Stop Your Boring Outreach
Author: collin stewart
Dale Dupree is the founder and CEO of the Sales Rebellion. He draws on his many years of sales experience to coach sales professionals in developing innovative and creative approaches to their craft. Dale is also one of the hosts of the popular Selling Local podcast. He joined Predictable Revenue to discuss how to create experiences that cause familiarity, fuel relevance, drive curiosity and give your prospect a reason to meet.
The Importance Of Creativity
Creativity is one of the most important elements to sales outreach. Dale explains how “what we long for, and what we latch to as humans in general, is something that disrupts or interrupts our typical and daily patterns. We long for those things because it means that something new is happening. And new is always good until we get too stuck into a rhythm”.
Crucially, salespeople often get stuck in predictable rhythms that can repeat for their entire careers. Too many simply spend twenty years knocking on doors, dialing phones, and just going straight to the pitch. The trick is to decide to eschew these traditional approaches in favor of a more innovative methodology. “It’s an easy choice to sit back and say should I call like everybody else? Or should I try something that I know, deep within my soul, would not only speak to me, but would speak to an audience, be relevant, familiar, and in the moment?”
However, many people just don’t feel like they are that creative, which can feel like a roadblock to innovation. “Creativity stems from a place that we have to call deep within ourselves”. Some people might need a little help or coaching to tap into this, but everyone is capable of doing it. “So, for me it all starts from the human interaction between one to another, rather than just asking, “how can I sell you my product?” And if we go there, creativity is a lot easier to jump into in the first place.”
Provide Prospects With A Memorable Experience
Salespeople spend too much time approaching people in a simple self-serving manner, with an eye to selling them something. In fact, this is one of the reasons that certain negative stereotypes around sales professionals have emerged. As Dale notes, “one of the things that I found very, very quickly in my career was that everybody hates salespeople.” To become better at sales, it’s vital to act in a way that is contrary to these expectations. So rather than just contacting someone to give them a sales pitch, a more effective way to proceed is to “give them an experience that they deserve and that they long for.”
Nevertheless, there are also pitfalls to avoid when delivering these experiences to prospects. For example, there have been cases of salespeople sending a $1,000 sword with a prospect’s name engraved on it. While this is an impressive act, it’s also both gimmicky and not scalable. After all, how many $1,000 swords is any salesperson likely to be able to send out?
“I can’t just send everybody a sword: people are going to see the gimmick in that. Also, how can I hyper-personalize that and make it scalable? You can’t, it’s impossible. So instead, the experience is hyper-personalized, not necessarily the message.” To achieve this, sales professionals must craft an experience that is creative, familiar, and relevant. These three ingredients serve to spark an audience’s curiosity.
“Buying decisions are created through curiosity. People begin to think, what happens if I say yes? What happens if I say no? And it’s in those moments that we can psychologically connect with a human being naturally, instead of manipulating them.
So, the bottom line is that creativity is the most basic way to really sell somebody something without making them feel like you’re going through the motions or creating some kind of gimmick.”
Build Relationships With Customers Through Storytelling
Ground-breaking sales leaders such as Becc Holland and Josh Braun have developed new and innovative ways to think about sales. However, all too often salespeople take their teachings at face value, and use them as a blueprint for selling. This is a mistake, and misses the point of what they are trying to convey. “What Josh teaches people, they take too literally. What he’s teaching people is to check out of their status quo shell, to do something that’s a little bit different and that again accommodates a buyer. But everybody uses it like a play.”
Rather than using these ideas as a playbook, they should help you to develop mutually beneficial relationships with customers. “You’ve got to stop using these things like a play. You’ve got to start using them as a way to naturally progress a relationship with the people that you’re trying to write to and to build something with.”
