If a prospect connects with your content which leads to a conversation and then an appointment, can that be considered an inbound lead?
You’re likely among those sellers who understand that your LinkedIn profile is your personal profile. You cherish it and treat it with respect. You post thoughtful content and share impactful videos and write articles and long-form blogs. You’re creating content that your audience can engage with.
If those prospects end up in your direct message as a result and that leads to a conversation, that’s an inbound lead. Though it might not qualify as inbound in the traditional sense, you’re engaging in the same activities. No matter who creates the content, it’s an inbound lead. You could even give it a unique KPI name like “social media lead” or SML.
If I connect with 15 or 20 business owners today and 10 of them reconnect with me, the result is 10 new social media leads. I can nurture them by creating videos, posts, or articles and tying the content to my new prospects.
Ideally, those people will engage in a conversation.
I recently connected with a woman on LinkedIn who later posted a good piece of content. She mentioned me and others she had recently connected with using a “shout out.” Turns out all the people she mentioned continued to engage with her on LinkedIn.
I’ll watch her content now since I had a positive interaction, and I might eventually decide to engage with her company. She’s nurturing us as prospects.
Then, once you do, be intentional about connecting with those who interact with your content. Work to connect with your second- and third-degree connections.
Try this simple paragraph:
Thanks so much for commenting on my post today, James. Permission to connect here on LinkedIn?
Usually, when you connect immediately, they’ll appreciate your outreach. You can start a conversation that may lead to further interactions. Now you’re getting more contacts off your ideal customer or prospect.
Imagine you have a targeted list of prospects that you’re trying to reach. You’re making phone calls to named accounts and you’re connecting on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.
If you separate your prospects into different categories, you can optimize them.
I recently connected with someone on LinkedIn who became a social media contact and then a social media lead. When the prospect asked about sales training for a team, it led to an initial appointment.
That connection would haven’t happened without engaging content on social media and our interactions there.
If you’re a sales rep looking to hone your craft and learn from the top 1% of sellers, make plans to attend the Sales Success Summit in Austin, Tx, October 14-15. Scheduled on a Monday and Tuesday to limit the impact to the sales week, the Sales Success Summit connects sellers with top-level performers who have appeared on the podcast. Visit Top1Summit.com to learn more and register!
You can also connect with me at firstname.lastname@example.org or try our first module of TSE Certified Sales Training Program for free. This episode has been made possible with the help of TSE Certified Sales Training Program, a training course designed to help sellers in improving their performance. We want you guys to go out each and every single day to find more ideal customers and do big things.
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The sales landscape is always changing but by gathering insights from other sellers we can determine how to handle major challenges when selling.
Brandon Bruce is co-founder of Cirrus Insight and he’s going to address how to we can get out of our own zone, where we focus exclusively on ourselves and our companies and seek opportunities to interact with other people.
Today’s episode is a reboot of episode 736, with great information about long-term strategy, providing value, and email outreach.
The world of sales is constantly evolving. One of the challenges Brandon sees with sales right now is an unspoken push that exists. Because there are a bunch of companies at the growth stage, and a bunch of companies just starting out, there’s a tremendous amount of energy in the sales industry.
There’s a premium on hitting numbers. Everyone is hustling and trying to find a way to build a better mousetrap. On the negative side, sellers might be hyperfocused on closing deals so that they forget to prioritize the personal connection. Because connections take time, and sales reps get antsy, we sometimes try to speed things along.
We don’t want to close a deal next month; we want to close it this month.
Brandon believes there’s a happy medium to be found. We must work to focus on building sustainable relationships even while we focus on making our numbers.
Companies that focus too narrowly on numbers will likely struggle to achieve long-term customer success. The customers won’t stay as long because the deals were one-time kinds of relationships. It’s easier for customers to walk away when the customer doesn’t know us well.
Brandon remembers buying a countertop, a one-time purchase, from a company that worked to develop a relationship with him. They were struggling to find exactly what he wanted until they discovered an unused countertop in a storage area. It was exactly what he needed, and it was something a previous customer decided against using. And the company sold it to him for 50 percent off.
