Plus, what you might have missed from No More Cold Calling.
I learned a lot more about gratitude after recently celebrating the 25th anniversary of No More Cold Calling. People told me how much I impacted their lives and businesses. Colleagues I’d known for years and years expressed their appreciation for my work. One person even said that referral selling changed the trajectory of his business. I was blown away.
I thanked many people at our Zoom celebration, as well as responding to their reflections on LinkedIn. But I want to reiterate it now. It’s nice to be appreciated, and I’m grateful for their gratitude.
I wrote about saying thanks this past November. But expressing gratitude is more than saying thank you. It’s letting people know how they’ve affected your life, what their friendship has meant to you, the qualities you admire most in them, and how “being there” means everything.
A friend once told me that good friends will always show up in an emergency. Yes, they will, but great friends show up when there’s not an emergency. And I’m fortunate to have many great friends.
A casual friend passed away last year. I knew she was very ill. I kept meaning to call, but I didn’t. Then it was too late. I vowed that would never happen again. So, right here and now, I want to express my gratitude.
I am grateful for so much—my family, colleagues, friends, clients, and you—who continue to read my blogs and rants.
Thanks for being in my world!
Ready to read more about referral selling? Check out what you might have missed from my blog over the last few months:
Celebrating 25 Years in Referrals: My Story
The year was 1996. I was working for a global consulting and training firm. The economy was booming, and my colleagues encouraged me to go out on my own. I had no name for my company, but I knew my focus. I would work with small companies to develop their sales strategy, sales process, and sales goals, and incorporate these into their business plan. Well, that’s how it started, but it didn’t stay that way for long. My first client was an outplacement firm (and a referral). When I discovered that 50 of the firm’s best clients would be happy to refer them, I asked the question I still ask every single client today: “Have you asked every one of your clients for a referral?” Their answer 25 years ago is the same answer I still hear every time I ask this question today: “No.” That’s when I decided to make referral selling my life’s work. (Read “Celebrating 25 Years in Referrals: My Story”)
Do Your Leads Suck?
Sales is like dating. It’s all about relationships. You have to decide what you’re looking for in the perfect mate (or prospect), and then figure out the best way to meet that person (or sales qualified lead). Imagine you’re single and looking for a long-term relationship. You’re a little older and wiser now, so you take time to reflect on the profile of your ideal match. It turns out you want someone sober, smart, hard-working, and honest, and who loves theater and concerts. Would you go looking for that person in a bar? Probably not. It’s the same with a sales qualified lead. We have to change how we talk about sales leads and what actually counts as “qualified.” (Read “Do Your Leads Suck?”)
Building Client Trust in a Virtual World
“As the world shifts to virtual, the challenge is building client trust.”
I almost fell out of my chair when I heard this from a VP of Sales. Building client trust has always been a challenge, so why is this new in a virtual world? It can seem harder when we can’t meet in person, but saying it’s a bigger challenge is nonsense. Let me amend that. If your team is selling the same-old, same-old way, with standard demos and loosely veiled discovery questions like, “What keeps you up at night?” Then sure, building client trust is hard. But the same is true if they’re using that sales approach when meeting in-person. Your team will botch the meeting either way because most of their outreach is cold. There’s no relationship, no connection, and definitely no trust. (Read “Building Client Trust in a Virtual World”)
How to Make Real Connections in the Era of Virtual Sales Meetings
“Video conferencing is a great way to get face to face with clients. But while it may be as close as you can get to in-person, it’s not, and you’re not. If you have a big-deal prospect or client, you’d better jump on a plane, catch a train, or take a road trip as soon as possible. Your competition is probably still fooling around with technology.”
I wrote that in 2013, when virtual sales meetings weren’t the only option. In 2020 and at least the first half of 2021, business travel and indoor socializing have been challenging and at times, impossible. We’ve had to make do with virtual sales meetings, and that has affected many B2B sales pros’ ability to access new customers and to make real-world connections. But not referral sellers. (Read “How to Make Real Connections in the Era of Virtual Sales Meetings”)
Your Lead Gen Is Broken (Here’s How to Fix It)
Your lead generation tactics aren’t driving bottom line revenue. That’s a fact. Every sales leader says their #1 prospecting challenge is getting leads in the pipe. They complain they don’t have enough leads, or at least not enough qualified leads. Wait, wasn’t lead-gen technology supposed to solve that problem? Despite the fact that most companies have marketing automation solutions, targeted outreach by SDRs, and intense social media strategies, account execs are still missing quota en masse. Half of the deals that are forecasted to close don’t, and customer retention has decreased as seller attrition increases, because existing lead-gen methods simply aren’t generating qualified leads. Why not? (Read “Your Lead Gen Is Broken (Here’s How to Fix It)”)