6 Tips to Make Great Sales Hooks

Sep 28, 2019

Can you create a convincing sales hook?

Whether you are cold-calling a prospect by telephone or generating cold email outreach, you want to snag the attention of your prospect quickly.

That’s why nailing your sales hook is essential.

Devoting your particular attention to the art of hook-making can garner you increased sales and quickly turn prospects into buyers. But before you consider the following tips on creating catchy, irresistible, intriguing sales hooks, let’s start with the basics.

Photograph of two businessmen shaking hands

What Is a Sales Hook?

A sales hook is the same as a sales pitch. It’s a persuasive conversation starter that piques the interest of your prospects and leaves them wanting more.

There are some basic steps to creating one, starting with research. Make sure you’ve done your homework in understanding who your audience is, why they should care about your product, and what action you’d like them to take.

All sales hooks can benefit from a few very simple strategies, such as:

  • Be concise. The shorter the pitch, the more effective, research has shown
  • Use emotions. People respond to feelings. Be persuasive
  • Highlight how your product benefits the buyer
  • Talk value, not price
  • Include a link to something of interest, such as a white paper about the latest research

But after you’ve mocked up a few first drafts, consider the following six tips to get them to the next level.

Tips to Make Great Sales Hooks

Finding the best sales hook is a fine art. There is no one size-fits-all. It takes understanding your prospect’s concerns and needs, your report and relationship with them, and what you have to offer them.

There are multiple ways to structure a good sales hook. We’ve compiled some of the best ones and noted when to use them to help get you started:

Tip #1- Track Customer Touch Points

As you develop the perfect sales hook for your sales calls and email pitches, you’ll want to keep in mind the customer touch points. Where do your customers live? Which social media sites do they frequent? Does your sales hook stress a benefit to the buyer? Know how to deliver your story by the right medium.

You want your hook to:

  • Solve your customer’s problem
  • Save them money
  • Give them a feeling of reassurance that buying your product is the right choice.

You know your customer gets a ton of email pitches, so the question has to be how do you stand out from the rest so that your email gets read? If you send a mediocre, boring, or derivative message, you will just find yourself in the cursed burial ground of lousy email pitches known as the junk folder.

Infographic map of customer touchpoints
Via Gary Magnone

Conceptually, what you’re trying to do is simple. You have a particular segment of customers that really could benefit from what you have to offer. So you have to touch on those in a way that:

  1. Grabs their attention
  2. Is authentic
  3. Communicates information

In so doing, you will want not just to approach an individual customer, but a whole group and this is where email automation programs like the one offered on Map My Customers will help you.

You may be a sales rep in a particular city, but you have a host of prospects all across the country (or world) that you should be reaching out to and an automated email program makes it easy.

Tip #2 – Make a Memory with Your Hook

In Ad Age, advertising expert Al Ries wrote about five techniques to increase the memorability of advertising slogans. These same techniques can be applied to cold calling and email hooks. Ries cited:

  • Rhyme
  • Alliteration
  • Repetition
  • Reversal
  • Double-entendre

Ries used examples of how they work in advertising slogans. Some of these can inspire your own compelling subject line for an email:

  1. Rhyme– The top-selling coffee brand is Folgers: “The best part of waking up is Folger’s in your cup.”
  2. Alliterations– M&M’s are the best-selling candy brand in the U.S. “M&M’s melt in your mouth…not in your hands.”
  3. Repetition– Fed Ex’s slogan made it the market leader: “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.”
  4. Reversal– Frank Perdue, bald and ordinary looking, was the spokesman for his brand until he died in 2005, building his company into a billion-dollar brand. “It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken.”
  5. Double-entendre– DeBeers created the top slogan of the 20th century, according to AdAge: “A diamond is forever.” It was established in 1938 and is still running. Forever.

Try working with these techniques and create copy that sparkles. No pun intended. If you have fun with your sales hook, you will grab your prospect’s attention. You are also sending a message that you don’t take yourself too seriously.

Tip #3 – Ask Plenty of Questions

Use questions. You can snag interest, as The Huffington Post noted recently.

Mark Wayshak said that most salespeople are pushing their products or services onto prospects, whereas if you ask great questions, you will let the prospect sell himself. The five queries Wayshak thinks you should ask are:

  • What are your challenges with regards to this issue?
  • Can you give me examples of this challenge?
  • Ballpark how much does this problem cost you?
  • What would it mean if you could solve this challenge?
  • What do you want to accomplish?

If you ask these questions, you can really get to the route of their problem, therefore creating significant value in the eyes of your customer.

