Posts Tagged ‘LinkedIn profile’

To Engage or Not to Engage, the LinkedIn Quandary

LinkedIn for B2B professionals does matter.  For the last few years I have been conducting my own private research and learned, at least for me, the top 5 reasons why people ask to be connected.

LinkedIn

 

#1 Engagement

The super majority of people (nearly 60%) send me invitations because I have engaged with them or with one of their connections.  Since LinkedIn changed its groups policies, these engagements are overwhelmingly from update posts.  Prior to this change, the invitation outreach was through groups.

Additionally within this reason for connection, I have included those profiles I have visited.  When a second or third degree connection has visited my profile, I usually return the visit.  In quite a few instances, I will then receive an invitation to connect.

#2 LinkedIn Pulse Articles

Even with all the people publishing on Pulse, my articles still continue to drive a significant amount of invitations to my In Box. Right now approximately 25% of all LinkedIn invitations are because of these articles. What I have also observed is quite a few people within this community will follow me first and then extend an invitation to connect.  Content marketing for B2B is a proven marketing method for attracting attention and beginning to build relationships.

#3 Direct Outreach

Sometimes either through a personal one on one meeting, I will receive an invitation to connect or I will send an invitation.  These invitations represent around 7%. Also within this group are those who are connected to one of my first degree connections and believe it may make sense to connect with me as well.

#4 Referrals

As my network has grown, I have begun to see an increase in referrals from other colleagues.  Those within my existing contacts also have made suggestions for others to connect with me. Where in the past this percentage was nominal, today it also hovers around 5%.

#5 Suggestions

Finally, around another 3% of my connections now originate from LinkedIn’s suggestions to connect. This is the smallest percentage. And for me has always been the smallest percentage.

For those engage in social selling or better yet social marketing, then it makes sense to be engaging on LinkedIn.  Share the update posts of others.  Comment on those posts.  My other suggestion is to keep track of those who visit your profile, research their profile to determine if an invitation to connect is warranted.

P.S. Please make sure your LinkedIn Profile is complete and engaging.  Many profiles turnoff more sales leads or prospects than they turn on. And no you do not have to accept all invitations.

 

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LinkedIn Summary, Why the Third Person or Queen’s We?

If people buy from people they know and trust, why in the world would any reasonable thinking salesperson speak in the third person on LinkedIn?  I can appreciate the third person’s biographical summary on a publication or book.  That makes sense. To speak in the third person on probably the most recognized B2B social media site is beyond comprehension.

LinkedIn-SummaryThe third person’s summary ranks up there with the Queen’s We Summary.  Using this prime marketing space to speak at a distance instead of up front and personal really is such a waste.

The LinkedIn summary is the rest of YOUR story.  This is not a regurgitation of your resume.  No, this is your chance to touch a potential sales lead with your unique story.

What makes you different?

What specific skills do you have?

Why should people take that next step to reach out to you?

The rest of your profile can detail your work history, your education to even your endorsements and referrals. Leave your summary to be a powerful story.

If you are stymied, consider using the six (6) sentence Pixar approach that Dan Pink outlines in his book To Sell Is Human. In this approach you tell a tale that begins with Once upon a time and then illustrate the problems faced by your clients. The last sentence is the results of the impact of your solution.

Your summary has 2,000 characters. This is prime marketing space and should not be wasted.  Use as many characters as possible.  You want the read to keep reading beyond the summary to your work history, your education and your interests. LinkedIn is a powerful sales prospecting tool.  Like any other sales tool, use it wisely.

P.S. If you read my LinkedIn profile summary, you will learn I start with a question.  Personally I find those summaries that begin with the letter “I” to be somewhat ego driven with the focus on the individual and not the reader. Again, that only is my opinion.

 

 

 

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In Sales SMB Marketing Is First Person Not Third

Every morning I check my marketing statistics to keep better track of my sales results.  Part of this routine involves reviewing my LinkedIn Profile respective to people who visit my profile among other statistics.

marketing-sales

Credit www.picjumbo.com

Today I noticed how many LinkedIn Profile summaries are written in the third person. From a SMB marketing perspective, this does not make any sense because people buy from people they know and trust.  A third person summary distances the buyer from the seller.

Common Example

(Name of person) is a certified business coach and executive coach (insert role) based in (location). She or he helps leaders and teams in companies as well as non-profit organizations discover what needs to be developed or changed, and how this will be done, in order to reach better individual and organizational results. 

