Posts Tagged ‘social media’

What’s So Wrong with this LinkedIn Invitation?

LinkedIn is a great social media site to increase business contacts and when done well will increase sales. Yet there is a correct way to write a LinkedIn invitation to connect and so many wrong ways to write a LinkedIn invite.

LinkedIn-invitationThis morning I received this invite (I have deleted any specifics to ensure the sender’s anonymity):

Please accept my connect request. I will then scan and send you a VIP $200 **** Savings Card. Activate and it comes with 110% lowest cost guarantee on ***** and all other ***** needs as an intro to a new ***** search engine. It can become a huge fund-raiser.

Beyond not having this specific need, I am not into any fund raising activities.  After reading this poorly pitched sales pitch, I thought “what a dolt!”

This LinkedIn invitation lacked being authentic outside of the obvious sales pitch. I wonder what LinkedIn training she had that even suggested this was an appropriate message to send with the invitation?

Personalizing the standard, boring invite of “Hi (insert your name) I’d like to join your LinkedIn network,” makes good relationship building sense. However using that same invite as an obvious sales pitch stinks to high heavens.

People buy from people they know and trust.  I may not know you, but I can check out what shared connections we have as well as your profile.  Sometimes I will accept LinkedIn invitations from people I personally do not know. However, I do have a process to ensure the invitation was authentic and not just an attempt to expand the other person’s database.

When will people recognize that marketing even social marketing is not selling?  Marketing is all about attracting positive attention.  LinkedIn invitations such as the one I just shared do not in any way meet that first desired end result of marketing.

With all the emphasis on social selling, I believe it is time to redirect those efforts to social marketing because unless people buy you and your company, they will never even consider your social selling solution as exemplified by this great example of what not to do with a LinkedIn invitation.

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Look Beyond the Keystrokes to Build Key Relationships

Having those key relationships is essential in our personal to professional lives. Yet with technology, it appears we are being limited by how we communicate and interact with others.  Suddenly we become conditioned to stroking the keys instead of actually speaking with another human being.

key-relationships

Credit www.pixabay.com

How often do we hear about people eating either in public or at home busily typing on their keyboards and ignoring everyone else at the table?  Some businesses and families now require the smart phones to be placed in a basket or in the center of the table with severe penalties for anyone who touches his or her smart device.

The Irony of Human Behavior and Key Relationships

Isn’t it ironic that human beings who are social creatures in their efforts to be even more social have isolated themselves through the stroking of the keys? They desire key relationships yet keep those very same people at arms length through today’s technology.

This goes to this essential question: What are we afraid of?

Now some may say they aren’t afraid, but this is a matter of convenience, of saving time.  Really?  How many times are texts not read or emails not returned?

Social media has probably exacerbated this problem of not physically talking with others.  We can say we have a thousand Facebook Friends or LinkedIn connections and yet how many have we personally communicated with? How many real, key relationships do we truly have?

Are we using these numbers to reinforce our own self-esteem, self-worth while insulating ourselves from potential emotional harm?

Staying personally in touch with others is very difficult especially as our communities expand regionally, nationally and globally.  Yet it can be done through the very same technology that is limiting real human interactions.

Years ago we heard these words from a telecommunications provider “Reach out and touch someone.” Possibly it is time to heed those words, make a phone call, meet with a friend, colleague and truly connect with another human being one on one.  Who knows, you may actually enjoy the experience?

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Time to Stop Being Chicken Little in Social Selling

For SMB there have been many changes within the market place.  One of the more far reaching changes has been this concept of social selling where salespeople leverage the Internet through social media sites for everything from marketing to relationships building to targeted prospecting.

social-selling

Credit www.pixabay.com

Just for clarity social selling in today’s marketplace is defined as when salespeople use social media to interact directly with their prospects. Salespeople will provide value by answering prospect questions and offering thoughtful content until the prospect is ready to buy.” (Source: Hubspot)

I would revised this definition with the following changes in red “when salespeople use social media to interact directly or indirectly with their prospects, colleagues and centers of influence. Salespeople will provide value by:

  • Connecting to their prospects’ value drivers
  • Answering prospect’s questions
  • Offering thoughtful content
  • Facilitating an ongoing emotionally compelling sales conversation

until the prospect is ready to buy because the prospect now knows and trusts the salesperson.

