Larry Levine

Attention Sales Reps: Is Your Digital Self, Digitally Referrable?

"Referrals aren't easily given. If you don't take the time to establish credibility, you're not going to get the referral. People have to get to know you. They have to feel comfortable with who you are and what you do"
Ivan Misner

How is your digital sales rep doing? I know, what the heck are you talking about? As a sales professional think of your online presence as the digital sales representation of you. How you choose to use your digital self will have a direct effect on your sales process, your sales success and your sales career.

Allow me to set the stage... Mirror Mirror on the digital wall, who's the fairest one of all?

 

Your online reputation along with your online presence is your brand. Your brand is what your client's and potential clients are seeing when they look through the digital window into who you are. Therefore, your online presence precedes anything else when it comes to making a first impression for you.

If a potential client is looking at your web presence, it’s to get an idea of who you are, what you are all about and are you bringing the goods. If they are to choose between two people with equal credentials, social media and your social presence may come into play. This reminds of a recent post of mine - Why Should I Talk With You Continued... Don't Be An Empty Suit!

People won’t ever engage in a business conversation nor buy from you if they don’t even understand why they should pay attention to you.

In this fast paced, highly connected and extremely networked business environment; your online presence will make you or possibly break you. Your online presence matters:

  • It's often times the first impression of you
  • They (your potential client) will either find you or they will find your competitor
  • Buyers are self-educators
  • It's an extremely powerful customer service weapon
Monitor your online presence or someone else will, think about it

YOUR DIGITAL STORY - HOW WELL IS IT TOLD?

Why are so many B2B sales reps struggling with this online, digital sales world? Sales reps are wrestling to secure net new business at the same rate as they did before, why? Quite simple, their client and prospect conversations have become more sophisticated and a majority of sales reps haven't caught up.

Successful sales professionals can tell the right story. Unfortunately not all in sales can tell that story as no rep can tell the right story every single time. 

According to Marc Lindwall at Forrester Research, 78% of executive buyers claim salespeople don’t have relevant examples or case studies to share with them, and 77% say salespeople don’t understand their company’s issues or where they can help. If you are not tailoring your story to every different prospect you are not going to win the deal.

Questions for you all to think about...

  • How many of your clients know your story?
  • Those clients who know your story how willing are they to promote your story?
How are you effectively marketing yourself as a sales rep when nobody knows you exist in your marketplace?

IS YOUR DIGITAL SELF, DIGITALLY REFERRABLE?

All of this digital story telling got me thinking about how referrable are you based upon your online presence. With predictability, can your online presence and your online story inspire your clients to refer business conversations your way? For those who want expert knowledge on predictable referral selling (check out my man Mike Garrison, the referral machine). The way you build predictable referrals are based on relationships, experiences and stories.

Could your current clients refer you with confidence based upon your story as it is told within your LinkedIn profile?

Here lies my concern - How many sales reps truly give a "rip" about their online presence? How many sales reps can truly articulate their story, their value proposition and what they bring to the business table via their online presence?

In order for you as a sales rep to become digitally referrable you must give a **** about your clients (inspiration via my man Keenan and this video).

 

Your clients are the lifeblood to your success. No clients, no business. Think of a servant led mindset and lead with your heart to serve them and bring about a positive change. Make the commitment to yourself and spend quality time with your clients so they understand your story.

Know thyself know thy client
  • You must think about your clients more than your competitors.
  • You must give your clients reasons to stick around by providing an outstanding experience.
  • You must focus on their success not your success.
  • You must make them feel important.

Sales reps must take the time to truly get to know their clients. I encourage you all to ask these questions to each and every one of your clients...

What is the difference I have made to your business?
What value do my services, products or solutions create for you?

How do you truly know your clients and how well do they truly know you?

This question alone can become the cornerstone, the defining moment and your pathway to many great stories.

If any one of your current clients refer their friends or their network to you then what does your online presence, your LinkedIn profile have to say about you?

To all sales reps... If you don't know the value you bring to your current clients then how the heck can you go out and prospect for new business? How can you clearly start your business story? Your clients are a wealth of sales help all you need to do is ask.

As you start to nail your unique value proposition and when done correctly, this will engage the hearts and minds of your clients and future clients.

Encourage your clients to go out and spread the word for you to your target audience. What better form of a thank you than having your clients helping you to grow your business.

NO DIGITAL SURPRISES!

In today’s digital age, it’s more important than ever to pay attention to your online reputation. Your online footprint as well as your reputation play an increasingly important role in determining your professional sales success. Don’t take them for granted. Become proactive and diligently manage what’s being said about you!

Are you digitally referrable?

We All Have A Story To Tell - How Well Are You Telling Your Story To Inspire Others?

Nothing Brings About Success Like Walking Through The Right Doors

For those close to me, who know me real well know I have no problem asking for help. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It is an opportunity to expand your horizons. I am absolutely floored and amazed the amount of people I know who simply fail to ask people for help.

I have personally made it my mission to inspire, instruct and impart nex gen sales methodologies inside the office technology space, better known as the copier channel.

In a previous post, Sales Transformation... The Key To Success As A Copier Sales RepI speak to how copier sales reps must transform themselves. They must take it upon themselves to innovative inside a very laggard channel, the copier channel.

EVOLVE OR FACE THE CONSUQUENCES - IT IS UP TO YOU!

During this past 18 months I have been blessed. In life, plain old **** happens! The spring of 2015, I found myself in a position where **** happened. We all face challenging times in life. We can either let it consume us and fade into a downward life spiral or we can use it as a launching pad to reinvent, reinvigorate and reignite passion; a passion to challenge ones mindset and skill set to start something new. A special shout out to my very good friend who started his journey at the same time Scott MacGregor, at SomethingNew.

I have had the fortunate experience of meeting many amazing people throughout my lifetime. A special thank you to my close friend and business partner Darrell Amy. Hands down one of the most genuine, authentic and caring individuals I know. His belief in me and more importantly his ability to push me out of my comfort zone, I am forever grateful!

THE LAUNCH OF SOMETHING NEW

Evolve or perish! Two words being thrown at sales reps all over the world. Evolve to me means trying something new, adapting, adopting and constantly being on the look out to improve everything about what you do.

With the support of Darrel Amy, my business baby was born! The Social Sales Academy as we are fully committed to helping sales teams integrate social selling aspects into the sales process to ignite and fuel net-new business. We want you to get results. We’re passionate about doing this the right way.

The Social Sales Academy was launched based upon the success I had as a copier sales rep in the Los Angeles marketplace (one of the most competitive in the United States) integrating all aspects of social into my sales process.

THE MOMENT, THE CONVERSATION, THE TIMES HOW THEY DID CHANGE

During this past 18 months I have been blessed. I have had the fortunate experience in meeting astonishing people all over the United States, the United Kingdom as well as Australia as I shared my story; providing help to sales teams as they build their digital sales presence.

Of all the people I have met, the one who stands out the most, the one who hands-down impacted my life is none other than Keenan. I was drawn to and connected with Keenanafter reading his book Not Taught the winter of 2015. His personality and how he delivers his message closely aligns with me, my style and who I am.

Keenan has been my inspiration, my mentor (yes he does give a ****) and once I met him my sounding board. I am here to tell you all, if you want to experience success in any capacity, you owe it to yourself to find great mentors; listen and learn from them.

THE CONVERSATION - WHAT CLICKED!

I never have a problem asking for help. I reached out to Keenan and asked to speak with him. We shared a few personal stories and he blessed me for spending my entire career inside the copier channel. Keenan took notice of the few blogs I had written and asked me one simple question, "Who is your target market?" Quite a simple answer, "The copier channel". Those who know Keenan, know he blogged every day for years as he told his story.

"So there you go" Keenan mentioned. He directed my focus to blogging directly to the copier channel.

Keenan lit the fire inside of me as I took our conversation as a personal challenge. Keenan stressed to me one word, consistency. If I wanted to make a difference inside the copier channel then you must consistently blog, educate, ignite and inspire the channel to take action. Become a "change creator" Keenan so eloquently said to me.

He gave me the moral support and the gentle nudge I needed to make blogging habitual. As 2017 comes to a midpoint, I have written well over 100 blogs and I owe it all to Keenan.

One day I get a direct message inside Twitter from Keenan, "What is your address, I would like to send you a personalized copy of my book." Inside it reads, "Keep up the good work. I see the changes already. Boom!"

Keenan didn't have to do any of this for me but he did. This is why I am forever grateful to Keenan. Our paths crossed for a reason because of something Keenan talks about frequently... You must give a ****. Plain and simple, you must give a ****. He cared enough that when I asked for some help he imparted some knowledge bombs on me.

Blogging, inspiring with insights and the impact Keenan has had on me has helped me successfully maneuver inside the copier channel all over the world. It has afforded me the opportunity to speak at various industry events all over the United States and Australia while coaching dealerships of all sizes throughout the world.

MY CAREER HAS CHANGED BECAUSE OF THE CONVERSATION

To say social doesn't work is an understatement. You see, social does work. There is a **** ton of noise out there confusing us all as to what is the "right way" to do social. I made social my own. I stayed true to myself! My authenticity, my genuine nature, my speaking from the heart, my "telling it like it is attitude" has gotten me to where I am today.

Keenan, you are the man in my opinion. I am forever grateful for the conversation 18 months ago. I love the fact you stay true to yourself and your beliefs. We have similar thoughts in that we give without expecting anything in return.

I admire what you do as you have become a one man wrecking crew, as with myself; in our quest to improve the lives of salespeople all over the world.

Our conversation and you challenging me has led to speaking engagements all over the world. I have been on #timtalks with Tim Hughes, been given shout outs by Lee Bartlett (No.1 Best Seller), Tony HughesGraham HawkinsBernadette McClellandJack KosakowskiBarbara GiamancoChris Spurvey; podcasts with Noah Goldman and Donnie Tuttle (sorry if I left others out).

VALIDATION - HARD WORK DOES PAY OFF

I love what I do plain and simple. I deliver my message, my coaching and my training by staying true to myself. I am not going to sell out and will not please everybody. My goal and commitment is to change the life of one sales rep day by day.

June 25th 2017 this was posted...

