Category: Sales strategy advice

LinkedIn Best Practices

LinkedIn Best Practices

LinkedIn offers a multitude of benefits for businesses. To start, it has 3x higher visitor-to-lead conversion rate than Twitter and Facebook. Additionally, half of the members say they’re more likely to purchase from companies when they engage with them on LinkedIn.

How to Get the Most Out of LinkedIn #infographicYou can also find more infographics at Visualistan

Don’t Send Role-based Emails

Don’t Send Role-based Emails

Nearly all great prospecting salespeople send out emails to potential prospects. I even teach some of these tactics in my book Eliminate Your Competition.

However, no respectable salesperson should ever send a blind email to a role-based email address. It is fraught with potential repercussions and almost guaranteed to fail. It is simply not worth it.

What is a role-based email?

As the name says, role-based email accounts are associated with a particular role like sales, editor, admin, etc. A role-based email account is not associated with one single person, but with a group of peoples or a department. Role-based email accounts start with admin@, editor@, sales@, inquiry @, etc.

Downsides of role-based emails

As a role-based email account is associated with a group of people or a department, it is harder to show explicit permission of each recipient. Explicit permission is required by email marketing laws and best practices.

You are more likely to put yourself on a black list if you send role-based emails. Various blacklist services like Spamhaus treats marketing emails sent to role-based email accounts as spam. Because such role-based email accounts are either harvested or used without the explicit permission of recipients.

Role-based email account not only increases the risk of spam complaints but also pulls down the overall engagement rates of your marketing campaigns. The majority of the email service providers like MailChimp maintains a suppression list of role-based email accounts meaning emails will not be sent to such email accounts for maintaining email deliverability rates and protecting senders reputation.

A better way

If you must send blind emails to people, don’t send it to a role. Instead send that email to a person. You should follow the suggestions I put into an earlier post to find the email address of real people at your prospect and send that individual a personalized email.

One of the best tools that I have seen is Hunter. I first learned of Hunter from Emanuel Carpenter and his book Brain Dump: 167 Tips & Tricks from a Six-Figure Sales Prospecting Legend. You should read that book if you want to develop great skills for prospecting.

Carpenter, E.R. Brain Dump: 167 Tips & Tricks from a Six-Figure Sales Prospecting Legend (Kindle Locations 617-622). Forest Wade Press. Kindle Edition. (content reformatted to make it easier to read on this site)

Photo by buggolo

Some Advice On How To Not Suck At Meetings

Some Advice On How To Not Suck At Meetings

Meetings for salespeople are common…and terrible.

Salespeople have a staggering amount of meetings to attend, both internally and externally.

When they’re not checking in with their managers or picking up tips from their coaches, they’re presenting to prospects or visiting with customers. With all that time tied up in meetings, it’s critical that each runs as smoothly as possible.

In a perfect world, every meeting would have a well-defined agenda and result in clear and actionable takeaways. But as anyone who’s been in any sort of meeting knows, this isn’t the case. As the following infographic from SalesCrunch shows, the sad truth for salespeople is that meetings can be more of a time suck than hours well spent.

When a weekly sales meeting is broken down into the associated cost per attendee, the average check-in can boast a price tag of $350 per hour. And the number climbs as the level of seniority rises — a senior management meeting costs a whopping $1100 per hour. This price skyrockets if you divide the combined quotas in the meeting divided by 2,000 (the number of working hours in a day) times the length of the meeting.

For example, if you have six people in the meeting and they they have a combined quota of 10 million dollars, that is $5,000 per hour! With that cost in mind, let’s agree that meetings with salespeople better not suck!

The following infographic comes from Visually.

Header Photo by StartupStockPhotos (Pixabay)

Don’t Negotiate With Yourself

Don’t Negotiate With Yourself

You are about to send the proposal. You want to get your team’s perspective on your offer. This team may be your technical pre-sales, your manager, your manager’s manager, your finance guy, your implementation team, etc. Many people can give you insight into the proposal for your account. Each person on your team will help you with trade-offs to make your proposal more attractive to the prospect. Their suggestions will be valuable.

You should learn from them and adapt their opinions to your strategy. But you may want to say, “No thank you” to many of the suggestions. Every suggestion that is something like, “We should add X to the proposal to sweeten the deal.” Or maybe, “We should discount this service.” These are probably inappropriate suggestions.

Your team should focus their suggestions on things that tie back to statements of concern or goals by the prospect. It shouldn’t be about adding items or discount.

Whenever you are trying to fine-tune a proposal, and you discount or bundle things together that are not standard in your product line, you are negotiating with yourself. You are trying to anticipate an objection from the prospect and react to that objection in advance of the conversation. This is “negotiating with yourself” instead of with the prospect. You will always lose a negotiation with yourself.

Please understand, I am not saying that discounts are not appropriate for a given customer. There are many reasons to offer a discount:

  • Your list price is significantly higher than the street price.
  • The customer has already offered something in return for a discount such as a reference call or presentation at a user meeting.
  • You know that you are at a product or company disadvantage and you need to offset that technical disadvantage with a lower price to achieve parity with the benefits offered.

