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5 Sales Messaging Mistakes That Will Haunt & Doom Your Sales Process


With Halloween just around the corner, you must be prepared to be scared. You might see some ghouls roaming around your neighborhood, some frightening Halloween treats, or some loud and potentially disturbing decorations on your neighbor’s lawn (there’s always that one neighbor!).

However, you know what consistently scares me, year round?

Horrifying sales messaging.  If you are guilty of being one of these personas, then now is a good time to revisit your messaging strategy, revamp it (pun intended), and finish Q4 strong.  Avoid committing these acts and scaring your prospects away.

The Sales Vampire

The sales vampire calls prospects and asks them what their company does.  Don’t try to displace your own prospecting work onto your prospect; it’ll suck the life out of the conversation.

It is imperative to do your research before placing a call for obvious reasons.  Let’s walk through this scenario when salespeople don't do their homework: 

  • You weren’t on your prospect’s calendar so you don’t know if you are already calling on scheduled time.
  • You want your prospect to explain their company to you, providing you with the qualification material that you should have completed prior to the call.
  • Then you expect them to stay on the phone with you once you’ve heard their qualification criteria, so that you can then give them your sales pitch.

I’m sure you can see what’s wrong with this scenario and why it’s flawed.  Instead, you want to call prospects having already done your research and curated an additional piece of information that might be important to them, such as an industry update.  Place the callknowing that their company is a potential fit, and let them know that you’ve had experience working with clients in similar industries. You want to build your credibility while also having an educated and quality conversation to determine if it makes sense to have an additional call to dive deeper into their business challenges.  In an effort to have a quality conversation, avoid asking what their company does and do your own research. Instead of extracting information out of prospects like a hungry vampire, do your own research before the call.

The Sales Ghost 

Sales ghosts lack real intent in follow-up calls and emails, stating “I just wanted to check in.”  Their intent is ghostly because you can see right through it.

Saying "I just wanted to check in" in a follow-up call does not accomplish anything.  Rather, it shows your prospects that you have nothing meaningful to say and that you’re looking for further confirmation to stay in touch.  When you place a call, you should make your intentions clear, whether it’s to have a quality conversation to determine if your prospect would benefit from using your product or service or to qualify or disqualify your prospect based on average ticket price.

Calling a prospect with no set initiative can be a waste of both your time and of theirs, which you should be always be respectful of.  Therefore, before you place a call, know what you’re hoping to accomplish, and if it’s a set call, send out an agenda so everyone can properly prepare and your intent is clear.  Otherwise, your intent becomes ghostly because prospects can see right through it.

The Sales Witch or Warlock

The sales witch or warlock sends LinkedIn invitations without personalizing the message, and is just looking to sell.  You are no witch or warlock so hang up thecunning sales tactics next to your broom.

I know who you are, and you know who you are -- and to be honest, you’re probably sitting in my LinkedIn queue right now.  I don’t want to accept your invite just to be sold to, so I simply don’t, and you become lost in “request limbo.”  

If you’re going to use social platforms to enhance your sales strategies, then make sure you’re using them efficiently.  If a prospect doesn’t know who you are, introduce yourself and show your prospect that you want to be part of their professional network, suggesting why you feel it makes sense to connect. Some reasons might be: similar industries, similar positions, looking forward to the articles they share, etc. Otherwise, your intention to connect may come off as misleading, like you’re only connecting to add another prospect to your list.  Perhaps some believe that’s a cunning tactic; however, you’re not a warlock or witch, so hang up those cunning tactics and instead be genuine with personalized messages. They will be appreciated. 

The Sales Zombie

The sales zombie sounds half asleep or angry at the world in their voicemails to prospects. 

I completely understand what it is like working when you’re tired, rushed, or having a bad day. I’m sure we’ve all experienced this, or even worse, all in one work day.  However, when you’re teleprospecting, your voice is everything: it’s what helps bring the conversation to life or, on the flip side, immediately kills it.  You want to be engaging on the phone, and your delivery and tone play a huge part in that.  If you’re getting tired, grab a drink or do a lap around the office to refresh yourself before you pick up the phone again.  You may notthink you’re tired, but be mindful of how you sound on the phone; even consider recording yourself. Otherwise, you risk being a sales zombie to your prospects.

The Sales Werewolf

The sales werewolf never tailors messaging to its prospects; instead, it tears into each interaction with the same boring approach.

As stated above, it’s always a good practice to do your research before you speak with a prospect.  It is also a best practice to tailor your messaging to your individual prospect.  You should know what company they work at, their job title, and whether they have any social profiles to gather information on what they share and deem of interest.  

Every person intakes and processes information differently.  To further complicate that, depending on their job title and responsibilities, some initiatives are more important to them than others, including the need for your product or service.  Therefore, be sure to highlight the features of your product or service that would interest your prospect, and be sure to deliver the message correctly by understanding what priorities they have within their position and how best to communicate your tailored messaging. Not speaking to your prospect’s specific initiatives or to their persona and preferences is like going head first into a conversation full speed and ready to sell only to realize that you should have entered as a helpful human and not a salesy and overbearing werewolf..

What sales messaging tactics are horrifying you this Halloween?

Megan Tonzi is the Director of Marketing for AG Salesworks. She is responsible for managing, monitoring and analyzing social media channels and leveraging the company's presence within B2B Sales and Marketing communities. She manages the Sales Prospecting Perspectives blog and collaborates with guest authors.  Megan also oversees AG Salesworks' monthly webinars.  If you're interested in guest blogging or partnering on a webinar with AG, contact Megan (@megan_marie_t). For more information on Megan, see here

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