How to be a Success in Sales Whilst Remote Working [8 Tips from our Team to Yours]


8 Tips for Remote Working Salespeople Straight from our Team to Yours

Maintain Your Routine.

While remote working, it’s easy to start to feel burned out. It’s hard to shut off when there’s no boundary between work and home, and you can end up working too many hours. There’s always this self-applied pressure to prove that you’re actually doing your job, and a lot of us overcompensate.

In a lot of ways, you are your own boss when you’re working remotely. So you have to stick to your start and finish times as you would in the office.

If you feel like you need support with this, ask a colleague to be your accountability buddy but make peace with putting in 100% every day without feeling like you have to prove you’re doing your job.

Since you won’t have structured breaks at home, you have to have the foresight to create your routine and be rigid about it. For example, get ready as you would on a day in the office. Make your breakfast, then put in your break times throughout the day scheduled in advance.

It’s easy to let the line between work and home get blurred. To make this easier to maintain, try using your calendar to block off time when you’re going to take lunch and when you’re going to start and end the day.

Create Your Remote Working Environment.

Without sounding like a broken record as a remote employee, the boundary between work and home is often marred. Which is why you should have a designated workspace and make it work for you.

Whether it’s a separate office or the kitchen table, maintaining a designated workspace can help create the boundary between work and home.

If you have a space, make sure to give it some love! Invest in your area; this could be with a new chair, better lighting, some plants or artwork to make you feel at ease, focused and ready to work.

‘I’m not a big fan of silence – I have a metronome I set on the landing when the house is empty, and I’m making calls. On days I’m not calling out, I’ll have music on or the TV playing in the background.’

Peter Knight – Intelligent Talk Sales Team

If you don’t have a separate space, even just putting everything away at night and taking it out again in the morning can help you create the boundary between work and home.

Take Your Breaks.

Usually, working from home means you’ll have fewer distractions.

Although this might lead to higher productivity, it can actually make it harder to take your breaks throughout the day.

At home, you don’t have the built-in breaks you might have throughout the day at the office. Your friends and colleagues aren’t stopping by to grab a coffee. It’s unlikely that someone from a different department is going to show up at your desk and ask if you’ve got a few minutes to help with something.

‘Unless I have something scheduled in or I’ve got a call booked, lunch is booked in religiously for 12-1 here. It’s in my timetable, and that is my bible!’

Emma McCormack – Intelligent Talk Business Development Team

We know it’s easy to get stuck in the trap of skipping breaks or working through lunch. But, this is a sure-fire way to feel burned out in your role. That’s why you need to remember to take breaks and recharge your energy.

Stay Social.

One of the most significant drawbacks of remote working is the feeling of isolation.

To combat this, remember to be social during your working day. You can still network and chat with your colleagues while you’re all working from home.

‘Stay connected – It’s so helpful to talk and interact with everyone regularly, whether it be about a campaign, about what we read or what we get up to outside of work, helps to feel connected to the team.’

Chantelle Stubbings – Intelligent Talk Sales Team

Even just reaching out on teams or scheduling a video chat for a virtual coffee can help you feel more connected to your team.

When everyone is busy on the phones and don’t have time for a video chat, even sending a quick message to talk can be helpful.

Share Your Schedule.

One struggle you may face while working from home arises if you have roommates, partners, children, or even pets in the house.

If this is the case, it can be easy to get distracted. Plus, if you’ve got partners or housemates also working from home, it can be hard to coordinate working areas daily.

If this is the case for you, communication is vital.

Make sure you send your schedule to everyone in your household to plan who will be working in which space is. If you want to work in your home office, for example, let your roommate know that they can work in the living room or kitchen area.

Try and use a room that has the least traffic, and by sharing your schedule, you can let your housemates or partner know when they can and can’t interrupt you so that they don’t come barging in on any meetings you may have.

Reach Out.

Although you’re working remotely, you still have to deal with all of your job’s regular stress and challenges.

When these problems arise, don’t be afraid to speak up.

It can be tough to reach out when you need help at the best of times, let alone when you’re working remotely; that being said, you should always speak to your manager or team as soon as possible. That way, you get the help and support you need when you need it.

Maintain consistent weekly meetings and use video chat to make the most out of your communications and ensure that you’re never too far away from a check-in with your manager should any problems arise.

Dress for Success.

The way you start your day can significantly impact your mood and productivity.

Getting up getting showered, and dressed just as though you’re going to the office can make a huge difference for you.

Although you may be able to get away with leisurewear working from home, you should maintain a certain level of professionalism if you’re going to be in meetings and representing your company on video chats.

Be Organised.

Another difficulty of remote work can be that it’s hard to manage your own time and stay organised. The best way to deal with this is to use your calendar to block off time to complete important tasks.

‘Take ownership of time management – I struggled to keep myself on track with the admin parts of my work, like creating reports, but creating a school-style timetable for myself really gave me clarity on what I should focus on and when.’

Liam Patrickson – Intelligent Talk Sales Team

To keep your deals advancing, it’s important to stay diligent with all of your tasks, whether you’re setting up calls, lead generating, or understanding your prospects expectations.

Remote Working Take Aways:

Although it can be intimidating when you and your teamwork remotely, it doesn’t have to be a difficult transition or damaging to your output. You can still collaborate, grow and connect as a team of remote sales representatives.

By following these easy steps, you’ll be able to thrive while working remotely.

How many of these tips do you use? Are there any that you would add? Let us know in the comments below.

Published: 3rd May 2021

The Intelligent Talk Roadmap to Better Sales in 2021


A lot of people choose to work in sales because they think it will be easy money (wrong!), more freedom and less structure.

Money aside, they’re not completely wrong!

Working in sales does give you a degree of independence when it comes to how you go about your daily duties. You have to be flexible and willing to improvise, not to mention the most ‘fun’ part of sales. 

Prospective clients can be overly cautious, picky, demanding, sometimes impulsive and even suspicious! That’s why salespeople need to have the creativity and emotional intelligence to adjust their sales techniques to suit each prospects needs.

With so many uncertainties, how can it work with a structured plan?

That’s what we’re hoping this article will do – prove that above all you need a formal sales process to make you work more effectively, improve your performance and close sales quicker.

