Every salesperson knows the pain of “the ones that got away.” Think of the prospects you just couldn’t set meetings with, no matter how hard you tried. Consider those who never purchased your product or service — even after you poured time and energy into making the sale. It’s easy to remember exactly who these prospects were. But do you know why they got away?
In sales, it can be difficult to recognize the mistakes you’re making. Asking would-be customers for their comments rarely results in honest, helpful feedback on your sales approach. Fortunately, most customers decide not to buy from a salesperson for the same few reasons. Chances are, you’ve lost sales — and prospects — due to one of them.
It’s time to learn the five most common reasons why customers don’t buy from you. Once you understand the mistakes you’re making, you can finally start to dominate your competition in sales. Take a look:
1) You’re trying to sell to everyone.
A good sales pipeline is about quality, not quantity. If your prospects aren’t buying from you, you must reevaluate the quality of your sales pipeline. Plain and simple.
Great salespeople don’t try to sell to anyone and everyone. They understand that most prospects aren’t good fits — and they disqualify them rather than trying to force a sale. By taking this approach, you’ll free up your time to focus on the best prospects who are most likely to benefit from — and ultimately purchase — whatever you’re trying to sell.
2) You’re “turning off” customers.
The vast majority of salespeople have a huge problem: They’re salesy. That is, they’re overly enthusiastic about their product or service — and prospects can see it coming from a mile away. What a turn-off! If you want to stand out from your competitors, stop being salesy. Tone down the enthusiasm for a more genuine and personable approach.
Other salespeople turn off customers by asking prospects to educate them. They might ask, “Hey, George, can we set up a call so I can learn more about your business?” Prospects don’t want to educate you — they just want you to fix their problems. Always show the value you bring before engaging prospects in a conversation about their business.
3) You’re not asking enough questions.
Many salespeople make the mistake of being so focused on their offer that they never ask questions to determine what’s going on in their prospects’ world. Once you’ve engaged your prospects, it’s time to move forward with understanding their key objectives.
Ask thoughtful questions to uncover your prospects’ challenges, objectives, budget, and decision-making process. Add value by showing how your product or service will help them accomplish their key objectives. Remember, prospects don’t actually care about your offer. They only care about solving their challenges and accomplishing their goals.
4) You’re too focused on price.
When asked what goes into a prospect’s decision, many salespeople think that price ranks as one of the top two concerns. In reality, price ranks much lower on the list of priorities for most prospects — usually around sixth, seventh, or even eighth place.
Next time you sit down with a prospect, stop focusing on price. Instead, focus on the value of the challenges you’ll be solving for the prospect, and see how quickly concerns about price can fade away.
5) You don’t ask for feedback.
Smart salespeople get constant feedback throughout the sales process to gauge how the prospect is feeling about the conversation.
Try asking simple questions such as, “Do you agree with what I just said?” or “Does this make sense in your world?” If the prospect agrees with you, you know you’re on the right track. If they don’t, that’s your cue you need to change direction and get the conversation back on track.
Which of these common mistakes have you been making in your sales process? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below. Make the changes necessary to ensure your next prospect isn’t “the one who got away” and start crushing your sales goals.
20 Fall Marketing Ideas That Will Get Your Business Noticed
Fall is an ideal time to promote your business: people are back in town after vacation, kids are back to school, and everyone’s ready for a fresh start. Take advantage of the season’s opportunities with these marketing ideas.
Launch an Instagram photo contest: Invite customers to post pictures of themselves engaged in their favorite fall activities (apple picking, flag football, etc.) with a designated hashtag. Choose a winner and offer them a free gift, and re-gram the photo on your account.
Hold a “can-do” event: Email customers offering them a discount when they bring in canned and other nonperishable food items to donate to a local food pantry.
Put your name on it: Ditch the paper or plastic bags (at least temporarily) in favor of reusable shopping bags featuring your business’s name. You could also encourage customers to carry it by offering a discount when they bring it into the store.
Sponsor a team: Support young athletes in a way that fits with your business. For example, if you sell women’s clothing, maybe partner with a girls’ soccer team. Or if you run a restaurant, make your establishment the official pregame coffee spot for parents or postgame hangout for players.
Advertise on local blogs: Identify the most popular blogs in your community for news, style, food — whatever best aligns with your business — and advertise special promotions for readers. Not only are the rates less expensive, but you can more easily reach your target market.
