Lead Generation

How many leads are you really converting?


Current reality is likely to be fantasy. The fact is that the four horsemen, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google are the winners. [Scott Galloway's book The Four Horsemen: http://amzn.to/2CWn5jv]

Their engines are huge, their pockets are even deeper and you have very likely spent a big junk of your earnings with these 4 mammoth organisations.

They are buying up all their competition whenever they pose a threat and will own the internet space for many a year to come, you might as well get used to it.

The only way you are competing on the internet is by spending on ads with Google and Facebook and at this time Facebook is the winner.

Facebook will make $60 billion at least from mobile ads by 2020, that's just in a couple of years time.

You are hoping that AI and automation will save the day and actually it probably won't. The only way you have a chance is to become super personal with your customers and potential buyers. This means spending more on the front end with training your employees to become outstanding communicators and making sure you retain them for longer.

Millennials will rage quit at the drop of a hat, so you better know what they value about your company and make sure you deliver this to them daily.

Lead generation is going to be a much hotter topic in years to come and you will be experimenting with many snake oil providers before settling down with something that you feel happy with.

Remember the customer knows when she's being sold to

The best organisations are becoming better at storytelling and linking al their teams together and sharing the same message.

Here on LinkedIn in by the way is where this can be most effective. The trouble is most organisations ignore this potential and their employees LinkedIn profiles are a mess. Sorry to be so direct, but it's true.

When your employees have to become better communicators they actually have to become better storytellers. Their own story and that of the company they work for. A perfect blend of the two will create trust and loyalty.

Better get started...

Purgatory: the place to which Roman Catholics believe that the spirits of dead people go and suffer for the evil acts that they did while they were alive, before they are able to go to heaven. Humorous: an extremely unpleasant experience that causes suffering.

Are you guilty of using the ‘sheep dip’ approach?


 I am sorry to say, I'm guilty!

It's not that I'm not wishing to be super personal and to engage with one person at a time and appeal to their specific goals and aspirations.

The truth is there are just not enough hours in the day to engage with every new connection request and every new follower at a level that I would ideally like. So some automation is inevitable. I'm still experimenting too and have already adjustedsome things.

I'm not using autobots as such, but I am manually adding new connections to my CRM and an automated process and messaging them with the same template message. And no, I don't feel great about it, but it's working at the moment.

My goal is to be engaging and strike up a conversation, share some valuable content and information that is free and at the same time being careful not to pitch anything. Its totally not my intention to do any kind of pitching. Eventually I'd like to have a conversation, which I call a discovery call. And that again is to provide some value, not to pitch.

I have carefully designed this process after weeks of testing it and receiving some deeper level of engagement with new connections, especially on LinkedIn. Anywhere else it's much harder to do. Email is still one of our default go to apps each morning. I know it's Facebook for most too.

I state very clearly in my auto emails that my purpose is to engage at a deeper level and invite recipients to unsubscribe if they wish to and indeed some do, but not as many as I had originally expected. Maybe one every 2-3 weeks.

I do receive a fair bit of engagement from these new connections and I also notice a lot don't. I'm surprised because they asked to connect with me in the majority of cases, at least 95% of them are incoming requests. Usually with no reason given for wishing to connect by the way.

The real engagement occurs when after a few touch points, which are a combination of engaging with their profiles and sharing some content and information, you manage to get agreement for a discovery call. When you are able to engage in a conversation with your connections, more clarity about who they are and what their goals are means that you can start to look out for clues and understand better how they'd like you to engage with them in the future. Over the years I've come to realise that this is by far the best method.

The goal always is to end up having a conversation. I believe by phone and usually Skype with video is best. I'd like to try other methods too, like Facebook messenger with video, although having tried it twice, it's still a bit unstable.

If you'd like to skip all the automation and go straight to a discovery call then by all means go for it and head over here,


in the meantime let me know how you're feeling about my automation and by all means share your ideas and strategies that are working for you? 

LinkedIn created a brilliant eBook with my favourite illustrator. @gapingvoid (Hugh Macleod) creates the most amazing messages through his illustrations. Read more about him and@gapingvoidhere: (http://www.gapingvoid.com/blog/team-members/hugh-macleod/)

Occasionally I will share one of the articles and illustrations from the eBook and give you my opinion, interpretation, insight and my meaning.


#contentmarketing #content #socialmedia #engagement #marketing #socialselling #sales #empathy #distraction #purpose #relevance #trust #love #mastodon #why #linkedinlectures

Online is great and talking is even better. Everyone's ultimate goal in business and life is to make real connections, where you meet someone face to face. Before that meeting a conversation is the ultimate icebreaker. I value my LinkedIn connections and realise that I don't really know you or what your goals are and how I might facilitate or support those goals. Feel free to click through and book a call with me (https://www.stayingaliveuk.com/discovery-call/). I have blocked out only Fridays each week, excluding holidays, for calls. Hope to speak with you soon.

