Social Networking: How We Transformed the Results
“What emotions would we experience if we weren’t working ourselves to death? What wishes drive us? What fantasies hitch themselves to our continual busyness? Only when we step away from our frenzy can we know.”
Arlie Russell Hochschild
Human beings are capable of thinking about something other than themselves for a maximum of 15 seconds.
This behavioral science fact changed my entire outlook on sales. The insight revealed that buyers are only interested in one outcome:
Most LinkedIn users are using the platform to find the people that will help them realize their mission, vision, and purpose. But, the most common practices work against that outcome. For example, we get a connection request, accept it, and never hear from that person again. Or, our request is immediately followed by an advertising pitch to buy a new service, give someone a job, or invest in a business. All too often, the revolutionary power of social networking becomes a lost opportunity by using methods that are disrespectful of the recipient. What comes to mind is the obsolete approach of making a pitch and overcoming objections. Consultative sales changed the game. Rather than making pitches, we find the person’s needs and expectations. Instead of overcoming objections, we ask great questions and listen.
How can this outlook be applied to social networking? First, this is how I changed. For years, I took great pride in my ability to develop business by meeting people face-to-face and finding out how to help them as well as their organizations. Much of my time was consumed by phone calls, luncheons, throwing parties, and asking for referrals. While this worked really well, it proved inadequate during the economic collapse of 2008. In short order, we needed new clients. We needed to find them quickly and with little financial investment. At the time, I saw the potential of business development from LinkedIn. Here was a platform that could provide a more direct outreach to buying influences. Then, the thought crossed my mind, “What would happen if we brought high-touch business development into the LinkedIn process?”
At Inspired Work, we never send out generic connection requests. We are also selective in whom we reach out to. When someone connects with us, we typically invite people into phone conversations. Instead of making pitches, we are focused on connecting with those who can become friends, clients, strategic partners, and colleagues. Everyone is approached with kindness and respect. Sure, there are conversations that don’t lead to much. But, there are now hundreds of individuals that are now actively engaged that have made a big difference in our business and in my life. Some would argue, “That’s so time-consuming.” Well, if someone seriously wants to grow a career or business, it is time-consuming. If we put junk food in, that is what we are going to get out of it.
Our form of high-touch social networking has been so successful that we now train others in how to get the most out of their time. Many of our entrepreneurs have made it their primary form of business development. On a personal level, high-touch networking has been transformative. Through Internet syndication, my articles reach over six million people. That led to a publishing contract. In the past two years, social networking has eclipsed referrals as our biggest source of business.
Not long ago, I was having breakfast with Jess Todtfeld and Mary Campbell. Jess delivers presentation skills training to our clients and helps us develop business in New York. Mary was my internal partner at USC and is now a business partner. At one point, Mary looked at us and said, “This is all so nice, how did we meet? How did this happen?” I smiled and said, “Social networking.”
After years of helping individuals find the work they were born to do and supporting organizations in becoming great employers, I’ve come to the conclusion that many of us don’t define what we really want to do with our lives because we believe we will not get the help to bring that vision to life. On the other hand, once we do define our mission, vision, and purpose, our success is purely based on the quality of help that we get. In a new world of rapid change, building and fluidly modifying our support systems is critical to having a superlative career.
A personal touch, good manners, legitimate interest, respect, and humility will never go out of style, even in a world where speed is lauded and embraced.
(C) Copyright, 2017, Inspired Work, Inc. – (All Rights Reserved)
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