Hit the festival circuit: Chances are that organizations in your area host a fall fair or Oktoberfest, so find out how to set up a booth or get involved in sponsoring the event.
Host a social IRL party: Invite all your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram followers to meet up in person at your store for a shopping party with special promotions and giveaways.
Offer an appealing deal: Entice people in by offering a discount. You can promote your sale via window signage, social media posts, or using something like constant contact.
Lend your space: Reach out to a favorite local charity, like an animal shelter, and offer them your shop for a fundraising event.
Celebrate new holidays: Halloween and Thanksgiving get all the glory, but you can make your business stand out with fun, social media–friendly holidays unique to your business, like a “Sweater Weather Saturday” sale or a “Pumpkin Spice Appreciation Day” event.
Start a deal-of-the-week email: Send targeted messages to customers with an email marketing tools offering special discounts on specific items or services.
Team up with local businesses: Work with other neighborhood shops to pool your resources (and social media reach) to throw an autumn-themed weekend event with food, entertainment, and lots of special promotions.
Bring in the experts: Identify common problems among your customers (home organization, wardrobe ideas, hair updates), and designate a day to offer the expertise of your staff and outside consultants with free in-store consultations.
Throw a “treat yo’self” party: Email your best customers and invite them to a special event with complimentary manicures, chair massages, and makeup application along with cocktails and appetizers.
Spend now, save later: Holiday shopping season is looming, so tempt your customers with a deal: if they spend a certain amount now, they’ll get a designated amount off their purchase after Thanksgiving.
Get media savvy: Reach out to local TV news, radio shows, and podcasts to pitch seasonal stories that relate to your business, like fall fashion updates, seasonal recipes, and more.
Hire fresh talent: Need new photography, graphic design, or social media help? We know someone who can help!
Donate to local auctions: Fall is a huge fundraising time for schools and charity organizations, so reach out to some of your favorites and offer goods and services for raffles and silent auctions. You’ll raise awareness about your business and be a good neighbor.
Host a swap party: Create a Facebook invite and ask all your fans to bring in one good-as-new item for a clothing or home goods swap and shopping party. Donate any unclaimed items to charity.
Get some, give some: Promote your store’s preholiday shopping by offering a deal for buying in multiples, like get a free $15 gift card for every $100 you spend on gift cards.
When people first start doing email marketing, they often assume they need an email newsletter.
“It’ll have everything our customers care about, all in one place,” they rationalize. “Our list will be different — people will actually look forward to getting our newsletter,” they argue. “Since we’re only sending it once a month, it’ll be a breeze to put together,” they say.
And while all of those things may become true for a few lucky individuals, lots of email newsletters flop. They become an uninteresting mush of content people automatically ignore, archive, delete, or straight up unsubscribe from. And this isn’t great for you, your metrics, or your company’s success.
So if you’re thinking about creating an email newsletter, read this blog post and think really hard about whether that’s the right move for you in terms of your marketing strategy.
If you’ve decided that you want to start an email newsletter, or you want to revamp one that’s not performing well, keep on reading. We’ve compiled some of our absolute favorite email newsletters to inspire you to make the best email newsletter for your company possible.
Each newsletter on this list is fabulous for different reasons. Some have exceptional design, some have exceptional copy, some have exceptional calls-to-action … but all are exceptional at solving for their subscribers’ needs. Check ’em out.
15 Email Newsletter Samples to Inspire Your Own E-Newsletter Design Ideas
NextDraft is a daily email written by a man named Dave Pell, which is a curation of the best web content of the day. As Pell describes it, “Each morning I visit about fifty news sites and from that swirling nightmare of information quicksand, I pluck the top ten most fascinating items of the day, which I deliver with a fast, pithy wit that will make your computer device vibrate with delight.”
You can tell he’s a great writer. His copywriting is one of my favorite things about the newsletter. It starts with the subject line, which is usually a play on words or a clever one-liner on the top news of the day. It then extends to the body of the email itself, which is always descriptive, accurate, and clever. Finally, the minimalist design is fantastic.
Not only is content delivery is clear, organized, and digestible, but also the inclusion of social share buttons underneath each story is brilliant. Rather than assuming that the reader is going to make it to a social sharing option at the bottom of the newsletter, Pell provides them with multiple opportunities throughout. Social engagement can play a big role in growing your newsletter, as every share on social opens up a valuable opportunity to attract more subscribers.
