I had a lot of success sending out survey questions for presentations. What that means is I ask for actual problems, and then solve them live. Here are some samples:
I’m looking to expand into (geographic area) , and need information about the area.
I’d like a list of prospects with these specific characteristics: (list 3)
I’m meeting with this a prospect with this title next week. What do I need to know about them?
How do I use recommendations to generate new business?
This person was referred to me. How do I look them up without them knowing?
I call on _______. What does my profile say about me? (requires attendee to send profile and take criticism.
How do I build a list of prospects for a new salesperson?
How do I get more media attention from (name media source).
I need to hire a vendor to solve a problem. How do I know if they are a good vendor? How do I learn how to buy?
If you'd like your questions answered, or any of the ones above, consider signing it. There's a video of the webinar that you can download after the fact, and I can promise you'll learn something you didn't know about Social Selling.
I once sat in a meeting with a number of staffing firms listening to an executive tell us that he didn't mind putting food on our tables, but he didn't want any of us getting rich off of his company.
At the time, I, like the rest of the folks there, ketp a stony face, and said nothing, but inwardly, most of us must have either been laughing or indignant. What business was it of his what we made? If we provided people at the market rate and they did the job, how exactly did that impact his business? We didn't benefit from his cost savings, so why should he benefit from ours?
This isn't the kind of thing you're supposed to talk about in polite company (you're not supposed to question big clients), but I was reading through a book that described why exactly the executive felt the need to say something.
The book is called Organizing America: Wealth, Power, and the Origins of Corporate Capitalism, and it was provided to me long ago by the Princeton University Press. I picked it back up for some light reading, and saw I had marked some 30 pages, almost all for blog material. Despite it's title, it is not a leftwing academic title. It's well-researched, and gives a lot of excellent background on the formation of textile firms, railroads, and other corporate entities in the United States.
Key to this discussion, and the book isn't in front of me so I'll paraphrase, is the understanding that outsourcing, which used to simply be known as contracting, has a long and glorious history, but it's essential character is to provide costs savings to the corporate parent, without giving the appearance of providing to high of a benefit to the contractor. While that seems to just be common sense, you can see the same tension I started describing at the front of this post in negotiations between marketing and product finishing in the context of 18th century textile mills in Massachusetts.
This is a phenomenon we see in many instances, where human beings, using their internal logic, speak based on their position rather than on the general market. This is an important step to learn in business, as we often ascribe false reasoning to our clients and managers based on our emotional reactions to their words, rather than understanding why they make the statements they do. Understanding where the come from helps us learn how to overcome their objections.
Let me give you another example, this one internal. I've had three managers do a very weird thing. All three were recently promoted into a position, and they needed me to help them achieve an objective I didn't believe in. In each case, the manager told me it was my job to help them, and that they wanted me on board. They didn't say why. They just demanded acquiescence. Their words were all similar.
Manager: Are you on board?
Manager: I want to hear you say it.
Me: I said yes, I'm with you.
Manager: No, I want you to say, I'm on board with you.
Me: I'm on board with you.
On it's own, the conversation hardly bears any merit. Managers say these kind of things all the time. But after the second time, and then the third, something was clear. These managers had nothing in common. Different industries, different parts of the country. And yet, they all had a need to have me speak out loud, as to reassure them. Even though each of them had used coercion to get me to agree to their point of view, and they must have known that I was responding simply because they told me to.
And yet, they sounded the same.
What happened is in each case, a new manager saw me as a leader in the office, and wanted to demonstrate to me they were in charge. They used the words that gave them the illusion of control, because they knew they didn't have control. Six months before and six months after, this conversation would not have mattered.
Do you see? It was their position that led them to say what they said, just as it was the position of the executive to tell us he didn't want us getting rich (a statement that has at least 200 years of history behind it).
True innovation, and great salesmanship, comes from differentiating between what is expected, and what is possible, in client relations. Comprehending why a client, manager, or personal relationships speaks certain phrases is the value of experience.
A cool video running across my Facebook stream - a Vanderbilt student is attending a Q &A session with Billy Joel, and asks if he could play "New York State of Mind" while Billy Joel sings.
Yeah - that just happened.
What is the lesson to be learned? One, it's that you have to ask for the sale. Too many people are afraid to ask for what they want. They think it's too big of a deal. They think it's too much to ask. Playing with Billy Joel? That's a huge favor, isn't it?
Or is it? Billy is a singer, and it's one of his songs, so all it takes him is a few minutes, and a desire to do so. Singing with Michael Pollack isn't hard for him to do - it's just a matter of if it's worth trying. And the boldness of Michael in asking, probably sealed the deal.