What is a sales process?

A sales process is not unlike a recipe – if you use the right ingredients in the right order, you can get some great results!

Typically consisting of five to seven stages: Prospecting, Preparation, Introduction, Presentation, Objection Handling, Close and Follow-up.

To put it simply, it is your prospective client’s journey from realising they have a need for your product or service to actually making a purchase.

Now, this isn’t to be confused with a sales funnel.

A sales funnel is the visualisation of all the interactions and activities between a prospect and salesperson or business.

Although most sales teams recognise they go through a similar process, not all of them outline and standardise the process, leaving It at the discretion of each salesperson which steps they do or don’t take.

The logic is clear: as long as salespeople are generating revenue and closing plenty of deals, how they do it is up to them.

Unless you’re an absolute natural at sales, you can benefit significantly from a standardised process while improving the measuring, forecasting and management of your sales pipeline.

12 Ways to Create an Effective Sales Process 

Sure, relying on your wits and resourcefulness is a good way to work sometimes. But sales is not a game of intuition, it’s a strategy and structured with tactics at each step.

Here is how you can establish those tactics into a standardised sales process for your team:

Interview Your Sales Team

The first step to creating your standardised process is gain a full understanding of what your sales team is currently doing to turn your prospects into clients.

  • How are your salespeople connecting with prospects?
  • What actions are they taking to close a sale?

Interview your salespeople to learn their language, strategies and techniques to incorporate them into your sales process that can be replicated and streamlined.

Get Rid of Waste

Having a defined process allows you to have a more accurate understanding of what things are and aren’t working for your sales team. By defining what actions cause your prospects to move from one stage to the next makes it easy for you to identify the right actions while also getting rid of bottlenecks and activities that yield little results.

Stay on Course

A sales process is often called a roadmap.

However, following a roadmap doesn’t mean that your salespeople will be told to ‘do this, then do that’. It’s more like a GPS system with clear steps and milestones. Knowing what each step covers will help your salespeople understand where they are in the process, when it’s time to move to the next stage and when to adjust the journey.

Utilise Your Sales Talents in Every Step

Having a process in place, does not cancel out the creativity of your team!

You can still use your cut instinct, skills and creative talents to get from one stage to the next. Your new process won’t dictate how to use social media for social selling, how to pitch, what to write in your follow-up emails or how to draft your proposals – that’s up to your teams!

Step into Your Customer’s Shoes

Most of the time when companies create their sales process it is a reflection of the way they want to sell, not the way their clients want to buy.

The most effective process is should be adaptable to suit different selling situations and client needs. Designing a sales process with your clients in mind will need you to answer the following questions: 

  • What are my main client groups? 
  • How do they differ in their buying patterns? 
  • How do we adjust the process to sell to new clients and for repeat business?
  • What are the expectations of our clients at each stage and what can we do to meet them? 

Use a Relationship Led Approach 

Your clients don’t want to feel like just another number. When you earn the attention of a prospective client take a relationship led approach and articulate what that means for your salespeople. 

Active listening, empathy, note-taking, trust building, and following up are great skills to build and deepen your relationships with your clients. 

Find the Cause of Stalled Sales

By following a set process, it allows your salespeople to be able to identify the causes of stalled sales. By following this roadmap, you are able to analyse whether or not your actions were adequate and how many of them you actually needed and finally what proved to be a misstep or a waste of time. 

Get More Qualified Leads

One of the greatest benefits of adopting a clearly defined sales process is helping your teams to tackle one of its biggest pains – filtering out low potential leads and identifying the prospects with the highest chance to complete. 

More than 70% of B2B Sales cycles take between 4 to 12 months to close. That’s why identifying qualified leads earlier in the process will not only help to make your sales cycle shorter and more targeted, but it also helps your team to maximise their efforts.

Improve Forecasting & Revenue

Having a clear map of where your salespeople are in the sales process helps your team to come up with more accurate forecasting. 

As the sales process is a set of repeatable steps, it gives a more consistent picture of how many deals your team closes from any number of leads. This allows you to predict your win rates and set targets with more accuracy. 

Never Miss a Follow-Up

One of the most important parts of winning a sale is a timely follow up email. 

During sometimes lengthy sales interactions, your team may forget to follow up with your potential clients. This alone can send an entire sale down the drain. Follow-ups keep the desire to buy alive.

A standardised sales process can remind you when to follow up with a prospect and keep a healthy pipeline. You could recommend a particular type of follow-up activity and even a template to use. 

Provide the Best Customer Experience

It’s common that a sales team will push a prospect too quickly into the next stages of the sale Even if they may not be ready for it. 

Not only does this damage the relationship, but sometimes it can completely break the deal. In a well-designed process, the focus is on the customer, this turns a haphazard and often pushy sale into smooth sailing with a great customer experience. 

When based on your clients buying behaviours and expectations, a sales process will offer at each step: value, enhanced trust and create a stronger bond with your prospective clients – all at the right time. 

Onboard New Team Members Like Pros

If instead of proper training, your new salespeople are asked to shadow their colleagues to learn how to sell, then you definitely need a sales process! 

A defined sales process not only makes it easy to train newcomers but also to coach your existing sales team. It offers concrete steps for them to follow, but it also highlights what behaviours and skills are required for each stage of the sale, what outcomes are expected at each step, and what individual strengths should be utilised at different sales stages. 

Final Thoughts

Defining your sales process can help you do the right things at the right time and know for sure what works for you and what doesn’t. Equipped with this knowledge you avoid making the same sales mistakes over and over again. 

The long-term advantages of adopting a well-tuned sales strategy are plenty: 

  • Create and maintain long-lasting client relationships.
  • Ensure higher client lifetime value.
  • Reduce client retention costs.
  • Get more referrals.
  • Increase sales revenue. 

Just don’t forget a good process is never set in stone.

It needs to be revised and adapted regularly, making sure that it still reflects the current state of your clients changing needs, your team skills, and your business goals. It should always remain a work in progress to ensure it stays effective for your business and adding value to your clients. 

Published: 30th April 2021

The Seven-Step Guide to Social Selling


What is social selling?