The Daily Sales, operated by Daniel Disney Their content reaches millions of sales professionals across the globe every single month!! With over 100,000 followers they are one of the largest networks of sales professionals online. Through polls held on The Daily Sales social media pages to their audience of over 120,000 and along with quality of content shared (books, blogs, podcasts, videos, posts) compiled was the ultimate list of the top 50 sales experts & influencers of 2017. This isn't a list based on random social scores or how much someone is posting on social media, it's based on who YOU follow and who YOU believe deserve to be on this list. 

Check out who is number 42...

MY STORY, MY WAY, THE WAY I KNOW HOW

I share this with you all for one reason and one reason only - you all have the ability to change your lives. It is believing in yourself, staying to yourself and not allowing the voices of others take you down.

We all have stories to tell. We all have a voice and the message needs to be told our way, your way; your unique way as you help to change the lives of those around you.

I know you have it in you. If a 52 year old can reinvent and repackage himself then I trust you can do it. Trust me it will change your life!

I hope this inspires you to take action. You owe it yourself and your family!

What Is The Main Difference Between A Professional Golfer And A Sales Rep?

Inside the sales community, there's quite a bit of comparison and analogies being made between sports athletes and sales reps. Heck, I even wrote about Can You Imagine A Professional Athlete Operating With A Sales Reps Mindset?

Sales is a lot like golf, at the core essence it's an individualistic game. You’re on your own. There is no team to pick up the slack when you’re down, it is all you. Yes, you might play alongside or against other players (sales competitors) and you might also have the support of a mentor or coach, but you’re really playing on your own. Sounds like sales? 

Every day is a new day, a fresh start. It's what you do today which really matters. Sounds like sales? It doesn’t matter how successful you were yesterday or the day before. There is no tenure, no taking it easy, no resting on your laurels and no complacent mindset. Oooopppps this doesn't sound like sales?

Your success is based on how you perform today

In golf, the approach to every situation is different. The courses are different, the conditions are different, there are even obstacles requiring different strategies and different tools (golf clubs). Unpredictable conditions present to golfers things that are totally out of their control. Golfers can catch a bad break, get a bad bounce or bad lie as they have to deal with it and recover from it.

This sounds a bit like sales. In sales, no two selling situations are alike. Clients and prospects all have different needs and requirements with different objections requiring different approaches, tactics and strategies.

As a sales rep, you need to utilize all the different tools to get where you want to go, a sale. We all know in sales things don’t always go as planned and sometimes you get the old proverbial bad bounce. Calls don’t get returned, appointments get cancelled, budgets get cut and contracts don’t get signed on time. However, you still need to figure out a way to recover and bounce back. No salesperson enjoys a bad experience but the great ones learn from it, erase it from their mind as they move on to the next opportunity.

PLAYING GREAT GOLF AND DOING WELL IN SALES BEGINS WITH MINDSET

Professional golfers, who consistently play great golf, share one common element - they have the right mindset. Wanting to play great golf is not enough. It is about having complete belief that you are capable of playing the type of game you desire to reach the pinnacle, winning a major tournament.

As with a golfer, a sales rep in order to achieve true success, you must limit your weaknesses and leverage your natural gifts rounding them into championship form, to reach your full potential.

Success or failure is a driven by expectations and beliefs. Limited or negative thinking will produce a poor mindset resulting in undesirable results.

The space between your ears is a powerful predictor of success

GOLF AND SALES REQUIRES DISCIPLINE

Golf and sales both require extreme amounts of self-discipline. It is about the preparation to play, planning to play, and the steady perseverance in your actions. If you want to excel in golf and in sales, not only do you need to play the game, you must consistently practice. The rewards don’t come with every shot, every hole or even every round. Sound familiar to all the sales reps? Each shot, each round, each day, will test your focus, temperament and requires you to think strategically as well as creatively.

THE SINGLE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A GOLFER AND A SALES REP...

According to the United States Golf Association, a golfer is allowed to have 14 clubs in their golf bag. This may include three woods (driver, 3-wood and 5-wood), eight irons (3-9 iron and pitching wedge) and a putter. These are the standard 12 clubs in many golf bags. They are allowed 2 more specialty clubs in rounding out to 14.

The old saying, "practice makes perfect" or "perfect practice makes for perfect play" rings loud and clear with the game of golf and in sales. Here lies the dilemma as I see it... If a golfer has 14 clubs in their bag which are all designed to assist them in achieving success on the golf course then my question to sales reps, sales leaders and those in executive management:

How many tools are in a sales reps tool bag that they consistently use, practice and perfect in order to help improve their game?

Each club, iron, wedge and putter is designed for a specific purpose. In order for a golfer to achieve success on the golf course they must practice using each and every club in their golf bag.

All of you in sales, are you starting to get it? Are you practicing using on a daily basis all the tools in your sales tool bag to help you drive more sales revenue?

Here lies the single biggest difference between golfers and sales reps. Golfers know how to use each and every club in their golf bag as they PRACTICE using each and every one with consistency. Can the same be said for most sales reps?

How many hours per week are you practicing?
  • How are you practicing on working on you that actually leads to improvement? This means stretching your comfort zone.
  • How are you practicing pushing yourself and your abilities? I challenge you all to find one thing you are doing poorly and create a plan to correct it. Small steps every day reap gigantic rewards.
  • How committed are you to practicing repeatable until it hurts? The best performers repeat their practice and do so at ridiculous lengths.
  • Are you committed to yourself enough to seek of feedback and guidance? We all have unrecognizable blind spots. You can't improve if you don't know how you're doing.

In order to consistently win as a sales rep takes practice. I encourage all sales reps to consistently practice removing these three things from their sales bag - Excuses, Ego and Fear.

Yes! We're Talking 'bout Practice... Yes, Sales Reps Need Stinking Practice!

Sales Leaders... Why Is Your Sales Team Referring To Your Customers As Customers?

"The quality of your life as a sales rep is based upon the quality of your relationships"

We would all agree, customer experience matters more now than ever before and sales reps who don’t adapt to a customer-led mindset through personalization will fall further behind and suffer major customer churn.

In today's modern business world, full of business intelligence, marketing automation tools and social media, your customers and prospects are expecting a different type of interaction; one which is personalized, genuine and authentic.

According to a Forrester report, only 27 percent of buyers find salespeople are knowledgeable about the buyer's specific business, meaning an astounding 73 percent of buyers don't think salespeople understand their company's needs. This is a problem.

Think of the 73% when it comes to your current customers, how you converse and build relationships with them matters as this can be a key differentiator between you and your competition. Conversation, it is an art form taking a certain skill set along with practice to get the job done correctly; a truly loyal customer.

This got me thinking... to truly develop a loyal customer I encourage all sales leaders to work with their sales teams to change their mindset regarding how they view their customers.

THERE IS A HUGE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A CLIENT AND A CUSTOMER

Lawyers, financial advisers along with health care specialists all have clients. The people buying their services value what they have to offer. They have taken time to choose the person who best suits their needs. Their clients do not choose on price. They are happy to pay extra for the right person who offers the right services.

Grocery, department and electronic stores have customers. They typically buy on price. Occasionally, they may choose convenience and pick the store closest to them but rarely is there loyalty. As soon as a cheaper price or a more convenient option comes along they will be happy to move to a new store.

THE MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION - ARE CUSTOMERS LOYAL OR ARE CLIENTS LOYAL?

Here lies the question for you all to think about - when asked, do most sales reps refer to their customers as customers or as clients? If they refer to them as clients then why do they treat them as customers?

It is my belief customers buy things or products, whereas clients seek knowledge and advice. A customer is a transaction and a client is a relationship.

"I don't build in order to have clients, I have clients in order to build"
Ayn Rand

Customers are what happens when sales reps do nothing to create personal connections and fail to worry about ever getting them to continue to do business with them time after time.

A client is what sales reps create when they make a personal connection and build a relationship based upon the benefit their services provide. A client is what we create when we create an outstanding experience around the relationship we build.

So ask yourself...Do you have customers or clients in your business?

Simple stuff, in order to get a client you need to build a relationship. To be able to keep a client and have them with predictability refer business you need to nurture and care for the relationship on a regular basis (check out my man Mike Garrison, the referral machine). The way you build relationships are through experiences.

BUILD RELATIONSHIPS THROUGH CONVERSATIONS

If you truly want to get to know your clients and prospects then take the sales hat off, roll up your sleeves and engage in healthy conversation.

What prevents you from getting to know your clients?

 

Here lies my concern - How many sales reps have truly meaningful conversations with their clients outside of the selling process? How many relationships are you developing inside your current account base?

The question then to ask yourself as a sales leader is how are your sales reps making your clients feel before, during and after doing business with them?

  • Are they making them feel important?
  • Do your clients feel that your sales reps care about them?
  • Do they feel like they can trust your sales reps?

Focus on developing conversations, not sales campaigns. It is not about your agenda, it is about opening up human to human conversation. It is not about you it is about helping your client. Develop a sincere desire and demonstrate you are interested in your client's world and what motivates them.

When was the last time you had a conversation with one your clients that didn't involve trying to sell them something?

KEY DIFFRENCES BETWEEN CLIENTS AND CUSTOMERS

  • Someone who purchases goods and services from a company is known as the Customer. Client refers to someone who seeks professional services from the company.
  • A company focuses on selling the product and services to the customer. On the other hand, the company focuses on serving the client.
  • A company offers goods and services to its customers. Talking about clients, who seek for professional services like advisory, legal, consultancy and may more.

Let's say you are a sales rep within the Office Technology space who sells solutions and services, wouldn't you agree you should have clients? Aren't they seeking your knowledge and expertise? Wouldn't they choose the one who creates the right business results for them as the value the outcome.

A sales rep with a customer focused mindset will get beat up on price. A sales rep with a client focused mindset becomes a valuable asset.

I understand, clients sometimes will move on but they tend to do so when they discover a better business solution or a better experience, not when they find a cheaper price.

WHAT VALUE ARE YOUR SALES REPS BRINGING?

Your clients are the lifeblood to your success. No clients, no business. Think of a servant led mindset and lead with your heart to serve them and bring about a positive change.

  • You must think about your clients more than your competitors
  • You must give your clients reasons to stick around by providing an outstanding experience
  • You must give them more value for your price than you charge
  • You must focus on their success not your success

Sales reps must take the time to truly get to know their clients. I encourage you all to ask this question as well to each and every one of your clients...

What is the difference I have made to your business?

When we as sales reps sincerely and deeply understand our clients this will open the door to more creative solutions. This becomes huge stepping stones to a synergistic and profitable partnership.

