Want More Responses to Your Sales Emails? Stop Contacting the Wrong People

Ever gotten a sales email that addressed you too formally ("Hello Heather R. Morgan") or used your company's full name instead of the one everybody knows ("We'd love to work with International Business Machines")? What about an email that pitches a product or service that has nothing to do with your company? 

You probably hit the delete button before getting to the third sentence, because both of these emails share the same problem. They're blatant giveaways you're part of a mass mailing and that the sender did zero research about you, your company, or your industry. Because of that, the message is completely irrelevant to you (and probably lots of other people).

For sales emails to work, it's crucial to include in them the kinds of details your recipients will actually care about, whether that's how they like to see their name or which products can help their business. We call this personalization, and it's one of the most important keys to upping the number of responses to your messages. In fact, recent Hubspot data found that personalized emails increase clickthrough rates by 14 percent and conversion rates by 10 percent. Meanwhile, tailoring content to the recipient can lead to a 20 percent uptick in sales opportunities.

So to avoid landing your sales emails in someone else's trash folder, check out these four basic tactics for making your sales emails feel more personal to your readers. 

1. Use research to gather the right details about your contacts.

Remember, the recipient will have zero context as to who you are and why you're contacting them. So hitting their inbox with the same bland message you sent everyone else will not make you memorable. 

Instead, you need to prove that you know all about them, even if they have no context for you. This is done with careful research, which should happen long before you ever draft an email. 

Start by examining the company in question, so you can determine which departments are the best fit for your product or service, or which would most benefit from it. Note any recent developments in both the company and the larger industry, including what your target's top competitors are up to. For publicly traded companies, it's often helpful to review financials, as those indicate current challenges and pain points. Industry-specific publications and websites, and even the odd Google alert, can also help you discover these things.

2. Learn who makes the decisions and what will entice them.

What's the organizational structure of the prospective client's company? Do the executives hold all the power or is it less hierarchical? The decision-maker might not always be at the in-person meeting, so it's important to learn who can actually sign off on a deal and who represents them on the phone or in meetings. For instance, if the decision-making authority starts at the Vice President level, sending an entry-level Manager a sales email will likely will get you sent straight to the spam folder.

You can also reach out to more than one decision-maker. If you sell marketing-analytics software that condenses customer sales and survey data into easy-to-read reports, contact relevant people in IT, Marketing, Analytics, and Product Development. Each of these teams will have different needs and pain points, so remember to adjust the message accordingly.

3. Research your competitors to understand their appeal. 

Most of the time, research will tell you if the company you're emailing already uses a similar product or service. If they do, take time before hitting "send" to determine the problem their current partnership is solving and how you could address that issue better and/or differently. 

Understanding the competition also helps you prioritize your contacts by spending more time on the strongest leads. For example, if you find out that your target has a long-term contract with a competitor, you might still want to cultivate a relationship with them, but spend less time on research and personalization than with a company that's actively looking for a new product or service.

Never bash the competition in your sales emails. It's unprofessional and can make you quickly lose credibility. Stay focused on the problems that the prospective customer has and how you are best positioned to solve them--even when you're talking about the competition. 

4. Focus on brevity and benefits.

Only after you've thoroughly investigated all this should you start writing the actual email. 

Keep it short and simple; any decision-maker, no matter the size of the organization, is busy and unlikely to read a long sales email. A good rule of thumb is, the higher up in the company a person is, the shorter your email should be. Your product may have a long list of amazing benefits, but any given email should include only one or two of them, tops. 

Remember, you don't need to include every piece of information you discovered about your potential customer during your research. The best salespeople pick and choose wisely. Maybe you discovered a potential customer is an avid birdwatcher. That's great to mention at the start of an in-person coffee meeting, but using valuable email space to talk about that cool bird you saw in your backyard benefits no one and adds unnecessary length to your message. 

There's no one way to personalize an email. In fact, different tactics will work for different customers and at different times. Track open rates and responses to get a clear idea of what's working and what needs to improve. A/B testing is important, too. Creating targeted content involves continuous adjustments to ensure that your messages resonate with prospective clients, but it's worth the time and effort.

