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[EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a replay of the Creativity in Sales Webinar hosted by Fred Diamond, Host of the Sales Game Changers Podcast, on May 8, 2020. It featured “Sales Differentiator” author Lee Salz.]
EPISODE 233: What Salespeople Can (And Should) Do Right Now for Success Moving Forward with Lee Salz
Watch the webinar here.
MAJOR TIP TO EMERGING SALES LEADERS: “The solution is us, sales professionals. We are the remedy and our employers need us to sell their way out of this. That means we don’t have the luxury of burying our heads in the sand and waiting for this all to be over, we need to do something now. We really don’t have a choice. We need to take key actions now. Some salespeople are afraid to reach out to prospects and clients now but sales is not to be feared but rather revered. If your heart is in the right place, you’ll never be wrong which means you should have no fear of making calls to prospects and clients right now.”
Fred Diamond: Again, the goal today is to help our sales leaders understand some ideas to thrive, to transform as we continue to navigate. Lee Salz is the author of Sales Differentiation. I have the book, I’ve read it a couple of times, I’ve actually sent it to IES members, it’s a great book that came out last year at the top of the charts at Amazon and other places. I encourage you to pick up a copy of Sales Differentiation. You could also go to Lee’s website which is salesarchitects.com. Lee, thanks for taking the time and let’s hear from you, we’re excited.
Lee Salz: Fred, thank you so much and thank you all for joining us here today. There are no slides with today’s talk, it’s just going to be me sharing with you my perspective on what salespeople can and should do right now to be successful both short term and long term. I asked Fred for this opportunity to share this talk with you given the circumstances we’re all facing. This is my way of helping each one of your during these, we’ll call it, interesting times and this program is my way of giving back to the sales community, a community that’s given so much to me. This is a challenging time for everyone, it’s emotional, it’s scary, there’s so much unknown for all of us and the media, they’re not helping us. They keep pounding us with negative news and perpetuating our fears, they show us the up to the minute stats of the sick like watching the ball game and showing us the score board and we get this conflicting information thrown at us. “Wear a mask”, “Don’t wear a mask”, we don’t even know what to believe anymore. Fred, I’m sure you’re hearing some of this as well.
Fred Diamond: Absolutely, we’re hearing everything. We have customers, members of the IES and sales teams that sell to large companies, we have a lot of people who have kids at home now and have become home school teachers. Lee, before I turn it back over to you, I just want to acknowledge the sponsors of the IES, our platinum sponsors Cvent, Asher Strategies, DLT, ImmixGroup, Red Hat and SAPSN2, I see a bunch of people from there. It’s not just you as a sales professional, you’re also a parent, you’re a spouse, you’re a child, imagine if you have a parent right now that’s home by themselves somewhere so there’s a lot of things being thrown at salespeople, let alone the sales challenges.
Lee Salz: If you think of the times today, so many of us have been left to stare at the sky in search of answers – or at least toilet paper. No one’s been immune to this issue, we’ve all been impacted and we aren’t sure what to do now. If what I’ve described is how you’re feeling, rest assured, you’re not alone. So many people are feeling this way today but this also means we’re at a crossroads. We have a choice, we can decide to curl up in our beds and wait for this all to be over, that’s certainly an option for us or we can decide to dig in our heels and take the actions necessary to solidify today and tomorrow for ourselves, our families, our fellow employees and our companies. Look, my world is challenging just like yours, I’ve had some clients need to pause consulting engagements due to cash flow concerns. Like Fred referenced, two of my kids who were away at college are now home doing online study, same thing with my son who’s a junior in high school and my family is looking to me right now the same way yours is looking to you, to stay strong, to fight the fight every day. Fred, what are you hearing from IES members around that?
Fred Diamond: We’re hearing the same thing. We have some members that are busier than ever because they’re helping their customers make the transition to work at home. We have a lot of members who service public sector at the federal government, state and local government so some of these people are working around the clock. We have a couple members that are in certain areas of financial services that say that their business has never been more booming as people look into some financing options and to be honest with you, we have some members who sell to markets that are just dormant right now.
One of our members sells to the entertainment space. We have a question here, someone says, “What does he mean by sales differentiation?” I don’t want to take you off track here but I’m telling people to take a look at the book. Would you mind telling us before you continue, what does that mean? Tell us about your book a little bit and tell us what that means.