Social selling is the art of using social media to uncover and engage with new prospects. Sales professionals can use social media to provide value to their prospects. This is done by sharing content, answering questions and responding to comments throughout the sales process.

If the fundamentals of ‘old school’ selling are made of cold calling, qualifying leads and sales demos. Then social sales are built on using social media to reach new prospects, educate them on how your business can help them grow or overcome a problem and nurture them with content.

The exponential growth of social media has been a huge factor in social selling being adopted as a means of B2B outreach.

Research completed by IDC found that:

  • 91% of B2B buyers are involved with social media and are active on various platforms
  • 84% of senior execs use social media to support buying decisions
  • 75% of B2B buyers are heavily influenced by social media

How to use social selling to help you grow your business:

Ultimately, social selling is about building relationships. Not only that, building relationships in the right way and in the right places.

Step One: Choose the right network

It’s so easy to think you need to be on ALL social media platforms or get swept up in the next big thing. However, true social selling success comes from being active on the same platform as your ideal clients. 

Start to identify the networks that match your client personas by demographics. 

Although YouTube and Facebook have the majority of users across all age groups. However, research shows that a majority of decision-makers use LinkedIn and Twitter primarily. 

So, you can derive from this if you sell products or services focused towards other businesses, chances are a majority of your potential clients are already on LinkedIn and that’s where your focus should be.

Step Two: Create your wish list of ideal clients and follow them

All salespeople dream of bringing on new mega-brand clients.

It doesn’t just have to be a dream though!

Almost all large corporations and small can be found on social media through company pages or employee accounts. By following and connecting with these companies you can keep up to date on company news, when they win an award reach out to congratulate them or when they ask for a product or service recommendation offer your help.

Create a wish list of 20-30 dream clients that are active on social media and start following them today. Like, share and engage with their content updates wherever possible and start building those relationships!

Step Three: Get instant notifications when potential prospects join LinkedIn

By utilising LinkedIn’s Saved Search feature, you can create a search based on your ideal client persona then LinkedIn will notify you each time someone joins that matches your profile.

Once you have created these search alerts you can choose the frequency and format or your notifications.

Step Four: Join and participate in LinkedIn Groups 

With more than 660 million users LinkedIn is a platform full of opportunities from networking to referrals.

One of the biggest advantages lies within the groups but they are still one of the most under-utilised tools of LinkedIn.

Search for your topic of expertise and find relevant groups to join. Remember, these aren’t the places to be pushing your products, your aim should be to network and share knowledge and expertise with potential customers.

Step Five: Connect with your ideal clients

After starting to contribute in groups on LinkedIn, you will notice that more people will view your profile.

When this starts to happen, send them an invite to connect!

Always remember to personalise your connection request, even something simple like ‘Hi [Name], thanks for viewing my profile. Would you be open to connecting on LinkedIn?’ is a much better request than the default.

Personalising your request is a great way to start a conversation with a potential customer that has shown an interest in what you do.

Step Six: Contribute to conversations 

Implement a social listening strategy and respond to what people are saying about your brand or industry.

Twitter is a great tool to use for this, search for a keyword then scroll the feed and start engaging by liking/retweeting or responding to questions they ask.

By contributing to conversations, you add value to your potential clients and get your name on their radar.

Step Seven: Provide value with content

More than 50% of B2B buyers look for information on products and services on social media.

Because of this, you have a great opportunity to create new content based on what your prospects are already searching for!

If a conversation you’re involved in asks for information on best practice, share one of your companies’ blog posts. If a LinkedIn group is discussing product recommendations, share a demo video or case study.

This is also a great opportunity to align your sales and marketing teams. Together they can create and share content based on questions, comments and industry topics being posted within their social networks.

Final Thoughts

These six steps to social selling will help you get started with finding and connecting with your prospects across social media, especially LinkedIn and Twitter where most decision makers can be found.

The best results of social selling come when you focus on adding value and building relationships with your prospects.

While it might be difficult at first, social selling is not a one-time activity and should be implemented alongside your other prospecting techniques.

What social selling techniques will you be trying? Let us know in the comments!

Published: 12th April 2021

Want to Make More Sales? Avoid Tyre-Kickers at All Cost!


What is a tyre-kicker? 

A tyre-kicker is a person who appears to be interested in making a purchase but never progresses to making a purchase. Tyre-kickers frequently engage with sales teams by asking questions, raising objections and prolonging the sales process without committing to a deal.

They’re the people that beat around the bush, question pricing and generally waste your time.

These are the types of prospects to get out of your pipeline as soon as possible so that you can focus your time and efforts on better opportunities.

Quality over quantity.

Although working on every deal might sound like the best way to close the most deals. Your time is better spent on quality leads with a higher chance of closing.

But how do you separate the tyre-kickers from your fully qualified prospects? Use these strategies to identify them.

They don’t match your target client personas.

The first way to weed out a tyre-kicker is to check if they match your target persona. There are a few questions you can ask yourself when deciding if a prospect is a good fit:

Are they within the industry you are currently targeting?

Do they fit the demographics of your ideal decision-maker?

Does your product or service fix a problem or fulfil a need for them?

If they don’t meet these essential criteria that your company or team has set, then they aren’t worth your time.

They haven’t done their research.

Decision-makers within companies are more informed than ever. They will often research potential solutions or products before speaking to a sales representative.

Prospective clients often have a general idea of what your business does and the value it can provide for them.

While you shouldn’t rule out cold leads altogether, bear in mind that it will take much longer to nurture them through your sales process. It’s particularly challenging to work with a prospect who maintains disinterest past the first or second interaction.

It takes extensive time and energy to educate your prospects on your service or product offering. From discovery calls to marketing emails and sharing content. If you continue to try and chip away at poor quality prospects, it will cut into the time you could be using to nurture viable business opportunities.

There is no urgent need.

Identifying a problem that can be solved with your service or product isn’t enough; you also have to determine how significant that problem is to your prospect.

Are they motivated to solve it?

Do they have a determined timeline for when the problem needs to be solved?

Is there a different issue they care about more competing for their attention and budget?

If your prospect isn’t showing a willingness to act or demonstrating a need to solve their issue, they might not be ready to make a purchase. They would be better off being moved into a nurturing process with your marketing team instead.

