If you’re not already harnessing LinkedIn to develop a consistent stream of quality leads, you’re missing out on more referrals, possible testimonies, and a powerful prospecting tool.
Mike Jones owns and operates a local Sandler Training franchise where he works with sales leaders and salespeople in those cultures to develop nontraditional ways of prospecting and selling. He has the privilege of seeing best practices and working intimately with sales culture. He loves the experience of moving between industries and geographies to see what the consistent themes of success are.
Sellers must take advantage of LinkedIn, but many people use it wrong.
They often don’t understand LinkedIn’s power to get to the right person. It’s difficult to connect with the right person, but LinkedIn gives people the ability to determine who they need to be talking to.
There is power in connections. If you aren’t using it to find the right people in the organizations you’re connecting with, you aren’t using it to its full capabilities.
There are two kinds of prospecting.
- Active prospecting, which includes developing daily behavioral metrics about how many conversations you want to have, how many appointments you want to have, and how many existing clients you should be reaching out to. Activity always precedes outcome. If I can dial in my activity and monitor it and compare it to a monthly revenue goal, that allows me to make strategic behavioral changes. Whatever outcome you’re seeking, you have a system perfectly designed to give you that outcome. If you want a better outcome, analyze what you’re doing from a behavioral standpoint in order to achieve that outcome. It’s a form of prospecting that provides real-time decisions, and it gets immediate results.
- Passive prospecting doesn’t provide immediate results. If, for example, you work 250 days a year and your prospecting system requires you to send out 10 emails, either directly to a prospect or a contact in LinkedIn, asking for an introduction. Over a year, that’s 2,500 prospecting attempts every year. In today’s business culture, it works and you’re missing an opportunity if you aren’t seizing it.
Thinking about now
Sometimes, as sellers, we get so focused on the now that we forget to focus on the future. In the early days of my sales career, I was guilty of it, too. Every phone call you make doesn’t have to result in an immediate close.
We may even make the mistake of prospecting to convince people, and that creates a lot of pressure. Instead, identify what kind of prospect is in front of you.
There are four distinct mindsets that prospects have.
- They have a need they know about.
- They’re comfortable and they aren’t making any changes.
- They are willing to make changes in order to have a better return on investment.
- They’re arrogant.
We can only help number one and number three. Numbers two and four will communicate with a salesperson differently. Instead of trying to convince, try to determine which of the four you’re dealing with. It will help you understand whether they’re open-minded about it.
Don’t give up too early. When a salesperson reaches out to a prospect, they’re trying to change the prospect’s mindset and alter what they believe.
Be consistently persistent. Develop a cadence that falls somewhere between “I’m bugging someone” and “I’m ineffective.” Prospecting takes time and sellers must stop looking at their monthly revenue as the barometer for success. We do it because we think that’s how the game needs to be played.
Realize that your individual metrics and your revenue are important, but you don’t get a pass on your prospecting simply because you hit your revenue. Failure to prospect will impact you months from now. You must manage your calendar to make sure you can service the people you’re selling as well as your future prospects.
LinkedIn is a huge tool for marketing and it’s designed to help people think and share different ideas and insights.
When we look to give back, we’ll get stuff in return. The more you give, the more the people who want your help will come to you.
If you’re a giver and you’re prospecting, you’re giving so much great information. They’ll keep coming back to you.
Many salespeople don’t do enough to leverage their connections in order to get introductions, which is probably a better word than referral. Probably 20 percent of your clients will provide an introduction without being prompted to. They like to connect people.
At the same time, there are probably the same number who don’t like doing it. The 60 percent in the middle will do it if someone asks them to. We just have to become proactive and make it part of our process.
The best time to ask for an introduction is when the prospect realizes that he got his value and he’s happy. If you’ve already found a process that works, don’t change it. But if you aren’t having success asking for introductions, wait until the buyer realizes what they have in value.
It also probably depends on the type of product you’re selling.
Figure out what behaviors your team should be doing and build some healthy accountability around those things. It’s easier to coach people who have individual belief systems and business acumen. Based upon metrics, you can give unique instruction to each person.
Make sure to have a direct line to the decision maker in the company you are pursuing, and build it around a story. In other words, figure out a common connection to the person you’re trying to connect with and use that. That connection is much more likely to be successful than cold outreach will.
Don’t wing it. Use your KPIs and other metrics to get prepared. Good sellers won’t sabotage their efforts or be lazy. They’ll want to do something that will help them earn more money.
Finally, get your life “why-dialed in.” Figure out why you get out of bed in the morning, because that’s your source of power. If you don’t have your life “why-dialed in,” you’ll go through the motions and it will be mundane and boring.
Evaluate your patterns and habits. Are you getting the habits and outcome that you’re looking for? Sales is a purposeful, predictable event. If you’re serious about what you’re doing and how you’re doing it, you can track and measure your output and change it.
“Harnessing LinkedIn” episode resources
You can find Mike on LinkedIn or you can connect with Sandler Training by The Ruby Group. Visit Sandler Training to connect with someone in your own area.
If you haven’t connected with me on LinkedIn already, do that at Donald C. Kelly and watch the things I’m sharing there.
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