Lee Salz: Later in the talk I’ll get more into sales differentiation but sales differentiation is a strategy. You’re probably used to thinking of differentiation from a marketing perspective, I brought it back to the sales side because there’s two types of differentiation. There’s marketing differentiation and there’s sales differentiation. Marketing differentiation is one-directional communication for the masses that screams, “Hey, look at us, we’re here.” That’s what your website does, trade show booths, your collateral material. There’s no engagement with prospects. Sales differentiation is two-directional communication with an individual. Everyone buys for a different reason and sales differentiation takes all the potential of what could be – that’s what marketing differentiation did for us – and narrows it down to what should be for this individual in this circumstance. In the book I lay out 19 strategies to differentiate both what you sell and how you sell it.
Fred Diamond: Thank you.
Lee Salz: Absolutely. Salespeople are the frontline of our companies and all employees are counting on us to rise to their occasion. We’re their hope and you’re hearing about the federal government giving us money, all these funds. That’s merely a Band-Aid, that’s not the remedy. The solution is us, salespeople, we are the remedy and our employers need us to sell their way out of this. That means we don’t have the luxury of burying our heads in the sand and waiting for this all to be over, we need to do something now. When I said a moment ago that we have a choice, we really don’t, we need to take some key actions now. Some salespeople are afraid to reach out to prospects and clients now but sales is not to be feared but rather revered. If your heart is in the right place, you’ll never be wrong which means you should have no fear of making calls to prospects and clients right now. Fred, what are your thoughts on reaching out to prospects and clients given current circumstances?
Fred Diamond: Once again, if anyone has a question for Lee, submit it via the panel. We’re doing four webcasts a week right now and we’re speaking to sales leaders every single day. Empathy, talking to your existing customers, we did a great webcast yesterday with your good friend Colleen Francis, the author of Nonstop Sales Boom. She’s a big proponent on conversations, just reaching out and saying, “How are you?” but also, “How can I help you?” I’m curious on your thoughts on that. When you reach out to your prospects or let’s just say your customers today, your existing customers, half the people on today’s webcast said that their #1 priority is helping existing customers be successful today. What type of conversations do you recommend that they have? Do you think they should go in being specific or just, “Hey, I’m here, what can I do for you?”
Lee Salz: That’s a great question and that’s where so many are struggling. What is the right approach? I come back to what I said a moment ago. If your heart is in the right place, you’ll never be wrong. If you approach it from an empathetic perspective don’t belabor the point. I think everyone on this program today is doing the same way, we’re kind of sick and tired of that word ‘Coronavirus’, it’s nowhere in my talk, that is the only time I’m going to say it. We want to get back to the other side of getting back to business. Each of us in sales provides that opportunity to clients when we are reaching out to let them turn off the world for the moment and get back to business.
That’s what I would be doing and reaching out to clients. I’ve had some wonderful success stories, I’ll share a couple with you. I have this accountant coaching client, he’s in New York City, he’s not a salesperson, he’s a CPA practitioner but he also has business development expectations. You’ve all heard the issues about what’s happened in New York City. He has continued his business development activities and he’s won 7 new deals during the stay at home period. I’ve got to keep updating that number when I share this talk because he keeps texting me that he won another deal. The other day he sent me this cute text that said, “Coronavirus couldn’t stop the ink I got today.” It can be done and it’s working for him because he believes it can be done.
I have an accounting software client right in you backyard in Maryland, they had a record sales month in both March and April and they’re tracking to do it again in May and their salespeople believe it can be done and I hope you do as well. Mindset is so important in sales not just today, always. If you believe you can’t sell today, you’re right. If you believe you can sell today, you’re right and you get to choose what you’re going to believe. Fred, what’s your perspective on mindset sales?
Fred Diamond: There’s three big words that have come up over the history of the Institute for Excellence in Sales. One of them is Creativity hence why we’re calling this series the Creativity in Sales series. The second is courage, every great sales professional that we’ve met understands their fear, how to overcome their fear and be courageous in calling customers, asking for business, asking how I can help right now during this time. The third of course is mindset, which is why we actually even added a webcast every Thursday at 2:00 o’clock on mindset. Like I said, we had Colleen Francis yesterday, we’re having the great Alan Stein Jr. next Thursday as well. Mindset is so critical.
