The 7 Deadly Sins Of Social Selling

Social selling in 2018 seems like it’s about as popular as the grim reaper was in the 1980’s. Remember that bowling alley advert?

There is no doubt ‘Social’ done poorly sucks big time, and let’s be clear, most do it wrong. Typically this happens if you don’t have a clear strategy, plan and a system which works.

I’m a card-carrying Social Selling devotee and proudly so. Done correctly, with discipline and, yes, supported by other prospecting methods, my pipeline is full, to the point of being able to choose whom I wish to work with. Luck or systems and processes?

How can I make it easier for YOU to NOT SUCK at social?

Start by avoiding these 7 Deadly Social Selling Sins at all costs.

SIN # 1

A profile which provides no valid reason to connect.

Your first impressions today are more likely to be online than face-to-face. With 75% of B2B buyers (IDC research 2014) researching their seller online as part of their decision-making process. First impressions are electronic. If you STILL suck online, why?

SIN # 2.

Connecting with everyone.(Or no-one)

Connecting with everyone WILL ruin your LinkedIn experience. It’s actually a worse situation to be in than having very few connections. Even the guy who started LinkedIn, Reid Hoffman, agrees. I see many people connecting with others when it makes no logical sense to connect. You simply can’t be all things to everyone. Having 10,000 connections or more tells me you simply don’t understand how this Social selling thing works. #Cull Baby, Cull. Do you think Ol’ Dick Branson is going to ‘get back to you’ if you send him an inmail? – No chance.

SIN # 3

Not sending a personalised connection request.

You want me to accept a connection request? Why? It’s just not that hard.

And you’re certainly not going to stand out with a stock-standard request. And you need to stand out. What is it you really want? Do you want a conversation or just another connection? I don’t want another connection, in fact, most people don’t. However, I’m delighted to have another conversation. I’m clear on what I really want. Are you?

Sin # 4

DON’T PITCH ME. (Your reachout strategy sucks)

It is a sin to not have a clear, outlined, rehearsed, repeatable strategy, which is proven to drastically increase your chances of being connected or starting a genuine conversation on LinkedIn. With over 60 years of scientific research on persuasion (influence) available for you to use, what strategies are you using to INCREASE your chances of turning a good connection into a sales conversation?

Sin # 5

Not being Disciplined or Consistant.

Just because you post a bunch of stuff on Tuesday night, doesn’t mean your prospects and clients are on LinkedIn then too. You need to manage your feed, know your target markets’ read times and schedule your content accordingly. It’s not a 15min a week game. Toughen up, Princess!

Sin # 6

Connecting and ????

Most people spend more time connecting with NEW people (see SIN #’s 2 & 3) than actually trying to communicate with their existing, valuable connections. How can you leverage your existing network best?

SIN # 7

Counting Views, Likes and Comments.

This is the C-grade game on social. The A-grade players are measuring how many people respond, and how much real INTEREST you can drive from your activity (yeah, real sales LEADS, from social, scary I know). Don’t get INTERACTION and INTEREST confused. Interaction is the ‘fools gold’ of social.

As well as being a sales execution coach and trainer to Australia’s corporate sector. Mark is the #1 Ranked Linkedin Social Seller in Australia. Contact Mark via Inmail message or mark@salesitv.com for a discussion around sales growth, coaching, social media, golf, cycling, AFL and sales effectiveness. 

Twitter: Mark McInnes @mamcinnes

Featured post

SPAM by any other name is still SPAM. Marketing fails of 2017 & (I suspect) 2018

Screen Shot 2018-01-10 at 1.24.27 pm

 

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

There is a common email/ LinkedIn strategy going around which is harming hundreds of business as they fall into the trap to using lazy outreach strategies, applying a SHOTGUN type of approach in a poor attempt to win more business. In reality, all they are achieving is losing LOTS of customers – FAST.

As the year wound down I was surprised by how many EDMs (Electronic Direct Mail) I was receiving from people/ businesses I had not done any business with. I’m sure you were the same.

Those businesses were Real Estate agents from the Eastern Sydney suburbs, Marketing companies, Pet food businesses just to name a few, there were more. As I always do, the very first time I see an EDM which I have not signed up for I unsubscribe. In nearly every instance the perps (perpetrators) used Mail-chimp as their email management device (I mean mismanagement device).

You see, when you unsubscribe from a mail-chimp EDM it tells you, in the top left corner of the browser, what the name of the list was called by those who created it. And, it was nearly always <First name> ‘Bob’s LinkedIn list’. What I have now deduced was that some 1st connections of mine had downloaded their entire connections worth of emails, mine included, and then sent out a SPAM email to every one of their connections.

