canstockphoto8297665Here’s what you might have missed from No More Cold Calling this month.

The CEO of a Fortune 500 company told me what he wants most from salespeople are insights—no pitching or interrogating, just a conversation. Sales professionals are primed to deliver exactly that. Ongoing discussions with prospects and clients provide opportunities to learn about emerging trends, new and perplexing challenges, and solutions companies have implemented to mitigate their most pressing business obstacles. When we share what we’ve learned with clients and prospects, they value our insights. We stand out from all the pitch-people out there.

Now to the real meat: How did I ever get a meeting with the CEO of a Fortune 500 company? My answer shouldn’t surprise you. I was introduced by the CEO’s most valued customer. One call. Got the meeting.

For more on the power of a referral program, check out this month’s blog posts from No More Cold Calling:

Why Should the CEO Actually Lead a Referral Program?

Many CEOs turn over the responsibility for sales to their sales leaders, and then shift their focus to company strategy, growth, and profit forecasts. The problem: CEOs are ultimately responsible for top-line and bottom-line growth, which means they are also responsible for sales. If CEOs want predictable revenue, they can’t abdicate their responsibility for sales. They must model the referral process and drive referral selling as a strategic initiative that includes goals, metrics, and accountability for results. (Read “Why Should the CEO Actually Lead a Referral Program?”)

How to Score More Sales Leads: Don’t Believe the Buyer 2.0 Myths

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away … Well, you know the ending to that famous story. You also know it’s just a myth, a fable, a legend. It’s entertaining, but not real. Fictional stories belong in books, movies, or in the theatre—not in real life. Yet, many sales reps buy into the mythical statistics and ridiculous promises floating around the Internet about how to drive sales leads in the digital age. Wake-up call: You’re in the wrong job if you believe everything you hear about lead generation techniques. Myths turn talented sales professionals into mediocre ones. Here’s the truth about Buyer 2.0 and the role of technology in sales. (Read “How to Score More Sales Leads: Don’t Believe the Buyer 2.0 Myths.”)

A Social Media Connection Is Not a Sales Lead

Salespeople abuse social media to the extent that I typically delete more LinkedIn invitations than I accept. They invite person after person to connect using the same old standard invitation, and then immediately blast sales pitches to anyone who accepts. This bad behavior is not entirely the reps’ fault. Sales leaders understand that relationships drive sales, yet they measure their teams on the number of connections accumulated, calls made, and emails sent. But just because someone agrees to connect on social media does not make that person a sales lead. Qualified prospects are actually interested in your product or solution. They want and expect to hear from your salespeople. Otherwise, sales reps are simply using social media to cold call, which is both annoying and ineffective. (Read “A Social Media Connection Is Not a Sales Lead.”)

3 Overlooked Productivity Tips for Sales Reps

It’s always about time, isn’t it? We have a choice how we spend it. We can waste hours immersed in social media, sending emails, and surfing the web. Sounds like fun, but it’s not the way to excel in sales. Most of the time, it’s a waste of time and has nothing to do with engaging our prospects and customers. Sales leaders have always known that top sales reps engage in open, honest conversations with their clients. They make the time to build solid, long-lasting relationships, and they continue to expand their professional networks. And now there’s proof. (Read “3 Overlooked Productivity Tips for Sales Reps.”)

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!