Could you define what mindset means? We hear it, we throw it around a lot, like I said we have a whole webcast devoted to it. We know of Carol Dweck and growth mindset versus fixed mindset but talk about what should the ideal mindset look like if you’re in sales. Once again, for people watching Lee Salz today, if you have any questions for Lee, he’s written Sales Differentiation, he’s a global sales leader, works with sales organizations around the globe, he’s got his finger on the pulse of what they’re doing today to be successful. What exactly is an ideal sales mindset that you should be applying today?
Lee Salz: This is something that I talk to salespeople a lot about. One of the aspects I love about sales is that sales has its roots in optimism. We’re fundamentally optimistic people. Sometimes sales managers wish we weren’t so optimistic like when we forecast deals and we over-set expectations but we truly are optimistic, that’s our core. That’s part of the recipe that makes you so successful so don’t let anyone or any circumstance take that away from you. When we talk about mindset, to me that’s optimism. That’s saying, “I believe it can be done.” It’s something interesting, I learned this many years ago and Fred, maybe you’ve heard this as well. When they train race car drivers, one of the things instructors don’t let them do is look at the wall. Anytime a race car driver looks at the wall, the trainer pushes their head away so that they don’t look at it. Do you know why that is?
Fred Diamond: So they don’t think about the wall.
Lee Salz: Not so they don’t think about it because what their head says, “Don’t hit the wall, don’t hit the wall.” The human mind does not understand the word ‘not’ so if you say, “Don’t hit the wall” your mind said, “Hit the wall” and it’s the same thing in sales. If we think in terms of what we’re not going to do, “I’m not going to drop my price”, “I’m not going to be timid when I reach out”, you might as well give up because you’ve already done it. If you’re a baseball fan and you say, “I’m not going to strike out” you might as well go back and sit down, you’ve already struck out. When you talk about mindset, it’s this optimistic perspective and also thinking in terms of the affirmative, what I am going to do, not what I’m going to avoid.
Fred Diamond: Lee, that’s a great point. You said inspirational, we like to be aspirational. There’s so much going around right now, a lot of the people who are watching our webcast are thanking us for the four hour chunks that we’re doing with our webcast to focus on aspiration. We’ve actually changed some of our messaging as well, we no longer say COVID-19, we no longer say Coronavirus, we no longer say pandemic, we’re focusing on reopening and we’re not naive, we know what else is going on in the world. Everyone’s watching the news, we all know what’s going on but we have a job to do and you’re right, sales is at the core of company success. What are some techniques that you’ve learned over the years that you’ve trained your customers on to really have that optimal mindset?
Lee Salz: A lot of it is just taking a step back in any situation recognizing whatever situation you’re in right now, it could be worse. If you accept that premise and you say, “Let’s look at all the wonderful things that are still out there.” One of the things that I’ve found with some companies if you think about it, is that uncertainty breeds opportunity. Let me share that again, uncertainty breeds opportunity. There’s opportunity for all of us right now and you can see it happening. Fred and I are huge baseball fans and as you know, baseball is on pause right now. Major league baseball’s uniform manufacturer doesn’t have any reason to make uniforms because there’s no games being played yet so what are they doing?
They’re manufacturing masks. GM and Ford, they’re making ventilators, they’re helping us but let’s be really clear, they’re making money, lots of it, they’re not volunteers. Look at Zoom, how few people heard of Zoom a couple of months ago and now it’s part of the English language, it’s pervasive, it’s everywhere and those are just a few examples of companies that have said, “There’s opportunity here where I can help and also create revenue opportunities for my company.” We just need to look for it. Fred, have you had any IES members that have shared stories about ways that they’ve changed their business and participated in these times?
Fred Diamond: We have a lot of members who focus on the state and local government marketplace and right away their business changed because obviously, without getting into politics, the state governments are responsible for a lot of things. Obviously they’re responsible for a lot of the response. The other thing, too is a lot of our members are in the technology world so they’ve been spending a lot of time getting their customers prepared to work from home. You and I know how to work from home, we have all the books behind us and we have our desk although I’ve been sitting on my dining room chair, I need to invest in a nice new chair. But everyone who’s in the IT space, every company now is working from home so they’ve already had to shift into the headphone system and the voice over IP system and other things related to that.
