Posts Tagged 'engagement selling'

Collect followers for vanity – Collect relationships for value

Collect followers for vanity – collect relationships for value – share something of value and build your relationships!

To me social media is a set of great networking tools, that you can use to enhance your networking and NOT a replacement for networking.  I use this WordPress blog, Twitter and Linked-in not to collect followers, friends, and connections but to enhance the relationships I have with people within my network.

I accept it is hard not to get caught up in the social media game of “who has the most followers” on Twitter, “the most contacts” on Linked-in or “friends” on Facebook, especially when you see a competitor has a few thousand more than you.  However for professionals it is not the number of contacts you have but the value of your relationships with your contacts that is your key performance indicator (KPI).

How I use my three main Social Media Channels.

  1. Linked-inwww.linkedin.com/in/GordonMacIntyreKemp Like most people, I asked my best contacts to connect on Linked-in and the key word is “connect”!  So many people build a list of 200+ connections on Linked-in and think that is their network built, its not, it is your social networking database populated with targets.
  • By regularly changing my updates I make sure that my contacts know what I am doing and I read their updates and send congratulations and comments as appropriate.
  • Most importantly though I regularly make time to network and see my contacts face to face.  Every month I select a group of about 25 of my contacts whom I think would like to meet one another and I invite them to meet me for a speakeasy.  On average 16-20 attend and people say they are the best networking events they get invited to.  No speakers, no presentations just me in a bar mixing up my contacts and engaging them on a deeper level.
  • Because I am social people reciprocate and when I get invited to someone’s networking event I ask “is there room for me to bring along one of my clients?” This way my contact gets a new high value contact at their event and my client gets a free seminar and well everyone is happy.  Its not clever its just networking!
  1. Blog – I like to share my insights on selling, networking and social media every week and every blog is promoted via my Linked-in updates, on the Linked-in profile itself and via Twitter.  Every client I have read my blog before becoming a client and this is working so well for me that next month I am investing in a major new (best practice) blogging platform that will host not only this blogs but those of my best practice partners and guest bloggers as well.
  • As a result of the cross referencing a lot of people who view my Linked-in profile also read my blog and this willingness to share my expertise has changed the dynamic of all of my recent sales presentations from being “asked to pitch” to being “asked to help”.
  • If you are selling expertise (legal, financial, consulting or other professional services) then blogs are a vital tool in terms of building trust in your ability to deliver.  Sales techniques don’t close deals nowadays, trust closes deals and the higher the trust the higher the price you can charge for your expertise.
  • A willingness to share shows how genuine you are and social media is changing the nature of knowledge in sales- if you are not the first to share your knowledge you may as well have never known it.
  1. Twitter – http://twitter.com/theintelligiser My first two Twitter accounts were personal (I don’t use them anymore) and admittedly at first I didn’t see a business use but now where as Linked-in is where I manage my valuable relationships Twitter is where I grow and invest in my weaker relationships.
  • There really is no better tool for finding and engaging interesting people you don’t yet know.  With my business account I set out deliberately to follow as many interesting people and business people that I could identify as being from Scotland (where I do most of my business).  Most of them followed me back and I shared my thoughts, observations and links to my blogs and I got some great feedback.
  • The best thing for me about following people on Twitter is that you get a real insight into people’s personalities and the things that motivate them from their tweets.  This means I now have a list of really interesting people I want to meet so I invite them to my speakeasy events, introduce them to my most valuable contacts and assuming all goes well we connect on Linked-in. Several have become high value networking contacts (friends in reality) and two have become clients.
  • You can’t advertise on Twitter but you can sell, anyone who says you can’t just does not know how!  Selling isn’t selling anymore it is Engagement Marketing; people want to do business with people they trust and people they know.  I find the best way to sell is to be the sort of person people want to do business with.

To sum up.

