18 Closing Phrases To Seal a Sales Deal


Heading into a closing conversation with a prospect is always nerve-wracking. No matter how impressed they seemed during your demo or how enthusiastic your champion is, there’s always a chance you’ll lose to the competition, they’ll decide to postpone their decision until next quarter, or they’ll ask for a price you can’t deliver.

A “yes” or “no” hinges on far more than just the specific closing sentence or question. But as you’ve probably seen, using the right words can definitely make a difference. Read on to learn the closing phrases you should (and shouldn’t) use.
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How to Avoid the Assumptive Close

The assumptive close is a manipulative sales tactic. Essentially, you act like the prospect has already decided.

Here are three examples:

  • “When should we get started on implementation?”
  • “What delivery date would you like?”
  • “Which [package, tier, bundle] are you going with?”

Is this the worst way to close a deal? No. If someone isn’t going to buy, the assumptive close won’t get them to do a 180 — so it’s not as though you’re tricking people into handing over their credit cards. You might, however, convince an on-the-fence prospect to walk away. This technique makes you come across as pushy and self-serving, which isn’t the best impression to give when kicking off a business partnership.

Instead of this strategy, try these closing phrases. We promise they’re more effective (and they won’t make you feel like a slimeball).

How to Close a Deal

Asking for the Sale

Use these non-aggressive closing questions to make the buyer feel comfortable — without completely taking off the pressure. 

1) “Is there any reason, if we gave you the product at this price, that you wouldn’t do business with our company?”

This one turns salespeople into Jedi mind trick masters. In an article on INC, Geoffrey James pointed out that if the prospect answers “no” to this question, the rep has indirectly gotten them to agree to the contract. If the answer is “yes,” however, the rep has the opportunity to address objections without bringing the deal to a halt.

2) “If we could find a way to deal with [objection], would you sign the contract on [set period in time]?”

Objections often kill deals. But in this case, handling the objection is actually a way of closing the sale. Of course, this depends on the company’s ability to resolve the problem by a given date. But if a fix is possible, getting the customer to commit ahead of time is a clever way of turning a con into a pro.

3) “It seems like [product] is a good fit for [company]. What do you think?”

This question automatically makes your prospect think of all the reasons they’re interested in buying. Because you end by asking for their opinion, it sounds genuine rather than self-serving. And once they say something like, “Yeah, I think it could really help us with X,” you’ve got the perfect segue into “Great, I’ll send over the proposal right now.”

4) “Would you like my help?”

This is the closing line espoused by Dave Kurlan in his book Baseline Selling. It’s sort of perfect: gentle and friendly without being obscure or weak. Plus, it enforces the rep’s image as an advisor rather than a hard-closing salesperson.

5) “If we throw in [freebie], would that convince you to sign the contract today?”

Clearly, this closing technique isn’t appropriate for every situation (it’s called “selling,” after all, not “giving away”). But for important or very large deals, offering an exclusive or time-sensitive add-on to sweeten the pot might be a smart move. Price discounts could also make sense in competitive markets. However, it’s up to management whether they empower reps to make discount or freebie offers on their own.

6) “Taking all of your requirements and desires into consideration, I think these two products would work best for you. Would you like to go with [X] or [Y]?”

The rationale behind giving two alternatives is that the prospect will be more inclined to choose one than turn both away (a third option that’s been discreetly taken off the table). The rep thus increases their chances of hearing a “yes” to something rather than a “no” to everything.

7) “I’d hate to see [negative consequence] befall your company because you didn’t have the right product in place. Do you want to take the crucial step to protecting your organization today?”

Fear is a powerful motivator. This closing tactic is most effective in situations where the consequences of not buying will actually harm the business, instead of simply allowing the status quo to continue. It’s best to pair this line with external factors, such as new legislation or economic conditions, which prospects can’t control.

8) “Why don’t you give it/us a try?”

It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? The disarming and unassuming quality of this question is precisely why sales expert Brian Tracy recommends it. Phrasing the decision as “giving the product a chance” instead of “making a commitment” downplays the risk and ramps up the rapport. 

9) “If you sign the contract today, I can guarantee we can do [special request the buyer asked for]. How does that sound?”

Similar to #2, but with one important caveat. The closing question in #2 assumes that the salesperson will resolve a prospect objection before they sign the contract. This closing technique — called a “rebound close” — promises that the rep will grant a special request after the prospect provides their John Hancock. This critical change in the closing timeframe reflects the difference between a deal-killing objection (that other vendors might be able to address) and a special favor (that other vendors will likely be similarly hesitant to grant).

10) “I know you said you need to have a solution in place by [date]. Working backward from that day and factoring in implementation and training time, it looks like we’d need to have a signed contract by [date] in order to meet that deadline. Can you commit to that signing date?”

If you know the prospect has a firm deadline they need to stick to, use it to crank up the urgency. And since you’re using the prospect’s deadline instead of pulling one out of thin air, this type of reminder-slash-closing line actually helps the buyer instead of unduly pressuring them.

11) “Will you commit to doing business with us today?”

Ah, the old direct ask. Sometimes the simplest closing technique can be best, but other times it can come off as presumptive or pushy. A salesperson has to have a firm command of the situation and a high level of familiarity with their buyer to use this closing line successfully.

12) “Ready to move forward? I can send over the contract right now.”

Everyone likes the idea of progress. If prospects associate the purchase with forward momentum, they’ll be likelier to commit. This closing line also reduces the friction of buying — the contract is already ready, so all they need to do is sign.

13) “You’re interested in X and Y features, right? If we get started today, you’ll be up and running by [date].”

Salespeople can encourage their prospects to make a decision by reminding them the sooner they act, the sooner they’ll have their new system. Mentioning specific parts of the product doesn’t hurt, either — buyers will immediately start picturing how much easier their life will be with the new solution.

14) “What happens next?”

According to sales expert Mike Brooks, “Whenever your prospect begins stalling or providing any other excuse for not acting today, you simply reply with (these) three words.” It might seem crazy to put your prospect in the driver’s seat like this — but something’s preventing them from buying, and you need to figure it out if you want any shot of getting their business. 

Closing a Sale

Want a more assertive approach? Try these closing lines.

1) “Unless you have any more questions or concerns, I think we’re ready to get started.”

You’re leaving the door open for them to get more information while making it clear where you stand. If you’ve done your job surfacing and resolving objections throughout the sales process, the buyer will answer with something like, “No, I’m good. I think we’re ready too.”

2) “Let’s discuss pricing.”

With this statement, you transition the conversation from general, abstract topics like ROI and product features into the actual agreement. It’s not a very subtle shift, but it works.

3) “Tell me your thoughts.”

To guage how ready your prospect is, say this. If they’re looking for the metaphorical pen to sign on the dotted line, they’ll usually say so. If they’re still unsure, you’ll hear some hemming and hawing. This gives you the chance to figure out what’s holding them back without trying to close too soon.

4) “We can take as long as you’d like, but I know [you’ve got another meeting at X time, this call is scheduled to wrap up in Y minutes]. With that in mind, maybe we should move to the actual agreement.”

While you don’t want to rush your prospect too much, reminding them of the ticking clock gives you a good reason to bring up pricing. Notice this response is framed around their schedule. If they want to continue the conversation you’re currently having, you can offer to arrange another meeting.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in June 2015 and has been updated for comprehensiveness and accuracy.


Source: 18 Closing Phrases To Seal a Sales Deal in 2017

17 Email Subject Lines Sales Reps Swear By & Why They Work So Well


While many people agonize over their email copy and then slap a hastily written subject line on two seconds before hitting “send,” sales reps know that the situation should actually be reversed.

After all, there’s no point in crafting a beautiful message if buyers don’t even open it. And what prompts the all-important open? The subject line.

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But with only a tiny bit of real estate to work with, there’s no room for mistakes. With this in mind, we took to Reddit’s Sales channel to round up sales email subject lines vouched for by real sales reps. Instead of reinventing the wheel with your messages, use these subject lines knowing that they’ve been tried, tested, and verified to work by reps around the world.

Interested to learn why these subject lines do the trick? We’ve also included the logic behind each for your knowledge.

1) “I hope all is well”

The Reddit user who suggested this subject line says that “it gets a lot of reads from decision makers who are tired of people trying to serve their own self interests.” Demonstrating genuine concern for the email recipient is refreshing.

Why it works: In a study, Ferrazi Greenlight found that reps who focused primarily on building relationships rather than generating transactions were more successful in the long run. Prioritizing the relationship from the very beginning will separate your message from the scores of other hard sales pitches.

2) [Personal tidbit about the buyer]

The more you can personalize your email subject line to the person at the other end of the “send” button, the better. According to Ali Powell, principle account executive at HubSpot, the secret to writing a phenomenal sales email subject line is to make it something about them — that couldn’t apply to anyone else. 

Why it works: People prefer personal over pretty. Consider the fact that plain text emails soundly beat beautifully designed HTML emails in a series of A/B tests. Why? They look like one-to-one messages. So even though the subject line “love that you’re in a band” doesn’t look as sophisticated as “Technology For the Future,” it’s a lot more appealing to your buyer who moonlights as a drummer and controls the tech budget purse strings for her company by day.   

3) “Your annual goal”

The essential nugget in this subject line is “your.” Pair “your” with any goal or problem the prospect might be experiencing, and you’ve got a hyper-relevant email subject line. And if you can’t nail down an issue unfolding at the buyer’s company? As the redditor who vouched for this subject lines points out, “then you’re just spamming an advertisement.”

Why it works: It’s a well-known anecdotal fact that most people prefer talking about themselves than listening to others, but we now have the science to back this up. Research from Harvard shows that when people talk about themselves, areas of the brain pertaining to motivation and reward spring into action. 

4) “Quick question”

Curiosity didn’t just kill the cat, it also made the buyer click. This subject line is a favorite among redditors.