Lee, we have so many people here who are on the webcast. You talked about business opportunity, we had never done webinars before at the Institute for Excellence in Sales. I had done them as a consultant. March 9th, all of a sudden we’re in the webcast business and we’re doing now four a week. Do you mind if we take a question from the audience, Lee?
Lee Salz: Go for it.
Fred Diamond: I know we want to wait till the end but, “What are three things salespeople should be doing each day that might be different than what they were doing before the current situation?” That’s actually a great question. We’ve spent a lot of time talking about, “Here’s what your day looks like, schedule meetings, be on the phone.” What do you suggest from your expertise, what would you tell people, “This is what you should be doing today in this world where we are?”
Lee Salz: I’m going to say that in terms of today but as I share them I would challenge you to say, “Shouldn’t we be doing this all the time?” One big one is strategy development. I find so often we say, “We’ve got to prospect, prospecting is so important” but so few salespeople have a documented prospecting strategy, that they have clarity on who they should reach out to, what their meaningful differentiators are, that they have messaging prepared if they reach voicemail. When you make a phone call, more often than not you’re going to get voicemail rather than reach the person live and you’d be amazed how few salespeople have a documented strategy and say, “When I get voicemail, this is the message that I’m going to leave.”
Same thing with email. There was an interesting study done, I don’t know if you’ve seen this, Fred. It was by the RAIN Group and they asked executives if they had ever taken a meeting with a salesperson who reached out to them through some type of prospecting outreach. We could have done this as a poll, this is a fun one. What would you guess the percentage of executives who said they took a meeting with a salesperson who had reached out to them through some sort of prospecting?
Fred Diamond: I could go either way, I could say 70%, I could say 10% so I’m going to go on the lower scale, if you will.
Lee Salz: Okay, 82%.
Fred Diamond: My first inclination.
Lee Salz: 82% of executives said they took a meeting with a salesperson who had reached out to them through some sort of prospecting means but there was one key ingredient that they cited in this study that said, “These were the salespeople that got those meetings.” That secret ingredient was personalization. If you have this generic message that you always use, voicemail, email, when you reach someone live, you are not in the group that was going to get that meeting.
When you look at the personal outreach that you can have as part of your prospecting and if you’ve been in the programs that I’ve done at IES or you’ve read Sales Differentiation, I talk about this concept of a sales crime theory. It’s based on this, imagine it’s 2:00 in the morning and there’s a pounding on your front door. It’s the police, they want to have a conversation with you about a crime that’s recently been committed. They don’t randomly pick you and your home for this conversation, they’ve followed a trail of evidence, put together a crime theory and that’s given them reason to contact you for a conversation right now. If you apply that same approach to sales and what I call sales crime theory, we don’t pick up the phone, we don’t send a prospecting email unless we can answer this question: why should they want to have a conversation with us right now?
Not why should we call them, why should they want to have a conversation with us right now? That means we need to do some research so that we can personalize the outreach and reach that 82% who’ve said that they’ve taken a meeting with a salesperson who had contacted them through some type of prospecting means. That’s just one example of the overall strategy development that salespeople should have. I’ll give you another one. I get calls all the time from executives, sales managers, CEOs, business owners saying, “We’ve got a closing problem” and what they don’t recognize is that closing is rarely the problem, it’s a symptom of the real problem which is poor discovery. If you don’t have effective discovery conversation then you don’t have the tools as you move through the process to keep the energy in your deal.
When we come back and we look at discovery, you’ve all heard the importance of, “We’ve got to have a great discovery” but who’s taught you how to do it? Have you put together, “Here’s the outcomes that we look for when we have an initial meeting, a discovery meeting with this individual in this market segment about this particular product”? Once we know what the outcomes are that we look for, then we can put together, “Here are the questions we’re going to ask, here’s the information we’re going to share, by the way, here are the obstacles we may encounter in that and let’s put together a plan to address them.” We need to have strategy development, now we have the time to do it because we’re not as busy as we were but we should always have strategy in place before we’re picking up the phone or we’re going to meet with folks.