Downloading all your connections email addresses is something very easy to do (Here’s how). But why would you then ruin your network and your personal brand by spamming everyone? For example, I don’t live in the east of Sydney so why should I care if the local Double Bay real estate agent wished me a Merry Christmas and was closed from the 25th of Dec to the 8th of Jan? – quite predictably, I don’t. Most importantly that particular business owner could’ve made an educated guess that I didn’t care, yet they still sent me that message, along with the other 2,200 of their 1st connections. I’m genuinely perplexed why anyone would think this is a good marketing strategy in 2017/ 2018.

Importantly, this is NOT illegal to do IF (and it’s a big IF) the email address is publicly available (from your LinkedIn profile) and that it is reasonable to assume that the goods or services being SPAMMED your way, is relevant to your line of work. (So, Mr Real Estate agent in Double Bay, Mr Pet Store and Mr Marketing, how do you draw a parallel between me being a sales improvement coach/ trainer and property in East Sydney?/ Pet Food/ Marketing tools)? – It’s a pretty thin line you’re walking. This is a Facebook B2C being poorly applied on LinkedIn.

Earlier this year I asked my connection base if this was OK to do (strip email addresses and send EDMs) I gained over 45,000 views, nearly a hundred comments including some great interaction from the AMA (Australian Marketing Association). See a screenshot before it went super crazy below.

In short, my belief and what my network is telling me is that this strategy is ACTIVELY turning potential customers away. It’s a Business DECREASE Strategy.

What should/ could they do instead.

1 – Start a conversation when you initially connect with someone, this is the most effective and efficient time to start a conversation. Use tags (Hashtags) or other identifiers to organise your prospects into small groups.

Not everyone will respond and that’s OK, but it’s 100% more authentic and 100% more effective than SPAMMING people, many who are not in your target audience. The biggest mistake sellers make is trying to sell things to people who don’t want or can’t buy your products or services. This is a great example of that here on social/ #LinkedIn

2 – Build your network carefully (You now know why I rarely accept Real Estate Connections). Have a quick look at the flavour of their posts and see if that’s the sort of thing you’d like in your feed every day. If not, it’s OK to decline. (ignore). If you mess up your network, you mess up your feed. Mess up your feed and it’s hard to find and create the nuggets of conversations with real prospects you need to make LinkedIn work for you. You’ll then give up and become a social selling naysayer.

If you’d like to get off the SPAM roundabout and on to the credible out-reach bandwagon. Check out our courses to help you do that here. www.salesleader.online/courses

It’s not as hard as you think and does bring great results. One of our recent students had a shotgun strategy and was sending LinkedIn messages to his 10,000 strong (weak) network monthly without any cut through. By using a more targeted reach out strategy we were able to drive meetings and phone calls from his LinkedIn activity. It’s not hard, you just need to know how to do it and then execute.

As well as being a sales execution coach and trainer to Australia’s corporate sector. Mark is the #1 Ranked Linkedin Social Seller in Australia. Contact Mark via Inmail message or mark@salesitv.com for a discussion around sales growth, coaching, social media, golf, cycling, AFL and sales effectiveness. 

Twitter: Mark McInnes @mamcinnes

This article was originally posted on Mark’s LinkedIn

 

How to personalise connection requests directly from your phone. 3 steps to follow.

As we know, best practise is to include a personalised note when sending a connection request on LinkedIn. It positions you more credibly with the receiver, can highlight why you should connect and supports that your request it’s not a piece of spam.

One of the most popular LinkedIn information requests I get is “How do I customise connection requests from my mobile phone”?

 

If you’re like me, you often spend all day using ‘just your phone’ as your primary communication device. When I’m out and about meeting people, I like to connect with them straight away, so how do you do that in a professional manner, when you only have your phone handy?

Well, wonder no more.

1 –  You open the person’s LinkedIn profile on your phone via the LinkedIn app, next to the search window are 3 small dots.

2 – This opens up a menu of five options, one of which is ‘personalise invite’.

3 – Then, just as you would with any other connection request, simply type in the reason for your connection. I’d suggest leveraging a Dr Cialdini’s Ethical Persuasion strategies (details here) as a potential reason to connect, to drastically increase your chance of a quality connection.

NB: If I meet you for the first time in a business environment, I’m pretty comfortable simply standing next to you and sending each other a non-edited connection request in the same manner as if we were swapping business cards. Assuming that we are going to accept each other’s connection immediately.

If you’d like more high-quality tips and tricks on how to be a guru on LinkedIn please reach out for a chat.

 

This article was originally published on LinkedIn’s pulse.

As well as being a sales execution coach and trainer to Australia’s corporate sector. Mark is the #1 ranked Linkedin Social Seller in Australia. Contact Mark via Inmail message or mark@salesitv.com for a discussion around sales training, coaching, social media, golf, cycling, AFL and sales effectiveness. 

