An Email Framework To Use When A Prospect Goes Silent

by Paul Castain on October 9, 2015


It was almost 4 years ago that I was considering a specific CRM for my business.

I had a nice chat with the sale rep.

Exchanged a few emails and then . . .

I went “M.I.A.”!

I got caught up in a few things, and this was no longer a priority . . . at that moment.

The rep kept calling, emailing etc and I was basically an ass because I didn’t respond.

She didn’t get aggressive or annoyed with me

She didn’t threaten to “close the file” (hate that one by the way)

Nor did she pull the old “resend the email from the sent file” thing!

She did something better . . .

She sent me an email with the following subject line . . .

“How Should We Proceed Paul?” Note: I’m a big fan of using the recipient’s name in the subject line!

Then she gently reminded me about the progress we’ve made and that she’d like to know how we should proceed.

Short, sweet and elegant and it made me get back to her and sign the deal!

It also was something that I promptly added to my own sales efforts and have gotten some great results from it.

Hope it helps you too!


Most Emails Never Make It Past A Subject Line Scan

That’s why I thought it might be time to ROCK your emails with a special On Demand Workshop!

Here’s what I’m going to share . . .

  • Two, non negotiable things you MUST do BEFORE sending an email to a prospect!
  • 4 Ways to get email addresses without spending a dime on lists.
  • 10 words and phrases you should never use in a subject line
  • 5 Ways to capture someone’s attention in the subject line
  • How to leverage internal/external “peer pressure” to pique interest
  • 10 ways to make your email less salesy and a hell of a lot more interesting
  • How to dramatically increase your response rates and . . .
  • How one really simple thing increased my response rate by over 400%

For more information, click HERE!



“Pick” Your Lessons Wisely

by Paul Castain on October 8, 2015

I sat there, guitar in hand, with a rather smug look on my face. I was eager to tell the “Master” that I had in fact figured it all out. Imagine that, Uncle Paul 20 years young and the keeper of the shortcut to end all shortcuts! I told my teacher that the secret to attaining warp speed on one’s axe was by using a thicker guitar pick. Well that and knowing what the hell you were doing on the guitar, but I didn’t own that part of the lesson yet.

My teacher gave me a non committal “Really” (did you ever hear Dr Evil say “Really”? Well it was nothing like that) and left the room. When he returned he brought with him a razor blade and a TV dinner tray (the old fashioned kind circa 1985 which were aluminum) He took his guitar pick and used it as a template to cut out an aluminum pick. He took some tape and placed it on the top so he wouldn’t slice his finger open, picked up his guitar and played a violin concerto he transcribed for guitar. I’m convinced that he played it with gusts up to 250 mph but I was too busy trying to keep from chanting “Im not worthy” He confidently put his guitar down and said “Today’s lesson is done. Come back to me when you understand that there are no shortcuts when it comes to talent”

Lesson learned, and one that birthed numerous other lessons for this aspiring sales rock star:

–      Stop looking for the big answer, the shortcuts, the easy route! The people that I come across who are so busy looking for the big answer seldom find it. The key is mastery of lots of little things. Isn’t that what sales is all about? Working smarter should never be an excuse for not getting our uniforms dirty!

–  Don’t get so caught up in technology that you forget to develop ridiculous sales chops. This can easily happen with all these cool Sales 2.0 tools. You still need to be the best sales professional you are capable of . . .  even if you have the coolest toys on the block!

–      This One Is For The Managers & Mentors: My teacher could have lectured me. He could have given me a verbal ass kicking, but he didn’t. He showed me. I’ll let you reflect on that one.

–      This One Is For The Sales Reps: There comes a time when we all have to evict our ego. You know that wonderful thing that protects us from rejection, thickens our skin but at the same time . . . disowns the lesson? When was the last time you accepted a “lesson”?  Think about that one. There’s money in it for you . . . I promise!

–      Presentation Wise: What a cool freakin way to illustrate a point! Find a cool way to illustrate your point in your next presentation. How can you demonstrate your point in such a way that someone will still be talking about it 30 years later like I just did? By the way, this link might help!

And a final take away: I discovered at that moment (and numerous times throughout my marriage) how much I hate being wrong! :)

Today you are cordially invited to evict your ego, make yourself vulnerable and own that crazy thing called “the lesson”

Rock on!

