Sales 2-0

Are You Interested in Trust?

Maybe you are or maybe you aren’t. One thing’s for sure every relationship is built on a solid foundation of trust. If trust doesn't exist, a relationship can't exist. But what are the constituents of trust? I believe there are 3 main principles for trust to develop in your relationships. I've called it the 'Triad of Trust'.

1. Give more than you receive.

The principle here is about giving of yourself and searching for ways you can give support without expecting anything in return.

Nobody can force you to do this, it has to be the life force within you that decides that you will step out of your ego and give of yourself. I have witnessed many example of folks who really don’t get this right. Giving without expecting anything in return is really a tough concept for most to grasp. 

For just a few seconds think about your current relationships, your relationship with your line manager, your spouse, your kids, your parents and even your clients. Do you give consistently without expecting anything? We’re usually looking for some sort of payback, something that will make us feel good instead of focussing on making the other person feel great.

Putting this in the context of Marketing means that we must avoid too much self-promotion and instead share stories (or information) that will assist others and inspire them. 

Whenever I have a new connection on LinkedIn, I ask each connection who they wish to get in front of, i.e. what leads they may be looking for. I record those details on their LinkedIn profile. You'd be surprised how many actually don't bother answering, because they may be suspicious and believe I might have a different motive for the question. I guess it's human nature to be suspicious. Basically they don't trust me yet.

2. Listen generously.

Listening is the hardest skill for us to master because as soon as we hear someone speak we begin to formulate a response. This also happens with all types of mobile digital communication.

Who doesn't struggle with listening? Be honest, you can't wait to say something when you are listening (and thinking) when someone is speaking to you. My challenge to you is to hold back until you believe the speaker has completely finished. You’ll know when they have finished, because they’ll ask you a question. 

For example, I'm sure you've experienced attending a networking meeting. Imagine you meet someone for the first time there and often the first question will be, ’So what do you do?’. Instead of reeling off your rehearsed response, pause and say, ’Actually why don't you go first?’. 

This puts you in a state of listening straight away. And instead of waiting for them to finish and then jump into your own blabber, ask them a few questions. Listen out to truly understand and ask even further questions to understand at an even deeper level. It actually doesn't matter if you don't get your chance to say what you do. Understanding someone else’s story is much more important and they will remember you for it. 

The term listening generously I learnt from a client in the USA, http://winningdynamics.com, who I produced a Whiteboard Animation for. Be well worth watching, as the message is brilliant.

 

3. Share your knowledge willingly.

Our knowledge is precious and worth something. However, sharing your knowledge willingly with others builds trust. After all, you too learnt your knowledge from someone else.

We arrived on this plant with no knowledge and relied on our family, our teachers and all the different people we met in our lives to teach us what we know today. Therefore we actually learnt most of what we know from others. Just think about it. It's only with this knowledge that we've been able to potentially shape it into new knowledge that we create ourselves and then sell or share with others. Just like I'm doing right here.

But you don't have to sell all your knowledge do you?

You must give most of it away. You don't own it and our job is to pass it on. After all, your knowledge is only temporary, you can't take it with you when you depart this planet. You might as well start sharing it now.

I would love to learn from you how you ’Give, Listen and Share’ in your world. Feel free to share your comments below, so everyone can benefit from your experience and advice.

@stayingaliveuk

 

Is Creating Content the Elephant on the Web?

IMG_1214 Recently I joined a twitter chat #sshour (social selling hour) and the subject of content curation was being discussed. I too have been busy organising my content stream, selecting the articles I enjoy reading and sharing them on my preferred platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter. And I love scheduling them using Buffer.

And my reason for doing this? Thought leadership? Just sharing ‘stuff’, which my connections might like to read? Wanting more followers, likes and comments?

Does anyone really give a damn?

And what's our outcome? Is it more engagement with our buyers, receiving more enquiries for our products and services? Or is it ’FOMO’,  fear of missing out? Or ’FOBLO’, fear of being left out?

Social Media has a lot to answer for. It’s changing human behaviour across the planet. We never shared so many intimate details of our lives, so publicly. And as we are so obsessed with sharing content surely we are trying to look interesting, relevant and impressive to our connections and followers?

No wonder there are 630 million search results on google to my question ‘how often should I blog?’

I asked the question last year: ‘Do Social Networks Sell Drugs?’

I know it’s a great feeling when your article/blog or your shared post gets noticed by your followers. Ever time this happens somewhere deep inside of us we say, ‘Wow she/he loves me’.

And by just pushing out more and more content and posting regularly, are we hoping that we’ll get noticed by some big shot CEO who will approach us to come and do some consultancy or maybe even work for them? There's news there too for us. They aren't reading them.

I believe there are two tribes who do all the blogging and posting. Folks that are self-employed and are making it part of their own personal marketing strategy or folks that work for big business and their job is in marketing anyway.