But it's not just about asking. It's about being able to deliver on what you promised.
I can't play piano past a couple songs I learned twenty years ago. If I had stood up, and Billy Joel had given me the chance, I'd have embarrassed myself. If Michael had simply stood up and said he liked the song, and sat down, no one would have remembered him. If Michael had stood up, and nervously begged for a chance, Billy might have politely said no. If Michael had stood up, talked about how hard it was to break into music, and asked Billy to help him so he could launch his career, Billy would have said no.
It all came down to Michael Pollack being a fan, saying he was a fan, and having the ability to back up his request with an ability. And now he got his moment of fame, but Billy got something out of it too. Massive press reminding people what a stand-up guy he is, giving young musicians a chance.
And that's where you come in.
In sales, and in getting hired, and in asking for help from anyone, it's not just about asking for the close. It's about asking for a close with confidence, with the ability to back it up, and to a person who stands to benefit from saying yes.
Without all three, you're just another person asking.
Had to write this up for a presentation, and thought hey, why not post it?
Jim Durbin is the owner of brandstorming, an interactive marketing firm specializing in social media. As a blogger, social business consultant, marketer, trainer, and headhunter, Jim is a valued speaker on the intersection of social media and business process.
Jim and his wife Franki started their digital marketing firm in 2006, one of the first social media firms in the country. In 2008, he founded SocialMediaHeadhunter.com as a retained search firm to place top social media candidates with companies hungry for talent. He is frequently cited in newspaper articles, television broadcasts and trade magazines as an expert on social media marketing and recruiting, and has trained thousands of executives and recruiters on the use of social media tools. As a marketing consultant, Jim has built websites, produced videos, launched products, advised start-ups, and just once, he hung off the edge of a building to photograph a building at the perfect angle in the right light for a print brochure.
With experience in sales, marketing, recruiting, and social media, Jim brings a unique perspective to the use of social media in permanently altering employee behavior. A lover of the science of networks and the impact of social media on information hierarchies, Jim authored and produced a series of video training products on social media, including the retail training piece, Bricks and Clicks. Prior to starting Brandstorming, he was a top performer as an account executive for national staffing firms. Mr. Durbin is a 1995 graduate of Washington and Lee University in Virginia, and currently lives in Dallas.
Updated: If this particular sales piece interests you, you'll be interested in the launch of socialsalestraining.com in March. Contact email@example.com for more.
This is part of a series on how we used to write up projects for social media. Think of them as high level sales briefs for executives and existing marketing teams.
Sales and Lead Generation :
Companies are increasingly looking for ways to generate online leads to cut customer acquisition costs, but they often have an poorly thought out online strategy. It usually is billed as “build it and magically we’ll make money.” One size fits all vendors ship solutions that either 1) don’t take into consideration how the company sells and make money (poor lead generation), or 2) insufficiently works with sales staff on how they’ll sell and make more (not thinking about how salespeople are compensated).
Social media works on a granular level in sales. Rather than company-wide initiatives that promise big targets but fail to integrate supply and sales chains, social media can be used to train salespeople on how to manufacture their own leads with minimal corporate support.
Social sales isn’t remaking the wheel. It’s taking the current salespeople and sales process and applying social technologies to lead generation. This works with the company instead of being yet another initiative that will be abandoned. Salespeople already have many of the tools they need in their personal accounts, and a proper strategy will remove the risk of the company handing out its database. Investments in selling tools like Salesforce.com and others now allow for greater information on clients and prospects, information which the smart salesperson can use to network and refer their way to untapped customer pools. Lead generation and research is only the first part. Prospect messaging and mobile workforce initiatives are powerful tools that help cold-calls, presentations, and even internal messaging.
Cost And Timeframe:
Initial consulting package in the $40,000-80,000 range, combined with a training package (based on salesforce number (usually in the form of a trainer, consultant and coach) - $140/hr). Time frame is 3-6 months, with implementation in first six weeks.
Best Prospects :
Mobile salesforces and phone sales (but only with highly trained reps, not call centers). Works best with B2B companies. Customer facing sales is not a good fit for training. Those using IBM sales databases are good targets as well.
Salesperson performance, new territory acquisition, or high cost sales salaries are the best targets. Managers can’t stand high salaries on salespeople they don’t think are performing. Social media training only works with salespeople who are already successful and calling and closing. Improving performance of your top salespeople 10-20%, as well as training your salespeople to be more proactive is a good seller, but the pitch should be “Do your salespeople complain about lead quality, or take their current database for granted? Do your salespeople take advantage of the current database and keep it updated?”