Post-Pandemic Selling Skills

In our last podcast, we began a discussion on pandemic and post pandemic selling skills because the skills that got you to this point will probably not be enough to keep you moving forward. Do you have what it takes to survive and thrive in the new environment? Let’s find out.

David: Hi and welcome to the podcast today cohost Chris Templeton and I are back to continue our discussion on pandemic and post pandemic selling skills. Welcome back, Chris.

Chris: Hi David. You know in our last podcast we were going to talk about all kinds of skills that have to be developed in order to succeed in this new selling environment.

David: Right.

Chris: We didn’t get as far as we thought we were going to and we kind of left off on Facebook groups and the type of content that we can put up. Let’s talk about some other things that we can do in regards to social media.

David: Okay. We started talking about Facebook groups and Facebook personal profiles and Facebook pages, but obviously there are other social media sources as well. LinkedIn is always thought of as being a good source for business. You want to discuss that one next?

Chris: Sure. Let’s talk about LinkedIn.

David: Okay. If you’ve been in business for a long time, you probably have some sort of LinkedIn account or presence. If not, you should definitely look into getting one. LinkedIn is one social media environment in which it’s okay to be in business, be in sales. Sometimes with some of the more personal social media platforms like Facebook, that can be frowned upon. But in LinkedIn people sort of expect the fact that you’re in business and that you might say things related to business. Now that doesn’t mean that you can just go on there and turn it into a 24 hour pitch fast, right?

David: You can’t just go on there and say, “buy my stuff” all the time because you will alienate just as many people on LinkedIn as you would on any other platform.

Chris: You don’t think that’ll work?

David: You can try it if you want to. See how that works out.

Chris: Yeah, you try it and let us know how it goes.

David: Yeah, send us an email. But you can get on there and exchange ideas. You can initiate conversations that are more business related. You can connect with people. Because on LinkedIn it’s more about connections. Whereas on Facebook it’s about friends, quote unquote. So you’re friending people on Facebook, but you’re connecting with people on LinkedIn. So people expect that there’s going to be a business component to the discussion on there. So that’s helpful. The flip side is that since it’s all business, people do get pitched a lot, and so the way that we approach people on LinkedIn is going to have to be thought through and not just “winging it” the way that a lot of people do.

Chris: And I don’t know if you want to go with 80/20 or some different split, but you know, like you said, if all you’re doing is pushing your sales messages, you’re not going to be very effective in generating connections and interest. And so, can we do 80% that is informational, maybe half of that tied to your specific products, but not as, you know, “Hey, buy my product” and then can you do things like we’re doing right now, which is how do we help people in these difficult times? And almost everybody in business has the ability to tie this to what’s going on with the pandemic, that sort of thing, don’t you think?

David: Yeah, absolutely. And I think one of the primary changes in focus has been, and this is something we’ve talked about in previous podcasts as well, is that right now with everything that’s going on, sales is far less about what can I sell you and far more about how can I help you? How can I help you with what you’re looking to accomplish? And so if we’re looking to initiate business conversations, let’s say through LinkedIn, then we want to be clear up front that it’s not just about selling people, it’s about trying to figure out how we can help. And so if we’re initiating connection requests on LinkedIn. There should be a reason for that. In other words, you don’t use the generic, “I’d like to connect with you on LinkedIn” because if they don’t know you, they don’t know the benefit. They don’t understand the “what’s in it for me” and so they’re going to be far less likely to be receptive or to connect. If you can give them a reason about why you’re connecting, there’ll be a lot more likely to do it. For example, if you serve a particular niche industry and you are able to say in your connection request, “I work with a lot of people in your industry, I thought it might be worthwhile to connect. I have a few ideas I’d be happy to share with you.” Then there’s a reason for the connection. It’s not just, Oh, okay. Some other total strangers just trying to pitch me.