4 Reasons Your Customers Aren’t Buying From You (And What to Do About It)

It was my fault. It usually is. We lost the sale and at first, didn't know why.

This mega-deal was to be the one that set the company up for the future. We shouldn't have been placing so many eggs in this single basket, but we did (and learned our lesson). Even though everyone we talked with at the future client knew that we could help them, the sale didn't go through and it not closing didn't make any sense.

After a few hours of wallowing in disappointment, we were able to reconnect with our internal influencers and discuss the entire sales process. This deal, like so many others, had patterns. Patterns that show up over and over in complex B2B sales, and can be avoided if you are consciously aware.

When growinga company, and specifically insales, a majority of the variables are outside of yourcontrol. You cannot control what others do, what they decide, what your competitors will charge, and especially what internal political maneuvering will win-out this time around.

Leadership guru Stephen Covey teaches that you cannot control things outside your circle of influence, therefore it is so important to do a great job controlling the few items that are in your circle. If you do, you will be able to create the greatest amount of influence, and that will allow you to demonstrate both competence and integrity.  

Being aware of the patterns allows you to gain more control. What you can control is your attitude, your mindset, and the actions that come from your thought processes.

Here are the wrong attitudes that kill too many deals:

1. Field of dreams mentality.

Just because you build it, it doesn't mean they will come. You might have the greatest product in the world and you want to tell everyone, telling won't do you any good. You need to show them. You show them by creating impactful scenarios. Don't talk features, benefits, or value without applying everything to an almost real situation that they can connect with. Once they connect with the situation that is real to them, then the value will be obvious.

2. Phone phobia.

Of course, you need to reach out and contact your future partners the way they want to be connected with. Yet, that should never be an excuse to not pick up the phone. Do not be afraid to call anyone on the phone. The tone of voice is hard to hear in email and text. When there is a need, call them. When you want to discuss something, call them. Clarity is always gained when humans speak to each other.

Recently I was working on a sale that seemed dead after three emails went unanswered even though the deal started off well. Then I picked the phone, called my contact, and was able to schedule a follow-up call with the actual decision maker. I can't count how many times deals were stalling where no progress was being made, but once I picked up the phone the deal went through.

3. Rigid sales process.

Flexibility and adaptability will always make it easier to work with you, and that is what every client and partner wants. While having a sales process is important, following the process at the expense of serving the customer is always wrong. The customer wants to know, feel, and trust that working with you will be easy. 

To make it easy to do business with you make signing contracts simple by having industry standard language, make implementation easy by guiding them through the process step-by-step, make choosing options easy by giving them complete comparisons with benefits and costs. Just make it all as simple as possible. 

The harder you make it to do business with you, the easier it is to go with someone else. Following a sales process too rigidly makes you disagreeable. Be agreeable and win more trust, as trust is the foundation of all great vendor-partner relationships.

4. Your buyer isn't always the real buyer.

It never hurts to double and triple check who will actually be signing the check. So often sales professionals and entrepreneurs get so excited by the thought of a big name user (VP even) loving the product and service that the false assumption is made about who has the ability to give the final go-ahead.

Whenever you are working on an enterprise level B2B deal make sure to understand the entire internal decision-making process. You need to know exactly what types of approval are needed at each stage, and who makes them. While your buyer might love it, they might not be the final buyer, and that is who actually needs to be sold. You can ask for this information. Once they know you truly want to help, they will want to share everything with you anyway. Do not get blindsided by a new decision maker being added to the equation.

Sometimes mistakes can be corrected. While our deal didn't close the first time around, that can always change as long as you focus on the needs of the client. Your ability to help them becomes evident because you cared enough to show, to know them and adapt to  them. The client will see that.

When you notice you or your team believing these myths or falling into any of these patterns, do whatever you can to get out, break the habit, change your mindset.

Adjust as you go and watch your company's sales grow.

All You Need Is . . . Yes, Love, To Appeal to Customers, Colleagues, Prospects and Anyone Else

It's a great day to talk about love. With luck, you're looking forward to flowers, candy, an intimate dinner and all the makings of a romantic evening.