In Social Selling, Building Trust Starts before You Connect

Learn how thorough research and honest communication can build trust with buyers, with these social selling tips from Staying Alive UK’s Michael de Groot.


This blogpost was first published by LinkedIn Sales Solutions on the 13th August 2015 and is part of a blogpost series to promote the eBook '33 Social Selling Success Tips', which was curated and published by Michael de Groot (that's me!) in 2014 and re-purposed by LinkedIn.


The first person who said “patience is a virtue” probably wasn’t in sales. For salespeople, patience can be costly. Waiting to respond to a trigger event or failing to follow up to a prospect’s question can cost the sale. There’s an understandable desire for hustle, whether you’re a sales leader or a sales manager.

But we must be careful that a lack of patience doesn’t make us take shortcuts that lose potential buyers. One part of the sales process you should never rush is the research phase before you reach out to a prospect for the first time. Thorough research arms you with the information you need to make a connection request that builds trust.

People buy from people they know, like, and trust. Before they get to know you and come to like you, buyers will be evaluating whether they can trust you. Here are two steps you can take to build trust before you connect.

1.  Research

Do your research first on the individual and the company. Follow the company on LinkedIn and research any articles where your potential buyer could be mentioned or featured. Check industry news sites for mentions and of course LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator could do the heavy lifting for you in terms by finding relevant company news.

There are two very useful ways that you can keep track of your buyers without making it obvious to them. In Twitter, you can create a private list and add Twitter handles to your buyer list. You will be able to see what buyers are tweeting about to give you an insight to their interests and industry specific articles or opinions. In LinkedIn, you can save someone to your contacts without making a connection request. When you save them, add a tag that will let you filter your contacts for each account. This allows you to do more research on them and find commonalities in their profile, their tweets, or their shares.


2.  Be Direct

Once you have done your research and built a relevant, compelling case for making contact, then you can send a connection request.

For the best chance of a response, show your trustworthiness by being upfront about why you’re asking to connect. Let the prospect know what led you to reach out to them, and what you would like them to do next.

With a LinkedIn connection request, you will know 100% for sure whether or not your request is accepted. Your prospect will receive reminders from your invitation at least 3 times to either accept your connection request or click ignore. I would leave the request open for 3 weeks to see if they accept. If not, remove them from your connections database as a lost potential and focus your energy elsewhere.

In the fast-paced sales environment, it’s important to remind ourselves to slow down when we need to. Take the time to build trust with a prospect before you connect, and that time investment may pay off in a better sales relationship.

For more actionable social selling insights from experts in the profession, download 33 Social Selling Tips by Social Selling Thought Leaders.

Editor’s Note: In this series, we feature quick and tactical social selling tips from thought leaders in the profession. This installment features trust-building advice from social selling tips Michael de Groot, Social Selling Director for Staying Alive (UK) Ltd who collaborated with other social selling trainers and originally produced the social selling tips eBook.

Are You a Modern Seller?

2015, I hope, will be the year that Social Selling goes mainstream. With that I mean that no longer should we be calling it ’Social Selling’. I prefer us all to be talking about it as ’Modern Selling’. The fact is Sales has always been a Social activity and in some ways Sales Professionals can be confused by the term ’Social Selling’.

In some cases I have witnessed some really awful practices on Social Media, where bombarding folks with constant promotional material and ads are thought of as Social Selling.

Let's examine ’Modern Selling’ in a bit more detail. 

First of all what are some current practices that look like they are going to be killed off by ’Modern Selling’.

  1. The Cold Call. Although this can be at times a useful method, it is definitely starting to drag everyone down. Who actually enjoys receiving a Cold Call these days? This most definitely will be dead and buried in B2B selling by the end of 2015, if not sooner.

  2. The Cold Email. This is a tough one actually. Email is still such a fantastic tool to get in front of folks. It's on people’s phones and therefore it's quite tough to avoid, unless you have set up a super duper filtering system and who has time to figure those out? However I know that more and more people are hitting the delete button for email.

  3. The Email Newsletter. This has been an annoying and nagging interruption for many years now. Who really wants to know about all your great achievements in the past week, month, plus reports on how great you are in the eyes of your latest customers? Nobody cares, really nobody does. I have been unsubscribing from newsletters for about 2 years now and still they continue to add me without asking my permission. I'm guilty too, because I have tried it and well failed, because I haven't felt comfortable about it and you do run out of ideas of what to say. I stopped. I do have downloadable content on my website and it’s completely optional if folks wish to be added to an email list and I state completely upfront that I don't send regular emails. Only now and again will I share some content that is in line with the content they've downloaded. Often that content has nothing to do with me, it's someone else’s content who are able to convey and support my own thoughts much better.

