3 Things to Improve Your LinkedIn Experience

1. Personalize!

Think of LinkedIn like a real-life networking event. If you walk in and try and tell everybody about your product right away, people are going to be annoyed. They’ll avoid speaking with you all together. Same thing goes for LinkedIn! Timothy Hughes (@Timothy_Hughes) talks about this in his book “Social Selling”.

bad invitePersonalize your message to whomever you’re trying to connect with. DO NOT leave the generic “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn”. Also, don’t try to sell them on your product on the ‘introduction’ screen.

Instead, lead with something genuine! I like to comment something nice about their experience or background. Maybe we have mutual connections in common. Perhaps they’d be an asset to my network because we’re in the same industry. Whatever the case may be, take an extra second and personalize it. You’d be surprised at what people have to say in return.

That took me an entire 3 minutes to look up the most recent post Jason shared, personalize the approach and send the connection request. Now, when Jason accepts, he’s going to see my personalized message and think, ‘Hmm… This guy actually took a few minutes to be relevant. I wonder what he does.’ This could be the beginning to a long and prosperous relationship and I could even help him with a problem someday.

2. Save the Math Equations For Facebook

If you truly care about developing your network, providing value and establishing yourself as an industry thought leader, don’t bother engaging with things that are a waste of time. They seem harmless and it’s an easy way to get a lot of new profile views and connections, but all its takes is one bad ‘like’ and you could ruin your reputation to a potential influencer or buyer. Because… as I’m sure you’ve all seen, you accept a new connection and your feed gets filled with junk.

hide unfollowFor most of us, I don’t want to clog my feed with silly things. Once I see someone like, share or comment on something irrelevant to my ‘world’, I either ‘hide this particular update’ or ‘unfollow user’. I don’t have time to scroll through my feed and see something irrelevant. I go to Facebook and Instagram for that stuff.

Think of it this way; would your boss, mentor or favorite leader find your post worthwhile? If not… then don’t like or comment.

3. Show Your Appreciation!

When someone comments or shares your content, send them over a quick thank you. Envision this: Karen shares my article with her network of 2,000 people. My name, and article have just been introduced to her network. That’s a completely new audience that I’ve been introduced to… Maybe someone in Karen’s network has some questions for me about what I do for a living.

You never know the opportunities that can present themselves unless you do the little things. All of these tips only take a little time to do but will pay off tenfold. If the person never connects with you, even though you personalized it, don’t get discouraged! You can always remove your connection request and try again. (LinkedIn Article on how to do that)

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#Social Selling – What is it and Why Does it Matter?

socialsellingIf you haven’t picked up a copy of “Social Selling’ by Tim Hughes and Matt Reynolds, you’re missing out. (Quick – Amazon awaits) This is a HUGE BUZZ word right now in the sales world. But… do you know why? Of Course you do… cough cough. As we continue to develop within the information age, there is so much ‘stuff’ readily available… all the time. Website’s, content, pictures, white papers, videos, demos, chat bots, customer service teams, review sites, and your social networks. But what about the sales guy? Poof! Who needs ’em?

There’s a handful of statistics out there that say, ‘65% of buyers do their research before contacting salespeople’, ‘50% of the sales process is already done before the sales person is brought to the table.’ WHY?

“Businesses are now finding they achieve better results by asking employees to use social networks to research solutions to problems in a way that removes bias”1

Kinda scary right?! Our future buyers are going to listen to what everybody else has to say and not come to me with questions… Obviously I’m biased… I’ve got the best product and service out there, ‘said every sales person, ever’. Companies and individuals don’t always want to hear about the best features and benefits from a sales person. Often times, they want to hear about what’s gone wrong. A sales person isn’t going to tell a prospect whats gone wrong lately… that’s sales suicide. So, the buyer is going to the internet.

It’s YOUR job to make sure they’re reading the right content. It’s YOUR job to continuously provide value to them while they’re going through the process. You need to find where your buyers are, and engage with them on their channel. They’re not going to come to you… so you’ve got to go to them.

“…Companies need to find and create a community so they move from carrying their own torch, to having a community that carries it for them. They becomes the lord of the manor, with customers, employees and even better still a wider network working to their common good.”2

It’s one thing to share all types of content… and it’s another thing to only share your company’s content. Don’t do the later. It makes you look biased. You’re just regurgitating the same stuff they post. It makes you look like a robot and nobody wants to buy from someone that only shares content about their company. That being said, sharing your company’s content is a good thing and it’s a great start. But you’ve got to add other ‘stuff’ or else your network is going to recognize that and they’ll stop listening to you.

