Episode 1: Digital Strategies To Grow Your Business with Brynne Tillman
Meet the Social Sales Link team and find out what making sales social means to them and how they entered into the social selling world!
Brynne Tillman 00:03
What does making sales social mean to you?
Bill McCormick 00:05
I believe all selling is social selling. Every sales activity we do should be in a social way. There’s certain parts of it, though, that we do on social platforms, you know, and that’s kind of the social selling thing.
Brynne Tillman 00:19
To treat the person on the other side of the message the same way you would if they were on the other side of the table.
Welcome to the Making Sales Social podcast, featuring the top voices in sales and marketing. Join hosts Brynne Tillman and Bill McCormack. As they discuss the best tips and strategies they are teaching their clients so you can leverage them for your own virtual and social selling. Here are your hosts: Brynne Tillman and Bill McCormick.
Bill McCormick 00:55
Welcome to Making Sales Social! I’m Bill McCormack.
Brynne Tillman 00:57
I’m Brynne Tillman.
Bill McCormick 01:09
Yes! and so, it’s exciting because you know, you Brynne, so many people look up to you, in the land of LinkedIn. I mean, I did for sure. I mean, you really were at the cutting edge, and at the very beginning of making sales social, right. So how did that happen? How did that get started?
Brynne Tillman 01:29
I have been in sales and sales training for my whole career. A lot of people take the path of sales into sales management, I took the path of sales in sales training. And, you know, I love sales. But I started like everyone else. First as an inbound order taker, bored out of my mind, but it was my first job out of college, and it was paying the bills. So I started having conversations with the people calling and I worked for Dun and Bradstreet. And I had, actually a phone call from someone who was so excited, because she got an order from a big box store, not gonna say who it is because they had really bad payment terms. And we’ll talk about that in a second. Right. So she’s all excited, life changing, career changing, made clothes in North Jersey, and got this huge order. When I pulled it up, I learned enough about our products and services, to know that if a company pays late or long and in this case, it was 180 days out, which is insane. Companies can go under and we had very good product training. So I knew this. But I couldn’t tell her because she didn’t buy that product, I could see that, she… so you know, I had a moment of “she needs this product”. Now I was, I didn’t know anything about sales. I just knew, I didn’t want this nice lady’s business to go under. So I talked to her about this payment analysis product that could help her understand how they pay. And if in fact, if they pay too long, she may be able to get a bridge loan to help her between the time she gets the order.Paying the goods before she gets paid. Fast forward six months or so. I was pretty new. But I see the big boss come down, make eye contact with me behind my cubicle and walk into my manager’s office. And I was a little flipped out. I’m like, Oh my god, I’m getting fired. I don’t know what I did. But right…
Bill McCormick 03:35
Brynne Tillman 03:36
Like, Oh, yeah. Right. So they call me in and I’m like, this is it. I’m so sad. I love this company and whatever. And I go in and I’m young, I’m like 22 years old, right? And I go into the office and they play the recording of my call. I’m like, “Oh my God, I’m not supposed to talk to them. I’m supposed to just take orders,” right? I don’t know, right? Turns out she wrote a letter that we saved her company. (Wow.) So for this young kid, like what an impact but not only that, I made money for Dun and Bradstreet because they up-sold a product. So they’re like, Alright, we want to learn from you. So they started pulling all my calls. And apparently I did this a lot. And it was added, you know, a combination of I wanted to serve them, but I also wanted more conversations. Anyway, Long story short, by the time I was about 23 I was training all the Dun and Bradstreet call centers to move from order takers to solution providers. And so that was really exciting. Now the interesting thing, so from there, I actually ended up making it to the field for sales. I didn’t become a full time trainer at that point. Um, and I really fell in love with sales. There was an in between actually so I went from inbound to cold calling to setting appointments for the field. And I won an award even when, like out to a fancy dinner with my whole team, we did a great job, but it was all cold calling. But when I really fell in love with sales was when I made it to the field. And you know, Bill, you’ve heard the story a million times, and then we’ll talk about your story. But you know, I recall sitting across from one of my clients staring at his overflowing Rolodex thinking if I could get my hands on it for 20 minutes, I could identify who he knew that I wanted to meet, ask for introductions, I never have to make another cold call again. But I couldn’t do that in 1992, 1993. Right? You just couldn’t do that. It was not really politically correct. They like, slap your hand. So that’s what we have with LinkedIn. It is the ability to search and filter our connection’s connections. And that’s when I fell in love. So how did I end up here, I was a sales trainer teaching cold calling, teaching overcoming objections, teaching negotiation skills, right, all those things. And found LinkedIn and realized my god, this is game changing at the top of the funnel. It’s really about referrals and introductions and permission to name drop and the ability to map out your buyers and social proximity and who can help you get to your ideal clients and prospects. And so I was like, I’m out of everything else. This is all I want to do. Fast forward a good decade and I met Bill, how did we meet?