Fred Diamond: Lee, I want to follow up on that. A couple things, we’re getting some great questions coming in through the question panel. Again, if you have a question for Lee please submit it, we’re going to go to about 45 minutes after the hour. I’m also the host of the Sales Game Changers podcast, I interview sales VPs, I always ask them, “What is your tip for emerging sales leaders?” Preparation, planning, practicing comes up all the time. I want to ask you a follow up but first, we have a bunch of people here who are interested in buying your book, Sales Differentiation. A question that comes in is, “Where should I buy the book?” Do you have any recommendations? Do you want them to go to Amazon or your site or where do you recommend they go?
Lee Salz: I appreciate that, thank you. Amazon is a great source for that and you’ll find the book is available in hard cover, kindle and audio book. I don’t want this to become an infomercial but I will mention one piece, if you are interested in the book and you do purchase it, after you do go to salesdifferentiation.com. I’ve put together a 54 week video series so you’ll get an email once a week for 54 weeks – by the way, once I can get a haircut I’ll keep recording [laughs] – but once a week you’ll get a video helping you implement sales differentiation strategy.
Fred Diamond: Another question comes through the panel. Again, you’re in Minnesota, one of your good friends, Sam Richter has spoken at the Institute for Excellence in Sales.
Lee Salz: Great guy.
Fred Diamond: Great guy, he’s the guru on using the internet for research. Let’s talk about research and preparation for a few minutes. The question came in, “What should reps be doing?” you said now’s the time, if you aren’t preparing now then you’re a fraud. What are some of your recommendations on preparation? What are some of your go-to tips on how do you research, what do you research and how do you prepare to approach a prospect or customer, even today?
Lee Salz: That’s a great point. Again, my answer as I share with it, Fred, you’re asking me in the context of today. I’m going to share an answer, I don’t care what’s going on in the world, this is a best practice and a way to go about doing it. The first thing is we need to think of this from a systemic perspective. It’s nice when someone says, “You’ve got to prepare” but what does that mean? We need to figure out who the right people are to reach out to. I’ll tell you a little story, Fred doesn’t know this. The inspiration for my book, Sales Differentiation actually came when I was a teenager.
I had a lot of different jobs as a high school kid and one of them was we had this family friend and he had this idea of a pickup and delivery dry cleaning business. This is in the 1980s so this is an interesting concept it’s not something that existed then. He didn’t own a dry cleaner, he was just going to be the transportation so he hired me as his driver and I was really intrigued and I asked myself, “Would people be willing to pay more for this service?” The answer was some people. I grew up in Marlboro, New Jersey and people that lived in Marlboro commuted into Manhattan, not everyone. The ones that did had about a two hour commute each way and they really appreciated someone who would give them the gift of time so they didn’t have to worry about getting to the dry cleaner and not having a clean suit, that was meaningful to them.
People that had a stay at home homemaker wife who could do that or work locally, they didn’t see any value in that. When we talk about preparation, we’ve got to figure out where our offering is really going to resonate so for us when we were selling that service, going after people who work locally, who had someone who could conveniently bring the clothes to the dry cleaner, it didn’t resonate with them. You want to make sure that you’re going after those people who will see value in what you offer and would be willing to buy from you at the prices that you want. That’s the first key and I refer to that in the book as a target client profile. You may be saying, “We call it an ideal client profile” and I’m big on the subtlety of selling. To me, ideal client means if once in a blue moon you were to come across this client, we’d love to have them.
That’s not what we’re looking for, target clients is this is the business we want to go after, this is what it looks like, feels like, tastes like and in the book I lay out all of the components of that. That foundation of knowing where your message is truly going to resonate is the first foundation piece when we talk about preparation, got to have that. Then the next part of preparation is putting together lists. You may call them prospect lists but putting together lists of people or organizations that you’re going to go after and after you have the organizations, then you figure out who the right people are and call them decision influencers. Your message that we’ve put together when we documented a target client profile, who in the organization is that message truly going to resonate most with? Then you take that and you say, “Here’s what my outreach program is going to be, my prospecting” so that there’s quality to the outreach.
