~ An Introduction to Introductions: Dan Macias and the Sandler System from Mexico to Bogota, Colombia ~~
Dan Macias grew up in Mexico and now runs a Sandler Franchise in Colombia and he’s sharing with us today at prospecting as a millennial. Before he graduated, when he was in college, Dan got into two or three jobs and he realized that in the particular field he was working he wasn’t going to be paid enough. He started his own companies and after two years of selling to everyone he knew, he didn’t know how to sell to people who he didn’t know. His sales dropped while he was thinking about what to do without doing anything.
He heard about Sandler from a friend at a party and got in conversation with Sandler in the north of Mexico and he joined the Sales Mastery program and loved it. He saw almost immediate results and after a year and a half of studying he converted to the Sandler network and began as a trainer until he preferred selling Sandler more than his personal companies and moved in to be a part of the Sandler franchise in Mexico. He started as a client in 2011 and has spent the last four years being a part of the network.
Dan founded four companies before getting into Sandler. Before, he had started from scratch four times, and nine months after being in Sandler in Mexico he was invited to move to Colombia. And in Colombia, Dan really started from scratch and became a behavior animal. He did 30 contact attempts a day and that started building the inertia he needed to get plenty of appointments—somewhere between four to six a week. After four to six months the business started to be there. This work in Colombia was exclusively Sandler and he used LinkedIn to build a profile to cold call and went to as many networking events as he could.
Doing a combination of his behaviors, Dan managed to build a decent business. Dan had to build out his sphere of influence when he moved to a new place and took on strategies to build his brand, but the core of that growth came from dialing for dollars prospecting. As Sandler said, cold calling is effective, because so few people do it well. When he started training with Sandler it took him two to two and a half months with cold calling; it is quicker when there is a level of desperation behind the drive. But, once he was comfortable with his 30-second commercial he felt confident enough to use it as an effective tool to prospect for potential clients. The Sandler System requires guts and courage.
~~ The Conceptual: Social Media Experts Agree, or You Mean All I have to do is what I do? ~~
As a millennial, Dan suggests doing what you already do. Use social media in the way you communicate actively with your family, friends, and acquittances. You need to integrate your prospecting to your usual way of communicating. Using Facebook, Instagram, messenger applications, and build all of that into your prospecting. It has a multiplier effect that traditional prospecting doesn’t have. You need to begin by publishing in your social media what you already take. Take pictures of your engagements and build social capital around what you do in your social network so that you can bolster your personal brand and facilitate a top-of-the-mind recommendation because you’re actively already present in what you do.
By constantly sending that message: I do this, I’m great at this, you create a natural selection of people reaching out to you instead of living on the hope that people reach out to you. It’s important to know how to prospect through social media. We already use social media, use the social media that you like the most. In Latin America, Latin people are very warm people who want to feel close. The physical space is much closer in conversation, and Dan tries to emulate that in his posts on Facebook. He invites people to engage with him and says things like, “If I don’t like you, I won’t accept you.” But, his friend base works as a personal branding tool.
Dan tries to post three to four times per week. He usually does only one post per day. A corporate page should be posting more often, but since this is related to personal branding he tries to limit it. He tries to interact with his clients and customers and engages with activities or engagements people publicize and make people notice that you care about their posting and what they’re doing. The people that are already in his feed are his clients and he’s looking to strengthen the relationships. He doesn’t look for prospects there, because he’s looking to bolster the relationship in order to later facilitate a conversation for growth. He’s looking to turn people into more than clients and he wants to befriend his clients. It’s a natural process and everyday in his cookbook he checks for birthdays and sends out a personal message, Facebook message, or e-mail to make it a little more personal and break the inertia of irrelevance that exists on social networks.
When it comes to prospecting, Dan uses LinkedIn. He prospects in two ways: passive prospecting, doing the same that he does on Facebook, and active prospecting. Dan likes to keep busy and he uses social media in free time, so he repeats pictures across mediums in order to save himself time and he adds his clients on LinkedIn. In his Sacred Research Hour, which leads to his Sacred Prospecting Hour, he goes to the search bar on LinkedIn and looks for CEOs or Sales Managers or HR Managers and looks through the people who are closest to him and checks out their information, their story, their company, and determines whether or not the company is or is not a good prospect. He will either call their cell phone or reach out to mutual connections to see if he knows someone close enough who might give him a referral for a warm conversation. If all this fails, he does the cold call process. You can be as millennial as you want, but you still have to be great at cold-calling because you’ll grow out of it.
It’s important not to have the wrong idea about self-promotion. Self-promotion does not mean that you lack humility, it means you are a business person with vision and you understand personal branding is key to building your company’s business. If you are not promoting yourself then the people who are looking for you are finding other people who are not solving their issues as good as you could solve their problems.
It is also important to try and build real relationships. Dan really tries to become friends with his clients and for him, it’s been a great business and life strategy.
~~ The Technical: Turning a Cold Call, to a Warm Call, then to an Appointment, or How Can You Learn to Plan Well?~~
As important as social media and personal branding is reaching out to people and being with people. One of the things Dan had to do when he came to Colombia was going to networking events. Dan doesn’t like networking events, but you don’t have to like it, you just have to do it. But, for Dan, there’s a life hack to avoid extraneous suffering while networking. Instead of going to the traditional event where someone gives a talk and everyone has a sticker and you scour for the loneliest person, he’s committed to going to structured networking events. In events where you are allowed to say who you are, what you do, and what you’re looking for in that event, you are enabled to remove all the pressure of looking for someone who doesn’t want to talk to.
For Dan, it’s important to be disarmingly honest, “I’m looking for clients, for partnerships, but especially, the truth is, I’m looking for friends. It’s my 3rd week in Colombia, I don’t know anyone. My wife is super social and super extroverted and we’ve only been talking to ourselves and she’s getting cranky. If anyone is willing, I will pay the beers tonight.” This instance of social disarmament led to success for Dan to create friendships which eventually leads to business. This idea of disarming honesty eliminates the majority of game playing that is allowed in status quo engagements where people are following pre-programmed scripts. This is a great strategy from the Sandler playbook.
You also need to be honest with yourself. Realize what prospecting works for you. If people you know are great at certain type of prospecting, you do not need to emulate what they are confident and good at, we should instead focus on the prospecting that works for you and develop the areas where you aren’t as successful. So Dan, what’s a coldcall sound like?
Dan: Hi Jim, are you busy? Did I catch you at a bad time?
Jim: I am, but this is okay. What’s this about?
Dan: This is Dan Macias, we don’t know each other. I want to tell you why I’m calling and in the end we can continue or you can hang up the phone, are you okay with that?
This is the introduction to Dan’s cold call, but the real power behind his conversation is the tonality that he chooses to use in order to create something close to that disarming honesty. The humility and uncommitted belief of what he’s doing is a great framework to understand where success comes from in a conversation. The questions that Dan asks focus on the answers that Jim gives. This idea of active listening through restatement, paraphrase, and summary, allows for a conversation to go to depth since it demands an avoidance of repeated answers.
Dan uses a pattern interrupt in order to disarm the individual and allow for a curiosity rather than skepticism. He also focuses on not imposing an objective to the conversation and leaves the choice in the hands of the prospect and he builds his 30-second commercial around the impacts that strike a chord with an individual in a position of leadership. Dan also doesn’t say the name of his company until the 30-second commercial. This introduction forces curiosity and enables Dan to get to the point to deliver his commercial. You should also remember that you are able to name where you got the contact from. Saying you found someone from LinkedIn or through a referral can make the call a little bit warmer and keeps the interest invested in the conversation.