Everyone in between either don’t really care or are just too busy at work to bother.

I’d love to hear your opinion. Are we overdoing it and heading for blogging/posting burnout?

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Do You Listen to Your Customers?

Buffer does...

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Buffer is an app that allows you to schedule your social posts via a pre-determined time-schedule. It works, it's beautiful and their customer service is astounding, no really the best I have EVER experienced of any software company that I've ever dealt with. The founders started the company with Customer Service at it’s core and certainly, for me, they have always delivered. Not only in the way they create their app but at every stage in their communication with me. I'm a MASSIVE fan, can you tell?

So, whilst being active on the buffer web app, I noticed something new, ’Feeds’, a new and very innovative feed engine built inside the app, allowing users to pull in feeds from blogs and thereby sharing articles into their buffer. A brilliant innovation and even before I heard the announcement I started testing it.

The only issue was that they announced that users (me) on the ’awesome’ plan would have the ability for 1 feed and users on the ’business plan’ would get 20 feeds. By the way both sets of users pay for their plans.

Here is the blog that announced the release of 'Feeds'; http://blog.bufferapp.com/introducing-rss-feeds-buffer-social-media-sharing

I was deeply disappointed and because I know that Buffer cares about their customers I decided to say something on their blog, which announced this new release and the limitation for 'awesome' users. And noticed that I wasn't the only ’awesome’ user who was unhappy. I also emailed buffer via their standard email, as they are ALWAYS telling us to reach out to them for any reason at all. I've never seen anyone do this as well as they do. And they ALWAYS respond quickly to any of my emails.

How pleasing then to see how Buffer responded to their disappointed customers. Their response was fantastic and to be honest, they far exceeded my expectations in this. It was also impressive how quickly they responded to me and their customer base.

Below you can read the correspondence for yourself and see how Buffer yet again sets the standard for how companies should deal with their customers and how they listen to what they have to say.

Announcement Email

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My response Email

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Their initial response

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Follow up response

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Joel's Tweet

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Confirmation Email

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A great example of how, when you place customers in the centre of your business, you will get their feedback fast, know that it's genuine and you can respond quickly and with integrity. I'm sure this has been a massive learning opportunity for Buffer and I'm pretty sure they will have a different strategy going forward when deciding to differentiate between plans for their paying customers. It's never an easy problem to solve.

Well done Buffer and I look forward to more of your developments in the future!

If you're reading this and haven't experienced Buffer and their awesome service, go ahead and test it out. http://bufferapp.com

Wishing you success always!

http://uk.linkedin.com/in/stayingaliveuk

@stayingaliveuk

Do You Really Know How to Sell?

If you're in business or you're an ambitious sales professional, this post is for you. I know that we all want business but...

You need to read the signs before upsetting to your buyers. Read the email below and let me know what you think?

{I have removed sensitive information in order to protect the email sender}

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I was horrified, not because the email upset me, but because I couldn't believe the tone of the email.

Let me give you the background without giving away who or what it was that I was buying.

After some difficulty, I needed a quote from a third-party in order to fulfil a potential project that I was quoting for. It took me over a week to get a response and that was because my emails weren't getting through to the supplier. In the end it was an IT issue with servers, but still it took some considerable time to sort out. Probably not the supplier's fault, but it happened.

After finally agreeing a quote, which wasn't that easy either, I sent my proposal to my potential client. In the meantime, I'm assisting and sorting out email server issues with my potential supplier. They then send several emails chasing me to see if the project is on or not. That's fine I don't have an issue with chasers and I did warn my supplier that my client had a budget he needed to achieve, so he was probably searching elsewhere.

So after receiving another chaser email from my supplier, I advised them that I had already chased up my potential client and that it was entirely possible that they would be searching for a cheaper price in their local country.

At this stage I have never placed any business with my supplier, so you would have thought that they would hold back a bit. But then that email arrived and I was amazed.

The message here is a simple one. Respect your potential buyer's process and lead-time for getting things done. Do NOT chase too many times.

You have to know when it's appropriate to send a reminder and when it's appropriate to send a chaser. They are not the same! And certainly when you are waiting to get the order confirmed don't send chaser emails.

And then there is the 'UpSelling' tactic. NEVER 'UpSell' when you haven't even got onto first base yet. Why would anyone wish to buy other products when they haven't even experienced your service yet? Especially as the service so far hasn't been that great!

Wishing you massive success always!

uk.linkedin.com/in/stayingaliveuk/

@stayingaliveuk

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Are You Embracing Social Selling Yet?

There’s so much coming out of the USA on ’Social Selling’ at the moment, that in order to keep abreast of developments, I’ve decided to follow a select group of thought leaders on the subject. I have requested at least 66 of them to connect with me on LinkedIn and I'm following around 73 of them on twitter. In the UK, apart from LinkedIn personnel in London, I've only met one other person in the UK (on Skype), Chris Heffer @theotherhef.

