My Love Affair With LinkedIn

10 09 2010

I am always astounded when people tell me that they do not “need” LinkedIn.  That’s crap.  Unless you live under a bridge and plan to keep it that way, everybody (especially sales people!) can benefit from using LinkedIn.  This is going to be just a brief overview – LinkedIn 101 if you will.  If you aren’t yet sure about the whole “social networking thing” here are a some key ways you can build your business using LinkedIn.  If this doesn’t convince you, maybe you do belong under a bridge. 

  • Instant Credibility

Imagine being able to present a brag book of your accomplishments and accolades to your prospect along with every single proposal.  Imagine having an interactive resume to send along to a job interview.  Now realize that you already have that ability by simply utilizing the tools on LinkedIn.  Your LinkedIn profile is a snapshot of your career.  Between the recommendations that you (should) have, the professional picture that you (should) have, and the job history that you (should) have listed – you have the opportunity to demonstrate your unshakable credibility based on past performance. 

  • Network Expansion

Like the picture above, LinkedIn allows you to view your professional network, and even goes further to allow you access to your network’s professional network.   Want to meet someone but don’t have a direct connection?  Request an introduction from your common connection!  It doesn’t get any simpler than this.

  • Jobs Jobs Jobs!

If you are in the job market, don’t waste your time on Monster.com, CareerBuilder.com or any of those other waste-of-time “job” sites.  Get the job you want by using the “Jobs” section of LinkedIn.  Fortune 500 companies list executive level jobs on LikedIn.  The application process is streamlined – simply write a cover letter and send your profile along.  Recruiters love to be able to see what your comprehensive profile and I can tell you from personal experience – if done correctly you will get an interview every single time.

  • Prospecting

Ever want to find the name of the decision maker of a new account?  It can be very expensive or nearly impossible.  With LinkedIn you simply do a combination search of the company and the job title to get to the profile of your target.  Learn about their job history, school, and other pertinent information that will help you build rapport.  Furthermore, you can look to see how your network connects with their network and even orchestrate an introduction. 

  • Groups

I know I already mentioned Network Expansion above… but it gets even better.  LinkedIn has forums for people to connect called “Groups.”  You can connect based on your Alma Mater, Greek Affiliation, Industry, Hobbies… the list goes on.  Once in a Group, you can view the profiles of everyone else in the Group whether they are a direct connection in your network or not.  Again, sales people take note!  This is a wonderful tool for you to get in front of the right people at big organizations.  They may not take a call from Joe Salesrep, but they will read a message from fellow Group Member Joe Participates-a-Lot. 

 

So what are you waiting for?  Get going!  Follow the simple instructions at  www.linkedin.com and start to get all the benefits of this great online community.    Oh, and be sure to add me:  

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Personality Sells… Scripts Don’t

2 09 2010

Picture this: You are sitting down to a nice dinner with your family and the phone rings.  Oh joy! The moment you have been waiting for!  You answer the phone with great anticipation.  Finally, you will have the pleasure of listening to the telemarketer read off of a script to tell you how to consolidate your debt for a fraction of what you owe.  The dulcet monotone, the canned responses, the complete lack of regard for you as a human being.  Simply delightful.  Aren’t you happy you answered your phone to be read to?

Now back to reality – of course the story above is ridiculous.  People HATE telemarketers because they have to listen to a person vapidly regurgitate words off of a screen.  There is no enthusiasm, no inflection, and most importantly no interaction. 

As sales reps, often we have to make our first touch-points with potential clients over the phone.  Unless you enjoy being hung up on, you have about 3 seconds to to build rapport and differentiate yourself from the telemarketers of the world.  We need to convey that there is an actual person on the other side of the line.  Sales people as a whole are usually bright and enthusiastic individuals.  If you can just show that something special to your prospect, you have a much better chance of gaining a meeting, making a sale, and building lasting loyalty.

Here are some great tips to help you keep from sounding “phone-y”:

  • Don’t use a script – use a bullet-points of important facts and phrases
  • Be considerate of their time and always ask permission to speak to them ex: Do you have a minute?
  • Reference any current events relevant to their industry or company
  • Raise your eyebrows while you talk.  Don’t knock it till you try it.
  • Laughter is amazing at bringing down barriers.  Use it when (heaven forbid!) you mispronounce a name, trip up on your words, or do something else silly.  Chances are they will laugh too
  • Stand up

If at the end of the day, you must rely on a script, make your script sound as much like you as you can.  Use your own phrases, nuances, and flaws in the script to make sure that you are still being you.  Remember – you were hired because you are a SALES person, not because you have the ability to read.

… For your amusement, here are some fun telemarketer jokes