Hire Paul To Speak At Your Kick Off Meeting


CastainBanner - Copy (2)I help sales reps, sales leaders and business owners sell more. To learn how, click HERE. For speaking availability and rates, email me



THE Best Cold Calling Advice, Hands Down!

by Paul Castain on October 8, 2015

The best

It’s funny, because when I use a headline like “THE Best Cold Calling Advice Hands Down” my website traffic will triple that day.  (Don’t worry, I didn’t try to trick you, I have every intention of giving THE best cold calling advice hands down).

But when I use a headline that has “Social Networking” “LinkedIn” “Social Selling” you all haul ass out of here.

One might argue that the cold calling topic is more appealing because you know cold calling works.

I disagree! I think it goes much deeper than that!

The bulk of this audience clings too tightly to cold calls and resists doing the things that complement (aka “WARM UP”) the cold call. The cold call is comfortable to you so you don’t want to move away from what makes you comfortable.

There are also too many of you who are afraid of technology.

And quite frankly, there are some who might be “old dogs” who refuse to be taught new tricks.

Some of you are waiting for compelling evidence that social networking is worth your time. Kind of makes me wonder what it would have been like to be the dude/dudette who held out on using the telephone (back in the late 19th century) because they were waiting to see if it was more effective than door knocking. But seriously, you would be better served conducting your own experiments with social networking instead of waiting  to have your mind blown by some case study.

Some of you are waiting to get your boss’s approval. Why? Do it anyway. Trust me when I tell you that as long as you keep it between ethical and legal, all they care about are your results.

Some of you have seen an overabundance of so called “experts” and when you took a closer look, realized that all they were really hyping was a bunch of hype! That just means they were ineffective NOT the platform!

Some of you think that the minute someone like me mentions social networks, we are telling you to abandon the phone. Run away from these types very fast. I maintain that there is room for multiple types of touches that complement, not replace our phone efforts.

Some of you don’t “get” social networking but unfortunately (and don’t shoot the messenger) your prospects don’t care what you get. They go where they want to go and you are never part of their consideration.

Things Are Changing With Or Without You!

More and more of the buyer’s journey now takes place online.

In many ways, social networks are the new golf course where intros are made, bonds and alliances are formed and deals are made.

The average person is checking their smartphone 150 times a day. For some, visiting their social networks is a nice chunk of that number!

There are now approximately 3 BILLION social networking accounts worldwide. That makes me think that a good chunk of your clients and prospects are there with or without you.

FYI:  I’ve been selling for 32 years. I was the guy making 300 dials a week. I’m here to tell you that it was a hell of a lot easier back then. You know,  when people actually answered their phones and didn’t have the 9 second attention span that they have today. And that 9 seconds is the actual attention span of the human race as reported by a study done by the BBC.

I’m also here to tell you, that you’re missing out because of your reluctance to move into the 21st century.

Here’s What I’d Like For You To Do

Open your mind to things beyond a cold call (did I mention that this is the 21st century?)

Pick up a book, watch people and how they embrace their networks or even take a course or hire a coach that marries social networking in with the phone.

But do understand that refusing to explore ALL of your options, is a weak strategy at best!

And Now, THE Best Cold Calling Advice Hands Down;

There’s no need to call cold when there are so many opportunities to call warm instead!

A good social network will help!

Are you working your network or, just collecting a bunch of useless names on your screen?

If you’d like to check out a cool, online course that can help you sell more via your social network, click HERE







An Email Template That Gets A 99.9% Response Rate

by Paul Castain on October 7, 2015

email 3


It’s super important that your network, your prospects, your potential customers, see you as valuable.

When people see you as valuable, they continue to open your emails, take your phone calls, buy from you and let us not forget . . .

Refer you!

There’s a really simple email, that I’ve been sending for about 6 years now.

Pretty much every time I send it, the recipients are excited, grateful and as a bonus, respond to me!

The email is sent to two people I think should know each other with the hopes that they will grow a relationship and hopefully help each other in some way (buy from each other, refer each other, bounce ideas off each other etc).

In essence, I’m playing matchmaker

When you play matchmaker, you are truly adding value to your relationships! And when you add value to your relationships, you become valuable!

Here’s that email . . .

Hi (name of both contacts)

(name of contact 1) meet (contact 2), (contact 2)  meet (contact 1).

I was thinking about you both and more specifically why you should know each other!

(Contact 1)  (say something about contact 1).

(Contact 2) (say something about contact 2).

I hope you will take the time to get to know each other.

I’ve done my part . . .

The rest is up to you.