So the UK is way behind the USA, but that doesn't mean it's not taking hold. A lot of people and I mean a lot of them in the UK, don't get LinkedIn at all. They still see it as a depository for your CV and where companies, head-hunters, recruiters look for potential recruits. Frequently I hear this sentence at face to face networking events; Oh yes I’m on LinkedIn, but I don't really do anything with it...should I?

And yes the site may have started life as a CV or résumé site and still is very useful for that, after all LinkedIn make their biggest sales revenue in their Talent Solutions Division ($860 million, 56% of the overall).

However in my view the future growth development of LinkedIn will be by their ’Sales Solutions Division’ and my forecast is that this will overtake their Talent Solutions Division over the next 5 years.

OK, so now what's ’Social Selling’ and how does it work in the commercial world and can it work for anyone?

Firstly there's no dictionary entry for this terms as yet, no Wikipedia entry and when you search on Google there's no real clue as to what it is either. There are many different theories, from as simple as ’using social media to sell’ to the more thought-out definitions as shown below by Koka Sexton of LinkedIn.

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For me though it's no different to the term Social Media or Social Media Marketing, which for me are getting rather dated now. Isn't it time that we start encompassing it with the old name ’marketing’? Aren't Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube, just channels, like the channels we invented with the printing press, like newspapers, brochures, posters and anything paper-like.

Aren't the new channels just tools of the trade and therefore isn't ’Social Selling’ just...wait for it...Selling? Of course we need to learn some new techniques, new technologies, new approaches, un-learn old habitual paradigms, stop promoting and start listening, but essentially the process of selling will still exist. After all when you've been spending hours of time, listening, sharing, retweeting, congratulating, at the end of the month you've still got to pay the bills right? Including generating a revenue for your own business or your employer’s business.

There has to be an outcome, a mission, a goal to doing all that engaging and therefore you need a well-thought out strategy, that can deliver the results you want and most importantly need.

But I have come across some interesting concepts and some of them are by Jill Rowley @Jill_Rowley, who is known as the superhero in Social Selling.

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1. ABC - Always Be Connecting. You can draw your own conclusion if you wish and for me, this means that growing your network is important. I've always said that sales is a numbers game. If you don't have the numbers, you won't make the numbers. 2. OPC - Other People's Content. Share content written and curated by others and give them credit for it. Always writing your own content is time consuming and sometimes tough to generate enough volume, especially if like me, you're sharing 3 pieces of content every single day. I would never achieve that if I didn't have other people’s content to rely on. 3. OPP - Other People’s Popularity. Help your connections, wherever they are on the web by being their raving fans, make them look good to their audience and mean it. There's no point faking this, as you will be found out, it has to be genuine and authentic.

One thing’s for sure there is a bit to learn, some things to take on board, a lot of listening and a huge amount of practicing too.

I wish you massive success with your Social Selling Mission!

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Why?

20140202-162147.jpg I recently re-discovered Simon Sinek’s work on The Golden Circle. To familiarise yourself watch his TED Talk video. (audio quality does improve when he changes microphone)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zFeuSagktM

In essence he challenges us to think differently about how we present ourselves as businesses and especially how we create our marketing messaging to convince prospects to become clients.

Most of us have a tendency to articulate ’what we do’ and ’how we do it’. And rarely do we say ’why’.

Why is a really powerful word and very underused.

However kids say the word continuously as they grow up and as such this word is actually hard-wired in your brain, without you even knowing it.

Before you decide to buy anything your subconscious asks this question automatically.

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You may not even realise it, but you do, especially if someone is pitching you a new product or service for your consideration. If they can't answer the ’why’ question for you, it’s unlikely you will buy from them and look elsewhere.

Of course we do buy stuff based on the what and how and usually you will fill in your own why, if the seller hasn't been able to articulate this for you clearly.

So your mission if you choose to accept it, is to review your marketing messages, especially your LinkedIn profile and start looking at ’why’ you do what you do?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PH8uJEPOYDQ

Wishing you massive success always.

Are You Tagging on LinkedIn?

The secret of managing your connections on LinkedIn is tagging. If you don't you will never remember anyone in your network. When you accept an invitation or your invitation gets accepted, go to your new connection’s profile.

Underneath the main profile header there are two tabs, ’relationship’ and ’contact info’.

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Click relationship, which allows you to complete a few bits of information.

1. Note 2. Reminder 3. How you met 4. Tag

 

tagging

 

  1. Note; allows you to write a few words about why you connected to them and what you hope to achieve with this connection.
  2. Reminder; allows you to schedule a reminder for yourself. At time of writing you can't customise a date as yet, but you can schedule it for 1 day, 1 week, 1 month or recurring.
  3. How you met; it doesn't matter that you haven't actually met face to face and it does help how the connection was made. They invited you, or you invited them and why?
  4. Tag; the most important one. If you don't do anything else on this section, this one is a must. Decide first what tags you want to have, then after you have made the connection, visit their profile, straight away and allocate the tag from the list that shows up.