Why it works: According to curiosity-drive theory, people find uncertainty unsettling. Conversely, clearing up areas of uncertainty is mentally satisfying. Teasing the email recipient with a “quick question” without telling them what it is prompts prospects to open your message and alleviate the ambiguity.

5) “One more thing”

What could it be? The prospect will have to open your email to find out.

Why it works: Similar to “quick question,” this subject line plays on the buyer’s curiosity. They must either read your email … or live with the unease of not knowing what you’re offering.

6) “[Name] referred me to you”

Smart reps know that referrals are as good as gold in sales. According to NoMoreColdCalling.com, referred prospects have a whopping 50% close rate. If you’ve been introduced to a prospect by someone they trust, make it clear in the subject line that it’s referral.

Why it works: Referral sales expert Bill Cates notes that salespeople who get referred to new prospects “borrow trust” from the referral source. This means that instead of coming in cold, the relationship between the rep and the prospect automatically becomes warmer thanks to the relationship between the referred prospect and the referral source. 

7) “Contacting you at [Referral]’s suggestion”

Different phrasing, same idea. 

Why it works: Think of a referral as social proof on steroids. The closer the prospect is to the referrer, the better.

8) “You are not alone”

Generally, prospects only have visibility into their own organization while salespeople enjoy a broader vantage point that spans countless buyers and customers. One Reddit user pointed out that this subject line provides a good opening to an email containing a case study or testimonial from an organization similar to the prospects’.

Why it works: Who likes to be alone? The mere fact that other people have done or are doing something is often enough to sway opinions and drive action, thanks to the bandwagon effect.

9) “Good morning, [Name]”

According to Laurie Puhn, 94% of couples who greet each other with “Good morning!” each day report they have an “excellent” relationship. Granted, you probably don’t want to date your prospect, but you do want to forge a strong bond with them. A simple salutation might be just what the doctor ordered.

Why it works: In a world where fewer and fewer people greet each other when they get into the office, a simple “good morning” is a humanizing differentiator for your email. 

10) “[Name], we can help you [goal]”

Would a rose by any other name smell as sweet? To be honest, I really don’t care as long as you use my name in conversation. Inserting a prospect’s name into your email’s subject line emphasizes that the message is just for them.

Why it works: Not only has research shown that people respond positively to hearing their names, the phenomenon of implicit egotism holds that our name-based preferences extend to the cities we choose to live in, and what occupations we pursue. 

11) [Referral name]

This is another one from Powell’s arsenal“Just put the full name of the person in the subject line and nothing else. I promise this works!” she writes. For example: “Jane Smith” or “John Doe.” It really doesn’t get any easier than that.

Why it works: We’ve already talked about the power of referrals, which is one reason this subject line is so potent. But there’s another reason — in a sea of emails labeled with verbs and adjectives, a person’s name (and one the recipient knows well at that) stands in stark contrast.

12) “Possible meeting [date] at [time]”

The user who added sales trainer’s Kate Kingston’s subject line to r/sales gave one additional tip as to how to use it: “Setting an appointment on the :45 is much less pressure than setting it on the :00 or even :30 because it appears that you will only take up 15 minutes of your decision maker’s time.”

Why it works: According to Copyblogger, “A specific headline conveys more valuable information to a potential reader, which acts to draw them magnetically into the content.” Although a subject line isn’t exactly a blog post title, the principles of specificity still apply, and can help boost your open rates.

13) “[Situation] at [Company]”

For example, “Sales Training at Business Inc.” or “HR Services at Organization Y.” Whatever it is that you sell, connect it with the company you’re prospecting into for a subject line one-two punch.

Why it works: Just like the prospect’s own name, buyers are also partial to the name of their company. When in doubt, personalize.

14) “Who is in charge of X at [Company]?”

Seeking an introduction to the right contact at the buyer’s organization? There’s nothing like getting right to your point in the subject line of the message.

Why it works: According to sales trainer Jeff Hoffman, approaching prospects like a curious student instead of a knowledgeable expert boosts engagement. Posing a question in your subject line asking for the prospect’s help paves the way for a conversation — the point of a prospecting email.

15) [blank]

Can’t think of a great subject line? One Reddit rep endorsed using a blank subject line every once in a while.

Why it works: Research from HubSpot Sales revealed that no subject line is the most powerful subject line of all. An analysis of 6.4 million emails showed that messages with a blank subject line were opened 8% more often than those with subject lines.

16) “Can I help?”

The age of Always Be Closing is dead — to be successful, salespeople must practice Always Be Helping. Use this subject line to tell the buyer you’re eager to add value.

Why it works: As soon as your prospect sees this in her inbox, she’ll wonder, Help with what? To find out, she will read your email. The well-written, personalized contents will prompt her to respond.

17) “This is a sales email”

 Another commenter on the Reddit thread said messages with this title are opened at a “very high” rate.

Why it works: Rather than trying to disguise the reason you’re reaching out, be honest –prospects appreciate when you don’t beat around the bush. You’ll earn instant trust, not to mention differentiate yourself from less straightforward sales reps.

What’s the subject line that you swear by? Share in the comments.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in December 2015 and has been updated for comprehensiveness and freshness.

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Source: blog.hubspot.com/sales

10 Time Management Hacks for Sales Reps


We’ve all heard the saying “time is money.” This is especially true for salespeople. Allotting time to one prospect over another could be the difference between closing a million dollar deal and having the door closed on you. Spending a certain amount of time on one group of activities could set a rep up for record week, while concentrating on something else might launch you down the path to a slump.Time management is one of the most challenging disciplines for salespeople to master. Reps always have several important tasks competing for their attention at once. How do they prioritize and maximize their time?

Short of adding more hours to the day, a few solid time management hacks can help reps boost their productivity. Here are 10 of my favorites.

1) Eliminate administrative tasks.

To maximize your selling time, look for administrative tasks you can automate. Saving a few minutes here and there will quickly add up — and as an added benefit, you can direct more energy toward activities that are actually challenging, like giving demos or answering tough questions.

Here are a few examples:

  • PandaDoc, which integrates with HubSpot, is a good tool for reps who send sales collateral and quotes. It automatically pulls in data from your CRM so you don’t have to tediously copy and paste key details. You can send an error-free, personalized, professional-looking proposal in a few clicks.
  • Route planning software can help you figure out the most efficient way to travel to your prospects’ offices, meaning you’ll never have to manually plan your route again.
  • HubSpot Meetings lets buyer book open slots on your calendar instantly. Say goodbye to long email chains of “What about X time?” “Sorry, I’m busy …. What about Y?”
  • Todoist, a to-do list app, uses AI to learn your personal productivity habits and schedule your overdue tasks accordingly. In other words, the app will figure out the optimal time for you to get everything done.

The best tools will depend on your industry, daily tasks, and specific role, so this is by no means a comprehensive list. The gist is: Automate as much of your non-selling activities as possible.

2) Be prepared to pivot.

When I was in outside sales, I would organize my leads by location and always have the date of my last contact for each lead noted. If I got stood up for an appointment, I could quickly regroup and connect with other nearby prospects to secure a new meeting rather than drive back to the office or cool my heels in a coffee shop until the next appointment.

This tactic also applies to inside sales. Prospects cancel all the time, so salespeople should always be prepared to pivot into other profitable activities. The trick is to not shift gears on those activities. Say you’re prepared to have an exploratory call scheduled to run an hour and the prospects flakes on you. Since you’re already in the mindset of the exploratory call, spend that reclaimed hour prepping for other exploratory calls you have booked that week. Your mind is already focused on the exploratory process. Keep it there.

I’m sure some of you are saying to yourselves, that’s foolish advice — you should use that time to prospect or make follow-up calls. But here’s the thing. Unless you have your leads at the ready and you’re fully prepped to prospect, the odds are you’ll waste time getting ready to make those calls.

From my point of view, prospecting is an activity that tends to be more effective when it is deliberate, planned, and scheduled. This brings us to the next point.

3) Stick with the task you’re on.

Multitasking is a myth. Studies have clearly shown that people cannot actually do two things at once; they’re really just quickly switching between tasks. And that switching dilutes focus and slows people down because their brains have to adjust to each task. Here are two great books about the subject if you’re interested: “Your Brain at Work” by David Rock and “Focus” by Daniel Goleman.

From a sales perspective, different tasks engage different mental muscles. For instance, giving demos requires a much different mindset and focus than pre-call prep or pipeline management. Sales reps can gain efficiency by grouping similar activities.

Take prospecting, for instance. Let’s say your organization advocates using voicemail and email as critical components to prospecting, and you’ve got two hours planned to make prospecting calls. One approach is to dial the phone, get the prospect’s voicemail, leave a message, write a follow-up email, send the email, document the activity in the CRM, set a new activity to try and reach the prospect again, and then move on to the next prospect on your call list and keep repeating this cycle for two hours.

This approach can chew up a ton of time because of all the activity switching. There are a lot of ways to streamline it. One way is to group activities:

  • Figure out how many prospects you can reasonably call in the two hours if all you did was dial the phone and leave voicemail messages. Research that many prospects before your planned and scheduled prospecting time.
  • When it’s time for your two hours of prospecting, pull up the list of researched prospects you want to call.
  • Call each prospect and leave personalized voicemails based on your pre-call research.
  • Log just the call activity in the CRM and quickly move onto the next prospect on the list. Repeat.
  • Later in the day during scheduled administrative time, revisit the set of prospects you called to send out the follow-up emails and set the times you want to reach out again in the CRM.

This simple move to grouping activities will yield a much higher volume of calls, which improves the odds of actually talking to someone on the phone about what you’re selling. And that’s what it’s all about, right?

4) Swallow the frog.

Every rep has at least one task in particular that they simply can’t stand. Prospecting, logging activity, writing follow-up emails, etc. I’ve got mine. I’m sure you’ve got yours.