There’s no budget.

One of the most common tyre-kicker objections is budget. This can be a strong indicator they’re not actually interested in your service. Or, they simply can’t afford it.

If your prospect presents a pricing objection, we recommend using the following:

‘I completely understand. The best products are often more expensive.’

Using this response the first time you encounter ‘it’s too expensive’ helps you separate those prospects who genuinely don’t have the budget and those who are just kicking tyres. It’s impossible to sell your service to a prospect if they don’t have the budget or authority to use it – focus your time on those that do.

Where there isn’t a budget fit, provide them with free tools or resources they could benefit from in the interim. In this case, just because they aren’t a good fit right now. It doesn’t mean they won’t return when the budget is right.

They waste your time.

When you finally reach a prospect on the phone, if they go off on unrelated tangents or stray off relevant topics, you might be talking to a tyre kicker.

While it’s crucial to incorporate what your prospects want to talk about into your calls and personalise the experience, it’s also vital for you to meet your goals for the call and respect your own time. Otherwise, you can waste your days talking to prospects with no buying intention.

It’s key to outline your plan for each call or meeting. But if your prospect consistently takes over the conversation when you speak to them, it becomes challenging to make progress with them and could be an indicator that it’s time to walk away.

Just remember:

This isn’t a completely exhaustive list of ways to identify timewasters, but you’ll save yourself time by keeping them in mind throughout your prospecting and qualification processes. Don’t ignore your intuition or the warning signs. Chances are, if a prospect is showing one or more of these traits, they’re likely to be tyre-kicking and won’t move forward with making a purchase.

Remember, the best salespeople are those who can walk away from a deal when they recognise it isn’t a good fit for them. Instead, they use that time to nurture better prospects and making deals!

Published: 5th April 2021

How to close more deals by using emotional intelligence in your sales process.


Do you ever feel disconnected from your prospects?

Like they’re just not picking up what you’re putting down?

Chances are they’re feeling it too.

It’s easy for salespeople to be so passionate about their service or product that it becomes overpowering for their prospects. Your leads want to know how your service can help them, not necessarily just a list of features you have to offer.

The skill of understanding that difference comes from emotional intelligence.

In today’s blog, we’re going to discuss:

  • What emotional intelligence actually is
  • Why it’s essential for salespeople
  • How to best use it to close more sales

What is emotional intelligence?

We know some of you sat there are thinking, what on earth is emotional intelligence?

Sometimes known as Emotional Quotient or EQ, it’s the skill of understanding the thoughts and feelings of somebody else.

For example, salespeople with a high EQ know their prospects needs, can put themselves in their clients’ shoes and learn how to treat them according to their concerns and pain points.

According to the World Economic Forum, this isn’t just a fancy psychology tick box exercise; emotional intelligence has been ranked as one of the essential skills to have by 2025.

Why is emotional intelligence so critical in sales?

So apart from professional success, what else makes EQ an essential skill for salespeople to develop?

It helps solve your customers’ problems.

As we’ve just discussed, emotional intelligence is the ability to understand your customers or prospects thoughts and feelings and act according to those.

Look at it from your client’s perspective; you’d want your salesperson to go above and beyond to help you. The main idea behind real emotional intelligence is not to make the customer feel pressured to make a purchase but to actively listen to their concerns.

You need to understand how they feel about things and support them, but you also need to be willing to give them space so that they can come to a decision themselves.

A salesperson with a high EQ is aware of the problems that their prospects are trying to solve. By mentioning out loud and acknowledging it in conversation, followed by demonstrating how your product or service could resolve it – a salesperson can present a real understanding of their prospect.

The key here is, to be honest. What can be resolved, how it can be done, a realistic timeline, and then allow your prospect time to take your proposal in.

It can help decrease staff turnover. 

The process of hiring staff is challenging.

Not only does it waste precious time, you could spend otherwise developing your team, but it also causes issues with your customer experience. Each new hire needs training and to be brought up to speed before they can truly represent your company in the best way.

However, if you select salespeople based on their emotional competence, it actually results in 63% less turnover during the first year!

And the more salespeople you can keep on board by developing their emotional intelligence, the less time you have to spend on hiring and training new ones.

It can help generate more revenue.

Everyone knows its salespeople’s job to sell.

However, with emotional intelligence training, they can bring your business even more revenue. Studies have shown that sales reps with high EQ produced twice the revenue of those with average or below-average scores.

L’Oreal put this to the test to determine whether EQ training helped their reps to close more deals.

The result?

Sales representatives who received the training outsold the control group by an average of 12%. That equated to over $55,000 (almost £ 40’000) each. Meanwhile, the ROI for the training was $6 (£4.50).  

How to put emotional intelligence into practice:

Although traditionally, emotional intelligence is considered a soft skill that comes naturally to some and not others. We prefer to think of it as a skill that can be developed and taught over time.

The top categories of EQ are:

  1. Self-awareness
  2. Self-regulation
  3. Social skills
  4. Empathy
  5. Motivation

Focusing on these five areas during your sales training can help your salespeople build emotional intelligence over time.

Here’s how you can do it:

Building self-awareness. 

It’s easy to fall behind on one to ones with your staff, especially when working remotely. Sometimes it feels that a monthly team check-in is enough to report and reflect on goals.

But it’s vital to schedule regular check-ins with each member of your team.

This is because it’s the time you get to explore their strengths and weaknesses. You can explain how they do an excellent job at lead conversion, but maybe they aren’t so great at time management.

Don’t be afraid to point out areas where improvements can be made during your coaching sessions; the more constructive feedback you can give, the more your salespeople will be aware of their skills.

This builds the self-awareness needed for emotional intelligence.

Allow autonomy. 

Autonomy is giving your salespeople the freedom to do what they think is best in any given situation.

Many studies have shown that giving a workforce autonomy results in positive effects on well-being and job satisfaction.

It also helps to develop self-regulation – one of the five key areas of emotional intelligence.

By allowing your reps to have autonomy over their work, they have to make their own decisions based on their specific prospects needs and wants.

For example: in your company-wide sales process, you have to contact your prospect via email two to three days after the initial phone call. However, this prospect previously expressed the need for a sooner follow-up, so your salesperson uses their initiative and schedules a call for the next day.