He calls it a great selling experience because they listened to his needs and they thought about how they could best help him. And even when they had a chance to make more money off the deal, they sold it to him at a great price.
Even though he won’t be in the market for a countertop anytime soon, they created an evangelist in him. If anyone should ask where to buy a countertop, he’ll absolutely recommend that company.
They closed a deal, they moved product, and they build a sustainable relationship.
We should probably remind ourselves to focus on doing the right thing, and sometimes allowing ourselves to take the easy option. We’re tempted to feel like we should push a little harder, but sometimes we can take the easy deal that leaves the customer feeling satisfied.
Your customer will become an evangelist for your company. You might have missed a chance to get a little more from them, but because you gave them more, you’ll have the opportunity to earn more from them.
Building customer relationships benefits your long-run philosophy.
I joined an organization that gave its sellers to the book, Raving Fans, as part of its onboarding process. It helped us understand the value of customers who bought our solution and then stayed with us to upgrade and buy more later.
It’s valuable to have a customer who likes your product and who will promote you on social media and leave you reviews. A raving fan might take you to their next three jobs, or mention you on their podcast.
It has less to do with building a predictable sales machine and more to do with building a fan base who is passionate and who might do unpredictable things.
It’s getting harder and harder to reach prospects, and sellers use a variety of tactics to do it.
E-commerce has gotten huge, and statistics show that buyers have done a tremendous amount of research before they engage in the sales process. Despite that, there’s still room for a lot of outreach and prospecting. But how can we bridge that gap if we have buyers who are already doing a lot of the work themselves?
Begin by making it really easy for your customers to have a conversation. Brandon’s company puts its calendars on the website so that customers who want to schedule time with them can immediately see what is available. Once they schedule a time, it will automatically appear on the company’s calendar. It’s buyer-driven versus seller-driven.
Prospects come to them more often now asking for a demo. Meeting them part-way helps to bridge that gap.
Another option they use is the ability to place bulky slides in a web portal and then provide a link to it instead of putting the slide in an email. It’s useful because they can click on it and view it online. They don’t have to worry about malware or about a bulky attachment loading too slowly.
They also get real-time analytics about their slide deck: they know which slide people are most interested in, and where they abandon the slides. The team can then offer to follow up with a demo.
Brandon calls the process meeting halfway, which he said is how the best sales always happen. It’s a buyer saying, “I’m ready to buy,” and a seller saying, “We’re pretty interested in selling to you.” It creates a partnership where everyone brings something to the table.
Persuade by sharing insights. Many people have a distaste for sales because they perceive it as a seller trying to trick a buyer in buying something he doesn’t need. But that’s not selling. That’s trickery.
Sales is an art and not a science. It can’t be reduced to an algorithm, at least not yet, because it involves nuanced decisions as part of the relationship. In his own case, the company was looking to make a purchase, but the VP of marketing was skittish because the company wasn’t pushing for the sale at all. It left her with the sense that they don’t really want their business.
The art results from trying to find the right amount of positive pressure to get the deal closed. It’s figuring out what your buyer needs and wants to hear, telling them, and moving the conversation forward.
Email outreach is difficult and it has gotten harder over the lifetime of Brandon’s company. As with any trend in technology, as more and more people come on board with automation, there’s simply more volume. Those on the receiving end are overwhelmed by it, and it’s hard to overcome the spam filters. It’s difficult to break through.
Short emails work the best; perhaps two or three lines long with single sentence paragraphs. It must be super easy to read at a glance because people don’t tend to read deep content.
Clearly state what you do and provide a link or two. Make it very easy for the user to click and say, “I want to learn more.” They’re much simpler than the newsletter-type emails that are rich in image and video. Google and other filters often knock those out. It’s a simple, text-based email with an intriguing subject.
Recognize that vanity metrics might get you a 100-percent open rate, but they don’t drive conversations, and conversations drive sales.
Consider asking other people in your industry for feedback. Brandon likes to send ideas to other tech founders and ask if his ideas seem insane or totally off-base. Because it’s a very giving community, people often write back to offer thoughts and ideas.
