LinkedIn – Harness the Power – Reap the Rewards

LinkedIn is great for Business, or I should say SMART Business & SMART Networking

I am NOT a LinkedIn expert, but I do know how to make it work for me. Do you?

We are both equal in exposure and linking possibilities yet 96.5% of my LinkedIn connections are the result of people wanting to connect with me.

I do not accept everyone. But I do click on everyone’s profile before connection. Many are impressive. Most are average or less. Some are down right bad.emptyshop

How’s yours? A good friend of mine, James Potter better know as the @thelinkedinman has a short quiz you can take in two minutes, I suggest you do. Here is the link.
How many connections do you have? How are you communicating with your connections? How are your connections helping your sales or your career?

Your LinkedIn profile is just one, but perhaps the most important, social presence you have. You control exactly what it is. When others search for you on Google, LinkedIn is one of the first links they click on. You have a one time chance to make a positive impact, both personally and for business.

The Good: When I realised the business significance of LinkedIn, I immediately sought professional help to help me with the keywords, layout, and what to include on my profile page. So should you.

It must be working. In the three years since, my network has grown substantially, people wanting to connect with me, be part of my network, be my customer. Huge opportunity. At an acquisition cost of ZERO.

The Reality: I receive requests to link and I also get messages. Some are very nice, some are self-serving, some are insincere, and some are stupid (very stupid). And ALL messages are a reflection of the person sending them. That would be you.

Here are some THINGS about LinkedIn to make you think, re-think, and act:

• Your picture is NOT an option. Show a professional, but approachable, image. Be proud of who you are.
• Have a LinkedIn profile that gives me insight, not just history. Not just what you’ve done, but also who you are. Your profile is your pathway to connection.
DANGER: DO NOT USE stock LinkedIn messages. It shows your laziness, lack of creativity, and overall lack of professionalism. Standard LinkedIn messages need to be replaced with your own. EVERY TIME.
• Tell me WHY I should connect. (Where’s the value? Its reciprocal you know)
• If you’re looking for leads, use the keyword feature (rather than the job title option) in the “advanced search” link to the right of the search box. It’s free, and you’ll find hundreds of people in your industry or in your backyard that you never knew existed.
• If you’re asking me (or people) to join your group, TELL ME WHY I SHOULD.
• Allocate 30-60 minutes a day to utilize this vital business social media asset.

LinkedIn is the business social media site of today AND tomorrow. Harness its power, do not abuse its options, and you will reap its rewards.

By the way, If you’re hoping for an endorsement or a recommendation on LinkedIn, or anywhere – EARN IT!

Do you have examples of good or bad messages, drop some examples below (delete names for courtesy!)

Every single person in every single company is either in sales or affects sales.

REALITY: Every single person in every single company is either in sales or affects sales. Every single person in every single company is either in service or affects service.

There’s an old business adage that goes: “Everyone is in sales.” The reality is that only salespeople believe this. Even customer service people that touch customers daily and spend hours with them in what might be considered a gateway to the next sale don’t think of themselves as in sales, or don’t think of themselves as salespeople.

KEY POINT OF UNDERSTANDING: Your customers are judging every aspect of every transaction and rating everything from friendliness of people, to ease of doing business, to quality of product, to service after the sale. They’re judging how easy it is to access someone on the phone. They’re judging how the package arrived. They’re judging what the instruction book is like. And they’re certainly judging service should they need it.

The dilemma is that leadership fails to communicate and teach the importance of customer’s interactions and perceptions as they relate to the success of the company. The reason everyone in the company doesn’t perceive or realize that they’re in sales is that no one has told them and no one has taught them. is-everyone-ready-for-fun

Here are a few “teach tips” to get your team to the next level…

• Teach EVERYONE that attitude is the foundation of success, both personal and business – Tweet This

• Teach EVERYONE the importance of friendliness – Tweet This

• Teach EVERYONE that speed of response is not an option – Tweet This

• Teach EVERYONE how to respond to customer complaints – Tweet This

• Teach EVERYONE that service is as important as sales. – Tweet This

• Teach EVERYONE to ask for more business – Tweet This

• Teach EVERYONE to suggest more – Tweet This

• Teach EVERYONE to thank the customer for their business – Tweet This

The key word is “teach” because these are courses that no one ever learned in school. Yet they are vital to your success – especially in these times.

These elements may seem fundamental – almost rudimentary – to anyone’s job function. But more business is lost to apathy, rudeness, slow response, poor attitude, and lack of friendliness than is lost to low price – times a thousand.