Not to play favorites, but this newsletter from Austin Kleon is one I really look forward to. First, I love the simplicity. It’s not flashy, nor is it overly promotional. That’s the hallmark of a successful email newsletter: The most effective newsletters aim to educate, not sell.
I also love the overall informal tone he takes, as it makes it feel as though you’re hearing from a friend. If you’re looking to lower the barrier between your company and your audience, consider using language that is friendly and inviting, not buttoned-up and jargony.
Community.is is a handcrafted newsletter created for people who “put people at the center of their work.” This unique concept attracts a variety of readers from executives at ad agencies, to community managers at startups, to marketers and creatives of all shapes and sizes.
In an effort to cater to their melting pot of subscribers, Community.is adopted a three-tier format: Short, Mid, and Long. While an executive may only have time to skim the short stuff, a marketer might be looking for a more in-depth read to spark some inspiration for their next campaign. Organizing a newsletter in this way helps ensure that you’re serving the distinct needs of your audience without it being too confusing.
Vox Sentences is a nightly email meant to quickly get its readers up to speed on the best stories from the day. The content ranges from the day’s top news to fun stories from all over the web. They do a great job balancing their own content with external sources, and the stories they choose are always really high quality.
You can read Vox’s entire newsletter from start to finish and get a great sense of the stories they’re covering — but you can also click through to any of the linked stories to get a more in-depth approach.
Fizzle’s newsletter is aimed at entrepreneurs who want weekly tips on building a business sent directly to their inbox. Although they have a business blog and a podcast, what makes Fizzle’s newsletter unique is that the email content is independent from those other content assets. In other words, it’s written entirely for their subscribers.
The copywriting style makes the newsletter unique and appealing, too: It’s casual, honest, and written like the author is writing to a friend. The writing gives off the vibe of real, down-to-earth business advice — without the fluffy stuff. At the same time, it’s written with clear headers and sub-headers to break it up, and the important stuff is bolded, making for easy skimming.
If you want to stay up on what’s happening in the world and have some delightful writing delivered to your inbox first thing in the morning, look no further than TheSkimm. It’s a daily roundup of what’s happened in the news in short, punch paragraphs.
The best part? You don’t have to click out of the email to read the news if you don’t want to — although they do link to their sources if you want to read further. And when it comes to more complex news topics (think: Brexit or the Cannes Film Festival), they’ll cover the most recent updates but link to their Skimm Guides, located on their website. These guides provide context for larger topics, and are written in the same style as the emails.
For your own email marketing, TheSkimm is the place to go if you’re looking for writing inspiration or for emails without much visual content.
Medium is a blog-publishing platform that has been continuously building momentum since its launch in 2012. Publishing on the site has really picked up in the past few years, and nowadays, there are a ton of people publishing posts on the site every day.
Of course, that means there’s a lot of content for the average person to filter through. To help bring great content to the surface, Medium uses email newsletters. And after I open this newsletter every day, I end up going to visit several Medium posts without fail. (Mission accomplished for Medium, right?)
Here’s why: The newsletter feels pretty minimal. Because of the way that Medium uses colors and section dividers, they’re able to give you a ton of content in one email without it feeling overwhelming. Plus, they offer both a daily and a weekly version of the digest, allowing users to opt in for the email frequency they feel most comfortable with.
BrainPickings is one of the most interesting newsletters out there. In fact, the folks who write it call it an “interestingness digest.” Every Sunday morning, subscribers get the past week’s most unmissable articles about creativity, psychology, art, science, design, and philosophy — topics that are really appealing to a wide audience. At its core, it explores what it means to live a good life.
This is one of the longest newsletters I’ve ever read, but what makes it still work well is how high quality and well packaged the content is.
You’d hope that an email marketing testing company would have great emails … and Litmus definitely does. While the content of the emails is certainly interesting, I’m especially digging the design. The blocks of color help break up the newsletter into sections that are easy to differentiate.
I also like that the text calls-to-action at the end of each post’s description don’t just say something generic, like “Read this post.” Instead, they are matched with specific actions related to the post’s content, like “Get the checklist” and “Discover why you should test.”