The funny thing is we can all find plenty of ways to appear productive and avoid those important tasks we dread the most. But by overinvesting in one area to avoid doing work in another, time gets away from you. And behavior like that always catches up to you in the end.

The bottom line: Just do the thing you’re uncomfortable with and get it over with. In fact, do it first if you can.

5) Keep going.

When a rep experiences success or reaches an activity goal, they often take a break to pat themselves on the back. While I’m not against a quick coffee run, the best time to make a call or book an appointment is … right after you had a great call or booked an important appointment. So if you’ve allotted a certain amount of time to an activity — say, two hours for prospecting — don’t stop before the time is up even if you have some success right out of the gate.

Momentum is a powerful thing. Once you’ve got it, don’t squander it. You’ll have even more to pat yourself on the back for if you just keep going.

6) Structure your day around your buyer.

According to experts, the best time to connect with prospects is in the afternoon, the very early morning, the evening, the late-mid early morning, or on weekends. I think that about covers it.

As you probably know, there is no perfect time to connect with your target buyers. It really depends on that particular buyer’s behavior and the way they allocate time to get their jobs done. If a salesperson is selling to contractors, calling at 10:00 a.m. isn’t going to work because they’re already busy on the job site. Calling on a restaurant with a thriving lunch and dinner business any time after noon is probably not going to yield a favorable conversation. Strive to structure your day around your target buyer’s schedule to avoid wasted time and unanswered calls.

7) Streamline repeatable tasks.

I’m not a fan of sales scripts, but the fact remains that if your company targets a certain type of buyer, many of your prospects will be similar to each other. So instead of formulating a brand new list of questions each time you talk to a prospect, develop a core set you can work from and customize.

Developing a framework you use to research prospects is another smart idea. Look at previous deals you won and look for details that came in handy again and again. For instance, maybe you incorporated the knowledge you found on Crunchbase in seven of the last 10 deals you closed. Once you know which data sources are the most valuable, you can immediately go to those sources when researching new opportunities.

8) Have a concise value proposition.

Another area where salespeople can waste time is during introductory conversations. At some point in every sales engagement, your prospect will ask some form of the question, “So what do you do, anyway?” If you have crisp, concise answers to the common questions you get asked every day, you’ll have more time to discuss the things that really matter to your prospects and to gain an understanding of how you can help them. Having a clear, well-articulated value proposition at the ready lessens the possibility that you stumble through the explanation. And the more articulate you are with the buyer, the faster your sale will progress.

9) Create email templates.

It’s vastly inefficient to write a brand-new email every time you contact a prospect. While you should tailor each message to the individual and their situation, you’ll save a huge amount of time if you start with a template rather than a blank slate.

Look through your “Sent” folder to find the emails you send repeatedly. That doesn’t just include outreach emails — you should also make templates for following up, scheduling meetings, recapping calls, and so forth.

10) Reduce distractions.

It can be hard to stay focused when your favorite time-wasting site is just a click away. To ensure you stay focused, ruthlessly get rid of every distraction. If you don’t use a website for your job, block it using the Chrome extension Blocksite or by following these instructions for restricting sites on Safari.

Reps should also stow their cell phones out of sight. It’s all too tempting to check social media or your texts if you can see or hear notifications come up.

These are just a few tricks I have found help sales reps gain more control over their time and their results. What clever hacks have you come up with to save time and be more productive on the sales floor and out in the field? Share your ideas in the comments.

This post was originally published in February 2015 and has been updated for comprehensiveness and accuracy.

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Source: 10 Time Management Hacks for Sales Reps

10 Things Salespeople Do That Make Them Seem Desperate


Desperation turns people off fast. If you’ve ever cooled on a suitor or friend because of overt neediness and constant invitations to meet up, you’ll know what I mean.

Most of us know not to cross the line between eagerness and desperation in social situations. However, when your job is on the line, good judgment can fly out the window. Salespeople need to make a certain amount of sales each month in order to hit their number, and the pressure can sometimes make them come off a bit too strong with their prospects.

But in their quest to make quota, reps often don’t even realize what they’re doing is emitting a desperate vibe. If you’re guilty of any of these 10 behaviors, stop immediately before you send your prospects running.

1) Assuming the prospect is interested.

“Lots of salespeople come off as desperate because they don’t ask the prospect if they’re interested — they just assume they are,” said Pete Caputa, VP of sales at HubSpot.

One way this behavior manifests itself is when a salesperson suggests a meeting or call in their first outreach. According to Caputa, this is a bit presumptive considering the rep can’t truly know at this early stage whether the prospect is a good opportunity or not. And what reads as presumptuous to some translates as desperate to others.

2) Pressing for a meeting too hard.

Prospects will often dismiss salespeople with a quick “We’re not interested,” or “Now’s not a good time,” and good reps are adept at maneuvering past these knee-jerk brush-offs. However, if a rep determines that a prospect is legitimately not interested, they should back off — or risk being labeled as desperate.

But how can a rep ferret out true interest? Caputa recommends posing a simple question: “Do you not want to set a time to talk because you’re busy, or because I haven’t established enough value for you to take another call with me?”

If the prospect replies that they’re buried, the rep understands it’s a “not now” instead of a “not ever.” However, a prospect who doesn’t see the value in what you sell isn’t likely to be a good opportunity, and following up their rejection with “Well, but I really think you’d be a great fit,” or “I understand, but all the other competitors in your space are doing it,” will just sound pleading. Give them an out, and if they take it, let them go.

3) Jumping on problems too quickly.

Reps ask prospects discovery questions to get a feel for their pain points, and understand if a specific product or service can help remedy these issues. However, while it’s great when there’s a match between problem and solution, reps shouldn’t be too eager to make the connection.

“The ideal sales process involves the prospect realizing on their own that yours is the right solution. By the rep asking questions and telling stories about other people like them, the prospect should see themselves in the stories,” Caputa said.

But instead of letting the prospect connect the dots in their own mind, “a lot of times salespeople say, ‘Oh, we can help you with that!’ and explain how you can solve problem X with solution Y,” Caputa added. “And that might not be the way they want to do it.”

Highlighting your product from the get-go seems salesy, and can drive away a good opportunity. Resist the urge.

4) Making side agreements.

Reps desperate to make a sale can be tempted to bend the rules. As Andrew Quinn, HubSpot’s director of training and development, pointed out, this often takes the form of an add-on perk that falls outside the terms and conditions of the deal.

A rep might think these types of “side agreements” are relatively harmless. After all, the prospect signed, right? But remember that this behavior sets up a dangerous precedent of catering to exceptions and dealing with inflated expectations. The prospect who was brought on in this manner is likely to be a poor customer.

5) Issuing ultimatums.

A salesperson has to be at the end of their rope to present an ultimatum or threat to a prospect, but according to Quinn, it happens. This is the category that such utterances as “I’m not leaving here until you make the right choice!” or “If I don’t make this deal happen I’m going to lose my job. Please do this for me … “ fall into.

Ultimatums, threats, and begging don’t make anyone feel good. Don’t go there.

6) Letting your voice communicate nerves.

The more confident a salesperson sounds, the more confident a prospect will feel in moving forward with a buying decision. With this in mind, Quinn cautioned that reps should never let nerves or desperation creep into their voices. Even if you’re nowhere near quota and it’s the last day of the month, reps should speak with an air of cool and calm.

Not sure what a desperate voice sounds like? Here’s a prime example from Ol’ Gil, The Simpsons’ resident Willy Loman:

7) Being too accommodating.

A salesperson should serve their customers, but that doesn’t mean they should act like a servant. For instance, if a prospect is demanding features far outside the bounds of normal service, salespeople shouldn’t simply acquiesce with an “I’ll see what I can do.” Instead, Caputa recommends reps dig into each and every one of a prospect’s additional requests to understand why they need it, and if it’s truly vital.

Another example of this behavior Caputa cited is allowing a prospect to disrespect your time. When a prospect cancels a call at the last minute, they’ll likely apologize the next time they meet with the rep. Whereas most salespeople would respond to this apology with “No problem!” this is wrong in Caputa’s opinion, since it implies the rep’s time is less valuable than the prospect’s. Instead, he suggests asking, “Is everything okay?” and then moving on with the conversation.

“You should be respected as someone who adds value, and when you let a prospect treat you with disrespect, you show you’re desperate for the business,” Caputa said.

8) Refusing to take a hint.

Statistically speaking, the vast majority of your sales opportunities won’t go anywhere. Sometimes prospects won’t even answer your email or return your call. And that’s okay.

What’s not is refusing to move on, and sending email after email after email after email after email. It was exhausting just typing that sentence — can you imagine how desperate that kind of relentless messaging comes off to buyers? I think it’s safe to say “very.”

9) Offering unsolicited opinions.

According to sales expert Jeff Hoffman, few habits are more damaging to your perceived status than giving your unsolicited opinion. It makes you seem overly eager to please. And if your prospect thinks you’re only telling them what they want to hear, they won’t trust anything you say.

Suppose if the buyer tells you, “We’re launching a new campaign targeting millennials next month.” 

Don’t respond, “Oh, awesome. Which tools are you using for that project?” 

Simply ask your question: “Which tools are you using?” 

This matter-of-fact, confident style will lessen the chances you seem desperate.

10) Offering a discount too early.

Nothing screams “I need this deal” more than offering a discount before your prospect has even asked. While discounts have their place in the sales process, you should only bring them up once your prospect has realized your product’s value. If you start the conversation by saying you’re flexible on price, not only will your product seem cheaper (and therefore less desirable), your prospect will infer that you’re eager to close at any cost.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in March 2015 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

HubSpot CRM

Source: 10 Things Salespeople Do That Make Them Seem Desperate

15 Dumb Sales Questions Smart Reps Ask


Let’s be real: Most salespeople are annoying. They view their prospects as numbers in their sales funnel, not as people. They believe earning your business is a chess match and a signed contract means they “won the game.”

