Monday, September 17, 2012

Selling Tip: Why Prospective Customers Don't Open Your Emails

As much as I'd like, I try to answer every email I receive from my readers. But, being a popular sales author, it's impossible for me to return all of them, and even reading all of them is impossible due to sheer volume, but I try to make the effort.

However, your prospective customers don't try. They most likely couldn't care less. That's why they usually don't call you back.

Why? Because you're not giving them any value up front, and they know it.

Every time I get an unsolicited call, or sometimes even an email, 99% of the time I don't want to bother with it. Why? Because I know full well that it's someone either trying to sell me something, or trying to get something free from me. What I'm really saying, there's no up front value in it for me!

You're probably familiar by now with the story of my first decent sales training program, where I learned that cold calling is a waste of time. I also first learned of the acronym "WIIFM" in that training:

WIIFM quite simply means What's In It For Me

We were taught that before opening your mouth in front of a sales prospect - or taking any action with your prospects - to always ask ourselves, "What's the WIIFM?" In other words, you had better have value for the prospect, or it was a total waste of time.

Very few salespeople do this.

Every time I get unsolicited calls from salespeople, there's never a WIIFM. And that's why I don't return their phone calls. Or write back.

Everything you say to a prospective customer, every word you type to your prospects, every individual you take with a prospect, MUST contain a WIIFM. And you'd better give the WIIFM up front if you want the prospect to pay attention! This is a law, like the law of gravity - there are no exceptions.

That's why cold calling doesn't work. Forget about all the gatekeepers, advanced anti-cold-call phone systems, no soliciting signs, and everything else. If you do happen to get a qualified prospect on the phone or in front of you, the issue is that there's really no way to open a cold call with a WIIFM. Cold calling, by its very nature, is anti-WIIFM. It's all about what YOU want, not what's in the prospect's best interests.

(Also, "elevator speeches" and "unique value propositions" don't count as WIIFMs. They're worn-out cliches and catchphrases that sales managers love to throw around, and nothing more.)

The bottom line is if you want to improve your sales numbers, and achieve massive sales success, remember to never, ever approach a prospect without giving a WIIFM up front. And Ii you can't think of any WIFFMs, you're in front of the wrong people to begin with. Which means they're not a genuinely qualified prospect for you - and it's unethical to try to sell anything to someone that doesn't deliver powerful WIIFMs - real value - to them.

Finally, never forget that cold calling is by far the most anti-WIIFM sales method in existence. If you're cold calling, you can't possibly deliver a real WIIFM, up front, to the prospect, which means you have no chance of getting them to buy.

NY Times best-selling writer Frank Rumbauskas has taught over fifty thousand sales professionals around the world how to sell more with less stress. Learn more at

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