This. (yes, the full stop is part of the brand name) is another great newsletter for finding — and sharing — the best and most entertaining content on the web. What makes their newsletter unique is that it isn’t just content curated by one person or one team; it’s content curated by a community of people on the internet.
Members are allowed to share one, single link every day — presumably the best content they find the entire day. The result? “We’ve built something we hope will connect you to the best the web has to offer — all its weirdness and beauty and diversity and ambition,” reads the website.
The newsletter consists of the editor’s picks from all the amazing content their community members have shared. Subscribers also have the option of signing up for a custom newsletter, which includes the editor’s picks and a custom feed from curators they can pick and choose. That’s some pretty cool personalization.
This is the ultimate SaaS newsletter, from a guy that kind of knows a thing or two about SaaS. (Hiten Shah is the co-founder of CrazyEgg andKISSmetrics).
While his approach is simple, this roundup is packed with value and organized in a way that makes it easy to discover content around your specific interests. Shah does this by breaking the list of curated posts into different sections — Business, Product, Marketing Growth, Tip of the Week, etc. — which makes it easily scannable.
Remember Grantland, the sports and pop culture blog owned by ESPN that was started by sports journalist Bill Simmons? In October 2015, ESPN announced it would be ending the publication of Grantland. Shortly thereafter, Simmons formed Bill Simmon Media Group and recruited a whole bunch of former Grantland staffers to launch a brand new newsletter in March 2016 called The Ringer.
Although The Ringer is written and run by many former Grantland employees it’s a different project than Grantland was. Where Grantland focused on sports and pop culture, The Ringer branches out into other areas like tech and politics. Jon Favreau, a former speechwriter for President Barack Obama, is among the contributors. I like how focused they are on experimentation: “We want to have fun, take chances, analyze, theorize, obsess, and try not to take ourselves too seriously,” said Editor-in-Chief Sean Fennessey.
Another differentiator? The Ringer’s website was developed in partnership with publishing platform Medium — which means the newsletter reflects that clean, minimal design.
Many marketers don’t frequent Hacker News, but they should still check out this hand-picked curation of the social network’s top stories of the day.
Why? The newsletter is clean and minimal, but still sends a ton of really great content its subscribers’ way. The way it distills potentially overwhelming information is by bucketing content into sections. The newsletter also looks very similar to the site, so for those who love the site and how it’s laid out, the newsletter feels like a comforting, familiar way to consume content.
Even though newsletters are one of the most common types of emails to send, they are actually some of the hardest to do right. We hope these examples gave you some quality inspiration so you can create newsletters your subscribers love to get in their inboxes.
Which email newsletters do you love? Share your favorite ones with us in the comments so we can keep the inspiration going.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2013 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
Creating a symbol to represent a company is difficult. A logo must perfectly convey the company’s purpose, function and mission, while also being aesthetically pleasing to the eye. It is a highly subjective and specialized process that requires much more than just artistic ability to properly execute. For typically when a business desires a service they place an order and a service is rendered. Logo creation however requires a partnership. Something tangible must be made out of the intangible though a series of conversations designed to extract the soul of a company in a symbolic form. Done properly and you will create a badge to last the life of your company. Choose the wrong designer and all you’ll create is more bills.
The Hidden Valley Foundation Project:
Design a year around logo for a place typically viewed as a winter resort.
The initial meetings brought about the notion of “Mountain Life is Calling”. Conveying the ideals and experience of a four season active family community while staying true to the company’s preexisting branding.
Originally the foundation used a stylized snowflake and lettering to reflect the name. The logo spoke only of the winter season and was beginning to showing its age. It did not tell the story of an active four seasons community, nor did it convey the idea of “Mountain Life Calling”. Our task require us to develop a logo that would tell the story of a four seasons community, give a sense of mountain life, and be one that the organization could used in all its products, collateral, website and social network profiles.
Once an initial idea began to take shape, we moved into the nuts and bolts of graphic design work. Fonts were tested, thicknesses determined, elements arranged until, for lack of a better phrase, it just felt right. Now, instead of just a symbol of a season, a vibrant year-round community was established.
Final polish added local elements of rolling mountains, sunrise, water and trees to show the full force of the seasons and marry the notions to the new brand.
Simply put, this case study is to show that a logo is not just a pretty picture. It is vital representation of your company only derived from meticulous research, deep analysis and a thorough investigation of existing products within your sphere.