LinkedIn will not increase your sales. I hate to tell people this, but it’s true. When the bottom 50% of your sales team signs up for the LinkedIn, they will probably stay in the bottom 50%. Money will not automatically rain from the sky like manna from Heaven. If someone has poor sales skills, they will probably continue to have poor sales skills.
I went to a karaoke bar once with some friends. I had all of the tools of a skilled singer: microphone, stage, trendy clothes and adoring fans (OK, even my wife laughed at me). However, when it came time to sing, all I heard were giggles and laughter. LinkedIn works the same way as the microphone: a skillful tool in the hands of a professional. It is not a “sales panacea” to cure all that ails a failing organization. Are you good in sales? Here is how LinkedIn can make you GREAT.
- Lead Generation – If you are already going to networking events, picking up the phone and asking existing clients for referrals, use the Advanced Search feature in LinkedIn. Select keywords, companies and locations to target new leads. If it proves to be a fruitful search, save it. LinkedIn will send you alerts weekly or monthly. If you really want to up your game, subscribe to the Linked Sales Navigator. It will suggest leads for you based on existing clients and a desired geography.
- Engagement – Average sales people have their internal assistant send birthday and holiday cards. Award winning sales leaders know the specific details of their clients and they act on it. Use LinkedIn to notify you when your clients have a work anniversary, change jobs, get a promotion or have a birthday. Then send a personalized note or give them a call. This may be a good time to discuss a 401(k) rollover, 529 savings plan or meeting just to check in.
- Client Management – No other client relationship management (CRM) software tool can match the BIG DATA power of LinkedIn. Why? The clients put the information in themselves. Before any phone call or meeting, look up their information. When I was in pharmaceutical sales, I always reviewed physician information before going into the office. Great sales people never go into a discussion cold. Don’t forget to tag your connections to make it easier to filter on specific industries, or interests.
- Process – Here is part of the secret sauce to my sales success: I send 10 LinkedIn invitations per day. That means I send 50 per week. My analysis shows that out of 50 invitations and Inmails, I will schedule 5 meetings. Those 5 meetings will turn into 3 high value sales. With LinkedIn, my sales conversion is about 10 – 15 times higher than phone calls or emails. Similarly, it allows me to incorporate referrals into an already efficient process.
- Education – About 30% of US Households use Facebook to get news – and it’s not just silly cat videos. LinkedIn is a hotbed of news activity that can be easily shared with your connections. When you find an article your audience may be interested in, share it. Similarly, use Groups to learn and participate in conversations with like minded professionals. LinkedIn allows you to market yourself as a subject matter expert in nearly any industry or field. After a year of reading and sharing, your clients will look to you as a trusted advisor and resource.
LinkedIn is the number one social media site salespeople use (followed respectively by Twitter, Facebook and blogging). However, it is just a tool to amplify existing skills. Buying a hammer and nails, does not make you a carpenter. Buying running shoes does not make you a marathon winner. Decide how you will incorporate LinkedIn into you selling strategy and work to increase connections and sales.
Scientifically Speaking, of course.
Let’s get this on the table: meetings are necessary. I meet with clients. I meet with employees. I meet with non-profits and other organizations to learn more about what they do. Meetings allow us to learn more about people and the companies with whom we interact. With this opportunity for success, why do people hate meetings so much?
My 7-year old daughter told me she likes me having meetings because meetings lead to money. Although this is true most of the time, it is not always the case. How do we know if we are having a successful meeting? Here are some tips:
- Taking Notes – I had an unsuccessful meeting once with a lawyer. Five minutes into the meeting he closed his laptop. I immediately took that as an indication the meeting was over (and it was). Clearly he was done listening and no longer needed to remember anything. In all of the productive meetings I’ve had, people are taking notes (me and the other party). Taking notes shows people the information is important and you want to remember it.
- Asking Questions – Think of a meeting like a date. If the person at the other end of the table is not asking questions, they are probably not that interested. Also, pay attention to the types of questions being asked. Your questions should not come rapid fire. Have a general direction in mind and then improvise of the fly. Each question should feed off the content of previous questions.
- Follow Up Steps – At the conclusion on a successful meeting, I confirm some next steps: a) I will forward them some information; b) they will forward me some information or c) we will talk again. When I worked for Fortune 100 companies, we never finished a meeting without knowing the next step. Confirm dates and events before people get lost in the hectic pace of life back at their desk.
