The Forgotten Word in Social Media

Social media has taken front and center stage in the B2B marketplace.  Yet as another report, the 2016 State of Social Business,  has revealed this one word – engagement – appears to be necessary in the digital marketing evolution. Yet from my experience in working with B2B salespeople and SMB owners this word is dramatically missing.

social-mediaHow many times do you receive an invite from LinkedIn and just accept it?  Do you make an effort to go beyond the initial acceptance to physically speak with that new LinkedIn connection?

Or what about those who like, share or comment on your LinkedIn Pulse posting to your blog content?  Again, what efforts do you make to engage in further conversations with these individuals?

Then there is the constant stream on Twitter where people maybe retweeting your posts.  Do you ever thank them or acknowledge their efforts?

How to engage people should be part of this social media integration.  People buy from people they know and trust.  People can’t know you until you authentically engage with them.  As the old expression goes, reach out and touch someone.

In the sales world, the quick fix has always been present.  Technology has opened up this world of social media and coined a new term social selling.  Old habits are hard to break and social selling for many translates into social sales pitches.

From this report, the shift is to integrator which requires considerable strategic thinking.  To be efficient and effective from a strategic perspective requires a strategic plan.  Unfortunately, many SMB owners have never invested in creating a comprehensive strategic plan.  Instead they believe a marketing plan is all they need.  BIG MISTAKE!

Additionally, building deeper relationships through engagement is the held as the second of five top external objectives by 53% of those who responded. Internally, closing the people and process gaps in this social business evolution is critical with the development of new skills leading these internal objectives.

Engagement is the bridge between marketing and selling regardless of the platform.  Within social business, the digital marketing trend will return back to the buyer and his or her experience.

Remember: No one wants to be sold be it face to face; tweets, LinkedIn Pulse Postings or updates, podcasts or blogs.

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Being Comfortable Is Not for Top Sales Performers

Top sales performers who I know are the least comfortable people.  They are always going beyond their comfort zones, stretching themselves especially when it comes to sales prospecting.

top-sales-performers

Credit www.gratisography.com

I was reminded of this consistent characteristic when I read Mike Weinberg’s posting, Stop Over Analyzing Your List and Get in Front of Your Strategic Target Prospects Now!.  Mike explained how many salespeople waste time over analyzing their sales leads instead of getting our and having sales conversations with strategic target prospects.

This over analysis is really a disguised comfort behavior.  These salespeople wrap themselves in a comfort blanket of data and are lulled into non sales activity.

The other key point in Mike’s posting is in the title “strategic target prospects.”  Numerous salespeople do not have a crystal clear definition of their ideal customer.  Nor is this definition aligned to any strategic organizational goals.

Strategic comes from the word strategy.  The origins of the word strategy are Greek and mean for a general to deceive his enemies.  Staying in the office analyzing a list is not strategic.

Sometimes there is confusion between an ideal customer and a qualified sales lead.  With most sales leads not being ready to buy, going into analysis paralysis only helps to explain why many salespeople do not meet their sales goals.  Being behind a desk is far more comfortable that potentially facing a ‘No” or a “Not now.”

There is an old African proverb about how every morning a gazelle wakes up and knows it must outrun the fastest lion.  The lion wakes up knowing it must outrun the slowest gazelle.  So come morning it does not matter whether you are a gazelle or a lion. What matter is you must start running.

When you are comfortable, you aren’t running. You are snuggled in the blanket of the status quo.  If you want to increase sales, then get up, get out and start meeting your strategic target prospects as Mike calls them. Who knows you actually may enjoy this spurt of energy and eventually join the ranks of those top sales performers as well.

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What to Improve Your Sales Skills? Then Go Beyond Most Sales Training

Most sales training and much of the sales coaching focuses on how to improve sales skills. To reach that next level of sales success may require going beyond current, almost cookie cutter, robotic sales training.

sales-skillsIf current approach to developing sales skills is still not securing the desired results, then maybe something is missing.  What is missing is how to recognize and leverage the uniqueness of each salesperson. That uniqueness is the combination of numerous factors such as personal experience, informal learning, motivation, decision making style and their supporting talents.