Sales will always be a hustle. It won’t ever be easy. It’s a nice idea to think that you can create some kind of machine that will keep the money rolling in, but it isn’t realistic. We must keep putting our heads down, hustling, and meeting the customers halfway. Make deals that are easy to say yes to and that leave your customers feeling confident about the decision.
Let your audience know that doing business with you is easy.
Connect with me at email@example.com.
This episode is brought to you by the TSE Certified Sales Training Program. I developed this training course because I struggled early on as a seller. Once I had the chance to go through my own training, I noticed a hockey-stick improvement in my performance.
TSE Certified Sales Training Program can help you out of your slump. If you gave a lot of great presentations and did a lot of hard work, only to watch your prospects choose to work with your competitors, we can help you fix that.
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Mailtag.io allows you to see around the corners. You can see when people open your email, or when they click on the link you sent. Mailtag.io will give you half-off your subscription for life when you use the Promo Code: Donald at check out.
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On today’s episode of The Sales Evangelist, we talk about the importance of trust and the relationships and connections the result when we build it.
Once we realize the importance of connections, we get busy connecting with everybody. We connect with everyone in our industry and everyone in our Gmail.
And though we’re connected to a lot of people, we don’t regularly communicate with most of them. They’re simply connections.
But connections don’t necessarily translate into business.
In fact, we all have people in our lives who are important to us, but who we wouldn’t recommend to a trusted partner. We don’t want to recommend them because it will be on us when it goes bad.
Instead of working to get a huge number of LinkedIn connections, focus on building genuine connections with people you actually communicate with.
Call them. Email them. Share an article you think is relevant to them. Congratulate them on important events. Text them. Focus on personal touches.
Simply being connected on LinkedIn won’t generate revenue for your company, and your connections on LinkedIn won’t automatically turn into trusted allies.
You must build trust and become a trusted advisor.
We frequently talk about the fact that people like to do business with other people.
How can you create a personal touch?
Set time on your personal calendar to connect with people on LinkedIn. Respond to your new requests or send personal messages. Go alphabetically each day if it helps you break it into smaller pieces.
Instead of reaching out to people purely to sell them something, you’ll be building value. There’s a difference between connections and spam.
Share educational information like microblogs or other content you’ve created. When people see that you’re active and generating valuable content, they’ll begin to trust what you have to say.
Find out what’s important to the people you’re connected with. Keep their information in the back of your head and watch out for new connections who might be a good fit for your existing connections.
If you know of a company that is hiring and you know of a good prospect, ask if you can make an introduction.
Focus on the simple things that will help your prospect be successful.
This episode is brought to you in part by prospect.io, a powerful sales automation platform that allows you to build highly personalized, cold email campaigns. To learn more, go to prospect.io/tse. It will help you with your outbound to expand your outreach and it allows you to set it and forget it. Your prospecting will never ever be the same.
We’ll use prospect.io in the upcoming semester of TSE Hustler’s League to focus on prospecting. We’ll give you insights and tools that will help you gain new customers. In addition, we’ll provide training and strategies that you can implement today to ensure constant flow in your pipeline.
Check out our new semester of The Sales Evangelist Hustler’s League. We’re taking applications for the semester beginning in January, and we can only take a limited number of people.
This episode is also brought to you in part by Maximizer CRM, personalized CRM that gives you the confidence to improve your business and increase profits. To get a demonstration of maximizer, go to the sales evangelists.com/maximizer.
Click on the link to get a free demo of what Maximizer CRM can do for you. It integrates your marketing campaign as well as your CRM, and it works whether you’re a small organization or a large one.
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Depending on how you’re using it and what you’re trying to accomplish, Twitter is alive and well. In fact, Jared Easley, known as a “noticer,” believes Twitter is full of people who are starving for true connection, and he believes you can use it to grab prospects’ attention.
Today on The Sales Evangelist, we’ll discuss techniques for using Twitter to build connections and create an army for yourself.
If you reach out to someone and express interest in what they’re doing, it will almost always be received well. When you’re willing to have a dialogue, people respond.