Chris: And if you can take that initial pitch and at the same time tie it to what’s going on in these wild times. And I think if it’s not going to be sales oriented that you say it. I’d love your business at some point, but at this point I’m just trying to help people that I have worked with in this industry, that sort of thing. Something that eases it up a little bit and it’s gotta be authentic, doesn’t it?

David: It does. And you had mentioned the 80/20 thing and a good example of that on LinkedIn would be if you were to publish some sort of article that would be helpful to a particular industry to help them understand how they could accomplish or get a result that would be favorable to them. If they read something like that, then that’s going to get them interested in you. So you’re putting valuable content up there. And then if they like it enough, what will happen is they’ll say, “Oh, that was interesting. Who is this person?” And then they’ll very likely go to your profile page on LinkedIn. And they’ll see what you have to say there. That’s why it’s really important that your profile page is optimized to position yourself for what you want people to know about you. What is it going to say in your profile page about what you do and how you do it and who you serve? Because if it just says, here’s this person and this is their title and this is where they’re located, that doesn’t really give them a good feel for how you can help.

Chris: It goes back to what we talked about in the previous podcast was, you know, if you’re going to try and do some marketing and develop relationships on Facebook, you’d better make sure that your Facebook page and your profile and what you’re posting are things that are going to enhance that process.

David: Right.

Chris: The same is true probably more so in LinkedIn. The good news with LinkedIn is that it’s a much briefer way to find out about a person. In other words, we’ve got a profile set up where we’ve written about what we do. We’ve showed our experience, that sort of thing, but I strongly encourage you to take a look at your profile and in addition, have a couple of friends take a look at it and say, you know, does this feel like the message that I want to portray to people on LinkedIn? I think that’s probably a pretty important place to start.

David: Yeah, so that when they go to your profile, they’re seeing the benefits that you offer, and it could be some sort of paper that you’ve written. It could be an article that you posted, but right there at the top, there should be a statement about what you help people to do, who you help and how you help them should really be right there, front and center, in your LinkedIn profile.

Chris: And just as a side note, there are a lot of people out there that are available to update and clean up your LinkedIn profiles. You can go to Fiverr or you can go to Upwork. Lots of places where people would go through and really from a much more objective place, be able to take a look at it and say, “I think this is what I’m seeing, what you ought to be thinking about.” Does that make sense?

David: Yeah, definitely worth looking into and something else is just looking at other people’s profiles will give you a lot of ideas. If you go to somebody’s profile and it’s uninspiring, you can ask yourself, “why is this uninspiring?”

Chris: Yup.

David: Whereas if you go to some people’s profiles and you say, “wow, this is really great,” what do you love about it? How are they describing what they do and how they do it? What sort of things are they offering on their profile to entice people to get in touch, or to make themselves known so that you can start initiating conversations and dialogues there?

Chris: You know, the other thing that’s really worth taking a look at is just going through my existing contacts, like I think I have four or 500 contacts. When we first got involved with social media. We were friending and everybody and their brother. And now’s a good time to take a look at who you’re friended with or connected with and also just reaching out to them personally. “Hey, just thinking about you, hope you’re doing well through this crazy time.” What a great message. Simple, to the point, not sales oriented, but you’re now back in that person’s mind.

David: Yeah. Now also, and I don’t want to go too deep because the last one we went really deep into Facebook and I don’t think we’re going to be able to do that, otherwise we’re going to have the next 45 podcast episodes on all sorts of different topics. But the main topic that we’re examining here in this podcast and the last one are prospecting using social media. And so we talked about, in the last podcast, some of the ways to do that on Facebook. We talked about some different things that you can do in this one on LinkedIn. What were some of the other platforms that we wanted to discuss?

Chris: Well, I think the other one that we ought to look at is YouTube. People forget that YouTube is the second largest search engine…

David: Right.

