Episode 32: Five LinkedIn Mistakes Costing Sales People Business and Reputation
Listen as the Social Sales Link team talks about the “5 LinkedIn Mistakes that are Costing Sales People Business and Reputation”.
In this podcast episode, the Social Sales Link team discuss how to set up your profile as a resource and not a resume and the consequences of the connect and pitch, connect and forget, post and ghost, and random acts of social.
Bill McCormick 0:00
Alright! Welcome back to another episode of Making Sales Social Live. Today we’re going to be talking about the five mistakes that social sellers are making on LinkedIn. So number one is having their profile set up as a resume, number two is the dreaded “Connect and Pitch”, three is “Connect and Forget”, four is “Post and Ghost”, and then five, rounding out our quintuplets, “Random Acts of Social”. That’s right, let’s start talking about profile setup as a resume, rather than how it should be set up.
Yeah, so you know, most people on LinkedIn have their profile setup as a resume, for most people, that’s fine, because they’re looking for jobs, they’re looking to further advance their careers. For us, to social sellers though, we need to have it set up in a way that attracts, teaches and engages for a couple of different reasons. Number one, it supports your efforts, when you go out to, to comment and to post, and to do all that. Because they’re gonna want to click through to your profile, and if they click through to your profile, and they see just a resume, not only does it not support everything else that you’re doing to try to build yourself up as a thought leader, it looks like you’re looking for a job.(Bill) Yeah.(Bob) You really have to build your resume so that I mean, your profile, so that it’s not a resume, and it does attract people in when they click through from your content, or even if they just land on your profile from a LinkedIn search, or Google search, or whatever, then it needs to teach them about what you do and get them thinking differently about the services that are the product that you’re providing. And then it needs to have them easily engage with you whether it’s through a connection, or whether it’s through a phone call, or whether it’s through an email, or even a calendar scheduling type of function that you can put a link into there. So always remember that when you’re on LinkedIn, you’re not a job searcher, you are a social seller. And just in case you want to save your current LinkedIn profile, you can actually do that just before you start to make changes, click on More and then click Save as PDF. So you know, God forbid, you have to look for another job, you’ll actually have a copy of it in front of you. So you don’t have to start recreating the wheel, you can just re enter things in as well. So you don’t even have to lose anything, when you go from a resume to a resource as we teach it here.
Brynne Tillman 2:47
Excellent. I want to add, so I love this. So Bob hit on all these key pieces, and I’m going to just kind of bring together a little bit that he talked about, which really is the five things that our profile needs to do. It needs to resonate with our buyer, right? So they show up and go this person works with me, works with people like me, this is like my, my peeps, right? The second thing it needs to do is create curiosity. They work with me and am I interested in continuing to read, right ? Have they sucked me in? Is there something here just like with content, right, your first impression, is this a piece of content I want to open and read, we need to do that at our profile. So the third thing is we need to teach them something new. So one of the mistakes we make as a social seller, we want to tell them what we want to tell them. But what we really need to do is provide insights and be a resource and get them to say, “Man, this is good”. Then Bob hit on a point that I think was absolutely vital, which is we have to get them thinking differently about their current situation. If we’re going to sell to them, we’re competing with the status quo almost every single time. So if we can teach them something new that gets them thinking differently about how they’re doing business today, that will lead to our solution and a compelling moment. As Bob said, make sure it’s easy for them to reach out and connect with you whether it’s a calendar link, some kind of call to action so that you can convert these connections into conversations.
Bill McCormick 4:24
And I’ll just add think about this in terms of the real networking world, and when you went to networking events, and if you’re still able to do that that’s great! You go, you put your best foot forward, right, you don’t shop in orange jeans and the clothes that you did the yard work with yesterday unless of course you’re doing landscaping services, right you come dressed professionally. Think if you read your profile the same way as you want to put your best foot forward, because everything you do on LinkedIn, all roads lead back to your profile, people are going to go back and look at that. And you know, somebody reaches out to me and they don’t have a profile picture, or they have their settings set to only show their profile picture to first degree connection. So I can’t see what they look like, or, you know, there’s nothing on their profile, it makes me kind of scratch my head and go, why would I want to connect with this person? Let alone, have any further conversation with them. So great points about profile, making sure that its value centric, we transform it from that resume to a resource. Resume is all about you, resource means it’s all about your ideal client prospect. Next is the dreaded connect and pitch. Why do we say Brynne, connect and pitch is (Brynne and Bob) a bait and switch.
