The highest and best use of Linkedin is as a proactive B2B prospecting tool.
I can defend this statement with evidence that if used smartly, Linkedin, in and of itself can provide everything necessary to meet for coffee with 2 out of every 3 people you select.
I’m pretty sure Linkedin is great at other tasks, but in the world of new business prospecting, meeting AT LEAST 66% of the people you target is extraordinary. Whatever else you might be using Linkedin for, you might want to compare it to its value as a producer of face to face meetings with new potential customers.
Successful prospecting with Linkedin is built on an understanding of these 4 concepts: An interesting and non-threatening profile  A prospect-friendly approach to your requests to connect and meet for coffee.  Knowing how to use the Linkedin search engine  Facilitating a great 1st meeting
An interesting and non-threatening profile is one that is very non-salesy. People on Linkedin are interested in meeting people, interesting people, not sales people.
Stranger is the word to describe someone we have not yet met. And your mother, like mine told us not to talk to strangers. And the first time we are meeting with a new prospect, we are strangers. Before any realistic sales-purchase conversation can or should take place is after we have passed our mother’s warnings.
The 1st meeting is hugely important in building rapport and trust. This meeting needs to be facilitated smoothly. He who asked for the meeting is in charge of the meeting and has the responsibility of making our guest feel welcome. We want them to be pleased that they came and we want them to leave wishing us well.
The goal of the 1st meeting with any new prospect is “goodwill”. We want everyone we meet to think well of us and be open to meeting us again and again. Everyone we meet is now a part of our network and its our network from which everything happens.
10 questions about prospecting for new business in today’s internet world. Test yourself. LinkedIn is a __________________. [a] waste of time [b] networking event
 Networking and Prospecting have nothing to do with _________. [a] people [b] selling
 Prospectors are _____________ & _______________. [a] obnoxious & pushy [b] courteous & curious
 LinkedIn converts _________ into _________ [a] Likes, friends [b] Strangers, Acquaintances
 People have concerns about strangers thanks to what? [a] the media [b] their mom
 Which is more important “satisfied customers” or “a community that trusts us”? [a] either one, but not the other and definitely not both [b] both: it’s a tie
 When would be a good time for me to ask you to change your mind? [a] the very first time we meet [b] any time, other than the first time we meet
 What are the 3 steps in the LinkedIn 3 Step prospecting process? [a] boast – brag – ask [b] Invite – Thank – Schedule
 The chances of anyone needing your product or service right now are one in ______. [a] a million [b] 20
 When we meet someone for the first time, how long should this 1st meeting last? [a] all day [b] not more than 1 hour
This quiz relates to the online tutorial SETTING APPOINTMENTS WITH LINKEDIN, which is available at www.underdog704.com. Whether you have or have not experienced the tutorial, how do you think you fared?
The correct answer for every question is [b]. The tutorial lays out a strategy to being a professional and graceful prospector. And knowing these 10 answers brings you a little closer to being one than millions of others pretending to be so.
A professional prospector knows how to use Linkedin and sets appointments with 2 out of every 3 prospects they so choose. Click here for the tutorial.
Each stage is a brilliant experience that should be enjoyed and savored, not rushed. And if each stage is managed well, our customer will be a raving fan, happy to endorse, refer and recommend.
There are 3 stages in the customer development process.
For simplicity sake let’s assume the answer to be either small medium or large with the following relative characteristics.
- Small price
- Small margin
- Customer’s do not buy again
- Medium price
- Medium margin
- Some repeat business
- High price
- High margin (even 1 sale to one customer is valuable)
- Lots of repeat business
And there are some intangible values derived from customers like word of mouth, referrals and social media mentioning — increasing their lifetime value.
But the big piece in this puzzle is repeat business and thus customer service is truly critical. And this is something businesses can control.
And so when considering a job or starting a new business, consider the lifetime value of one customer. Choose your niches well and serve them very well.
The secret to referrals is that they occur one person at a time. And the truth is that no matter what label you choose, referral, recommendation, testimonial or introduction, the event is just an introduction – the opportunity for 2 strangers to meet.
Regardless of the incredibly brilliant adjectives used to describe either or both parties, the result will be two strangers meeting for the first time.
But I digress. The stranger issue is not the topic today.
The point today is if we want our connectors to introduce us to a prospect, we need to stop asking for REFERRALS and start asking for a referral.
