Posts Tagged ‘sales leads’
As part of my overall social selling efforts, I regularly ask those who wish to connect with me on LinkedIn what prompted their LinkedIn invitations. A more recent response was the following:
“I just thought that it would boost my business so that’s why I joined hope you having a great day thank you.”
This struggling entrepreneur (yes I am presuming he or she is struggling) is engaged in the all too common spray and pray marketing behaviors. In this particular instance, spray my name all over LinkedIn and it will increase sales.
How wrong. how sad and what a waste of resources!
Social selling is misnamed because what it really is, is social marketing. Marketing is attracting attention and beginning to build relationships. Yet because people continue to call it social selling, some folks like this struggling entrepreneur believe it is selling.
Each day thousands of independent sales professionals believe if they spray their names all over the social media landscape, they hope (pray) to increase sales. They fail to understand the first rule of buying:
People buy from people they know and trust.
How this translates within the social selling world is through engagement. Salespeople must engage with potential sales leads, centers of influence, etc. to demonstrate their knowledge and their trustworthiness.
What would have been a better response by this LinkedIn member is something like:
“I enjoyed your recent posting (update, etc.) and possibly we can schedule a quick chat to better understand our respective businesses.”
“I am looking to expand my LinkedIn presence. Possibly we can schedule a quick chat to better understand our respective businesses. Does (insert date and time) work for you? If not, let me know some better times.”
The social media landscape can expand one’s market presence provided that individual understands this basic concept:
Marketing is not selling!Share on Facebook
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.
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.
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%.
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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Salespeople invest a lot of time lighting up sales prospects and yet it appears many are hiding those sales leads. We know this to be true given how few times on average salespeople follow-up with new sales leads.
44% of salespeople give up after one follow-up (Source: Scripted)
Does it make sense to do all that work especially if you are a SMB owner in a firm of fewer than 20 employees or a salesperson employed in a similar SMB? How much time and time is money is wasted?
Sales prospecting is truly about providing light to people who are in the dark about:
- Your firm
- Your solution
Additionally, these sales prospects may also be in the dark about their own problems. Many in business cannot separate the symptoms from the real problems. This becomes a competitive advantage for top sales performers.
Sometimes all those sales leads become stuck in the middle of the sales funnel or what I prefer the sales tunnel. This is also akin to putting them under a bushel basket because in the middle of the tunnel it is very dark. What helps to keep flowing through the sales tunnel is a proactive contact process. A good CRM like Pipeliner CRM works with SMB firms as it does not require a CRM administrator saving the SMB thousands of dollars in salary and benefits.
When salespeople understand their marketing is about shining a light, their light, they are able to attract sales prospects to them. Then they understand the must keep this light shining until the sales prospects buy.
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What would happen to your ability to increase sales results if you just remembered three (3) words in all your interactions with sales prospects, sales leads, colleagues and clients? Do you possibly think you could change your sales results?
Sales Coaching Tip: Feel
When you meet with someone because people buy from people they know and trust, what do you what them to feel because trust begins with an emotion, a feeling. Trust does not begin from a point of logic. Knowledge, facts or logic support the building of trust.
People are human beings who are emotional creatures first and foremost. Our feelings are innate within us. People buy on emotion first, justified by logic. So why wouldn’t you think about this word “feel.” What do you want others to feel about you?
Sales Coaching Tip: Know
Once the feelings are in place, then what do you want the other person to know about you, your company and if you have enough time your solution. This “knowing” continues to build the relationship that came from the feelings. Remember your first to third meetings may just expand your buyer knowing about you and continuing those positive feelings of trust.
Sales Coaching Tip: Do
Finally before you conclude the sales conversation, what do you want the person to do? A call to action from a simple “Let’s get together for coffee” or “Let’s connect on LinkedIn” allows you to continue making contact with the individual. Given most sales are earned after 4 contacts, then possibly the reason your sales results are languishing is because you aren’t making enough contacts?
Remember these three words are not just about your sales leads, your prospects, but are equally about you.
What do you feel when meeting a new person?
What do you know about yourself and know about that person?
What do you want to do regarding this sales conversation or sales appointment?
Yes Feel, Know and Do are three action verbs that can truly improve your sales results.
If I asked what what do you do well, what would you tell me. Here are 78-core-talents-self-eval-dl. Identify your first one and then take this special opportunity to confirm your own beliefs. What I have learned is over 98% of the salespeople and executives I have assessed, do not know what they do well. Then two questions are:
“How many sales opportunities have you lost?”
Can you continue to lose sales opportunities?Share on Facebook
Given over 97% of all businesses within the US are under 20 employees, many lack a simple sales process. By not having a process impacts the ability to determine where there are gaps limiting increase sales and ultimately the overall sales culture.
SMB owners today cannot afford to have separate marketing and sales departments. In many instances, the SMB owner is the primary role of sales leadership manager. He or she must find salespeople who understand marketing in today’s marketplace and can utilize the variety of social media and technology platforms to prospect. Finding new sales leads becomes the responsibility of the salesperson.
Then after the marketing phase of the sales process has been successfully completed, the selling phase begins. Here is where the salesperson attempts to convert the sales lead into a loyal customer.