One of the aspects of prospect that I found is I talked about the qualitative side but there’s also a quantitative side and I’m sure you’ve seen the studies that show the number of attempts that it takes to reach a prospect and ultimately get the sale. You’ll notice my hand down here, the typical outreach that salespeople have and that big delta here, we don’t have enough outreach but there’s also strategy for that. I’ve put together what I call a four week prospecting rhythm and I’d be happy to send you a copy of that. If you send me an email, my email address is email@example.com and in the subject just put ‘prospecting rhythm’, I’ll send you a copy. This strategy takes the qualitative side which says, “What’s my messaging going to be?” but then we need to have creative outreach and you’ll see as you read through this, there’s a phone component, there’s an email component, there’s a LinkedIn component. I’ll give you one little interesting piece.
In Outlook there’s a function that from a sales perspective we haven’t taken advantage of. When you send someone an invitation in Outlook, whether they accept it or not, it’s in their calendar. One of the things you read about in this strategy, a particular phase of it, you leave a voicemail message and say, “I’m going to call you tomorrow at 2:00 pm” and you send them an invitation, and you have some meat in that invitation about the context for the call. Whether they accept it or not, it shows up in their calendar. Nothing I’m going to share with you works 100% of the time but if you take all of these techniques and [Inaudible 32:59] I guarantee you, your prospecting connection meeting getting people live will go up significantly. That’s a long winded answer, Fred, to what you asked me but this is all part of that preparation exercise so we’re effective when we reach the person live and then ultimately have that discovery meeting.
Fred Diamond: That’s very powerful. One of the things, too that’s happening is for the most part we know where everybody is. For the first time in sales history we know the people aren’t traveling to trade shows, they’re not traveling for business calls, 97% of people are probably at home. I’ve spoken to one of our members who actually is going to the office every day and this was a couple weeks ago, he was actually rethinking that. Again, we’re preparing for reopening but for the most part, we know where everybody is. We know that everybody’s home, depending on their level of responsibility they may or may not be hugely busy but if I’m trying to prospect to someone who’s a Chief Financial Officer, I know that they’re home. How are you suggesting that people use that to their advantage or not?
Lee Salz: That’s where that prospecting rhythm comes in. When you take into account, you have the qualitative message and the quantitative and creative times when you’re calling, for example, an executive at 10:00 in the morning or 2:00 in the afternoon, you’re not getting them, they’re not going to answer the phone. You want to prospect outside the business days, 7:30 am to 9:00 am in the times and where they are, 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm in the times where they are to increase your hit rate of connecting with them. If you think about what’s going on right now and Fred, you eluded to this just a moment ago.
Most companies are operating at a pace that is much slower than what they normally are. They’re much slower so there’s a really interesting selling opportunity. If what you sell helps a client to increase revenue, reduce costs or increase efficiency, those are three areas of focus that every company is going to have coming out of this. One of the fears that executives have is not having enough time for a proper implementation, that you’re going to disrupt some business flow. They’ve never gone in a slower pace than they are right now so it’s a wonderful conversation to have now because just like Fred, you talked about planning, they have the luxury of time to have planning for a change whether it be a change in process, change in supplier, change in system, whatever that might be. Don’t expect them to see that or recognize it, we have to guide them to recognize that they have this opportunity right now for proper consideration of what an alternative solution could look like and proper planning around implementation.
Fred Diamond: Lee, I know you want to talk a little bit about LinkedIn as well.
Lee Salz: If you’re not connected with Fred and me, shame on you. Get connected with us. [Laughs]
Fred Diamond: [Laughs] they have another 15 minutes to do so. No, actually they have forever. We’ve had a couple sessions on using LinkedIn. Good, someone actually just LinkedIn to me, thank you so much for that person who just LinkedIn to me. Talk about how a sales professional should be using LinkedIn. We’ve had our good friend, Brynne Tillman on a couple of times.
Lee Salz: She’s wonderful.
Fred Diamond: We’re actually going to have her again on May 19th for our Women in Sales webcast which is hosted by Gina Stracuzzi who runs the IES Women in Sales program, she’s going to be talking about optimizing your profile. Talk a little bit about LinkedIn, what should we be doing today? What are your best tips for LinkedIn?