Chris: …on the internet and from that standpoint alone, the fact of the matter is if you search “podcast sales” or something like that on Google, you’re going to get, you know, over a million results on YouTube, you’re going to get far less than that. And so I think it’s one of the things that people walk by a lot and you know, just because you’re on YouTube does not mean that you have to be in front of a camera. Plenty of people will put up a deck and walk through the deck as a way to communicate information. And again, if you’re communicating relevant information that is going to get interest.

David: Yeah, and it’s got a lot in common now with Facebook in the sense that a lot of people do Facebook lives, and Facebook lives tend to get a lot of attention because Facebook wants people to be looking at lives, and so they’ll get more eyeballs on it. One of the things that I’ve been doing fairly recently myself is I will do a Facebook live within our group, which is just for our paying clients, and then I’ll take some of that content and I’ll actually download the video and I’ll save it onto our server, and I’ll make it available to paying clients in other areas as well. Now with YouTube it’s a similar kind of thing. You can go on there and you can create all kinds of content and get it out to people and you had mentioned the idea of not having to be on camera yourself. That’s absolutely true. You can use screen capture software, and use whatever, PowerPoint. You had mentioned using a deck, like a slide deck to be able to have the visuals, and then you could just sort of self narrate that, put that up on YouTube and get it in front of people. Definitely potential for that. I think in terms of what we’re talking about with this series of podcasts, however, the idea that we’re looking at developing new skills to be able to sell in the new environment, then I think we should probably really look at using video, and actually showing up on video, as part of the skills that could and should potentially be developed. If you’re in front of people, normally in a selling situation, then this shouldn’t be all that much harder. Getting used to talking to a camera is not all that different than getting used to talking to a person, except of course you don’t get the feedback. You don’t get the initial feedback.

Chris: Right.

David: But to be able to shoot a quick video, just a couple of minutes, to get a point across, can be extremely effective. Years ago. I remember giving presentations where I was talking about using tools like YouTube to be able to leverage ourselves, and to be able to do more of a one to many approach because if I get comfortable enough with the idea of shooting a two or three minute video on my phone, that communicates a message, I can leverage my time like crazy. If I can actually shoot a three to five minute video in three to five minutes and then post it up to YouTube a few minutes after that, and then send out a link to a hundred of my favorite customers. If 10% of them — if 10 of them — end up watching the video, that’s 30 minutes of face time that I’m getting with them for three to five minutes of video recording and the time that it takes to upload and send out the message. If I can get 20% so much, the better. If I can figure out who’s seeing it the first time I sent it out, I could then send out a similar message to get more of those people to see it. And of course if I’ve got more people that I can send it to, then I can really leverage it even more than that. So I think that could be another one of the skills that we should talk about getting comfortable with, is just the idea of being able to shoot some sort of video that we would feel comfortable putting in front of a client.

Chris: You know, it’s a great point and there are a number of pieces of software, online platforms, that allow you to shoot a quick video and send the link to somebody. And what I would suggest, you know, there are a lot of people David, that are going to say, “I can’t even imagine talking to a camera.” Well you know, I couldn’t imagine talking to a camera, I don’t know, a year ago, and now I do it all the time. I do it almost every day between Zoom, between this other program where I can just shoot it. I respond to emails a lot that way. “Thanks for your email. Click here for your viewing pleasure.” And the reason people are so nervous about being in front of a camera is they’ve got all this chatter going on in their head. “Do I look good” or “am I sounding right? Am I saying the right thing?” And eventually, as you get more and more accustomed to it, all that chatter goes away and then you really do get to focus. So practicing in front of a camera is a great, great skill to have, and something that I got a feeling we’re going to be using a whole lot more down the road, wouldn’t you say?

David: Absolutely. And the other thing I would say is plan on not being great at it first, and plan on being okay with that.

Chris: Yes.

David: And if there’s one advantage to doing a Facebook live, before you’re ready. It’s that it gets you ready. And I’m drinking my own Kool-Aid here, because that was something that I had not done previously. I thought it would be a good idea, but I was never really pressed to do it.

