In 1983’s classic role-reversal comedy, Mr. Mom, Jack Butler (Michael Keaton) struggles to adapt to the world of a stay-at-home parent. For the uninitiated, here’s a clip of one of my favorite scenes where the Jack’s “know-how”, gets the better of him:
Much has changed since 1983, not the least of which is the impact the Internet and social media have changed the landscape of how salespeople can build connections and actually sell across platforms like LinkedIn.
Are You Doing It Wrong?
In earlier posts, I’ve shared my lack of understanding why some people call themselves LOINs (LinkedIn Open Networker) and what possible benefit that could deliver, beyond simply “fancying-up” the long-fabled “spray and pray” prospecting method.
For many years, I kept my LinkedIn network exclusive to people I had met off-line at least once. In more recent years, I have maintained a high degree of what I call “connection integrity”, while allowing an occasional connection when it’s requested by someone with whom I can logically understand why they’d like to connect.
Most often, these connections are typically:
- industry recruiters (though I’m somewhat selective),
- industry colleagues (sales leaders, professional speakers, consultants, and other talent development professionals),
- people affiliated with groups for which I have recently spoken or published an article to their membership, or
- sometimes those with a shared outside interest (alumni groups, shared hobbies, common political interests/issues).
As a sales leader, I have watched as our Sales Development Representatives (SDRs), through trial and error, have actually found remarkable opportunities via social media connections-notably using Twitter AND LinkedIn Sales Navigator platforms. As a team, we are constantly sharing ideas to help each other succeed and exceed the expectations set by our executive leadership team.
…add value with every interaction, demonstrate thought leadership, and THEN politely ask for an opportunity to learn more about THEIR business prior to actually pitching [the prospect] anything.
The Premature LinkedIn Pitch
Just this week, I received an invitation to connect from a gentleman in the middle category above. We appeared to share approximately 40+ connections in the professional speaking/consulting world, so I decided there was likely little harm in connecting. When I accept virtual unknowns to my network, I often send a quick “thanks for connecting” note which may or may not include a link to schedule an introductory call with me. Typically, the response is either “thanks, let’s stay in touch” or “I just scheduled a call!”. Then…this actually happened:
On Tuesday, Scott Cooksey said the following:
Hello, Bob! Thanks for connecting. I see we have MANY common connections. I look forward to your thought-leadership! Scott
[Five hours later], Bob D*********, M.Ed., DCH said the following:
My latest book (#44), “************* ******* ********** : How to Prevent, Preempt, and Respond to Every Sales Objection You Get” is now available from booksellers around the world.
If in your travels you encounter sales consultants, trainers, and coaches interested in helping salespeople prevent, preempt, and respond to real objections in real-time, please ask them to contact me.
Our company will provide the support documents FREE (facilitator’s guide, flashcard learning contest guide, sales manager’s guide, company rollout plan, etc.), and they can buy the books wholesale direct from our distributor. Sample facilitator’s guide and more information on www.ObjectionFree********.***.
Here’s the background.
Research with thousands of salespeople confirms:
• Objections that stop most sales are common and repetitive.
• Specific Buyer Beliefs when missing or weak cause these objections.
• There are many ways to establish these beliefs.
• Before you buy something, this book for example, what’s just one thing must you believe about it?
• If you don’t believe that, what objection comes to mind?
• But, if you did believe that, what happens to the objection?
• You just demonstrated that a missing Buyer Belief caused the objection and that when the belief is in place, the objection goes away.
• [**redacted**Five bullet pointed facts]
• Probability has it that right now you know salespeople who are facing sales stopping or stalling objections, the answers to which are in this book.
• Could these potentially stalled or lost sales be enough to cost-justify the $9.95 for the eBook or the $19.95 for the paperback? Buy the paperback and get the ebook for $2.99 on Amazon.
Action plan for managers, trainers, and coaches:
[**redacted for content**More bullet points listing related items for use…]
A preview of the book content is available on ********* and a lot more information is available on www.ObjectionFree*******.***.
Yesterday, my reseller in Finnland contacted three CEOs with this information and made three sales for hundreds of books and multiple days of coaching and facilitating for each one.
I’ve got access to a lot of resources so let me know how I can support your goals in 2017.