I leave you all to think about this...

Customers buy things while clients seek advice.

Stop viewing your customers as customers and start viewing them as clients. Watch what happens to your profits.

Hey Sales Reps... Stop Chasing Shiny Objects And Get To Work!

Look into my eyes, you're getting sleepy, you're getting real sleepy, are you hypnotized yet by all the social fodder? I've got a secret can you keep it? Take off the dark sun glasses and stop chasing shiny "social" objects!

 

Hey Sales Leaders... 3 Reasons Why Your Sales Teams "Social" ROI Sucks! I shared my two cents that social has always been a part of sales. It is about building relationships and changing the way people think with a modern set of sales tools.

Here lies the issue...

"Sales reps have been hypnotized into believing what they aren't doing doesn't work!"

A BANDWAGON SOCIAL SELLER

Inside the sports world there's a term often used called "Bandwagoner." Do you ever notice how people suddenly become fans of teams who are performing well? Do you ever wonder if they are real fans as they claim to be? Or do you wonder if they're just bandwagon fans? Bandwagon fans are defined as sports fans who have shown no past loyalty to a team, who only support them when they are doing well.

Sales reps are easily enamored! I submit to you sales reps are jumping on the social selling bandwagon as this has become the next shiny object of desire. Sales reps have become enthusiastic, raving fans of the social selling movement. It's the craze, it's fashionable, it's popular, heck they all want to be part of the growing movement.

Let's take one huge step beyond being bandwagoner sales reps. Let's stop the madness! Let's get better at sales! Let's unite to improve our entire game as sales reps!

 

STOP THE CHASE AND GET TO WORK

Who doesn’t dream of sales success?

What sales rep doesn't dream of being known, admired, recognized and honored amongst their peers and clients?

Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

Is hopping on the social selling bandwagon going to all of a sudden make you a better sales rep? Of course not, let's just get real. Is social selling an important sales tool, methodology and ideology that needs to be understood, implemented and coached to, absolutely!

I firmly believe integrating the use of social can play a huge role in the sales world. The concern I have is over the lack of attention being given to the most basic of sales training or coaching for sales reps in order to help them become better sales reps.

If the core foundation as a sales rep is not sturdy then how can you expect the four walls and roof of "social selling" to stand without crumbling right in front of your eyes?

SALES REPS MUST DEVELOP PATIENCE

We're told early on as sales reps that patience is a virtue. However, very few in sales are ever really shown or taught how to be patient. Patience is not something we have; it is something we consciously do every day. Patience is like any other hard-earned discipline: The more we practice, the more patient we become.

Chase the shiny object call patience

Part of being successful requires patience. Patience when it comes to client relations, business negotiations during the buying process, business development efforts, as well as integrating social aspects into the sales process.

SOCIAL SALES SUCCESS TAKES PATIENCE

What makes you valuable as a sales rep?

Your clients and future clients won’t ever engage in a business conversation nor buy from you if they don’t even understand why they should pay attention to you.

What's sad is if you can't open up a conversation through traditional prospecting, what makes you think you can do it with social selling?

Sales reps have come to the crossroads of their sales lives through years of neglect. A healthy mind and body takes discipline, healthy eating habits and a commitment to daily exercise. Sales is no different, however; my challenge lies with how many of you sales reps make a commitment to a healthy sales mind.

Here lies the problem! What makes you think you can flip the switch, change your habits and all of sudden reap the rewards all the social selling pundits promise you?

Changing habit's requires strong motivation. Patience rewards you with positive recognition, greater sales results, increased client satisfaction and stronger profits. Think of the word patience as you build your brand, your reputation and how you integrate social aspects into your sales process.

GET TO WORK CHASING EXCELLENCE

"Patience is a virtue, and I am learning patience. It's a tough lesson"
Elon Musk

We fulfill our potential with patience. Your clients, your future clients, your family and your career desperately need the best of what each of you has to offer.

Therefore, building your brand, proactively marketing your brand and your reputation takes time. You can't plant a seed and expect it to flower overnight. Success always begins with patience and your commitment to put in the due diligence necessary to achieve excellence.

Patience is the one virtue that will serve you well as a sales rep. Patience takes time and conscious effort to master, but impatience can lead to your demise.

Please remember success simply takes time. Nobody has ever been an overnight success as it was always a result of many years of work. Keep building on it, keep practicing, keep learning how to use social selling aspects to your benefit; just like you’d build a muscle as you’ll be surprised by the progress you make.

Hey Sales Leaders... 3 Reasons Why Your Sales Teams "Social" ROI Sucks!

We didn't start the fire
It was always burning since the world's been turning
We didn't start the fire
No, we didn't light it, but we tried to fight it
Bill Joel

 

"We didn't start the fire" what better way to depict what is going on inside the sales world today. Social media this, social networks that and of course social selling all seem to be everywhere as everyone is talking about them. Heck, self-proclaimed experts, pundits and so-called thought leaders are popping up everywhere reciting the same statistical B.S.

All this reminds of the old game show - Will the real social selling expert please stand up?

The question lies around can all of this really be used to drive incremental sales revenue? Yes indeed it sure can! In reality, social in all its glory is revolutionizing and is becoming a game-changing sales weapon inside a sales reps toolbox when used in conjunction with all the other sales tools.

The vast majority of salespeople and leaders aren’t leveraging social because they don’t know how, where to start or even the basics around "why". Why? Confusion is running amuck as social pundits feud with traditionalists over the way it is versus the way it should be. All this has created is a bunch of capitalistic tour guides running around - all talk with very little action.

All this feuding and self-promoting social antics has done is lulled sales reps into...

Social media, social networks and social platforms do provide a portal to a sales universe of opportunities and conversations but it is also overwhelming, confusing and if you and your sales team doesn't have the right skills, mindset and core foundation established to make it work it will be doomed for failure.

How about let's unite to get better at the art of selling in a modern business world?

NO SHORTCUTS IN SALES

Social is not the quick fix get rich scheme that everyone is making it out be. If you can't block and tackle with the most basic set of sales skills then in no way shape or form will you have success with social. Yes some may say this is harsh but folks this is just being real.

Stop your fascination with get rich quick schemes and not wanting to put in the work. Integrating social into the sales process does work but it takes time and patience, two things going against most sales people.

3 SIMPLE YET REAL REASONS WHY SALES TEAMS SOCIAL ROI SUCKS

Integrating the use of social inside the sales process isn't rocket science. It is made into rocket science because there is too much "PhD" level discussion and social jargon being thrown around confusing the crap out of the average sales department.

From an "on the street" sales guy perspective I have pin-pointed 3 reasons why sales reps, their managers and their leaders "social" use sucks as they can't reel in the ROI.

SALES REPS LINKEDIN PROFILES ARE HORRIBLE

Whether you like it or not, your sales teams digital presence is out there and people can find their sales footprints or lack thereof quite easily.

Information now travels instantaneously, network connections are made every day and first impressions are made about your sales reps without their knowledge.

Sales leaders, when a potential client lands on one of your sales reps LinkedIn profiles, their opinion about them will be made at that very moment. Whether you believe it or not, if they fail to make a great impression you may have lost them forever.

Look at every single one of your sales reps LinkedIn profiles... Pretend you’re a potential client and ask yourself with sincere honesty...

Would I buy from anyone of my sales reps based upon what I currently see on their LinkedIn profiles?

Questions for all sales leaders to answer...

  • Are your sales reps presenting themselves as a helpful expert?
  • Are your sales reps capturing their target audience with value centric messaging?
  • Are your sales reps clearly explaining your services?
  • Are your sales reps providing educational content?
  • Are your sales reps explaining why someone should meet with them?
  • Does your sales reps story resonate with your prospects and your clients?
  • Are your sales reps leaving your prospect with a feeling they know, like and trust them?
  • Are your sales reps clearly articulating the value they bring to your clients and future clients?

SALES REPS SUCK AT DRIVING NEW CONVERSATIONS

What makes your sales reps valuable?

Your clients and future clients won’t ever engage in a business conversation nor buy from your sales reps if they don’t even understand why they should pay attention to them.

What's sad is if you can't open up a conversation through traditional prospecting, what makes you think you can do it with social selling?

Think about how your sales reps are opening up sales conversations face to face on and online. Sales reps have been given a platform (LinkedIn) to share with the business world how they can help but they fail to capitalize on the benefits.

"Sales reps have been lulled into a false sense of what is real versus sales fantasy by social selling pundits"

They are failing to capitalize on how to proactively market themselves online while engaging in opening up another form of a conversation.

“Why should I listen to, read, buy from or hire YOU?”

If you want your sales reps to get better at opening sales conversations then they must be able to with conviction, clarity and conciseness articulate their value proposition.

The single biggest reason why your sales reps suck at opening up new conversations...

SALES REPS FAILURE TO CONNECT WITH THEIR CURRENT CLIENTS

The key sales growth mechanism is to actively prospect for new business relationships rather than limiting efforts to a possibly dwindling client relationship base.

How well do your sales reps know their current clients? How often are they asking them for help to grow their business?

Leveraging and strengthening relationships with existing clients is extremely important but it’s all too easy for your sales reps to become complacent as they keep calling on the same people inside their current accounts.

Sometimes the relationship may run its course. Hopefully it doesn't but in today’s ever-changing business climate, a salesperson’s "timing" might be off especially when it comes to the importance of building new relationships within their client base.

A once-promising client may now be in dire straits, possibly due to an acquisition or downsizing. Successful sales reps are always looking to develop new business relationships, not waiting until their current well of relationships runs dry.

I find this crazy sales leaders...

Your sales reps bust their ass for your clients then why on earth would they not ask them for help to grow their business?  

Leverage current clients and ask for help! Wouldn't you agree a warm lead is better than cold lead for your sales reps? Referrals from happy clients are about as warm as it gets, correct? In fact, a Dale Carnegie study found that 91 percent of customers would be willing to give referrals if they were asked. Unfortunately, only 11 percent of sales reps actually do ask.

I guarantee you this a warm lead from someone who knows, likes and trusts one of your sales reps will lead to a more profitable, non-price driven business relationship.

SOCIAL ISN'T ROCKET SCIENCE

Daggers will be thrown at me and quite frankly I don't care! So much social selling crap is aimed at corporate America with fully functioning marketing departments who along with sales leaders can implement and drive growth.