Now you are able to search your connections based on their tags and send emails to groups of connections based on tags (50 limit per email). And as you grow your network it means you can find people easier by their tags. You don't need to allocate regional tabs unless you want to group them by district. For example I do have a tag for ’west midlands’, which covers a number of counties in the middle of England.

Wishing you massive success always.

 

Are You a Social Ninja?

Social Media is not actually that old and the networks that dominate the Internet with our insatiable appetite for everything social are growing at an alarming rate. Thousands of small social media advisors have popped up all over the place, well actually all over the planet and everyone these days is an ’EXPERT’.

flickr | pete prodoehl

But will we all be looking back in years to come and say to each other...what were we thinking?!

We spend all those hours on social media when just a few years ago it didn't even exist.

What will you do when it stops? Because knowing how fussy we are as humans, it will inevitably stop at some stage, plus when a younger generation have developed something more interesting and more engaging, 'like' video conferencing instead of typing.

With google hangout (have you tried it yet?) you can video conference with up to 9 people, share your desktop, share YouTube videos and SlideShare. And the quality is excellent!

But...there is still no substitute to meeting people face to face and discussing opportunities.

This is where my 'social selling' concept comes in. It's the perfect blend between social media interaction and face to face meetings.

There are just 3 key things involved with Social Selling.

1. The LinkedIn Connection 2. The Phone Call 3. The Meet Up

Connecting with prospects or connections who can introduce you to prospects has never been easier, providing you know how to behave. LinkedIn is the best vehicle in the world right now that allows you to do this. After all with 2 new professionals joining every second, that's 63 million 72 thousand per year, which means in 5 years time it will have an extra 315+ million on top of the current 259 million. Pretty impressive!

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Connecting on LinkedIn is not the final deal though, yes you can be lucky but the chances are that nobody will buy from you unless they know you. This is where the Phone call comes in. Schedule a call with your connection to explore how you can help them, note how you can help ’them’ and not the other way around!

The Phone call is not the final deal either, once you believe that you can help them an even better way to make the connection is meet up for a coffee or maybe even lunch.

Only a combination of all three will get you closer to making that next deal.

Hope that makes sense and if not, join me on my next #LinkedInstinct Masterclass.

Success!

Did You Take Part in My Survey?

Confident businesspeople Background

I've been a serial business networker for many years, but questioned the ROI only in the past 12 months. And the main reason was because I started using LinkedIn in a more effective and productive way to do my networking with existing and new connections.

So here are the results of my survey. I had actually estimated previously the amount of time business professionals spend doing networking and estimated the cost annually. But this estimate is now backed up by this survey result.

Survey Results:

50% go to 1-4 networking events per month

50% spend on average 2.5 hours at networking events

50% spend 45 minutes travelling to networking events

50% always connect via LinkedIn afterwards

68% consider Linkedin as a networking tool

Here are my previous calculations of the cost of networking:

Cost of event, lets say £20 (non-membership events) Cost of travel to and from, lets say £10 Parking is free sometimes, I know, but City Centre events maybe £5

Time taken to travel on average lets say 20 minutes x 2 = 40 minutes Time at event on average 2 hours Lost productivity time, stopping and starting project work 30 minutes

Total monetary costs £35 Total approx 3 hours @ a modest £40 per hour lost time = £120 Total costs £155 Across the month for just 2 events £310

Total cost per year £3,720 (this is a conservative estimate)

Add to that any club membership if you have any or do the calculation for that instead.

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A LinkedIn premium account will cost you just £155 per annum allowing you to achieve so much more in terms of targeting the precise contacts you wish to get in front of.

Networking events are great to meet with local people, however it will always be a ’pot luck’ approach in terms of meeting the right kind of people for your business development.

And the amount of time (potentially 6 hours per month, a full working day) means that you could have found at least 30 new connections on LinkedIn that are on target for your business and start communicating with them. How many targeted connections would you have found at networking events.

Please don't get me wrong, face to face meetings are vital, but not with people who can't deliver you business. If you are just having a social, then that's perfect. But if you are looking for serious business then my suggestion is STOP hoping for 'Pot Luck'.

Wishing you Success Always!

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Are you using the new LinkedIn Contacts App?

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Well you should!

Let me share with you what I discovered.

First I tidied up my address book on my iPhone/iPad/Mac (iCloud). It took a while but I did a few letters of the alphabet each day, which made the job less daunting, but still delivered a great result. I removed about 2000 contacts, phew! How ever did I manage to accumulate those? I have no idea! Also make sure you remove sensitive data. You don't want this going up onto a server do you? Instead move those somewhere else.