But before the festivities, I'd like to talk to you about a different kind of love--the love that helps you successfully communicate with all people you want to reach, from customers to team members.

Of course, "know your audience" is one of the oldest tenets of communication. The concept, of course, is that the better you understand the demographic profile, needs and preferences of the people you're trying to reach, the better you can design communication that will actually get through to them.

However, I've found that just knowing your audience doesn't go far enough. In order to break through today's noise and nonsense, you have to go well beyond knowledge:

You have to love your audience.

Like Tina Turner, you may well ask, "What's love got to do with it?" The premise is this: If you feel separate from--or worse, superior to--the people you're trying to communicate with, you'll never be effective at engaging them. You've got to sit right down at your audience's messy table, and order yourself (and them) a beer.

Your love has to be real--not manufactured or manipulative--and unconditional. You have to clearly see your audience members' faults, but love them anyway. Your love has to be unwavering, despite your audience's inattention, inconstancy and even infidelity.

Only by truly loving your audience can you communicate in a way that's truly about them, not about you. The leap to loving brings you in touch with what matters to people. Suddenly you're able to communicate in ways that profoundly connect. You're not on the other side of the chasm from your audience members: You're right there next to them, talking softly, saying what they've always wanted to hear.

All this talk about love, and we can just picture you squirming in your chair. But the "love your audience" concept is pragmatic as well as philosophical. Far too often, we see communication that's so attuned to the needs of CEOs (or someone's immediate boss) that it is unintentionally disrespectful of the intended audience.

Need a practical application of this principle? Let's talk about the words you use to communicate.

For example:

  • Jargons, acronyms, technical terms or corporate speak--all seem like a secret language that the audience doesn't understand.
  • Using communication channels, especially technology, that audience members aren't comfortable with--makes people feel dumb
  • Static, one-way communication--gives people the sense they're being "talked to" with no way to participate, interact or give feedback

By getting to know your audience, finding out what your audience really cares about and, most important, accepting audience members for who they are, you will communicate based on unconditional love.

Once you take that approach, as Lennon and McCartney wrote: "There's nothing you can do that can't be done."

Want Potential Customers To Remember You? Try One Of These 6 Unusual Sales Tactics

One of my favorite things about sales is that you don't need to go to school to learn how to stand out from your competitors. Don't get me wrong--business school has lots of uses and advantages. But some of the most memorable approaches to sales I've seen have come from people who rely on creativity, rather than degrees, to make a strong connection with prospective customers.

In fact, I often look completely outside of the sales world for inspiration, and some of the best advice I've received over the years has come from comedians, former FBI agents, cancer survivors, and plain old weirdos like me. Through conversations with these individuals, I've learned that you don't have to rely on fancy business writing or $300 dinners to make yourself memorable as a salesperson.

With that in mind, here are six unusual selling tactics to use during sales conversations, whether they're online or in-person.    

1. Help your customers, don't sell to them.

Truly great salespeople know the end goal for a sales job is not closing deals. Rather, these people understand their real mission is to help other human beings solve problems and pain points. 

Practice this by researching a potential customer's business needs before you ever try to sell anything. And once in a meeting, practice empathy, which includes listening to the other person and understanding and respecting the situation from their point of view--even if it's not going to lead to a deal right then. 

2. Quit asking why.

One of the best sales lessons I learned last year was to take the word "why" out of my sales vocabulary. "Why did you choose that platform for your sales data?" is like asking a teenager why they snuck out of the house--it reeks of accusation. Once that happens, it doesn't matter how good a negotiator you are--people will get defensive or shut down, and neither your meeting or your relationship with that would-be customer will get far.

But this past year, I started replacing "why" with "what" and "how": "What made you choose that platform""How did you learn about that software?" Not only are these questions a lot more specific, they're also much more conversational in tone, and, so far, have done wonders for relaxing people and getting them to talk honestly. 

3. Turn your sales strategy into a social strategy. 

Last year, LinkedIn released survey data with a surprising stat: 62 percent of respondents said they look for a solid online profile when deciding to talk with a salesperson. Meanwhile, 69 percent of Millennial buyers are more likely to connect with salespeople who have a professional online presence.

