Episode 114: Permission-Based Selling on LinkedIn
Our beloved hosts Brynne Tillman and Bob Woods are back together to delve into permission-based selling. Listen as they share with the audience why it’s an elevated way of initiating more sales conversations.
Stay tuned as they answer various questions from the audience, such as whether it’s okay to use permission-based selling when you’re reaching out for the first time.
Hear them discuss tactics on social selling and a particular study they conducted about the effectiveness of having a permission-based sales approach.
Bob Woods 00:00
Greetings and salutations and how are you doing? Welcome to Making Sales Social Live! I’m Bob Woods and with me today is the LinkedIn Whisperer — I’m trying to figure out if there’s words in other languages for whisperer. I may start calling you those, Brynne. Brynne Tillman is with us as well.
Brynne Tillman 00:20
Hi, Bob. Yeah, I don’t know whisperer in any other language but that could be fun.
Bob Woods 00:24
Yeah that could be a lot of fun. Definitely.
Brynne Tillman 00:26
And while you’re at it, let’s check out LinkedIn Sherpa, sherpa in other languages too.
Bob Woods 00:31
Sherpa, yeah, that’s good. I never even thought of that. Yeah, that’s a good point too.
Welcome to Making Sales Social Live! As we share LinkedIn and social selling training strategies, and tips that will have an immediate impact on your business. Join Brynne Tillman, and me, Bob Woods, every week, Making Sales Social Live!
So let’s get right into it with a hot button topic. It’s always a hot button topic in sales and that’s cold calling. Generally speaking, sales pros either like it or hate it, and some people are in the middle, obviously, that’s why I said generally speaking. For the ones who like it and have great success with it, more power to ya. For those who don’t though, we have a highly professional and effective way where you actually get permission to sell directly to your prospects.
Hopefully at this point, you’re going “Hmm, I wonder what that is…” It’s called permission-based selling and it takes the pushy, salesy elements entirely out of the top of the funnel acquisition process so you can start more sales conversations not only more easily, but at a much higher level. And if you like cold calling, you see success from it, you can still use permission-based selling along your current outbound efforts, so everyone can use it. And that’s one of the reasons why we love it. And we know this works because we have the receipts. Let’s talk a little bit about the study we recently did on permission-based selling, Brynne.
Brynne Tillman 02:02
Yeah, thanks, Bob. Well, first, let’s say we should really be looking at permission-based selling as permission-based conversations versus we’re not actually asking people, “Do you want to buy?” That is not permission-based. Permission-based means that at every single step of the process, we’re asking permission to go to the next step. When it starts all the way back with connecting on LinkedIn and we’ll go into details on all of this, to sharing insights and content. That’s all permission-based sales process, even though I just want to be clear, it’s not permission to sell them, it’s just part of the top of the funnel process.
So, years ago, and in my first couple books, we talked a lot about when you connect with someone, sending them a welcome message, a new connection, and in this welcome message, we’re going to give them great value, we’re going to give them links to content, and they’re gonna love us because it’s free resources that can revolutionize the way they do business. And we thought this was awesome, right? Because people were clicking. And then we got called to the table by Andy Foot about three years ago, two and a half, three years ago, maybe, where he said, “That’s spam. It’s just spam.” We’re like, “It’s not spam, people love it, they’re opting in!” And then we took a look at it and said, “Well, how would we do this better?” and better is instead of sending the link, asking permission, or asking if they’re interested in the link.
So we did a test, we did a hundred, with our traditional way of sharing the link, and out of 100 — and we did this actually in Smart Links, which is a LinkedIn Sales Navigator feature. So we could track who’s looking at this, who’s downloading, who’s engaging. So we sent the link to 100 people, “Nice to be connected with you on LinkedIn. Here’s a free gift.” And 19 clicked through and we’re like, “Ooh, let’s have a party!” 19 out of 100! I mean, that’s amazing. And then we did the next 100 with permission-based. “Thanks for connecting with me on LinkedIn. I’m not sure if you’re exploring ways to do X, Y, and Z but if you are, let me know I’d be happy to send you over some free resources.” 69 out of the 100 said, “Yes, please.” And of those 69, 58 clicked through.
So the first 100, we were all excited with 19, but when we move to permission-based, ultimately, we ended up with 58 people actually clicking through. So we’re going to talk about all kinds of things and Bob you’re going to prompt it but before we jump into that, we got some comments coming in. The question was, “Can we send permission-based for the first time?” So let’s talk about… Bob, I’ll let you lead this. What’s the first thing we’re going to talk about? And then we’ll ultimately answer that question.