(your name)

That’s the whole email. You can download it for free by clicking this link Email Template From Paul Castain at Castain Training Systems

Short, sweet and super effective!

Use this email with your LinkedIn network.

Your traditional networking efforts.

Your clients

Your prospects.

People you buy from.

Not only will it make you more valuable, people have this crazy habit of wanting to reciprocate, so you just might experience an influx of referrals! I know I have!

By the way, how many times a week do you get emails like that?

And that’s my point!

Its yet another way, for you to stand out, in a world filled with “me too” sales reps!

Would You Like 10 More Templates?

Then you might want to click HERE!





How To Ask Better Questions

by Paul Castain on October 7, 2015

The questions we ask a potential client can make or break the deal.

Execute properly and you pave the way for a higher probability sale. Execute poorly and you disconnect!

Here are several of the mistakes you need to avoid, at all cost!

1)    Failure to establish the proper environment. This includes everything from not having enough time, to allowing people to tell you “we know exactly what we want so you don’t have to ask us those questions” etc. Let’s be clear. We need to be respectful and control the meeting without being controlling (there’ s a huge difference) but by the same token, would you go to a Doctor’s office and say “Put away that Stethoscope Doc. It’s my bladder so I just need you to work up a quote on surgery?” Selling should never be different. If someone is rushing your due diligence to the point that you know that this will be a “screw you” down the line, get the screw you today instead and insist (respectfully) that they allow you to be the professional you are.

2)    Allowing Your Needs Analysis To Take On A “20 Questions Guessing Game” Vibe. Maybe it’s the impatient New Yorker in me coming out, but why get into this “Is it animal or mineral” BS? I like to cut to the chase and ask a question at the start of my needs analysis that goes like this “Granted I called you . . . what prompted you to take this meeting today?” It gives me a direction to go in 9 out of 10 times and saves everyone the annoyance of questions that have nothing to do with “where it hurts”.

3)    Asking a crappy question. This includes everything from questions that you could have answered yourself by taking a time to research (How many locations do you have? etc) to weak questions that don’t serve you or the prospect. So how does one ask a better question? By mentally firing yourself from your industry and rehiring yourself in theirs! If you were the person buying what you sell, what would piss you off? I would imagine it could be things like quality, deadlines, surprise costs, poor communication, managing multiple vendor relationships, internal customers, dealing with sales people, navigating around internal external buying policies, how to sell a change to the internal team, cost containment etc. On a more positive note, there are things all businesses want such as more customers, more market share, more profit, happy customers, employees and shareholders, lower turnover, better image and brand awareness, increased efficiencies, quicker to market launches, innovation etc. What questions can you ask to get them thinking about this? This is the stuff they want fixed! Want to take this over the top? Think of one killer, “knock you on your ass” question. I’m talking about one question that flaws the prospect and makes them think “Holy schnikees. Nobody ever asked me that before. The insurance industry has the ultimate “If something were to happen to you, could your family meet its financial needs?” Whoa! Way to stun me long enough to make me listen to you dude!

4)    Asking a good question at the wrong time: When we jump right in with a more intimate question, a prospect might think “Who the heck is the person to ask me that? I don’t know them or trust them” and then they shut down on you. Personally, I like to ease into my questions by starting with more situational types of questions and then increasing the intensity at a pace dictated by my read of the prospect.

5)    Answering your own question. Don’t laugh. It happens more than you think!

6)    Asking a clichéd question: Example “What keeps you up at night?  “On a scale from 1-10 how is your present service?” “What would it take to make them a 10?” Don’t get me wrong, I could think of worse things to ask a prospect, but why sound like every other sales person who sits in the hot seat?

7)    Asking a set up or “salesy” question: These are the questions that they see coming from like a hundred miles away. My favorite “If I could show you a way to blah, blah, would you seriously consider blah?” I think the 80’s called and wants their sh*tty question back!

8)    Being so attached to your questions on paper that you don’t follow up on the answer or allow the conversation to “go there”. My best suggestion here (aside from being flexible enough to allow a “discussion” to occur) is to memorize by the topics your questions fall under. This way when a conversation goes from something that’s a deadline issue to a communication issue, you know how the questions execute out of sequence.

9)    Not asking continuation questions and racing to your next question. The best information you can get is usually when a prospect is encouraged to continue or expand. You can facilitate that by simply following up their answer with: “Tell me more” “can you give me an example of that?” “what happened as a result?” and even using some strategically placed (get this) silence. People have an innate need to fill silence. Let it be your prospect. One disclaimer: If you wait too long you might get  a “Bless your heart” and a pat on the head.