There is way too much "PhD rocket science" social being thrown out there that the average small to medium size sales team can't identify nor associate.

Regardless of what you all have heard about this concept, it simply boils down to two things inside this trust economy: credibility and connections. What does this sales rep know that could help my business? Who does this sales rep know that I know?

With all these complex definitions of what social selling is or isn't out there, no wonder there’s so much confusion about what it is in practice and theory. The next time it comes up in conversation, remember these three simple things from someone who leveraged social at the street level and had a tremendous amount of success with it:

  1. It is extremely personal: one to one vs. one-to-many. No social blasting!
  2. It’s all about building trusting, long-term relationships, not making "the sell." Build relationship funnels which nourish sales funnels.
  3. It’s about leveraging the tools, technologies, and people within your organization to deliver value to your clients. Your clients have networks, use them!

Most importantly, it’s neither social nor selling. Social has always been a part of sales. It is about building relationships and changing the way people think with a modern set of sales tools.

I understand where you all are coming from. I have walked a day in a life of your shoes and still do on a daily basis.

Is Your Brand As A Sales Rep As Genuine As Peyton Manning?

Peyton Manning, the true personification of what it means to be a quarterback in the National Football League. He was the first one at the practice facility to work out, first to watch game film and then off to the practice field for 3 hours. He not only studied offensive schemes but he would also study the defensive coordinator he’d be facing in the next game. He wanted to know what the defense was preparing to do. 

Imagine a sales rep studying their competition to know how well to sell against them?

Peyton Manning never rested on his laurels. I encourage sales reps to please take notes. He prepared like no other quarterback before him. He didn't care about how many Twitter followers or Instagram likes nor how many sports cars he owned; he stayed true to himself on what mattered most, preparation to play the game.

He built a football legacy on the field and off the field he built a branding empire. What I admire most about Peyton Manning was he stayed true himself. He was genuine, authentic and was definitely not fake when it came to building his brand.

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.”
Peyton Manning

 

SALES REPS CAN BUILD A BRAND JUST LIKE PEYTON MANNING

As sales rep, your brand whether you believe it or not is extremely important to your success in this highly connected, digital business world.

How much time and effort are you dedicating to building your personal brand? 

You do have a brand. It is what people associate with you; it is WHY your professional and personal network seeks you out for information.

Social media is everywhere. It is deeply rooted in our society and it is not going away. You have not only the ability but you now MUST manage your own reputation both online and offline as a sales rep. When you interact with your prospects and clients they'll build up an image of who you are over time.

Personal branding is about taking control of the messages your prospects and clients get back. I guarantee, if you don’t control those messages then someone else will and it won't be pretty.

YOU NEED TO UNDERSTAND

  • Your online reputation is your reputation
  • Who you are in one area will be how you are perceived in all areas
  • Reputation is often more important than money
  •  Other people can more easily make their opinions of you go viral

The question becomes, how do you become more recognizable? How do you build your authority? How do you build becoming the subject matter expert? How do you create your following?

"How do we differentiate ourselves enough that they (prospects) want to talk to us and not feel they are getting the same story they hear from every other sales rep?"

3 THINGS TO CONSIDER AS YOU BUILD YOUR BRAND AS A SALES REP 

Understanding who you are is your launching pad and how this relates to opening up new conversations with your prospects and clients. How you communicate your unique promise of value is what will separate you from your competition.

BE AUTHENTIC

How hard would it be to build a brand around a facade? Some do, as you would have to act a certain way, appear a certain way and even communicate a certain way. 

Your brand must be a reflection of who you are. You must believe it. You must own it. You must know what it stands for. You must know your strengths and your weaknesses. Wear those emotions on your business sleeve. 

People connect with other people. It is all about the personal connection. If you are "blowing smoke" at people what is the likelihood they will come to trust you? 

Your clients and prospects deserve an authentic experience. B.S. meters are at an all- time high as people can tell the difference when we they see sales pitches from salespeople who do not care. There is no passion, the sense of “why” is missing. Those exhibiting a heart for sales and a focus on their clients bring an air of authenticity into the room. 

 

BE THE REAL DEAL

Be genuine and not a fake. Be real, sincere and honest. Prospects know when you're being yourself. Prospects are more likely to respond favorably and will more likely come back to you again and again when they see you as a real person or even a friend- instead of just as salesperson.

Being genuine is a rare quality. Today's business world is full of phony fads, social media hype, virtual fake personas as nobody’s content to be who they are nor are they willing to admit to it.

BE HELPFUL

If you are truly being yourself, instead of being an "all about me" sales rep, you are going to seem like an interested individual, in the minds of your prospect and client; not like a sales rep who is looking for another commission check by leading with their wallet not their heart. The foundation of who I am as a sales professional is built around being helpful.

“Offer to help without expecting anything in return as this will come back tenfold.”

BUILD THE PEYTON MANNING BRAND

Your brand as a sales rep is everything in the business world today. I encourage you to take your online and offline presence seriously. You get one shot to make a great first impression. Observe and pay attention to the people that have large followings and influence for the right reasons.

Maintaining and marketing your unique personal brand assists in building trust and credibility with your clients and prospects. Buyers today have come to expect a certain quality of sales professional. A recognizable sales brand and reputation spreads like wildfire. Word spreads through customer communities and greatly improves opening up new conversations and relationships with new prospects, as well.

Your personal brand is like a garden. Once you lay the groundwork, plant the seeds, fertilize along with continuous water; you'll be in a great position to eventually reap the benefits of your hard work.

I ask you to send some time and reflect upon how you portray yourself through your clients or prospects business lens.

As you think about your personal brand, I ask you to think about this ...

"What is the perception of your value through the eyes of your buyer and existing customers?"

I understand where you all are coming from. I have walked a day in a life of your shoes and still do on a daily basis.

Kobe Bryant Had Phil Jackson - Sales Reps Who's Your Hall Of Fame Coach?

"I think the most rewarding part of the job, and I think most coaches would say it, is practice. If you have it, a very good practice in which you have 12 guys participate, and they can really get something out of it, lose themselves in practice."
Phil Jackson

What a fantastic quote from the Zen Master which epitomizes the importance around practice and why sales reps need practice - We're Talking 'bout Practice... Yes, Sales Reps Need Stinking Practice!

Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan had Phil Jackson. Tom Brady has Bill Belichick. What's the common denominator?

BEHIND EVERY GREAT ATHLETE IS A GREAT COACH

Behind every great team you’ll find great coaches. With every great coach you’ll almost always find their life was influenced by one or more impactful coaches or mentors. Can we make the same comparison inside sales teams? Who are the mentors to sales managers? Who impacted them?

Their success comes from their commitment to consistently practice certain disciplines less successful coaches aren’t willing to practice. The same holds true for elite athletes. Can the same be said for the sales community? Is there a great coach behind every successful sales professional?

 

GREAT COACHES GET THEIR ATHLETES TO BELIEVE IN THEMSELVES

Phil Jackson and Bill Belichick inspire their players to do more than they think they can. They stretch their limits, beliefs and challenge them along the way. Phil Jackson built up Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan. Bill Belichick has built up Tom Brady's self- esteem rather than undermine it. These coaches don't praise mediocre effort. What they do effectively is practice catching elite athletes doing things right. They don't get caught up playing head games leaving these athletes questioning their abilities.

Can any of this apply to the sales world?

There may be a fine line between a good coach and a great coach but they can make a world of difference to professional athletes. Can the same be said in the sales world?

Hall of fame coaches -

  • Are effective communicators
  • Are compassionate
  • Have a passion for the game
  • Get to know their players
  • Are true leaders

Hall of fame coaches give their athletes direction and motivation helping them to reach their goals. They have a game plan, they are organized and always find a way to encourage the entire team to believe and work together. These coaches lead with an enthusiastic demeanor, excelling and growing the team by personal example.

All of this got me thinking...

Why do sales managers have difficulties doing what hall of fame coaches are paid to do? What makes a sales manager AND how they go about doing their job any different than a hall of fame coach?

My answer to you all is quite simple - most sales managers manage as opposed to coaching and leading.

THE CHALLENGE

Previously I asked the question, Can You Imagine A Professional Athlete Operating With A Sales Reps Mindset?

Can you image a hall of fame coach operating with a sales managers mindset? Is there a difference in mindset between a manager and a coach? What makes a great sales manager versus a sales leader or coach? I am not here to bash on sales manager's as they play an important role, however; I am here to challenge the status quo in how they grow, nurture and enhance the lives of their sales team.

“Management is transactional, while Leadership is Transformational.” 
Brian Tracy

I encourage more sales managers to take on leadership roles within your sales team. Open up your mindset to lead and support your people in a way in which will ultimately allow them to achieve, be productive, and experience growth.

Here lies the challenge for most sales teams - great sales reps often times get promoted to sales managers. The challenge is most promoted sales managers are familiar with the transactional side of the business as this is what their sales mindset is accustomed to achieving. This is polar opposite of leading others in order to achieve results.

This is why I feel there is such misalignment inside sales departments. Sales managers who lack leadership qualities fall into the habit of managing off of to-do lists, activity reports and a "what will you close mindset?"

A SALES MANAGER OR SALES LEADER

Is there any correlation between hall of fame coaches and sales managers? More often than not, sales managers operate with a "boss" type mindset as opposed to a coaching mindset. Phil Jackson and Bill Belichick are leaders and exceptional coaches as they enhance the lives of the athletes around them thus achieving outstanding results.

  • Coaches and leaders spend more time listening and asking questions. Sales managers spend more time speaking and giving directions.
  • Coaches and leaders invest serious amount of time observing. Sales managers make quick assumptions and are quick to point fingers.
  • Coaches and leaders are support outlets in assisting to develop growth plans. Sales managers give the plan and tell their people to follow it.

DO HALL OF FAME SALES MANAGERS EXIST?

Just as professional athletes need great coaches so do sales reps. Sales managers must adopt a coaching mindset. Therefore, I encourage executive management to develop hall of fame sales managers.

Phil Jackson had Jerry Reinsdorf and Dr. Jerry Buss. Bill Belichick has Robert Kraft. How many in executive management encourage, support and coach their sales managers to become hall of fame sales leaders?