Those figures boil down to a simple conclusion: Your professional social-networking activity is hugely important to your job. No, you're not going to post pictures of your breakfast to your LinkedIn feed. But a detailed profile packed with your accomplishments, interests, unusual experiences, and maybe even a post or two will demystify you to a potential customer. If they like what they see, your odds of working with them go way up.

4. Devote yourself to kindness, ruthlessly.  

When I spoke to Comedy Cellar founder Bill Grundfest last year, he pointed out that most companies today--whether they're selling software or jokes--motivate by intimidation. He rejects this notion of running a business, and I'm inclined to agree with him. Rather than treating your customers and potential customers like you're doing them a favor by talking to them, show them how much you value the time spent with them. 

To that end, make your conversations all about the other person, take an interest in their life, and don't turn into a bully if they tell you they can't spend any money this quarter. By Grundfest's logic, when you strive to earn loyalty with your actions rather than their dollars, you'll gain a much more dedicated group of followers in the long term. 

5. Understand the difference between fear and terror.

Fear has its time and place in the world of business, and it can be a useful selling tool if you learn how to do it right. That means understanding the difference between sparking a sense of urgency and terrifying someone.

So, for example, if you want to get a conversation about cybersecurity started with a potential customer, don't say (or write) "Hackers will destroy your business this year." That only triggers panic, and most people freeze up during panic and can't make any decisions. Instead, apply the power of subtlety: "Hackers can unexpectedly steal your data if your security strategy is out of date." A line like that is intriguing enough to keep someone reading without sending their heart rate through the roof.

6. Be weirder.

We're often taught to be slick and sophisticated when dealing with prospective customers. But I've found that your quirks and eccentricities can be just as effective for starting sales conversations, whether over the phone or in a cold email. Maybe you're an exceptional comedian, or you have an around-the-clock obsession with fly-fishing. Can you creatively work those elements into a conversation? A little finesse is involved, of course. But if you can show potential customers your quirkier side, you're going to be a lot more memorable than the 500 other salespeople vying for that person's attention.

Want Potential Customers To Remember You? Try One Of These 6 Unusual Sales Tactics

One of my favorite things about sales is that you don't need to go to school to learn how to stand out from your competitors. Don't get me wrong--business school has lots of uses and advantages. But some of the most memorable approaches to sales I've seen have come from people who rely on creativity, rather than degrees, to make a strong connection with prospective customers.

In fact, I often look completely outside of the sales world for inspiration, and some of the best advice I've received over the years has come from comedians, former FBI agents, cancer survivors, and plain old weirdos like me. Through conversations with these individuals, I've learned that you don't have to rely on fancy business writing or $300 dinners to make yourself memorable as a salesperson.

With that in mind, here are six unusual selling tactics to use during sales conversations, whether they're online or in-person.    

1. Help your customers, don't sell to them.

Truly great salespeople know the end goal for a sales job is not closing deals. Rather, these people understand their real mission is to help other human beings solve problems and pain points. 

Practice this by researching a potential customer's business needs before you ever try to sell anything. And once in a meeting, practice empathy, which includes listening to the other person and understanding and respecting the situation from their point of view--even if it's not going to lead to a deal right then. 

2. Quit asking why.

One of the best sales lessons I learned last year was to take the word "why" out of my sales vocabulary. "Why did you choose that platform for your sales data?" is like asking a teenager why they snuck out of the house--it reeks of accusation. Once that happens, it doesn't matter how good a negotiator you are--people will get defensive or shut down, and neither your meeting or your relationship with that would-be customer will get far.

But this past year, I started replacing "why" with "what" and "how": "What made you choose that platform""How did you learn about that software?" Not only are these questions a lot more specific, they're also much more conversational in tone, and, so far, have done wonders for relaxing people and getting them to talk honestly. 

3. Turn your sales strategy into a social strategy. 

Last year, LinkedIn released survey data with a surprising stat: 62 percent of respondents said they look for a solid online profile when deciding to talk with a salesperson. Meanwhile, 69 percent of Millennial buyers are more likely to connect with salespeople who have a professional online presence.

