What are your business new year's resolutions for 2017?

Maybe it's winning some big deals you weren't able to close in 2016 or perhaps you want to make your sales team more efficient. Or do you just want to beat 2016's sales numbers?

Whatever your goals are, it's important you don't repeat the same mistakes in 2016 if you want to achieve your goals in the new year. That's why I gathered 12 of my most valuable sales lessons and tips from more than 50 different articles I wrote.

Here they are:

#1. Be thoughtful and considerate of your audience

While this is true for anyone, it's especially important when cold emailing CEOs and other C-level executives. If you can't offer them value or propose ways to solve their problems, they're not going to respond.

#2. Don't rely on your network

While introductions are helpful when you have that luxury, you shouldn't wait around for introductions to start conversations with decision makers. Instead of relying on others, be proactive with researching the people you want to talk to and reach out to them directly yourself.

#3. Write like a human

No one likes reading overly formal emails packed with jargon; especially cold emails. So write like a human for lazy people who don't want to read, and kill the jargon.

#4. Cut the cliches

Using polite and familiar phrases in your cold email introductions, like, "I hope this finds you well," can actually decrease your chances of getting a response.

#5. Be persistent

Statistically speaking, you need to send 8 emails in order to maximize your chances of getting a response. About one-third of responses to an email campaign will come from emails five through eight.

#6. Always add new value

Every sales communication you have with a prospective customer should always strive to add value, whether it's your first phone call or your fifth email. Otherwise, they'll just ignore you and mark your emails as spam. (Here are a few ideas for follow-up emails)

#7. Your email signature is prime real estate

Use your email signature as a branding opportunity to make yourself unforgettable with prospective customers. Ideally, you want to make yourself seem more human, which you can do with a quote or links to your social profiles. Just keep it short and don't include any images.

#8. Ask more questions

Talk less about you and your company. Instead, ask your prospective customers more questions. Use probing questions in your sales emails and conversations to probe deeper to understand buyers' deepest priorities and pain points.

#9. Don't confuse sales emails with marketing emails

Never send sales prospecting emails with marketing automation software like Marketo or MailChimp. That's not what those tools are made for, and that will decrease your open rates and make your emails look mass, so fewer people will read them and respond. Instead, send sales emails through a mail merge.

#10. Canned emails never work well

Any email template can die, even great ones. That's why you should never send someone else's "winning sales email template" to your customers. Even if that template worked for them, it might not be relevant to your audience. Even if it is, it won't work for long because too many other people will spam that same message and make that template become overused and ineffective.

#11. Make sure your data is clean and accurate

Personalizing emails with sales automation tools is becoming increasingly more popular. However, if you have crummy contact data or errors in your email templates, you can look really stupid in front of a lot of people when you press send. Make sure to triple check your templates for spelling and grammar errors, mistakes in your merge tags, and other data quality issues.

#12. All sales strategies are not the same (nor should they be)

Everyone's sales pitch and strategies should be different, especially if you want to be highly effective. When deciding how to tailor yours, think about your customer's specific pain points, their level of education and awareness of your business' category, your company's position in the market, and timing.

Published on: Dec 29, 2016
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