On the other hand, think about your own reaction when someone tries to cram something down your throat.
Connections that only involve an attempt to sell or self-promote will almost always be ignored.
The issue isn’t automation, because automation can be done well. The issue is a stack of posts queued in your account that only promote a sales opportunity or a link to sign up for something.
The good news is that Twitter has become proactive in its efforts to clean up some of the mass automation and is policing that kind of behavior. Furthermore, those kinds of interactions won’t benefit you on Twitter.
What will benefit you on Twitter is a genuine connection; a willingness to concern yourself more with the other person than with yourself.
Some people mistakenly believe that one-to-one contact doesn’t work on Twitter. We tend to get so caught up in numbers that we miss the chance to start small and measure whether our message will resonate with just a few people.
The truth is that those who genuinely connect with other people will find that their message compounds, and ultimately they reach more people because they were willing to invest in one-to-one connections.
Jared recently put Twitter to use during a trip to Las Vegas. He started with a keyword search and narrowed those results down to the people in Las Vegas. Then, through a campaign of @ mentions, rather than direct messages, he reached out to podcasters in the area and invited them to a free meet up.
The outreach worked because he wasn’t asking them to buy anything or come see what he was doing. He simply invited them to meet other podcasters. As a by-product, Jared had the opportunity to interview a few of them for his own podcast.
Although there’s no guarantee that any of those relationships will ever result in a sale, you will have created rapport. You used one-to-one messaging in a way that wasn’t spammy.
As a result of the positive experience you created, the prospect will be more likely to think of you in a positive way.
You can also use Twitter to find targeted lists of people.
The Google Chrome extension TWLETS allows you to find a public Twitter list, download it as a CSV file or spreadsheet, and then use that data to connect with people.
You can ask relevant questions of the people on the list, such as “What inspired you to begin podcasting?” or “What microphone do you recommend for podcasters who are just starting out?” Rather than bulk messaging, you can come up with a short list of questions that you spread out among the people on the list.
If you’re operating alone, you’ll likely be ignored. The people who don’t get ignored are the ones who create an army of supporters by building genuine connections.
Once you have demonstrated your interest in what your prospects are doing, reciprocity will kick in and they’ll develop an interest in what you’re doing.
We challenge you to adopt one principle and apply it today. Look for opportunities to notice your prospects. Watch and “notice” them in order to figure it out.
Connect with Jared at podcastmovement.com or on Twitter @jaredeasley. Pick up a copy of Jared’s book, Podcasting Good to Great: How to Grow Your Audience Through Collaboration.
Our friends at Wiley have provided a free excerpt of the book Stop Selling & Start Leading. Based upon research and interviews with buyers, the book provides a blueprint sales professionals. Read an excerpt of the book here.
Once you’ve applied the concepts you heard here today, message me or email me and let me know what your results were.
Check out the Video Jungle podcast, your source for marketing and selling your brand using video. Plan, create and share your way to better content and strategy.
The podcast is part of our newly-launched Sales Podcast Network, designed to provide specialized sales content for sellers of all levels and all industries. To learn more, email us at SPN for more information.
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Most of the networking advice we hear is doomed to fail because it’s a story of one person in one situation. When we try to put their ideas into practice, it feels inauthentic.
Instead of copying someone else, we need to redefine what it means to network on our way to discovering what “networking done right” looks like. On today’s episode of The Sales Evangelist, David Burkus helps us change our mindset about what networking is so we can better take advantage of our existing networks.
We spend so much time trying to figure out how to connect with a stranger in a span of 7 seconds that we neglect the network we’re already in.
The biggest mindset shift is this: you don’t have a network, you exist inside a network.
If we redefine our thinking about networks, we can invest our time in learning how to navigate the network we’re already in instead of trying to figure out how to bring strangers into it.
David defines a network as a three-dimensional entity that you’re the center of. It includes your close connections as well as your weak or dormant connections.
Your goal should be to pay attention to the fringes of your network: those people who are one introduction away from being closer to the center of your network.
He calls it transitivity, and it’s an awareness that A knows B, and B knows C, so perhaps A and C can be connected.