  4. Brochures. Yes some folks are still keeping the printers employed by cutting down trees and distributing brochures to prospects and well anyone who will have them. It's time that these are thrashed, because your prospect will anyway. 

  5. Features and Benefits. This is the biggest one to crack. I would love to see this one dead and buried. Sales professionals spend most of their time practicing these in order to memorise them when in front of prospects and clients. Marketing professionals also spend countless hours presenting these in many different formats, to convince buyers to make decisions based on how their products compare with others. It doesn't make any difference to your buyer. She wants to buy your product to solve a problem. You would be better off listing problems and solutions, so she can see her problem listed. 

What are the alternatives I hear you cry!

  1. Personal Brand. You, whether employed, self-employed, freelance, consulting or any other process you identify yourself with and if you reading this, are already a ’Personal Brand’. This wasn't necessarily possible without Social Networks. Social Networks and by being on them, have allowed you to become a ’Personal Brand’. You HAVE to take this responsibility seriously and if you don't, the consequences can be very harsh. This is the starting point, without this recognition you will struggle to get recognition. You have to craft a great story about yourself and make this consistent across all the Social Networks you exist on. Whether these are personal or business networks. Social is Social, keep the story the same across all. Folks will check you out across all of them and if they aren't in synch you will come across as random.

  2. Conversation. The ultimate aim for anyone in Sales or in Business is to have a conversation with a prospective buyer. Therefore your ideas, approach, strategy and intention should be about how you can have a conversation with your buyer. Your buyer won't be interested in you, the only thing on her mind is juggling and solving her problems. You are most likely an interruption to her day and as such you need to be able to convince her that time spent with you will be well spent! All your actions, communication, social posts, will be to support why a conversation with you will be interesting and more importantly a very worthwhile interruption to her day.

  3. Engagement. This is the holy grail. We all would love to have our connections become potential prospects and at some stage they will have either liked, commented, shared and loved what we posted or have written. Instead of focussing on what you can ’get out’ of your connections, instead focus on what you can ’give’ to your connections. What free content can you share with them that will help them. Share their stories and updates with your network and help them to get more exposure. The route to engagement is trust. This is all you can shoot for to start to develop a relationship. Folks will do business with people they know, like and trust. Once you build trust, which can potentially be developed online, they can start to know you through a conversation, which can be done over the phone. The ’likeness’ can only happen when they start comparing your profile with theirs and get to know you a little better. Folks are always searching for ’likeness’ when meeting new people and if there are some areas of commonality, likeness can develop quite quickly.

  4. Personality. Let your personality shine through at every opportunity. Avoid writing in the third person and reduce the amount of ’I’ statements. It actually isn't all about you. Share ’Why’ you do what you do, as this resonates so much better compared to only making statements about ’What’ you do. If you're able to share passionate insights about how you are helping folks this will also help viewers reach a better understanding about you.

  5. Gratitude. Showing gratitude to new connections for accepting your invite or in response to their invitations is an essential part of the ’Modern Selling’ recipe. Furthermore when it comes to invites, I experience too many invites on LinkedIn that have the standard default text. Asking people to give up their time to look at your profile, read it and decide whether to accept your invitation is actually a big deal. Sending a basic and standard invite therefore is actually saying that you don't respect their time, but you do want them to accept your invitation. I also liken it to talking to someone with your back turned when you meet them for the first time. Something you would never do. You can also show gratitude by engaging with your connections’ posts by liking, commenting, re-sharing, retweeting and favouriting (Twitter). 

We are all learning how to do all of this much better. I still have masses to learn and all of our journeys on Social Media are still very very new.

Take it step by step and think about all your actions and interactions carefully and thoughtfully. When you take your ’Personal Brand’ seriously and you have respect for your connections, you can achieve great things.


Does Business Networking Deliver Sales?

I am a small business (SOHO = single office home office) and I know how lonely it can be at times to work on your own. Therefore for years I've enjoyed going to business networking events. Interaction with humans and talking about what you do, makes you feel worthy and loved.

But actually it's a feeling that doesn't last very long at all. Almost immediately when you leave the networking event, you start thinking about what you've achieved. Usually nothing at all. Of course you've met some nice people, had a nice breakfast or lunch and exchanged some business cards.

So you have a few more extra business cards, which most of us do nothing with and even if someone showed some interest in your work you are unlikely to get a follow up email or call, from them. Why? Because they are their selling themselves and if you haven't bought from them, they are unlikely to want to go after you and buy from you.

Of course there are exceptions, but in the main, everyone is at the meeting trying to find business and an opportunity for an introduction at least.

Don't get me wrong I have had business through these events but my thinking is changing. I've been trying a different approach. So please read on...

You actually have no idea who will be showing up at a networking event and even if you did, they're probably the wrong people for your industry. Thinking that if you show up at regular events and people get to know you, it will eventually deliver business is a myth as well.