Those figures boil down to a simple conclusion: Your professional social-networking activity is hugely important to your job. No, you're not going to post pictures of your breakfast to your LinkedIn feed. But a detailed profile packed with your accomplishments, interests, unusual experiences, and maybe even a post or two will demystify you to a potential customer. If they like what they see, your odds of working with them go way up.

4. Devote yourself to kindness, ruthlessly.  

When I spoke to Comedy Cellar founder Bill Grundfest last year, he pointed out that most companies today--whether they're selling software or jokes--motivate by intimidation. He rejects this notion of running a business, and I'm inclined to agree with him. Rather than treating your customers and potential customers like you're doing them a favor by talking to them, show them how much you value the time spent with them. 

To that end, make your conversations all about the other person, take an interest in their life, and don't turn into a bully if they tell you they can't spend any money this quarter. By Grundfest's logic, when you strive to earn loyalty with your actions rather than their dollars, you'll gain a much more dedicated group of followers in the long term. 

5. Understand the difference between fear and terror.

Fear has its time and place in the world of business, and it can be a useful selling tool if you learn how to do it right. That means understanding the difference between sparking a sense of urgency and terrifying someone.

So, for example, if you want to get a conversation about cybersecurity started with a potential customer, don't say (or write) "Hackers will destroy your business this year." That only triggers panic, and most people freeze up during panic and can't make any decisions. Instead, apply the power of subtlety: "Hackers can unexpectedly steal your data if your security strategy is out of date." A line like that is intriguing enough to keep someone reading without sending their heart rate through the roof.

6. Be weirder.

We're often taught to be slick and sophisticated when dealing with prospective customers. But I've found that your quirks and eccentricities can be just as effective for starting sales conversations, whether over the phone or in a cold email. Maybe you're an exceptional comedian, or you have an around-the-clock obsession with fly-fishing. Can you creatively work those elements into a conversation? A little finesse is involved, of course. But if you can show potential customers your quirkier side, you're going to be a lot more memorable than the 500 other salespeople vying for that person's attention.

Want Potential Customers To Remember You? Try One Of These 6 Unusual Sales Tactics

One of my favorite things about sales is that you don't need to go to school to learn how to stand out from your competitors. Don't get me wrong--business school has lots of uses and advantages. But some of the most memorable approaches to sales I've seen have come from people who rely on creativity, rather than degrees, to make a strong connection with prospective customers.

In fact, I often look completely outside of the sales world for inspiration, and some of the best advice I've received over the years has come from comedians, former FBI agents, cancer survivors, and plain old weirdos like me. Through conversations with these individuals, I've learned that you don't have to rely on fancy business writing or $300 dinners to make yourself memorable as a salesperson.

With that in mind, here are six unusual selling tactics to use during sales conversations, whether they're online or in-person.    

1. Help your customers, don't sell to them.

Truly great salespeople know the end goal for a sales job is not closing deals. Rather, these people understand their real mission is to help other human beings solve problems and pain points. 

Practice this by researching a potential customer's business needs before you ever try to sell anything. And once in a meeting, practice empathy, which includes listening to the other person and understanding and respecting the situation from their point of view--even if it's not going to lead to a deal right then. 

2. Quit asking why.

One of the best sales lessons I learned last year was to take the word "why" out of my sales vocabulary. "Why did you choose that platform for your sales data?" is like asking a teenager why they snuck out of the house--it reeks of accusation. Once that happens, it doesn't matter how good a negotiator you are--people will get defensive or shut down, and neither your meeting or your relationship with that would-be customer will get far.

But this past year, I started replacing "why" with "what" and "how": "What made you choose that platform""How did you learn about that software?" Not only are these questions a lot more specific, they're also much more conversational in tone, and, so far, have done wonders for relaxing people and getting them to talk honestly. 

3. Turn your sales strategy into a social strategy. 

Last year, LinkedIn released survey data with a surprising stat: 62 percent of respondents said they look for a solid online profile when deciding to talk with a salesperson. Meanwhile, 69 percent of Millennial buyers are more likely to connect with salespeople who have a professional online presence.