Bill McCormick 06:36
So we met at LinkedIn at LinkedIn’s… not their headquarters.
Brynne Tillman 06:41
That’s how we met in person.
Bill McCormick 06:42
Right. That’s how we met in person. But um, so my backstory is I got involved in sales in like the late 80s, early 90s. But back in those days, so I was in the grocery industry, and then I was in the pest control industry. And in those days, there’s a lot of needs based selling that are training that was around in it, and it worked okay, except what we know now, if I knew what I knew then, what I know now, that you know, it’s not your competition isn’t the other competition, what your competition, your competition is the status quo. So that’s one of the inherent flaws in need based selling, because you can show them and talk them about what their needs are. But if they don’t want to change, they’re not going to change. And in the industries I was in, if you didn’t have, you know, we talked about having making things a compelling reason. Well, the compelling reason there were third base line tickets for the Yankees, or 50 yard line tickets for the Giants. It wasn’t about your product, it wasn’t about your services, what you could do for people, I don’t play that game. I like being authentic. I like saying here, here’s what I have. I have a good product, I have a good service. Here it is. And if you know, let’s do this, not how are you going to buy for me? So needless to say, I didn’t do really well in sales. When I first started out. What ended up happening was they moved me. I was actually a salesperson in pest control. And they moved me into a service role. And I was a termite technician, I was working in New York and in New Jersey, so I travel. And what I found there was really interesting. I had trouble meeting quota when I was out trying to sell pest control, right with need based selling. But when I got to show people my value, like when I was in their house, and I was doing work, and they saw how good it was, then when they needed other service, I would talk to them about that, they would buy without a problem. Why? Because I was able to show value. And then but with them seeing the value, it was just okay, Yeah. And that’s what we have with LinkedIn also, you know. We’re able to show our value by helping people. And that gets more raised hands, right. That’s the social part of that. And so what happened was you fast forward a few bunch of years later, and I’m now working on a 911 dispatcher and a supervisor, and my wife is working in the print and promotional products world. She worked with another guy, it was just the two of them. He owned the company, very successful company. And he died, didn’t have his affairs in order, wanted her to buy the company. He had cancer, he knew he was going to die. It just happens sooner. And he wanted us to buy the company, but he didn’t have his affairs in order. And so after nine weeks of this back and forth, my wife is like, “Look, I’m quitting. We’re done. They’re not selling the company to me, then I’m out. I’m going to start my own company.” So guess who became her salesman? (Yeah,) the only one that had sales experience. And so very quickly, we found LinkedIn, we found that LinkedIn was a place that we could meet our ideal clients. She actually had some clients from Bermuda contact her because they couldn’t find her. Right. You know, talking about being the Rolodex, you know, when you leave one company and go to another company, all of your emails, they are all in that company. And LinkedIn is that, LinkedIn is the common, it’s the watercooler. Right, where you can find people, the watering hole. And so, I started trying to learn more about LinkedIn. I can remember in 2015 being in a workshop with Alice Hyman. (we love her) Right and through Alice Hyman I got connected to you. I don’t remember how, I remember you having a post and we connected. And then all sudden, I was looking and I found this book called the tactical LinkedIn sales playbook. I might not have that right.