"My personal coaching philosophy, my mentality, has always been to make things as difficult as possible for players in practice, however bad we can make them, I make them"
Bill Belichick

Hall of fame sales managers can exist. With the support of executive management, they can build a growth oriented sales department by:

  • Building and enhancing the relationships with their sales reps
  • Providing and personally assessing their sales reps strength and weaknesses
  • Challenging their sales reps thinking and assumptions around personal growth
  • Supporting and encouraging open communication
  • Driving results through written action plans and daily practice

MINDSET WILL LEAD THE WAY

Become a master of a changing mindset. The biggest and most challenging task of a sales manager is to prepare the sales team for a constantly changing marketplace. Hall of fame sales managers:

  • Earn their sales team trust
  • Provide positive feedback
  • Build enthusiasm amongst the team
  • Get involved with their team
  • Grow and develop their entire team
  • Lead people to constantly be improving, never accepting mediocrity

HALL OF FAME SALES LEADERS

Leaders who lead are true mentors and role models, building business results through relationships and integrity with every member of their team.

Hall of fame sales leaders lead by example, demonstrating their values through their actions. They build relationships by mentoring and providing guidance, creating cohesive sales teams by earning the loyalty of each team member.

Hall of fame sales leaders who lead by example are competent and drive business results for the organization while building strong relationships with their sales team, customers and vendors.

I understand where you all are coming from. I have walked a day in a life of your shoes and still do on a daily basis.

I am fully committed to helping your sales team integrate social aspects and modern strategies into your current sales process to grow net-new business. I want you to get results. This is why I am passionate about doing this the right way.

In 2016, Larry was recognized by ENX Magazine, “The Difference Maker” as someone who is making a difference inside the copier channel. Larry is passionate about helping sales reps succeed in creating their online brand image

Can You Imagine A Professional Athlete Operating With A Sales Reps Mindset?

Once asked about why he was so successful on the basketball court, Kobe Bryant looked at the reporter and said: “Have you seen Los Angeles at 4am? “I see it often because that’s when I start training.”

It can sometimes be difficult to find differences in top athletes which are noticeable. Their level of physical imbalance is minimal. What is it separating the good from the great? What separates Kobe Bryant from good athletes?

At the IMG Sports Academy, they share their insight on what differentiates average athletes from the excellent ones. Top athletes have a growth mindset. These athletes believe their talents can be developed through consistent training, evaluation and practice. Conversely, athletes with a fixed mindset tend to believe their talent is the key determinant of success thus their ability is fixed. These athletes end up not realizing their full potential. Sound like sales reps?

Is there a possible similarity between top sales professionals and the average ones? Sales reps consistently talk about their work ethic as most enjoy puffing the chest BUT are they really committed to it? Do they really walk the walk and talk the talk when it comes to putting in the hard work and long hours it takes to separate the top sales professionals from the average?

Top athletes understand the process of developing their talents will have obstacles along the way. They embrace the challenge of getting better every day. They understand failure is just another challenge, a roadblock to overcome. 

Top athletes encourage feedback from their coaches, using it to focus on areas of improvement. Less successful athletes tend to dismiss, ignoring feedback and focus on the person providing it, rather than using it as an opportunity to reflect and grow. Sound like sales reps?

What separates an average athlete from an average sales rep? Millions of dollars and their mindset

Average athletes see the success of others as a threat, top athletes find inspiration and motivation. They learn from the success of others by modeling their behavior and habits. Top athletes do not fear competition, they embrace it. They use it as motivation to push themselves to the next level and maximize their potential.

The roadmap to success for an elite athlete is based on hard work, personal ownership and how it is applied. They understand they must apply themselves in all aspects of their training. They take ownership, holding themselves accountable to the process.

So, this had me thinking...

Why do sales reps have difficulties doing what elite athletes are paid to do? What makes a sales professional AND how they go about doing their job any different than an elite athlete?

My answer to you all is quite simple - MINDSET!

MINDSET - WILL DO VERSUS CAN DO

At the highest levels of sports competition, physical ability between athletes is relatively equal. The difference in performance comes down to what is happening inside the athlete’s mind. Can the same be said for a sales professional?

“To think of me as a person that’s overachieved, that would mean a lot to me. That means I put a lot of work in and squeezed every ounce of juice out of this orange that I could.”
Kobe Bryant

Baseball great Yogi Berra once said “Baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical.”

What does the “mental game” actually mean? Can this translate to one sales rep versus another sales rep? What does a top sales professional do differently from a sub-par sales rep when it comes to the mental side of the equation?

WHY DO SALES REPS INSIST ON GETTING PAID TOP DOLLAR BUT LACK A TOP ATHLETE MINDSET?

Top athletes, the elite of the elite do things just a little differently than the average athlete. Does the same apply to sales reps?

Think for a moment... How can a professional athlete, an elitist sitting at the top of their game operate at peak performance with the mindset of most sales reps?

TOP ATHLETES GET REAL

Can the same be said for sales reps? Elite athletes set goals and invest the mental and physical energy towards achieving their goals. They equip themselves with an arsenal of effort, patience, and persistence as they know their journey is difficult. They are realistically optimistic. Can the same be said for sales reps?

TOP ATHLETES BELIEVE IN BEING THE BEST

Can the same be said for sales reps? Top athletes know, no matter what, there is always room from improvement. Sometimes this may involve learning a different technique, strategy, or having a different coach. It also may involve learning a new skill altogether. How does this apply to sales reps?

TOP ATHLETES BUILD UPON SUCCESS WITH CONSISTENCY

Can the same be said for sales reps? Their success is built upon small sustainable changes. When those become second nature, they add in new challenges. Whatever their goal is they track their progress towards it by keeping training logs. Can the same be said for sales reps?

TOP ATHLETES HANG OUT WITH TOP ATHLETES

Can the same be said for sales reps? Top athletes surround themselves with positive energy and other top athletes. Find those people and groups who support your goals. Eradicate as much negativity from your life as you possibly can. You are who you hang out with!

TOP ATHLETES HAVE GRIT

Can the same be said for sales reps? Fear of failure is crippling. There will always be naysayers and Debbie-doubters. Top athletes commit to long-term goals and hold firm in the face of challenges and difficulties. They simply possess and utilize consistent skill sets which elicit positive results. Elite athletes believe in themselves and their ability to constantly improve. They set realistic goals, they surround themselves with the right people, and they stay the course through tough times. Does this hold true with sales reps?

All this being said, why do seasoned, tenured sales reps believe they don't have to do the things necessary that top athletes do in order to stay at the top of their game?

WHAT TIME DO YOU WAKE UP?

 

Imagine for a moment, how long would any professional sports athlete last on their team with the attitude and mindset of most sales reps? Not long at all, as they would be released from their team immediately. Some can say athletes are over-paid prima donna's, however; the one thing they possess that most sales reps don't - a growth mindset.

I encourage the self-centered and the "all about me" sales reps out there to kick the complacent mindset. Do you think a complacent mindset lands an elite athlete a new contract?

Sports athletes don’t come out of rookie training camp saying, “I’m shooting for average – average skills, average income and average performance.

When you started out as a sales rep you didn't set out with the goal of hanging on, doing enough to just “get by”, or riding it by figuring out how to survive until I can inherit another sales reps accounts. Well, at least not in the beginning, correct?

You learned that mindset. You learned that behavior. You learned to settle.

I am positive the mind can be convinced of almost anything if you tell it the same story over and over again. So here lies the question to all of you in sales...

Are you really happy with average results or have you just convinced yourself that’s the case?

I understand where you all are coming from. I have walked a day in a life of your shoes and still do on a daily basis.

I am fully committed to helping your sales team integrate social aspects and modern strategies into your current sales process to grow net-new business. I want you to get results. This is why I am passionate about doing this the right way.

In 2016, Larry was recognized by ENX Magazine, “The Difference Maker” as someone who is making a difference inside the copier channel. Larry is passionate about helping sales reps succeed in creating their online brand image

You can find more blog posts inside the Social Sales Academy website.

I appreciate getting the opportunity to share my LinkedIn stories. Integrating the use of LinkedIn was my “game-changer” in the highly competitive copier world. With great pride I transform, coach and inspire B2B Office Technology Sales Professionals to grow net new business by helping them tell their story and communicate on LinkedIn. My commitment is to help office technology dealers thrive in a changing marketplace. You can follow me on LinkedInTwitter, as well as at the Social Sales Academy

 

 

Why Should I Talk With You Continued... Don't Be An Empty Suit!

What makes you valuable as a sales professional?

People won’t ever engage in a business conversation nor buy from you if they don’t even understand why they should pay attention to you.

In Why Should I Talk To You? Does Your Value Proposition Open Sales Doors? I asked you to think about what sets you apart from your competitors? It is up to you to prove it. The sad state is most sales reps just don’t flat do it. Instead, they try to impress prospects with general promises, corporate jibber-jabber and overused sales jargon.

Your value proposition is your promise. It is the value you will deliver, communicate and be held accountable for fulfilling. 

No one cares how long you been in the industry, how long your company has been in business nor how they provide the best customer service. I will defer this one to Toby Keith, as all your prospect is saying is... "I wanna talk about me"

WHAT MAKES YOUR CLIENTS BUY YOUR SERVICES?

This simple question is the driving force behind every aspect of your sales conversation from acquiring new customers through referral programs, to retaining your existing clients by consistently meeting and exceeding their expectations. It is all about the customer experience.

How are you opening up conversations?

Think of your personal value proposition as the face to face and digital sales door opener.

Your value proposition is a conversation starter, a chance to engage with new clients as well as reengage with current clients. It is the ultimate litmus test resulting in a response of "how do you do that?" or "tell me more."

My good friend Mike Garrison would agree your value proposition clearly articulated is the key message you want your referral partners to understand, so they can help you attract more customers through their network.

THINK ABOUT YOUR VALUE PROPOSITION

Given customer expectations and the competitive business landscape, it's important to review your value proposition regularly as part of your personal business strategy. Spend time with your current clients to see if you are actually meeting and fulfilling the aspects within your value proposition with them.

The following may help guide you:

  • Does your value proposition resonate with your clients?
  • Is it clear, simple and concise?
  • Does it really set you apart from your competitors?
  • Does it sound professional when you say it out loud?
  • Could it trigger a next step conversation?
  • Is it true, authentic, genuine and can you own it?

WHY SHOULD I TALK TO YOU? DON'T BE AN EMPTY SUIT!