Bob Woods 05:13
Yes. So, this actually, this question actually gets into the mindset that you need to have for this permission-based way of increasing the number of people who want to talk to you into the top of your funnel. Absolutely. So part of that is to not immediately lead with your solution without anything behind it because even though your mindset may not be to be that cold caller, you’re essentially cold calling on LinkedIn when you do that, because you haven’t even established if there’s a true need or anything like that and it’s just, it’s just seen as spam.
Brynne Tillman 05:55
So let’s start with the mindset. So we need to get in the mindset of detaching from what that prospect is worth to us, and attaching to what we are worth to them. So, to Bob’s point, we need to bring value first, there’s lots of places that we can bring value from our profile to the content that we’re sharing, right? There’s lots of areas where we can show up with value. We can also show up with value by engaging on their content because that’s valuable to them. So going in and engaging on their content. So now you are on their radar, one of the questions we have here is, are there any good templates for permission-based and there are lots of places for permission-based, but let’s start with we’ve engaged and now we want to connect with someone.
So we’ve liked their content we’ve engaged on, maybe comment that they made someone else’s content, we’ve visited their profile, we’re following them, right. So they’ve got a notification that we follow them. So we’ve warmed it up a little bit and now we’re going to connect, but the connection request would be in the note. “So Bob, I really enjoyed the post that you shared last week on [topic,] I’d love to connect with you and continue to follow.” Permission-based: “I invite you to visit my profile. And if you think it makes sense, let’s connect.”
So I’ve moved it from, “Connect with me, connect with me!” to permission-based. “If you think it makes sense, let’s connect.” Right? And it takes the walls down of spam. Like all of a sudden, it’s like, wow, I mattered. They engaged on my content, they connected with me based on that. There are lots of different ways to connect but if that’s the concept, so you’re asking for the templates, right? That’s the first place to go and actually, we have templates in a Chrome application called getmagical.com. If you’re interested in those, you can visit socialsaleslink.com/magical and you can download 17 of our templates. So enjoy those.
Bob Woods 08:07
Those are all very good and highly customizable, too. You don’t have to use the (crosstalk) (Brynne: Exactly.) There are places where you can insert names and industries and companies and all that stuff, too. So but as you go through those templates, I think you’ll see, you’ll catch up on the mindset behind everything that we’re talking about here, directly in those templates.
Brynne Tillman 08:31
Yeah. So just to finish up mindset, then we’ll go to the next piece. Ultimately, when we are asking permission, right to do something, they feel in control, they feel less spammed, they’re much more open to the communication because we’re not pushing anything that’s… without being salesy. And even now, just I’ll go to the welcome message, right now they connect, they accepted the connection requests, now we connect and I might say something like, “Thank you very much for joining my LinkedIn community. I’m not sure if you’re exploring ways to leverage LinkedIn for social selling, but if you are, we’ve got some free resources. Let me know if you’re interested, I’m happy to send you a link.”
Now, I used to send you a link but now we’re asking permission. And most come back — and every once in a while, by the way, I get no thank you. And that’s fine, too. But most of the time, they’ll come back and say, “Yes, sure.” Now I did a few things with that permission-based: one, I made them feel safe, that I’m not spamming. I’m not just sending links. I created FOMO – fear of missing out. If I sent the link, they always have the link, they can always go back to that link but if I if they don’t say yes, they don’t have the link, right? So if they have any interest at all, they’re going to say yes. And we now started two-way conversation even if it’s short or yes, one-word answer. We are in a two-way conversation now, Just Not a push one-way. Oh my gosh, how fun is this? Okay, what’s next, Bob?
Bob Woods 10:04
The tactics! Tactics, tactics. (Brynne: I think we kinda did that?) (crosstalk) No, I mean, the probably the best place to go for the tactics so that you can see what this is all about is socialsaleslink.com/magical. you would need to download the Magical app or not. It’s not an app — (Brynne: Chrome extension.) Yeah, Chrome extension, I couldn’t think of that word, thank you. So what this is, is an auto text type of thing where you type a code in, and then it will put pre-formatted text into a message. So it’s not automation — I’m going to get to automation in a minute. It’s not automation but you can see through these messages exactly what we’re talking about when it comes to the tactics. Hopefully, you’ll you’ll be able to see that. And then we’ll also put you into more of the mindset about permission-based, about not being salesy about not spamming, because we are definitely not about anything like that at all.