If your sales representatives don’t have the autonomy to do what they think is best, they won’t be able to reach optimistic sales targets.

Encourage your salespeople to become brand representatives. 

The third pillar of EQ that your sales training should focus on is social skills.

This goes far beyond just talking to your prospects and clients.

Encourage your team to become thought leaders in your industry, building their own personal brand and your companies too. This could include sharing expertise on LinkedIn, attending conferences and webinars, or simply connecting with other industry professionals.

Not only does this increased presence and participation help your salespeople build their social skills outside of your client base, but it also helps grow your brand reputation too.

Teach them to think like their prospects. 

Every service or product solves a specific pain point for a particular type of client.

Teaching your sales representatives to build empathy by always looking to define the problem that they are solving for their potential clients. Encourage them to ‘become’ that person and really get into the thoughts and feelings they’re experiencing when a salesperson contacts them.

Encourage them to ask themselves open-ended questions such as:

  • How would this person feel right now?
  • What would they want to know during the sales process?
  • What information do they need to feel ready to buy?

When your sales team knows how their prospective clients feel, they can apply that to their tonality throughout the process.

Provide ongoing training unique to each of your salespeople. 

Sales training improves the performance of an individual on average by 20%.

On top of your standard sales training that keeps them up to date with best practice, use your check-in meetings as a way to deliver the training each salesperson really wants.

Each member of your team will likely have a different learning style and preferences. Some might want to attend conferences. Others might simply want the option to expense for sales books or third-party training sessions.

Uncover the learning styles for your individual sales representatives and give them access to materials in that format.

Remember: emotional intelligence can generate £4.50 in revenue for every £1 you’re spending on it. Don’t be afraid to give your team the tools they need – it pays off in the long run.

In summary:

It’s often overlooked just how important emotional intelligence in sales is.

Historically hard and aggressive selling was considered the most effective way for salespeople to behave. But with time, just like so many other things, their sales style has become, if not wholly obsolete, most definitely less effective and less well-received.

In this new future of sales, the ability to control your own feelings, listen to other people’s concerns, appreciate their emotions, be honest and allow people to make rational but not rushed choices are invaluable to the thriving, modern salesperson.

Salespeople with a high EQ will stay at a workplace longer, sell more products or services to the people who really need them, increase customer loyalty, close more deals, and promote the human values of the brand that they represent.

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Published: 8th March 2021

How to write the best LinkedIn messages for social selling.


Remember what it was like to be the newbie on the first day of a new job and you didn’t know anyone in your office?

You have two choices: try to make friends with your colleagues, or sit by yourself at lunchtime every day.

Sales is a lot like that. You don’t know hardly anyone you try to sell to, and you can either make the effort to get to know them, or you can completely miss your sales targets. So, what’s it going to be?

When you’re starting in sales, most people know hardly anything about communicating with inbound leads. Let alone prospecting for outbound ones. But it doesn’t take long before they overcome their fears and realise that being a successful salesperson depends on initiating conversations. Just like making friends in a new office. If you want to generate interest from outbound leads, you need to put yourself out there.

Fortunately, you don’t just have to rely on cold calling anymore. One of the many tools used in social selling is LinkedIn. It’s particularly powerful because it allows you to connect one-on-one with potential customers in a way that you couldn’t before.

In the new data-driven age and the wake of GDPR, not everyone lists their information publicly on their company websites anymore. It can be hard to find contact information for everyone you want to reach out to.

This makes LinkedIn a great option when you’re running into a wall, trying to find a prospects email address or phone number. LinkedIn also features messaging and shows when your connections are online. Allowing you to have more personalised real-time conversations with your leads. It also allows for voice messaging and video messaging for those you’re connected to. Further increasing your ability to personalise your messages.

Before we start…

It’s always good to keep in mind that if you want to directly message people on LinkedIn that you’re not already connected with, you will need to be a LinkedIn premium user or purchase in Mail credits. Any LinkedIn member can message with a connexion request for free. Still, those messages are limited to 300 characters, and the recipient can decline your connection request without even seeing it. (Some people don’t like to be messaged by strangers; who knew!?)

So going on the basis you’re set up with LinkedIn premium and ready to go. Here are our top tips on nailing that first outreach:

Find that common ground.

The most significant advantage of using a LinkedIn message for outreach is the amount of information available relevant to your prospects job role, work history and interests. When you find a prospect on LinkedIn and want to connect with them, the first thing you should do is dig into their profile a little and find some common ground with the person you’re messaging.

If your prospect is active on LinkedIn, read what they are sharing and what they are interested in. Take note of their current position, how long have they been with their company and their past professional experience. You can also check which LinkedIn groups they belong to and find common areas between themselves and them. Are you working in the same area? Did you attend the same University, maybe? Do you know anything unique about their industry? Or it could be as simple as what do you find interesting in their profile?

The worst thing you can do is use the same message for every single prospect. Instead, use what you learned from LinkedIn to tailor your message to each individual. So that they know you paid attention to their profile and to who they are. By finding commonality between yourself and your prospect, you can ensure that when you’re crafting your first message that it’s targeted, personal and relevant.

Got any mutuals?

Another thing you can do is see if you have any connections in common with your prospect. It’s a lot easier to strike up a conversation with a stranger if there’s somebody else who can vouch for you. You can check if you have mutual friends or former coworkers in common and try asking one of your mutual connections to introduce you.

Another more traditional approach is to mention your mutual connection in your first message. You can start by writing something like ‘Hi [Prospect Name], I notice you and I are both connected to [Name of Mutual Connection], and thought I would reach out to connect to you as well.’ However, this approach has downfalls in that you don’t know the relationship that these people have and whether it is actually of value.

Keep it short & sweet.

One of the biggest mistakes people make is thinking of LinkedIn messages as emails, not instant messaging. This means not sending paragraphs of text when a few concise sentences will do the job just fine.

Your goal in a cold LinkedIn message is to get the recipient to respond; that’s it. So keep your message short and to the point so that your recipient actually reads it.

It can be challenging to keep your LinkedIn messages brief while still conveying warmth. Don’t be blunt; instead, focus on how you discovered their profile, what you have in common or what about their experience interests you.

