Article by Tamara Trentain
Mitara Empresa Pty Ltd
VISABILITY & CREDIBILITY To attract B2B customers in the masses you need to build an online personal brand, develop a useful professional network and proactively engage and nurture your professional community.
Look at your own business life:
• Are you finding that you just don’t have enough time to get things done?
• Are people becoming an interruption?
• Are too many people wanting too much of your resources?
• Are there just too many emails and voice mails needing attention?
• Are you spending more time fighting the alligators than draining the swamp?
If so, you’re not alone, your prospects feel the same. Compounding the situation, from your salespeople’s perspective, is that they are no longer needed as the primary source of information like they were in the past.
To a great extent, the Internet has replaced the salesperson as a source of technical and sales data. Salespeople can no longer be the exclusive providers of information. They have to find other ways to add value to the relationship.
Basically, we all have become so busy that we no longer have the time to deal with unsolicited personal visits, emails, or voice mails. Our prospects are shouting at the top of their lungs, “Don’t call me; I’ll call you!”
In other words, in today’s new sales world, you have to be findable when the prospect needs to find you. In addition to being findable, you need to be top of mind when the prospect goes looking. Hence, reverse prospecting.
There are two key elements of reverse prospecting:
1. Be findable
2. Be top of mind
Being findable means ensuring that your Internet presence is as good as it can be. You need to rank high in organic searches for the keywords that your prospects will use when they go looking for what you offer.
More and more companies are availing themselves of the social media platforms such as blogs, LinkedIn, Twitter, FaceBook, etc. Salespeople can assist in your company’s findability by being proactive in Social Media, as well as be instrumental in creating top-of-mind awareness.
Be Top of Mind
It’s important for your salespeople to maintain a presence with your prospects. When a busy prospect comes up for air and is looking for what you offer, you want him to remember you. Reverse prospecting at work.
The key to creating top-of-mind awareness is touch points, more specifically, value-added touch points (VATP).
Value-Added Touch Points
A touch point is any time you come in contact with the prospect, or any time the prospect comes in contact with you. It doesn’t matter who initiated the touch. It only matters that the touch occurred.
A value-added touch point is a bit different. This is where the prospect walks away from the experience with something that she considers of value. It might be something like an article in a magazine, product sample, book or a catalogue. Or it could be something intangible such as an e- newsletter, product video or LinkedIn message – something of interest to her and/or something that they feel they can use.
Each sales person requires on average 5 – 7 touchpoints to achieve a conversion of a new contact (non referred). In the old days this would have meant meetings, followup phone calls, another meeting to close the deal etc. This takes a lot of time and $$$. In today’s business environment more touch points are required for a conversion. By having a LinkedIn strategy, in combination with your existing marketing activity, will assist you in achieving these 7 touch points with some initial effort upfront (15 minutes) and very little maintenance thereafter.
The Bottom Line
If you want more prospects, move from cold calling to reverse prospecting. Being findable and getting people to remember to find you — reverse prospecting — is the way to go in today’s busy business world.
Your LinkedIn profile
• Your LinkedIn apps including videos, presentations, blogs and event calendar will be updated for you on a quarterly basis.
• Updates on LinkedIn tips and additionals will be provided.
• LinkedIn helps you build and maintain your network of professional relationships.
• You will get out of LinkedIn what you put into it, therefore you need to assign time to it each week
• Use the Outlook Toolbar to Link In your existing contacts to grow your network.
• ALWAYS personalize an invitation to reflect where/when/how you met or the common ground or reason you wish to connect. Make it easy for the person to remember you and accept your invitation.
• Join relevant groups and get involved with people that you can connect with and get to know
• Report back to HO on your LinkedIn KPIs monthly • Keep your network to work contacts and non-suppliers.
• Include personal, non-work related content. No suppliers, no friends/family, no competitors. If you choose to use LinkedIn for personal use, than we ask you not use LinkedIn as a work/sales tool and only make reference to the company in your current job title.
• Don’t post any content without pre-approval by HO beforehand
The following LinkedIn strategy can easily be integrated into your existing sales process:
REFERRED OR NEW CONTACTS For new contacts that you have already made contact with via phone, apply the following strategy:
1. Confirm meeting time via email with a copy of your latest enewsletter or e-brochure.
Scripting: In preparation for our meeting, below is our latest company news. I invite you to view our short company overview video (link)
2. Meeting in person (Skype if not local to establish a TRUE connection. Phone call as last resort).
Note: Mention during the meeting that you welcome them to contact ANY of your clients as testament to your services. Inform them you will send them a LinkedIn invitation so you can view references and gain access to clients, which they can contact. This shows confidence in your ability and reputation and most importantly, provides them with the ongoing VATP – vital to your business networking and growth.