The summary goes on about experience, education, blah, blah, blah.  This is not emotional marketing copy to encourage any sales lead to reach out.

LinkedIn has become a proven marketing channel especially for SMB owners, executives and sales professionals.  Speaking in the third person on a personal profile does not make sense.  Third person belongs to the LinkedIn business pages.

Summary Tells the Rest of Your Story

As Paul Harvey said “And the rest of the story.” The LinkedIn summary is free and prime marketing real estate.  To waste it on a third party perspective is just plain ridiculous.  LinkedIn Coaching Tip:  The summary is NOT a regurgitation of your resume.

Here is where you can tell the rest of your compelling story that markets you from an emotional perspective.  Who cares how many years of experience you have. What people want to know is about you from a human perspective.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is the Trusted Authority for Forward Thinking SMB owners, executive and sales professionals experiencing repetitive people and process problems.  She supports executive leadership in bridging the sales culture gap of people and processes that restricts SMB sales results.

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Realtors – Ignoring LinkedIn Is a Competitive Disadvantage

As we are in the process of relocating, our home is up for sale. I must admit I have learned a lot about realtors and especially how many ignore LinkedIn as a marketing and selling opportunity. I do believe ignoring this social media channel places these realtors at a competitive disadvantage, let me explain.

LinkedInYesterday, we had another “showing.” The realtor left her card and I immediately checked her profile out on LinkedIn. As in about 50% of the realtors who have shown our home or those I have come to know, she was not on this social media, lead generation and professional validation website.

Even though LinkedIn is for B2B professionals, it is also a good platform for B2C.  B2B professionals who actively use this site will automatically check other professionals they meet or are exposed to as in my case with this realtor.

To effectively use this social media channel does require having both marketing and selling plans. Given many SMBs including realtors who are independent sales professionals do not engage in planning, this may be an obstacle.

Additionally, understanding what makes a compelling profile is equally important.  One local realtor I know leverages his profile and does not commit the sin of “regurgitating” his resume.  Another local realtor has no summary and uses this marketing channel as a resume with an emphasis on keywords. She lacks a summary and her overall profile shouts “Me, Me, Me.”

With so many realtors being incompetent according to their own National Association of Realtors’ Danger Report, having a strong LinkedIn Profile would help to counteract that data. A strong and emotionally compelling profile, just might help struggling agents or even successful ones be even more successful.

If you are a realtor, then I would encourage you to run not walk to updating your profile. Invest some money and hire someone to help you so that you stand out to be the Red jacket in the sea of gray suits instead of just another gray suit.

 

 

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Please Stop with the Cold Calling Social Selling Emails

I don’t know who is teaching these SMBs to send cold calling social selling emails, but I wish they would stop already.  On any given day I receive as few as two (2) to as many as 10 personalized emails all from complete strangers.

cold-calling

Credit www.picjumbo.com

Here are three facts from my perspective about sales in general:

#1 Fact: People buy from people they know and trust.

#2 Fact: Social selling is really social marketing.

#3 Fact: Cold calling works provided you have done your homework and have a compelling marketing message.

Today I received this email and I have removed all names to protect the guilty.

My name is…. I consult with small businesses and assist them with building an online presence. Our main service is designing custom websites that are built to rank well on major search engines and help bring in additional business. Most of our work is with other small – medium sized companies and summer normally starts a busier season for us.
 
We are looking to bring on some additional projects before our busier season begins. I reached out last month, as I thought this might be a good fit for you. If we are able to offer a discount on our pricing or break up the cost into manageable payments, would this be something you would be interested in?
 
Either way, send me a quick email or give me a call at (phone number). I can go over your different options and hopefully help get you started with the project. You can also check out some samples of our at (website)
 
You can also email me “Remove” if you wish to be taken off my list.
 
I look forward to hearing back from you, (Contact Information Follows)
Beyond being a complete stranger, he now wants me to remove my name from his list via a return email.  What might have been better is “If I don’t hear from you within 48 hours, I will remove your name from this list to respect your privacy and time.”
What is even worse this particular person considers himself an expert in social media.  Really?  Looking at his LinkedIn profile, I have some serious reservations.  All of this information only further reaffirms my decision to turn him down. Here was my response:
(Insert name) I do business with people I know and trust. Offers like yours from complete strangers I receive on a daily basis.
 