Lee Salz: It’s a wonderful way to perform business development and the way you look to d it, it’s an opportunity to demonstrate your and your company’s expertise and that can lead prospects coming to you. Wouldn’t that be great? I’ve talked so much about prospecting. We can use LinkedIn as a way to showcase our expertise so that we get people coming to us. Let me walk you through a few steps on that. The first one is look at your LinkedIn profile and brush it up, make sure it’s polished, it’s accurate and represents you well. If you’re a fisherman and you have this picture of this glorious fish that you caught, that is your Facebook profile, not LinkedIn.
LinkedIn, you want to have a conservative professional photo for yourself. The second thing you want to do is build your network. We talked about having this luxury of time and what can we be doing, connect with your clients, industry partners, company colleagues, prospects with whom you have a relationship. Build that network for yourself. I had a conversation just yesterday with someone who’s a sales management executive and he’s realized that he’s not done enough to build his brand in the outside world. He’s got a strong brand inside his company but hasn’t done enough outside the company. Once you’ve done that, as you know, in your LinkedIn profile you have the ability to share information and you want to share information that allows you to showcase your expertise.
Let me give you an example. If you wanted to be seen as an expert in babysitting, all you’d need to do is share lots of information on the subject of babysitting and in 30 days, the world would see you as a babysitting expert. That’s the core premise of social media. Notice I didn’t say how to create video, you don’t have to create vlogs, all you need to do is share information on a very specific topic and the world will see you as having expertise in it. If you’re connected with me, you’ll notice I share lots of information on sales and sales management and that creates a perception around me for those topics. You have that exact same opportunity for your world and again, that can get people coming to you. Next thing you want to do is join groups, you can join sales ones. I’ve built the largest sales management group on LinkedIn, it’s called Sales Management Executives and you’re all invited to join, we have about 325 thousand members. Then also join industry specific ones, and once you’re in those groups share information that highlights your expertise. Create thought-provoking discussion, participate in discussions to showcase your expertise around the solutions that you offer.
There’s one huge mistake people make on LinkedIn and I know you’ve had this experience, hopefully you haven’t done it but you might have experienced it. Let’s pretend you’re at an in-person networking event. You wouldn’t walk up to someone and in the first two seconds say, “Hey, you want to buy from me?” You’d never do that but that’s what happens on LinkedIn. Someone sent you a connection request and you can measure with an egg timer how quickly you’re going to get a solicitation email and it’s a turnoff so don’t do that unless you want to turn people off. Just like with in-person networking, you have to earn the right to sell. Those are some great actions to take on LinkedIn.
Fred Diamond: Lee, I want to thank you so much for all the great insights. Why don’t you give us one final thought, one or two final things? As you know, at the IES programs we tell people, “Here’s three things you need to do today”, usually we say, “Before you get on the beltway.” Of course, I don’t think anybody’s going to be getting on the beltway today but why don’t you give us two things that people should do today, May 8th to be more successful and to be more valuable to their customers and to their companies?
Lee Salz: We’ve talked a lot about mindset in this program but there’s another part that’s really important which is having a healthy body. A couple of things that I encourage you to do, get fresh air every day. I’ve been working out of a home office since 2007, I’ve got to remind myself to do that as well but get fresh air every single day. The second thing is get exercise every day. My poor dog Rocky, he’s used to during the business day no one being home except me so now you have me, my wife and my three kids and we get fresh air by taking a walk. Of course, Rocky comes along and he is just exhausted, “Why am I going on so many walks?” He’s looking at us like this, “No, not another walk.”
Get exercise every single day and eat right so you don’t create other health issues for yourself. I go to the supermarket and those Mint Milanos want to jump right in my shopping cart. Keep the right food in your home so you aren’t tempted to eat poorly. I hope I’ve shared enough with you today and given you some inspiration and aspiration to keep going in sales. There’s so much opportunity for all of us if we put that energy towards it. I encourage you to leverage your optimism. Like I said, we’re fundamentally optimistic people. Watch videos, read things and do things that improve your mindset, things that make you feel better, not bring you down. I give this talk two to three times a day right now and why am I doing it? I don’t get paid for this talk. Well, while I hope I’ve inspired your optimism, this talk inspires me. It makes me feel like I’m making a contribution to helping people in a time of need and I hope you take action on the steps that I’ve shared here today because uncertainty breeds opportunity.
Transcribed by Mariana Badillo