Then there are the BNI clubs or referral type clubs, where you are encouraged to find referrals for your club members. These only work for certain types of professions and it often ends up being very internal to the club where members are obliged to give business to their members in order to show that they are contributing. Actually excellent for people starting up in business, but no good for those who have all their business services covered. Plus it's expensive.

These clubs not only have high costs per year and weekly breakfast costs, over time they do not deliver ROI.

And yes there are exceptions, I know, but times are changing.

You can now find your leads through careful and considered searching on the web. And of course searching doesn't deliver sales either, but now there's LinkedIn.

With 500+ million globally and 23+ million in the UK, LinkedIn is the only and best business professional network. Here you can connect to your prospects and develop relationships like you've never been able to at any time in your business career. (I'm a baby boomer so I've been around for a while).

Now it's not easy and it's not that hard either, you just need to train yourself to be disciplined and laser focussed.

Sales is a process and not a game of luck. You have to work through the process with discipline and resolve and ensure that you don't give up on your efforts, even if they aren't delivering results to begin with. After all you've been going to networking events with no sales results for years and have kept going!

By the way I’m not advocating that you shouldn't go to any events, one or two per month will be fine. But some small businesses spend hours upon hours going to networking events. Have you ever worked out the costs? Lets do an example and I know it won't be right for everyone but maybe you can do your own calculation based on the following blueprint.

  1. Cost of event, lets say £20 (non-membership events)
  2. Cost of travel to and from, lets say £10
  3. Parking is free sometimes, I know, but City Centre events maybe £5
  4. Time taken to travel on average lets say 20 minutes x 2 = 40 minutes
  5. Time at event on average 2 hours
  6. Lost productivity time, stopping and starting project work 30 minutes
  1. Total monetary costs £35
  2. Total approx 3 hours @ a modest £40 per hour lost time = £120
  3. Total costs £155
  4. Across the month for just 2 events £310
  5. Total cost per year £3,720
  6. Add to that any club memberships if you have any or do the calculation for that instead

Actually I've been very conservative in my estimation and I believe the figure is closer to £5000 per year on average, because we add new events now and again and waste more time in the process too.

Feel free to use the link below to the calculator to work out your own costings.


Screen Shot 2017-09-25 at 13.03.57.png

I would like to get an accurate figure for this so I am doing a quick survey and will appreciate your contribution. Complete the survey via http://styin.me/networkingresearch2 or scroll the form below to complete it here.

Time to take on a different approach. My new approach!

  1. Use LinkedIn to grow your network and this doesn't mean connecting to strangers but it does mean uploading your current address book. On average you know at least 200 people and in some cases even loads more!
  2. They also know at least 200 people, so in one action your network already will be 40,000 people. Many more than you will ever meet in your lifetime of going to networking events.
  3. Do you think there might just be at least one person in that network, who you would be interested in connecting to? The great thing is that your connections already know that person, so asking for an introduction will be an easy thing to do right?
  4. Remember that it's not your connections that you are necessarily interested in, it's their connections where the money is.
  5. And we haven't even explored a myriad of other strategies you can adopt on LinkedIn to get closer to that ideal connection.

Now just making the connection isn't enough is it?

Most people that have connected to me, never follow up with me and I used to be one of those too. But not anymore. Firstly I always acknowledge a connection and secondly, I ask that new connection to have a Skype video call with me so that I get to know their business better. You may think, oh dear that's very impersonal! But actually it's not, having a video call is actually more personal compared to a face to face meeting and some people shy away from this method I know.

You see, in a public place there are more distractions so you don't have to listen to everything the individual says but on a Skype call you have to listen to every word and believe it or not you remember more about the person and get a better insight to what they do and what they are looking for.

Now remember that you are wishing to learn more about them and indeed you do want to help them find new business. Only when you come from a place of wishing to help does this work. If you are only there to sell, this will not work and people will see straight through it.

The response I've had from people has been wonderful, they've enjoyed the video call and are delighted too that they've not had to travel, get up at the crack of dawn, pay for fuel, parking, breakfast or lunch and not wasted 3 hours of their time in the process.

We have a much closer and better relationship from where we can build.

But of course that's not where the work stops. You have to keep in touch with each other, look out for each other and recommend each other.

To start with you can endorse their skills on LinkedIn, which will enhance their own profile and they will more than likely return the favour too. Writing recommendations can come later when you or they have done a piece of work.

Social selling has never been easier and by taking the time to strategically find your connections and develop them intelligently, you will transform your business. And just because your business may be successful with current busy customers, you have to keep topping up with more prospects, even if you don't need those customers at the moment.

I hope this will give you some food for thought and for more tips and advice, follow me on twitter @stayingaliveuk or follow my tips via hashtag #LinkedLectures.

Success with your LinkedIn Networking.