Don’t go for the sell.

The biggest deadly sin in cold outreach is asking for a sale in your first message. If you feel the need to beg a stranger to buy your product, it sends a message that you aren’t successfully attracting customers and that your product probably isn’t worthwhile.

So when you introduce yourself to your prospects on LinkedIn, keep reminding yourself that your goal isn’t to push your service. It’s to make a connection and start a conversation.

Give them a reason to reply.

If you think about it receiving a message from a stranger, you’re not going to be inclined to respond unless they give you a good reason, right? While your first message should focus on establishing a relationship instead of selling, you want to include an ask to keep the conversation flowing.

Include a question in your message that will give them a reason to respond. This could be about their experience, their interests, a mutual connection or even their current role. People love to be helpful. So asking a prospect for insight or expertise on a specific topic will make them more inclined to respond.

Follow up.

You’re probably not going to be reaching out one lead at a time on LinkedIn. So you need to keep track of those you reach out to and follow up on them if they don’t reply straight away.

We’ve created another excellent guide for tips on following up, which you can find the link for here.

Or if email marketing is what you’re after, we wrote about that last week too!

Now that we’ve covered the basics for connecting with your prospects using LinkedIn, it’s now up to you to put them into practise and begin forming meaningful value-adding relationships.

Published: 1st March 2021

Mass emailing is dead. How to get back in the game and win business through email.


Mass email is dead. So, what’s next?

Put your hands up if you’ve ever spammed your prospects with email marketing.

We’d be amazed if you didn’t, most sales and marketing professionals have at some point in their career with varying levels of success.

Unfortunately, many companies haven’t stopped mass email marketing, and it’s muddied the practice. Making success from email marketing that much more challenging.

Today, we’re going to demonstrate the evolution of email prospecting and how to change your emails from old-school generic spam filter bait to a modern, focused and value-adding strategy.

What is mass email marketing?

You may not even be aware you’re doing it!

Mass email marketing is when you send the same email to an extensive list of prospects. This could be across any sector – marketing, sales, recruitment, even supermarkets do it!

It’s a marketing strategy that gained a bad reputation over the last few years after poor execution yielded a very low conversion rate.

Mass email is not customised, targeted or personalised, often being sent to an unfiltered audience who may or may not be interested in what you have to offer.

Buyers today expect targeted and customised emails that provide relevant information and offers to their immediate needs.

The Old-old School

Mass emailing used to generate enough leads to keep sales teams happy with a consistently full pipeline.

These typically included:

A piece of content to add value.

Using articles and blogs in mass emails is an old tactic to draw away from the fact the email is clearly not personalised.

You knew the content would grab your buyer’s attention and hoped it would be enough to action the second part of your email.

The connection request.

To be closing sales, you must always be asking. Or so they say! Asking for a call or offering a consultation of some kind shows interest in your prospects’ business and piques their interest in how you could help.

So, these old school emails weren’t inherently bad. However, they don’t work anymore and here’s why:

Openings were too generic.

Terms like ‘Hi there’ or ‘Good morning/afternoon’ are an automatic switch-off for most. It automatically rings automated email alarm bells in your prospect’s brain.

Follow that with a generic question like ‘Are you looking to increase sales right now?’ or ‘What does your marketing strategy look like this quarter?’ and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

Your prospects don’t know why you’re asking them, and you’re not giving them a reason to care. They are busy and are probably zoned out and moving to other emails before they even finish yours.

Making assumptions.

Nobody wants a random salesperson to insult them – especially through a mass email.

When you include comments such as ‘You really need to work on X or Y’, ‘Our service can fix X problem for you’ or ‘You’re leaving money on the table not using us’ you instantly switch your prospects to the defensive.

A better approach would be to research your prospects before sending an email. Then include something you really like about their process or service then suggest an idea or two on what can be improved or share your experience of helping a similar company.

This is a much less direct and jarring approach to offering your help. It allows you to provide immediate value, without being too pushy or offensive.

Putting all the work on them.

Using vague or non-committal calls to action puts all the work on them. ‘Let me know what works for you’ or ‘When would you be free for a call?’ leaves it up to them to not only reply but then wait for a response and still be interested further down the line.

A much more proactive way to close would be to include a calendar link or booking tool. ‘I’d love to learn more about your unique business challenges. Click here to book in a no-strings consultation: [Link to calendar]’

Personalised… but not.

Whatever the cause, a combination of the ones we detailed above or another email faux pas, prospects stopped opening and responding to emails.

The industry started to adopt ‘personalising’ emails, just not to the extent they should’ve.

Without changing much of the email content, they started greeting each prospect by name and suggesting specific call or meeting times.

‘Would you be free to discuss at 3 pm on Tuesday?’

Looking back, it’s not too hard to see why adding someone’s name and demanding their time still didn’t work. Your prospects will still see through this type of copy and pasted template.

The Answer

It’s been a confusing transition. After all, not so long ago, these same prospects would have been responding to these types of emails.

All of a sudden it seems like adding their name isn’t enough, adding their company name isn’t enough.

So, what’s the answer?

Your prospects don’t want ‘personalised’, they want tailored, focused, and value-adding content so give them what they want.

Don’t be afraid to send emails one by one, quality over quantity.

Focus on them.

Detail an event in their professional life; perhaps they run a podcast you could listen to and comment on. Or they’ve just posted a great article on Linked In. Whatever it is, use it to build that initial relationship.

‘You did a brilliant job on your recent podcast on [Subject]. How do you think this will change as XYZ develops further?’

Connect the dots.

Connect their role and expertise to your own or the company you represent.

‘I had a few ideas on X related to your project with Y, which I recently read about on your company LinkedIn profile. I help SME’s like yourselves bring their business to the national market through a unique multichannel approach.’

Galvanise your CTA.

Provide a specific time and method to continue the conversation without being demanding.

‘What’s the easiest way for us to get 10 minutes together on Thursday to share how our expertise could be mutually beneficial? For me, it’s through my Calend.ly here.’

Using the tips above, you should start to see your email prospecting begin to pick up again.

So, start sending and tracking truly value-adding emails to your prospects and see what combination works best for you.

While you’re at it, why not try using personas to tailor your messages further. And how to increase your credibility through social proof.