Twitter: Mark McInnes @mamcinnes

Are you losing deals first thing Monday morning?

In our recent research paper by SalesITV’s John Dougan,  “Bet Your Sales Meeting is failing” on sales meeting effectiveness, we uncovered a bunch of alarming detail, including;

25% of surveyed Sales Managers believe their Sales Meetings have NO impact on either SALES RESULTS or CUSTOMER CONVERSATIONS.

We now know they do have an impact, but not in the way they think.

One of the terrible things about running poorly executed sales meetings is that we don’t fully consider the knock-on-effect they have on our customers.

If we’re running sales meetings that lack value, direction and inspiration for our team, we can be sure that this is reflected in the meetings they’re running with their prospects and customers.

If our sales meetings aren’t helping our team to have better conversations with our potential customers, we are actually reducing the likelihood of our sellers being the winning vendor. Isn’t a sales meeting supposed to HELP salespeople win deals, not kill deals first thing Monday morning?

How about this; If our customers were invited inside our sales meetings would they be disappointed in the quality of the conversation or would they be pleased to be the focus?

Our sales meetings should be where we set the standard for how customer meetings should be run – punctual, prepared and purposeful.

Use this time to get your team focused, empower them with skills and keep motivation running high so they’re raring to go when we wrap up the meeting. If we promote this standard each week, we will find that it cascades through their daily activity, including meetings with customers.

What should we do?

  •  Role-model the type of behaviour that we would like to see in customer meetings in our sales meetings. (Lead by example).
  • Share best practice within the selling team. Who is having great conversations and how?
  • Focus on sharpening skills, beliefs and behaviours in our meetings.

Here’s to losing fewer deals first thing Monday.

As well as being a sales execution coach and trainer to Australia’s corporate sector. Mark is the #1 ranked Linkedin Social Seller in Australia. Contact Mark via Inmail message or mark@salesitv.com for a discussion around sales training, coaching, social media, golf, cycling, AFL and sales effectiveness. 

Twitter: Mark McInnes @mamcinnes

Is PROSPECTING the new CLOSING?

Is there still a place for ‘closing’ skills in 2016? 

Recently I’ve been thinking about prospecting and closing and how they impact on today’s sales activities. When I think back to my early days in sales, I remember we had plenty of conversations around closing.

How to close, different closing techniques, there was a mantra of Always Be Closing (ABC).

We learnt different types of closes.

The Puppy dog close, (which is probably my favourite BTW), the reverse close, the assumptive close, the ‘paperwork’ close and on and on the list went.

In fact, I remember there being specialised ‘closers’ in some organisations. These were salespeople who specialised in just closing deals.

Car dealerships even had ‘closing rooms’ when you got to the financial negotiation component of a car purchase they took you into the ‘closing room’.

I’m not about to suggest closing has gone away completely, but I do think we do it differently these days. Personally, I want to have a strong relationship with my clients, which lasts some considerable time. If I have to CLOSE them, beyond the ethical use of persuasion, then they probably won’t end up being great, loyal customers. Is this the same for all sales these days?

It feels like some of those ‘old school’ closes now seem to be used primarily as a way to bridge to a conversation about next steps rather than to ‘sign the contract’. For example, a reverse close could be handy at the end of a proposal presentation once a couple of well-handled objections are completed.

 “So, Bob is there any reason why we couldn’t go ahead with the solution we’ve offered”?

Consider this, if research says that our prospects and customers are doing all their pre-sale research online and only talking to us sales people once they’re at 57%, 61%, 49% – (whatever that number actually is), through their buying process – are we better off with a strong prospector to ensure we get introduced to the potential customer at 25% of the way through, or perhaps even earlier?

So what’s your take on the prospecting vs closing discussion?

Which is the more critical skill in 2016, Closing or Prospecting?

———————————————————————————————-
Check out the webinar recording below on Converting Opportunities into Sales -it’s got pragmatic strategies you can implement to hit your target this quarter and the next.

Mark is a sales execution coach and trainer to Australia’s corporate sector. Contact Mark via LinkedIN message or mark@salesitv.com.au for a discussion around sales training, coaching, golf and sales effectiveness. 

How to get meetings using LinkedIn (in just 5mins or less).

Would you like  8 – 10 New Business conversations every week?

Without doing any hard prospecting activity? Here’s how.

Watch this 5min video for a full explanation on HOW TO do that.

 

Why I think this strategy works.

1 – You choose who you’d like an introduction to. Most people simply ask ‘who can you refer me to’? The person you ask, whilst meaning well, tries to think of someone SAFE to refer you to. Or someone they think you’d like to talk to.

By bringing a list of 5 or 6 names of people you’d like to chat to, you’re much likely to get high-quality business introductions from it.