CHALLENGE: If you tell your people everyone is in sales, why don’t you follow through and help them sell?

THOUGHT: If everyone in the company is in sales, why are only salespeople invited to sales meetings? – Tweet This

REALITY: You are overlooking HUGE sales opportunities at a time when sales are harder to come by, and every sale counts.

via Jeffrey Gitomer’s Sales Blog –. I loved this post and just had to share it with you.  I even tried to tell my wife, who is a community carer that she was in sales. She vehemently disagreed. I explained she was the face of the company and her cheerful attitude and willingness to help, results in a great customer experience and increased loyalty.

What role are you in and do you perceive your self as a sales person?

Category: Sales | 1 Comment »

Social Media Marketing Is NOT the Same As Social Selling

Here’s my view…

I see social selling as the ability to integrate social technology into the front end of your sales process. Salespeople are always looking for ways to get in front of opportunities before their competitor can and using tools like LinkedIn, Twitter, and other platforms can give them the opportunity that they need to make that happen.

And…

It requires learning new skills. Not only do salespeople need training on how to use the platforms, but also they need to understand how the various platforms fit, and they also need to know how to adapt their communication approach and behaviour when engaging a prospect.

This is about selling. Not marketing.

I’m all for marketing and sales alignment. In fact, I happen to believe that with social media in the mix, we need that alignment more than ever. But come on…marketers taking the stage to discuss social selling? I worry that this is an example of using new terminology, but simply using it to mask old processes. As I have written before…social media marketing is NOT the same as social selling.

via Social Media Marketing Is NOT the Same As Social Selling | Social Selling University.

Social Selling – The Evolution of Sales

What is social selling?

Social Selling is use of social media platforms to listen, relate, engage and identify opportunities for engagement at the right time.

A social seller is someone who demonstrates the ability to blend digital technology, innovative web and social media to increase reach, depth, leads and expedite the sales cycle.

Why is Social Selling important?
The average company can access twenty times more information about you and your competition than they could five years ago. Sales people today are at a huge disadvantage, if the statistics are right, customers are not interested in picking up the phone until after they have scoped solutions. How can the salesperson reach them early and then keep their attention.

Isn’t this Social Marketing?
Social Media Marketing is the use of social networks to create awareness and broadcast a brand message. Social Selling leverages  social networks to build relationships. A marketing team will handle a brand account versus a salesperson will handle a personal individual account to create engagement.

Social Selling vs Traditional Selling
The good news is that Social Selling is not a break from traditional selling practices. In fact the use of ABC (Always Be Closing) is now ABC (Always Be Connecting). Social Sellers do not and should not abandon email, phone or face to face methods. In fact a deliberate use of social media will make these traditional methods far more productive. The customer becomes a warm contact, so if anything Social Selling will eliminate the wasteful parts of a sales process such as cold calling.

I said earlier that the sales people of today are at a disadvantage, so let me quickly mention the Social Buyer.
The huge amount of online data gives the seller an opportunity to create value for the buyers. Buyers may well be incredibly informed but they are desperate to shorten their purchasing cycles. The more data they have to process and the more stake holders they must consult, the longer it takes for them to make a buying decision.
If salespeople could deliver insights to buyers at the right times, they could bring purchasing times down and then everybody is happy.

The Evolution of a Salesperson
We as a species are social creatures, we always have been and that will not change. Social media has exploded into this era because of technology, the fastest adoption of technology in human history in fact. Your customers being on a social platform is just the tip of the iceberg. Smart devices are allowing us to be social 24/7. As younger generations step up the career ladder and become your customer are you ready to communicate directly into their pockets. Social Selling is an evolutionary step forward.

I will leave you with this last question:

Will the traditional 9-5 sales role be replaced with a 24/7 seller? I look forward to the conversation.

How to build a social business [Infographic]

Social business adoption is expected to increase to 57% by the year 2017. Companies will need to better incorporate social business processes into how they communicate, engage and interact with employees if they want to innovate more, grow more and be more successful overall.

How to build a Social Business

If you noticed, the ten steps listed above include many references to people and process, further emphasizing the significance of the employee experience. Your social business strategy will be only as good as how well engaged and connected your employees feel to the company.

 

Unleashing the Power of Social Media on B2B Sales Enablement [Video]

This is a great video from The Aberdeen Group focusing on Social Selling, if you want to become a best in class company, I strongly recommend spending twelve minutes listening to this video.