***DATA HEALTH WARNING***

You MUST do this task first, as otherwise you end up with all the rubbish inside your LinkedIn contacts and you really want to avoid this.

If you do this task first you will thank me for it and it is about time you did this and when I share with you below what you can achieve, you will be delighted...no ecstatic!

Step 1

Download the LinkedIn contacts app

(***DO NOT OPEN IT AFTER DOWNLOADING***).

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/linkedin-contacts/id635424128?mt=8

Step 2

I am assuming you have the standard LinkedIn iPhone app, but if you haven't please make sure that this is downloaded too.

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/linkedin/id288429040

You can open that one and ensure you are logged in. Providing you have set 'download connections' to ON inside this app, (if not click on the IN in top left corner to reveal the setting cog wheel top right. Click on the wheel>download connections and activate this. It will download all your LinkedIn connections on to your iPhone and keep them updated too. This is an important step to complete before going on.

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Step 3

On your iPhone, go to settings>privacy>contacts and make sure the contacts app button is switched to on/green. If you forget this step, no worries the app will remind you to do this.

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Step 4

Open the LinkedIn contacts app on your iPhone, it will import with lightening speed all your iPhone contacts, find them on LinkedIn, and pull in all the data, plus send all the data to LinkedIn too.

Pretty impressive actually how fast this goes.

NOTE: I don't have my Facebook connections in my address book any longer. I ended up with too many duplications and then had to link those together, which was a real pain. As I only want to have my LinkedIn connections in my address book, I don't want to disturb things. And I highly recommend excluding Facebook. Remember each contact on your iPhone will be uploaded to LinkedIn.

To switch Facebook off for your address book, go to settings>facbeook> and switch the contacts switch to off/white.

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Step 5

Check that everything has worked. Search inside the app for a contact, anyone will do. Make sure the data from your address book has been pulled across.

Check on the LinkedIn website and go to network>contacts and then filter by source>iPhone and check if the number of contacts agrees with your iPhone.

NOTE: Don't expect numbers to agree 100%. Mine are out by about 10, but I know that is because previously I had some contacts that were linked with Facebook and messed things up. If it is there or thereabouts, then happy days it has worked.

That's it job done!

But now for the magic, this is where you will be very grateful for using this app.

First let me share with you how people tend to work on LinkedIn. Most people will only share their personal emails address and no phone number.

So when you have someone's business card, look them up on LinkedIn, send an invite to connect and they accept, you will see that the email address that they have on LinkedIn is their personal one. Usually no phone number.

This means you need to add their business email and phone number details. Well firstly LinkedIn has a bug on phone number formats, which means it will not accept a European format, only USA formats. Which is a real shame and yes I have had a dialogue with their support and no fix is imminent either.

But have no fear here is the solution.

Now that you have the LinkedIn Contacts app, your problem is solved.

Step 1

After someone has accepted your invite to connect or you have accepted their invite, you need to go to the standard LinkedIn iPhone app and open it up from time to time, to make sure that LinkedIn downloads these contacts to your iPhone. This makes sure that you don't have to manually enter their details in your address book. i.e. LinkedIn does it for you. However you will more than likely only have their personal email address.

So once per week, I go into my address book iPhone/IPad or Mac (iCloud), with my business cards handy, I look up those people, that I know I have sent invites to and update their record with their business email and their mobile. I don't usually bother with their land line number. If they move in the future that will change and their mobile often stays the same. (unless they have give you their business mobile only).

Step 2

Once you've updated the address record on your device, go to the LinkedIn contacts app and open up the alphabetical view (doesn't matter which view you are on) and then pull down the page, which will then start an update process and a spinning circle appears. You have to see the spinning circle, so make sure of that.

***THIS IS WHERE THE MAGIC HAPPENS*** The LinkedIn contacts app drags the information from your address book, with your latest updates and pushes it to LinkedIn.

Now your contact record on LinkedIn, has updated the business email address, as well as the mobile phone number.

This is pretty amazing actually, because also the phone number format bug inside LinkedIn has been overcome by adding the phone details in this way.

Now you have the correct contact details sitting inside LinkedIn as well.

What this means in fact, that as well as downloading data from LinkedIn onto your iPhone, with the standard LinkedIn app, you can also push data to LinkedIn.

I felt this was such an amazing discovery, I just had to share it.

I hope it works for you and if you have any questions, just let me know.

***DATA HEALTH WARNING***

When dealing with contact information in the cloud, it is possible to create duplicate records. This has happened to me in the past, so please take each step carefully and check your records regularly.

The steps above worked for me without any issues, but I can't take any responsibility for your records and the way that you upload/download from the cloud.

Wishing you success always!

Where Is Your Video Advert?