One of the most effective ways of developing these relationships is through storytelling. The problem with many sales emails is that, even if they’re hyper-personalized, they often aren’t creative. “They don’t activate any of the nodes in your brain that creativity sparks in the first place. So, curiosity doesn’t necessarily play a role in those emails.” But by sharing an intriguing story, you capture an audience’s attention and curiosity. “Storytelling in emails is the best way to really break down people’s barriers, to get their brain activated. You want them to be curious, and to give you permission to tell them more because they want it, and they deserve the experience. That’s how they’ll feel in those moments.”
Develop Your Own Personal Brand
Constructing your own brand can be a highly effective pillar of your selling strategy. You can develop as elaborate a brand, with as extensive a narrative, as you feel is useful. This is an area where you can get very creative, which will also help you to stand out as a salesperson. Developing a brand for customers helps them to see past the sea of everyone else who’s calling on them in the first place. “It helps them to see your intrinsic value, what passions you have, what skills you possess, the network that you have that could benefit them.”
Your brand is a way for you to show your customers all that you have to offer. Too many salespeople focus exclusively on the product that they are trying to sell. However, your product is not the only thing of value that you provide to customers. “There’s so much more to what we sell than just our product, and we have such a hard time articulating those things because we put everything into a box. So how do I develop Dale Dupree’s personal brand? All I have to do is say ‘Dale Dupree likes things that are non-traditional. Dale Dupree isn’t afraid to go and knock on your door as opposed to calling you on the phone.’ And that’s where I started to find my niches.”
When developing your own brand, you need to consider the tools at your disposal. You also need to establish how your identity and story can facilitate your selling. “If all you have is the ability to be digital or use the phone, then you have to decide which one of those things is going to articulate your brand better. Then you have to write your story out, and not just like ‘I went to college, and I dropped out, and then I got a sales job’. No one cares about that stuff, and you don’t either.”
Rather, when writing out your brand and your story, you need to draw from the areas of your life that set you on fire. What drives and excites you? Identify these things, and make them the core of your brand. “If you can tap into your passions for your personal brand, you will have more fun at work.”
Use Scalable Approaches
As already mentioned, creativity is a vital ingredient for sales — but so is scalability. Fortunately, it is relatively easy to develop scalable approaches with a little thought. One fruitful way to accomplish both is by developing unique, striking email subject lines. “The subject lines ‘The Greatest Email Ever’ and ‘The Worst Email Ever’ get open rates of ridiculous amounts.”
These are both effective email lines because they are intriguing, and they subvert people’s expectations of what sales pitches are.
Those two emails in particular, and why they’re scalable, is because they tell a story. Again, remember that your buyer has common assumptions across the board of what sales is. They can see a pitch a mile away.
When crafting your emails, think about who you’re trying to reach and how you can best connect with them. This is often best accomplished by targeting people who you have something in common with. “The kindred spirit concept is a big piece of the puzzle of how you meet and sell to your tribe. There’s more people out there like you than you think.” By identifying these people and drawing on your shared interests and experiences, you will be better placed to capture their attention. “If you can really relate to somebody, then they will feel familiarity and relevance in those moments, and they’ll stick around.”
By provoking these emotions in people you’ll stick in their minds, and they will remember you. You will have progressed from being a faceless salesperson to someone who they take an interest in. This can then be leveraged as the basis for a relationship. “You just need to cause an audacious amount of curiosity, almost to where it makes them mad when they get into the email – because good or bad, you need a relationship. Because right now you’re indifferent to everyone. Because no one’s acknowledging you and no one sees you, no one cares.”
Even if you are initially provoking a negative response, you are still at least becoming more visible. “So even if someone writes you back and says: ‘that’s the worst email I ever got in my life’, that’s when you respond and say ‘yeah, but you read it and responded to me’.” While the goal is to provoke positive responses, not all great relationships start that way. For Dale specifically, 2 – 3% of his relationships start out that way.
Those people are out there and typically, they’re literally you! They see so much of themselves in that moment.
If you would like to hear more from Dale about developing innovative and creative approaches to the sales process, watch his full sit down with Predictable Revenue here.
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