Sales professionals, to be effective in opening up business conversations you must speak the language of leadership. This language clearly conveys your ideas to your audience. Use language which precisely explains your thinking to the hearts and minds of those whom you wish to move to action, your clients and prospects. Don't become an empty suit in the eyes of your clients and prospects!

Creating and delivering your value proposition is extremely critical in capturing mindshare with business executives. Inside the book, "Creating and Delivering Your Value Proposition" by David Pinder. The first paragraph inside the introduction nails it, "The term value proposition is used ubiquitously in business today and its original meaning has been dissipated into vague sales and marketing notions that are a million miles from its intended meaning and use."

This book addresses the misconceptions and clarifies what a value proposition is and what it isn't. It's crucial to sales professionals today, how you build your value proposition and how you use it is critical to your success.

I am a firm believer not until you know the value you bring to your current clients then how do you know the value you can bring to your potential clients? This book addresses the "why" behind your value proposition and how this can be used as an alignment tool within the client experience.

"What seems missing to date is how to use customer experience in a repeatable way and harness it for profit"
David Pinder

The reason why your prospects and yes sometimes your clients pay lip service to you is how well have you personally bought into your value proposition. Do your clients even know your value proposition? It is about serving and delivering a measurable amount of value at all times as a sales professional. Live it, walk it, talk it and broadcast it for everyone to hear.

WHAT IS AN EMPTY SUIT?

According to the Urban Dictionary, an empty suit is, someone puffed up with their own importance but really having little effect on the lives of others. A true empty suit, conjures up the image of a business suit of clothing without a person in it who really doesn’t know what he or she is doing. 

How well are you demonstrating competence as a sales rep? An executive appearance, presence and attitude may open some business doors of opportunity, however; without competence those prospects can quickly dissipate.

Think about this equation...
An executive presence - competence = an empty suit
Nothing worse than a sales rep who creates a brilliant value proposition but then can't back it up and clearly articulate it

What happens in your first meeting with a potential customer, when the customer describes their problems and all you can contribute to the conversation is a stream of buzzwords, canned pitches and sales jargon? In a split second it becomes painfully obvious you have no clue about what the customer does, what problems the customer has or how you can even solve those problems. This my friends is an empty suit. You are dead in the water!

BRINGING THIS HOME - REMOVE THE BUSINESS MASK

Pretending to be something you're not can be exhausting, it can also cost you when it comes to trust building with your clients and prospects.

Remove the business mask and become your true self. Ditch the facade and fakeness.

There is a negative impact in the donning of your business mask as others can sense something is not quite right. They get a gut feeling of uncertainty as to whether the person in front of them YOU is being genuine and authentic.

As you build upon your value proposition, I urge all sales reps to consider this is the pathway to your business story. How you set the opening act will make or break your audience coming back for more.

I understand where you all are coming from. I have walked a day in a life of your shoes and still do on a daily basis.

I am fully committed to helping your sales team integrate social aspects and modern strategies into your current sales process to grow net-new business. I want you to get results. This is why I am passionate about doing this the right way.

In 2016, Larry was recognized by ENX Magazine, “The Difference Maker” as someone who is making a difference inside the copier channel. Larry is passionate about helping sales reps succeed in creating their online brand image

You can find more blog posts inside the Social Sales Academy website.

I appreciate getting the opportunity to share my LinkedIn stories. Integrating the use of LinkedIn was my “game-changer” in the highly competitive copier world. With great pride I transform, coach and inspire B2B Office Technology Sales Professionals to grow net new business by helping them tell their story and communicate on LinkedIn. My commitment is to help office technology dealers thrive in a changing marketplace. You can follow me on LinkedInTwitter, as well as at the Social Sales Academy

 

Why Should I Talk To You? Does Your Value Proposition Open Sales Doors?

"How do we differentiate ourselves enough that they (prospects) want to talk to us and not feel as if they are getting the same story they hear from every other sales rep?"

What language are you speaking to your clients and prospects? Speaking their language will accelerate your sales and make the brand YOU more engaging.

Quite simple, cut out the fancy words, cut out the B.S. sales jargon and stop trying to develop creative ways to describe your value proposition. Just describe how you help your clients and prospects solve a particular business issue or challenge as succinctly as possible in easy to understand language, their language.

Your clients may not be an expert in your business but I guarantee they are an expert in their own.

Every industry has their own lingo. Your clients or prospects approach problems from their perspective and their experience. They have a way of talking about their business, their clients and the services they provide. I urge you to set aside the time to understand the language your clients or prospects use and adapt it to your business.

A very effective way to gain these insights is to interview your customers. Roll up the sleeves and get inquisitive about their business. Find out how they approach problems. Ask your clients to describe how they deliver value and just listen.

As you listen, carefully take notes of the words, phrases, examples and stories they share. This is their language. Adapt it into your own as this will help you with your value proposition.

Nothing will accelerate your brand more than speaking your value message with conciseness, clarity and conviction.

Remove the language barrier and open up a meaningful conversation.

THE DREADED OPENING FOR SALES REPS

If you have been in sales for any length of time you have experienced having to answer this question at networking events, prospecting calls or practicing inside your sales team meetings, "So... Tell me what is it you do?"

I 100% guarantee you when sales reps are asked this question you will never get the same response. In fact, you will rarely get a short concise response and more than likely you will hear a bunch of this "Um, um, um... I sell (fill in the blank)"

Those first two sentences you share must pack some punch or your potential business conversation isn't going anywhere.

What makes you valuable as a sales professional?

People won’t ever engage in a business conversation nor buy from you if they don’t even understand why they should pay attention to you.

What is sad is if you can't open up conversation through traditional prospecting means what makes you think you can do it with social selling?

Think about how you are opening up sales conversations face to face on and online. Sales reps have been given a platform (LinkedIn) to share with the business world how they can help but they fail to capitalize on the benefits. They are failing to capitalize on how to proactively market themselves online while engaging in opening up another form of a conversation.

Being the best sales rep isn't enough. Your future client's need to believe you’re the best option for them. How does this happen? As long as you can't backup and prove what you claim, prospective clients are unlikely to really believe them. Thus, your value proposition becomes useless.

YOUR PROSPECTS CAN'T READ YOUR MIND

It’s your job to hit people in the head with what makes you different and worth attention. How are you making a difference?

You can use case studies, client testimonials, and common sense, among other methods, to prove what makes you different.

What sets you apart from your competitors? You are better than your competition and it is up to you to prove it. The issue is most sales reps just don’t flat do it. Instead, they try to persuade prospects with general promises, corporate jibber-jabber and overused sales jargon.

If your value proposition you use face to face as well as within your LinkedIn profile doesn’t clearly articulate to your prospects what makes you worth their attention (and money), they won't spend the time to figure it out on their own.

How are you opening up conversations?

You need to clearly restate and market your value proposition everywhere. Think of your business cards, your email signature and even within the body of your sales proposals. If you say something just once, people can easily forget it, or they don’t realize how important it is.

Do everything you can to make your value proposition as clear as possible to your prospects.

YOUR UNIQUE VALUE PROPOSITION

Your unique value proposition sets you apart. It’s the promise you make to your clients and future clients to deliver a unique experience. Those few sentences can give you an unfair advantage and how you open up a conversation.

A unique value proposition guides people to you, your services and how you can help. It keeps you top-of-mind within your clients and future clients' thoughts.

When you have a unique value proposition, it’s easy to stand out among the crowd of undifferentiated offerings from most of the sales reps out there.

So how come so many sales reps get this so wrong?

Your unique value proposition is what differentiates your promise of value delivered from every other similar promise made by every other sales rep in the same industry. It’s the thing, the IT factor which makes you stand out, earning a special place in your audience’s hearts and minds. It’s what keeps people coming back to YOU in particular, and not merely the cheapest nor newest vendor.

Your unique value proposition must answer the question...
“Why should I listen to, read, buy from or hire YOU?”

If you want to get better at opening sales conversations then you must be able to with conviction, clarity and conciseness articulate your value proposition.

ASK YOUR CLIENTS FOR HELP

Here is a suggestion which may help you craft your value proposition. I want you to go face to face with your top 5 current clients and ask them this question, "What is the value I bring to you and your business?" Take notes and listen as your clients are a wealth of knowledge.

To all sales reps... If you don't know the value you bring to your current clients then how the heck can you go out and prospect for new business? Your clients are a wealth of sales help all you need to do is ask.

As you start to nail your unique value proposition and when done correctly, this will engage the hearts and minds of your clients and future clients.

Encourage your clients to go on and spread the word for you to your target audience. What better form of a thank you than having your clients helping you to grow your business.

Words of encouragement, as the old saying goes: “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.” In this crazy, hectic business world, buyers are deciding how to prioritize their time. Who would you choose to spend time with? A passionate sales rep who is a ball of energy who can clearly articulate their value proposition or the self-centered, boring sales person?

I understand where you all are coming from. I have walked a day in a life of your shoes and still do on a daily basis.

I am fully committed to helping your sales team integrate social aspects and modern strategies into your current sales process to grow net-new business. I want you to get results. This is why I am passionate about doing this the right way.

In 2016, Larry was recognized by ENX Magazine, “The Difference Maker” as someone who is making a difference inside the copier channel. Larry is passionate about helping sales reps succeed in creating their online brand image

You can find more blog posts inside the Social Sales Academy website.

I appreciate getting the opportunity to share my LinkedIn stories. Integrating the use of LinkedIn was my “game-changer” in the highly competitive copier world. With great pride I transform, coach and inspire B2B Office Technology Sales Professionals to grow net new business by helping them tell their story and communicate on LinkedIn. My commitment is to help office technology dealers thrive in a changing marketplace. You can follow me on LinkedInTwitter, as well as at the Social Sales Academy

It's Time To Start Dialing The Social Phone

Successful sales reps pay attention to their sales funnel as social integration can happen 365 days a year, 7 days a week, 24 hours per day.

Sales reps must start shifting their mindset when it comes to prospecting in a digital business world. I set the business table with How Social Turns Sales Reps Downtime Into Prospecting Time. We must recognize as sales professional's social media is not our primary prospecting mechanism but simply augments prospecting, it changes our approach as this is then integrated into our sales strategies.

A commitment to daily prospecting is a must or your sales funnel will dry up and your business will suffer. There are no excuses as there will always be a million distractions pulling you away from this essential part of your job. You need to consciously embrace, not just accept but actually embrace, the idea that prospecting is a must-do activity every single working day of your life as well as some of your days off.