It’s “Tactical Guide to Social Selling.”
That’s it! I knew tactical was in there somewhere. And so that was Brynne’s book. And I read that cover to cover and I put it completely into practice. To the point where another LinkedIn trainer looked at my profile and said, I can’t help you. And so, I’m involved in this business with my wife. And by the way, it was able to use LinkedIn to grow that business to the point of we, started in July 2013. By July of 2015, I left my other job, just quit, just walked out, and could work with her. So I had all these people asking me, “Hey, Bill, how do you use LinkedIn?” Decided,Hey, there’s my side gig, I’m gonna to show people how to use LinkedIn. And I had a client,asked for me to do training for them, a bank in Bermuda. I had no idea how I was going to do it. And as a good salesperson, when they said, Can you do this? Of course, I said, “Sure, I can do it” with like, No idea. Brynne and I were in an engagement group in LinkedIn. And I reached out in there and said, hey, can somebody help me? I don’t know what to teach them. And I’m not sure how to price it out. And Brynne’s like, “Sure, here’s my calendar, let’s jump on a 15 minute call.” And probably three weeks later, we met at the LinkedIn offices in New York City at the event launch. And I was kidding, folks, really, I was kidding around because we were going to white label some stuff. And I was gonna do it as my company, but I kind of turned to her as we were listening. I said, Hey, so now that we’re gonna do this, can I put, Social Sales Link on my experience section? And she’s like, “Sure, you can join the team!” and, you know, here we are.
Brynne Tillman 12:06
When you know it, you know it. Yeah. And that’s the thing about LinkedIn, too.
Bill McCormick 12:12
Yeah. And that’s the power of social, you know, Brynne said, How did we meet and I started thinking about physically meeting, but really, we had met years earlier. You know, think about how many people do you know, that you’ve connected with, that you’ve never met in person, you know, and that’s the joy of technology. And but also, there’s a trap in that, right? Because we’re not seeing people face to face. I think there’s a certain side of the social world, that we can be anti-social. And we cannot do things in an authentic way. Because here’s the thing for me, I believe all selling is social selling, every sales activity we do should be in a social way. There’s certain parts of it, though, that we do on social platforms, you know, and that’s kind of the social selling thing. But really Brynne, what you showed me right from the beginning, is the power of being authentic and being real. I mean, I remember one of the first posts I ever saw that you put out was on your 10 year anniversary of being a cancer survivor.
Brynne Tillman 13:21
Yeah, and I don’t actually share those things as often as other folks. But I will say making sure that you’re approachable and connectable and authentic really matters. So I’m going to one of the things that we didn’t start with, that we’re going to be starting with through out the whole program is what does Making Sales Social mean to you? So I want to make sure that we get that in. So I’ll start by asking you Bill, what does “Making Sales Social” mean to you?
Bill McCormick 13:53
Well, and kind of what I just said is that I think all sales are social. And I believe that we have to be social, when we’re dealing with our prospects, with our clients, with our networking partners, whoever that is, we have to be social, we have to be authentic, we have to be genuine. And we have to begin the conversation in the right way. You know, we have to reach out to people in genuineness . And that all lays the foundation to work towards a sales conversation. You know, when I first started in sales, there was no such thing as “waiting until the time is right.” They would tell you, my sales trainers would tell you “the time is right, right now.” “Now is the time.” “Get them to sell!” “Get them to close!” You know, I think of that, of the… if you’re a car salesman, I apologize. I don’t mean to stereotype, but the stereotypical car salesman who sits across, who says, “so… what do I have to do today to get you in that car,” and it’s high pressure. And that’s really that’s not what I’m about. And so I run from those kinds of things. I think we all do. And that’s what we’re seeing a lot today in social, is people are actually making sales anti-social. By doing these connect and pitches or just pitching in a connection request. It’s horrible. Listen, think about sales in the physical world, way back in the olden days, 2020, January, when we can actually go meet people. When you walk into a networking room and didn’t know anyone, how did you get to know people? you walked up to them, you shook their hand, you may be handed your business card, but you didn’t start telling them all about your company and all about what you did, what you did was you said, “Hey, so Brynne, tell me about you.” You make it about the other person. That to me is really at the heart of what making sales social means, is making it about the other person, finding out about them, engaging with them at a human level, and waiting for the sales to come. So Brynne, tell me and tell everyone else, to you. What does Making Sales Social mean to you?