Tim Hughes has been in the sales and Social Selling game for a long time. There’s a reason why he wrote the book! He did a survey on the ROI of Social Selling and…

“The number one piece of advice I received was to know your target markets, listen, engage and interact with them. When you build trust with people, they will also open their networks to you.”3

Ah-Ha! Makes sense, right? It’s 100% true. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been introduced to someone because of what I’ve shared made an impact on them. People talk… a lot! If you share valuable information on line, eventually that information will be shared offline. The possibilities are endless. I could share one article on a specific HR topic that catches the attention of a CHRO. Then they share it with their network… now, imagine the klout that person has within their industry! The snowball starts rolling down the hill and you’ve just tripled your reach. You’ve just made an impact on so many more people!

Now, it’s your job to reach out to all of those people that you’ve come in contact with. DON’T try and sell them right away… that makes you look bad! Show some appreciation and ask them how you can provide more value. Often times, I’ve found, that I’ll get a, “oh, I didn’t know you sold xyz” or “we’re looking at switching this system.. any advice?”. Yippy! You’ve just found yourself a brand new opportunity that wouldn’t have transpired any other way that sharing content.

“Building your online profile and community means you need to talk with many strangers; these people may be prospects, competitors and influencers already.”4

I love the process of Social Selling! It takes a lot of time and energy to build up these networks and trust of others. Don’t get discouraged. ONE huge issue people make; They spend all of their time on Social Selling for a month… realize they aren’t going to hit their numbers and say, ‘it doesn’t work’. Baloney! Social Selling can’t be the only thing you’re doing to drive business. Social Selling compliments calling, emailing and knocking on doors. The process of social selling is; develop trust, provide value, engage with people and then take the conversation offline. Once you’re offline, begin your sales process.

Social Selling is the act of getting in front of the buyer while or before they’re doing their due-diligence. Because, as stated earlier, the sales person is being brought into the conversation at the last minute to put the pricing together.

 

Don’t worry; There’s more from me to come about:

Social Selling | Tim Hughes

Oh yeah… get this! Tim and I are having a chat next week via Twitter. Come join the fun.

SalesHacker-Tim

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Agreements, Trigger Events & Introductions

hacking salesGoing through the sales process can be fun and exciting… especially when the potential client is excited about what you have to offer and the price is right. The last thing you want to do is say the wrong thing when you’re closing the deal.

“There’s a big difference in someone’s mind when you use the word contact versus the work agreement. But often they mean the same thing.”1

A contract can sound scary and make anyone second guess their decision. An agreement on the other hand sounds less threatening. In reality, they can both mean the same thing. The agreements I have clients sign are not binding… so I don’t even bother saying contract because it isn’t one. When you’re going to get a price lock on a deal, then you might need a contract.

Whether you’re engaging with the prospect or they’re signing the agreement, you got to find trigger events to keep yourself in the mix. I LOVE trigger events because it gives me another reason to reach out to the prospect.

“A trigger event that most salespeople don’t utilize is holidays. You can use any major holiday or even a Hallmark holiday as an excuse to send a warm follow-up email.”2

Absolutely! I’ve spoken about trigger events in the past and this is another prime example of an easy touch point. Who doesn’t like to talk about what they’ve got planned over the holiday’s? You can also leave social media to see how they celebrate holidays. If they go all out, like in The Office, maybe you should stop by with a gift basket to say hi! Those little gestures can go a long ways.

Depending on what type of software you’re using to connect with your prospects and clients, you can find all sorts of ways to reach back out to companies. LinkedIn, Twitter and Google are the best engines to find Trigger events.

This next piece really resonates with me because I’ve been experiencing this later…

“The problem is sales is that salespeople tend to be ‘givers’… …if salespeople give throughout the process without getting much in return, they condition the client to treat them like a doormat.”3

I’m a salesperson that likes to bend over backwards for my prospects and clients… This really sucks because people try to take advantage of my ‘giving’ mentality. Feelings like I’m going to lose the business because I say ‘no’ sucks… but it’s better than being walked all over.

While I get first hand experience with this…. I think that’s going to be the only way a salesperson can learn about being a doormat. Fill your pipeline with enough business that you don’t have to worry about saying ‘no’ and being a doormat.

One great way to do that is by asking for introduction!

“Make Introductions Mutually Beneficial. This is important! Try to make introductions only when you truly believe there’s real mutual benefit, even if that benefit on one side is in the future.”4

I think one thing to also include is that you need to ASK. A lot of people are afraid to ask for introductions. I’m not talking about the BS “if you’re not the right contact, can you introduce me to them?” type of introduction. If you actually want to meet someone within a company and a connection of yours is connected, personalize the approach and let that person know why you’re reaching out for an intro.