10) Making “I wasn’t listening statements” after they answer your question. Examples: “Fair enough” “Interesting” First of all, what the hell are you saying to me? When someone says “Interesting” I feel like you are doing some amateur psychoanalysis and you just concluded I was a bed wetter or something. Are you judging me? “Fair enough” WTF is that? Is that you feeling I was defending an opinion that you don’t agree with? Was that your reentry back into our conversation after an outer body experience and it came down to either saying that or shouting out some other random word like “DAISEYS”  Either way, congrats, you are conditioning me to not give you as much on the next question. Gold star, Rain Man! Here’s an idea. Don’t know what to say after someone responds, thank them for their answer and move on.

11) Asking questions that are so full of prefacing and tangents that they confuse the prospect. I’ve witnessed a bunch of those in my career. The best was when the prospect just stared at the sales rep when he finished and said “I have no clue of what you said, or where you are going with that last question. Was it a question?”

12) Making the Needs Analysis an interrogation instead of a conversation. I offered to help someone the other day with a challenge they were having. I came prepared with a page and a half of ideas. I didn’t get a chance to help this person because they just kept peppering me with questions. At one point I resisted the urge to ask her if I should get my attorney. The cure (in my opinion) is to use different types of questions and to make the exchange conversational and collaborative. Otherwise you are encouraging the prospect to shut down on you.

13) Failure to validate feelings. When someone tells you about a challenge or an incident, don’t race to the next question, acknowledge and validate. This goes back to something I say all the time in this blog “Everyone has a story and wants to be heard” How about a little “I give a damn? How about an “I’m sorry to hear that” or “that would bother me too, and what a testimonial to your professionalism that you kept a cool head” Remember: race to your next question too quickly and you might brand yourself as insensitive and cold. The best part, is that they might not even be able to articulate that. It may hit them as more of a “gut feeling”. When that happens, classic fight or flight kicks in and we simply avoid.

14)  Pre Supposition Questions (aka putting words in the other dude’s mouth) Example “Tell me about the challenges you are having with your current vendor” Meanwhile, nobody said anything about challenges.

15)  Allowing Unproductive Tangents. Part of your responsibility as the professional is to facilitate a process without being controlling. If the conversation is going in a direction that isn’t beneficial, then you need to get things back on course.

16)  Failure to Customize Your Questions based on your Pre Call Planning findings: Don’t be this creature of habit who must ask the questions they always asked. Better to have your arsenal, and choose your weapon and even create your weapon based on the situation at hand. Besides, doesn’t asking a very specific set of questions, that demonstrates that you did your homework help out in the rapport department?

17)  Committing Any Combination of the 4 Dickish Sins: Interrupting, talking over, finishing thoughts, rushing the prospect’s answer.   I know someone who has this annoying habit of saying “right, right, right” when you are answering their question or just making a statement they want you to cut to the chase on. Don’t ever do that to your prospect or you will be (once again) conditioning them to not give you the details you need. The best way for you to avoid interrupting or talking over is to simply pause after they answer the question.

18)  Disrespecting the word “Why”. The word “why” can serve you, and in many cases it can hurt you in that it might make the other person feel they have to defend their position. Try changing “why” to “what” as in “what prompted you to take that position” or “what were the events that led to those feelings”  The “what” question gets you into mechanics and processes which can be far more productive. Don’t get me wrong, I love to get to the emotions and the feelings. That’s why I phrased this one “Disrespecting the word “why”.  I can’t emphasize it enough that if we aren’t careful, we literally condition prospects to be guarded! Not a good place to be hombre!

19)  Considering a Needs Analysis A One Time Thing: I hope you highlight this one. I see so many people who conduct a brilliant needs analysis, win the account and then never do it again. Things change my friend. Statistically speaking, just in the time you spent reading this post, something has changed somewhere.

Immediate Action Item: Starting thinking of a needs analysis as the annual check up at the Dr. Schedule a check up with your clients and every prospect that you haven’t done a needs analysis in the last 6 months. 

I won’t lie to you, there’s a lot here to digest. My suggestion is that you print this out, and commit to “owning” these tips . . . one bite at a time!

Your closing ratio will go up dramatically when you do!

He who asks is a fool for 5 minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever

Chinese Proverb

CastainBanner - Copy (2)I help sales reps, sales leaders and business owners sell more. To learn how, click HERE. For speaking availability and rates, email me