My suggestion is to first establish a relationship before you make a sales pitch to an absolute stranger unless of course your message is so emotionally compelling it would cause the recipient (stranger) to take positive action.
Possibly if more SMBs who receive these cold calling, social selling or rather social marketing emails would take these actions, our inboxes would be less cluttered and we can return to our own sales.
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Prospecting at LinkedIn? At Least Read the Profile

Salespeople in B2B industries from the smallest firms to even some of the largest ones prospect for new sales leads, centers of influence every day through LinkedIn. However, many anxious salespeople fail to read the profiles. This failure leads them to being viewed as unauthentic.

LinkedInToday I received another LinkedIn invitation with a scripted email about “The business universe is vast and wide, who knows we might be mutually of help to each other in the future.”  I knew this was not only scripted, but the person failed to read my profile when she continued with:

“Just in case you are thinking about getting your first home, refinancing your current home loan or investing in a property, message me for a consultation. It’s FREE and we can schedule it on your most convenient time, over a cup of coffee maybe.

If you know someone who is, I’ll highly appreciate a referral.”

Sounds good except for this one, itsy, bitsy, teeny, weeny factor:

This person is in Australia and I am just outside of Chicago, IL, USA.

Now if she had written “over a virtual cup of coffee” and removed the email sales pitch about getting the first home, etc., I would have been more inclined to accept her invitation. Here was another person failing to understand:

Marketing is not selling; but selling is marketing.

Her scripted email sales pitch also raised other concerns within me about her professional credibility and business ethics.  Why would anyone ask someone thousands of miles away in a different country to make referrals specific to buying a home in a foreign country?  Her pitch was not about investing in residential real estate; that would have generated a very different response from me.

Also if she emailed me this sales pitch, would she do the same with my first degree and second degree connections as she had a premium membership?

Reading a LinkedIn profile takes maybe 3 minutes as most.  Sending email sales pitches as part of the invitation message may work if the script is directed to the right person and the other necessary sales buying criteria.

I wonder if people like this individual and others realize they only have 3,000 invites and once an invite is issued your total outstanding invites decline one more number?  This individual just wasted an invite not because she was in Australia as I have many connections outside of the U.S. No, because she failed to do her due diligence by reading the LinkedIn profile and adapting her email sales script.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leaders in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn

 

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Real Estate Marketing, Are Self-Portraits Really Necessary?

Drive the local roads to even major thorough fares and you will come across the smiling faces of local realtors on outdoor advertising. In real estate marketing, the use of these self portraits not only dots the billboards, but business cards and direct mail pieces.

real-estate-marketing

Credit www.gratisography.com

People definitely want to buy from other people they know and trust.  A self-portrait helps to establish some connectivity with the ideal customer.

Yet, I wonder in today’s marketplace are self-portraits really necessary on every piece of real estate marketing?

Through my own marketing research, the blog postings with pictures of people usually receive from more traffic than graphics without people.  However I never use a self-portrait of myself.

Of course there are always exceptions. One example is a LinkedIn profile. As this social media site is a directory of professional people usually business to business, a picture of one’s self is part of a complete LinkedIn profile.

Returning to the question being asked, possibly a recent blog by Seth Godin may help to better answer this question. Godin shared 7 questions that marketing must answer.

The first question of who are you trying to reach is essential.  He also stated if the answer is everyone, then he advised to start over.  Real estate marketing in many instances makes that fatal mistake.

Question number three of what story are you attempting to tell is also essential.  Self-portraits tell a second story if not a primary story of “it’s all about me.”

Years ago in speaking with a very successful real estate agent and her partner who was also her husband, they shared people bought their results.  Their marketing built on the established brand and this did not included any self-portraits. Also all of their business was generated from sales referrals, satisfied clients, who appreciated their professional services and results of finding the right home.

As my husband and I are relocating, we are selling our home here in Northwest IN.  The majority of direct mail marketing pieces I have received included self-portraits.  What is not included are specific results.  Yes people buy from people and more importantly people buy from people who deliver results.

Maybe it is just me, but if real estate marketing focused more on the results and less on the self-portraits possibly there would be greater success for real estate agents?

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leaders in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn

 

 

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Is Your Small Business Online Presence Your Achilles’ Heel?