Those figures boil down to a simple conclusion: Your professional social-networking activity is hugely important to your job. No, you're not going to post pictures of your breakfast to your LinkedIn feed. But a detailed profile packed with your accomplishments, interests, unusual experiences, and maybe even a post or two will demystify you to a potential customer. If they like what they see, your odds of working with them go way up.

4. Devote yourself to kindness, ruthlessly.  

When I spoke to Comedy Cellar founder Bill Grundfest last year, he pointed out that most companies today--whether they're selling software or jokes--motivate by intimidation. He rejects this notion of running a business, and I'm inclined to agree with him. Rather than treating your customers and potential customers like you're doing them a favor by talking to them, show them how much you value the time spent with them. 

To that end, make your conversations all about the other person, take an interest in their life, and don't turn into a bully if they tell you they can't spend any money this quarter. By Grundfest's logic, when you strive to earn loyalty with your actions rather than their dollars, you'll gain a much more dedicated group of followers in the long term. 

5. Understand the difference between fear and terror.

Fear has its time and place in the world of business, and it can be a useful selling tool if you learn how to do it right. That means understanding the difference between sparking a sense of urgency and terrifying someone.

So, for example, if you want to get a conversation about cybersecurity started with a potential customer, don't say (or write) "Hackers will destroy your business this year." That only triggers panic, and most people freeze up during panic and can't make any decisions. Instead, apply the power of subtlety: "Hackers can unexpectedly steal your data if your security strategy is out of date." A line like that is intriguing enough to keep someone reading without sending their heart rate through the roof.

6. Be weirder.

We're often taught to be slick and sophisticated when dealing with prospective customers. But I've found that your quirks and eccentricities can be just as effective for starting sales conversations, whether over the phone or in a cold email. Maybe you're an exceptional comedian, or you have an around-the-clock obsession with fly-fishing. Can you creatively work those elements into a conversation? A little finesse is involved, of course. But if you can show potential customers your quirkier side, you're going to be a lot more memorable than the 500 other salespeople vying for that person's attention.

To Improve Your Storytelling Skills, Use Abraham Lincoln as Inspiration

Time magazine lists it as one of the 10 greatest speeches of all time. It is a poignant expression of the travails of a troubled nation. And it contains an opening line that most Americans can still recite years after they learned it in school.

The speech, of course, is Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. But although you know it well, what you might not realize about "four scores and seven years ago . . ." is that Lincoln's oration followed one of the most effective story structures you can use--the structure that storytelling expert Shawn Callahan calls "the clarity story."

This type of story is so valuable because for people to be engaged, they need to understand why they should take action. "The clarity story provides reasons in the most powerful and digestible format possible," writes Callahan in Putting Stories to Work.

Here's how Lincoln used the clarity story structure to build his famous speech:

Part 1 begins with a look back at the past to take the listener back to the way things used to be.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Part 2 shifts to something that happened: the events that caused a problem or opportunity.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. 

Part 3 is what Callahan calls "so now . . ." which describes the decision or action needed to respond.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.

Part 4 looks ahead to the future to envision a desired outcome.

It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

That's fine for Abraham Lincoln, but you may wonder: How can you use the clarity story for your own communication?

Callahan gives an example of a bank that adopted a new strategy of calling its branches "stores" as a way of emphasizing customer service. When a new CEO took over several years later, she decided to go back to using the old language of calling them "branches." Employees were confused about why the change was occurring when the bank had made such an investment in the move to "stores."

So the bank's leaders used the clarity story to communicate with employees:

(Part 1) In the past . . .  the bank wasn't delivering great customer service, so we made a number of changes, including referring to our branches as stores.

(Part 2) Then something happened . . . we began to hear from customers that they weren't comfortable with the language change; "stores" didn't seem serious enough.

(Part 3) So now . . .  we're changing back to referring to our branches as branches. We know the change will cost money, but we need to make sure we put our customers first.

(Part 4) In the future . . . we will continue to make changes that will increase customer satisfaction.

The structure works so well, writes Callahan, because it creates a series of events that cause people to want to know what happens next. "You need to spark people's interest by starting with the context, then hold their attention because something happens that causes a change, then end with an outcome."

Lincoln relied on this technique in his iconic speech--and you can, too.