  Things like when to talk and when to listen, how to respond appropriately, and correct tone of voice are difficult to teach. You want someone who has those things down. And the phone screen will reveal this.

4. Create a profile of your ideal employee

Have a plan. Try to avoid simply hiring anyone that looks good or comes in with an application. Create a profile of what makes a good employee, and what makes a bad employee, and look for those that stick to that plan. Speak to friends and colleagues to see if they can refer someone to you.

5. Check References

You really need to check references carefully and do background checks. In the litigious society in which we live you need to pursue every avenue to assure that the people you hire can do the job, contribute to your growth and development, and have no past transgressions which might endanger your current workforce.

6. Simulations

Have your team engage with the interviewees as if they were customers. You can learn a lot and get to see if they were friendly or standoffish. If we were unable to get them to engage in conversation on the sales floor, it could be a sign that they may not bode well in your work environment.

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