Even though I believe in simplicity, the power of social selling is built upon the existing long held sales tenet that people buy from people. In today’s technology driven world, many sales experts fail to reinforce this long held sales tenet.

Today, many SMB owners and sales professionals have yet to jump into this new marketing and selling channel. Possibly their delay is because they lack ab overall business growth plan (think strategic planning).

And for some who do engage in social selling, their focus in 100% on sales pitches and not on building relationships. As to their content, much is old, rehashed and not emotionally compelling.

Jumping into social selling arena requires some intestinal courage and taking a leap of faith. Of course having a solid marketing plan within the overall strategic plan is a big plus.

Salespeople must never forget people buy from people they know and trust. Engaging in social selling is a natural extension of that first sales buying rule.

What to know the other 2 sales buying rules? Click Here

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How Sales Pitches Keep the Reticular Activator on High Alert

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.

sales-pitches

Credit www.pixabay.com

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.

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Realtors Are You Missing This Marketing Platform?

Social media is a marketing platform used by many especially those selling real estate. Quite a few realtors have a significant presence on Facebook where they showcase their listings. Yet these same real estate agents ignore this other significant marketing platform which truly doesn’t make sense.

marketing-platform

Credit www.pixabay.com

First for clarity, a marketing platform is essentially a very detailed marketing plan that includes:

  • Ideal customer (demographics and psychographics)
  • Your messaging
  • How you will reach your ideal customer or customers
  • Monitoring of the results through key performance indicators (KPI)

Second, many firms actually have identified more than one marketing platform within their overall strategic plan because of the rise of social media.

Third the social media marketing channel that is being missed or ignored is LinkedIn. Possibly the reason for this oversight is because LinkedIn is considered for those selling or working in B2B industries.  Yet upon review of the ideal customer (potential listing client or buying client), probably he or she is directly or indirectly connected to B2B industries.

As someone who has extensively networked locally to nationally, I consistently discover the majority of real estate agents with no LinkedIn presence or a poorly written LinkedIn profile. Maybe I am just different, but the first action I take after meeting someone is check to see if they have a LinkedIn profile. I am going to make a huge presumption here that forward thinking salespeople take a similar action.

If people buy from people they know and trust, then why ignore this free marketing opportunity?

Each day there are numerous free webinars to free articles on:

  • The value of LinkedIn
  • Specific prospecting strategies on LinkedIn
  • How to write an engaging LinkedIn profile

By investing 20 minutes a day within this marketing platform, you may quickly discover incredible prospecting (think sales leads) as well as build your own credibility and trust.  The sharing of content, writing quick comments and reaching out to others all have an impact on how to increase sales.

With marketing budgets being limited for most real estate agents who are independent contractors, then ignoring any solid free marketing is foolish especially when potential buyers and sellers are potentially active within this marketing platform.

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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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Sustainable Sales Success – Tip #12 Be Reachable

To have sustainable sales success does require for you to be reachable.  If people cannot find your contact information, you may be losing sales.

sales-successThe challenge is three fold for SMB owners and sales professionals:

  • Phone numbers and addresses change
  • Content marketing via the long tail may have old contact information
  • Salespeople are crazy busy

Some sales professionals have migrated totally to social media and have ignored even updating their website with their basic contact information.  Even when I discontinued my landline, the first thing I did was to go to my website and update the pages to ensure the correct phone number was available.

To make the presumption that all sales leads will find you via social media is potentially a fatal increase sales strategy.

Being busy is no excuse for not returning phone calls, emails or even texts.  A couple of years ago I incorporated texting into being reachable even though I was not a fan of this communication channel. However, I had clients as well as sales leads texting me and I wanted to be reachable.

Today texting is the preferred communication channel.  Text messages have a far greater open rate than other communication channels such as email or even phone calls.