DOES TECHNOLOGY HELP OR HINDER SALES REPS?

Is the average sales rep on the street afraid to open up and let technology serve them better as a way to enhance their prospecting efforts? Why is it such a challenge to get sales reps, sales managers and executive management to buy into the idea that technology can really be a benefit?

Is it ego? Is it fear of the unknown? Is it a time management issue or lack of patience? Sales people have been brought up to believe in the cold call as this is the single most important task to master. Prospecting or cold calling is a tough world to exist in as this world requires stamina and an enormous amount of self-belief.

I ask you all to think about how leveraging technology can enhance your sales prospecting efforts. The biggest challenge is to gain an understanding there may be a better approach to enhance a sales reps effectiveness when it comes to prospecting. Companies must gain an understanding of how to leverage digital technology inside the sales prospecting arena.

First and foremost, please understand digital sales prospecting is not a replacement; it’s a way to help enhance traditional prospecting to allow sales reps to become more efficient and effective.

The new reality in sales - how are you opening up conversations? I ask you all to remove your "digital diaper" and take into consideration how technology along with the "social phone" can tremendously enhance your prospecting efforts.

TIME TO START DIALING THE SOCIAL PHONE

More mad props to Kenny Madden and his witty humor as he has brought to life the social phone - "A smashing together with absolute discipline the very best of email, Inmail, Voicemail, offline/online, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram into one beautiful integrated approach - 'the social phone' ”.

Social Window + Social Phone + Social Selling = Enhanced Sales Funnel

The social phone allows you to listen and communicate with the voice of your clients and prospects. By engaging in online conversations and leveraging social networks, you create the opportunity to listen to the voice of your potential clients. The more intimate, authentic, genuine relationship you can establish, the more loudly you’ll hear their voice.

SALES REPS MUST DIAL UP SOCIAL LISTENING

Business times they are different. When you don’t pay attention to what your audience is saying, your current clients; you’re basically giving key information to your competitors. What are your client's pain points? What do they love about you, your service experience and your company? What are those in your industry talking about? What are potential clients taking about?

For simplicity sake, social listening allows sales reps to leverage social media tools to monitor, track and uncover information which allows them to open up and engage in conversation as another form of prospecting - social prospecting.

Social listening as another means of prospecting can provide sales reps with a great intelligence tool. Social listening can be used to:

  • Help understand your marketplace or sales territory
  • Help understand your competition
  • Help understand your clients
  • Help understand your prospects
  • Help understand your buyer
  • Help to provide great customer service

Social listening provides the tools to help you gain a better insight of what your targeted prospects and more importantly your clients are thinking. This allows you to be in a better position to open up conversations to deliver what they need, when they need it.

Social listening and social prospecting helps you to identify potential customers outside your established audience using social platforms as an effective means to augment traditional prospecting methodologies.

We all know if you aren't opening up new conversations then we know what happens to your sales funnel - it dries up! It is about learning new ways to enhance your sales funnel. We have all heard of Buyer 2.0, Sales 2.0, Sales 3.0 but what about Learning 2.0?

CONCLUSION - SOCIAL IS A CONVERSATION ADDITIVE INSIDE TRADITIONAL PROSPECTING

Inside the Demand Gen Report, B2B buyers reported their purchase cycle has increased since last year. Why? They are scrutinizing potential vendors and sales reps more closely than ever before. Buyers overwhelmingly reported spending more time conducting research (80%) and using more sources to investigate purchases (73%).

More than half (53%) of B2B buyers report turning to social media to make buying decisions. Therefore, please consider sprinkling in more modern methods to aide in your prospecting efforts.

I leave you with this to ponder...

As sales reps, you operate inside a digital business world communicating using digital technology to a digital buyer but still operating with an analog mindset. Change your mindset to change your outcome.

I understand where you all are coming from. I have walked a day in a life of your shoes. I walk, talk and practice on a daily basis what I preach about.

I am fully committed to helping your sales team integrate social aspects and modern strategies into your current sales process to grow net-new business. I want you to get results. This is why I am passionate about doing this the right way.

In 2016, Larry was recognized by ENX Magazine, “The Difference Maker” as someone who is making a difference inside the copier channel. Larry is passionate about helping sales reps succeed in creating their online brand image

You can find more blog posts inside the Social Sales Academy website.

I appreciate getting the opportunity to share my LinkedIn stories. Integrating the use of LinkedIn was my “game-changer” in the highly competitive copier world. With great pride I transform, coach and inspire B2B Office Technology Sales Professionals to grow net new business by helping them tell their story and communicate on LinkedIn. My commitment is to help office technology dealers thrive in a changing marketplace. You can follow me on LinkedInTwitter, as well as at the Social Sales Academy

How Social Turns Sales Reps Downtime Into Prospecting Time

"Listening is the new prospecting"
John Jantsch

Face to face interactions are typically viewed as the single most valuable activity by any sales professional. However, opening the door and gaining a seat at the business table is tough.

"How does a sales rep in a highly connected, digital business world capture the attention of an executive buyer?"

The primary differentiator of today's successful sales reps is their ability to prospect. Successful sales reps open up new relationships with potential clients on a daily basis. Are you regularly connecting with new people who might be potential clients?

If you want a healthy sales funnel, you need to effectively prospect. This means you are connecting with new people and opening up new relationships not just babysitting current clients and constantly refreshing your base.

Today's business world is fast paced with highly connected networks. Digital technology is everywhere. Digital has transformed not only our personal lives but our business lives.

"If we operate in a digital society then why are we still as sales reps prospecting with an analog mindset?"

Buying habits have changed so our sales strategies need to change.

SHIFT IN PROSPECTING MINDSET

The shift has happened. Sales professionals, you all operate inside a world where the buyer has a leg-up on you. Why? B2B customers are mobile, socially connected, fully engaged in social media and well educated:

This shift has created many disruptions for sales reps but perhaps none more than B2B prospecting. How do you as a sales rep shift your prospecting efforts when now the buyer(s):

  • Are acquiring so much information on their own - online
  • Are now self-qualifying themselves with research and then pre-qualifying prospective vendors or sales reps they choose to meet

WHAT DOES A SALES REP DO NOW?

Traditional prospecting strategies can be enhanced with social. How does a sales rep fit this into a daily and actionable format to set themselves up for success?

Proactive vs Reactive Prospecting - Marketing vs Sales - What do we do as sales reps?

Always pay attention to your sales funnel!

Your sales funnel is the single most important sales tool you have in your sales toolbox. Every waking sales hour you must become cognizant of what sits inside your sales funnel. This may even include off time and downtime.

This is a tough one as sales reps all over are saying, "Larry, you are full of it! I don't have any extra time, not much downtime and surely I am not going to think about it during off time."

Daily prospecting is a must or your sales funnel will dry up and your business will suffer. Set aside the excuses as there will always be a million distractions pulling you away from this essential part of your job. You need to consciously embrace, not just accept but actually embrace, the idea that prospecting is a must-do activity every single working day of your life as well as some of your days off.

Successful sales reps pay attention to their sales funnel as social integration can happen 365 days a year, 7 days a week, 24 hours per day.

SOCIALLY REPURPOSE DOWNTIME OR OFF TIME

We all know after 5:00 PM most business doors are locked. The internet is open 24 hours a day. Think about how you can integrate digital aspects into your prospecting efforts. The social window is always open for business even on Saturday and Sunday.

I introduce to you the Social Phone, courtesy of my friend Kenny Madden.

Kenny with such brilliance illustrates the #socialphone, a blending of cold calling with social selling to infuse modernization into traditional prospecting. He refers to this as smashing with absolute discipline the very best of Email, In mail, Voicemail, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram into one beautiful integrated approach. "the social phone"

Social Window + Social Phone + Social Selling = Enhanced Sales Funnel

The social phone allows you to listen and communicate with the voice of your clients and prospects. By engaging in online conversations and leveraging social networks, you create the opportunity to listen to the voice of your potential clients. The more intimate, authentic, genuine relationship you can establish, the more loudly you’ll hear their voice.

What's nice about the modern business world is there are a multitude of ways to open new conversations and new relationships with people. Real-life networking (cold calling) still has its place, but social media has opened up a world of possibilities for meeting potential new clients.

All day, every day think of social and how you use it as your online trade show. LinkedIn can be your online stage, your brand, your samples can be content as this provides you with an air of validity. It’s a perfect way for your prospects and clients to check you out and to discover more about you.

"Is your social window open for business, closed for business or is it in need of tenant improvements?"

There needs to be a mindset and skill set paradigm shift from how most sales reps are attempting to use social media albeit unsuccessfully at best. When we recognize social media is not our primary prospecting mechanism but simply augments prospecting, it changes our approach as this is then integrated into our sales strategies.

SOCIALLY ADJUST YOUR MINDSET

Getting in front of a potential client for a first meeting now requires socially adjusting your mindset. This means adjusting your prospecting strategies as:

  • Prospects require a higher level of introduction before granting a sales call
  • Networking in person and online is essential to sales growth
  • Prospecting development and nurturing relationships must be practiced with patience and reeled in with conversation
  • Being relevant and memorable is the new differentiator
  • Becoming visible, vocal and valuable is a must

Our business world is constantly changing. Social selling is a critical part of digital selling, particularly in the modern digital business world; social selling techniques alone won't get you the success you deserve. 

Digital sales strategies and how we use them are evolving all the time. Ultimately, it's the process of engaging with businesses, your prospects and clients via social networks online, as well as utilizing all the digital sales tools you have at your disposal to drive more sales opportunities. 

"What mindset are you prospecting with?"

I understand where you all are coming from. I have walked a day in a life of your shoes.

I am fully committed to helping your sales team integrate social aspects and modern strategies into your current sales process to grow net-new business. I want you to get results. This is why I am passionate about doing this the right way.

In 2016, Larry was recognized by ENX Magazine, “The Difference Maker” as someone who is making a difference inside the copier channel. Larry is passionate about helping sales reps succeed in creating their online brand image

You can find more blog posts inside the Social Sales Academy website.

I appreciate getting the opportunity to share my LinkedIn stories. Integrating the use of LinkedIn was my “game-changer” in the highly competitive copier world. With great pride I transform, coach and inspire B2B Office Technology Sales Professionals to grow net new business by helping them tell their story and communicate on LinkedIn. My commitment is to help office technology dealers thrive in a changing marketplace. You can follow me on LinkedInTwitter, as well as at the Social Sales Academy

Sales Reps: How Well Do You Really Know Your Current Customers?