Social Selling:

  • Enables collaboration, listening and contribution
  • Helps sales identify prospects
  • Facilitates relationship development
  • Allows demonstration of industry sector knowledge
  • Close more deals effectively

8 Social Selling Do’s and Don’ts For Your Sales Team

Guest Post by Julio Viskovich

Social selling involves using social media to stay relevant with your buyer, to listen for buying trigger events and to target the right message, at the right time, to the right person. For a more robust definition of social selling check out the post What is Social Selling and How Will it Increase Sales? Once teams and individuals understand the concept of social selling, and understand the benefits, the next step is to master the best practices. Let’s have a look at the Dos and Don’ts of social selling which will help to move your team from social selling laggards to leaders.

Thanks Anthony Iannarino and Eloqua for the above graphic.

DO…

…Be a Trusted Advisor. In today’s modern era, helping is selling. Try to add value and build trust within your buying community. They’ll turn to you when the time is right.

…Do Research. When I take sales calls and the person on the other end hasn’t done their research, I start looking at my watch. You have the data. Use it. With a combination of social monitoring and intelligence, find out what interests buyers before engaging.

…Be Authentic. Don’t be fake or sneaky. Social media has no governing body. Instead the users rule social and they’ll do everything to create a “safe” place to engage. Authenticity is a big deal in social. Violators of this rule are unwelcome.

…Nurture Prospects and Clients. Social allows you to stay in the hearts and minds of your buying community without having to do the dreaded “check in” call or send a thousand emails. Buyers will follow people that add value.

DON’T… 

…Talk About Yourself All the Time. Bragging on yourself or your company all the time is a turn off. Talk about, and share, other’s content – not just yours.

…Over Push Product. You can’t be a trusted advisor if you can’t hold a conversation without pitching. Social communities don’t want people pitching their products unless asked to. Being pitchy is unwelcome.

…Bombard Leads. You want to be where your leads are, but don’t immediately message them on every platform begging to give a demo or to visit your site. Build a relationship first.

…Be Nasty. Social media is not the place to bad mouth competitors. It’s not about ragging on the competition, but sharing how you can help followers succeed. Stay classy.


For more Do and Don’ts, visit Eloqua’s Grande Guide to Social Selling or follow my Twitter list of sales thought leaders that make up my personal learning network.

What other tips would you add? Drop by and say hello below.

Why B2B Businesses Should Leverage the Potential of Social Media in 2013

There is nothing better than facts and figures to get an idea about the immense potential of social media and how B2B marketers are tapping into its potential. This B2B social media infographic from Real Business Rescue lays out the case as to why B2B companies should be leveraging the opportunities that social media and social networking offer.

Are you using social media in your sales strategy? What works for you? Which platform yields the best results?

Ben Martin

IT Purchasing Goes Social plus Infographic

The New Buying Process
Information gives modern B2B buyers an enormous advantage over their counterparts in sales. In late 2010, international agency OgilvyOne Worldwide interviewed 1,000 salespeople in the U.S., U.K., China and Brazil. More than two-thirds of respondents in all four countries believed the buying process is changing faster than sales organizations are responding.
Purchasing has gone through a major revolution in the past two decades to emerge as a vibrant strategic force in business. Social media, has only accelerated the revolution. The biggest question now is how and when people on the sales side will react.
The average company today can access 20 times as much information about you and your competitors as they could access five years ago.
So you are no longer dealing with a customer where ignorance is a factor. Sophistication is the nature of customers today, and you need a sophisticated salesperson to be able to handle that.
Buyers receive an average of 6 phone calls and 14 emails per day from vendors. Since they’re inundated with data and sales pitches, it’s not surprising that they rarely return calls. Now that these informed buyers can thoroughly research their own options, a call from a new sales representative can be more of a nuisance than a service.

If salespeople could deliver insights to buyers at the right times, they could bring purchasing times down and make everybody happy. But if the statistics show that customers aren’t interested in picking up the phone until after they’ve scoped solutions, how can salespeople reach them early and then keep their attention?

The answer is social selling.
• Sellers can use social media to relate to customers and identify opportunities for engagement at the right time: while they’re still conceptualizing their needs.
• Social media is asynchronous and noninterruptive, which makes it perfect for reaching buyers who are still kicking tires.
• Social networks help salespeople establish authenticity and credibility online, so customers consult with them instead of deleting their voicemails.
• Continuous participation within relevant social groups allows salespeople to stay visible and valuable throughout their customers’  winding,non-linear buying journeys.

 

Connect with me on Twitter : Ben Martin