The secret to a referral is that it occurs one person at a time. Therefore, when speaking with your leads group or your current customers or your next door neighbor, ask not for some, ask for one.
Here are two high quality ways to ask for an introduction :  I would like to meet Bill Gates (or any specific individual). Might you be able to help me meet him?  Recently, I completed a project for John Doe, he is a financial advisor with ABC Advisors (use your most recent or most favorite customer). It was a great experience. If or when you might have the chance, might you introduce me to your Financial Advisor?
The truth is all we can do is introduce. We can add a plethora of positive adjectives and adverbs, but the introduction is NOT going to make your sale.
Too many people speak of “referrals” (plural) as the magic formula to success. But let’s be clear. When we speak in plural, we mean more than one of our connections introducing us. We do not mean one of our connections making several introductions.
Should we ever ask one of our connections for the plural, we are asking too much. Instead, ask for ONE – ONE specific introduction to ONE specific person.
Each week if you ask 2 of your connections to introduce you to ONE person, I’ll bet you’ll get more introductions than ever before.
Who exactly would you like to be introduced to?
She doesn’t work hard for the sales she produces. She makes it look easy. Her numbers are great. She doesn’t put in the hours we do. She never complains. And her numbers are great every month. She’s just an order taker.
Oh, but if I could be like her…
Two things:  applaud the order takers. Embrace the idea. It’s a good one. Stop belittling it.  In most cases the secret ingredient is trust. Her clients trust her. They know who she is, what she can and can’t do and how to do business with her. She has earned their trust. She likes them. She wants to help them.
Earning trust has little to do with closing the sale. It has everything to do with mutual respect, care and concern. It starts with getting to know the people her clients are. It is always about individual people and what is in it for them.
- Choose your connections with purpose
- Choose your posts and updates with purpose
- More is not better. Better is better
- It is your brand name
- Be consistent
- This is NOT Facebook
- Current means less than 1 year old
- Hire a writer or an editor
- Most all business relationships begin with a person to person interaction – P2P.
Choose your connections, posts and updates with purpose. Know with whom you are connecting and to whom you are communicating..
Have a reason other than trying to sell something. (Even if your reason is to sell something, do NOT sell until you have connected with them and have had an initial meeting or conversation.)
Quality applies to connecting etiquette as well. Be personal with your invitation. Have a reason based on their profile to connect.
As for updates, share something of quality. Resist the temptation that more is better.
What’s better is … better.
One quality connection with whom you meet or speak is of more value than 10 randomly added connections with whom you never interact again.
Grow your network one quality connection at a time.
Goodwill is people in your neighborhood or market thinking well of you.
Whether they are customers, clients or not. Every person you meet is an asset to your business. And meeting these people is critical.
Our business-building, customer-acquiring strategy begins with goodwill. And it happens one person at a time.
As a micro business owner (underdog), you are your brand. Your smiling face, firm handshake and collaborative demeanor allows you to build a network of acquaintances, fans and allies.
Your network is priceless and might be your 2nd most valuable asset. (You as the key person in your business is #1)
Assuming your business has a marketable value, meeting people is and will be the never ending thing to be done. One new meeting every day will serve you very well. And when the meeting ends, may they be thinking well of you and hoping you will do well.
The book, The Challenger Sale, written by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson was presented by William Jungermann at BIG today.
Two takeaways —  the book was written to garner consulting business for the company for whom the authors work, (a tactic to get the first meeting with a prospect) and  based on William’s abridged presentation the central point is, “The “Challenger” type of sales person is one who is well skilled in reading the behavioral style of their prospects and interacting accordingly.” (William suggested the word “chameleon”.)
To elaborate slightly, it is important for the sales person to learn what the prospect wants, and to discover this desire and speak to that desire in the manner that the prospect wants to receive it. It’s not just what is to be sold, but how it is sold. (or more correctly, how it is bought.)
William was excellent in his presentation. And his personal sales training and experience enhanced the presentation to define well the book’s concept. If you are in need of a speaker to talk about selling, you will be pleased with this presentation he shared today. It’s insightful and thought provoking.
It inspired me to think of the following topics for further thought and possible future writing: Organizational capability; behind the brand  Sales is helping others to make decisions  The “complex” decision  Why do your customers buy?  The decision making scale
Thank you William. And thank you Terry Cox for organizing BIG and for this enlightening session and concept.