When I recently posted a rant about LinkedIn connections (whom I do not personally know) filling my inbox with offers to “pick my brain,” or “schedule a chat about my business problems” in a blatant attempt to sell me their services, I didn’t anticipate that it would stir such emotional responses on both sides of the issue.
Many have contacted me privately to express similar feelings – others have suggested that what I’m receiving is just what sales people do: contact prospects and try to push their products and services.
- The central point of what I’m saying is simply this: there’s no way that I’m going to invest my resources of time and money in you until you have invested effort in me first.
IMPORTANT POINT: Please do not take that statement as arrogance; I certainly do not mean it that way! I don’t think that I’m unique from other prospects – we are ALL busy and bombarded with sales messages.
- All I’m asking for is congruency. Why would I take time from my efforts to grow my business and enhance my relationships with my customers if you’re not willing to do the same for yours?
I was challenged to come up with a few specific examples of how this might work. First, let me suggest that just because we belong to the same group on LinkedIn does not ensure that you know me.
One fellow member of a group of professional speakers offered a “FREE 15-minute Skype conference” to learn about her coaching to “jump start my speaking business.” (Then sent three “Did you receive my previous message?” follow-ups!) After about 100 speeches for 20 years and induction into the Professional Speakers Hall of Fame, I think I’ve already started.
The problem for this salesperson is that not only has she proven she has no idea to whom she’s selling – it’s also painfully obvious that this is just a blanket plea to the group list for business. She’s just carpet bombing with a broad message.
- Her primary problem that is preventing closing is – how can I (the prospect) be assured that she’ll have specific answers for my business if her sales approach is so generic?
How would she have been more effective? What if she would have sent this message instead:
Hopefully, the Speaker Group on LinkedIn is providing you as much valuable information as it is to me! In my effort to share and bring more value to the group, I would like to offer you my FREE checklist: “The Top 10 Things You Should Be Doing NOW to Grow Your Speaking Business!”
HOWEVER – as there are varied experience levels in this group – and I want this to really provide great insight for YOU – I’ve created three checklists specifically based upon where your career is today.
· If you’re just getting started, click here:
· If you’re relatively new and trying to grow, click here:
· If you’re experienced in the business and wanting to reach the next level, click here:
I know you’ll find this simple checklist to be helpful! I’ve assisted many top professionals to grow their business – and I hope to do the same for you.
Then, she should track which group member accesses each checklist – and prepare her next message to be appropriate to their level of success and engagement. It would also allow her to do some online research about those who respond at a higher level of achievement, so she could prepare a more sophisticated message and offer for them.
In addition, I would suggest her next contact should be ANOTHER free offer! Don’t make the sales presentation until you have proven your potential value. If she had provided me a targeted checklist…then some additional insight that was specific to my range of expertise…I’m now primed as a prospect to listen to her proposal.
- More work for her? Certainly.
- More business for her with this approach? Probably.
My financial advisor sent me a couple of Far Side cartoons and articles about research into customer service before he ever asked me to lunch to talk about what he does. He proved an interest in me prior to requesting that I would be interested in him.
If I was a luxury car salesperson:
- I would approach prospects who are surgeons, for example, with an article on how stressful their occupation is – and say that I can’t do anything about your job, but I can ease the stress of buying your next car.
- Next, I would contact them with a list (with permission, of course) of other surgeons who are my customers to prove I know their challenges.
- Finally, I would also suggest that, rather than them come to the dealership, what if I would bring their dream car to the hospital at a time of their choosing to slip out for a test drive?
If I was a real estate salesperson, I would suggest that a couple take me for a tour of their current home first – before we start looking at properties for them to consider buying – so I can see specifically what they like and dislike about their current residence.
Then, as I’m showing them prospective homes, everything I’m describing to them either accentuates what I know they already like…or, solves what they do not like about their current house.
- Sure, that requires an investment of time by the real estate agent.
- But, how much time do they waste showing properties that generate no interest from their clients?
As I stated in one of my previous books:
The difference between “customer service” and “customer experience” is that the experience displays personalization and creates emotional connection.
If you want your business to grow, you must create distinctive experiences that are personalized to your prospect, so they will connect both intellectually with your offer – and emotionally with the opportunity you are presenting.