Sales and Business Development is all about conversations and building a rapport with the people on the other end. That’s why it’s extremely important to not only know what you want out of the deal, but how to say it in a way that will create action.

Gone are the days of emails being read on desktops. Big words don’t make you looks smarter, they just get your email discarded. Keep it simple.

Whether it’s written or verbal communication, these tips should help you make people move.

1. Pay very close attention to the words you use

Think about this for a second. If we’re partnering on a project, and I tell you you’re going to have a lot of responsibility you may see that as daunting and high-pressure. If I tell you that you’ll have a lot of control, you may see that as freeing and might be enthusiastic. In this case, it means the same thing, it just comes off differently to the other person.

Pay attention to the words you use and what sort of emotion they might stir. Think through these things before engaging in conversation.

2. Keep it short and dumb it down

Nobody wants to hear your jargon and abbreviation riddled, multi-paragraph sales pitch. Even worse is when salespeople start using big words to sound smarter or more knowledgeable. In the end you lose people. You’re not making it easy enough on them.

Keep things easily readable for your recipient so they can digest the information quickly and take action. Imagine that your recipient is reading it on their smartphone on the bus ride home after a long day at the office. You’ll want to make sure your message is short and easy to read. That’s the only way that they’ll read it through and take action.

Be sure to make the key points and preferred actions clear, maybe even highlight them in bold.

Thinking about using the word “utilize”? The word “use” is fine.

Don’t use abbreviations unless they’re universally well known in the industry, like CRM or ROI. Things like CLTV, CACR, ACAC are not as well known, so stay away from anything the recipient might not understand.

Don’t be afraid to go against the principles of writing in your e-mails. This isn’t your high school honors English class; this is an important message to a busy potential buyer. Try adding more spacing in your emails—separate paragraphs every two sentences. Make it easy for them to scan or read quickly.

Make the message simple enough for an eight year old to understand.

3. Don’t be afraid to challenge people

When setting up an outbound campaign or setting up to do sales in general, you’ll need to have a thick skin and sometimes a short memory. There will always be people who reply with a poor attitude. Just keep pushing, and do it the right way. You’re just doing your job, and know that for every one person that responds negatively, you’ll sign up 50 more.

Don’t ignore those people, either. Sometimes a great way to reply is by challenging them.

At Udemy, we would get poor replies from experts all the time. As we refined our process there were fewer and fewer negative replies, but it still happened once in a while. If you could read the situation well, and knew a little bit about their background, sometimes you could flip them. One thing I used to respond with was a challenge. I would find two big-name experts in their space that they knew, and reply as such:

Hi [First name],

Sorry to have bothered you. [expert 1] and [expert 2] are both doing extremely well on Udemy so I figured you would too. I guess I was mistaken.

I will make sure you do not receive another email from us.

Again, I apologize.



In this case, you’re challenging them by saying if they do not see the value, they must not be such a big expert. Some people will call your bluff and not respond, and others will respond with a simple “thanks.” But sometimes, and more often than not, you’ll get the response, “Oh I didn’t know [expert 1] and [expert 2] were on Udemy. Maybe I have a few minutes to chat this week.”

4. Sell to the Individual, then the Employee, then the Company

The person on the other end of your message is an individual first and foremost. He or she is a human being with feelings, emotions, wants, and needs. Appeal to the individual first, making them feel like they’ll be more special or important if they listen to you. Then appeal to their career side, and how it will make them look good to their boss. Lastly, appeal to the company side by providing them with the tools they need to sell the rest of the company on your product.

For example, Here’s how this is going to make you look like a hero to your team. Here’s how it’s going to make your team more productive and generate more revenue. Here’s how to sell it to the key stakeholders.

5. Bonus — Inflection

When telling a story or pitching a product on the phone, make sure to put extra emphasis on voice inflection, especially on voicemails. John Marcus, CEO of Bedrock Data, describes this as putting make-up on your calls. By adding inflection to the right words, you sound more passionate and articulate and, in turn, more convincing. This might sounds trivial but try it. People want to hear passion in your voice. It can make or break the conversation.