LinkedIn Lindsey’s ABCs Of Sales: Part 2Jul 13, 2021
Throughout my years in sales, I’ve collected quite a few pearls of sales wisdom—some through mentors and thought leaders I respect and others through the scraped knees and victories of my own personal experience. If I had to boil down all the tips and tricks to just three, they would be my ABCs of sales.
“A” stands for audience. (In case you missed my first post in the series, you can start at the beginning here.) Next, “B” stands for boldness—the focus of this article. You won’t experience sales success by sitting on the sidelines. To really make traction toward your goals, you’ll have to overcome your fear and take courageous steps to move from a prospect to a closed deal.
Be bold in stating how you can help.
Believe it or not, you need to be very specific about how you can help before anyone will know how to hire you. This goes beyond just telling people what you do and instead requires framing your unique value in terms of how it will address your clients’ pain points. Airbnb is a great example of a company that does this well. Rather than describe their company as a service that helps you find a hotel alternative, Airbnb helps customers “Belong Anywhere.”
Similarly, I know that my clients don’t necessarily go to bed worried about how they will optimize their LinkedIn profiles. Instead, they might worry about finding more business opportunities, receiving recognition or sourcing top talent. With that in mind, I’m able to frame my ask in terms of what my prospects need. My questions could include, “What have you tried so far?” or “Is this something you would like to fix now or in the next year?”
Once you identify how your product or service can address a real need, be bold in communicating it—on your LinkedIn profile, in your conversations, and in your email signature. You never know who might need your help. If fear is holding you back, find a routine or practice that helps you make an ask with confidence. In addition to research and preparation, I often say a quick prayer before important phone calls to recenter me and remind me that ultimately, I am here to serve.
Transform a "no" into an opportunity.
One of the most difficult parts of the sales process is recognizing the difference between a “no” and a “not yet.” You can waste a lot of time following up with people who were never really interested in working with you, but you can also miss exciting opportunities by writing off a prospect too soon.
Recently, I received an email from someone I originally met over a year ago at a speaking event. After several attempts to connect, he finally reached out again, eager to work together. Experiences like these serve as a reminder that there are legitimate reasons a sale is not possible at a given time. Company restructuring, onboarding transitions, and family needs are all genuine limitations to a sale.
I have heard it said that your prospect’s world changes every 30-45 days. With that in mind, be bold about asking permission to follow up. Rather than write off a sale completely, however, discover when it would be appropriate to open the conversation again. Set reminders and processes in place to help you follow up again at an agreed-upon date. Even in the absence of a specific time, you might consider offering to keep prospects in the loop by adding them to your email list or newsletter. If they say yes, you’re able to stay on their radar, without any pressure to move forward with a sale right now.
When you do conclude—either from silence or prolonged inaction—that a prospect will not become a sale, communicate that, too. Telling a prospect that you have decided to close their file is both a helpful courtesy and a final opportunity for that person to chime in with a request to keep the file open. If you happen to misread lack of communication as lack of interest, this gives your prospect an opportunity to indicate otherwise.
Dare to use another channel.
While you’ll hear me talk about the power of LinkedIn all the time, I will never recommend restricting your sales efforts to a single channel. LinkedIn is an excellent tool, but nothing can replace a one-on-one conversation with someone—whether that’s an in-person coffee or a phone call.
Be bold in diversifying your touchpoints to more personal or unexpected ways. A phone call might give you an opportunity to have a more efficient conversation. Other more creative tactics to stay in front of your prospects, such as surprise gifts, may also be appropriate, depending on your industry and the size of the deal.
Know your limits.
Honesty and boldness go together. Admitting when you are not the right fit for someone takes a great deal of courage, but it is critical for building trust. When you know that a client’s needs don’t align with your services or expertise, be bold in saying no. If you know someone who would be better suited to the client’s needs, make a referral.
While it might feel frustrating to say no to someone who wants to hire you, your business will be stronger in the long term if you stay within your own limits and say yes to work you can do well and with excitement. Oftentimes, respecting your boundaries stands out in a good way and shows prospects how much you care about helping them. Odds are, if your referral comes across someone who better aligns with your ideal prospect, they will return the favor and share your name, too.
If you’re looking for more ways to cultivate boldness in your sales process, I would love to help. I help professionals from across industries leverage LinkedIn for better business results with services ranging from self-paced resources to concierge-level LinkedIn transformations. Set up a time to talk with me, and I’ll be happy to help identify the right support for your needs.