Shifting our Approach

What a crazy world we live in right now.  Isolating ourselves and trying to stay focused and productive is a bit of a challenge for many of us.  The good news is that we live in an amazing age of technology that allows us to keep going without skipping a beat. It just requires us to shift our approach.

I wanted to share a few ideas with you and your business development team members to ensure things are moving along like business as usual as best we can right now.

Some of you may wonder why a productivity consultant is giving business development advice.  Here’s the deal, so much of the sales and marketing world is about the process and the tools you use.  I can’t help you with the art of selling. That’s up to you. But process…that’s where we excel!  

Instead of being disappointed that your conferences and networking meetings have been canceled and it will slow down your ability to meet others, just shift your approach.  

LinkedIn is a virtual networking environment.  In many ways, it is an even more effective tool to use to maximize your time (and we, of course, love that!) 

To get a potential client to the point that they are ready to buy from us we ultimately have to progress through three levels in the relationship.  They need to:

  • Get to know us.
  • Then like us.
  • Then trust us.

When someone recommends your services to a potential client you fast pass through this process.

No one has time today to research a new product or service.  So many are looking for others to provide recommendations and reviews to streamline that buying process. 

When you are at a networking event it’s a crapshoot if you will happen to be standing by someone that knows exactly what you do and can vouch for the quality of your work.  Even rarer would be standing next to someone that is a natural advocate for your work and would sing your praises. That right there is networking gold!

Getting a LinkedIn Recommendation on your LinkedIn profile is equivalent to standing next to a potential client in a networking event and having someone sing your praises.  Not just to one person but thousands. Thus allowing you to catapult through the Know-Like-Trust process with many people at one time.  

So why are people not leveraging this powerful tool?  It’s often a lack of knowledge about the tool and no defined process built into your daily routine.

So here’s what you need to start doing to make this a part of your ongoing business development process.  The next time you hear someone say something wonderful about your work. Stop. Write down exactly what they said.  Most people that value your work would be thrilled to do a LinkedIn Recommendation for you. However many people hate writing. They don’t know what to say or are worried about how to word it to sound professional.  Therefore it often doesn’t happen.

So do the hard work for them. Take their comments and write up a draft recommendation.  When you send the request for a LinkedIn Recommendation don’t just ask for the recommendation, include the draft. Tell them to please tweak the wording to make it their own. You will see a much higher rate of getting recommendations when you streamline this process.

By controlling the commentary this also allows you to provide context to your recommendation so it is even more powerful.  If it was a unique client experience you want to add that background so people understand more about your skills and abilities and not just that you do good work.

For instance, I did a presentation for a company on email and time management.  A Millennial in the room wrote some wonderful comments on my evaluation. I knew I didn’t want him to just do a LinkedIn Recommendation about the quality of my speaking. I wanted to be sure everyone knew that this was a Millennial saying how valuable it was to get Outlook training and that sitting through a longer training session was not an issue.  

Many senior leaders assume that the younger generation are productive because they “get technology”, but they don’t always. They may be fast adapters but no one is training them on the tools we use in business today and the way they should be leveraged in a business environment.

So I sent him a draft that included his comments but I was able to expand on the context of the situation.  He was thrilled to do the recommendation and I’m sure happy I had done the legwork to make it easy. All he had to do was cut and paste my draft and his work was done.

See how this recommendation is so much more powerful with background information included:

“Jan came out and gave a wonderful talk. I will say it did not feel like 2.5 hours of listening (which can often be draining for me and my fellow Millennials) – her speaking style is very engaging and upbeat, continuously keeping the attention of our group of about 30 managers. Additionally, much of the presentation was comprised of hands-on learning with the Microsoft Office Suite / answering specific questions. I am personally a Certified Expert in Excel & Word, but Jan’s presentation opened my eyes to some great functionality within Outlook. These tools, for me and others in my company, were being used immediately after the presentation concluded.

Even with just 2.5 hours, the benefits Jan provided is showing itself on a daily basis. I am very much looking forward to the opportunity to work with Jan in the future!”

See how the context is so valuable?  In the virtual world of networking, you can control the dialog to your advantage.  

Every time someone looks at your LinkedIn profile one of the first places they will look is at your Recommendations.  Thus emulating the environment as if you were standing next to that person along with one of your most powerful advocates and they were singing your praises.

So take the time to create your process and make it part of your daily routine.

Here is how you request a recommendation on LinkedIn – Requesting a Recommendation

A bonus is that LinkedIn has jumped on the SEO bandwagon. They have been working hard to make your LinkedIn profile show up on the first page of Google when someone is searching for your services (i.e. Productivity Consultant Minneapolis)

The number of LinkedIn Recommendations you have will positively impact your search results. 

To see how your LinkedIn profile measures up to others in your industry check out your LinkedIn Social Selling Index – The Social Selling Index (SSI) | LinkedIn Sales Solutions

So don’t fret about being in lockdown and worried about your ability to sell.  Take the time to leverage a very powerful tool that will become a key part of your sales strategy from now on.

If you want more advice on how to improve your business development processes please give me a call at 651-600-8382. You know I’ll be at my desk these days! 

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