The new golden rules of networking; Use social media but don’t forget to be social, collect followers for vanity – Collect relationships for value – share something of value and build your relationships. Oh and one final point – if your goal is to sell it wont work your goal has to be to genuinely help the people you are networking with or they just wont engage you!

Next Steps – Why not share?

  1. Leave a comment
  2. Email the link to this blog to your valuable contacts
  3. Retweet it – share something of value & build your relationships.

Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp

Intelligise, Be Brilliant

How to engage your Linked-in contacts

Linked-in is the silent superstar of social media, it owns the online business connections market and it is without doubt the best online tool for relationship and reputation management.  Most people however just use it like an online rolodex and fail spectacularly to use Linked-in to engage their contacts on a deeper level.

Social media is changing the way companies communicate with customers and contacts and this has led to a plethora of social media consultancies (usually referring to themselves as gurus or experts) advising business people to set up Linked-in profiles and get as many contacts as possible.  One such agency even charges by the contact they deliver for you.  This sort of low level thinking has contributed to a lot of people getting to a 100 contacts and thinking right job done. You can almost hear the sighs of relief now that they have reached the point where they don’t need to work live a slave to look credible.

The problem is that it’s not job done its job started, to get the biggest return on investment from social media you actually have to be social!  A strange concept I know but in business contacts are nothing, relationships are everything.

In the near future people begin to look at numbers of connections, friends, followers etc in the same way as we now look at “hits” as a way of measuring a web business. Yet then as now an internet based technology has had a huge impact on business but with the wrong Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s).  The amount of connections you have isn’t a KPI but the relationship value of those connections is.  The problem is that using all the social media tools in the world won’t help your business, you have to engage your clients on a deeper level than your competition or you won’t be able to compete.

Six keys to improving the relationship value of your Linked-in contacts

1. Quality not quality – First and foremost don’t ask people to link-in unless you know them and want to manage your relationships with them more effectively. Just keep telling yourself it’s a relationship game not a numbers game. At a networking event recently overheard someone say we should link-in to a man he had just met only to have the other person respond “I think we linked-in after the last chamber event”. In my view you should only Link-in to people you have worked with, done business with or know really well.

2. Update regularly – The is a twitteresk feature on Linked in called update and it asks you to post in 140 characters what you are working on – use it and use it every working day. People who visit your profile page will see that you are putting in some effort to your Linked-in page and they will respect that. Your contacts will also usually get an update email of what you are doing every week and this keeps you in touch with your most important contacts for the investment of five minutes per day.

3. Share – Using Linked-in along isn’t a social networking strategy its just one of the tools you will need. If your client’s perception of your credibility and knowledge is key to your success lawyers, accountants architects, IT sales etc then you should blog some useful tips and ideas and share it with your contacts via the update function and by via email.

4. Linked-in messages –When one of your contacts posts an update don’t just read it and think “that was interesting” drop them an email via the system and offer advice or tips, encouragement or a well done as appropriate again a few minutes a day can pay dividends.

5. Network – The most powerful thing you can do with your contacts is bring them together. Ok so some will be in different countries but 80% will be in your local area so BE SOCIAL. In the last two weeks I have held two speakeasy networking events where I have pointed at a bar and invited a dozen of my Linked-in contacts to meet me for a beer and a catch up.  As they all arrived at the same time I introduced them and there are two join ventures in the offer and five very warm sales pitches taking place next week – not only that I received several emails from people saying they were the best networking events they had ever attended.

6. Ask – this is what its all about, Linking-in to people you don’t really know, who don’t really trust you and then failing to engage them means that you have a dead list and a dead list can’t connect you to anyone.  I will bet if most people did a people search for their number one target client in their city they would find several of their connections know them but they wouldn’t have the depth of relationships that would allow them to ask for an introduction.  I am one step away from my top 20 target clients and in 80% of the cases it is one of my Linked-in recommenders that knows them.  It took me a year and I have turned down more offers to connect than I have accepted but my list of contacts is alive and kicking and every time I have asked for an introduction I get it.  Obviously no-ones profile or contact list can ever be perfect but by following the tips above you can improve the value of your Linked-in contacts significantly.