However, the average prospect doesn’t know how to purchase anything that falls outside their area of expertise. Think about it. Do you really know how to buy a TV? Do you know what precise technical questions to ask? You’d probably like some help, right?

But when the salesperson at the electronic store asks if she can help, what do you typically respond with? “No, I’m just browsing.”

The cat-and-mouse game buyers and salespeople play has created an unproductive, competitive environment that doesn’t benefit either party.

One of the most common culprits? The questions you’re asking your prospects. Luckily, once you know where you’re going wrong, you can course-correct. Stop asking these 15 common questions — or at the least, rephrase them.

15 Dumb Sales Questions to Avoid

1) “What is your budget?” or “What would you like to spend?”

Buyers often rationalize lying to salespeople about their budget because they feel it is the necessary first step in a negotiation. And why do you need to know about budget up front anyway? If the buyer has purchased what you are selling in the past, they will have money to spend. If they have not — how will they know what price is right?

Instead of demanding a budget right off the bat, strive to understand the prospect’s process for buying and their spend tolerance. Simply asking about their buying process for your type of product or service will get you a lot better information than asking specifically about budget.

2) “What’s more important to you, price or quality?”

Shame on you for asking this question. If you beat the competition solely on price, just come out and say it. However if you are not the low-cost provider, you need to build value. Your prospects will naturally associate a given amount of value with “what the product is supposed to cost” so a good salesperson will try to understand that perspective and discuss price from there.

3) “Are you the decision maker?”

This is a bad question because it’s unclear. Are you asking if they’re the decision maker for which vendors move on to the next step in the buying process? Or are you asking if they can they sign off on the proposal? This puts the prospect in an ego predicament. No one wants to feel as if they are just the informer.

Instead, ask the question,“Who is involved in this process?” Even the CEO gets input from others (or at least he or she should). This should reveal all relevant influencers, stakeholders, and the ultimate decision maker.

Salespeople need to identify the decision makers so they can work with these stakeholders throughout the buying process. Too often we leave it to others to sell our products and services to executives because we failed to appropriately engage them.

4) “What’s your biggest pain point?”

You won’t get the answer simply by asking. Most salespeople stop probing for pain once they hear an indicator such as, “If this doesn’t go well, I will get fired.” However, pain is rooted in emotion. In this example, the pain isn’t the potential of getting fired — it’s the emotion associated with getting fired.

Everything we buy is bought emotionally, so unless you know the pain, how can you truly help? Seek to understand the prospect’s underlying emotional need for change.

5) “How good are your products and services?”

This is a legitimate sales question to ask if your product or service promises to improve the prospect’s business results. However, if you pose it in this way, prepare yourself for a biased answer.

How can you get an honest response? Ask questions around how the business is doing from a third-party perspective, or versus the competition. For instance:

  • When you lose, why do you lose?
  • What do your customers say about your products and services?
  • What percentage of your business is referrals?

6) “How strategic are you?”

Ego will not allow your prospect to say “not at all” (even if that’s the truth). On the other hand, if they do show vulnerability, they will likely blame the company or others for it (which shows they are not truly strategic).

Instead of asking this question at all, simply listen to your prospects’ answers to other queries. I guarantee you will discover if they are strategic or not.

7) “Would you like a proposal or quote?”

When you ask this question, you will likely get blown off one of two ways. You will be either be told “I am happy with my current vendor” or “I don’t want to waste your time.”

Another possibility is that the prospect will gladly take your proposal … and use it to price check their current vendor. Your proposal then functions as intel for your competition. Finally, the prospect could request your proposal simply to get you out of their hair.

A proposal should simply be a summary of expectations both parties have already agreed upon. It should only be sent once you have agreed on scope, pricing, timing, etc., and serves as documentation for the work being completed. It does not sell anything in and of itself.

8) “Can I show you our capabilities?” or “Would you like a presentation?”

Show and tell is for your nine-year-old. If you are presenting, you are not selling. You are bragging. Don’t brag.

9) “Is this a good time to chat?”

Do you think your prospects sit in their offices hoping a salesperson calls? There is never time, but people can make time if they want to. This question gives your prospect an easy out. A better way to ask this question is, “Did I catch you at a bad time?”

10) “What level of service are you willing to pay for?”

This question implies that your relationship is only about money, and that’s just not true. Sales is about balancing what the prospect needs with what they want. Your questions should inform you about the prospect’s business so you can discuss appropriate solutions.

Build value, not budgets. If your business offers multiple service levels, ask the relevant questions in order to make a recommendation.

11) “Who is your competition?”

You should do research before you talk to prospects to identify their biggest rivals. Asking this question makes you look like you’re uninformed on their industry and company. Have some ideas about who their competition is, but don’t want to jump to conclusions? Try asking your prospect, “I did some research, and it looks like your biggest competitors are X, Y, and Z. Does that sound right to you?”

This question allows you to verify your findings without losing face or seeming ill-prepared.

12) “What can I do?” or “What will it take to earn your business?”

This sets you up for failure because you are now just an order taker. The prospect tells you in this moment what it will take to get a signed contract … and they will continue to tell you what you have to do for the rest of the relationship. This isn’t exactly the partnership you touted when trying to earn the business. This question also implies that you will take on anyone and are willing to be insincere to close a deal.

Get to know the prospect’s business, their pains, and how you can help. If it makes sense to work together, it will happen. If not, move on.

13) “Who was the best salesperson who ever called on you?”

Who cares? Are you going to be inauthentic and act like someone else to try to earn the business? Would you ask your spouse who was the best person they ever dated? Forgo this question in lieu of more valuable and revealing queries.

14) “What do you dislike about your current vendor?”

The objective here is totally transparent: You’re trying to identify weaknesses in your prospect’s current supplier relationship so you can position yourself as a better alternative. If the buyer says, “Their shipments are frequently late,” you’ll predictably say something along the lines of, “We’re always on time; ask our customers,” or “We move mountains to deliver our goods on the right date.” 

It’s actually less persuasive to present your company’s strengths reactively. The prospect will wonder if you’re only touting that specific detail because you’re trying to amp up their dissatisfaction. Instead, delve into their priorities and needs and position your offering accordingly. Your pitch will feel more genuine.

15) “Can you tell me about your business?”

Unlike questions that dig into your prospect’s needs, objectives, and strategic initiatives, asking them to tell you about their business is solely for your benefit. In addition, posing such a high-level, broad question tells the buyer you haven’t even bothered to browse their company website before the call.

A good sales professional has virtually no cap on earning potential, but it takes more than practice to attain mastery. Top salespeople continuously develop and refine sales skills through learning — with the help of a coach, trainer, manager, or on their own. Don’t you think asking great questions is one of those critical skills?

This post was originally published in August 2015 and has been updated for comprehensiveness and accuracy.

HubSpot Free Sales Training

Source: 15 Dumb Sales Questions Smart Reps Ask

8 Snapchat Mistakes to Avoid (and How to Fix Them)


Do you ever find yourself mindlessly scrolling on your phone — just tapping away at your various apps to see what’s going on?

It’s my go-to method for killing time when I’m commuting or waiting for my TV show to return from a commercial break. And I’ve found that when I’m bored, I’m more likely to breeze through the content I’m consuming without really looking at it. Do you know the feeling?

The name of the game when it comes to producing exceptional content on social media is to be eye-catching. Literally — your content needs to jump out from busy social media feeds to make me stop my scrolling and read, watch, or click on it.

To that end, we wanted to help you learn from mistakes we’ve seen on Snapchat that don’t make us want to click to learn more. Read on for common problems — and solutions — for making your Snapchat Stories as compelling and clickable as possible.

8 Snapchat Mistakes You Might Be Making

1) Your Stories are too long.

The problem: Your Story is made up of too many images and videos.

The solution: Keep your Story to 10 Snaps or fewer, and make them impactful.

Clicking is hard work.

Well, it’s not exactly grueling labor, but Snapchat users don’t want to spend a ton of time clicking through a myriad of Snaps to get to the meat of what you’re trying to communicate. If your message can’t be quickly told, it doesn’t mean it’s not an important message — it just might not be the best fit for an ephemeral Snapchat Story.

Here’s a Snapchat Story from Netflix (@netflix). It’s made up of 10 Snaps that effectively tell a story without taking too long or boring the viewer:

2) Your Stories are too short.

The problem: Your Story is so short as to be uninformative.

The solution: Make sure your stories have enough context to make sense.

Don’t go overboard with being concise, either. Make sure you’re posting enough Snaps that your Story is just that — a clear narrative. Use text, emojis, and narration to provide context for the viewer so your Story is memorable and helpful. 

Here’s an example of a short and sweet Snapchat Story from the United States White House (@whitehouse). The Story is only made up of two Snaps, but text and filters provide enough context for the viewer:

3) You post Stories too frequently.

The problem: You’re posting Snapchat Stories too often.

The solution: Post more impactful Stories at a lower frequency, and spread out Snaps throughout the day.

All social media platforms are different, and you should post on them differently. What works on Twitter won’t work exactly the same on Snapchat, and we recommend that you plan to post only once or twice per week on Snapchat.

Additionally, the more recently you’ve posted a Snap to your Story, the higher your brand’s name sits on the “Recent Updates” list. So when you plan out your Snaps for a Story, don’t post them all at once. Spread them out over the course of the day so absentminded scrollers (like me) see your brand’s name at the top of their feed whenever they log in.

4) Your Stories offer no way to engage.

The problem: Your Snapchat Story doesn’t include a call-to-action.

The solution: Include prompts to reply, take a screenshot, or visit a website.