Yesterday I received a LinkedIn invite from a second degree connection who said she was a social media and online business consultant. Since her LinkedIn profile summary only shared her experience as a nurse, I clicked on her website link. To my surprise,  I received a message that her blog’s URL had expired 8 days ago. Needless to say I declined her LinkedIn invitation.

small-business-online-presenceToday, any small business (defined by under 20 employees) must have a viable online presence.  The reason is 60% of the buying decision is made online (Source:  Hubspot). If your small business online presence does not reflect what you do or how your solutions (products or services) can help the buyer, then you are potentially losing many new business opportunities.

With so many small businesses with an online presence, your small business truly must Be the Red Jacket in a Sea of gray suits.  You must stand out and be found.

Of course that means you have invested considerable time in your strategic action plan and have WAY SMART goals both for marketing and sales. These goals are based upon your market research.

Unfortunately the challenge for many small businesses is they hire marketing and advertising firms or social media consultants who take their money and provide little to nothing results. Their ignorance has made many others rich.

Then there is the underlying belief in the “quick and easy” way to online small business success. A sustainable small business online presence takes time and happens over a course of several years.  This may be part of the reason some small businesses gravitate to those hyped ads about increase followers, signups overnight.

Yes you can buy a small business online presence through ads offered by Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. For some companies they have worked. Yet for many of my small business coaching clients, they have been a profit drain.

Recommendations for a Sustainable Small Business Online Presence

Step #1 – LinkedIn

small-business-online-presenceLinkedIn is the first step for those engaged in B2B sales. Make sure you have:

  • A compelling headline
  • An emotionally engaging summary that tells the rest of the story
  • Skills that support your solutions and experience
  • Recommendations from clients
  • Slideshare files
  • All contact information is current including websites
  • Submit well written and informative articles (content marketing) to LinkedIn pulse

Then engage in groups and post updates at least two to three times per week. Employ an education based marketing approach where you educate your potential clients and do not “pitch” to them.

Step #2 – A Blog 

small-business-online-presence

Your blog is your small business online presence and “de facto” salesperson. Here you can reach thousands of potential clients as well as centers of influence. Again, return to your education based marketing plan and seek to educate and share your experiences. This blog happened because of one of my personal experiences. Remember, people buy from people they know and trust. Let your readers get to know you and begin to trust you.

Step #3 – Build Multiple Communities to Share Your Small Business Online Presence

When you build communities within the social media worlds, you have expanded your influence and reach. These communities have like minded individuals with differences of opinion. What is shared is high business ethics and a commitment to supporting each other.

small-business-online-presenceFor example, one of my communities include over 30 sales consultants, sales coaches and business consultants. One of my tweets can potentially reach over 250,000 Twitter followers. Using an automation tool such as Twitterfeed allows me to post their tweets automatically saving me lots of time.

Now Is the Time to Take Action

Marketing research continues to confirm that having a viable small business online presence is essential to sustainable business growth. With the increase in smart devices, more and more potential customers are viewing your website, blog, online presence through such mobile devices. Do not wait another month or a year to make your small business known through social media and other Internet sites. The longer you wait will only have you further behind the flow of missed sales opportunities.

 

 

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The Future of Sales Training Ignores the Reality of Today

This morning I just read another article about the future of sales training in which they quoted the publisher of Selling Power that by 2020:

the-future-of-sales-training

  • “80% of all B2B transactions will be automated”
  • “11 million lost jobs in sales”

I always find these statistics interesting in that 97.7% of all businesses here in the US have under 20 employees and such predictions about the future of sales training are usually based upon the minority of businesses, 2,.3%, with over 20 employees. (Source: U.S. Census Bureau)

Now I ask you, does this make sense?

Where I did find partial agreement was the impact of:

  • Technology
  • Social Media

the-future-of-sales-training

Technology – The Now Ever Present Tool

As the telephone, especially the pay phone, was to salesmen of the 20th century the best technology, today’s mobile technology with all the various apps will become common place. With respect to the future of sales training, the challenge will be three-fold:

  • The constant evolving of technology
  • Keeping up with the various changes (learning curve)
  • Knowing what technology the customer or client is using

the-future-of-sales-training

Social Media – The New Bridge for Relationships

This article also talked about the future of sales training specific to social media especially LinkedIn being the new bridge for relationships.  Through various marketing actions such as LinkedIn profile viewing, posting in LinkedIn groups, responding to birthday announcements and sharing one’s blog’s links, sales people can expand their influence and presence. However, again this article and many similar articles ignored the reality of today.