Whenever I make a new connection on LinkedIn, I also let the person know that they can ask me for introductions to anyone in my network. But, if they ask, I always make sure that they give me a better understanding of what they’re looking to accomplish with the introduction.

An additional Ah-Ha Moment from Max is that:

“You will win because distribution is king, and these tools will allow you to own distribution at a repeatable and scalable level. Always be testing, measuring, and optimizing no matter how good the numbers are. You can always do better”5

It’s so true! We can always be doing better, providing more value and intriguing our prospects and clients. The end of this book, Hacking Sales, came very fast. It’s an incredible read because there is so much information. It’s insane how many different products are out there that will help you do your job.

You’ve got to read this book!

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Content Creates Opportunity | #AskGaryVee

 Where did all the good storytellers go? Stories paint great pictures and people love putting themselves in the shoes of the characters. Remember “The Great Gatsby”? That’s an incredible story… Who wouldn’t want to be Gatsby for an evening. Hell, they have parties named after the guy because they’re so epic. Now take storytelling and relate it to sales!

“People buy with with their hearts, not their heads, and the way to every consumer’s heart is through a good story.”1

Tell them a story about you. Tell a story about the success of another client. Tell a story relating to the prospects pain point and how you can help them overcome their issue. Don’t just tell them, help them visualize. You’ll create some type of relationship and that will go a long ways.

If you’re already connected with them via LinkedIn or Twitter, you can use those platforms to help tell stories. Send them a YouTube video, whitepaper, data sheet or even a Twitter video. Personalize your approach and that will build rapport.

Gary talks about content and he creates a lot of Ah-Ha Moments for me. If you’re creating good content and sharing it with people, you’re creating great opportunity to reach a lot of people. But what about curated content? Taking someone else’s content, adding your personal touch and then sending it out onto the web. It’s kinda like how I post some material on LinkedIn or Twitter which was originally created by Paychex. I’m not taking any credit for it… I’m just changing the titles to attract to my network, adding some hashtags and giving Paychex credit.

“…if I added curated content to my original material, it would bring me even more exposure and create more opportunity.”2

It works! You never know what’s going to attract certain people. The internet is ALWAYS changing and there is always new information. Content at 11am could result in a bunch of likes and shares, however, content around 5pm could only get a few. The more content you’re able to spit out there, the more opportunity you can achieve.

I’ll be honest. It’s hard to create a lot of content and post everyday. I’m able to post about 3 days a week… I take roughly 5 Ah-Ha Moments I love from the current book I’m reading and then write about it. It can take me anywhere from 30-60 pages to find those 5 Ah-Ha Moments. Sometimes I’ll find a few Ah-Ha Moments in a row, but they all reinforce the previous moment. I’m trying to give the reader, you, what I think you’ll find valuable.

“Content Creates opportunity, and if you can’t produce the content at the rate your audience wants it or that benefits you, your business won’t survive.”3

Ain’t that the truth. In the information age, content is always being published. So much, all the time. There are so many different platforms to post on. Posting content is better than not posting content… so you just gotta do it! Alongside prospecting, content can help greatly. Why do you think so many companies hold webinars, offer free trials, give away stuff to engage their audience? It’s so they can create some type of connection, present some type of value and then sell you on it. But, you have to make sure that the value created is worthy of the prospect buying. Just because YOU think it’s value… does your prospects??

“Most people don’t jab – bring value – enough before pulling back for that right hook – going in for the sale. They’re less concerned with providing value than with making the sale, and it backfires every time.”4

It’s pretty true. There are all sorts of different ways to look at this too. It really depends on your job, your industry, your sales strategy… the list goes on. People want value… so you need to find a way to give it to them. There’s been a phenomenon online since SEO became important. CONTENT IS KING. Do it and don’t stop.

“Here’s what you must remember: No matter who your audience is, you’re always one great piece of content away from changing your life. Everyone you know started off as an unknown until they did the thing that made them know.”5

Ask Lindsey Boggs (@lindseyboggs) about her experience. She wrote “How I get a 50% Return On InMails“. Since posting, she’s had 22,011 views, 1,327 Likes, 281 Comments… That’s insane. Because of that, she got invited to a LinkedIn conference. Then, based on her SSI, the best at the conference with 99 :-O, she got to shoot free throws with Shaq. Ya… Shaquille O’neal. That’s freaking unbelievable. That just reinforces the idea that anyone is one post away from becoming a rockstar! #AlwaysBePosting

 

There’s more to come from me about:

#AskGaryVee | Gary Vaynerchuk

Get “#AskGaryVee” on Amazon

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