InsideSales.com in their research revealed 35-50% of the vendors who respond first get the sale. This site also suggested that those who respond within 5 minutes to web sales leads are nine (9) times more likely to convert.

Being reachable is necessity for sales success!

To increase sales no longer can salespeople have the attitude “when I have time I will return the call or message.” Technology has forced salespeople to be reachable at all times. Our marketplace is global and operates on a 24/7 time frame.

Remember, you cannot increase sales if people are not able to reach you. Those who respond first and with the right message have a far greater likelihood of securing the goals to:

  • Increase sales
  • Achieve sales success
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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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Are You Drowning in the Sea of Sales Excuses?

If you have read either Jeb Blount’s or Mark Hunter’s books on sales prospecting, you will read about a lot of sales excuses.  Dan Pink in his book To Sell is Human revealed that of the 7,000 American adult workers surveyed 40% of their time is engaged in non-selling activities. His conclusion is that in every hour, we are spending 24 minutes moving others.

sales-excusesThe question then is how effective are you in sales in moving others or are using this time as an excuse not to sell, not to prospect, not to increase sales?

Remember, the White Rabbit from Alice in the Looking Glass who was running about exclaiming I’m late; I’m late! In speaking with clients and colleagues, a lot of salespeople are late. They make promises to deliver proposals, make meetings and then never show up.

The marketplace has changed and continues to evolve given the expansion of technology and social media. People are changing the sequence of how they make those buying decisions.

Traditional marketing no longer holds true if we believe DemandGen’s research that 65% of the buyers believe that the vendor’s marketing content had an impact on their buying decision. Furthermore 82% of the buyers reviewed 5 to 8 pieces of content from the winning vendor (Forrester).

Sales excuses are no longer an option.  Either you do what you need to do, make calls, engage in research, write content,  hire someone to write your content marketing or continue to be pocket poor.

Here are some more sales excuses:

  • No time for LinkedIn yet the top sales people invest 6 hours per week (The Sales Management Association)
  • No time for social media as a lead generation source yet 5% of B2B sales team consider it essential (Ken Krogue)
  • No time to call a second time since 44% of salespeople give up after one call (Scripted)
  • Too busy to make a third call to a sales lead since average sales person makes only 2 attempts to call (Sirus Decisions)
  • No time for follow-up even though 80% of the sales require 5 follow-up phone calls after the meeting (The Marketing Donut)

There are plenty of sales excuses to go around.  Maybe now is the time to stop with your sale excuses and heed the words of Yoda  – Do or do not, there is no try (excuse).

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The Sales Pitches Continue From Clueless Marketers

Each week I receive numerous unasked, sales pitches via email from a complete strangers many of whom are marketers.  Last week I received an email asking me if I was happy with AWeber because their firm has found many dissatisfied customers due to lack of list segmentation.  Actually I don’t know what list segmentation is nor do I care. I replied respectfully, no I was happy and not interested.

sales-pitches

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Then a few days later I received another email sales pitch asking about a specific issue within AWeber.  I said I was happy and not interested.

Yesterday I receive a third email sales pitch after I had already told this marketing firm I was happy and not in interested two prior times.  This marketing salesperson is attempting to create value because of this or that special feature and she is ignoring the big picture –

I am not fricking interested!!!!!!!!!

The old quote “Let me count the ways” reverberated in my brain. I am now counting all the ways not to trust you. Your continue onslaught of sales pitches has really turned me off. Actually I was thinking of another word, but I do attempt to keep this blog professional.

How come marketers who should understand marketing is about attracting attention and building relationships are so clueless about those two objectives? Trust is built from positive not negative attention. Building relationships is essential to building trust.  Within many sales processes, this is called “building rapport.” Personally I dislike that phrase, but that is a subject for another day.

What would have happened if this salesperson had reached out to me via another social media platform such as LinkedIn or Twitter? I am not sure if the end result would have been any different, but at least I would not be writing this blog nor having this firm’s name of my “Never Contact List.

* * * * *

Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver for leaders who desire a Forward Thinking Sales Culture. She supports executive leadership in bridging the sales culture gap of people and processes that restricts SMB sales results.

 

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