Needless to say, I was quite disappointed that my acceptance of his request to connect was taken as an invitation to be drowned in an unsolicited pitch from someone I do not really know anything about.
The Critical (Snarky?) Reply
Was I out of line? Leave a note below or message me!]
Bob- Let’s try this again.
I accepted your invitation to connect based on our many mutual connections. Your immediate response was a very lengthy, impersonal pitch to me. Typically, that type of occurrence will immediately have me dis-connect you from my network. To me, it fails to truly build any type of professional interaction salesman to salesman, prior to me really knowing you you are, what you are about, or whether there is an opportunity for our connection to be mutually beneficial. But…. I am curious.
Your claim infers perhaps this particular book is your 44th, which either means you author a lot of shorter (perhaps insightful) ebooks (likely in an effort to draw me deeper into your buying funnel) OR, I am a total baffoon for not actually knowing who you are.
In my role as a Sr Sales Enablement Manager for a Software as a Service (SaaS) startup, I am always looking for ways my SDRs can improve their results when connecting with prospects over LinkedIn and other social media platforms.
Typically, I encourage them to add value with every interaction, demonstrate thought leadership, and THEN politely ask for an opportunity to learn more about THEIR business prior to actually pitching them anything.
Does the strategy you used in our connection often result in a) fruitful dialogue? b) book sales or c) frustration for your efforts? Perhaps we are going about it all wrong.
P.S. In a much shorter request today from someone in my network with whom I DO have a relationship, I actually helped him out by purchasing one of his books- without even finishing his pitch. His book went to #1 today at Amazon. [True Story!]
As I was about to publish this article, I checked my LinkedIn mailbox one last time, and found this [excerpted] from Bob
(Additional commentary from me below is in red):
I’m sorry about the impersonal email. Since I completed this book and started being active on LinkedIn last September, I’ve added 2,280 connections. It was getting away from me, but that’s really no excuse. Lesson learned. Thank you. And no, you’re not going about it wrong. I let time constraints interfere with good research to determine how I can help you before asking for your help. See one of my books on the topic (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AHHJIEK). LOL. [Humor is always good to restore good faith!]
On the reaction, it’s overall been positive. Probably at the lower end of around 10% response to this and similar response emails I’ve sent. But, we’re seeing book sales steadfastly increasing both domestic and international and I’ve had about a dozen trainer/coaches contact me about using our coaching and facilitating materials…. [Great context for the ask…]
[In the past we] charged $10,000 per trainer for Value Selling Strategies. Some charge upwards of $35,000. With our new “publisher” business model, we’re not charging for the support materials (facilitator’s guide, etc.), we’re not requiring certification (the process is exceptionally easy), and I’m personally providing any additional support needed (at no charge). [Value statement interesting…]
I’m really scrambling. Our big ad just came out in a catalog used by 65K salespeople who sell books as premiums to their corporate clients. We’re doing a full PR campaign with Smith Publicity (specialize in book PR). Our focus is on bulk corporate sales (rather than on sales to the general public) and by encouraging our resellers to set up accounts directly with our distributor (Ingram), we’re just counting backend sales. Yea! [More context]
Number of books: There really are that many books. I started in the business 30 years ago and have written over 70 training courses of which 50 have been converted to web-based training….Back when we were a bricks and mortar company, we had our own printing press. We now outsource that to IngramSpark. [Directly addressing my challenge from my reply- good thing I left some “room” for my assumption to be incorrect – it was!]
Again, I apologize for the impersonal response and will follow yours and my own teachings. My overall goal is to build a global network of independent trainers, consultants, and coaches. One of our resellers in Finnland is going to bring on several of his contacts to help build the business in the Scandinavian countries and Spain (he’s buying another home there). Another reseller in Brazil may do the same. We’re also going after the community college market – huge! [Owned the misstep and reinforced his global effort.]
I’ve got a lot of resources available so let me know how I can help your achieve your goals for 2017.
By being quick to respond to a message like the one I sent him, much repair was done for our connection. In fact, I have decided to keep Bob as a LinkedIn connection. Futher, I extended an invitation to him for an interview as we prepare for season two of the Success Charger Podcast later this year!
Let’s Stay Connected!
Follow me in Twitter at @ideacharger for more updates, fun, and commentary. Or send me a brief note to let me know you read this article. We can also connect on LinkedIn…Just don’t SPAM me!