~~The Introduction: An Introduction to Introductions or Who is This Mike Fellow?~~
Mike Montague is from Kansas City and is the home office Director of Content Marketing. Steve Montague is Mike’s father and he bought a Sandler Franchisee in 1994 and Mike took his first Sandler class in high school. Around 2010 Mike joined his father’s team and then two years later he joined the home office team. He provides tremendous tools and white papers to lead the charge in helping the Sandler team martial our forces to use social media the Sandler way.
Mike’s first class was when he was sixteen. His applications of bonding and rapport and questioning assisted him throughout his early professional career and his life.
~~The Conceptual: Social Selling for Salespeople, not Marketers or You Mean There’s More to the Internet than Memes and Cat Videos?~~
LinkedIn the Sandler Way was a collaborative book between LinkedIn and Sandler written because there was no good uses of social media for salespeople. Rather, the majority of books about LinkedIn was pointed to marketing tactics. Tactics like expanding your groups and your presence is a way to develop a passive platform to generate potential connections which is marketing. The issue Mike faced was how to do I start more interesting conversations with LinkedIn to create sales.
If you are in sales and you default to a marketing role within social media then you take a passive approach. Identifying who is my client, where they are, and how to get in front of them, and using LinkedIn as a manner to be proactive will bring value. From Mike’s perspective there are three things you can do that will bring value to you. As a salesperson you need to consider how do I add more prospects to my pipeline, how do I qualify and add information to my potential prospects, and how do I add more opportunities to my pipeline?
There are a lot of different types of opportunities and the biggest separation is qualified versus unqualified opportunities. You can ask anyone to buy what you have, but if they aren’t qualified to buy it then you won’t have much success with the attempt to sale. Between qualified and unqualified you can have a variety of suspects, to prospects, to clients. So the question is how do we find people at the level they’re at then make an introduction or engagement that’s relevant to where they are in the pipeline.
The core of social selling is developing a relevant enough call to action to drive engagement with prospective suspects. So what’s the key to distinguish between call to action and sales? In sales we want to look for and develop qualified trigger events that encourage and enable us to engage with perspective clients. The key term is trigger event. Thinking in terms of real estate, if you are looking for a prospect to buy a house, then by the time they’re in the market to purchase its too late. In real estate, however, looking at life changing events such as new job, marriage, divorce, kids; these are all leading indicators that suggest in the future there will be a need for a new location.
The first thing for social selling is the attitude when you go into the engagement. You need to engage your weaknesses and strengths and play to those or engage individuals who are outside of it. Jump in and try, you can’t break the internet. Nothing bad will happen aside from confronting the learning curve. If you can’t break it then do something: take some simple actions. Attract prospects and not job offers. Make sure you’re talking about what issues you solve and not how great you are.
Start having conversations: comment, like, and share what other individuals, especially ideal prospects, are interested in to develop and foster a community which will engage with you and facilitate development in your social network. Block out some time throughout your day to check in with social media and see if anything has changed. Post something you find interesting. At the minimum you should once a day post something on there and remind people that you are active. What you’re selling will determine how you’re selling it because the audience changes.
Think about your market, do they need a lot of information? Is it a mass market? Do you have thousands of prospects or do you have hundreds or tens of prospects? The lower the amount of prospects the more deliberate you should be. So then the question will be if you should be interesting or interested? What you post is more about a marketing thing, getting more facetime, building passive value for an audience, however, what people care about is themselves. The more you are interested in them, the more you are listening on social media, the more likely they will be to recognize you. We see and count who comments and likes our stuff, so we should work hard to perform the exact actions we ideally want.
There are two basic ways to use this. Use your social media connections to get an introduction or a referral to their company. Maybe if you have a close friend who knows someone then you can have a phone call to ask for an introduction with very low stakes for each individual regardless of the outcome. Sometimes it may be useful to ask for multiple referrals then it may work, but you have a specific list then you might have only one or two people that you are hoping to learn.
For Mike he looks for his connections to disqualify the bad prospects from the list that he has brought to them. In a world of Pay Time versus No Pay Time, Jim sees this as No Pay Time since he’s a dinosaur, a relic from an age long past, who disdains and curls his nose at the rampant preaching of social media from the young sales prophets of the coming day. Mike countered with the suggestion of HootSuite or Buffer to schedule your social media posts for an entire month and then actively, occasionally, make referrals to engage in an active Pay Time activity where it can be useful. For Jim he looks for connections he’s interested in and limits his time to five to ten minutes and demand quality out of his time rather than disappear into the files of the internet. As Mike puts it, if you give yourself 15 minutes to work connections on social media and when your timer ends, you’re watching cat videos, then you’ll know whether you’re doing the right thing or not. (Please note that the right thing is subjective; the answer will always be cats).
~~The Technical: How Do I Reach Out Cold, or Don’t You Know Friction Generates Heat?!~~
What does an e-mail, an inmail, or a direct message sound like? It’s all about the subject line. Think about how many e-mail messages you’ve received over your lifetime. You can spot salesy, fake messages and yet everyone is still trying to compose them. When a subject line sells you, you delete it. One word is a great start. I have a question. Introduction. Help. A question. Making your subject line limited to a few words that intrigues the receiver to make a decision to engage the content of the message.
Cruise the Caribbean and Write it Off. This type of subject sounds like an automated message. Rather, you could title the e-mail: Question. And have the first line read: “Would you like to cruise the Caribbean and write it off?” Follow that with a 30 second commercial that is five or less sentences. Go through your pain points and how you know them; the reason you are reaching out, what those pain points are.
An example of a message which is related to the Sandler business model might look like this:
I noticed that you liked my post on selling strategies to get ahead of the competition. I work with business owners that are struggling with getting in front of enough prospects, closing enough business they’re getting in front of, or closing enough business that they want.
We do this through on-going training and reinforcement.
Reply to this message if its anything or you’re remotely interested in or let me know if I should stop trying.
Returning to the topic: Those pain points need to be developed in a uniquely and emotional way and these pain points need to function in a logical way that matches those pains to your unique selling proposition. In the area of social media selling the attempts to get the no is okay here. If we open the opportunity for people to say yes or no then people will do it and we will maintain a simple progression toward success.
Cold e-mail outreach is important, but so is asking for referrals. Bringing five or ten names of people connected on social media is awesome.
Doing your own research and finding your own prospects on LinkedIn that will make ideal accounts. The focus needs to be developing a list that includes names of qualified individuals. Look up your current best clients and LinkedIn will give you similar clients to them. Building that list out of an upgraded version of LinkedIn may provide more advanced filters will be available at a higher version. If you use this tool every single day you will make more than $74 a month. For Mike, it’s a no brainer. Sign up.
Everyday make sure you’re posting something. You can find stuff. Like or share other people’s stuff. Curate and find the best information that is most relevant to your audience. Do proactive research in reaching out to prospects. Even if its simply ten a week. Do ten a week just to do something to help fill your funnel. And with this, follow-up makes all the difference. Up to six touches actually increase the possibility of you getting ahold of someone. Varying the type of engagement you can mix and match to try and establish their ideal form of communication and then use that going forward. But, when they’re prospects, try all of those avenues to give them homefield advantage with their preferred mode of communication.