“Our email communication is actually just another opportunity to show the buyer, show the customer that you’re listening and that you actually understand.” – Ryan Vaillancourt in today’s Tip 1079
How you can listen in your emails? How you can show empathy in your emails?
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Scott Ingram: You’re listening to the Daily Sales Tips podcast and I’m your host, Scott Ingram. Today’s tip comes from Ryan Vaillancourt. Ryan is an award-winning journalist turned high-growth, enterprise sales leader. As VP of Sales at Revenue.io, he focuses on turning managers into coaching heroes. Ask him about listening, breakfast burritos in LA, or bikes. Here he is:
Ryan Vaillancourt: So in sales, we talk a lot about how critical it is that we listen to our customers, we listen to our prospects. There’s a tremendous amount of great training and resources out there. Hopefully, you have access to a mentor or a leader or otherwise who’s helped you learn that listening is not necessarily an innate trait, but something that you can learn, something that you can practice. There are techniques. There are frameworks for listening, and I’ve been glad to see this take on more awareness in the sales community.
Unfortunately, even as we’re thinking about and learning how to become better listeners in conversations, most salespeople they miss the opportunity to really listen in their emails. And what the hell do I mean by that? You have a meeting with a customer and you’re going to send some sort of a recap. Especially after a meaty discovery session. The majority of sales recap emails that I see are all about the seller. It is a recap of the things that the seller communicated in that previous meeting. It often over indexes on case studies and references for how the seller and their product and the service is going to transform that person’s business. You’re amping up the next step, maybe it’s a demo or otherwise. But our email communication is actually just another opportunity to show the buyer, show the customer that you’re listening and that you actually understand.
So my tip is think about how you can listen in your emails, how you can show empathy in your email. So instead of your recap emails being all about your product and all about your service, which you don’t want to do in the conversation itself, what would it look like for the email to be a really powerful act of empathy in the sales process? It will confirm you understand the buyer and it will move your deal faster and you will stand out among the competition.
I’m going to provide a couple quick tips on what makes killer sales recap emails.
Number one. Sounds obvious, but start with an empathy statement. Acknowledge something in the recap from the previous conversation. That’s not strictly about the business. “Hey, Bill, thanks for taking the time today. Super fun seeing your dog on Zoom, by the way. Please bring her next week. Pit Bulls are the best.” Right? You’re acknowledging something. There should be a sincere, genuine observation about something that happened in the conversation. It’s not about the business per se.
Then, as we get deeper into the email, this is especially relevant after some media discovery, just dive right into naming. What did you hear? What did you understand about the prospect, most likely their challenges and their associated impacts. I recommend having specific sections in your email broken into two parts challenge and impact. If there’s three challenges, write three challenges, each with its own distinct impact.
And here’s my final and most important tip about that. When you’re explaining the challenges. When you’re communicating about the prospect, the customer, their current state. Here’s the secret tip that I’m going to share with you. Write that email in the first person plural. So instead of saying, “Challenge number one, you’re struggling to ramp new sales reps” and then going on to explain that “Hey, today, it takes you six months to ramp a new rep to productivity. When you’d really like that to be three.”
Listen to what it sounds like when we rewrite that with the first person plural. Here’s the challenge. We are struggling to ramp new sales reps. Today, it takes us six months to ramp a new rep to productivity. With that grammatical change, you are putting yourself in the same shoes or you’re putting yourself right next to the prospect. So ‘you’ becomes ‘we’, ‘you all’ becomes ‘us’. Your goals becomes our goals, really powerful way to get the customer to see that you are at least striving to see the world through their eyes.
And finally, the last tip about writing in a way that reflects the best practices of listening in your conversations at the absolute minimum, make it about you. If you absolutely must include something in that email that is a link to a case study or some product information, make damn sure that you agree with that bit of information you’re linking to a referencing is actually something really valuable. The prospect probably asked for it and the resource itself is actually going to answer their question.
Scott Ingram: For links to connect with Ryan on LinkedIn and to learn more about how to arm sales reps with real-time guidance, like when to be silent and when to ask a great question, live in phone calls, just click over to DailySales.Tips/1079.
Once you’ve done that. Be sure to come back tomorrow for another great sales tip, or just continue your binge. Either way, thanks for listening!