Posts Tagged 'Sales advice'

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

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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