 

2 – All you need is the OK to call, or Inmail, or email the person using the reference name as a door opener. (Gary, I was having coffee this afternoon with Sam Smith and he suggested I give you a call. Do you have a moment?) – that’s all you need permission to do.

If you ask them to tie you together when they get back to the office, they run a very high chance of either forgetting or just doing a terrible job. This introduction is much more important to you than it is to them. Don’t leave it for them to do it – take control of the situation yourself. Make it easy for them to give you those warm introductions.

 

Some of the best strategies are actually the simplest.

Do yourself a favour and give this a try for every meeting you have planned for a week and see if you don’t generate more sales meetings and sales conversations as a result.

If you’d like more details on how I help businesses to drive real sales results by using how to strategies, just like this one. Please zoom across to my contact page or shoot me a direct email via mark@salesitv.com

 

 

You’re throwing your money away. What’s with all the discounting pt2.

4 steps to save your margins.

In my previous post on discounting, I highlighted the issue of salespeople, in all walks of business, opening their sales conversations with a discount. As shown in my real-world example of a major retailers sales person opening a sales conversation with me by offering a further discount ON TOP of the ticketed 40% discount already in place. Madness, I say.

Research shows 67% of sales people will offer a discount BEFORE a potential customer has even asked for one?

So what do we need to do?

I believe that we need to start by challenging the sales persons’ belief that a discount is the BEST way to open any conversation. Because it’s simply not. Discounting like this is only making your customers more likely to ask for future discounts and to be become ongoing ‘discount hounds’, sniffing out any possible discounts on offer. Not very good for anyone in the selling business.

Screen Shot 2017-09-25 at 8.41.25 pm.png

In order to stop this crazy practice, sellers need to develop a strong belief and a good understanding of what your products or services are worth and what the real value of those products is. This can be done in your sales meetings, or via specific coaching. Test your sellers limiting beliefs, test the pricing of your products against the market.

 

 

1 – CHALLENGE DISCOUNT BELIEFS.

Challenge your sales staff on their discounting behaviour and show them the quality of your total offering. You will need to give them the tools to explain to your customers why the pricing is what it is and explain what components make up the pricing strategy. It could be the product plus their expertise, that the stock is on hand for immediate delivery, it could be the returns policy, delivery service; it could be any number of items which bring value into your pricing. Just make sure you can explain it clearly. Because if you can’t, they won’t.

2 – BUILD PRICING CONFIDENCE.

Sales people need the confidence that what they are selling is worth the price they’re asking for it. To help build this confidence look for instances where the products in question HAVE sold at your desired price and hold them up as positive examples. This will help build belief in the credibility of the pricing strategy. Once their pricing confidence starts to build, holding prices becomes easier and the more they are able to hold their price with confidence, the less discounting they will feel they need to offer. It’s a circular process, as you provide pricing evidence, their belief grows, increasing confidence, impacting behaviour then producing better sales results. This is a key sales coaching task that every sales leader should be developing within their sales teams.

3 – START SMALL.

If, after all this, you still believe offering a discount as a starting point is valid in your sector or industry, then how about you try offering a smaller discount to start with, (instead of 15% try just 5%). This should make your ‘discount hound customers’ happy as they still feel like they are starting the negotiation on a win. It means that even if the sales process progresses as per every other translation in your pipeline  (further discounts applied or not) you will still have more margin left at the end. This means more profit for business development… or just more money in your pocket.

4 – FOCUS ON SPEND not DISCOUNT.

If your industry, product or sales process is heavily discount driven, chances are it’s in a marketplace where pricing comparisons are easy to make (consumer electronics for example), therefore it should be relatively easy for sales people to draw customers away from the discounts given column and onto the bottom line. A $2,000 TV is only ever worth $2,000,  never $3,000. Having a strong understanding of what your competitors are doing with pricing and stock holdings is essential to holding your price in these instances, as delivery and supply times can often be worth 5 -10% in the negotiation.

Is it the COST or the PRICE you’re concerned about?

 

So, now that I’ve pointed it out, as you travel around, during the week, pay attention to how some sales people start their sales conversations. Use them as examples of what not to do, so that you can coach your sales team to better results. You simply don’t get a second chance at making a great first impression and I believe opening with a discount creates the wrong impression.

Have a think about how you and your sales team can have better sales conversations with your customers without discounting so heavily. I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments.

Well drilled businesses and well trained sales teams know how to handle discounting behaviour and discount requests. Let me ask you, what would your business look like if your sales team gave out 5% or even 10% less discounts over a year whilst maintaining the same revenue level?

If you would like more information on how to control rampant discounting in your business. Contact me directly via email mark@salesitv.com or our contact form here.

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