linkedin-tips

3 Reasons to Use LinkedIn

It’s a LinkedIn sort of week for me.

Tuesday I was at a luncheon that was inspired by one of my LinkedIn connections and Thursday, we are going to be talking in a staff meeting about effective ways to use LinkedIn in the sales world.

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It seems like there is a new wave of interest, so it’s time to share 3 Reasons to Use LinkedIn:

LinkedIn is your online contact manager.  I used to have books filled with business cards from people I knew.  Some of you might have used a Rolodex. Some may have a CRM (Customer Relationship Manager) system that your business uses.  What if I told you there is one way to keep all your contacts current and be notified when those contacts have a change in their details?  LinkedIn does that for you.

Of course the reliability of that information is dependent on each of your contacts keeping their LinkedIn profile current.  So when you have a change or update in your life, be sure to update your profile.

When you create your LinkedIn profile, fill it out completely including an appropriate picture.  Remember this is a professional social media network.

As you go through the steps of creating your profile, you will be invited to connect with people you already know by entering your email address.  Go ahead and do this and you will start the process of creating your own LinkedIn online contact database.

LinkedIn is a way for others to find you and for you to find others.  There are a number of search options.  You can search through the contacts you already have.  You can search for 2nd degree connections to see who you know that knows someone you want to know.  You can also search for contacts in a certain industry or specific company.  Explore the search features and you may find the name of an insider that can help you establish a worthwhile relationship connection.

If you have completed your profile and are keeping it up to date, you may find people will reach out to you, which usually is good.  I have had people reach out to me when they wanted to spend money with me.

LinkedIn is a way to connect with others and stay up to date with things you care about, on a professional level.  You will find 100′s of groups that you can join if you want.   I just checked and I belong to 17 groups.  You can subscribe to daily, weekly, or no email updates with each group.  Mine vary.  Because of my work in social media, several are social media related.  But there are also a couple of local (Fort Wayne, Indiana) groups I belong to, along with a couple groups that are related to with what I do for a living, radio advertising.

Besides getting email updates from groups, I suggest you also subscribe to email updates from your contacts.  This will notify you of changes, work anniversaries, and sometimes birthdays.  These are great reasons to stay in touch with your contacts.  LinkedIn also has its own internal message system.  I use it every week.

One last thought, and this applies to not just LinkedIn but all of the social media networks I am on.   I use my email as a notification alert tool.  When someone contacts me on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter, I also get an email which alerts me.  My email is my communication hub.

I have a smartphone with all of the social media apps, but most of my communication is done on my laptop. Each morning I check my email for updates and alerts via my phone and continue to do so during the day.  However I like the full keyboard that my laptop offers when using the web.

Feel free to add your LinkedIn thoughts in the comments.  And if you want to find me on LinkedIn, here I am.

ScLoHo's Really

Picking One out of 23

3 times I have bought a house and 3 times I have sold a house.

All have been in the past 13 years that I’ve been in Fort Wayne.

Because of my continuously growing collection of connections, I know 20+ real estate agents in town.  When my wife and I bought our first home together and sold her house, we knew 1 agent, her friend and neighbor who lived across the street.

But due to the nature of the work I do, I have met a lot of people over the past several years including somewhere between 23 and 28 Realtor types and a few mortgage people too.

Of the real estate agents that I have worked with, there are two who I’ve had a positive personal experience with when they represented me as a seller. There are others who I respect because I know them personally but haven’t had any direct real estate experience with.  However, place them on my short list of agents I would recommend.

Picking a real estate agent is tricky.  It was actually pretty easy the 2nd time, but was hard again the 3rd time.  Here’s why:

In 2002, when Kathy and I bought our 1st home together, we didn’t have a separate agent representing us.  We used the same agent that listed the home to complete the deal.  We did have a mortgage agent that I picked and she was excellent, but she’s moved on.  When we sold our first home, the friend/agent was not the best and after 6 months we picked a new, hungry agent who sold the house in a few weeks.

4 years later, I selected an agent and mortgage broker that I had known for a few years before we were even in the market again.  I trusted them and they did an excellent job.

So skip ahead 8 years and we are going to move again.  We ask ourselves which agent to use and which mortgage broker should we call.  The mortgage guy from the last time now lives in Texas, so we started fresh again.

However on the real estate agent front, I know too many agents. They range in age from early 20′s to 70′s.  Some I liked more than others and while we strongly considered the last agent we used successfully, we decided on a different strategy.

Buying the new house was contingent on selling our current house.  We decided to list our house with the same agent that we were buying from.  I figured he would be doubly motivated to get our house sold, because he’d also be getting commission on the house we were buying from him.  When our house sells, it would result in 2 sales. Plus, overall, he “got us” with all of our quirks and in the end I believe it was a good choice.  In the final negotiation while selling our home, he was a rock star.

What about those other 20+ real estate agents I know?  Each of them had the opportunity to sell our house too and earn commission if they brought a buyer.  It turns out one of them did.  I posted the listing on Twitter and a week later we had the offer from one of the 23 other agents.

Want to buy or sell a home in the Fort Wayne, Indiana area?  I know a real estate agent or 2 or 23 that I can recommend, just contact me.

STB

How to Determine the Value of a Potential Client

There are two ways I could go with this topic, so I’m going to pick one and later share the other.

In the sales world you and I should always be determining where to spend our time and energy.

Check out this tip from RAB.com:

Interested or Just Polite?

One of the biggest challenges to productively pursuing cold-call prospects is distinguishing between prospects who are interested and people who are merely polite.

Sometimes, prospects will express enthusiasm and willingness to hear your pitch — even if they have no serious intention to buy. They won’t say no to spending time, but they will say no to spending money. The more cold calls you make, the clearer the distinction between truly curious customers and the amiable (but uninterested) ones becomes.