If you’re using Snapchat for a brand, make sure there’s a call-to-action for your viewer to drive your goals. We suggest asking viewers to interact from within the Snapchat app by replying to Snaps, screenshotting images, or tuning in for more news at a later time. You can drive viewers to your website by asking them to screenshot a URL, too. Just check out this example from NASA on Snapchat (@nasa) that drivers viewers to its website:

5) Your Stories are too similar.

The problem: All of your Stories features the same people or themes.

The solution: Source content from other team members, and brainstorm creative one-off events to keep your Stories unique.

We know it’s hard to spice up your Snapchat Stories if you’re a one-person social media team. To help diversify your content and keep intriguing your visitors, invite your team members to submit pictures and ideas, and ask other people to “host” Snapchat Stories from time to time. You can plan out unique content for company events or social media holidays, too.

6) Your Snaps aren’t creative.

The problem: Your Stories are simply point-and-shoot images.

The solution: Use drawings, stickers, emojis, filters, and lenses.

Snapchat is far too fun to keep things simple. Instead of just shooting and posting raw photos and videos, make sure to explore the different creative features to make your content more unique.

Use creative features in moderation, and don’t go too overboard. Geofilters, emojis, and lenses are fun ways to make a selfie more interesting, add context to a Snap, or to show the lighter side of your brand’s personality. Just look at how Refinery29 (@refinery29) does this with emojis and drawings in its Snapchat Story interview:

7) Your Stories require sound.

The problem: Viewers have to turn up the volume to get the message of your Stories.

The solution: Use text and writing so videos can be consumed with or without sound.

Most videos on social media are watched while users are scrolling through their feeds, where videos auto-play on mute unless the user clicks to turn up the volume.

What does this mean? Your videos on Snapchat must be compelling and communicative, even without sound. Use captions, doodling, emojis, and filters to make your images say 1,000 words — without your followers needing to plug in headphones. If you need lots of text or narration to get your point across, that doesn’t mean it’s a bad story — it just might not be the best fit for Snapchat. Consider a post on another text-based social media platform, like Facebook or Twitter, instead.

Here’s an example of a thorough Snapchat Story from Sephora (@sephora). It’s narrated if you turn up the volume, but viewers still get all of the information they need just from watching:

8) You aren’t recording important Story metrics.

The problem: You’re only recording Story views and screenshots

The solution: Track Story clickthrough rates to analyze how viewers like your Snaps.

Snapchat’s analytics leave something to be desired for marketers wanting to track growth and engagement. As it is now, marketers can only track the number of story views and screenshots their Snapchat Stories earn, and these numbers must be recorded manually within the 24 hours before a Story disappears.

Another valuable metric that isn’t as self-evident? Story clickthrough rate change.

If you post a Snapchat Story made up of 10 separate Snaps, analyze how many views your first Snap received compared to your last Snap. If the number of views drops over the course of your entire Story, that’s a sign followers are tapping through the first or second Snaps — and then navigating away.

You can roughly calculate this by subtracting your last Snap’s number of views from your first Snap’s number of views. So for example, if your first Snap earned 100 views, and your final Snap only earned 80 views, your clickthrough rate declined by 20%.

Analyzing this, in addition to your number of views and other engagements, will give you an idea of who’s watching your Stories from start to finish. If you observe a lot of dropoff between your first and last Snaps, that’s a sign you need to experiment with shorter Stories or different content to keep followers paying attention.

Happy Snapping

These are just a few ideas for how to create compelling and engaging Snapchat Stories for your brand. We suggest referring back to tip #3 often and analyzing how your followers engage with your content. If you aren’t getting many screenshots or clickthroughs, your Snaps could be falling victim to people like me — the mindless tappers.

For more ideas on how to create engaging Snapchat Stories for your audience, read our Snapchat for business guide, and learn more from our experts in the video below:

What are your hard and fast rules for brand Snapchat Stories? Share with us in the comments below.

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Source: blog.hubspot.com/marketing

Call or Email? 4 Tips to Determine When to Use Which in Sales


The method of outreach sales reps use for a first connect makes a significant difference in response rates. Rather than deciding whether to call a new prospect or send an email based on personal preference, use the method your prospect will be most responsive to.

Which leads me to the question: Phone or email? While there are a few tips that can help you decide, sales reps should know that in the grand scheme of a sales engagement, it’s phone and email. However, I’m specifically addressing the first touch in this article, and since you shouldn’t issue an identical email and voicemail, you have to make a choice.

When deciding between trying a prospect by phone or sending an email, let the following four factors be your guide.

1) Time and Day of the Week

First, consult a calendar and a clock. Statistically, phone connect rates rise as the day progresses, and as the week progresses. In other words, a person is more likely to answer their phone later in the workday and the workweek.

That said, I like to reserve 3 p.m. and later of the prospect’s local time as my prime calling hours. Same goes for Thursdays and Fridays — I block out large chunks of time on these days for cold calling.

But what if a prospect doesn’t pick up their phone in these timeframes? Leave a voicemail. Response rates to voicemails also increase later in the day since checking phone messages is something people often do before heading home for the evening. Calling late is a win-win.

On the other hand, the ideal timespan in which to send email is shorter but more frequent. While I draft connect emails throughout the day, I am careful to send them either 10 minutes before the hour or 10 minutes after the hour. These brief windows correspond with people leaving or going to meetings. What do they do with the few minutes they have to kill? Scroll through email on their smartphones. If you synch your email to be sent with the time your buyer is most likely to check their inbox, your message will pop up on top instead of being buried beneath others. 

2) The Ask

What’s your objective for this first outreach? To set up a meeting? Get some more information? Receive a referral? Figuring out your ask and categorizing it as “weak” or “strong” will help you determine whether to call or email.

Strong asks require commitment from the prospect to do something. I would label requests for meetings, conference calls, or product trials as strong closes. Weak asks seek straightforward information from the buyer — think a prompt for feedback or a referral.

Once you know your close and have determined if it’s strong or weak, it’s easy to choose between a call or an email. If you’re putting forth a strong close, pick up the phone. Because these asks require more from the prospect, salespeople need to employ their closing skills to secure a “yes.” And it’s far easier to persuade on a phone call, when a rep can respond to and smooth over objections in real time. 

But if the ask is weak, draft an email. Don’t take up the prospect’s time on the phone unnecessarily if your request can be fulfilled with a few short lines of text.

It’s interesting to note that most salespeople take the opposite approach — they ask buyers for meetings through emails and reserve simple questions for calls. Why? Because they’re afraid of being rejected on a strong ask over the phone.

Don’t let fear block your way to connecting with a buyer. Reverse this equation and watch your response rates climb.

3) The Level of the Prospect

Do individual contributors have assistants? Not usually. But do C-level executives? Almost always.

That’s why the higher up your prospect is in an organization, the more likely you are to reach a live person when you call. Since a live conversation with anyone — regardless of whether they’re the person you were trying to reach or not — trumps an email exchange, lean on the phone with buyers at the management level or above. Also, higher-level prospects are generally more comfortable on the phone, and less intimidated by sales calls.

But if individual contributors don’t answer their phones, no one else is going to pick up — and they’re not likely to return a call from an unknown number. In addition, lower-level professionals are often away from their desks — traveling, working in groups, participating in meetings, and so on. Therefore, a rep is much more likely to connect with a prospect at this level through an asynchronous channel such as email.

4) The Buyer Persona

Some buyer personas favor a different communication style than others. Their preference depends on multiple factors: Their age, the nature of their job, their industry, and more.

In general, millennials like communicating by email more than over phone. If you’re reaching out to a younger buyer, take this into account.

You might find professionals in customer-facing roles are more amenable to talking on the phone — because that’s what they’re used to. Those in internal jobs, however, may be more comfortable sending emails.

Lastly, those in more traditional industries are typically accustomed to phone calls.

Following Up

These four criteria make it much easier to choose between an email and a phone call for your first outreach. But what about subsequent touch points?

In my opinion, the beginning and the end of each sales engagement should be phone-heavy, since that’s where the strongest asks are — starting a relationship, and closing a deal. In between, reps should opt for email as a rule of thumb.

Want more sales tips? Check out my blog

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in February 2015 and has been updated for freshness and comprehensiveness. 

HubSpot CRM

Source: blog.hubspot.com/sales

A Primer on Persuasion: 21 Strategies to Convince Prospects to Buy


For a salesperson, persuasion is the ultimate superpower.

How often do you get a call from a prospect you’ve never spoken to before who says, “I love your service and it’s the perfect fit for my business. Where do I sign?”

Probably not that often.That’s where persuasion comes in. Some deals are easier to close than others, but all sales conversations will involve some degree of persuasion — even if both salesperson and buyer know your offering is the best choice.

It’s not easy — if persuasion were simple, far more than one-third of all salespeople would make quota. But adopting the techniques below can make you more convincing, and influence prospects to buy.

This guide is divided into four sections. Use the table of contents below to quickly navigate to each:

1) Quick Tips

2) Conversational Pointers

3) Timeless Advice

4) Psychological Hacks

Important note: Salespeople should not sell prospects unless they’re confident the product or service will benefit them. Persuading someone to reach a mutually beneficial goal is one thing. Lying is another. Don’t cross the line.

Quick Tips: Persuasion Hacks

These four tips provide quick and easy ways to immediately boost your self-confidence and perceived authority.

1) Make the right amount of eye contact.

They say that eyes are the “windows to the soul” for a reason. Eye contact engenders a subconscious sense of connection. In a Cornell University study, researchers altered the eyes of the Trix cartoon rabbit on several boxes and then asked adults to choose one. Participants most frequently chose the box where the rabbit was looking directly at them.

How much eye contact is enough? According to body language expert Carol Kinsey Gorman, you should aim to make direct eye contact for 30% to 60% of your conversation.

2) Smile and dial. 

You won’t always be able to meet prospects in person. So it’s a good thing we are remarkably sensitive to vocal intonation even when we can’t see the speaker’s face. One study even showed that we’re able to identify different types of smiles based on audio alone

With this in mind, you’ll come across as more engaged and helpful if you smile during a conversation, and your prospects will be happier to talk to you.

