LinkedIn — Platform of Choice for business networking

This was the subject of this week’s Business Pulse survey. When polled which platform for social networking for business would be the choice for businesses at this point next year. The results broke down as follows: LinkedIn — 39 percent Facebook — 26 percent Twitter — 19 percent Other — 12 percent MySpace — 2 percent Spoke — 0 percent.  Source: bizjournals

Given this is the case, LI members may wish to pause before posting updates that bring no value to the reader.  Updates such as, I just returned from the beach, etc. do not offer a value to those who are seeking information in a media saturated day.

There are many opportunities to wax on personal activities.  LinkedIn, however,  is a valueable business resource.  Let’s work together to bring value to one another in the information we share.   Together we can keep each other honest.


Blogging Really Works!

It is said that you’d best be careful what you post on the world wide web because people actually will read it.

I can testify that this is true and thank goodness for blogging.  I was contacted by someone who read something I posted on a blog and this has resulted in a terrific business opportunity.

Truth be told, I really don’t know what I said exactly, nor where I said it since I’m generating content perhaps faster than I can retain.  But it was enough of the right words in the right place at the right time for a potential customer to find me.

Everyone is preaching the obligatory need for a digital footprint.  Consumers are smart these days.  When they are ready to buy, they seek out products/services on the internet and the expert advice available there. 

Hop into the fray, because the digital marketplace doesn’t sleep while you do.  I posted a while back that I’d benefitted from some passive selling because someone had found me online overnight and contacted me with a business lead.

Create a legacy that will keep selling for you residually.   And it’s FREE!

Pain Is Weakness Leaving The Body

Recently spotted this on a t-shirt. 

Did you experience pain in your sales efforts today?  Is it because you stretched beyond your comfort zone and with that comes the pain of not knowing all the right things to say at the right time in the right way? 

If you develop new business and aren’t regularly experiencing pain, you probably aren’t accomplishing a whole lot.  Developing new business is painful and if “they” are correct, even moreso in the current market.

Stretch yourself to make the uncomfortable calls.  Believe in yourself to embrace the unknown and unknownable.  That’s when the real learning takes place.

Maximize your connectivity

Some people are just connectable.  I happen to be one of them.  I like meeting people; I like helping people and I’m not afraid to ask others for help.  There’s not room for a big ego when it comes to sales success.

The easiest way to smooth an introduction to a prospective client is through a mutual connection.  If you are lucky enough to find you have a connection to someone you need to call, ask for an introduction. 

Yesterday I asked for such a favor, and the recipient of my request sent a very brief email to my target contact.  It was only 2 sentences.  (Tip: if you want upper echelon management to read an email it better be brief).  To my astonishment, the person I needed to speak to actually called me!  From his cell phone!   Without this connection, it might have taken me a month’s worth of daily calls to try and break through the gatekeeper to reach this person.

Yet, there he was and within 2 minutes, I’d secured an appointment to meet him face to face.  Golden.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  And be gracious about it while doing so.  Turn on your “Tigger”.  Be the one humble enough to show appreciation for a hand extended. 

Behind every gesture is an agenda.  It might simply be because you returned the gift of gratitude that someone wanted to help you.

What does Father’s Day have to do with Sales Success?

I’m a firm believer that in order to serve, you have to have a full cup.  The best sellers see themselves as servers and seek to meet the needs of others.  It’s far harder to do this if your own needs are not met first.

In Outliers, Malcom Gladwell discusses the environmental factors in success.  Among them is the foundation provided by great parents and if you are among the lucky to have come from great parents, be sure to take the time to honor them and be grateful. 

You have some time to prepare for Father’s Day and if you consider implementing the suggestions that follow, you may need this time to muster the courage for a heart to heart chat with your dad.

Here are some questions asked by Judith Newman, which were meant to be asked to mothers, but since I didn’t discover these in time for Mother’s Day, I might pop on Dad next month.

What’s the one thing you would have done differently as a Dad?  Why did you choose my Mom?  In what ways do you think I’m like you?  And not like you?  Is there anything you have always wanted to tell me but never have?  Is there anything you regret not having asked your parents?  What’s the best thing I can do for you right now?  Is there anything you wish had been different between us–or that you would still like to change?  When did you realize you were no longer a child?

When you dress for sales success, remember to tend to the inside before venturing outside.  Your results will improve.

Impregnable Sales Confidence

“If I don’t have it, you don’t want it.”  This was spoken by a fellow attendee at the eWomen’s Network meeting today. 

Isn’t that terrific to be so sure of your product offering to say, if I don’t have it, you don’t want it.  Man that’s powerful.

There are a lot of ways to respond to a customer that says they want a lower price, a different grade, or somehow they seek something that you know to be inferior to what you provide.  You have a choice.  You can match price, but that’s no sign of customer loyalty to you.  They just want the lowest price regardless of provider.   They can say they are willing to settle for a lesser grade of product, and you could walk away in frustration that this customer doesn’t appreciate what you offer.

Or you could start selling.  That what begins when you hear the word no from your customer.

We should all aspire to be as sure of ourselves and the value of the products and services we represent so we can say, if I don’t have it, you don’t want it.

When does tenure become cynicism?

I’ve spent the past 21 years in the same position, with the same company, in the same office.  Despite title ascension,  I’ve done pretty much the same thing for over two decades in the same location.   This circumstance has a way of making one feel like they know all the answers.  This type of thinking will bury a salesperson faster than just about any other bad practice.

One of the key elements to being a successful seller is the ability to always keep listening, learning and see the world through a kid’s perspective so you are open to the input of others, i.e. your customers.  

About a week after I was laid off, a US Airways plane went down in the Hudson River.  Cpt. Chelsey Sullenberger, heroically landed this plane on top of the river, saving all 155 people on board.  Sully was credited with excellent judgement earned from 40+ years in the cockpit.  I remember thinking, good thing US Airways didn’t see longevity as a negative, or we might have had 155 folks in that icy river.

However excellent one’s judgement might be as a result of lengthy tenure, it is a fact today that tenured corporate employees who are at the top end of the pay scale in their field are frequently among the first to go in these times of contraction.  And in corporate America, where efficiency is ever more guiding decisions, this might be best move for the company to flourish.

But consider this.  When you are selling, sometimes it can work in your favor to know less rather than more.  Imagine if you didn’t know that you shouldn’t ask for the order…you’d feel free to simply do it.   Imagine if you didn’t know that Mr. SoandSo Bigtime doesn’t take appointments on Mondays…you’d likely try to see him on Monday when you are fresh.   Imagine you didn’t know that most of your customers leave early on Fridays…so you stuck around a bit late and scored a big appointment at 530p just cause you tried that.

Stay fresh, dump any mental baggage that might be holding you back.  Be alert to fighting cynicism of your own doing.

Sell like you just don’t know any better not to.