Usually people request others speak slowly or repeat a phrase when speaking to someone with a strong accent or limited skills in the language or dialect being used. The above adage, though, has a totally different meaning. Basically, it is a reminder to carefully formulate your wording prior to speaking and speak slowly to avoid confusion. This adage also has strong implications for written communications, which is the subject of this column.
People frequently say: I used to have great writing skills but they have deteriorated due to all texting and emails I have to do each day. Indeed, it is easy to form bad habits, especially since many of us send and receive more than 100 emails a day, plus numerous text messages. Yet email and text responses have become critical elements of the sales process, and to be fully effective they must be carefully crafted. That’s because misinterpretations in text and email messages greatly diminish the conversion rate of valuable sales leads.
Sometimes looking to the past can provide guidance. Until about 20 years ago a printed flyer with a cover letter was the standard lead reply tool. A former coworker of mine developed a method to maximize effectiveness. He would revise his cover letter relentlessly for each sales campaign. By painstakingly tracking response rates (i.e. manually) he was able to identify the version that had the greatest success, and he made it his standard template. The volume of electronic leads and today’s fast-paced environment would appear to make this process too slow and too labor intensive. However, the passage of time has also provided sales organizations access to some great sales force automation tools that make this process simpler, faster, and very accurate.
Today’s sales professionals are dependent on leads generated by company websites, Google (News - Alert) Keywords, and other electronic feeds. Sometimes they seem to appear like magic – you open your email, and there they are. However, they are not magical but the result of costly marketing and lead generation programs. These leads need to be treated like the precious gems they are and managed with care. Your organization’s profits and future depend on it.
Max Schroeder is Vice President Emeritus of FaxCore (News - Alert) Inc. (www.faxcore.com) and managing director of the DPCF.
Edited by Kyle Piscioniere