Oh, you want to make email prospecting even easier? Click here to learn more about Intelligent Talk and how our unique methodology can open the doors to new business opportunities for you.

Published: 22nd February 2021

“Recruiters are now marketers – they just need to think like them!” Guest blog by Brogan Lovatt


If you’d have spoken to me five years ago and said, ‘You’ll be working in marketing before long!’ I’d have laughed in your face.

I was climbing the career ladder in corporate recruitment, managing three teams and determined to become the youngest director in the companies’ history.

I was a recruiter! That was nothing like marketing.

Right?

At first glance, recruitment and marketing seem worlds away with barely anything in common. It doesn’t take a lot of digging though, to see that today’s potential candidates employ similar tactics as buyers do when considering new products or services.

If you’re a recruiter, you should already know that your clients and candidates have been driving change for the last few years. The days are gone where you could just reach out on LinkedIn or post a job ad, sit back and wait for the applications to roll in.

Huh, recruitment is like marketing?

As a recruiter, you need to stand out and use innovative channels to find your audience. Use these to start real and meaningful conversations with them. Just like a marketer!

In our ever-changing, digital world, recruiters are now marketers, and if you don’t think so – you’re wrong.

Recruitment is all about using marketing tactics and techniques to attract, hire and retain candidates and clients.

So, without realising: using social media, content marketing, email nurturing, video, referrals, employer branding, events and data analytics – I was already grooming myself into a marketer.

A recruiter’s role is to turn an applicant into a hire. Just the same as a marketer converting leads into a sale.

The Changing Recruitment Environment

The way that people search for and apply for jobs is entirely different now from how it was. Which means you need to know where they are spending time. Plus, how and when to communicate with them to stay successful as a recruiter.

Like a marketer, you need to understand your audience and how to reach them using personal and relevant conversations.

The biggest mistakes I saw recruiters make in my eight-years of experience were people just doing what their competitors are doing. Without giving thought to the industry’s changing nature and their roles as recruiters.

Start to think like a marketer, and you’ll always be ahead of your ‘that’s the way we’ve always done things’ competitors.

You are fighting for your candidates’ attention, they have options now! Candidates today want purpose, cultural fit and inspired leadership. 

Having a strong employer brand, showcasing your existing staff and why they genuinely love working for you. This make it easy for your potential hires to interact with your brand through social media and content marketing.

It is your job to have an online presence to build your digital visibility. You need to become part of the communities where your potential clients and candidates spend their time!

In essence, you need to adopt a marketing mentality.

Digital technology has changed the game forever, if you don’t, you won’t be in the recruitment game for much longer.

Why Does It Matter?

Hiring the right staff is critical for the health and continued success of a business.

Proactive, rather than reactive recruiting, should become the new norm allowing recruiters to attract new talent through employee branding, social media and sharing videos focused on company culture.

Adopting a marketing mindset allows you to create a brand presence, attract candidates through multiple channels and nurture your applicants through a talent acquisition funnel.

No More Word of Mouth Marketing

Marketing channels are increasingly digital-focused, companies are working remotely, everything happens online now.

Sharing, engaging, commenting and interacting with your brand is all done at the click of a button.

Social media is just another marketing channel to make real human connections, start conversations and expose your brand to more potential candidates and clients.

 To break away from the pack, you need to act differently and think differently.

Changing Your Mindset

Today buyers complete 70% of the buying process before they even make contact with a real live person.

Great companies are built with great people, so make the most of yours by preparing them to be more like marketers and less like recruiters.  

The internet changed the way candidates search for jobs almost precisely the same way it changed the buyer’s journey. In a digital-first world, your employer branding is more important than ever before.

You can apply the same tactics as today’s marketers to reach candidates (and particularly passive candidates) at the candidate journey’s various stages.

Alternatively, you can continue to do the same thing you always have and find yourself becoming redundant in the process.

You don’t have to go the whole hog as I did and move entirely into marketing, but don’t get left behind.

Published: 15th February 2021

How salespeople can gain credibility in 2021 – Social proof and how to use it.


Since the recent popularity of our Social Proof post on LinkedIn we thought we’d dig a little deeper on the subject.

In business there is little that matters more than your credibility, your reputation.

Do your customers value your services?

Do your prospects trust in your ability to deliver?

These are the types of questions answered by your reputation, before your salespeople ever interact with a prospect – your credibility and social proof speak first. 

What’s the difference?

Your credibility is caused by the actions that you take directly that influence what others think of you, Social Proof is the reputation you hold through what others are saying about you. The two are closely linked and sometimes overlap but for this purpose, we’re separating the two.

Building credibility:

Fancy strategies, marketing campaigns and business development all have their place. But if you really want your business to succeed, you need to be trusted in your industry.

That’s where credibility comes in.

Building credibility is complex; it takes a long time to build your clients trust. Even more work is needed to maintain it.

However, complex and difficult, it is absolutely vital for small businesses and huge corporations alike. Without it, your business will find it difficult to attract and retain clients.

If you want to build credibility, you need to put in the effort. Show your clients that you are trustworthy:

Never sell a solution that isn’t in your customers best interest.

You won’t always be perfect for everyone. Sometimes, you don’t have the right solution at the right price. When this happens, it’s always best to be honest with your client, instead of proposing something you know won’t deliver what the client is looking for.

Never misrepresent the features, advantages or benefits of a product or service.

Your clients don’t want a product or service that only comes close to meeting their requirements. Give them a full, unvarnished truth of your capabilities, then let them decide if your solution will work for them.

Don’t promise anything you can’t deliver.

Some salespeople find it very difficult to say no to their clients about anything. However, telling your clients a certain solution with specific features and benefits will be delivered by a certain deadline, when you know you can’t deliver, will always be a recipe for disaster.

Keep pricing consistent to all clients.

You will poison relationships with your clients if they discover the discrepancies.

If problems develop after a sale, don’t make excuses and place blame; fix the problem.

Your salespeople are the face of your company, make sure that they are delivering on the promises they made and aren’t passing the buck down the line.

Don’t withhold bad news.

If you think your clients will be upset when you deliver bad news, imagine how much worse it would be when they found out you knew bad news three weeks ago and didn’t tell them.

