by Brittany Ferrera, Customer Success & Marketing Manager at Communications Edge Inc

“I’m trying everything when prospecting. But my email response rate emails is not improving.”

Does this sound like you? You’ve tried all kinds of systems and sales methods, but nothing is working. You may be a good candidate for sales communication training. But first let’s examine what the problem may be.


Methodology relies on communication skills 

If you’re having trouble starting new client conversations this may be why: Sales methods--when it’s the right one--can improve sales process outcomes: More closed deals.  

But without proper sales communication skills you/your reps won’t make the most of the methods you follow. Training on the method (alone) risks being useless--and costly.

Sales methods v. sales communication skills

A sales method or philosophy is all about operating an efficient sales process. Usually the process subscribes to rules or best practices. Prospecting and cold (email and phone) outreach is always a part of the process. These include:

  • Spin Selling
  • Consultative, Selling
  • Challenger Selling
  • Sandler 
  • Solution Selling
  • Guided Selling
  • Top Down Selling
  • Situational Selling

Are all valid methods. But what prospecting strengths do these bring? How modern (current) are outreach practices living within them?

Methods contain outdated communication tactics

There is a difference between the operational systems living inside these broad sales methods and buyer persona-driven effective communication tactics within them. 

In the sales outreach/prospecting component of these methods there are recommended ways to approach prospecting. But typically outreach methods within them are not up-to-date, effective. Many are templated. 

Before he took communication tactic training, Matthew Kavanaugh, CEO of start-up ValidU, says, “I was sending dissertations, now I send provocations. The most valuable take-away from investing in a communication-focused workshop was realizing -- even though I have passion about what my product does, and I have so many selling points to make, that’s not how to initiate a cold conversation.”

Example: Think about the last spammy, templated message you received.

How quickly did you delete it?

How easy was it for you to spot?

Did the subject line tip you off—”opening promises an obnoxious pitch?”

Maybe the subject tried tricking you into opening?

Have you ever opened a message only to get angry … or laugh to yourself … because the first sentence was an obvious set-up to a pitch?

Ever wondered if your emails have the same (negative) effect on prospects?

There is a better way: A stronger communication technique. 

What’s the difference?

Here is a simple way of looking at the differences between a prospecting method framework and sales communication skills supporting it from within.

Sales prospecting methods help you:

  • Systematically scout for, locate & qualify leads
  • Work leads from cold to warm to closed within a step-by-step process 
  • Monitor & shorten buying cycles
  • Push leads down the funnel

Sales communication skills training helps you:

  • Start conversations from cold more often, faster
  • Stand out from noise and competitors
  • Confidently apply emerging (effective) communication skills & email copywriting
  • Spark curiosity in prospects as a means to provoke response
  • Qualify leads faster; waste less time by guiding buyers to self-qualify
  • Attract conversations to you rather than beg for them
  • Earn more qualified first meetings

These are just a few benefits of stronger outreach communication skills. 

In fact, communication skills training protects your investment in any existing sales training. Especially Challenger Selling. 

Many of our customers choose to use conversation-starting techniques we recommend within the process they currently use… or are asked to use by their company.

sales communication skills

"My team is applying Spark Selling across all areas of customer interaction,” says Nick Jiwa, CEO of Customerserv who doesn’t restrict strong communication skills to the sales side.  

“Results have been tremendous as we call on Fortune 500 call center executives.”

"By combining my style with stronger provocations I'm engaging prospects wherever they are in the buying cycle,” says Julie Cohen, CEO of Work.Life.Leader, a leadership development training aimed at mid to large enterprises. 

“Within a week of investing I got a positive reply from an unresponsive prospect I’d given up on.”

Next time you sit down to type up a sales email to a potential customer, take a minute to really read through that email you’re sending (whether it’s a template or newly typed copy) and consider whether what you’re typing is any different than the numerous other emails they’re getting each day trying to sell them something--because, let’s face it, if it’s not, they’re going to immediately delete your email.

This starts with the subject line, and it’s not as simple as, “Hey [NAME]. Want to save money?”  Of course they do, but that’s what everyone is offering them. The system might teach you to reach out to x amount of people each day from your prospecting list, and the percentage game should lead to you getting responses.  BUT if you’re not sending the RIGHT emails, you’re really just wasting a lot of time to send a lot of emails that will never be opened.

The trick is to communicate effectively.  Because realistically, you can have the best product and system in the world, but if you don’t know the proper ways to communicate this with potential prospects--in a very small amount of time--none of that matters.

Take long-time Spark Selling Academy member, Sharon Quarrington, as an example.  Sharon owns Horse Sense for Leaders, a company dedicated to using horses and their intuitive nature to teach leadership techniques to organizations.  Sharon is confident in her company’s ability to improve organizations’ leadership but finds it difficult to communicate what her company does in just a few sentences.  Sharon knows that if an email takes too long for a person to read, they will not get far into it, so she needed to improve her copywriting skills in order to explain to potential customers what her company does--it’s not a fun vacation experience where people can ride horses, but rather a beneficial and educational experience where leaders can learn in a way never before tried.

Sharon joined the Spark Selling Academy specifically for this reason.  Her challenge was not prospecting or qualifying leads but deciding how to spark these leads’ curiosity quickly enough that they WANT to respond and find out more.  Then, she can follow her sales processes and take it even further to close the deal and bring in more profits.

The challenge is getting that initial response.

So, how does sales communication skills training help make this happen?  A lot of it comes down to having confidence in your copywriting skills when sending out your emails and knowing that it’s not about the quantity of emails if you don’t have high enough quality.

Sales communication skills best practices

No matter what prospecting method you/your team follows conversation, starting skills make or break your ability to succeed. In fact, you may not subscribe to any single sales methodology. Or you may buy books, research… mix and match tactics. Many of our clients do.

But without the most current, effective conversation-starting (and advancing) skills, your prospecting system (no matter which you choose and how good it is) risks under-performing or failing.

Photo credit: Senado Federal


About the Author

Brittany Ferrara gives our customers and internal team everything needed to stay focused, on-task, effective and ultimately successful. She gives us an organizational, marketing & customer support edge. Brittany brings seven years of customer service, administrative assisting and marketing experience to us. She is a successful entrepreneur, having operated her own successful venture, Pro-Assist, LLC for five years before joining our team.

Brittany Ferrara

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