3. Invitation to LinkedIn sent immediately after LinkedIn via your phone reiterating your invitation to peruse your references and your clients/network for a referral
4. Email (Campaign Monitor mining enewsletter feature that’s relevant to their industry/sector) sent within 24 hours
5. Added to mailing list/database to receive future electronic correspondence
6. Set a calendar reminder for a followup 1 month after contact (if no order response is received) and add the new contacts details into the company database
NEW LEADS / NON-EXISTING CONTACTS
For new leads (generated through a linkedIn contact, conference, networking event or group), apply the following strategy:
Send them personalized messages. The best way to drop any walls—and give you the best chance of making a sale—is to connect with someone on as many personal levels as possible. Look at their profile, find out which companies they’ve worked for in the past, what similar events they have attended, what groups they’re in, and who your mutual connections are. Then, write a personal message like this one:
In addition to this, now that they are part of your network, they will receive regular LinkedIn posts, enewsletters and important notices. They will be able to view your company videos, case studies and references. This does not require your involvement, leaving you time to focus on further networking and sales.
I noticed that we’re both connected to Mary. Mary is valued client and friend who we have provided [products/training].
I would love to connect with you to learn more about your experiences at Xyz Company. I believe there are a number of ways we could help one another. Would you be free for a brief chat in the near future?
Looking forward to connecting soon and I’ll be sure to tell Mary I contacted you. I’m sure she would love to know I reached out to say ‘hi.’
Great to meet you at the Xyz conference today. I look forward to learning more about your company and touching base with you in-person in the near future.
Other powerful LinkedIn activities
Start inviting relevant people to your events.
LinkedIn has an events platform that allows you to target thousands of professionals for free.
Due to the viral nature of LinkedIn, once someone RSVPs to your event, it shows up on the home profile of everyone that person is connected to, spreading the message for you.
Start promoting your event. Send an invitation to the people who would be interested in the event based on region or niche.
RUN AN ADVANCED SEARCH IN YOUR TARGET MARKET
It’s so easy to generate leads from LinkedIn. The advanced search function helps you get in touch with the exact people you’re going after.
Simply click on “advanced” on the top right side of your home page next to the search box. This will take you to a clean page where you can input anything you need to find the exact lead you are seeking. You can search by industry, keywords, company and title, to mention a few.
Here’s how to maximize your LinkedIn group:
1. Add keywords in the description of your group to increase your search rankings on LinkedIn’s search section.
2. Add keywords in the title of the group to be found on Google.
3. Add your company website or blog to the group to drive traffic to your site.
4. Add your blog RSS feed to the group so every new article is automatically posted to the home page of every group member.
5. Send a weekly message that adds value for group members and drives traffic back to your site.
6. Connect people in the group by making introductions to those who could potentially do business with one another.
Stage 1 (once off):
• Setup existing profile on LinkedIn including Apps
• Invite your current contacts to LinkedIn Script required
Step 2 (ongoing): Aim: Generate leads amongst target market for top of funnel item WEEKLY Invite all new contacts to LinkedIn following the REFERRED / NEW CONTACTS strategy (approx 15 minutes total work per contact) Generate a minimum of 5 leads per week from existing networks following the NEW LEADS / NON-EXISTING CONTACTS (approx 5 minutes work per contact = 1 hour per week)
MONTHLY (aprox 15 minutes) Training only
Invite relevant existing LinkedIn contacts to training events, as well as from your LinkedIn calendar
Provide a report of LinkedIn KPIs to coordinator at end of each month
- - - -
number of new contacts added email addresses of new contacts to add to company database number of events booked through LinkedIn
MARKETING Invite at least one quality client for a reference per month (these can be accepted or not depending on how they respond)
Creating variety in your presentation is a key facet of keeping your audience engaged. When presentation a 45 minute presentation, you are usually delivering 9 x 5 minute pieces of content. There is a general flow to this structure that enable the speaker to keep track of the presentation and allow for changes in style, mode and tempo
Using the IEAS technique as follows:
Image - Show an Image on PowerPoint, Create a Visual Image via a Story, Draw an Image on Flipchart or Whiteboard.
Explanation - Give the audience the key point and supporting information.
Activity - Mix this part up - Discussion, Story, Quiz, Poll, Debate, Lecture, Watch Video
Summary - Reinforce the key part of the information.
In addition to this method, you can use the flip chart, white board and PowerPoint differently so that the presentation moves between these three modes of communication.
Marketing yourself as a professional speaker is like promoting and selling any other business service or product. You need to develop a marketing plan that clearly identifies your customer and their buying motives. In another way, think about your answer to this question: What problem do you solve for your customer? Once this is understood you can then start to position yourself as a person who can help others overcome a specific problem or challenge.
Then it is a matter of choosing your marketing channels in order to generate a sufficient number of leads and having a system in place to convert these leads into sales.
The 12 Steps to Marketing Yourself as a Professional Speaker:
1. Create Your Brand
2. Create Your Keynote Presentation
3. Create Your Speaker's Kit
4. Create your Website
5. Get Calling
6. Get Networking
7. Get Online
8. Get Referrals
9. Publish a Blog
10. Publish Articles
11. Publish a Book
11. Publish a Course
The key thing is not to wait for someone to promote you, promoting yourself is an ongoing task and takes time. Remember that most event organisers have their speakers confirmed for months in advance so you need to put a lot of work in for at least 3 months and then continue this effort over time to keep yourself busy.