Chris: Right.

David: And then, since this has been going on, I’ve realized that there is a lot of help that my clients need right now. And the best way for me to get to them, is to simply get in front of them, find out what help they need and deliver it to them. And so I’ve been using Facebook lives to be able to do that with our Inner Circle and SmartEQP members so that we can find out what’s most important to them now, where do they need the most help? And then delivering recommendations and solutions that they can implement right away.

Chris: And then the other thing to keep in mind is also that so much of what one client needs is like 80% of your other clients need something very similar. So if you can make that video generic, down the road, what a great way to connect with people and not have to shoot that video over and over again.

David: Right. And the more comfortable with it you get, the quicker you can do that sort of thing. And when you even get comfortable with the idea of it not being perfect. Just getting something out there that’s decent. That’s okay. That’s good. It’s better to get something good out there today than something perfect six months from now.

Chris: And I think one of the things that I’ve argued for a long time when it comes to video and audio is mistakes humanize you. In other words, obviously you don’t want to be tripping over yourself the whole time, but you know, things that don’t come through quite as polished are authentic to people. They’re like, Oh yeah, I can relate to that. And so I would really encourage people not to go for perfection, not to go for super high levels of polish. I just think when we get too polished, then this whole other conversation comes up for, people are like, “man, oh man, they must have spent a ton on that.” Or “it just feels like I’m watching a commercial.” Those kinds of things. I think we’ve got to be really careful about that too.

David: Yeah. Cause it looks too rehearsed. When it’s too good, It looks rehearsed. And people are used to really poor quality video, because they see it all the time in their feeds. Particularly in places like Facebook where people will just shoot anything. So if the content is good, they’re going to pay attention to it. If the content is bad, they’re not. And one of the things that, we’ve had this conversation probably before as well, is, you know, “how long is too long? How short is too short?” You can bore people in 30 seconds or you can keep them captivated for 30 minutes. It all depends on the content, what you’re doing, what you’re saying. And if you’re speaking to their need. If you’re speaking to their need, they will stay focused and they will stay with you.

Chris: I want to repeat that, cause it’s so important. There’s this kind of view that “oh, anything over five minutes…” Nothing could be further from the truth. If you have something that’s of interest to your prospects or your clients and you can do it in a way that’s engaging. 30 minutes is no big deal. And then the other thing, just as a side note, is on all of these taking and getting video or audio transcribed, I did a 45 minute piece last week, 8,000 words. Oh my gosh. The things that I can do with 8,000 words of content. There’s just such a great amount of things that we can do with audio and video as a starting point. So yes, yes and yes.

David: Yeah, great point. Because when you do something like that, you get the transcript. I use a service called temi.com, temi.com they do automated transcriptions. They’re not perfect, but they’re good and they’re fast and they’re relatively affordable. You’re still going to want to have someone go through and check it to make sure that it said roughly what it was that you thought it said.

Chris: Right.

David: But it’s a great resource, because then you can find the nuggets in the things that you’ve said, and you can repurpose it as a shorter video or as an email or as a text or as part of the sales presentation. It allows you to express yourself, and capture it and then repurpose it for lots of different uses. Okay. Well we’ve covered once again, a lot, so I suppose at this point we should probably wrap things up for today and pick up in our next podcast.

Chris: Perfect. And I think we can wrap up by saying LinkedIn, Facebook, whatever it is, video and audio are great, great things to bring to your prospects and clients. And if you need help minimizing the short term damage to your business and positioning yourself as the go-to person for the recovery, go to topsecrets.com/call, schedule a strategy session to find out if David and his team can help you. That’s topsecrets.com/call. Thank you David. This is really important, what we’re doing. I really think it has value and I think you’ll see lots of people coming to you and saying thank you.

David: Good. Well I hope they all find it valuable. I think it’s great to have the conversation and I look forward to the next one. Thanks Chris.

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