I still see many businesses, who are not making use of video to educate their customers, prospects and leads about who they are and what they do. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGog-0UY7NA

Think about it, do you have time to read websites, read emails, read tweets, read LinkedIn updates, read your children's Facebook updates (no time to post your own of course!), carry out your own work, delivery fantastic customer service to your customers and colleagues and also pay attention to your family?

Of course the answer is a big fat NO!

You don't have time and neither has anyone else.

But...

Could you watch a video which is less than 90 seconds to understand what someone is saying about their business or present your own explainer video about one of your products or services to a new customer or prospect?

Of course you could!

So what's stopping you?

Time? Money? Commitment? Procrastination?

Oh yes indeed, read the stats...

- More than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month - Over 6 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube - That's almost an hour for every person on Earth, and 50% more than last year - 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute - 70% of YouTube traffic comes from outside the US - YouTube is localised in 56 countries and across 61 languages - Millions of subscriptions happen each day, and the number of people subscribing has more than doubled since last year

Time for you to get creative. Talk to me for a no-obligation review of what can be achieved using a videographic to tell your story!

Success!

 

 

 

 

What Stage are You at with LinkedIn?

The 4 stages of LinkedIn In all my dealings with clients, I have concluded that their are 4 stages of progress with LinkedIn.

Most members are stuck at stage 1, what I call the 'Profile' stage, where they are still getting to grips with developing a decent profile, that shows what they can do for people or employers instead of 'what' they do.

The objective of course is to get to stage 4, the 'Sell' stage and this is the same for members looking for business or for those looking for jobs or advancing their career.

You do need to commit time and effort to each stage and make sure you are comfortable and confident in applying or completing the stage before moving on.

Each stage prepares you for the next one and its a logical progression. There is no way you can dive in and start 'Social Selling' until you have a decent profile, a decent size network and you know how to behave.

I often say that not having a decent profile with a decent photo is like greeting someone in person with your back turned to them. I still see too many holiday snaps, people posing in the far distance or with family members and mates. Its a disaster and it will NOT win you business or your next job. NO WAY!

When you invite members to connect with you, they will almost certainly look to see if you have over 500+ members. Why? It makes you an attractive connection. Adding another 500+ people to their 2nd level network means they will achieve more exposure on LinkedIn and allows them in turn to find potential prospects to connect to easier too.

If you have 500 connections, who in turn have 500 too, it means your network grows to 250,000 in a heart beat. Now this gives you options and social is a numbers game, sorry but it is. And for those who tell me they are very careful who they connect to and decline people they do not know, you need to wise up to the fact that your network will stay small, because of your small thinking.

Once those two stages are out of the way, you can focus on your behaviour inside LinkedIn and this includes groups, emailing, sharing, liking and commenting. A massive subject taken for granted by most. Oh and it's NOT a promotion campaign that's what the advertising channel is for.

Only after those 3 stages are completed can you think about how to develop leads on LinkedIn.

Hope that makes sense? If you wish to book on the '4 stages of LinkedIn', my price is £200 + vat ($350), for 4 hours of tuition, 13 weeks online support via my LinkedIn group, costed based on the size of your group. £35 ($49) for my 2-hour video course 'Mastering Your Profile on LinkedIn'.

My coaching is over a period of 8 weeks, with a 2-week interval between each stage allowing you to adopt your new learning and implement a new approach.

It's a small investment, if you consider how much potential ongoing annual turnover/profit you will make from just adding one new customer every month to your current business.

I look forward to working with you to make that a reality.

Success!

3 Must Do's to Win Business and Get More Leads

flickr | draken413o LinkedIn connection Mark Langston of Crystal Thought asked me to contribute to a blog he's writing. He wanted '3 Must Do's to Win Business and Get More Leads'.

Well that's a tough one, I can think of loads. Its easier to say what 3 things you must do when you get up in the morning then decide which are the '3 Must Do's to Win Business and Get More Leads'. Bathroom, Shower, Breakfast and sometimes in reverse order!

In my view the following 'Must Do's' are quite basic and of course as we know the basics are often forgotten.

So here goes;

1. Stop talking about yourself and start listening!

You have two ears, two eyes and JUST one mouth. A common mistake I see all the time is over-promotion. STOP! When you engage with someone either face to face or online, listen, watch and learn. Its in the stories they tell you, they share the secrets of what they need. SHUT UP! Do not be tempted to jump in and solution sell at the first opportunity of hearing their need. It could well be a false direction they are trying to send you in and after all nobody will truly say what they are struggling with. That would be too obvious, too revealing, too embarrassing and definitely not English. All is actually OK, if the government just got their act together, we would be OK. DON'T! Get drawn into politics, focus on the job in hand and ask the most important question, which is; 'What Else?'

