Is Your Social Networking Not-Working?

Many sales folks I visit with consider social media just another “mouth to feed.” What I am about to share with our readers is the “sales side” of social media. I’ll start with a true story.

From 2008 to 2010, I was part of a prestigious Top 10 group comprised of 12 like-minded business owners and sales professionals who met once a month at my training center. 

Our homework each month was to prepare a list of 10 specific names of people in the community we’d like to meet. We would take turns sharing our top 10 names and then the other 11 people would weigh in on whether they knew any of the people. If they knew them well enough, they would offer to make an introduction.

We were a successful group and all of us closed business from our monthly meeting over the three years. But in 2011, we stopped meeting on a monthly basis. 

So why did we stop? LinkedIn! 

What do you mean, you ask?

Well, we stopped having a monthly meeting to do what we could now accomplish electronically at any time of the day. All 12 of us in the Top 10 group were master networkers. Because we were master networkers, we were accepting LinkedIn invites from people who we “know, like and trust,” not knowing how powerful this would be later on.

Even 10 years ago, most of us had 500 or more connections. Now once we had the name, the first place we would go is to LinkedIn. If the named person was in LinkedIn, we often had several options of people to introduce us.

Fast forward to 2021, I have more than 5,000 connections and most I have either met or talked to. Now when I put a person’s name in LinkedIn, I see anywhere from 3 to 250 shared connections who could potentially refer me to the person I want to meet! It has never been easier to get referrals. LinkedIn gives me the intel on who to ask – my job is to ask! No more cold calls!

How many of you reading this have networking video/coffee meetings turn into “not-working” meetings? You both leave the meeting excited and then nothing happens. It’s largely due to the fact you aren’t leaving with specific actions steps regarding who is contacting who on your behalf and when.

One way to support this is to do your homework before you arrive. 

What if both of you brought five to seven names from each other’s LinkedIn connections who appear to be good candidates for what you do? Then you narrow it down to one to three people to refer to one another? 

Meaning: There are one to three specific people I am going to call on your behalf, and there are one to three people you are going to call on my behalf. The goal of the phone call or email is at a minimum to determine if a video or phone call with the prospect is appropriate. Now that is referral!

To take it up a notch would be an introduction. An introduction is where I would treat my contact and the referral to a breakfast or lunch. At the breakfast or lunch, I would share why I thought the two of them should meet — and let them take it from there.

One of our Sandler Rules is: “Inspect what you expect.” In 2021, it’s not enough to just feel like something is working. Feelings come and go. How about knowing something is working? One way to know: Document where each piece of business originated from.

Don’t forget to give what we are doing enough time to work. Our stats will tell us, particularly if we have been tracking for six months or more.

Dan Stalp is president of Sandler Training, a sales and professional development firm. He works with CEOs, presidents, business owners who sell, and peak performers who are tired of walking by their salespeople’s offices to see them on their computers instead of on their phones — and sick of having a superior product and losing out on price. dstalp@sandler.com • (913) 451-1760 • DanStalp.com

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