Here’s what you might have missed from No More Cold Calling this quarter.

Mark, 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 him 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 sales stalker—someone who blasts out dozens of invites and then lies in wait, ready to pounce with an unwelcome sales pitch the moment anyone responds.

Like Mark, many sales stalkers are too lazy to even personalize their invitations and just use the automated verbiage: “Please join my professional network.” Others write their own copy, but they provide absolutely no reason that you would actually want to connect with them. Things like: “We have many connections in common,” or “I’m looking to connect with influencers like you.” The second you respond, you get a sales pitch.

I doubt you would introduce yourself this way at a networking event. You’d have a conversation, get to know the person, and then decide if you want to continue the conversation. You certainly wouldn’t lead with a sales pitch before you even knew if the person would be a decent prospect. 

It’s important to show up online like you show up in-person. To stop acting like sales stalkers and start acting like salespeople (“people” being the operative word). When you conduct conversations like a person and not a spam bot, you make connections that lead to sales—and referrals.

For more on how to get referrals, check out the No More Cold Calling blog, including these posts from this quarter:

Here’s Why You’re Not Getting Referrals

Your team knows a lot of people, who in turn know a lot of people. So, why aren’t they getting referrals at scale? Because they haven’t asked everyone they know. Your team’s job is not to evaluate whether people would be great referral sources. Their job is to identify everyone they know—to create a contact list with the people they know the best at the top. Your job as a sales leader is to help them understand that everyone knows someone, and referrals often come from the most unexpected places. Ask yourself the following questions to gauge whether your team is ready to start getting referrals. (Read “Here’s Why You’re Not Getting Referrals”)

Stop Counting Dials, Start Counting Connections

Rachel, a sales VP at a large technology company, was frustrated with her sales team. They weren’t even close to making quota. In fact, they were lagging by 27 percent. She knew they relied almost exclusively on technology for generating sales leads. Their outreach took too long. They spent plenty of time on social media and sent tons of emails, but they rarely reached actual decision-makers. She finally asked her team: “Did you ever close business over email?” Well, that was a splash of cold water, and you can guess the answer. No matter how advanced and “intelligent” communications technology becomes, nothing replaces the original communication medium—face-to-face conversations. Yet, far too many sales teams depend on email, texts, and social media for generating sales leads. It’s easier and faster than old-school sales techniques. But is it as effective? Not even close! (Read “Stop Counting Deals, Start Counting Connections”)

How to Harness the Power of Business Referrals

It’s time to get serious about business referrals. That’s where the lead generation power is. Simply stated, referrals drive revenue. It’s no wonder that high-growth businesses—companies with double-digit growth—rank customer referrals as one of their most successful sales strategies. The importance of business referrals is legendary. But you don’t need me to tell you that. I’ve never met a successful seller who didn’t understand the value of referrals. Nothing helps you close a deal faster than having someone your prospect knows and trusts vouch for you. But there are some common referral misconceptions that can  sabotage your business development. (Read “How to Harness the Power of Business Referrals”)

[New Book Alert] Carole Mahoney’s Must-Read Strategies for How to Put Your Buyer First

Business book testimonials are all the same. They tell you how a book is a must-read, packed with powerful strategies. They use the same keywords: reliable, an essential resource, practical, revolutionary, actionable, blah, blah, blah, etc., etc. I often wonder if the testimonial writer actually read the book. I’m not going to tell you any of that about Buyer First: Grow Your Business with Collaborative Selling, a new book by Carole Mahoney. What I am going to tell you is, in my 40+ years of selling and managing sales teams, I’ve never read anything like this. Not only did I read it from cover to cover, but I have stickies all over the book. I’ve learned a ton, and I am impressed with her validated research as well as her ability to masterfully weave in her personal sales struggles and discomfort. (Read my full review of Carole’s book)