Brynne Tillman 11:07
Yeah, so what’s next? What’s our next topic?
Bob Woods 11:10
So I just, I do have a note, because this comes up a lot, and that has to do with automation. And you know, people may be listening this and going, “Hmm, I could put this into my X product and just let automation handle it.” Automation is always and forever a bad idea. You might get away with it for a while. But I would bet you really, really good money, that you will eventually be found out by not only the prospect, because prospects can sniff out really quickly when a message is genuine, or a message is not. And just as importantly, and maybe even more importantly, you’ll get outright banned from LinkedIn because LinkedIn is as vigilant as ever about sniffing out automation and shutting down accounts of people who actually use automation. So it’s always, always, always a bad idea.
Brynne Tillman 12:09
It breaks the user agreement, actually. 8.2.2.
Bob Woods 12:12
Exactly. The one thing you have to keep in mind, if you’re tempted by the magic — I shouldn’t say magic automation, because Magical is not automation but if correct permission-based sales, it’s highly targeted. And it requires a much more thoughtful, considered approach to each prospect. You can not handle every single situation possible that may come from a message that’s coming with automation, it’s just you can’t do it.
Brynne Tillman 12:43
Including engaging on their content in their activity and then mentioning that activity in your connection requests. So because there’s a, the piece that goes along with what you’re saying is the authenticity. So when we reach out, when you say I really enjoyed the content you shared on topic, there’s no way that automation could ever get that personal. And this is about building rapport, credibility, and trust, and the only way we can do that is when we tailor this to every single engagement. So love that. I think we are just coming up at our time now, Bob.
Bob Woods 13:26
We are? Oh, I had one more that I’m going to sneak in really, really, really quick. It’s a best practice to approach prospects once you have established credibility and influence in your sector or marketplace. So to do this, you need to be highly visible on LinkedIn. You need to be engaging with other people’s content and everything else that we’ve just mentioned as well as just posting your own great content because that also gives you credibility and also gives you social proof that you are in fact the expert that you say you are and the person that you’re reaching out to will hopefully discover this and want to have that conversation with you.
Brynne Tillman 14:04
Yeah, I love that. All right. So let’s bring it (Bob: I think we’re done… [crosstalk]) bottom line guys as you know, when all is said and done, do not spam. Think about permission-based as a mindset as you’re going out and you’re engaging, and that no one ever feels like you are on track to make them a lead, that your goal is to sell them something. It’s about building rapport, bringing value through permission and the sale will come when the time is right. I am Brynne Tillman and this is Bob Woods with Social Sales Link. (Bob: Nice to meet you.) You could go to socialsaleslink.com and if you are looking for our templates, you can go to socialsaleslink.com/magical and if you’re looking for more resources, you can join our free membership at LinkedInlibrary.com.
Bob Woods 15:07
And then the other thing is, speaking of contact information, if you want to contact with us directly or connect, I should say, with us directly just go, we’re both very, very, very easy to find on LinkedIn, just just go ahead and send us a connection request. Just make sure that you mention this podcast episode. We appreciate it. And yeah, all will be golden as they say.
Brynne Tillman 15:30
All right, let’s take it in for a landing. Bob.
Bob Woods 15:33
We’re going to take this home now. Thanks again for joining us on Making Sales Social Live! If you’re with us live here on LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook or Twitter right now, because we do go to those other channels. We do this every week. So keep an eye out for our live sessions. If you’re listening to us recorded on our podcast and wondering why can’t I talk with these people, it’s because it’s recorded and you haven’t subscribed already. Go ahead and hit that Subscribe or Follow button or whatever it is and whatever platform you’re listening to, to access all of our previous shows and be alerted when new ones drop. If you want more information on the podcast, go to socialsaleslink.com/podcast. Again, really easy socialsaleslink.com/podcast.
We actually do two shows weekly, this one and our Making Sales Social interview series, where we talk with leaders and experts in sales, marketing, business and many more areas. So we want to leave you this: when you’re out and about, be sure to make your sales… (Brynne: social. Bye guys.) Thanks everyone.
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You could go to socialsaleslink.com to know more about the company and if you are looking for templates, you can go to socialsaleslink.com/magical and if you’re looking for more resources, you can join our free membership at LinkedInlibrary.com.