Fun fact: Nestlé actually places a mirror at each salesperson’s station as a reminder to reps to smile while they dial.

Smiling can help your own state of mind as well. Research shows that even a forced smile decreases stress levels and makes you happier. So smile! It’s good for you, and people will respond positively to your enthusiasm and upbeat mood. 

3) Use “power poses” to increase your confidence.

“Fake it ’til you make it” is oft-given advice, but does faking it actually help you achieve your goals?

According to psychologist Amy Cuddy’s TED talk “Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are,” it does. Cuddy conducted a study where she asked participants to stand in poses associated with high-power and low-power positions for two minutes.

Saliva tests revealed that the high-power group saw a 20% increase in testosterone levels, a hormone associated with confidence, and a 25% decrease in cortisol levels, a hormone associated with stress. The low-power group experienced a 10% decrease in testosterone and a 15% increase in cortisol.

When you’re confident, you inspire confidence in others. Your prospects don’t want to listen to a meandering, uncertain salesperson — they’re looking for an authoritative guide who can lead them through a confusing purchasing process.

So the next time you want to instill trust, strike a pose. High-power poses include standing up straight with your hands on your hips, leaning back in your chair with your feet on your desk, or sitting with your legs and arms spread. Low-power poses include sitting hunched over or shrinking in your chair.

You can see more high-power and low-power poses in the recording of Cuddy’s TED talk on the subject, starting at 10:40.

4) Nod at your prospect.

Like smiling, the physical act of nodding is so associated with agreement that it has measurable effects on opinion. Research shows that people who nodded while listening to a radio broadcast agreed with the broadcast’s content more than people who shook their heads or made no head movements while listening.

Because humans naturally mimic each other, your nods will likely be contagious and prime your prospect to say yes.

5) Use your hands.

If you’re meeting with the buyer face-to-face or over a web conferencing platform like Skype, use hand gestures. 

“Emblematic gestures, such as the OK sign or extending two fingers to signal two, are particularly helpful in aiding memory,” writes Richard O. Young, author of Persuasive Communication: How Audiences Decide.

One study found audience members remembered 34% of a message when the presenter used emblematic gestures, compared to just 5% when they didn’t use any gestures.

Conversational Tips: What to Say and How to Say It

The number of words you say in a sales conversation represents the number of opportunities you have to win that deal, so make every word count. Use these tactics to make sure you’re communicating the right way.

6) Use your prospect’s name.

Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language. -Dale Carnegie

You should know all your prospects’ names and the names of their businesses. If you don’t, learn them. (Memory not your strong suit? Try out HubSpot’s free CRM to help keep track of all the prospects and deals you’re currently working.)

Not only is remembering (and using) your prospect’s name common courtesy, it also subtly reinforces your relationship and demonstrates that you respect them as a person, separate from your business dealings. It’s the reason a personalized “Hi, [recipient’s name here]” is becoming near ubiquitous in email marketing.

7) Sequence your questions strategically.

The best way to get somebody to agree with your argument is to make them think they thought of the idea first. That means understanding your prospect’s strengths and weaknesses as well as or better than they do, and asking questions designed to guide them to your proposed solution.

To do this, start with questions you know will be answered with a “yes.” This strengthens your prospect’s faith that you understand where they’re coming from, and gets them in the habit of agreeing with you. It also helps you build your case piece by piece, instead of having to stop and handle objections every five minutes.

Word your questions in a way that reinforces your product as the best choice. Instead of asking, “What’s the best way for you to improve [X part of your business]?”, emphasize the value of your product: “If you were to perform [X action enabled by your product] and it created [Y positive business result], would that be valuable for your team?”

A tip from the lawyers’ playbook: Once you’re past the initial discovery and solution-building stage of the sales process, avoid asking questions you don’t know the answers to. Instead, do enough upfront work so you know everything you need to know in order to anticipate and mitigate objections.

8) Mirror your prospect.

We naturally pick up the mannerisms and speech patterns of the people we spend a lot of time with. Why? It makes us more likable.

In one study, people were more likely to report positive feelings toward those who mirrored them. In addition, once a participant had been mirrored, they acted more favorably to people in general — even those who hadn’t been involved in the initial conversation.

While you should stop short of blatant imitation, be attuned to your prospect’s behavior, and calibrate yours accordingly. If they seem timid, don’t overwhelm them with exuberance, and vice versa.

9) Affirm your prospect’s concerns and questions.

There’s no such thing as a stupid question. When your prospect raises objections or asks for clarification, use language like, “I see where you’re coming from,” and “That’s a great question” to reassure them that they’re being heard and respected. 

10) Avoid putting prospects on the defensive with the Ransberger Pivot.

If a prospect misrepresents information you’ve provided or objects to one of your points, you have two options. You can respond with, “You’re wrong,” and put them on the defensive, or you can use the Ransberger Pivot to bring them around.

(Hint: go with the pivot.) 

Developed in 1982 by Ray Ransberger and Marshall Fritz, the Pivot is a three-step technique designed to positively address disagreement:

  1. Listen to your prospect’s objections.
  2. Understand your prospect’s objections, or ask questions until you do.
  3. Find a common goal in your prospect’s objections and convince them that your solution is the best way to achieve those goals.

For example, if your prospect raises concerns about your lengthy onboarding process because they want to hit the ground running, acknowledge their desire to see results as soon as possible. Then point out that while you’re fully supportive of their goals, they’ll be able to better achieve the desired outcomes if they spend the initial time upfront to learn every facet of your product.

11) Avoid filler words.

According to a study from call analytics platform TalkIQ, steering clear of filler words like “um” and “like” can lead to longer sales calls. 

“There was 30% less use of these words in longer calls than shorter calls,” explains TalkIQ CEO and cofounder Yon Nuta. 

Filler words make you sound less confident and credible. They’re also distracting, especially if you use them so often the buyer starts anticipating when you’ll say one next. 

Luckily, there’s a simple fix. Replace filler words with short pauses. Not only will you sound more self-assured, you’ll also give your prospect more time to digest your message.

Timeless Advice: How to Win Deals and Influence Prospects

In 1938, Dale Carnegie penned the now classic book How to Win Friends and Influence People. In this section, we’ve taken some of Carnegie’s best tips and given them a sales-focused spin.

12) Appeal to the nobler motives.

Maybe your prospect wants to make enough money to hire an additional employee so they can get a raise, or look good to their boss. And your offering can help them do just that.

But framing the entire sale as a salary or promotion play won’t get you very far. Even if you win over your contact, they certainly won’t be able to secure buy-in from decision makers by emphasizing how this purchase will help their individual position.

“A person usually has two reasons for doing a thing: one that sounds good and a real one,” Carnegie writes. “All of us, being idealists at heart, like to think of motives that sound good. So, in order to change people, appeal to the nobler motives.”

With this in mind, figure out your prospect’s real motivations for buying (or not), and repackage these intentions into a loftier cause.

13) Dramatize your ideas.

At its core, a closed-won deal is an exchange of money for a product or service.

Described this way, it sounds like one of the least interesting things in the world. But you know that a sale is more than that — it’s the promise of better outcomes for both you and your customer, and describing it this way is far more inspiring. 

At some point you’re going to have to make a business case, but your conversations shouldn’t exclusively focus on dollars and cents. Show your prospect what their business could be, and how your product will take them there.

14) Arouse an eager want.

A crucial part of winning people over, according to Carnegie, is to always appeal to what they want. Placing yourself at the center of a purchasing decision is the wrong strategy. 

Instead, step into your customer’s world and tap into their motivations. If you do this right, you hand your prospect a sense of empowerment.

As Carnegie put it, “Customers like to feel that they are buying, not being sold.”

Psychological Hacks: Using Science to Your Advantage

Inspired by this infographic from Everreach, the following tactics use psychology to persuade.

15) Scratch your prospects’ back.

Why? Because they’ll be more likely to scratch yours.

One study found that when waiters gave customers a complimentary mint, their tip increased 3%. Giving two mints saw a 14% increase. When the waiter left one mint, then turned around and said, “But for you nice people, here’s another mint,” his tip increased by 23%.

This is known as reciprocity. Going above and beyond for your prospects — especially with a bit of theater — will make them want to help you if they can.

16) Ramp up the urgency. 

People want things that are scarce. If you’re offering a discount or something else that your company provides on a limited basis, let your prospect know. Also make sure they’re aware of what they stand to lose if they don’t act soon.

17) Establish yourself as an expert.

It’s simple — people trust people who know what they’re talking about. Signal to your prospects that either you or your company (ideally both) are highly knowledgeable in their industry.

18) Ask for a small initial commitment.

People who have said “yes” once are likely to say “yes” again. It’s why so many technology companies offer free trials. Laying the groundwork with small asks also moves prospects closer to the ultimate “yes” — a signed contract. 

According to Everreach, people hoping to persuade would be wise to first seek “voluntary, active, and public commitments in writing.” In this way, you hook your prospects little by little, which makes the big decision at the end seem like a natural and foregone conclusion.

19) Make your prospects like you.

Nobody likes helping people they dislike. In one study, two groups of MBA students were asked to come to a mock business agreement. One group was told to skip all pleasantries, while the other was asked to identify one similarity each student shared with their negotiating partner. Fifty-five percent of the group that got straight down to business came to an agreeable solution, but 90% of the group that took time to find common ground were able to do so.

Remember — we’re all human. Establish a relationship with your prospect outside of the sale and your deal will likely be easier to close.

20) Use consensus to your advantage.

It’s not that we’re lemmings … but we’re kind of lemmings. People look to others’ behaviors to determine what’s socially acceptable and how they should act.

You can leverage this by using testimonials and case studies from happy clients in your sales collateral. You can also reference your total number of customers or following on social media to emphasize your company’s wide reach. 