Brynne Tillman 16:03
So I love that. Before I actually kind of give my little definition, I just want to piggyback on what you said, something we say a lot, which is “treat the person on the other side of the message the same way you would if they were on the other side of the table.” Right? Yeah. And so just because it’s a message and not a verbal conversation, although it can be we can leave voicemails and video messages, we want to make sure that we’re respecting, and we’re not connecting and pitching and that we are treating them like human beings. So I think generally, my definition of social selling is to provide value, be a resource and build relationships. The sales will come when the time is right. And that could be early on. And it could be down the road. But the bottom line is we know from corporate visions that 74% of buyers choose the sales rep that was first to provide value and insights. That’s three quarters, practically three quarters of all sales of all purchases, are based on choosing the vendor that added value and insights. And there’s no better way to do that than through social platforms. And we tend to favor LinkedIn, when we can show up as that resource and be a value, we get hands raised. That’s a bit more, if I can learn this from this post, if I can learn this from their profile. Imagine what it looks like if I have a conversation.
Bill McCormick 17:36
But Brynne, what do you say to people who say, “Yeah, but it takes so much time to do it.”
Brynne Tillman 17:40
So I love that. So social selling can be a longer outreach. Like it can take longer in the outreach, but it’s a much shorter outcome. Right? So yeah, there might be more steps, it might take a little longer to read the profile, or learn about someone else, and customize or tailor every single message. But the statistics of those converting into conversations are so much higher. So you can spend less time sending out more messages and having less conversations. Or you can spend a little more time sending out less messages and getting more conversations.
Bill McCormick 18:35
It’s like, totally inverted, but it works. And we know it does.So, that’s great. So, let’s
take a few minutes and talk about the show. I’m really excited about this. We decided Making Sales Social. We wanted to have some of the top voices in sales and marketing and tell everyone a little bit about what they’re going to be doing with us Brynne.
Brynne Tillman 18:52
Oh, so we are so excited. We have scheduled with us some incredible marketers, an amazing, we’ve amazing sales people that are coming on. And we are going to find out from them what’s working, right? What are they teaching? Or what are they doing? That’s converting their activity into sales conversations. And then we’re gonna play around with that to see how do we align that with social selling and digital strategies.
Bill McCormick 19:24
So great. And so what we promise is you’re going to walk away with some takeaways that you’re going to be able to put into practice right away. And like we said, some of the top voices that you’re going to hear from in sales, training and in marketing, and we’re just really excited to be able to bring this content to you on a regular basis. We hope that you’ll connect with us on social. Reach out to Brynne or myself on LinkedIn and connect with us. Tell us you heard us here on Making Sales Social also follow our company page Social Sales Link on LinkedIn. And you can also check out our website socialsaleslink.com. So we’re looking forward to this.
Thanks for listening and join us again for more special guest instructors bringing you marketing, sales training and social selling strategies that will set you apart. Don’t forget to subscribe to get the latest episodes from the Making Sales Social podcast, leave a review down below. Tell us what you think, what you’ve learned and what you want to hear from us next. You can also listen to us on Apple podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google Play. Visit our website socialsaleslink.com for more information.