The Most Powerful Sales Tool You Need to Start Using Today!
Sales have changed — forever! Read that again.
Sales have changed permanently and forever. Don’t believe me? Let’s look at a few facts.
Cold calling is ineffective, if not dead completely. In fact, the success rate of true cold calls is less than 2%, and the success rate of cold emails is less than 3% — so simply put, only 2-3 people out of 100 will actually respond to these methods. And that does not guarantee they’ll actually engage beyond that, much less convert to a sale.
You’re also no longer allowed to simply walk into a building with a stack of catalogs and business cards, going door-to-door passing them out to get the contact info of a buyer. From now on, you’ll have to have an appointment to even get in the building. Always. And to add to all of that — there’s a very high probability that the decision-maker will not be in the office, but working remotely.
Need more proof that sales have changed forever? According to a study by McKinsey & Company, 70-80% of B2B decision makers prefer remote human interactions or digital self-service. Why? The survey indicates the ease of scheduling appointments online, savings on travel expenses, and safety. It’s important to note, these B2B decision makers are OUR primary customers — and as an industry, we need to pay attention to what they are saying and how they want to engage with us.
The bottom line is — we need to change and adapt as our customers change, as the world changes. We can’t afford to sit on the sidelines and watch it all go by, hoping our same-old, same-old marketing methods will “cut it” on bringing in new leads.
What’s happening right now is creating a great opportunity for those that are willing to make big bold moves in their business development and go-to-market strategies.
We have to start shifting to incorporate digital sales strategies into our sales and marketing efforts — in a big way and fast. You need to seek to be found by your customers rather than always seeking to find them. And this is a dynamic shift that requires a strategy and time to effectively implement to ensure you get the results that you want and the tangible growth your business needs.
The time to start is NOW.
I realize creating a digital sales and marketing strategy can be a daunting task. In fact, when you Google it — you get over 208 MILLION results… That’s pretty daunting. LinkedIn Learning offers 91 courses on digital sales alone, and there are thousands more offered on other platforms. But today, I want to offer you a tool that you need to embrace quickly — and by embrace, I mean ENGAGE — really engage with this tool and actively employ it to help you discover new customers (and for them to discover you)!
The most powerful sales tool you need to start using today is LinkedIn!
Though I am not a LinkedIn strategist or trainer, I am a huge proponent of the platform as well as an active, engaged user. So much so that I use a third party analytics service to measure my engagement and success. I know that most people think it’s primarily a job search platform, which it is, but today it’s so much more than that. LinkedIn functions as the central location for you to meet, follow, engage, connect, and have a conversation with your potential customers.
According to Hoot Suite, 4 out of 5 people on LinkedIn “drive business decisions” — which makes it a go-to resource for salespeople in any industry. Additionally, there are 61 Million “senior-level influencers” on the platform as well — the top decision makers or decision impactors within organizations. There are 55 million companies represented on LinkedIn, and 33% of B2B decision makers use LinkedIn to research potential purchases, including people. In fact, 62% of buyers look at LinkedIn profiles — and you need to be part of that group.
In the U.S. alone, there are 174 Million people that use LinkedIn — but less than 1% of them are active and actually creating regular content. Online content is number one way you can seek to be found! Content is king — it’s one of the most important things you can do — create content. However, this column is not about content creation (we’ll talk about that later); it’s about you embracing LinkedIn and getting in the game.
I’m going to highlight a few simple steps you can use to grow your LinkedIn presence and start being discovered by potential customers.
Step 1: Optimize and update your profile
Be sure your profile is current and effectively communicates who you are and what you do! This includes an updated picture of you without a baseball cap and sunglasses. We want to see your smiling face — including your eyes! Don’t hide. Remember the banner image, as well — it should provide a clear image of what you do, and it’s ok to include text on this image, as it’s prime visual real estate on your profile page.
Make sure your headline indicates the problems you solve and how you help your clients — and that’s not “I sell office furniture.” Update your “about” section and make sure it shares your story, focusing on the problems you solve and how you help people.
This can be a bit overwhelming for some, but you need to remember — this is your only personal webpage, a place to showcase you and what you do, your sales page focused on you. Don’t waste it by not putting in effort to ensure it represents you and your brand in a powerful way. And, if done correctly, it will attract the people you want!
If you are not sure how to do this or need help, there are a lot of resources and LinkedIn Trainers out there that can help you. Just search for them in the search bar or send me a message, and I can connect you with a few that I know and trust.
Step 2: Be Intentional
LinkedIn is much more than a social media app! It’s a powerful networking and business development tool, and you should treat it as such. Block time on your calendar to use it — yes, make this part of your daily practice and treat it like business outreach. Focus on the steady practice of building your LinkedIn presence, but you need to be sure you have a plan of action to spend your time on the platform well.
A suggestion that I learned from a LinkedIn Sales Trainer recently was to spend 1 full hour broken down into 10-minute intervals, such as: 10 minutes engaging with current clients, 10 minutes engaging with potential clients, 10 minutes responding to messages, 10 minutes engaging with friends and colleagues, 10 minutes engaging with other content creators, and the final 10 minutes scrolling and engaging in the news feed. And for the record, engagement means commenting and liking — not just looking at the content, but engaging in the content.
Here is a quick tip on content engagement. Add a comment of 5-6 words, and be sure to tag the author of the post. So rather than a simple comment of “great post!” — change it to be “really enjoyed this @Joe, thanks for sharing”. I promise you, you will be amazed at how this works!!
Step 3: Build your network
Building your network is important for many reasons, but you want to be sure that you are not just building it, but curating it. You want to connect with people in the industry as well as those in similar industries like flooring and lighting. You also want to ensure you are connecting with former and current customers, including influencers (A&D) but also targeting connections with companies you would like to do business with.
If you don’t know the person, then just follow them, then engage in their content and connect with them then. Regardless of how you do it, send a note to let them know why you are connecting. Remember, you are building a relationship that will allow you to take the conversation off the platform
Think of it this way — digital activity (commenting on a post) leads to social activity (chatting via direct message), and that leads to a meeting face-to-face (via Zoom), that leads to IRL (in real life), that leads to an opportunity and a new customer.
These are just a few practical steps to get you started with building consistent digital content for your brand, to connect with new customers.
Sales have changed permanently and forever. Are we going to stand by our old sales methods that clearly aren’t getting through to our customers? Or are we going to embrace this new normal and find new ways to meet customers and build business? The tool I’m offering you today is simply the idea of consistent digital activity on a trusted professional platform, a tool that’s brought massive opportunities and new faces into my business and network.
LinkedIn is the most powerful sales tool that you need to really start using today. Do not pass go, do not collect $200 — get on LinkedIn! Please visit my blog at www.sidmeadows.com/blog and let me know how you are going to embrace this platform to help you be found by your customers.