worldtravelWhere in the world are you? (I’m in Croatia.)

Once upon a time, salespeople only sold to their assigned zip codes. But in today’s global economy, most of us need to branch out. Social media can help us make new connections—across the country or even around the globe—but then it’s up to us to take those conversations offline.

Social media has expanded my international network time and time again. Not long ago, a Chinese woman connected with me on LinkedIn and then visited the States to begin a business conversation. A Brit saw a post on Twitter and wrote to ask if he could use my article for his presentation. We talked on Skype the next morning, and he introduced me to an entrepreneur who wanted to learn about referrals. The entrepreneur is Croatian, and he helped me select places to visit during an upcoming trip.

As you read this, I’m in Croatia—learning about the history and culture, and soaking in the warm breezes from the Adriatic. Then I’m headed to Slovenia, where I’ll get to meet Tanja, a sales manager I met on LinkedIn who lives in a small town called Ljublana. This meeting never would have happened without LinkedIn enabling us to have cross-border conversations.

On the other hand, conversations rarely turn into relationships until we actually talk to people. Can’t travel across the world to meet with your international prospects? That’s OK. Just pick up the damn phone.

In the meantime, check out what you might have missed from No More Cold Calling this month:

[Warning] The Internet Is Giving Salespeople Tunnel Vision

Personalization is the key to delivering a great customer experience. Sales and marketing professionals know this, and it’s exactly what we strive to deliver for our customers—tailored, relevant content they want to see. But consider the flip-side: As consumers, we’re only getting customized, relevant content—from news organizations, social media, and brand marketers alike. This sounds good in theory, but is customized communication stopping us from expanding our thinking, considering new perspectives, or making new connections? Mark Hunter—a.k.a., “The Sales Hunter”—discusses the problem with personalization in this month’s No More Cold Calling guest post. (Read more.)

[Message to Management]: Are Your Sales Metrics Messed Up?

“Revenue is the only metric that matters.” Somebody actually wrote that in a recent blog post. If that’s how this person manages his team, I’m glad I’m not one of his reps. Sure, revenue is our goal in sales. Beating our numbers is our passion, and getting to Club is our reward. But revenue is a lagging indicator. We can measure revenue, but we can’t manage it. We can, however, measure and manage the key sales activities and behaviors that drive revenue. (Read more.)

Something in Common: The Key to Connecting with Your Sales Prospects

My birthday is January 19. When is yours? There’s always a feeling of amazement and connection when we learn someone else has the same birthday. This automatically opens up conversations about where we were born, what years we were born, and how we got from our birthplaces to where we are now. I’ve often called these types of connections “affinity networks”—meaning our natural, cultural, geographic, or special-interest connections that can lead to new and increased sales. Now I learn there’s a scientific term for affinity networks: “incidental similarities.” Jonathan Becher, chief digital officer of SAP, talks about the research behind this phenomenon—and what it means for salespeople. (Read more.)

Want to Score? Take Your Foot Off First

Like most top salespeople, Jennifer knew exactly how to blow past her numbers. When asked about the success secret that helped her become the company’s “salesperson of the year,” she didn’t even have to think before she responded: “I made one more call every day.” At the end of each workday, when she had gathered up her belongings and was ready to leave the office, she picked up the phone and made one more call. You always have time for one more call, to ask one more person for a referral, or to attend one more networking event. And that one small effort can put you over the edge. In this way, sales is a lot like baseball. (Read more.)

Is Your Sales Team on the Brink of Disaster?

Sales organizations are finding it harder and harder to deliver predictable revenue, and historical sales models are beginning to show cracks. Slowly but surely, sellers are lining up on one side of the sales cycle, while buyers line up on the other. Too many sales leaders are either unaware of this shift, ignoring the problem, or incapable of fixing it. Gartner’s Tiffani Bova identifies three dangers that modern sales organizations face, and how they’re wreaking havoc on sales pipelines. (Read more.)

Want the Inside Track on Your Sales Prospects?

Selling is the best job in the world. We solve problems for our clients, build amazing relationships, and help people grow their businesses. No other job provides such rich opportunities to connect with people or to plug into the pulse of the global economy. Our job gets even better with referral introductions from people our prospects know and trust. Then we walk into the first meeting with credibility already earned. That’s the hard part of relationship-building, and referred salespeople nail it. Are you ready to catch the Referral Spirit? (Read more.)

Test Your Referral Savvy

I’m conducting a new 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. 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!