Use LinkeIn To Save Time Prospecting For New Clients

To win the sales game you have to maximize the use of time.  Typically, sales professionals and business owners who have to sell are torn between balancing prospecting, selling time, and administrative time.  Anything that can make you more effective in using time is like money in the bank.

One of the best ways to leverage time is to use the internet to network.  You can really leverage your time by using the social networking sites that are out there today.  Sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are quickly becoming the way for business sales professionals to leverage time.

These sites are not just for sharing what you are up to right now or show pictures of your family vacation.  They can be very powerful business tools.  For example, if you go to a networking event to meet new contacts you have an investment of approximately 3 hours.  You have to drive to and from the event, the time spent at the event itself, and the follow-up after the event.

If you contrast attending a networking event versus going on line and meeting new people, you can easily save more time.  In addition, you could meet more targeted people for what you do and begin to establish a relationship immediately.  Now don’t get me wrong networking online does not replace meeting people face to face.  You will want to do that with the people you meet online.  But with such tools as GoToMeeting® you can meet virtually with anyone in any location.  This means you are not tied geographically to one area.

This can be very beneficial if your territory covers a wide area.  You can network in two or three cities sitting at your desk.

But what is the best social network site for business?  You really should be using all three mentioned above.  Facebook and Twitter should be a part of your social networking.  However, to get started in social networking, LinkedIn is the best.  LinkedIn is the number one social network site for business.  Executives from all fortune 500 companies have profiles on LinkedIn.

Using LinkedIn you can interact with people that otherwise would be very difficult to interact with.  One tip to using LinkeIn effectively is to get to know people that know the people you want to know.  (now that’s a mouthful isn’t it!)   Another tip is to have a good profile page.  Your profile page is like your resume to allow other people to get a sense of who you are.

Learning LinkedIn is not a steep learning curve, but there are some “must know” items. You must know how certain things such as profile page setup, groups, LinkedIn advertising to allow you to use this networking site to its fullest.

I came across a good resource that gives you a step by step approach to using LinkedIn to increase your sales and make your networking more effective.  It is a video course called Linked Influence and it literally takes you by the hand to show you how to do everything.  This course will save you time in using LinkedIn,

To get more information on this course click here: Linkedin.winningthesalesgame.com

Like it or not, social networking is here to stay and if you want to remain on the cutting edge of marketing and sales you have to get onboard this train.    In the long run, you will sell more business in less time.

Happy Selling

The Secret of Networking To Increase Sales

You go to a networking event and you meet a few people.  Some people could become prospects and some could potentially refer you business.  You get their business cards. After the networking event you get back to the office and put the cards on your desk where they just sit for a few days with no follow-up at all.  Has this ever happened to you?  I know I have done it.networking for sales image

The most important part of networking is follow-up.  It is in the follow-up that you expand the relationship that was initiated at the networking event.  The longer you wait to follow-up after the networking event the more erosion takes place to the new relationship.  So, let’s agree we need to follow-up immediately after the event.  If you can do it the same day that is optimal, but at the latest follow-up the next day.

A tip that may help you become consistent to follow-up immediately is to schedule your follow-up time at the same time you schedule yourself to attend the event.   Actually schedule in your calendar the time you are going to follow-up with the people you meet at the event.  This way you already have the time set aside to accomplish the follow-up in advance of the event.

Just as important as timely follow-up is trenchant follow-up.  You want to have hour follow-up be effective and move the relationship forward.  The best way to move any relationship forward is to keep your focus on the other person.  Don’t think in terms of what they can do for you, but think in terms of what you can do for them. (that was in a famous inaugural address…well it sort of went something like that)

There is a good reason for not being “me focused.”  Zig Ziglar, a famous motivational speaker, often says: “you can have anything you want if you help enough people get what they want.”  So if you want to have success in networking don’t focus on what you can get, focus on what you can give.

Now, back to follow-up!  Making your follow-up effective begins with the event.  When you meet someone at networking event get information about them.  Learn what they do in their business, what type of prospects they are looking for, what they like to do for recreation, etc.   Then discretely write some notes on the back of their business card so you don’t forget.

Then, when you follow-up you can reference your conversation in your follow-up. You can follow-up with an email.  Also, send a personal note which should arrive a couple of days later.  Better yet you could send them an article that may be beneficial for them in their business.  When you send the person something of benefit to them you are gaining favorable attention in their eyes.  Approaching the new relationship in this way will be non-threatening and the person will be more likely to meet with you to further the relationship along.

Networking is all about establishing mutually beneficial relationships.  Because people are so busy, it is very important for you to “stand out” from the crowd.  Keeping your focus on the other person and following-up effectively is the secret to showing how you are unique and a professional in the sales game.

Happy Selling

Good Conversation Stimulates Like Black Coffee

When was the last time you were really engaged in a conversation that was stimulating?  One thing is for sure; you were engaged in the conversation because the conversation was about something you were interested in.

Let’s face it there is nothing more boring than to be talking about something you feel is a waste of time.  With that in mind, how do you think your prospects feel when you are talking about something that is not of interest to them?

Conversations with prospects have to be crafted, planned, and well thought out to be stimulating.  One of the biggest challenges is to match the right conversation with the right person.

What I mean by that is a conversation with a CEO is going to be different than a conversation with a CFO, which is different than a conversation with a manager.  The reason these conversations are different is because the needs and interests of these people are different.

A one size fits all conversation about the value you bring to prospective clients will not work.   If you don’t tailor your conversation based on the needs and concerns (interests) of the person you are talking to, you won’t get very far.

For example, according to The Conference Board CEO Challenge 2010 Survey, the number one challenge CEOs say they are facing is excellence in execution followed closely by consistent execution of strategy by top management.  If you tailor your conversations to center around these points, you will be an instant hit.

It’s pretty easy to do.  You just simply state how your product or service will help with excellence in execution.   If you provide employee benefits you could discuss how execution is vital and what you and your firm are doing to address that.

Similarly, a recent study by IBM of over 1,900 CFOs and other senior financial executives revealed the top three priorities for CFOs are: reducing the cost base, making faster, more accurate decisions and providing more transparency to external stakeholders.

When you put yourself in the other person’s world and talk about things that are of interest to them you will increase receptivity to your message.  Your conversations will be engaging and you will develop relatedness at all levels in the prospect organization.

The best way to have stimulating conversations is to plan.  If you know you are going to be meeting with the CEO develop a few conversation topics of interest.  If you are going to a networking event and CFOs will be there, plan your conversations.

Taking a little time to plan and construct a conversation that is meaningful for your audience can pay huge dividends in the long run.  Always make your conversation stimulating.

Happy Selling