If you've been on LinkedIn for any period of time, you're bound to have received the "Hey! You popped up in my network and I thought we should connect" request, only to accept it and have it immediately be followed up with "Hey, I sell _____. You need it. When can we set up a time to chat?"
Or, you're on social media and a friend from high school pops out of nowhere saying "Hey! Been so long! Are you familiar with [insert MLM here]? It has changed my life and it will change yours too! Can I send you a sample?"
If one of these scenarios hasn't happened to you yet, consider yourself fortunate.
Theses types of requests and messages have piled into such a mountain that I can't individually respond to each of them. So I'm writing this post to bring to your attention what you're missing - whether it's you as a sales person or your team as sales people.
Let me shout this for all to hear:
YOU'RE FORGETTING THE RELATIONSHIP!!!!!
People buy from people, and your customers want to be known and understood.
Let's take me as an example.
I'm an attorney. I draft wills and trusts and provide Medicaid planning in crisis situations.
Can you imagine if I connected with someone, whether a cold lead or warm, and then said:
"Do you realize you're going to die? You need a will. Let me help you with that."
Here's the thing - the statement is factually true. You are most certainly going to die at some point and, more likely than not, a will would be beneficially to your family and those you care about after you pass.
But, if I used this tactic, do you really think people would want to work with me?
This tactic places the focus on the sales person. It's clear they need work and want the income. They're driving for volume, money, etc. They're not interested in actually helping. Maybe helping is a secondary goal, but it's clear that's not a primary motive.
How do I know this? Because you, sales people, have not asked me one thing about myself. You have no idea what I actually need.
So, my friends in sales, here are my three keys to being productive with your online selling.
1. Learn about me.
If this is a cold lead, at least take a moment to read my profile, look at my pictures, etc. When you ask for the connection, mention something that stood out to you. Maybe we worked in similar industries or you read my blog. Make it personal. Make it about ME - the lead. Let's build rapport and trust straight from the ask.
2. We're connected! Let's get to know each other.
Once we're connected, ask me questions. Get to know me. What do I do for work? How do I blend family life and professional life? What's my process for keeping it all moving?
This is where our newly kindled friendship usually falls through. And it's such a shame. Here I thought you actually had an interest in what I do!
Let me give you some examples:
Business coaches, advisers, marketing gurus, corporate sales people - We connect on LinkedIn and suddenly you think that our connection means it has become all about your business. When, in fact, I haven't even asked about your business. In the past week I connected with a local person, and then immediately received the following note:
We service and sell all Apple products. We also service and sell Lenovo Think products. We repair warranty and non-warranty; all at a cost equal to or less than the Apple and PC Stores. We offer No-appointment walk-in, pickup and delivery, on-site, MDM (remote mobile device management)with provisioning & deployment, network design & installation and Managed IT Services.
Wait - what? You haven't even asked what kind of technology I use. You didn't ask what our tech system looks like in our firm. Do you even know I'm an attorney? Do you assume I have pull when it comes to making these decisions?
Naturally, I haven't heard back from this person. But, let's be real - this person doesn't care about me, this person cares about the sale and the bottom line.
MLM friends - I'm seeing this same mistake from you, too, especially on social platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Let me give you some examples:
I have been approached by so many Beach Body reps that assume I don't like the work out routine I make public on my Instagram account. I've had people message me saying "this at-home work-out would be perfect for you" and I'm like..."but I really enjoy going to the Y." And it's true - I love the Y and I love creating my own work outs. It works for me.
Reps from beauty companies assume that because I have skin, their products are best for me. When, in reality, chemo has messed up my skin profile so much, it's actually very difficult for me to go outside of my current routine (which consists of only almond oil). But, no one asks me what difficulties I'm having with my skin or if I'm happy with my routine, they just assume their product is best and, thus, best for me.
Friends, ASK ME WHAT MY PAIN POINTS ARE!
It's quite possible that your product doesn't fill a need for me, and that's ok. I'm very happy it works for you! There's nothing wrong with being head over heals about how you earn a living, but no two lives are the same.
3. We can still stay friends - I like having friends and contacts!
If I tell you no, we don't have to disconnect.
Disconnecting is the clear indication you had zero interest in me as a person. Not too long ago, a person I didn't know tried to pitch Beach Body to me. We had a few mutual friends and she did a great job of asking me questions about my workout routine. But, when I finally gave her a hard no on joining her team, she stopped engaging completely.
A "no" isn't personal, it's a no to the product.
If we stay friends, then maybe something will happen down the road.
Maybe I'll refer someone to you or change my mind if my needs change.
Maybe we'll get to know each other better and find that we have many things in common.
THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS!
Friends, today, commit to shifting from a sale mentality to a relationship mentality. Stop seeing everyone as a lead and see them as people.
Sales are short-term, relationships will bridge decades.