Would you believe there are 78 talents that all individuals have in varying degrees of ranking?  These talents both interpersonal (extrinsic) and intrapersonal (intrinsic) can have a dramatic impact on existing selling skills. They also help to explain why top sales performers who achieve similar results have different approaches.

FREE Download  AI-Self-Assessment-78-Talents

What I know to be true is with the over 500 professionals of which 50% have been involved in sales I have debriefed less than 2% know what they do well.  Suddenly they realize how these talents contribute to their own uniqueness as well as how many potential sales opportunities they have missed because they lacked clarity about their talents.

Yes sales training is important as is understanding marketing in  today’s social selling world.  Maybe it is time to rethink how we train salespeople and look to developing them by identifying and then leveraging these supporting talents.

Never heard of the Attribute Index?  Click HERE to schedule a time to speak wit Leanne Hoagland-Smith to learn more about the most accurate assessment in the marketplace.

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Stop, Take a Step Back and Gain Clarity Around Your Purpose

So what’s your purpose if you are in sales, leadership or some other role?  People are so busy working IN their lives, they fail to stop and take a step back to work ON their lives.

purpose

Credit www.gratisography.com

When we understand our individual purpose, we gain clarity and this supports us as we move intentionally forward.

Isn’t it funny we use words all the time and think we know what they mean?  Take the word purpose. This word has Latin roots but is viewed as an Anglo-French word of “purpos” meaning intention, aim or goal.

This definition of intention, aim or goal makes sense when we remember the scene in the story Alice in Wonderland as she comes across the Cheshire Cat sitting in the tree. Below the tree are several paths.

She politely asks the Cat “Which path should I take?” The Cat then replies with a question: “Where are you going?”  Alice answers:  “I do not know.”  So the Cat quickly responds: “Well, then any path will take you there.

Alice lacked clarity around her intention, her aim or her goal.  This lack of clarity ended up, if you remember the story line, with her unintentionally attending the croquet game where the Queen of Hearts was yelling “Off with their heads.”

Not knowing your aim in life may have you ending up in a similar nightmarish situation.

So where does this step backward start?  Schedule some time in your calendar to reflect.  Travel back through your life and see if there is any recurring theme specific to your behaviors.

Also, this secondary question of “What gifts do I bring to the Table of Life?” may further assist you to gain greater clarity. Your gifts many times are your talents.

If your life is not where you want it to be, if your results are not where you want them to be and you are tired of encountering the Queen of Hearts, then invest some time for self-improvement by constructing your purpose.

Don’t know your talents, then this quick (under 10-12 minutes) assessment may be your second step forward.

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Time to Rethink Our Sales Fears

Sometimes by rethinking what we believe to be true, we can change our results. This is especially true for our sales fears.

sales-fears

Credit www.gratisography.com

Being in sales is not easy.  Salespeople are confronted with a lot of fears from meeting strangers to going to places uninvited to not earning a sale after weeks of follow-up. They sometimes never know what is behind the doors they walk through.

Yesterday I read something that did not make sense about this word “fear.”  So I looked up the origin of this word and learned the following:

  • The accepted word origin is Old English and where we have the meaning of being frightened
  • The epistemology of the word comes from the Hebrew word, yirah, and this word has numerous meanings including the “anticipation of some danger” to “awe” or “reverence.”

It is this later definition (awe) that when further explored suggests the idea of amazement, astonishment and mystery.

What would happen if we rethought our sales fears using these lenses of amazement, astonishment and mystery?  Would we not be more willing to embrace these fears?

Have you ever held amazement as you listened to a sales lead describe his or her situation?

Have you ever been astonished sometimes as how quickly you earned a sale or closed a sale?

Have you in those quiet times said to yourself at least once “How did I do earn or close that sale?”

Yes our sales fears are truly sales mysteries.