Conversely, some prospects may seem reluctant at the beginning, but will ultimately follow through after considering the opportunity. I’ve had calls I thought were going nowhere fast. Surprisingly, some of those customers ended up asking me leading questions that indicated they could envision the benefits of our services when we met.

The moral of the story: Don’t be too quick to judge; you’ll often be wrong. However, don’t be too slow to judge because you will often waste time.

Source: John McLellan, Chief Revenue Officer of sales and marketing firm EBQuickstart

 

ScLoHo's Fort Wayne Site of the Week

2014 #FortWayne Site of the Week

How do I come up with these Fort Wayne based websites?

Actually sometime it’s pretty random.

Wednesday afternoon I was at a coffee shop and Brandon Smits saw me and we talked about his new business.  I’m not sure how I first met Brandon but I think it was in connection with TEDxFortWayne a few years ago.

Click on the image below to visit his website.

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The Grump

For from the 2008 ScLoHo archives for #ThrowbackThursday:
Take a moment and look at the people in your office or store that you work with. I bet one of them is a bit of a grump. Or maybe there are two of them, since it’s hard to be grumpy all by yourself.

Don’t see any grumps? Maybe it’s you? I hope not.

Attitude is an integral part of your marketing because marketing is about relationships.

Everyone has a bad day every once in awhile, but if there is someone that is having a string of bad days, bad weeks, bad months, Stop.

Stop and find out what’s wrong. Perhaps there is a legitimate complaint that you can help solve. Or perhaps it is something totally unrelated to work. But ignoring the grump is like ignoring a broken leg.

You can pretend it doesn’t exist, but it’s gonna keep you from performing at full speed.

See, marketing is so much more than just advertising…

ScLoHo's Really

A Mid-Week Pause

Imagine what it would be like if you had no access to the internet.

How much simpler your life would be, how quiet it would become.

Same thing with cell phones, even if you don’t have a smart phone, would your life be different if you couldn’t be reached, or reach others with a text or call?

Okay some of you are beginning to hyperventilate just thinking about how unproductive your life would become.

Actually, the opposite is probably true.

Without the ability to text, tweet, check our email, update our Facebook status, and everything else we use the web to do, our daily activities would probably more focused.

And with fewer distractions, we would focus more on the task at hand.

I have to admit right now, that while I was writing this article, I checked Facebook, Tweeted, responded to an email and checked in on Foursquare.  All in the 15 minutes that passed since I started jotting down my thoughts.

It’s probably not practical to be completely “off the grid” for most of us.  We have been in the process of selling our home and every time a Realtor wanted to show our home, I’d get a request through an app.  Fortunately after 7 weeks and 30+ showings we sold our home, and once the closing takes place that app will go bye-bye.

But in my work, email is essential.  Actually there are several tasks that are job related that now use cloud based technology.

When we were waiting for the birth of each of our grandkids, we kept our phones on our nightstands.

But there are times when we can create a pause in our lives.  It could be for 2 hours, an evening, or whatever time frame that works for you.

Tell me, is there a time that you set aside to unplug on a regular basis?

 

 

ScloHobook banner

How Do You Handle Screw-Ups?

Big company or small mom & pop shop, all of us make mistakes.

This is a lesson for all of us to learn from Amazon and the Post Office:

My daughter Tiffany and her husband, 2 kids, a dog and a few cats live out of town.  Her birthday was Saturday and I used Amazon to send her a couple of gifts.  The book I ordered was on her Amazon wish list, and I added a surprise Starbucks gift card to the order.  Everything was supposed to arrive Thursday the 10th, 2 days before her birthday.

Friday night, I’m chatting with her on Facebook asking if her book arrived and it hadn’t.  I checked my Amazon account and the order and noticed something was screwy, but it also said it should be delivered by Saturday.

Wrong.

Tiff and I do some investigative work and we find out the mailman messed up and sent her book back to Amazon.  The post office apologized.  Imagine that. An, “I’m sorry,” from the “government”.  Okay, I know, the U.S.P.S. is a hybrid-government organization and it was really a person who works for them who apologized, but that was good enough for us.

Except, we are still missing a book that I paid to have delivered and I can’t find a way to remedy the situation with Amazon.

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I press the Contact Us button, decide to try the chat option and in 10 easy minutes another order for the book is placed and her book is on its way.  Late, but that wasn’t Amazons fault.

Lessons learned:

  1. Own up to mistakes and apologize.  (Thanks USPS Mail Carrier,)
  2. Even if you had nothing to do with the mistake, do what you can to fix it.  (Thanks Amazon.)

Back to the question, How do you handle screw ups?

STA

Warming Up a Cold Call

I don’t do very many cold calls anymore.

Not in the traditional sense at least.

A traditional cold call is done in person, or over the phone.

The purpose is to score an appointment with the head cheese.

(Please don’t call them the head cheese.)

But last week I did a few in person calls that bordered on being cold.

The difference was I had done some research, even a little bit on nearly every business I spoke with.

That’s one way to warm up a cold call.

Here’s another from my daily email I receive from RAB.com:

Who Gets Past Gatekeepers?

A recent survey asked gatekeepers how they determined who gets through to a decision-maker. The top answer was, “People I like.”

Treating gatekeepers with respect is in the salesperson’s best interest. This person is very close to the decision-maker, and has a lot of valuable information.

So work with him or her to establish a friendly rapport. Use a conversational, yet confident tone of voice. If you were standing in the lobby of his or her office, the gatekeeper would first size you up based on your appearance and the way you sound.

Early in the conversation, ask for the gatekeeper’s name. Use it, put it in your notes and greet the screener by name on your next call. You will seem much less like a stranger on subsequent calls.

Source: Adapted from Get Clients Now, by C.J. Hayden