Brynne Tillman 5:43
So here’s the thing as salespeople, our focus is on hitting our numbers, our focus is on making a sale, our focus is in converting them into a client. But social selling isn’t about our focus. social selling is about being a resource, providing value, building trust and relationships, knowing that the sale will come when the time is right. That’s what really good social selling is. When you connect and pitch, which is a bait and switch. You’re social spamming, it’s just what it is, there’s no social selling, there’s no social anything, actually, it’s just spam. But if you’re doing that today, it’s probably because you got bad guidance, or you just don’t know any better. So it’s up to us to share with you, that you need to slow down your outreach. To speed up the outcome, you need to build rapport, you need to bring value, you need to earn the right to get that conversation. When our prospects say to us, and they say it all the time: “I don’t think LinkedIn works for me”. I reach out to people, I tell them what I do, and you know, they don’t want to take my call. Well, because you haven’t earned the right, because all you did was tell them how you can help them, instead of telling them how you can help them, actually help them, and you’ll start to earn the right.
Bill McCormick 7:08
When we just connect and pitch. No matter how valuable our offer is, our product or service, no matter how much money it costs, it can be a solution, that’s a million dollar sale, no matter what when you connect and pitch, you reduce your offer to a commodity. And so think about that, if you connect and pitch with someone and they buy from you right away, what separates you? You just happen to hit the right person at the right time, and that doesn’t happen very often. But guess what, you then have to really deliver on that. By transforming and working on it in such a way where we slow down our outreach to speed up our outcome, and developing relationships, we then have the opportunity to develop credibility, and credibility is really the currency that we need to deal with. You know, trust is at an all time low, and so what we need to do is establish credibility, so that when folks need our services, then we’re the ones they think. Number three is connect and forget.
Brynne Tillman 8:21
Oh, big one, Lynn. Hi! Lynn says instead of telling–oh, yep, so tell me how you can help them, actually help them.
Bill McCormick 8:28
That’s it.(Bob) Yes. We tend to connect with people, we find someone and they’re maybe our ideal prospect of their networking partner that we know we can and we connect with them authentically, we reach out to them say; “Hey Bob, I was checking out your profile, and I saw that your posts around XYZ, I thought it was really great. It’d be great to be part of your network, take a look at my profile, and if you think it’s a good idea, let’s connect” Bob connects back, and then that’s it. I completely forgot about Bob, I ignored Bob, whereas Bob wasn’t a movie. And so–(Brynne) what about Bob?(Bill) What about Bob?
Bob Woods 9:03
What about Bob? What now?
Bill McCormick 9:05
They connect, and then we completely forget about them, and here’s a little test you can put yourself through over the next few days. When the birthday announcements on LinkedIn show up on your notifications, it says, it lists the; “Brynne and seven other people have a birthday today”. Brynnes’ birthday is in June, it’s not today. But go through and look at that list and think about, look and say; “how many do I know, how many have I had a conversation with recently? How many can I trace back?”, and say, “Oh yeah, I know I met that person there”. You’ll be surprised, you’ll be like. So the great thing you can do is you can actually start, you can actually export your connections,(Brynne) take inventory, take inventory of them, and go through and figure out okay, and identify them, and give CPR to your current network to people you’re currently connected with, breathe life back to them. Alright, and the way we say CPR is identify who your clients are, your prospects, P and P. P, and then R who are your referral partners. And now go, moving forward, every time you connect with someone, make sure you’re sending a welcome message and make sure you’re furthering the conversation along. don’t connect and forget. So when Bob’s birthday comes up, you go: “Oh, yeah, I know, Bob, we talked last week”.
Bob Woods 10:27
The most basic problem is that people just don’t know how to do it. I mean, people do have good intentions, I think the vast majority of people don’t intend to blow people off. It’s just, you know, you get to that, what, what do I do now type of thing, and most people just don’t know what to do, and that’s why you need to have plans.
Brynne Tillman 10:47
Don’t connect and forget, right? You have a reason, right? Why did I connect with this person in the first place? What value can I bring to them, and some of that is around social listening. Some of that is about looking through their profile and looking at content that they’ve shared, or they’ve engaged on. How do you start a conversation with them? 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. So it’s so simple to start a conversation in person. But when we’re on social, or digital, we get like, “I don’t know what to do, I don’t know what to say”, spend the time to learn about that person, and what matters to them. So I did well is super hard to tell your sales reps to invest time in social selling. How to turn social selling into a must in daily sales, where salespeople are tired of investing more, or they are lacking skills to communicate in an out of the box way. So ultimately, how do you get buy-in from those reps? And a lot of them have been trying LinkedIn, as I mentioned, and they’re like, yeah, it’s not working for me, because you’re doing it in a way that doesn’t work.(Bob) Right? We can’t look at this as a cold calling tool. It’s about building connections that lead to relationships, and so on. You’re either spam or add value love. That’s true, Rob, isn’t it time to start deleting people, so we can spend more time with quality people, less is more. So it’s interesting, I don’t think we should go in and just totally clean up and delete our connections. But we do believe in focusing on the ones that really matter, which is why bill talked about conducting CPR.