This blog is part two of my series on getting the most from Linked-in you can find part one here http://bit.ly/7JtgEV I hope it helps.

Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp

Intelligise – Be Brilliant

http://www.intelligise.co.uk

How to quickly turn a failing sales guy into an appointment setting machine

How to quickly turn a failing sales guy into an appointment setting machine.

I was approached after one of my recent sales seminars and asked by one of the attendees to look over his appointment setting script – it was a shocker – here is a snippet with XXX in place of the name, dates and product.

>>Start

Hi (buyers first name)

Sorry to bother you do you have 5 minutes to talk right now?  Yes / No

If No = ask for a time to call back.

If Yes= ask -How are you today?

I am calling from XXX and as I am in your area next week meeting important clients on XXX I would like to see you to tell you about the benefits of XXX.

Have you got just 15 minutes to see me on XXXX?

<<<End snippet

One script can never fit all and personally I like it when salespeople develop their own style of selling on the phone but everyone needs a good starter script to begin with.  Simple as that may sound finding a good introductory sales script often seems about as easy as searching for the holly grail.

This scrip in particular started me thinking; the reason a lot of people struggle with cold calling for appointments is because they come across as begging for the appointment.  Buyers don’t buy from people who beg, a begging sales person clearly isn’t confident in their own abilities or the product and just do not project the level of professionalism required to win the trust needed to close a meeting and then to close the deal.  You don’t need hugely confident sales people either, a key success factor is just sounding confident and so a confident sounding appointment script can pay dividends.

So what is wrong with the script above? Well it makes 7 DEAL KILLING mistakes in the first 20 seconds of the conversation! Let’s look at them:

  1. “Hi buyers first name” – the buyer doesn’t know you, the first time you use their name include the surname, if you keep them on the phone long enough to use the name again you can call them by their first name without asking permission.
  2. “Sorry to bother you” – Do people really expect to be taken seriously when they start conversations with “sorry to bother you” how about just saying “Hi am not worth talking to”?  If you believe in your product then you are doing them a favour by calling them so stop apologising and start explaining how you can help.
  3. Do you have time to talk right now?  – Here is a clue – he picked up the phone!  If it’s not on voice mail they have time to talk but only if you make it worth their time to talk! This question is just asking for a straight no or a wise crack like “that depends on what you want to talk about”? And no that’s not rapport building.
  4. “How are you today” – Don’t ask me that! What business is it of yours how I am?  What if I am having a crappy day do you really want me to share that?  If I am having a good day am I going to tell a stranger on the phone?  Worse still if you are calling one of my fellow Scots they will answer “not bad” and ask “how are you” “not bad either” great, is not bad the position you want to start this sales pitch from?  You just lost momentum and gave your buyer time to think up an excuse not to engage with you.
  5. “In your area on XXX” – is that the best reason you can come up with to convince the buyer to meet with you – “You are in my area”? “Oh well then, if you are in my area I had better make time in my busy diary to see you” – Get Real.
  6. “To tell you about the benefits” –You mean make a sales pitch that is as bad as this one? Buyers don’t want to buy they want results, they want problems solved and they want expert advice from credible professional sales people.  Just tell me what’s in it for me, what specifically is different about your offering and what will it do for me.
  7. “Have you got just 15 minutes” – You can close sales in 15 minutes?  I asked the guy and he admitted that a sales meeting took at least 45 minutes and that he always over ran and had to rush his appointments.  His boss had told him to ask for 15 minutes as it was easer to get than 45 minutes, wrong it’s a hundred times harder.  You know you can’t close the deal in 15 minutes the buyer knows it and you both know you are unprofessional for not asking for enough time. Worse still the buyer now knows that you are dishonest.  Engage the buyer on the phone, ask deep and searching questions be professional, be intelligent, show a genuine interest in the prospect and his problems and you become someone that the buyer would like to meet – Ask for an hour and deserve an hour.

