I prospect for new business all the time. I use Linkedin to do so. I seek to meet small business
owners in Mecklenburg county.
I have discovered when I ask (via email) my newly connected prospects if they would rather schedule a phone call or meet for coffee, 99% of the time, we meet for coffee.
Conclusion drawn: People in Charlotte who are on Linkedin, want to meet other people in Charlotte who are on Linkedin, face to face.
What is the validity of this conclusion? Are all people on Linkedin open to meeting others who are on Linkedin for coffee?  How unpopular is a telephone call today?  Is Charlotte unique?  How important is geographic proximity when connecting with new prospects?
It is a different world today and the prospecting efforts we used to do, don’t do what they once did.
If you’re not using Linkedin to prospect for new business, especially here in Charlotte, you are missing appointments and wasting time.
With Linkedin your number of first meetings could double and the time spent setting them up, halved. How many meetings with new prospects do you need to have each week?
PS — At this first meeting over coffee: if you invited them to the meeting, ask about them and the things they’ve done as revealed on their Linkedin profile. And do not try to sell them anything.
You may be an underdog if YOU are your business. And if so, every person you meet is valuable.
Every person you meet is a face and a human being, just as we are to them. We do not want them thinking of us as a number and we should not think so of them.
LinkedIn permits us to remember their face and who they are and where they came from. The LinkedIn profile is a perfect customer management device and it takes us no time to build it and access it. Every person that we meet is important to us and should be part of our customer management network — also known as our LinkedIn connections.
Be defiant; outwit the giant.
When meeting a potential prospect for the first time, be nice, predictable, similar, and seek to be liked, not hired or bought.
If you requested the meeting, it is your meeting and your objective is to allow your guest to feel comfortable and to leave the meeting thinking well of you. The goal is for them to like you and think warmly of you.
As a rule people think well of those they like. We like people for many different reasons, but one simple thing to remember is we like people who are like us; similar to us. This is not always true and not the only reason, but it is a simple and fairly common condition.
Getting to know someone, building a relationship is a matter of discovery and a good question to initiate this journey is, “Where are you from?”
And then, actively listen.
Even though we are all created equal and endowed with certain inalienable rights, often it is not the case and / or we think it is not the case.
When we feel the lesser, we are in an “underdog position”, so says author Amy Showalter in her book The Underdog Edge: How ordinary people change the minds of the powerful and Live to tell about it.
She cites many real life stories of how people in underdog positions have in fact influenced their big dog opponents and won the day. She writes about the strategies, tactics and mindsets that these ordinary / extraordinary people used.
Ordinary / extraordinary. That is the essence of underdog. When the game begins, the field is most unlevel and in the end, thanks to the cleverness, persistence and actions of these underdogs, it is nicely leveled.
The world is full of unlevel playing fields. We need more underdogs.
Be defiant. Outwit the giant.
People are crazy and we are turning Linkedin recommendations and endorsements into a mixed bag of good, bad and ugly. Here are 11 bullet points for your consideration: Recommendations are only valuable if somebody reads them.  Most recommendations are of very little substance or value; little more than an endorsement.  Most hiring managers do NOT read recommendations posted on Linkedin.  Recommendations (given or received) are people that we truly know. They can be considered another level of Linkedin connection, even closer than 1st level.  Think of endorsements as votes.  But how do you know if an endorsement, recommendation or testimonial is true? You don’t, but 99 votes is significant.  Why not respond to those who endorse you?  When considering an invitation from someone you don’t know, look at their endorsements as an indicator of what others think of them.  Helpful to your connections is knowing exactly what you would like to be endorsed for.  The “skills and expertise” section on Linkedin – the skills you are endorsed for – is a brilliant tool to help you find your keywords.  Don’t trade recommendations or endorsements. If you ask for such, don’t bribe them with a “return the favor”.
The “yaktivist” is one who talks more than they do.
It’s hard to know what or who a person is until they are seen in action. It’s activity that defines a person. Be careful of smooth talkers. And keep a reserved opinion of them until their actions are seen, heard or felt.
There is one particular American occupation that exemplifies this point – politician. Partly, this is due to the process by which they get hired. For until they get elected, we have no idea what their actions might be. Until they get elected, they are all words.
So too are we who sell. Until a prospect buys and uses and experiences our solution, we too are mostly words.
Sellers can and should learn from politicians. Their use of words is usually very smart. And if we can figure out a way to display some action within and during our sales process, perhaps we can enhance our influence.
- 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.
Whom do you serve?
Who is your best customer?
Who is the one for whom you can do something extraordinary?
This idea was inspired by Seth Godin who wrote …
Seth writes about making an improvement to a product. I’m suggesting we improve our customer selection. To whom exactly can we be of extraordinary help?
Think small. Think narrow. Be specific and for each prospect carefully craft a customer acquisition strategy. Plan several visits and be prepared for each. Speak about challenges and how they arose and how wonderful things might be if fixed.
Seth writes that there is safety in compromise and similarly there is safety in a large market. When we contact new prospects and they do not immediately buy, we take comfort in the next prospect. We know that there are many more we can contact. We do not make a customer-focused effort with each one because we are already moving towards the next one.
Extraordinary is not ordinary. If you want your prospects to think that you are extraordinary, you might begin by thinking that they are.
Everyone is the wrong answer.
When asked or when thinking about the question, Who are your customers? Everyone is wrong. Everyone means everybody, every breathing soul, everywhere. English translates the Spanish todo el mundo to everybody, but literally it means “all the world”. All the world is too big and too diverse.  Everyone in your town is wrong. How many people between the ages of 1 and 100 are actually in your town? And if they all wanted your help tomorrow, how many could you serve? Not all. Every business has a capacity. There is only so much we can do and we cannot serve everyone in town.
But now we’re on the path towards a right answer. We just narrowed the answer by billions. And we can continue to add parameters to further simplify and better identify who are customers might be. Such as, gender, age, occupation, marital status, parental status, self-employed and many more.
But what if you started from the other perspective? Start with one: one of your most favorite customers. Who is this person? Can you find another like them? You can.
Have you ever seen these phrases?
“People similar to . . .”
“People also viewed”
They’re on Linkedin. They can lead you to another one, and one is better than everyone.
In a perfect world, with no hurdles or challenges, if you could snap your fingers and presto, your week would have — how many — meetings with prospects ready and waiting for you?
The majority of the people in my workshops do not know this answer, because, they spend so much time trying to set appointments that their real job is “appointment seeker”, not sales person. And their results are so poor.
A great week is one in which they are able to set enough appointments. This is the first metric in the pursuit of business — the appointment per contact, or per call made.
What if there was a method that would give you 1 out of every 2 or 2 out of every 3 or 8 out of every 10?What if your appointments were a given?
Linkedin, used gracefully, with a non-threatening profile can produce appointments with up to 80% of the people we choose.