After the salesperson earns the sale, then the third and final phase of keeping the new customer kicks in. This is probably where many salespeople even in the larger firms miss new sales opportunities because they have failed to ask for at least one if not more than one sales referral or stay in contact with the now loyal customer.
Alignment between the sales process and the other four points of the 5 Point Star Sales Leadership Model is essential if the desired results are to be achieved. For example if the salesperson cannot successfully plan, set and achieve his or her WAY SMART goals, the results are diminished.
Download this simple 3 Phase 7-step-sales-process-advsys
There is plenty of SMB research that shows the loss dollars when prospecting fails, when sales conversions fail and when loyal customers go elsewhere. By employing a simple sales process closes the gaps and stops the draining of those valuable profit dollars.
P.S. To not include marketing within your sales process in today’s marketplace may severely limit your ability to not only increase sales, but have a sales culture of high performance. Marketing goes beyond paid advertising and is 100% about salespeople building relationships built on trust and their ability to convey exceptional knowledge in an emotionally engaging approach.Share on Facebook
Social media is one of the primary reasons for the increase in sales pitches. All these usually free social media channels now have conditioned sales leads to be very wary of any inbound marketing messages. What has really transpired is all these prospecting activities have put the sales lead’s reticular activator on high alert.
Just as a quick review, the reticular activator is really a system within the human brain that essentially stays on high alert. The actual name is “reticular formation” and it is located at the core of the brain steam between the medulla oblongata and mid brain.
What happens is the sales lead’s brain first recognizes sales pitches. Then the brain is now on high alert. These marketing messages are immediately discounted. This might explain why messaging may require updates and changes as people become overly aware or sensitive to certain marketing messages.
The more the salesperson engages in sales pitches on social media the greater the chance to turn off all sales leads. This is probably why education based marketing now considered influence content marketing continues to grow.
No longer is the salesperson or marketing person sending out buy this or buy that updates, but rather these individuals are providing interesting, informative and relevant content with the intent to educate and ultimately influence a positive emotional reaction. From this emotional reaction, then a more logical action is taken such as sending a LinkedIn invitation or following the person on Twitter.
Possibly this may also explain some other behavior such as why people are reluctant to leave LinkedIn Pulse posting when directed to click on a link to read the rest of the article. Their conditioned behavior of being aware has them potentially jaded as to what they may encounter if they leave the LinkedIn posting.
The goal of marketing is to create awareness and begin to build a relationship. Understanding how the human brain works including the reticular activator will support forward thinking salespeople to avoid sales pitches in their marketing and sales conversations.Share on Facebook
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.
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.Share on Facebook
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.
Now 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.Share on Facebook
Being in sales for over 40 years, I am continually surprised by the SMB salespeople who tell me they are in sales and want to sell. Yet upon questioning, I hear all these self-imposed, self justification excuses as to why they are not achieving their sales goals. These years of sales experience afford me the opportunity to quickly tell if a salesperson really knows:
- The sales process
- Relationship selling
- Social selling
- Marketing through social media and B2B networking event
How can I tell? Because I listen for some of these excuses:
- I haven’t updated my LinkedIn profile in the last six months
- I am not on LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.
- I am in business development not sales
- I don’t market myself, that’s for the SMB owner to do
- I am on LinkedIn, but don’t use it
- I’m not prospecting for sales leads because I should receive them from the SMB owner, sales manager or website
- My sales skills are great
- I am not getting any sales referrals
- I have under 500 contacts on LinkedIn
- I don’t know my inventory (real estate, retail associates, etc.)
- I hadn’t heard that about my industry (current industry trends)
- I don’t have time to answer the phone
- I am too busy to respond to emails
- I’m not seeking low hanging fruit (easier sales)
- I really want to increase sales, but…
If you are in sales and want to increase sales, then listen to your own excuses.
Schedule a phone call by CLICKING HERE with Leanne Hoagland-Smith to discuss what is currently limiting your sales success and receive a FREE self-assessment.Share on Facebook
Sometimes when we think of one word that begins with a specific letter, suddenly others come quickly to mind. This morning I heard this word, regret, and began to wonder how many other “R” words limit our sales activities.
Regret is a word that hangs over some salespeople. “I should have done that or I could have done that.” Have you ever similar regret thoughts? Regrets can quickly diminish sales activities.
When we reflect, may create some internal regret. However without reflection, how do we know what we did correct or incorrect? What requires improvement regarding our sales skills to our actual sales process?
Sales referrals for many are the primary source to increase sales. These referrals spur many sales activities.
From sales referrals, we may secure new clients. If we honor our promises within the sales solutions we are providing, then we may be fortunate to receive recommendations or testimonials. Few people want to chance an unknown, to be the first to try something new.
How quickly do you respond to phone calls, emails and texts? Then when you do respond, what is the tone of your response? Are you emotionally intelligent in your responses?
Some may think reaction is the same as respond. To me, reactions are more subconscious than conscious. With 80-90% of our thoughts being subconscious, then there are multiple reactions happening without our conscious knowledge. These reactions project energy that others may feel.
Beyond meeting the goal to increase sales, what other results do you want? How many qualified sales leads are you securing each week or month? How are you developing customer loyalty? Are you maintaining work/life balance to some degree?
I am sure there are many other “R” words that are connected to our sales activities. If you think of one, please share below in the comment section.Share on Facebook