There is ample research to suggest that unstructured networking events such as Chamber of Commerce and other gatherings aren’t beneficial.
Realistically, most of us might try to make a few connections, but we spend the bulk of our time with people we already know who are similar to us. Instead, we should look at the totality of the network we’re already in.
Most people should begin by identifying their weak and dormant ties. Weak ties are those that you don’t know well. Dormant ties are people you know who were once stronger connections but who fell by the wayside. None of them are strong connections.
Begin by asking them who they know in the sector that is relevant to you. It’s less assertive than asking them who might be interested in your product, and you’ll get a larger list because it’s less specific.
If you ask a variety of people and the same few names keep cropping up, those are your referrals. There’s a strong likelihood you’ll click.
Begin with an accurate map of your entire network, and include everyone.
We tend to put people in buckets based upon our connection to them: those we work with and those we know socially for starters. Realistically, though, many of our connections have more than one tie.
If, for example, you work with a person, that’s a uniplex tie. If you work together, have kids in the same school, and work out at the same gym, that’s multiplicity. You have multiple connections.
As you’re identifying your connections, then, don’t ignore someone just because your only shared interest is college football. As you’re building a map of your entire network, you never know who is in his network.
People tend to gather in clusters around similarities like industry, work history, or ideology.
Historically, the greatest value in our network exists when we can connect two of those clusters.
If you can reach out to another cluster and bridge the gap between two groups, you can create value.
Make it a habit to reach out to your weak and dormant ties. Pay attention to people you aren’t as close to.
Don’t trust your networking to fate. Most of us already have a route to meet everyone we want to meet within our existing networks.
Check out David’s book, Friend of a Friend: Understanding the Hidden Networks That Can Transform Your Life and Your Career.
Learn more about growing your network, becoming a better leader, and developing creativity at his website, www.davidburkus.com.
Check out the Video Jungle Podcast to hear best practices for video and film production and to learn the art of selling your product with video. The podcast is part of our newly-launched Sales Podcast Network, designed to provide specialized sales content for sellers of all levels and all industries.
Email us at SPN for more information.
Pick up your copy of Stop Selling & Start Leading: How to Make Extraordinary Sales Happen from our sponsors at Wiley.
Check out a free excerpt of the book, Stop Selling & Start Leading: How to Make Extraordinary Sales Happen, and discover why some of the things you’ve been taught to do in sales may be the very things your prospect hates.
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Often, though, as sales professionals, we skip the connection step and go straight for the sale.
On today’s episode of The Sales Evangelist Hustler’s League, we discuss ways we can connect with prospects so they begin to see us as someone who is like them.
Whether we’re beginning with cold outreach or warm leads, we must address unconsidered needs: something the prospect hadn’t thought of before.
If I can share something the prospect doesn’t already know, he’ll consider that valuable, and it will build connection.
A member of a political party may overlook their dislike for the party candidate because he believes strongly in the party’s message.
Sellers who craft a message prospects can believe in will more readily convert them to customers.
We communicate 7 percent of our message through words. The other 93 percent is through vocal tones, volume, and body language.
Without personality, our message won’t translate.
A salesperson called me on behalf of a company that I’m providing coaching for, and she read a script to me. It was monotone and uninteresting, and if I hadn’t known the company, I would have hung up.
Words weren’t enough. I couldn’t relate to her.
Match the pace of your speech to the person you’re speaking to. If he’s from Texas, slow down a bit. From New York? Pick up the pace. If he talks quietly, you do the same.
If the prospect is sitting with crossed arms, use mirroring to try to persuade him to open up his posture. Change your own posture to something open and your prospect may do the same.
We share these messages with you because we want you to build value, be happy, and close more deals.
Most importantly, we want you to go out every day and do big things.
Our group coaching program, The Sales Evangelist Hustler’s League, offers sellers of all experience levels and all industries a chance to learn from one another, share experiences, and benefit from weekly online coaching sessions.
Our next session begins April 26, and it will focus on building value in an effort to close more deals. To see if you qualify, visit The Sales Evangelist Hustler’s League.
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