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The Art of Brevity for Sales & Marketing Professionals

Posted by Dave Howe on Jul 11, 2014 10:38:27 AM

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No Excuses

“Sometimes it flies, sometimes it crawls, but it always passes inexorably.” – Michael D. Lemonick on Time

The Importance of Brevity

Time is perhaps the world’s most valued commodity and it is for precisely this reason that brevity is one of the most important skills for us to master in sales and marketing. We are constantly seeking the attention of important individuals within the organizations that we wish to win as clients. While doing so, the rudimentary correlation between time and importance that we as professionals must appreciate is that as someone’s importance increases, their availability to listen to our pitch naturally decreases. Therefore, in order to respect the time constraints of our prospects, it is our responsibility to learn the art of brevity.


3 Steps For Composing an Email

I can not begin to tell you how many times a week I receive traditional sales and marketing emails from random companies and think to myself “my god, do people really still try this approach?” If your initial messages to prospects are more than 100 words long, rewrite them. You owe it to your prospects to do better.
Every message you send should do three things very quickly:

  • 1. Convey Relevance
  • 2. Deliver Value
  • 3. Build Intrigue

If it takes you more than 100 words to do this than you either don’t know your product/service well enough, have not spent enough time researching your buyers or haven’t crafted your messaging properly. It is that simple and there are no exceptions.

The Emailing Formula

Luckily, there is a very basic formula you can follow to write your sales and marketing messages, keep them under 100 words and still move things along to the next steps.

Here is the 3-Sentence formula that I have followed with great success:

    Hi [Prospect Name],
  • Line 1: States the relevance for your prospect receiving your message. This could be a referral, trigger event, commonality, etc.
  • Line 2: Displays the value of your product/service to your prospect. This is typically a good opportunity to state a relatable success story you’ve had with similar clients or share a piece of valuable information.
  • Line 3: Builds intrigue/call-to-action? End your messages with a direct question or action. Do not be vague. Make it very easy for your prospects to respond to your request. If you want to schedule a call, ask them for a specific window of time on a specific date. If you want to be referred to someone else in the organization, be specific about what department they are in or what their responsibilities include.

Following this method will ensure better response rates with your initial messages and your prospects will respect you more for taking the time to craft a well thought out communication.

The Bottom Line

If you are unable to fit your messaging into this formula, then you likely need to revisit your value statement. You should be able to state the value of your product/service in no more than 7 – 10 words. It can be an arduous and painstaking process to boil down a value proposition to this degree of brevity, but your dedication will pay off in spades when you find yourself in the proverbial elevator.

I will be sure to follow up this blog post with another one on word crafting. In the meantime, let me know if you have any questions in the comment box below.

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Dave Howe

Dave Howe

About the Author

Dave is a gifted salesman with a passion for training. Having started from humble roots as a doorknocker in Australia, Dave quickly excelled over his decade long sales and marketing career to hold several VP and Director level positions. Prior to joining the Sales for Life team, Dave was involved with start-ups; building and training their sales teams from the ground up.

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