It has been said “When we change how we look at things, the things we look at will change.” (Einstein & Dyer)

By changing the words we use, by rethinking how we define those words, we can change our results especially in sales. No longer will our sales fears stop us, but rather they will propel us forward with intentional internal strength and appreciation.  Suddenly we will experience greater self-confidence to increase sales.

So the next time one of your sales fears rears its ugly head, rethink how you can be amazed or astonished and never forget sales will always be a mystery because people are still unique individuals with their own mysteries.

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Sustainable Sales Success – Tip #17 Humility

Sales success today definitely requires leaving your ego at the door.  Being humble, demonstrating humility is essential. This does not mean you as the salesperson is a doormat. No what it means is you are authentic because you are more focus on the potential ideal customer or sales lead than yourself.

sales-successThe word humility comes from the Latin word humilitas, This word can be translated as humble. Another translation is “grounded” or “coming from the earth.”

Many of the top sales performers I personally know are grounded. This sense of being grounded is consistently displayed in how they collaborate with other colleagues. They are always focused on the wants and needs of their ideal customers or current customers. This focus generates sustainable sales success.

Being grounded requires strong internal positive core values or business ethics.  Grounded individuals are not the “snake oil” salespeople.

Grounded also extends to having a sense of intentional balance between one’s personal and one’s professional worlds. Individuals who are unintentionally off balance appear not to be as grounded as those who have more balance.

Also I believe top sales performers do come from the earth. For me what this means they are people first and understand people buy from people.

Yes humility is not something that can be easily faked.  Eventually, a strong ego will surface and crack the facade of humility.

Believe it or not, one’s internal temperamental bias can reveal one’s ego and therefore suggest one’s humility.  A negative bias toward one’s self esteem reflects a good ego and suggests this person is open to criticism, another sign of being humble.  Conversely, a positive internal bias suggests the individual is self-centered and dislikes any criticism.

Sales success has many factors and varies between individuals.  The goal is to apply some or all of these tips to your own sales behavior and then monitor the results.

If you want to learn more about how to determine your own ego, CLICK HERE to schedule a time to speak with Leanne Hoagland-Smith.

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Top Sales Performers Sell What They Have

An amazing characteristic about all the top sales performers I know is they sell what they have.  These high earning salespeople do not attempt to change the buyer’s situation.

top-sales-performersImagine for a moment, a woman walking into an upper end clothing store. The clerk tells the woman, the customer, she needs to lose weight (to change) if she wishes to buy a certain dress.

Or you are a realtor and have approached a seller.  Instead of looking at the home for what it offers, you suggest the homeowner needs to make thousands of dollars that will not generate increase the asking price given the comparables.  Your advice appears to make the home easier to sell for you so you can earn a commission at the expense of the homeowner.

Consider a salesperson who sells IT services to a small and mid-size businesses. For his solution to work, the buyer must make thousands of dollars in changes before even purchasing the salesperson’s solution.   Does this make sense?

Possibly in these instances, the salespeople thought they were being helpful, but they weren’t. Some might even suggest by requesting the buyer to change they were being lazy, they were not selling what they have.

Years ago I sold pipe, vales and fittings.  In many instances what the buyer wanted I did not have.  When I could provide alternates that met engineering specifications, I would offer those.  At no time did I suggest to the customer,  to change the specifications even if I thought the specifications were “overkill.”  I sold what I had and sometimes I was not able to sell what I had.

When salespeople fail to sell what they have, they may be losing incredible sales opportunities. Of course to sell what they have does require knowing what they have. If you want to be among the top sales performers, ask yourself:

  • Do I know that I have be it tangible inventory to intangible solutions?
  • Am I expecting the buyer to change to accommodate me?
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Why Not Everyday Instead of Just the Holidays?

Holidays are incredible important times to reconnect with families and friends.  Yet why must we only be very thankful on Thanksgiving or shop locally on the Saturday after Black Friday?  Why do we not engage in these behaviors all year round?

holidaysFor years people appear to be nicer during the Christmas season.  There are more friendly smiles; more generous gestures.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we showed our gratitude everyday or every week by doing one special thanksgiving action?