Bill McCormick 12:27
Right, and moving forward. Being a true networker, so that when someone sends you a connection request, you know, you’re the gatekeeper of your network. So make sure you’re evaluating that connection request. And if they don’t send you a message, send them a message back that says, “Hey, Bob, thanks for your invitation to connect. I typically only connect with people I’ve either met, or had a Zoom meeting with, or have had engagement here on LinkedIn. Can you tell me how you found me? And what triggered the connection request?”, Boom, it’s like a tennis game. I hit the ball back in Bob’s court. Now Bob’s gotta hit back and say, “Oh, well–” and just today, this happened to somebody, they said, “Oh, I’m the unofficial president of the Brynne Tillman fan club on Clubhouse”. And we’ve had many conversations since she tagged you on a post recently–
Brynne Tillman 13:10
Was his name Roy?
Bill McCormick 13:12
I think so–”I’d love to be a part of your network”. “Great”, I let him in, other people, when I send that come back and say, “Oh, well, we help companies just like you with XYZ”, they’re pitching. And so then we have a little go back–or for some people I don’t even hear back from. But so you really want to start evaluating your network, so that from moving on from this point forward, you are adding quality connections. And listen, if somebody spams you and you send a message back and it gets–you can delete them, you can get rid of them if you have to, I agree with Brynne. You know, we take the networking’s aspect of LinkedIn, you know, there are lions, LinkedIn, open networkers, they’ll connect with anybody, they have a high quantity of connections, but a low quality in their network. And there’s purists that only connect with people in their industry or that they’ve totally met in person to know or within a certain geographical area, they typically have a low quantity of connections but a real high quality in their network. What we take is kind of that networking idea because you never know who you connect with that’s following you and that’s kind of lurking and watching what you’re doing, in six months down the road, a year down the road they come back, they contact you and say “hey, you know we’re interested”. Last week we had a company reach out, they’ve been falling for him for two years and a fairly large deal is on the table. Now just because they finally felt comfortable enough to reach out. So there’s another way, before we forget, we connect and forget, and then we post and ghost, we post and then we forget any engagement at all, and we’re coming up to Halloween now, so it’s that time of year, we don’t want to post and ghost. So talk about that for a minute.
Bob Woods 14:57
What that means essentially is getting a post out there, and then you start seeing likes and comments and things like that, and you don’t do anything with them. So I mean, it’s literally ghosting that comment. And you don’t want to do that. Because sometimes you may know, sometimes you may not know who is who is posting, or who is either commenting or liking or whatever. And you really want to try to engage with these people with the eventual goal of if it makes sense for you to connect with them. If you ghost you, that’s you’ve lost a prime opportunity, especially because they showed enough interest in your post, and they took the time to actually either, you know, even just to like that takes a little bit of time, or comment definitely takes more time. So it’s rude to post and ghost, and you’re losing out on all kinds of potential opportunities.
Brynne Tillman 15:52
The challenge is, I’ve engaged on people’s content, and when they don’t comment back or even like it, the next time they post something, I don’t do it.(Bob) Right,(Brynne) right. And so part of doing it well, is building a loyal fan base of people that are connecting and engaging with you. When they like and comment on it, it goes to their newsfeed so you get exposed to their network, you remember, when we talked about social selling, it’s about adding value and being a resource and building trust in relationships. If you are no–if you don’t engage back, there’s no relationship to be had. It’s like someone walked up to you in a networking meeting and said, “Hey, nice suit”, you turned around and walked away,(Bob) it’s just rude.
Bill McCormick 16:39
And that person will not come up to you the next time and comment about you–(Brynne) right! They’ll probably stay away from you, and it’s the same, it’s the same socially. So it’s important that you’re putting content out there. Listen, I think the stat is somewhere around 3% of active LinkedIn users post content just once, once a week. So by posting “great job”, you’re putting yourself in that 97% pile of active LinkedIn users. But you’re just not throwing it out to the universe. And then just turning and walking away, you want to post it because as Brynne said, you want to provide value. And so you want to encourage conversation. First of all, it’s going to help build your credibility and your thought leadership. Second of all, it’s going to help with the algorithm without getting into tons of detail with that it will help that go further. But then the third thing is it’s just being a good human. When somebody says something you want to comment back, so don’t post and ghost. Last thing, random acts of social. You know, we go on every once in a while. And I think maybe to Ivan’s point a little bit with the earlier question as many salespeople yet we’re busy, we have busy lives. And so we tend to only hop in here once in a while and do a little bit here. And then we get that idea of, “Oh well, LinkedIn doesn’t work for me”. I posted something two weeks ago, and it got 25 views. And then I just posted something today, two weeks later, and only five views and then LinkedIn, LinkedIn doesn’t work. It will work if we have a system if we’re consistent. James Clear, in his book, Atomic Habits says “We don’t rise to the level of our goals, we fall to the level of our systems”. So we have to have a system in place for rising in LinkedIn, and it’s been talked about the cadence for a little bit.
