I’m noticing more and more the desire by many to look for shortcuts instead of actually doing the work. Maybe it’s because we’re moving further and further into the one-hit-wonder/15 minutes of fame/get-rich-quick world but whatever it is, it sucks. We all know it is way more satisfying to earn something than for it to be given to you. And, by the way, if you disagree with that, please stop reading and sign up for another get-rich-quick scheme or play the lottery … again.
For example, most sales reps don’t even earn the right to make a cold call. They just pick up a list of names, smile and dial, and hope for the best. Or, they put together a template email and blast it out to 1,000 contacts hoping they’ll get lucky. It’s actually not that hard to earn the right to make a call or send an email to someone you don’t know. All you have to do is a little bit of research and have a valid reason for reaching out to them. The more research you do, the more relevant you can be and, therefore, the more you earn the right to reach out – not to mention increase the likelihood of a positive response. Here’s a tip: at the very least, have the client’s website open in front of you when you make the call. This way, you can at least react quickly if you ever get the question “what do we do?” – which is incredibly embarrassing if you don’t have an answer.
LinkedIn and social selling are also areas where people look for too many shortcuts, in my opinion. Just because someone is connected to me on LinkedIn doesn’t mean I know them very well or would feel comfortable making a referral. I get requests all the time asking me to make a referral for someone just because they’re connected to me and guess how many times I actually make the referral? Very few. The times I do are when the person asking for the referral goes through the effort of researching the person they’re trying to connect with, comes up with a compelling reason to reach out to them, writes the email as if it were to go directly to that person and then asks me to forward it to them. There’s another tip: DON’T take the easy way out when it comes to referrals through LinkedIn but DO make it easy to make the referral by doing your homework.
Lastly, social selling seems to me to be the never-ending quest for the quick fix. Social selling is actually a longer-term play than most other selling methods, in my opinion. There are two components of social selling: 1) Outbound – which is looking for content you can use to reach out to your targets and be more relevant with your communication, and 2) Inbound – which is about sharing insights and information so you’re seen as an industry expert and people start coming to you. The outbound component is shorter term, but it still takes a lot of work to set up the right systems and look for the right content. The inbound method is a much longer-term approach, which doesn’t necessarily yield direct results but I believe is critical in having a successful long-term career in today’s sales world. The sales reps who share knowledge and insight will ultimately win out over the ones just looking to make a sale. With that, get involved with some LinkedIn groups, write your own blog, comment on other blogs and tweet out good articles.
A couple of my Dad’s favorite sayings are “no pain no gain” and “anything worth doing is worth doing right.” I don’t necessarily believe gain always comes from pain, but I do agree with putting in the effort to do things right and earning every aspect of your success. Good luck and happy selling.