"Relationships are Everything"

Here's the bottom line... customer experience matters more now than ever before and sales reps who don’t adapt to a customer-led mindset through personalization will fall behind and suffer major customer churn.

In this era of business intelligence and marketing automation tools, your clients and prospects are expecting a different type of interaction; one in which is personalized, genuine and authentic.

According to a Forrester report, only 27 percent of buyers find salespeople are knowledgeable about the buyer's specific business, meaning an astounding 73 percent of buyers don't think salespeople understand their company's needs. This is a problem.

Think of the 73% when it comes to your current customers, how you converse with them matters as this can be a key differentiator between you and your competition. Conversation, it is an art form taking a certain skill set along with practice to get the job done correctly; a truly loyal customer.

CUSTOMERS OR CLIENTS

In a previous blog, 3 Ways A Servant Led Mindset Helps Sales Reps Crush Quota, I spoke to how sales reps must lead with the heart in how they serve their customer.

Question for all sales reps to think about...

Do you view and treat your customers as customers or clients?

A vendor or customer mindset defaults to a defensive or reactive sales position, missing opportunities to help and to increase your value by being able to build a dependable, mutually profitable relationship.

Truly successful sales reps lead with the heart and seek to serve their clients and prospects. The most high-valued sales relationships will be peer-to-peer in nature. This is a huge mental and strategic shift most sales reps will find exhausting.

CLIENTS FIRST

Sales reps, instead of worrying about being interesting, we need to first be interested. Develop empathy for your clients. Start to gain an understanding of what motivates them and how this can align to what you can deliver. Always under-promise and over-deliver. This is the key!

You need to put your client's perspectives and needs far ahead of your own to give you a fighting chance. Putting them first is really not complicated. It's about making each client feel as important and valued as they are. 

THE MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION - HOW WELL DO YOU KNOW YOUR CLIENTS?

If you truly want to get to know your clients and prospects then take the sales hat off, roll up your sleeves and engage in healthy conversation.

Here lies the issue - How many sales reps have truly meaningful conversations with their clients outside of the selling process? How many relationships are you developing inside your current account base?

The best sales reps know how to bring conversation out in the open. It is about uncovering the conversation your client is having with themselves. In doing so this enables open and honest communication to what is really going on which provides the freedom to engage in win-win situation.

If your client's don't feel like they are being heard and understood, they may withhold critical information as to where they really are or what they really feel about you, which may diminish or eliminate your ability to impact your future with them.

Focus on developing conversations, not sales campaigns. It is not about your agenda, it is about opening up human to human conversation. It is not about you it is about helping your client. Develop a sincere desire and demonstrate you are interested in your client's world and what motivates them.

When was the last time you had a conversation with one your clients that didn't involve trying to sell them something?

Seek to open up more conversations. Successful sales reps are far more effective with time, patience and their energy levels than the average sales rep is willing to invest. Invest in your clients, you owe it to them!

SALES REPS THINK THEY KNOW THEIR CLIENTS

We all have ego's as sales reps. Setting aside your ego, I would like for all sales reps to think of their best client, got it... then here is what I am going to ask you to do... go face to face belly to belly with your best client and ask them this...

What is the value I bring to you and your business?

You can't say a word after you ask this question. If your best client without hesitation can't answer this question immediately then I am here to tell you that you don't know them and they don't know you as well as you think.

Sales reps must take the time to truly get to know their clients. I encourage you all to ask this question as well to each and every one of your clients...

What is the difference I have made to your business?

When we as sales reps sincerely and deeply understand our clients this will open the door to more creative solutions. This becomes huge stepping stones to a synergistic and profitable partnership.

Your clients are the lifeblood to your success. No clients, no business. Think of a servant led mindset and lead with your heart to serve them and bring about a positive change.

  • Think about your clients more than your competitors
  • Give your clients reasons to stick around by providing an outstanding experience
  • Give them more value for your price than you charge
  • Focus on their success not your success

I understand where you all are coming from. I have walked a day in a life of your shoes.

I am fully committed to helping your sales team integrate social aspects and modern strategies into your current sales process to grow net-new business. I want you to get results. This is why I am passionate about doing this the right way.

In 2016, Larry was recognized by ENX Magazine, “The Difference Maker” as someone who is making a difference inside the copier channel. Larry is passionate about helping sales reps succeed in creating their online brand image

You can find more blog posts inside the Social Sales Academy website.

I appreciate getting the opportunity to share my LinkedIn stories. Integrating the use of LinkedIn was my “game-changer” in the highly competitive copier world. With great pride I transform, coach and inspire B2B Office Technology Sales Professionals to grow net new business by helping them tell their story and communicate on LinkedIn. My commitment is to help office technology dealers thrive in a changing marketplace. You can follow me on LinkedInTwitter, as well as at the Social Sales Academy

 

 

 

3 Things All Sales Reps Must Get A Grip With When Selling In A Digital Business World

Technology and automation are not only helping today’s sales reps gain momentum in their marketplace, they are also changing the way sales reps sell their services. Selling successfully in today’s digital world takes a new mindset and skill set.

Inside a vast majority of sales departments there is a generational change happening. Many tenured, well-seasoned sales reps are now watching tech savvy young sales reps gunning for them as they take their business to the next level. Regardless of how long you as a sales rep have been doing what you are doing, you all must quickly figure out the best ways to sell your services in this technology-driven world. 

Right now, what fences separate and prevent you from providing more value to your clients?

Online technologies, social platforms and modern work practices have changed the sales process. The days of wining and dining clients and prospects, leaving them with brochures, pens and logo-covered notepads is over. They expect so much more from you.

It should not come as a surprise, many of today’s decision makers are younger and more educated than their predecessors. What the younger generation may lack in operational experience they more than make up for it with their understanding of the power of technology and how this can be used inside the buying process.

THE WAY WE DO BUSINESS HAS SHIFTED

We can thank the internet and Google as they have forever altered customer behavior and how they gather information. In the past, gathering information about anything required an enormous amount of time, energy and resources. Talking to sales reps was the ideal way to learn about products, features, benefits, learn about the market, and to see how everything worked.

This is longer the case. With Google, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, or every other social platform we use to connect, we have an unlimited access to just about any topic.

This means the buyer is more informed than ever before and this is hitting sales team hard. The reality is the buyer is now dictating the sales process as evident inside this article by Hubspot - Buyers Speak Out: How Sales Needs To Evolve.

The time is now for sales reps to rebuild and reinvent themselves inside a digital business world.

3 THINGS ALL SALES REPS MUST GET A GRIP WITH WHEN SELLING IN A DIGITAL BUSINESS WORLD

How you present yourself, is how people first view you. What are you showcasing?

FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF SALES REPS HAVE GONE DIGITAL

First impressions are difficult to change. The first encounter or their first impression usually matters as this determines whether or not a person you interact with wants to make a bond with you.

In order to achieve success in this hyper-connected business world all sales reps must learn how to build out their online presence. Build your online reputation just as hard as you build your offline reputation.

Before you even get your foot inside the business door, or even know the door is there, prospects can check your website (your LinkedIn profile) to find out what you do and how you do it. They can read up on you from your online profiles. Social media channels provides prospects and your clients an idea of what’s on your mind today and how your followers are responding. Believe it or not, these snapshot images are helping potential clients decide whether to contact you or even take your call.

Effective use of the LinkedIn platform allows a sales rep to build out their professional image, tell their story and generate awareness in the highly competitive sales environment.

SALES REPS MUST BE ABLE TO ARTICULATE THEIR VALUE ONLINE

In my opinion, the best sales reps tell phenomenal stories. It all starts with being able to articulate the value you bring to your potential clients. However, this is where the roadblock begins.

Most sales reps have difficulties in being able to clearly and concisely articulate the value they bring to their clients and prospects. With digital first impressions becoming a big deal, how sales reps position themselves by clearly being able to articulate the value they bring is mission critical to their success.

Being able to articulate your value proposition is the digital door opener. This is the pathway to opening up your story in a digital business world.

Sales reps must be able to convey a clear, compelling message online. In sales terms: what’s the most influential story you could tell to get your buyer to buy into YOU?

SOCIAL PROOF GREATLY ENHANCES OPENING DOORS

Social proof as a sales reps is critical to your success. Why? Because your prospects and clients are becoming more informed all the time. With the power of the internet at their fingertips, potential clients can gather an immense amount of information about you before ever speaking with you. 

The best way you as a sales rep can provide social proof is start using the recommendation section of your LinkedIn profile as a walking, talking social billboard. Spend the time face to face to with your current clients thanking them for their business. Seek their approval and have them share what it is like doing business with you and the value you bring to their business.

Social proof starts with having your clients edify your work for potential clients to see. Think of TripAdvisor and then think of how you can use social proof to open up sales conversations.

SALES REPS WILL SURVIVE

Pundits have repeatedly proclaimed millions of salespeople will soon be rendered obsolete by the emerging technologies of our day. In some instances and in some markets this may be true. However, sales reps will survive.

In today's fast paced, highly networked digital business world; a sales rep should be someone who guides their clients and prospects in their decision making and buying process. They should educate, help negotiate, consult, seek solutions, provides outstanding post-sales services and manages the relationship as a whole.

Agility, change, adapt, adjust and thrive - sales reps will survive in a digital business world.

I understand where you all are coming from. I have walked and continue to walk a day in a life of your shoes.

I am fully committed to helping your sales team integrate social selling aspects into your current sales process to grow net-new business. I want you to get results. This is why I am passionate about doing this the right way.

In 2016, Larry was recognized by ENX Magazine, “The Difference Maker” as someone who is making a difference inside the copier channel. Larry is passionate about helping sales reps succeed in creating their online brand image

You can find more blog posts inside the Social Sales Academy website.

I appreciate getting the opportunity to share my LinkedIn stories. Integrating the use of LinkedIn was my “game-changer” in the highly competitive copier world. With great pride I transform, coach and inspire B2B Office Technology Sales Professionals to grow net new business by helping them tell their story and communicate on LinkedIn. My commitment is to help office technology dealers thrive in a changing marketplace. You can follow me on LinkedInTwitter, as well as at the Social Sales Academy

 

 

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