How about we make a weekly effort to shop local?

Why can’t we smile and say “Make it a great day” to complete strangers instead of just wishing people a “Merry Christmas” during the December holidays?

Life is crazy busy. We get so wrapped up in our day to day trials and tribulations many of which are beyond our control, we forget how great life really is.  Each day is a blessing, a day to be grateful, a day to be merry to others.

Years ago I heard one small drop of water raises the the ocean’s level. Imagine for a moment each us doing one small action every day or even weekly that reflects our gratitude, our joy and our kindness to others? That action is our one drop of water.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thank you for your support and may your life be filled with peace and abundance.

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Where Realtors Are Missing Sales Opportunities – Part 3

As we are in the process of selling our home, one of the first actions I take when I receive outreach from a realtor is to go to LinkedIn.  I shouldn’t be surprised, but I am as to how many realtors are ignoring LinkedIn specific to sales prospecting and sales opportunities.

sales-opportunitiesNow many of these realtors have Facebook pages.  And that is not a bad sales prospecting strategy. However given so many B2B professionals are on LinkedIn, here is an opportunity to learn potentially a little more about your sales lead especially if he or she is selling a high worth home.

Top sales performers do their homework when engaged in sales prospecting.  They know the more they know the greater likelihood they will convert those sales opportunities into actual earned sales.

Also having an extensive network is also essential within sales regardless of industry.  People buy from people they know and trust. An extensive network provides additional sales referrals and ongoing sales leads.

For example in speaking with the receptionist of my dentist, I shared we were moving. She asked if my husband was a veteran because one of the dentist’s patients was a realtor who mentioned she is now working with veterans.  I received the realtor’s name and number.

Upon returning home, my first action was to look her up in LinkedIn. She had less than 100 contacts and a weak profile. I was pleased to see she had a professional picture.

Then I called the realtor. We talked and I learned she had sold homes in the $250,000 to  $750,000 price range. If she is selling homes in that price range, there is a good chance the homeowner is on LinkedIn. To ignore LinkedIn she among many other realtors is missing sales opportunities.

The real estate marketing continues to evolve. Sales prospecting for realtors is also evolving.  To not take advantage of all sales prospecting channels is foolhardy and will work against the goal to increase sales.

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Where Realtors Are Missing Sales Opportunities – Part 2

The world of sales is changing and this includes the real estate market. Finding new sales opportunities in an evolving marketing requires thinking and doing things differently.

sales-opportunities

Credit www.gratisography.com

Currently the majority of business models within the residential real estate market is a 50/50 split of the commission paid by the owner of the home being sold. One realtor lists a home and usually a realtor from another firm sells the home.

Even though many realtors only want to list a home because this is the way they have done it for years, they are missing sales opportunities when the home does not sell.  Depending upon the time involved, there could be tens to hundreds of hours wasted when the home fails to sell.  All those hours devoted to marketing are lost and worse yet there is no revenue.

Enter the For Sale By Owner sellers and realtors are even more entrenched into just listing the house.  How ridiculous given there are a plethora of sales opportunities to be had to increase sales.

For example, instead of fighting the For Sale By Owner seller, why not act as a real estate consultant? Create a an affordable, alacarte fee schedule for the following:

  • Advising on how to make your home “show ready”
  • Providing more professional looking photographs to even taking a video
  • Writing actual marketing copy to be placed on free real estate listing websites such as Zillow
  • Offering to provide a lock box to even just a MLS number
  • Establishing a dedicated website
  • Posting to social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

Instead of hoping to get paid for marketing services, now the real estate agent gets paid for his or her efforts. Even better, the real estate agent is now developing a relationship with the For Sale By Owner seller.  Since people buy from people they know and trust, the realtor is becoming a trusted resource. Here is a potential sales referral resource as well.

As it has been said, if you keep doing the same thing over and over again hoping for different results, you are embracing insanity.  Now is the time to get ahead of the residential real estate market and actually get paid for your marketing services (listing) instead of hoping another realtor brings a buyer to your listing.

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