Negotiations are always a give-and-take between two parties. Whenever there is a request for a concession, the other party needs to ask for something in return. This cannot be possible if you are negotiating with yourself – what are you going to ask for and then offer in return if it is just you negotiating? By definition, you are going to give and not get anything in return if you are negotiating with yourself. It is a lose/lose proposition rather than a win/win proposition.

Of course, the objection to this is that you may be in a situation where the proposal has to be delivered, and there will be no negotiations. These are real situations, and they are painful to lose, but you need to eliminate them from your pipeline. How can you have a great relationship with an account that has such a closed relationship with vendors? Nearly every time this is the case, you have not developed a long-term trusting relationship with that prospect. You were probably late to the deal. You are probably acting like a Hunter or a Farmer and definitely not like a Trapper. In other words, you are probably going to lose a considerable percentage of these deals especially if you have a fierce competitor that is working the account like a Gatherer or a Trapper. If you don’t understand these terms, you need to read my book, Eliminate Your Competition as it will help you plan to be successful. You need to build a pipeline of deals that will allow you to win and not be challenged by losing propositions where the prospect doesn’t value you. My book will help you develop that pipeline.

You may purchase my book Eliminate Your Competition from your favorite book retailer. The ebook version is available at the most popular retailers such as Apple, Amazon, Barnes & Noble. The paperback version is also widely available at such retailers as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books A Million.

Header Photo by geralt (Pixabay)
Salespeople Should Stop Making These 11 Social Media Mistakes

Salespeople Should Stop Making These 11 Social Media Mistakes

There is no question that salespeople need a positive impression on social media. You can save the Facebook account for friends and family arguments and fun posts, but your LinkedIn account and your Twitter account need to be professional.

Remember, every sale is composed of three things that you are selling:

  1. Your product (and your product is probably not better than your competitor’s product).
  2. Your company (and your company’s reputation is probably not better than your competitor’s reputation).
  3. YOU!

So if the first two things probably tie with your competitor, the real thing that you sell every day is YOU. You are the difference maker in the sales process. You influence the sale every time that you interact with the prospect. The goal of social media is to affect the deal even when you are not in the prospect’s office.

If you want to understand more about how selling YOU is the most crucial part of what you sell, you can reach out to me, and we can discuss. You also may want to purchase my book Eliminate Your Competition from your favorite book retailer. The ebook version is available at the most popular retailers such as Apple, Amazon, Barnes & Noble. The paperback version is also widely available at such retailers as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books A Million.

Social media is a great tool. It isn’t the entire sale, but it can be a definite difference maker in selling the third and most significant part of what you sell – YOU! So you cannot screw up your social presence. You need to make it work for you. Hootsuite is a great tool that I use, and they regularly advise on using social media. My article here was inspired by their original post. Here are eleven social media mistakes that all salespeople need to avoid:

  1. Overusing hashtags – stop at one or two and make sure they are relevant to what you are saying.
  2. Jumping on every trend – You look foolish when jumping on the buzz-bandwagon for a hot topic, rather than being relevant. Instead, you need to add value, not noise.
  3. Oversharing – You look silly, phony, and pretentious when sharing pics of your breakfast. Remember that your brand is a public figure. Sure, be entertaining, witty, and bold as long as you’re professional, useful, and savvy about what you post for your intended audience.
  4. Not responding to your audience – Social media is about being social (hence the term). When a friend says something to you at a party or when they see you at the grocery store, you don’t just walk by them, do you? You interact with them. Do the same with social media.
  5. Automating thank-you responses. – It is no very easy to hit a button on LinkedIn to say Thank You. Guess what – everyone on LinkedIn knows that you just hit a button. Don’t do it. Type a quick couple of honest words. It takes maybe a minute longer than the quick button and is 1000% more valuable.
  6. Posting for posting’s sake – if you have nothing to say that day, then don’t say anything. Be relevant, not a pest.
  7. Posting rather than talking – It is vital to evolve your social presence to speak to your followers. Don’t just put up a link to an article, explain why it is essential to read. I slightly break this rule for posting to Twitter for items that you wrote, that is okay. But, if you found a great article on WSJ or Forbes or some other business-oriented channel, explain why you are putting it on to your social channel.
  8. Worry less about the number of followers (corollary: Don’t buy likes or followers): It doesn’t do you any good. You need to have a relationship with those that matter to your career. False likes and false followers don’t matter. You won’t make more commission because you have 1,000 false followers!
  9. Don’t post about sex, politics, or religion unless it is to your friends and family on Facebook. Even then, remember it is part of you, and your future employer will read it. If you don’t want your next boss to read it on Facebook, then don’t put it out.
  10. Don’t share only other’s stuff – you need to offer your commentary about the world and your business.
  11. Stop auto-posting the same message. It is okay to repeat a post once or twice separated by a couple of days. These are streams of information, and your followers may easily miss a single post. However, the limit is three duplicates, and they each need to be at least 18-36 hours between posts (or longer). BTW, Hootsuite is an excellent tool for managing this.
Header Photo by juaniraola