To sum it up the script makes the sales guy sound like he is begging for an appointment and has nothing to offer.  You may also have picked up an angry undertone in my writing – well I am angry about this script – the guy was selling sales training!

If someone sells to me this is the least I would expect:

“Hello is that Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp”? (yes) “Great the reason I want to talk to you is…” (Give me a hook and then ask a question to engage me in conversation). Find out my pain, tease me with part solutions from your expert experience of helping people like me and then offer me a meeting to tell me more and maybe even bring along a case study or two. Oh and don’t tell me you will clear your diary to see me (that’s begging) offer me two dates when you are genuinely free and take it from there, I want to believe that I am not the only person who is willing to meet you.

The best way to get an appointment is to be the type of person that people want to meet.

Buyers don’t want meetings with beggars they want meetings with experts who have engaged them on a deeper level, who have something to teach and a product that can solve a problem.

If the sales person changes his approach the appointments will flow, if he doesn’t he will blame the script and the management and quit – at the same time the management will just say there goes another sales guy who couldn’t sell.

Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp

Intelligise Be Brilliant

Everyone hates “Sales People” BUT they love “Experts”

Solo oily heed text

Everyone hates sales people – admit it you do as well – even sales people hate sales people!

When a sales person approaches you in a store and asks “can I help you” unless you are in the Apple Store or maybe PC World you automatically say “no thanks just looking”.  Even if you are not just looking, even when you really could do with a second opinion on which shirt goes with the trousers you just picked out.  When a telesales person gets you on the phone you will rarely give them the chance to tell you about the deal they have for you or the service they offer.  At the networking event when someone you just met delivered his elevator pitch before you have even had a conversation and tried to force his card on you, the only person watching who didn’t know that you were not going to do business is the salesman.

The rare exception I mentioned was when you go into the Apple Store or PC World you actively seek out the salesman to ask advice we value their expertise, you understand that you may know less than them and so you are desperate to tell them what we need, how we will use it and how much you can afford and boy will their advice influenced your buying decision.

Why?

Because everyone hates “Sales People” BUT they love “Experts”.

But it doesn’t have to be that way!

In the 80s and 90s sales people were trained to push information, to state the features and benefits overcome objections and then try to close the deal.  The world has moved on but sales training in the main hasn’t.  People don’t want to be sold to they want to be engaged, advised and empowered to make the buying decision themselves.   Engaging means sharing expertise, questioning and delving deep into the needs and wants of the buyer, engaging is far more powerful than running through the old style sales script.  Engaging empowers the buyer to make the decision, it is easier than selling, it’s more fun AND everyone I coach to engage increase their sales by at least 25%.

So stop selling people what you want them to buy and start engaging and helping people buy what they really need.

Fortunately becoming an expert is easy, yes you need to read your product manual and service level agreement etc but that’s just background info.  The best way to become an expert and be loved by your clients is to ask questions.  A field sales person will meet between four and a dozen buyers a day, a telesales person will talk to at least 20 decision makers a day and a retail sales person will talk to up to a hundred.

Now imagine if those sales conversations were used to engage and to understand the reasons that the buyers may want to buy and to understand the problems and pain experienced by the buyers of their service.  How long would it take for every one of them to become real experts in their marketplace, to be able to offer really credible advice and to share information that will empower the buyers, make them respect the sales person and make it far more likely that they will buy?

Results can be instant but to make engaging a habit and get 25% plus sales increases usually takes people I coach about three weeks.  The person in every business that is best placed to access the knowledge required to become an expert is the sales person but most of them just keep trying to force the sale through rather than listening to reasons that their prospect needs to buy and that’s a pity because everyone hates sales people BUT they love experts.

Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp

Intelligise Be Brilliant