Conversational cadence

Jeff Molander

Sales communications coach & Managing Partner, Communications Edge Inc.

Trainer to brands like:

Timing messages

For cold outreach, we recommend the following touch point model. 

Here's the short version: Use timing of email & voicemails to express a growing sense of urgency. Starting slow, then pick up the pace.

Send your first message. Then wait after making your first (cold) attempt to follow up—for a longer period. Then shorten the time between follow-up touches. Apply a half-life rule with each subsequent email and/or phone attempt.

Most of our students follow variations on this cadence—and it works.

Here’s what this timing might look like. But remember, this is only an example of a broader concept. Your timing may require a different (more aggressive) approach.

  • First attempt: July 1
  • Second attempt: July 13 (12 days later)
  • Third attempt: July 19 (6 days later)
  • Fourth attempt: July 22 (three days later)
  • Fifth attempt: July 24 mid-day (1.5 days later)

In the above scenario prospects sense growing urgency in your follow-up. (yet won't feel you are pouncing on them out-of-the-gate)

But what about getting your series of email messages actually read, responded to and getting an appointment booked?

There's more to cadence than timing

Proper timing and provocative, personalized message content help buyers feel an urge to reply. Not just once. Over-and-over... beyond the first reply... until they feel an urge to ask for a meeting.

No urge? No spark of curiosity? No reply for you. No invitation to talk about helping.  

Conversational cadence makes the difference.  

Here's why. These two trends are universal and cannot be ignored.

1) Prospects value more what they ask for than what you offer. (push at them) 

2) Customers value more what they conclude for themselves than what you tell them.

Thus, timing your messages helps provoke an initial discussion. Then, effective conversational cadence helps prospects discover why they want to buy, when and how.

Focusing on an issue-driven discussion (not the meeting) helps prospects get—and stay—curious.

Help buyers discover their reasons

Helping a customer realize they want to buy is a tall order. First you need the conversation. Allowing the customer to control that conversation hyper-qualifies the meeting. 

Helping buyers understand if (and when) they want to buy—on their own terms—is key. From a copywriting and communications view, this allows customers to persuade themselves.

Think about the last time you talked yourself into a purchase with a sales person. Did you feel in complete control of the conversation? That's the key. Using tactics like Sandler's "negative reverse" combine with challenger selling techniques to put customers at ease. 

For example, in email acknowledging your customers' right to choose (to have a conversation or not) empowers them. This often sparks responses because it is unusual. It's striking for customers to meet a seller at peace with rejection. 

Is your current message sequence combining to help buyers feel an urge to ask for a discussion... and then ask more questions?

Is the pacing and message content helping buyers address the status quo?

This is what we work on in the Academy together.

Facilitate self-discovery  

Using questions when prospecting? Be careful. You may be asking questions designed to elicit insights about the client. It's a natural desire. In fact, many sales programs teach BANT (Budget, Authority, Needs, Timeline) as a strategy.

But this doesn't work.

Early-stage buyers immediately sense when your questions are focused on qualifyingrather than problem-solving. In email the result is deletion or (worse) prospects give guarded, vague or misleading answers.

Example: If a client interprets your question to serve YOU more than them ... you'll receive no (or bad) information back.

Because clients will reply with answers they think you want—for your reasons. (not their own)

Instead, ask un-biased questions as a means to help the prospect:

  • Surface hidden pains they (personally) don't have direct exposure to
  • Reveal who other decision makers are without fear of you pouncing on them
  • Find their own answers hidden in their thoughts (while you observe)

These kinds of questions focus the prospect inward, on themselves. This helps clients feel an urge to share concerns, fears and internal decision-making processes.

Useful to you? Oh yeah. They're golden. But there's more.

Asking un-biased questions avoids making you look self-serving. It also makes you look different than 99% of other sellers. Believe me.

Want to learn more about structuring un-biased questions? Let me know. Shoot me an email

Need help starting an email discussion with the best possible provocation? Join us in this workshop.

Your cadence is a filter

The power of a good email cadence is obvious. But provocative conversational cadence is even better. Because it helps your prospects qualify or disqualify themselves—all while helping you keep the conversation alive.

Once you've earned the reply go S-L-O-W. Even when invited to don't talk about your solution. Avoid talking about yourself, your solution, your clients... you-you-you. Instead, put the client in charge. Allow them to self-qualify (or disqualify).

Making this happen is easy when using the Spark Selling communications technique.

Here's what it looks like:

1. Use email as a means to grab attention—spark curiosity.

2. When the customer replies, asking for more details, give only enough detail to temporarily satisfy their curiosity.

3. This "give-and-take" can span 2 to 5 or even 7 emails.

Within this series of messages we create tension—wherein the customer is tempted to short-circuit the email exchange and request a meeting.

Thus, your exchange of emails is a faster way to qualify the customer. The potential buyer qualifies themselves… via email… rather than you wasting precious time on the phone.

Remember: Once you have the conversation started focus on:

1. Guiding it, allowing prospects to drive the kind and pacing of contact

2. Holding back information (sometimes against your instinct)

3. Re-starting discussion (when they go dark) … yet being at peace with lost leads

4. Creating a set of useful responses based on issues/pains/worries/goals

Come and practice this with us.

Good luck!

With your success in mind,

Sales communications coach & Managing partner

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