Questions that can begin a sales hook

The great thing about using questions as a sales hook is that they automatically start a conversation. Think about crafting questions that match their pain points, such as:

  • Saving money
  • Improving their bottom line
  • Locating more customers
  • Retaining consumers

These questions obviously have to be tailored to your specific industry/solution. When you know your market inside out, these questions will just flow. Then drill down to find the specific levers that will trigger an emotional response. When you are able to elicit an emotion with your tagline, you have something substantial.

Tip #4 – Create an Engaging Email Subject Line

Let’s look at these email opening lines cited by Hubspot
as greetings that “put, ‘Hi, My Name is’ to shame.”

  1. “Is X a priority for you right now?”
  • “I loved your post/tweet/blog on X.”
  • “Great insights at the Y Summit…”
  • “I know you’re an expert in [Topic}. I thought of you when I saw X and wanted to share it with you.”
  • “How do you know [shared connection]? We worked together on…”
  • “I have an idea to address [pain point].”

As mentioned earlier, these are openers that use questions, that engage emotions, that suggest commonalities, and that add value.

In your research, you may have come across your prospect’s blog, tweets, or appearances at a conference. Don’t hesitate to pass on a sincere compliment. They will not only appreciate it but know that you’re on their wavelength. You have common interests. You are on the way to building rapport. Just be sure not to seem like you’re just being ingratiating.

Infographic of 10 characteristics of a value proposition
Via Convert

If you can address one of his pain points, and offer solutions to a nagging problem, you’re halfway there. Hubspot notes, “Instead of stating your name and company, pull out your value proposition instead. This makes your email relevant to your prospect from the start.”

Once you have crafted a killer opening, you’re on to the meat of the matter. Tell a story.

Tip #5 – Tell a Story

In any new relationship, you tell stories: whether you are on a first date, at a job interview, or joining a new fitness center. You are introduced to a new friend, and you want to know her story.

Similarly, you tell yours: “I graduated from college five years ago, work in the tech industry, need to work out more so I’m looking for a fitness center close to the office.” You’ve told your story.

When you develop a great sales hook you will also tell a story: in this way, you will connect to your prospects.

Tell a Simple Story

In Entrepreneur.com, Bedros Keuilian coached readers on how to use storytelling to sell a brand. He said that learning the “Point, Story, Metaphor” formula helped him in speaking events with people where he talked about saving their businesses.

When you adopt the “Point, Story, Metaphor” formula you will:

  • State your lesson – the Point
  • Story – positive consequences of following Point or adverse effects of not following
  • Metaphor – demonstrate the Point again, from a different angle

Keuilian also notes that having a story to tell while selling differentiates you from the competition. It makes you easy to remember. It offers lessons. You will emotionally impact your customers.

There are a host of emotions and concepts that your sales hook can appeal to, including security, advancement, love, friendship, health, beauty, growth, efficiency, power, readiness.

Be creative and start brainstorming with your team.

Also, consider how we make buying decisions:

  • 60% of us rely on word-of-mouth, friends, and social media;
  • 49% on customer references;
  • 47% on analyst reports and recommendations;
  • 44% on media articles

Are you a salesperson who is cold calling as if your buyer had no awareness of your product? Think again. According to a
a Baylor University study, experienced salespeople can expect to spend 7.5 hours of cold calling to get ONE qualified appointment

Tip #6 – Make a Promise

When you create a sales hook that is emotional; that promises rewards; that is motivational, you will hook your prospect. Use a message that is sweet and simple. Be whimsical. Punchy. Here are some other memorable ones:

Make your sales hook funny, flippant, irreverent. It will grab attention because it’s different.

We are all bombarded with marketing messages day and night. Some of us would like to occasionally retreat to a quiet, simpler, Thoreau-like existence where we don’t always need to buy The Next New Thing. In this way, we may prefer a contrarian approach.

Personally, that’s why I like this song by Jud Strunk about “Bill Jones’ General Store” in Stratton, Maine. There’s a sign outside the store, and the hook line goes:

“If we ain’t got it/You don’t need it.”

What a way to live.

Photograph of two businessmen chatting over a laptop

Better Sales Hooks for More Sales

Remember these tips: Use questions. Do your research. Be concise. Use emotions. Trigger curiosity. Your well-crafted sales hook can help you open doors, build relationships, garner new customers, and close sales.

Spend the time necessary to create the perfect sales hook, and you can open your next phone call with confidence, you can know that your emails will be read, and you will know that you are paving the way to sales success.

Want more tips to stay ahead of the competition? Check out our piece 11 Tested Sales Tips to Get Your Outside Sales Teams Ahead of the Competition