But what if you only have one customer? Lean on reviews or assessments from industry experts. If you don’t have impressive numbers as of yet, it’s best to avoid them altogether.

21) Limit the number of choices you give your prospect.

It’s far harder for humans to make choices if we’re presented with too many options — a study by Columbia Business School professor Sheena Iyengar found that while more variety draws us in, it fails to convert interest into purchases. 

So be careful not to overwhelm your prospect. Even if your product comes in 37 colors or variations, start narrowing down that pool from the first conversation so you can present your prospect a much smaller, more manageable set of options.

Persuasion is a tricky skill to master. Changing someone’s mind isn’t an easy thing. But the right mix of the tactics above will get you at least one step (and hopefully many steps) closer to convincing your prospects you’re the sales rep they want to sign with.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in June 2015 and has been updated for comprehensiveness and accuracy.

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Source: blog.hubspot.com/sales

14 Phrases That'll Instantly Sabotage Your Negotiation


Back in March 2014, the Red Sox screwed up in a big way. They completely bungled negotiations with their star pitcher, Jon Lester, by giving him an insultingly low initial offer — and as a result, Lester went to the Chicago Cubs.This incident was (and still is) devastating to Sox fans, but it’s also a good reminder of how challenging negotiations are. If you say the wrong thing, the deal can be dead in the water.

Don’t lose your buyer the way the Sox lost Lester. Here are the 14 things you should never say in a negotiation.

1) “I’ll be honest.”

Some reps think saying, “I’ll be honest,” “I’ll be straight with you,” or “I’ll be blunt” makes it seem like they’re passing along valuable or confidential information. But these phrases usually backfire; after all, they imply you haven’t been honest up to this point.

What to say instead: Rather than giving your statement a long wind-up, just come out and say it. For example:

Before: “I’ll be honest, we probably won’t be able to deliver the product in less than a month.”

After: “We probably won’t be able to deliver the product in less than a month.”

2) “You won’t find a better product out there.”

It’s pretty hard to take this claim seriously; nonetheless, many sales reps still assure their buyers their product is “by far the best” or ‘the most superior offering on the market.” Don’t say this unless you want to lose credibility.

What to say instead: Emphasize your product’s unique strengths or features. Maybe yours is the only one with unlimited bandwidth — instead of saying, “Our product beats all of the competition,” say, “We don’t cap your usage, so you can upload as much content as you want.”  

3) “I’ll give you X, but only if you sign by [date].”

“The rationale behind this kind of ultimatum is that its inherent time-sensitivity will overcome the prospect’s objection and compel a purchase,” explains HubSpot sales writer Leslie Ye. “The problem is that it puts an unnecessary burden on the buyer — buy now or lose your opportunity to buy under these conditions, forever. [And] you can’t force a buyer onto your timeline.”

What to say instead:  “What’s stopping you from pulling the trigger today/this week/this month?”

Ye recommends using this question to surface the buyer’s remaining objectives — a far better tactic if you want to reach the finish line.

4) “Trust me.”

While you might toss out a “trust me” to reassure the buyer, it can be received as fake and manipulative. Plus, trust isn’t something you can simply request: You have earn it. As they say, if you have to ask, the answer is a “no.”

What to say instead: “I’m confident that … ”

For instance, “I know a single day of training doesn’t sound like a lot, but I’m confident we can cover everything we need to in that time.”

5) “I need this deal by X to hit my quota/win a contest.”

It might seem reasonable to share your timeline with the prospect, so they’ll be motivated to move faster and help you out. Right?  

If only. Buyers aren’t concerned with your agenda, they’re concerned with their own — which means you should be prioritizing their agenda over yours, too. Mentioning your quota or contest makes you seem self-serving (not to mention desperate).

What to say instead: “To hit [buyer’s milestone] by [date], we’ll need to wrap everything up by [date].”

Showing the buyer how the timeline impacts their goals is a much more effective path toward closing quickly. For example, if they need the product on September 1st and it’ll take a month to deliver, wrapping up negotiations by the end of July is in their best interest.

6) “No.”

When you give the buyer a hard and fast no, it’s pretty hard to get the conversation back on track. That’s not to say you have to compromise every single time they make a request, but you can soften the no by using positive language.

What to say instead: “While I certainly understand, I’m afraid that’s not possible.”

Alternatively, if you are willing to make concessions, try, “We can’t necessarily do X, but we can do Y and Z, which will get us a lot closer to where we want to be.”

7) “I’d [like, need to get, have to have] … ”

Whenever a rep is talking about their own needs and desires, it’s a problem. The focus must always be on the buyer — yes, even during the negotiation. So although you should be well aware of your objectives and where you’re willing to compromise, your language should always be tailored to the buyer’s needs and desires.

What to say instead: Explain how the terms you’re proposing benefit the buyer.

For instance, you might say, “To give you the customer support you’re looking for, we’ll be in the 12 to 15 seat range.”

8) “That’s not fair.”

A conference room is not a courtroom:  Appealing to your prospect’s sense of justice will only make you look like you don’t understand how business works. Ideally, you’ll come up with an agreement that makes both you and the buyer happy — but you should never say “that’s not fair” when they propose something you consider outrageous.

What to say instead: To show you’re listening, clarify what they’re asking for. Then, identify their motivations for the request. You can use this information to float a counter-idea.

Here’s how that might look:

You: “You’d like the $500K package with 240 day payment, correct?”

Buyer: “Yes.”

You: “Tell me about how those payment terms will affect your cash flow.”

Buyer: “Well, we’re currently looking for ways to decrease our annual payables outlay.”

You: “Got it. What if we instead did … ”

9) “You want a high-quality product, right?”

Rhetorical questions like, “You care about quality, right?” or “You want the best bang for your buck, don’t you?” will make most buyers bristle. You want to focus on the value of your product, but this method of reinforcing benefits is way too aggressive.

What to say instead: Lead the other person to their own conclusion by asking a price or quality-focused question. Let’s say you provide business video software. You’d ask the buyer, “Are you interested in having an account manager? That option is only available with the package we’ve been discussing, but the training and support can help you get the most out of the platform.”

10) “I don’t usually do this, but … ”

If you’re selling to a family member or life-long friend, then sure, giving them a better-than-average deal wouldn’t be too strange. However, when you’re talking to a normal buyer, this line comes across as a seedy tactic to induce gratitude. Not good.

What to say instead: If the deal is unusual in some way, you can explain why, but be straightforward and direct. To give you an idea, you could say, “Normally, our pilot programs only last 30 days, but we can extend it to 60 days since you’re implementing the software within two business units.”

11) “I enjoy working with people like you who appreciate value.”

There are a couple problems inherent with this sentence. First, who doesn’t like working with people who appreciate value? Second, it’s far too reminiscent of the stereotypical used car salesman — not exactly the association you want buyers to make.

What to say instead: Pay the buyer a genuine compliment. If they make an insightful comment, tell them, “That’s an excellent point.” If you’re impressed by their analysis, say, “That’s a smart way of looking at it.” By sticking to the truth, you’ll make them feel good without sounding inauthentic.

12) “I’ll send over the contract right now for you to review and sign.”

Technically, there’s nothing wrong with asking the buyer to sign a contract when the negotiation is complete. But those are pretty cold terms — “contract” and “sign” scream sleazy salesperson, not invested business partner.

What to say instead:  “I’ll send over the [agreement/proposal] so you can review and okay it.”

Simply subbing in “agreement” (or “proposal”) and “okay” has a big impact on how friendly and collaborative this phrase feels.

With these phrases cut from your negotiation vocabulary, your chances of closing improve dramatically.

13) “This shouldn’t take too long.”

You’re trying to put the buyer at ease and make the negotiation process feel quick and easy, so you use this line or promise to get them on their way ASAP.

Yet speed is actually your enemy in negotiations. When the other party feels like they’re on a deadline, they tend to act rashly and be more stubborn. If you reassure them that you can take as much time as necessary to answer their questions and develop the best possible agreement, their willingness to compromise will shoot up.

What to say instead: “Do you have any obligations I should know about for time purposes? I’m happy to spend as long as you need getting this proposal to a point we’re both happy with.”

14) “How low do I need to go to make this happen?”

While you might be trying to identify your buyer’s ideal price and/or figure out how aggressively you’ll need to discount, this question makes you seem desperate. Your prospect will conclude you’ll bend over backward to get the sale — and they’ll use this knowledge to their advantage.

And thanks to the anchoring effect (or “the common human tendency to rely too heavily on the first piece of information offered”), once they’ve named their price, any price you name above that will sound unreasonable.

What to say instead: “Our price is X. [Silence.]”

Naming the first amount gives you the power to set pricing expectations. In addition, your prospect probably already has a good sense of what your product costs — if your company doesn’t have a pricing page, they can usually find third-party reviews and comparisons. You also should have already qualified them for budget. Since you know they can afford their solution, don’t be afraid to give them a number. Then pause. If they want to negotiate it down or request other concessions, they will.


What would you never say in a negotiation? Let us know in the comments.

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Source: blog.hubspot.com/sales

The 25 Worst LinkedIn Sins


We all make mistakes on social media every once in a while, and that’s okay. But the gaffes on this list go one level beyond — into the realm of sin.

LinkedIn is arguably the most important social media site for salespeople, so a mistake on this network carries consequences. However, if you have sinned against your LinkedIn profile or connections, we’re here to help. Get forgiveness from your network by reversing these 25 blunders immediately. Absolution is attainable, but only if you stop committing these crimes.

1) Not having a picture.

It’s disconcerting to people when they can’t put a face to a LinkedIn profile. So much so, in fact, that profiles with pictures are 11x more likely to be viewed. If you don’t have a picture, you’re missing out on a considerable amount of profile traffic from recruiters, prospects, influencers, colleagues, and a bunch of others who aren’t even on your radar. If you think about views as votes, you’re losing the election to become someone’s salesperson, next hire, or new connection by a landslide.