- Business and Personal – I have had meetings that were a lot of fun, and I have had meetings that were all business. Mix it up! Make sure you have the right combination of business and personal. Talk about families, hobbies and interests at first. However, don’t forget why you are there. After the pleasantries, transition into business. Everyone will appreciate the fact you didn’t waste their time.
- Call Back – The clearest example of a good date / meeting: the person calls / emails you back. I have had my share of meetings where I left feeling great: e.g. – “Score! They said I have a great idea and they want to schedule 2 – 3 presentations with their top clients.” After three weeks and three emails, I still haven’t heard anything from them. The true measure of success is you are doing business with the person.
I used to walk out of every meeting bragging about how good it was and how I knew I landed the deal. Six weeks later I’d have no call back, no contract and no money in the bank. Everyone has the occasional bad meeting. Do what you can to make those few and far between.
Scientifically Speaking, of course.
I have had personable and driven interns to work for my company. You would expect the best thing about interns to be the cheap labor. However, to make the experience rewarding for both of us, there is a fair amount of effort I must expend even before they arrive.
In the movies, interns pick up dry cleaning, get coffee and deliver donuts. Small companies need interns to deliver products and services to clients from the beginning. We need “mini-me” employees. Here’s how to develop those SuperStar interns:
- Give them a Role - Everyone has a title; I assign interns a role. The role describes what they are to do. “Create a Magical Customer Experience (Client Success)”, “Design Error Free Code” (programmer), “Make Our Presence Known in the Community (Marketing).” The roles are fun and different than what they have had in the past. For more creativity, let the intern choose his or her own role.
- Give them Strategies - At the beginning of every semester or term, I gave each intern a list of ten objectives. Having an objective gives them something to work for. As a person running a marathon, each strategy represents a finish line. When both of you have agreed on that completion point, they can always keep their eyes on the prize. Examples include: Complete a social media webinar for financial advisors; Organize intern special outing; Design a Mobile Tech training for teacher.
- Give them Tactics – Tactics are the building blocks to complete a strategy. Most of my interns love working on them. The leadership in an organization focuses on the strategy. Assign your interns weekly tactics which are easier to measure and quantify. Similarly, they give the intern and their supervisors a feeling of accomplishment when complete. Examples include: Email 3 new schools re: mobile technology event, write weekly blog post, or repost 3 new articles daily on social marketing in finance industry.
- Get Them Involved - When approved by your client, prospect or partner, involve your interns in meetings. You might be surprised at the level to which they can and will contribute. I even ask my interns if they are interested in presenting material during my workshops. When they are directly involved in the success of the company, they are more likely to care about the work completed. Given the age of my interns, people are especially interested in their opinion on social media topics. Examples include: designing the promotional items (pens, shirts and mugs) for clients
- Give them Motivation - The book Drive (Daniel Pink) describes people’s true motivation for success (hint: it’s not money). This fact is true for standard employees and interns. Provide a fun and desirable work environment. I started by giving my interns a flexible work schedule. As long as they accomplish their weekly and daily tasks (which leads to a completed strategy), they don’t have to be at the office. We go to lunch sometimes – my treat. I expose them to interviews and mentorships from community leaders. Examples include: open co-working space, casual dress code and flexible hours.
The goal of an internship is two fold: a benefit for the company and the intern. The intern needs experiences they can put on their resume and discuss in job interviews. The company needs sales, marketing, design and production deliverables. Superstar interns are never born. Those skills are the result of hard work and commitment from the intern and planning and organization on the part of the supervisor. In the end, it pays off for both parties.
Scientifically Speaking, of course.
- Apple OS
- Apple OS X
- Black History
- Customer Relationship
- Dr. King
- Financial Advisor
- John F. Kennedy
- personal development
- small business
- social media
- Steve Jobs
- Venture Capital
- visual aid
- visual aids
- September 2015
- July 2015
- June 2015
- May 2015
- April 2015
- March 2015
- November 2014
- October 2014
- September 2014
- August 2014
- July 2014
- June 2014
- May 2014
- March 2014
- February 2014
- January 2014
- December 2013
- October 2013
- September 2013
- August 2013
- July 2013
- May 2013
- April 2013
- February 2013
- January 2013
- December 2012
- November 2012
- October 2012
- September 2012
- August 2012
- July 2012
- June 2012
- May 2012
- April 2012
- March 2012
- February 2012
- January 2012
- December 2011
- October 2011
- September 2011