2. How can you assist in ways that are not profitable for you but profitable for your prospect?

Business is built on trust and the fastest way to build trust is to do something for someone without expecting anything back in return. When doing your listening whether face to face or online, listen out for clues as to who they wish to meet and who their ideal prospect is. In fact if they don't give you those clues, which actually most people don't, then you MUST ask the question. It is highly probable that you know someone, who knows someone and before you know you could make an introduction. With the power of LinkedIn this is now very easy to do. Its YOUR job to deliver the potential prospect to your prospect. Trust is built on what you DO for people, not what you COULD do for them.

3. Its a numbers game, but they don't add up until you get personal!

Yes indeed, you have to kiss a few frogs before you find the ideal prospect, however you also need to get to know your network better than you actually do. In my experience you have an intimate network of only 150 people. I call these the 'Power 150'. These are the ones you need to leverage more than you are actually doing. Can you tell me what these 150 people do, who they want to get in front of and what their personal aspirations are? Whether you meet them face to face or via a video call, it doesn't matter, but get intimate, get to know who they are and what their business is about. They are the ones who will help you find the business that you need. As humans we will remember those that make the most noise. I'm not saying be noisy, but definitely be there alongside them, so they notice you. So now go and make a list of your 'Power 150'!

To get more FREE tips on social selling you can visit; http://stayingaliveuk.com/linkedinstinct/

Success!

Have you understood the new LinkedIn updates?

LinkedIn have been busy. Their have been 6 significant updates in the past few months and I'm sure there will be more on their way. I have created this one page MindMap to help you view what the different updates mean.

You can download the PDF by clicking on the link below or just click on the image below to view it online.

In summary the new features are:

  1. New all encompassing search bar
  2. Rich media updates on your home page or company page, upload files or images
  3. Mentions, you can now mention anyone or a company when you post an update
  4. Contacts, completely revamped and improved
  5. 'You recently visited' graphic to interrogate and review what you've been up to
  6. 'Whose viewed your updates', a great measurement tool to see what posts are receiving engagement

Success!

New LinkedIn Features

New LinkedIn Features

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qE4gRccorCk

 

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Would you like to help your LinkedIn connections?

One of the major benefits of Social Media, is that you have a real opportunity to 'give' instead of 'take'. Don't get me wrong in the world of business there is a lot of evidence of 'take'. So when I see the largest professional network, LinkedIn, providing us the opportunity to get closer to our connections and help them out, I am pleased and thankful that someone understands the need to 'give' more.

They already gave us 'Skills & Expertise' on your profile allowing your connections to endorse you. However it does come with a health warning from me, because LinkedIn serves up suggestions that are derived from your profile through a clever algorithm hidden in the secret code. They aren't always the ones you want or need for your profile key word optimisation.

Then a new graphic appeared out of nowhere on my profile and although it hasn't got an official name, I will call it 'The comparison graphic'. See below. Thank you to my wife @hippyclair for allowing me to use her profile for example purposes.

 

As you can see the overall graphic compares your skills, interactions and connections on LinkedIn.

On its own it may feel quite dis-heartening if your own graphic is smaller then theirs, but you have to go deeper and you do that by clicking on each individual graphic.

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Skills: If you have more skills then your connection has, it prompts you to do something about it and give them some more endorsements. A great prompt to help them out.

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Interactions: This one is a little bit confusing to me. So it tells me that compared to Clair I've had more likes, comments and shares in the past 30 days. And then prompts me to share an article. I guess to continue with my good work.

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Connections: This one makes more sense. I have more connections then Clair, so it is asking me to suggest some connections for her. Again a good prompt to help out.

They might be small things, but this can really help out your connections and they will appreciate your efforts in supporting their journey on LinkedIn.

"Give a little bit"

Success!

Is 'LinkedIn Contacts' a sign of a full blown CRM?

20130306-192245.jpg Since the middle of 2012, LinkedIn have been rolling out new features, re-designed its user interface, upgraded the ability to include media on your profile and added more features to paid products for recruiters and sales organisations.

And now they are releasing ’Contacts’. The normal slow roll-out applies.

I predicted 4 months ago, without any prior knowledge that the natural extension of LinkedIn would be CRM (Customer Relationship Management).

I believe this is the start of it. It's a logical and sensible extension of LinkedIn, it makes complete sense. The hardest thing for sales people and marketers alike, is keeping up to date records of prospects inside customer databases, spreadsheets and address books.

Often people are employed or huge money is spent on cleaning data. There are organisations who sell directories to the most sought after professionals, like buying and HR professionals.

With LinkedIn, most business professionals will keep their details up to date. This means you have a database of contacts and prospects that will NEVER get out of date.

This is a sales professional’s and marketer’s dream. Link with this, all email communication, contact details and records of calls and interaction and you've got your dream CRM.

So now sales organisations have the triad of contact information directly inside LinkedIn, a ’social profile’, ’sales navigator’ and ’contacts’.

I can well imagine how this will develop further and do I think it would be worth upgrading to a premium account for this? Oh yes indeed I would. I am already a premium member anyway and was doubting some of the benefits, but now I can see how a premium member will receive some additional benefits in this integrated LinkedIn world.