Granted, it’s better to have a bad picture than none at all. Still, there are some types of pictures that are bound to scare away the people you’re looking to connect with. If your picture contains duck lips, a bathroom mirror, a dog/cat, a beer, a pained expression, or a cheesy power pose, get a new one. ASAP.

2) Not having a summary.

As a writer, I completely understand the fear a totally blank page can strike into your heart. Instead of writing any summary — perfect or less so — some LinkedIn members succumb to intimidation, and just forgo it entirely. This is unfortunate. The summary section is the place where you can let your personality and passion shine through. Without it, your profile might as well just be a resume, which isn’t terribly interesting to most people (recruiters excepted). If your profile is lacking a summary, commit to sit down and write one.

3) Writing your profile like a resume.

I don’t think LinkedIn would’ve taken off like it did if it was merely a database of resumes. Resumes are stiff, formal, and self-promoting. LinkedIn profiles, on the other hand, should be conversational, personal, and other-promoting. Not sure what I mean? Take a salesperson for example. Instead of bragging about how many months they surpassed quota by X%, a sales rep’s LinkedIn profile should instead describe the success they’ve helped customers achieve and brag about their accomplishments. By promoting clients instead of themselves, the salesperson will attract prospects rather than recruiters. 

4) Headlines packed with buzzwords.

“Guru.” “Ninja.” “Rockstar.” Unless you’re a spiritual master, a secretive assassin, or a member of Van Halen (respectively), these words should not be in your headline. Not only are they over the top and cringe-inducing, they’re also self-promoting, which we’ve already established is a no-no. Instead, Craig Rosenberg recommends answering the question “Who do I help and how do I help them?”

5) Writing in third person.

If you don’t address yourself in the third person in everyday conversation (and I really hope you don’t), why would you write your profile like that? Even Barack Obama describes his current position on Linked In as “I am serving as the 44th president of the United States of America,” so I think you can stand to drop the third person language. 

6) Not including an email address or Twitter link.

Salespeople should make it as easy as possible for prospects to find them and reach out to them. For this reason, make sure to include additional contact information and link to other social media accounts on your profile. Buyers want to work with people who are readily accessible, and there’s nothing more frustrating than having to hunt down an email address when it should just be there. 

7) Throwing keywords to the wind.

And speaking of getting found, why is it that we’re ultra-conscientious about inserting SEO keywords into our personal websites but not at all when writing our LinkedIn profiles? Sprinkling in a few keywords throughout your LinkedIn profile that your target audience is likely searching for has been proven to boost views. The job of a sales rep becomes a whole lot easier when your ideal buyers come to you, so don’t neglect this crucial step.

8) Asking for something way too soon.

I accept most anyone into my network so long as they write a brief message in their request (more on that later). This works out well 99% of the time. But occasionally, I’ll get a spammy message seconds after I accept someone, asking if I can take a half hour meeting to talk about synergy, or provide three referrals in X area. Whoa there. You wouldn’t demand something of someone you just met in person, so why would you do this on LinkedIn? If you have an ask, warm up your new connection first by commenting on one of their posts, or sharing an interesting article with them. 

9) Not personalizing connection requests. 

You might think sending a few “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn” requests aren’t so bad. Unfortunately, you’re wrong. According to HubSpot’s “Is Social Selling Creepy?” survey report, 64% of buyers and consumers said they’d regard a generic LinkedIn request from a salesperson as “creepy.” Don’t scare your prospects away. Customize your requests using this template as a model.

10) Sending pointless messages.

These are preferable to messages that ask for something way too soon, but still. People are busy, and reading a message like “Have a great week” or “Good to meet you” takes up time without adding value to the relationship. Unless you have something worthwhile to share, skip the message, and go “like” a few of your prospect’s posts instead.

11) Sending spammy InMails.

LinkedIn should not be treated as another channel to spam people on. If you’re mass sending InMails to everyone in your network, you’re doing it wrong. Any interest you might receive in your message will likely by counteracted by a significant number of disconnects. If your message isn’t specific enough to be intended for one person and one person alone, don’t send it at all. 

12) Being overly selective about your network.

I know not everyone will agree with me here, but from my perspective, there’s no real downside for salespeople to accept the majority of requests they receive. The more people you have in your network, the bigger reach you have. The bigger reach you have, the more potential referrals at your disposal to call on and get introduced to a prospect. Of course, however you’d like to craft your network is up to you. But if a person has a valid reason for wanting to connect with you and said as much in their personalized connection request, why not accept them?

13) Not taking advantage of profile views.  

Profile views aren’t just ego boosters — they’re also conversation starters. If someone looks at your profile, consider sending them a message asking what sent them by. Once you get the context around the view, you’re free to pursue a relationship. Check out how sales trainer Rick Roberge uses this tactic to his benefit in this post.

14) Leaving your “Recommendations” section empty.

Social proof is incredibly powerful in business today, and what is a LinkedIn recommendation if not a mini-endorsement? A sparse or bare Recommendations section is wasted real estate that could be valuable for getting a new job or attracting buyers. With this in mind, salespeople would be wise to request recommendations from their customers, vouching for a positive buying experience and ongoing relationship. If you’re not sure how to approach such a request, put this recommendation-seeking email template to work, and watch the social proof roll in.

15) Posting a single piece of content to more than one group. 

It’s understandable to want your post to be viewed by as many people as possible. But when you publish the same article in two or three groups in a row, it shows up in your connections’ feeds as three identical back to back items. And nothing makes you look like a spammer more than having the same post show up multiple times. If you’d like to post one article in multiple groups, be sure to space out your publishing times so you don’t annoy your network.

16) Leaving pointless comments.

If you read a post and you’re not compelled to make a substantive comment, that’s fine. A “like” will suffice, and it’s much better for all involved than a pointless comment such as “Great!” or “Good!” If you’re not prepared to advance the conversation, don’t enter it at all. 

17) Only using groups to promote yourself.

Would you stay friends with someone who randomly showed up to get-togethers and then refused to talk about anything but themselves? Not a chance. So why do the same thing on LinkedIn? Users who use groups solely to post links to their blog, company website, newsletter, or product pages will quickly develop a bad reputation. 

Occasionally promoting yourself is fine, but make sure it’s both relevant and not the only type of content you contribute.

18) Being stingy with your “likes.”

Social selling isn’t just about messaging and connecting with potential prospects. It’s also about interacting with a buyer on social so when you do reach out with a call or email, it’s not so out of the blue. One of the best ways to do this is by “liking” a prospect’s posts. Even if the buyer doesn’t really know who you are, they’ll gain a sense of familiarity with your name and associate you with positive feelings. So don’t be stingy with your likes — spread ’em around like virtual pats on the back.

19) Not turning your activity feed off when updating your profile.

“Emma has a new profile picture.” “Emma updated her volunteer experience.” “Emma has a new skill.” Thrilling news for your connections to receive in their feeds (/sarcasm). When you’re doing a major overhaul on your profile, make sure to set the “notify your network” option to “no.” That way, your connections won’t be tired of your updates when you post something of substance you’d actually like people to read. 

20) Not being a member of a single group.

This is a sin for so many reasons. First off, did you know you can message group members without being connected with them? Not to mention that people often look at the Group section of your profile to get a sense of your interests. Finally, people will connect with you based on a shared group. But if you don’t have any groups to speak of, you won’t reap any of these benefits. Join and participate. 

21) Not taking advantage of LinkedIn publishing.

Blogging can be intimidating for someone who’s never done it before. But consider the fact that every time you hit “publish post” in LinkedIn, your entire network receives a notification. That’s a lot of totally free promotion for your inbound marketing efforts. If you’re in sales, show buyers they can trust you with their business by writing up your thoughts on an industry shift.

22) Viewing profiles anonymously. 

As I said above, profile views can start conversations. Unfortunately, people can’t strike up a relationship with “LinkedIn member.” You’re on LinkedIn to expand your network, so don’t hide behind an anonymous grey box.

23) Updating your LinkedIn once — and never again.

We get it: Your primary focus is selling, which means refreshing your LinkedIn profile probably isn’t high on your daily to-do list. However, your page will quickly get stale without periodic attention. 

Every two to five months, review it for out-of-date information and any missing details. For example, maybe your customers’ average ROI used to be around 20%. But now that the product is more robust, it’s shot up to 30%. Adjusting that statistic is an easy win.

Or maybe you’ve gotten a glowing testimonial from a client since the last time you updated your profile. You’d definitely want to include that compelling piece of social proof. 

24) Not following any influencers.

One of the best ways to get into your prospect’s mind is following the influencers they subscribe to on LinkedIn. You’ll get exposure to the same ideas, news, and viewpoints as them — which will not only help you understand where they’re coming from but will give you valuable fodder for conversation as well.

To find the best influencers to follow, visit the profiles of 10 or so of your best customers and copy the accounts in their “Interests” section.

25) Being passive about your “Skills” section.

People will typically endorse you for skills whether you ask them to or not. Yet letting others decide what appears in this section is a missed opportunity. You want to be recognized for the abilities that will most attract new prospects, like “inbound marketing” if you offer an inbound marketing platform or “digital advertising” if you work in media sales. 

First, identify the top three skills you’d like to be known more. (LinkedIn’s new profile update highlights the three skills you’ve been endorsed for most frequently.)

Then, send an email to your coworkers, professional connections, and partners asking if they’d be willing to endorse you for those skills. Most will be happy to do so — make sure you offer to return the favor by endorsing them for their own top skills.

LinkedIn isn’t the easiest platform to master. Case in point: We found 25 sins to include on this list. However, armed with your new knowledge of what to avoid, you can use LinkedIn to its full advantage.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in May 2015 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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Source: blog.hubspot.com/sales