If you must speak of your competitors, be respectful.

Some salespeople think that if they trash-talk the competition, it will make their services look better. Usually, it just makes them look petty and immature.

Give your word and keep it.

Above all, you must do what you said you would when you said you would do it. This is one skill that will put you head and shoulders above your competition and see your credibility soar.

Now you’re doing all of the right things to build your credibility across your existing customers, here’s how you mobilise it into an essential tool to attract new clients.

Social Proof is the trust, brand, and reputation you build through your service testimonials, reviews, likes, and online mentions.

It has a hugely powerful psychological effect of your potential clients. This is because the feedback comes directly from your current and previous clients – positive messaging about your service from those who use it and not your marketing team.

Your future clients will see this social proof as their peers giving your team and services an endorsement.

A recent Trustpilot study showed:

–      66% said that the presence of social proof increased the likelihood of choosing a particular service.

–      Positive star ratings and reviews are the most important trust symbol with 82% saying it would make them likely to purchase.

–      Positive star ratings and reviews on your website will drive 86% of prospects to choose your service.

So, what are the different types of Social Proof?

–      Star ratings

–      Reviews

–      Client testimonials

–      Industry recognised certifications

–      Case studies

–      Public figure/Influencer endorsements

–      Company social media presence

There are many forms of social proof, but some make bigger trust signals than others. Some prospects may hold more respect for your positive reviews, whilst your client testimonials will influence others. That’s why it’s important to build all different types of trust signals and socially prove yourself in this digital age.

Tailoring your signals to your target audience:

Most important of all is to understand who your audience is. Once you identify them, you can share the social proof that matters most to them.

Baby boomers are more likely to be influenced by case studies and reviews, whereas Gen Z put more faith in social media presence.

If you know your audience, you know where to focus your attention.

How social proof works:

Despite being well and truly in the digital age, surrounded by ads and social media noise; it’s now harder than ever to inform, build trust with and engage your prospective clients.

The days of clients relying on advertisements and word of mouth when choosing services are long gone. They now look for social proof.

Social proof helps in the four main areas your prospective clients look for:

Uncertainty – Looking for guidance in an unfamiliar situation, e.g. a company looking to branch out into a new market.

Similarity – Gathering and using feedback from sources they relate to, e.g. successes and feedback from a competitor or company working in a similar field.

Expertise – Valued opinions and verification from people who are more knowledgeable and experienced than themselves.

Numbers – The number of satisfied customers in your client base or transparency of the ROI they received is greatly influential for those of your prospective clients who are financially focused.

Your prospects require guidance and help to trust you; social proof offers this in the authentic formats they want.

Where to use it:

All marketing efforts across all industries work better when they use social proof. However, you must be aware that they can work differently in different formats and places.

For example, guest blogs or endorsements from influencers and thought leaders are great to raise your brand awareness. If you’ve got a prospective client trying to choose between two suppliers, case studies and testimonials should be your main focus.

For your social proof to work for you most effectively, it must be delivered the right way at the right time, to the right audience.

Like everything important, using social proof takes a lot of work and effort.

Partnering with business development experts like Intelligent Talk can help get your social proof in front of your ideal clients, building meaningful and honest relationships.

Get in touch with us today and find out how we can help take your business development efforts to the next level.

Published: 8th February 2021

So you want more high-value customers? This one tip will make all the difference.


If you take a good look at any business that has been successful in the last couple of years. There is a very strong possibility that you will see a clear Unique Selling Point or USP.

Your Unique Selling Point is essential to building your business and continuing growth. That’s why we’ve put together some ways you can work on your USP and help draw even more customers to your business.

So much more than just a way of selling your business, your USP needs to be part of your company’s culture, the foundation even. 

What on earth is a USP?

It’s the thing that sets you apart from your competitors. It gives your business it’s edge in the mind of your clients and potential clients and makes you stand out.

If you break it down; unique means that no one else does it yet. Selling point means the reason your clients spend their money on you or your service. These aren’t just gimmicks, they’re the reason to buy from you.

If you’re a marketing automation company that offers a full brand review with every sign-up, that’s a USP. 

What isn’t a USP is price. Don’t get sucked into the belief that being the cheapest is a USP, neither being the cheapest or the best is unique. Most businesses think they offer the best service for the most competitive price. Equally, for most of them, it isn’t true. 

With a strong enough USP, your pricing will be worth it- no need to try and offer bargains if your service is worth so much more!

Developing a strong USP ensures your customers focus less on price.

If you can develop a strong and genuine USP, the prices you charge become secondary to the service you provide. Clients will pick your business because of the USP and will be willing to pay the extra for it. These are the types of clients you want to attract, those that choose you for price will always be looking for a cheaper deal elsewhere.

Many companies develop or build their company around a USP. If you’ve been trading for a while and still aren’t sure what yours is – speak to your clients, their reasons for using you may not be what you expect.

Reach out to your clients and ask them why they chose you and keep track of the answers. You’ll probably start to see a trend appear in their answers, that’s your USP.

It’s absolutely vital to identify your true USP, the one that exists in the minds of your clients. You may set out to have the best quality service within your industry, but if your clients actually choose you because you have friendly, knowledgeable staff then that’s your USP.

Helping focus your marketing efforts.

Knowing your USP and having it tried and tested with your clients suddenly makes marketing your business a lot easier. Sticking to your USP and avoiding anything that deviates from it builds consistency and integrity for your brand.

Take Krispy Kreme for example, their USP is that their donuts are baked fresh in store throughout the day, guaranteeing the best customer experience. They even went so far as integrating a unique sign that illuminated when the ovens were on, notifying customers that hot, fresh donuts were imminent. 

When Krispy Kreme then started allowing cold, off-site baked donuts to be sold in supermarkets to gain an extra revenue stream, they damaged the brand integrity and lost touch with their client base which nearly cost them their business.

Keep it simple.

The best USPs are simple and easy to maintain. This also helps to keep your business easy to market, because the reason to work with you and your company message is clear.

Without a USP, you may find marketing your company and services a struggle. When such a simple concept can make it far easier to generate new business and boost your success, you’d be crazy not to!

Published: 1st February 2021

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