By the way I don't think contacts is a charged product, but there are some features that are only available for premium members, what exactly I won't know for sure until I see the release.

The way I see it at the moment is that LinkedIn are the ’Apple’ of social media/networks. Facebook is the ’Microsoft’ and Twitter is just a ’News Ticker’ feed.

LinkedIn has developed a higher quality user interface compared to the others and its continuing to enhance this on their website as well as mobile.

They don't suffer from the volume of events and games invites either and now I know why they switched-off events last year. It's all making sense to me.

Their vision is right and they are doing the right things.

I am quite impressed as you can tell and I don't even work for the company!

If you want to learn how to create a great LinkedIn profile for FREE join me on my weekly surgery on google hangout.

http://stayingaliveuk.com/linkedinstinct/

If you want to swipe through hundreds of FREE insights and tips follow this link.

http://storify.com/stayingaliveuk/linkedinstinct/slideshow

Success with your LinkedIn journey, it will be worth it.

Are You Killing the Sale?

Guest blog by John Rees, sales and marketing consultant, mentor and creator of the Holistic Sale model of business development. You’ve read the book, seen the video and maybe even have the T-shirt so you know how the story goes … “This is Sales 2.0. and we will build momentum by using Social Media, Sales Automation and CRM to reduce the cost of sale and improve sales productivity.” This sounds great in theory and some businesses think the technology can and should take over. I don’t.

This approach may work well when selling to consumers, but selling in the business (or B2B) space is different, because trust and credibility are even more important. The strength of a story and the way you tell it, plus an ability to build a relationship can best be achieved by direct human contact. This can, of course use technology called a telephone or a video conference call. Face to face is not always possible, but it is still the best way to connect with others.

We all know that automation is excellent at making mundane tasks more efficient, but some businesses have taken this to extremes. They have lost that human touch. And it’s getting more complicated as Sales Automation and CRM systems connect with Social Media platforms to build automatic sales engagement models. Maybe the aspiration is to do business without having to make a sales call, give a presentation or even shake someone’s hand!

Many businesses use systems to ‘process’ potential buyers. They send predetermined emails at certain stages based on the actions people take. They only actually make contact with those who jump over enough hurdles at the right time to warrant a call from a human being.

The real danger in all this is that while you wait for the buyer to reach a certain stage of ‘sales readiness’ the opportunity may have passed. Either they are fed up with receiving obviously system generated emails, or a competitor beats you to the punch and has already engaged them in conversation.

Evidence shows that this automated approach is becoming less effective. According to recent findings, trust in online content including blogs and tweets is plummeting fast. Marketing-speak is widely used and most platforms have now become bloated advertising channels. It’s easier than ever to build a following of thousands on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, but what does this prove? Is this an endorsement of the quality of your brand, or evidence that you know how to use Social Media to maximise your exposure?

I’m not a Luddite though because I’ve spent all my working life in the technology space, so I know how it helps people become more efficient. The problem arises when it’s used as a replacement for human interaction and this is happening more and more.

During my career, I’ve used various sales processes that were far too complicated and convoluted. The emphasis was on ‘strategic selling’ by building power maps, identifying buying personas and preference grids and looking for blind spots and red flags. Many processes have now been automated and systems tell salespeople when they should actually call someone. It sounds crazy and it would be funny if it wasn’t true.

I’m not saying you don’t need a sales strategy because you do, but it should be as simple as possible. While some businesses spend far too much time strategising and waiting for the system to tell them the time is right, others are seizing the initiative and actually talking with people.

Let’s be very clear here, the ability to build trust, inspire confidence and develop deep and meaningful relationships can never be achieved by a sales process or a piece of software. People will always make the difference.

Social Media and automation definitely does have a place in business because it enables us to connect with many people at the same time. It’s excellent at building a profile and sharing ideas, but don’t rely on it as your primary means of sales communication. Don’t allow it to dictate how and when you engage with people. Use it to share your big ideas and attract attention and when someone shows interest, call them and start a conversation. That’s where you make a connection and that’s where the selling starts.

John Rees is a sales and marketing consultant and mentor, who specialises in helping businesses who either want to bring a new idea to market or build momentum with an existing one. 

During his career he had sales and marketing roles in the Information Technology sector across Europe, India and North America. He worked with global technology leaders and start-ups who defined new market sectors.

He sold mainframes and minicomputers and witnessed the explosion of new markets created by the development of software application packages.

During recent years he worked with fast growth companies, start-ups and spin-outs and established businesses in many industry sectors. He learned a lot about how to succeed in business, and that’s why he created the Holistic Sale model of business development. This defines world-class ideas that can be used to simplify processes, create a compelling sales story, build a vibrant network of sales opportunities and improve sales performance.