Brynne Tillman 18:31
So cadence or workflow, like what are we going to do, when you do random acts of social, as Bill said, we come on, we like someone we accept someone’s connection request, maybe we ask someone to connect, and then we pop-off and there’s no follow up, there’s no consistency. When they accept our connection request, we ignore them. So we want to make sure that we have a workflow or a cadence. And a big piece of what we’re training in our new courses coming up, is wrapped in this idea that we want to be extremely purposeful and thoughtful. And although there may be more steps in our outreach than a typical cold call, because there are, you know, maybe seven or eight steps before we ever even get on a conversation with someone it’s purposeful, we’ve made them feel like they matter. We’ve engaged appropriately, even asked for their point of view on a poll or on a post, so that you know asking their opinion that we’re listening to them that they matter, before we ever even try to get on a conversation with a call with them. So “Random Act of Social” will never almost never convert. Thanks to Jonathan, he says; “It seems to me that people post content, but when they don’t get a lot of engagement, they get discouraged”. The mindset should be, not to post for the masses, but to add value to the one–personally I love this, by adding value to one, you’ll naturally reach more people over time. Brilliant. So we do talk about it though.(Bob) Yeah, we do.(Brynne) One to many, one to few, and one to one. So if you post something, it’s not getting a lot of play, think about who would get value from this and get it into their inbox, right? So Bob Woods would really get value from this post, I clicked the little Send button, and I typed Bob Woods, and “hey, Bob, I recently posted a link to this Forbes article. You know, ABC as a CMO, I thought you might get some value from it. I’d love to hear your thoughts, in comments, share, I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments”, right?(Bob) Yeah. And I get it into 20-30 people and all of a sudden, I’m getting engagement, and by the way, the first hour and now it said they’re saying two hours.
Bob Woods 20:43
Yeah, and I think just from an overall broader perspective, for the people who don’t wonder why, you know, who are wondering why they’re not getting engagement, you know, there are influencers on LinkedIn whose job it is to engage with as many people as as possible attract as many eyeballs as possible. That’s because their audience is broad. I mean, it’s supposed to be everybody. By definition, whatever your salespeople are doing, what salespeople are doing, they’re already looking at a subset, and an extreme subset of that population, because they should have a defined audience of who they’re going after. So just thinking of it like that, they’re not going to get those huge numbers that everybody wants and everybody you know, takes it as an ego stroke and everything like that. What you’re ultimately looking for is the likes and the comments and things like that, so that you can start engaging with people. You don’t need a ton of use, what you really need are the likes and the comments to start, to ultimately start conversations with.
Brynne Tillman 21:45
Or even just just simply leveraging it in the inboxes.
Bob Woods 21:48
Yes, and that too, absolutely, absolutely.
Bill McCormick 21:51
And so, there are those who are selling, training on LinkedIn that’s all about content and putting content out and getting engagement rates up, and that’s really the real long game of LinkedIn. Brynne’s been on LinkedIn a long time. She has 60 some 1000 followers I believe or something like that in that range. So in Brynne and everything’s relative, so when Brynne puts a post out and it only gets 2500 views in the first two hours, for Brynne that’s kind of on the low side.(Brynne)it is low.(Bill) Right? For me that’s going to be like, that’s good posts, that’s good for your average sales rep they’re going to be like that’s really great right? So it’s all relative but posting content and getting engagement on that content and leveraging that into a sale is the long game on LinkedIn. You have the medium game, is what Brynne talked about, the one to few is where you’re taking that same content and you’re putting it into someone’s inbox, not so much in there, you’re offering it to them: “Hey Bob, as a CEO in the XYZ industry I have some resources for you along this let me know and I’ll send you a link”, that’s the the medium game. There’s a short game on LinkedIn. And this is probably the sixth mistake that social sales reps aren’t using on LinkedIn, is actually leveraging it for referrals, because it’s a huge Rolodex, Brynne tell your Rolodex story.
Brynne Tillman 23:20
The Rolodex story ultimately is that LinkedIn allows us to filter and search our connections, and get referrals, and permission to name drop, which will be another episode.(Bob) Yes, (Bill) yes. We’re gonna talk about that. Guys, this is great, quickly, five mistakes people are making.
Bill McCormick 23:36
Profile is a resume and not a resource, connect and pitch, connect and forget, post and ghost, and random acts of social, and the six is not using the referrals on LinkedIn. Hey, it was great being with you. Thank you. Great interaction. We’ll see you next time in Making Sales Social Live.