 

The Disconnect Between the Present and the Future of Sales Training

No where in this article did the authors specifically talk about this one skill as part of any future sales training trend. That one skill is effective writing.

The majority of salespeople, again those employed by small businesses with under 20 employees, will need to hone their writing skills because as the authors of this article noted 60% of the buying decision is made online. Today’s B2B buyers are better educated than ever before. They are reading the blogs, the various online publications as part of their decision making process. Salespeople will be the authors of those blogs.

the-future-of-sales-training

Writing Is Timeless Bridge

The written word is indeed powerful and can be emotionally compelling, From the Bible to the Declaration of Independence, words have given purpose to people in all walks of life. Now for those in B2B sales, writing will be the key competitive differentiator. Those who can write well will connect the present to the future.

If you wish to increase sales, then before you send your salesperson to salespersons to that next sales training session, maybe you may wish to consider sending them to creative writing class. Of course it would be of immense help if your small business had a strategic action plan that would enable your salespeople to integrate that critical information into their writing efforts.

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Old School Marketing Beliefs Are a Barrier to Business Growth

The professional business person stated unequivocally “I believe in old school marketing.”  He then shared how in his corporate world, people met face to face and he firmly believed in flying in airplanes to make those connections happen. His opinion of social media platforms was not high and he did not even have a LinkedIn profile.

old-school-marketing

Credit: Gratisography

As I listened to his old school marketing beliefs I realized he truly did not understand marketing and wondered how much more successful his former business could have been. Here was a business professional who was not only reducing his own possibilities for professional growth, but more importantly business growth for the new organization in which he was working.

This gentleman is not the first individual I have come across who believed in traditional face to face old school marketing. There are many in today’s marketplace that hold similar beliefs.  What these individuals fail to realize is that social media even though a different channel is old school marketing with just a different twist.

What Is Marketing?

Marketing is all about attracting attention and building relationships. This is the first phrase of the 3 Phase Sales Process. The goal is to make a friend and to be asked back for that first meeting.  Isn’t that what social media does?

For example on LinkedIn, you can integrate traditional marketing such as direct mail by sending LinkedIn emails.  Through the LinkedIn Pulse platform, you can upload articles that are very much like newspaper stories embedded with your own advertising (think links or calls to action).

old-school-marketing

Credit Gratisography

The Key to Unlock the Relationship Door

Social media is first a key to unlock the relationship doors.  One key can unlock many doors and that is the power of social media. Let me explain through this short sharing.

Last week I was awarded Small Business Journalist of the Year by the Northwest Indiana Small Business Development Center. I can say with 100% certainty that award happened because of social media.  What I learned from several people was the judging committee was very surprised to see the extent of my journalistic efforts.  Beyond the weekly online business column for the Chicago Tribune/Post Tribune, I have contributed and continue to contribute to these publications:

Then there are many others local businesses to national associations that have picked up my articles from directory article sites such as EzineArticles, EvanCarmichael and Sales Gravy. By employing social media as a marketing platform, I then was able to connect with specific individuals and had those essential one on one conversations.

Word of Mouth Is Now Word of Touch

old-school-marketing

Through Twitter, LinkedIn and the other social media platforms, the proven word of mouth has evolved to word of touch. Fingers are touching keypads and making the outreach.

In a global marketplace, social media crosses regional borders and countries to reach ideal customers across the seas. And when an organization has a unified social media policy in place, there is not just one person typing the keyboards, but tens to hundreds of people.  Here is where social media and old school marketing unite and exponentially expand attraction.

The Proof Is In the Results

For me, social media has expanded my business growth as well as professional credibility.  Just this past weekend, this blog was honored as one of the best sales blogs in an international competition. What was interesting was that I did not know it until I was notified my blog had made the second cut. I have connected with and made many new business relationships that would not have been possible had I stayed with the old school marketing.

From social media I have earned new sales leads who have read my postings and then made outreach to me.  All of this happened without me having to take an airplane read.  And yes quite a few of those sales leads turned into executive coaching or talent management clients.

old-school-marketing

Our Beliefs Are Our Barriers

So many small businesses to much larger organizations worry believe the competition or the economy is the greatest barrier to business growth. Unfortunately, the hard reality is our own beliefs are our biggest barriers.  Henry Ford probably said it best:

Whether you think you can, or you think you cannot, either way you are right.

 

 

 

 

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