What is a Sales Communication?
A Sale communication is a persuasive message used to convince the recipient to take the desired action (general make a purchase) concerning the value proposition being offered by the sender. We are most familiar with pitches to convince a customer to purchase a product or employ a service. A sales pitch can, however, include an attempt to get the recipient to employ an otherwise no-cost product or service.
What is the Best Structure for a Sales Communication
The structure of the sales message will vary depending upon whether the communication was solicited or requested by the recipient (such as when you ask a company for product information) or whether it was unsolicited (such as a cold call or mail advertisement). In the later case, you want to build up to the sales statement, so a inductive message is appropriate. It gives you the opportunity to provide persuasive elements prior to making a call to action (request to make a purchase). If the communication was solicited, a deductive message is most appropriate. Basically, you provide the customer the information requested without prefacing it with supporting information.
What is the AIDA Process for Delivering a Persuasive Message
AIDA is a common method for convincing an individual to make a purchase. As such, it primarily involves an unsolicited communication, and thus a inductive message structure. The AIDA acronym stands for:
- Attention: Obtain the receiver’s attention
- Interest: Arousal of interest after the introduction of the product
- Desire: Making space for want of the product by pitching its value to the receivers.
- Action: Inspire action
The call for action is seen in the last paragraph after the details have been mentioned – plausible reasons for the receiver to comply with the request.
This format can be used for verbal or written communications. It is important to know that equal amounts of spaces are not required by each step.
A Little More on the AIDA Process
There are numerous methods of gaining a person’s attention. Here are some examples:
- A personal experience: A scenario that they might have experienced can be incorporated.
- A solution to an existing problem. “You may never have _______ again.”
- A surprising announcement. “7000 people per year ________ from this.”
- A what-if statement in the opening. “What if I said I make $1000 per day working from home?”
- A question – “Why would you make investments in a company that has lost money for the last six quarters?”
- A story – “John gets up for work everyday….”
- A proverb or quotes from a popular personality. “If winning isn’t everything, then why do they keep score?”, Vince Lombardi once said.
- A split sentence. “Sands, margaritas, sea breeze and blue waters…find them all at Costa Verde.”
- An analogy. “State Farm is there as a good neighbor.”
- Introduction of a relationship between the receiver and the product/idea. “Reasonable price, speedy delivery or superior service.”
- Note: Most important selling feature is focused upon. The consecutive sentences must follow naturally after the first sentence. It angers the reader if you fail to do so. In the first sentence, the position can be emphasized.
- Use of an original approach. Something new and fresh can be offered. For example, an unpopular anecdote or an interesting combination of words can be used all of which talk about the product.
Arousal of Interest
The product can be introduced in the first sentence to arouse interest and grab attention. The following attributes are important:
Focused – Make it a tight and action-centric introduction stressing on the selling point also helps.
Cohesive – The introduction is naturally led to if the attention getter does not introduce the product. A poor example: “Surveys show employees appreciate a happy work environment. Our primary objective is to improve safety.” The second sentence is not cohesive. Not one word or phrase in the first sentence connects to words of the second sentence. It is sudden and confusing.
Action Oriented – Focus on integrating the recipient with the product or service. For example, the product can be placed in the hands of the receiver, and you can talk about their using it or gaining from accepting your idea. You sell the experience from the actual product, idea or service.
Create a Desire for the Product
This is generally done by focusing on the desirable characteristics of the product or the value the the product or service will have to the recipient.
Stress Value Proposition – For example, a central selling point can be stressed. If the attention getter does introduce a unique feature, it should direct receivers to it.
Provide Convincing Evidence – After all, this is done, provide enough evidence to satisfy your receiver’s wants. One or two main features need to be kept on the receiver’s mind after having included evidence that supports these characteristics.
Present and Interpret Factual Evidence – If you say something is good or better than other products in the market, you must provide some form of data proving it. Example: “The new BMW M5 has better handling than most cars on the road. A new suspension integrated, the M5 completed the German test course at Nuremberg 3 seconds faster than any other vehicle previously tested.” This example says what makes BMW M5 better and why. Explaining further establishes the fact. Another way of making the audience believe is by presenting hard facts and figures to them. “This new leaf blower puts out 239 MPH of air pressure.” The product may not be known well enough by the reader. Use figures to explain how it is better and what parts of it is better than other products that the reader knows. “Trivia is the exact same formula and flavor as Splenda, but at 50% of the price”.
Be Objective – Use proper, specific language that people will understand. Superlatives, outlandish claims, and absurd statements should be avoided. For example, “this is the greatest coffee that the world has ever known”, could be considered an outlandish claim. Direct comparisons can be made instead of generalized comments that lack substance. New coffee was preferred 3 to 1 in taste tests by independent consumers.
Testimonials, Enclosures, and Guarantees – Provide proof that other people believe in the product builds trust.
Subordinate the Price – Price should be mentioned in the message after all the advantages have been provided. Techniques for reducing aversion to price: Once a desire for the product is created, introduce the price. Use figures to show that the price is reasonable and that the receiver can save money. Price can be stated in terms of small units. Mention the price in a compound sentence that correlates or summarizes the value of the product, service or idea altogether. Ex. “The new high-performance engine is award-winning, and only pushes the cost of the vehicle up $3,000 ($37,500 total).
The final push to motivate action should follow the general guidelines:
- Make the Ask – State the specific action you would want the receiver to take. Avoid general instructions. A step by step instruction on how to purchase, receive, or use the value proposition should be given.
- Simplicity – The action should seem easy. Don’t throw up artificial barriers.
- Incentivize Action – An incentive should be provided for quick action. For example, “Order now and you get a second product for free”. The longer the wait, the less likely are the receivers to act.
- Selling Point – The central selling point should be restated along with the plea to act.
- Confidence – The action should be asked for confidently. “To own the most efficient widget in the world, complete and return…” Any phrases that don’t seem confident or truthful should be avoided.