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[Missed Connections] Referral Selling Insights from May

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Cold CallingHere’s what you might have missed from No More Cold Calling this month.

I didn’t really know anyone, except through social media. We’d shared content, commented on each other’s posts, and corresponded a few times. But I didn’t expect the reaction I got when I met more than 24 of my social media connections this month in London at the Sales Innovation Expo.

It was like we’d known each other for years. We didn’t just shake hands and say hello. There were hugs and amazing conversations. I had no idea so many people in the U.K. were fans of my book, No More Cold Calling. We sat down and got to know each other. We shared information, and a few of us discussed working together. I now have many new friends in the U.K. Yes, friends.

No matter how much we communicate with people online or talk on the phone, nothing replaces face-to-face interaction for relationship building. And that’s what we must remember in our fast-paced digital sales world.

Have a top prospect, a critical presentation, an important client? Hop a plane, train, or automobile—whatever you need to do to meet in person, even if it’s only for one day. Sure, it takes more time than a conference call and costs more money. So what? Want the deal? Show up.

In the meantime, check out this month’s blog posts from No More Cold Calling for more on the power of relationships and referrals:

Do Your Sales Reps Act Like Sales Snobs or Social Stalkers?

Steve, a salesman with an enterprise company, invited me to connect on LinkedIn. I accepted his standard invitation, thinking he might be a good connection, and sent a personal message inviting him to contact me with any questions about referral selling. His response: “What is referral selling?” Obviously, he had no clue who I was when he invited me. He is a social selling stalker. As is the person who invites me (and probably the rest of the world) to connect, and then responds immediately with a sales pitch. The social selling world is filled with people who send connection requests to “anyone who fogs a mirror.” Then there are the sales snobs. Social selling stalkers cast too wide a net, asking for referrals from strangers who have no reason to help promote their businesses. Sales snobs, on the other hand, miss out on referral opportunities because they narrow their focus too much. (Read “Do Your Sales Reps Act Like Sales Snobs or Social Selling Stalkers?”)

How Social Selling Got Me 21 Meetings in 2 Days

The magic number is 21. No, I’m not playing blackjack. That’s the number of people I’m meeting for the first time at the Sales Innovation Expo in London this month. I’ve never spoken with any of them. I met them all on LinkedIn and Twitter. So, why do they want to meet me? Because we began a conversation on social media. Yes, a conversation. We didn’t just connect online; we made a personal connection. That’s the power of social selling. I always write a personal invitation to connect, and I respond to invitations (even when people send me the standard invitation). That personal outreach—even if it’s only a few sentences—solicits a wonderful response. People tell me they’ve read my blog, commented on posts, and want to learn how referral selling really works. That’s how we begin a relationship. Sure, it’s a digital relationship at first, but then watch where it goes. (Read “How Social Selling Got Me 21 Meetings in 2 Days.)

Do You Make Time for Your Sales Reps to Practice?

Practice? Who me? Sure, sales reps know they must practice new skills, practice presentations, practice writing, practice speaking—practice, practice, practice. But we resist practice, even with proof right in front of us. Why? We get paid to sell. Practice time is on our own dime. And who has extra time just floating around? Sales reps in the top 10 percent operate differently. These super-sales achievers determine the critical, deal-breaking skills needed for sales success. Then they narrow their focus—relentlessly learning and honing those new sales skills by committing to daily practice. Yes, daily practice. They make the time, so they win the deals. (Read “Do You Make Time for Your Sales Reps to Practice?”)

Why Specificity Matters for Lead Generation

Lead generation is personal … very personal. Imagine you’re looking for a long-term romantic relationship. You don’t just want anyone “single and good-looking.” You want someone who is smart, hardworking, honest, and loves theater and concerts. Or perhaps someone who loves sports and outdoor adventure. The point is that you know the specific qualities you want in a partner. So, you take the time to make a profile of your ideal mate. Sales teams also know exactly what they want in their ideal clients, but they rarely get this specific. It feels counter-intuitive, like leaving good business on the table. However, when you’re asking for referrals or writing copy for lead generation materials, the more specific your description, the more likely you’ll attract only the right customers. Ivan Levison, who penned my guest post for this month, knows a thing or two about how the words we use can move a sales process forward or derail it. (Read “Why Specificity Matters for Lead Generation.”)

Test Your Referral Savvy

I’m conducting a study on referrals, and I need your help. Please take my 14-question Referral I.Q. Quiz. The questions are mostly “Yes/No,” and it should take less than four minutes to complete. Rest assured, it’s completely anonymous, with no forms to fill out.

Once you’ve finished, you’ll be bounced over to a results page, where you can see the aggregated answers from everyone who has participated.

Take the Referral I.Q. Quiz now.

My goal is to get a 1,000-person sample, so please invite your network to take the quiz as well. Participation is anonymous, and I promise you won’t be added to any lists. Thanks in advance for your support!

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