Pulling up to the curb in a 1954 Buick Skylark, the salesman fixed his tie. First things first—he has to get them to agree to let him in.
Jeff’s been selling for over 25 years. To him, everything you need to learn you can uncover knocking door to door.
He begins his pitch talking about the high quality of the cookware. Jeff pulls each pot and pan out of a suitcase. They are individually enclosed in velvet pouches. He continues talking about the features and benefits as he gently massages the pots, still wrapped like gifts.
Next, he puts his hand inside one of the pouches, in a way that the prospect still can’t see the cookware. He keeps his eyes on the prospect, keeps talking. Quickly, the prospect’s eyes shift from him to those velvet pouches. Jeff knows the prospect is interested, and continues singing the praises of his product as his buyer waits for the big reveal.
When Jeff finally takes out the pots and pans, their eyes widen in anticipation.
The amount of tension this created sometimes left prospects mesmerized. Jeff knew the longer he could keep their attention and stir an emotion, the better his chance was of closing.
Great salespeople still use this emotional grab and relief, even if the methods have become more modern. Here’s what the velvet pouch technique looks like today…
Building Suspense on Sales Webinars
Think about how most webinars open up—or at least the last one you managed to watch the whole way through.
The topic was likely a pain point you’ve experienced. Usually, the sales rep starts out talking about their background to establish expertise.
Before you know it, the seller segues to a problem the prospect is having. “I went through the same thing you did,” the sales rep might add, building empathy.
Then they start talking about potential solutions to the issue—all without showing the product they’re about to introduce, which will be necessary to implement their suggestions. This builds the same tension as the velvet pouch technique.
Slowly they start going into their product’s features. Then the host continues by focusing on its benefits and the results of using it.
When you execute a webinar well, the customer is well-prepared for the reveal. They’re convinced before they even see what it is that you’re selling.
A word to the wise: Always keep an eye on how much your webinar guests are paying attention. In most webinar software you can see this based on each viewer’s active window. If most of your guests are looking at something else while you’re talking, you need to adjust your script.
Breaking the Ice in Cold Emails
The average attention span of people is on the decline—from 12 seconds in the year 2000, down to eight seconds in 2015, to be exact.
Compared to a webinar, where the prospect has shown at least some interest and commitment by registering, emails are often 100% cold.
First, show you’re not just a spammer by personalizing your email intro, proving you know who they are and what they do, or giving them something of immediate relevance.
Then go straight into a benefit.
For example, take this cold email from Sumo:
I saw you on Yelp and was impressed by your 4-star rating for home care. We help home care businesses increase revenue by 50%.
Love to send you our top 10 ways to do that.”
This email creates tension by withholding important insight until the prospect takes action. A less effective sales rep would leave nothing to the imagination, giving away all their valuable ideas in the initial email.
Now what about the subject line? First and foremost, you want them to open it instead of trashing it or ignoring it. Try these subject line strategies during your next cold email attempts:
Lead with the solution you’re providing
example: How to increase [company name’s] revenue by 50%
Use a question that’s easy to say, “yes!” to
example: [Name], are you tired of chasing new customers?
Hit on a problem they are already having
example: [Name], is marketing [company name] keeping you up at night?
As soon as they reply, you can dive into the ways your product helps. By the time they get a glimpse of your solutions they’ll be eager to see your product with their own eyes.
Whether you’re communicating in a cold email or a post-webinar follow-up, constant improvement is key. Your CRM can tell you how well your prospects are moving through your pipeline based on the templates you’re using, and if your emails’ open rates and click-through rates are under-performing, it’s time to test out different subject lines and CTAs.
The velvet pouch technique is just one old-school sales tactic that still makes an impact today. What are some ways that you build suspense and anticipation in your sales efforts? Comment below or tweet them to us @nutshell!