As human beings, we have many facets to our personalities. I went to a Michael Rowlands seminar many years ago and learnt about the concept of "Multiple Sub Personalities" and can see this at play in myself and people around me. In another way, I used to notice that would be a different person depending on what I deemed appropriate in different situations. For example, I would behave differently at the football, having dinner with my parents and at work. The source of this different behaviour is that as human beings, we want to be accepted, respected and ultimately loved. We often select they behaviour that we think will help us be successful in different situations. As I have embraced a life of leadership over the years, I have found that I am generally the same Paul in each of these different scenarios. That means that my parents get to have conversations with me about entrepreneurship and my friends tend to be also committed to making a difference, living the dream and generally making the most out of life. So as a presenter, I bring myself to the platform and engage in a conversation with my audience. I generally don't pump myself up before a presentation unless I have been burning the candle at both ends or have not been taking care of my own levels of enthusiasm (for life). I have been told that I am intense and this is something that I embrace both on and off the speaking platform. My presentation always includes conversations with my attendees before the seminar and after the seminar and this ensures that I don't fall into the "performance" trap on stage. It is important to be the same person on and off the stage and you will show your audience the parts of your personality that surface when you are sharing something that you are passionate about. If you are sharing passionately, you are probably going to be engaging, funny, inspiring and generous. Oh, and sometimes I get upset, frustrated, demanding and pushing (both on and off the presenting platform!).
To remain enthusiastic for presenting regularly can sometimes be a real challenge. It is true that if you do what you love for a living, then this makes things much easier. There is a lot more to presenting than simply presenting, like logistics, travel, being away from home, being organised and following up attendee questions! I strongly believe that successful people need to be able to speak professionally, and this is what drives me to keep sharing my knowledge and passion for this topic. I have read that everyone has a book in them, and I believe that everyone has an inspiring key note presentation in them. After all, this is an opportunity for a person to share their own life experience - successes and failures for the benefit of other people. I will share with you three ways to remain enthusiastic about presenting regularly.
1. Take Care of Yourself - To be enthusiastic in life, you have to enjoy your life. This means doing thing that you enjoy on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Be very deliberate about setting up your foundation for performance. Get plenty of sleep, exercise and have fun and be fun.
2. Keep the Focus on the Audience - As a professional speaker, you are a leader and as a leader you need to keep your focus on the difference that you are making to your audiences. This is your higher purpose. It is something that you believe in and want to see happen in the world, and you said that you were committed to doing something about this.
This reminds me of the boy in bed complaining about going to school to his mother:
Mother: "son, get out of bed or you will be late for school"
Son "I don't feel like going to school! Why can't I just have the day off watching television and relaxing at home?"
Mother "because your are the School Principal!"
3. Surround Yourself with Inspiration - It is easy to get stale and bored with the same topic. After all, if you are simply using the same old material, jokes and presentations you are missing a big opportunity. Take time to meet and talk with other inspiring people, read the books, watch the videos and listen to the audio recordings. Look for humour, record new stories anecdotes and ideas so that you can keep your presentations current and exciting.
I generally don't rely on websites for inspiration, other than our good friend google.com! I am a big user user of LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube and love checking out other speakers and entrepreneurs that I have heard of or met during my life. I attend a range of business and self improvement seminars, networking functions and listen to a lot of audio CDs. I am also an avid reader of auto biographies, biographies, self improvement books, books on famous quotes and (at the moment) baby name books. I can recommend the following websites for inspiration and assistance to any aspiring speaker: www.ted.com, businessentourage.com.au and paultimms.com (of course!)
Keep it simple and ask directed questions of the audience. If your intention is to make a difference, inspire and teach, then your focus is on finding out what they "got" from the presentation rather than if they liked you, the seating or the catering. Leave the feedback on the venue to the organiser and make sure that you ask questions to measure the effectiveness of your presentation. In addition to this, have a more detailed presentation review tool to give to a mentor, presentation buddy or room captain during the presentation. Use this form in your presentation debrief.
Years ago I used to get upset with people who arrived late because I assumed that they could not be bothered being on time. I am slightly embarassed to admit that I would ignore the late person, sometime even glaring at them or completely ignoring them. I found it even more annoying that they would distract everyone else in the room by wanting to provide a detailed excuse for being late. Generally, this would erode my ability to connect with the audience and be a source of distraction in my presentations. Interestingly, since I have had kids I understand that things come up that can be beyond the control of the attendee (and it is not always about me!). I now realise that when people are late, it may be that they really wanted to be there on time and feel awful for interrupting and perhaps disappointed that they might have missed some of the important information in the presentation. Now I always acknowledge people who arrive late, and take time to reassure them that it is fine with me and they can settle in and enjoy themselves. I might take the opportunity to recap a couple of the main points covered so far for the benefit of the other attendees or set up a paired discussion and take some time to go and speak to the person who has arrived late to settle them in. I remind myself that the person arriving late may be dashing from their leadership role because they would rather squeeze my presentation than miss out on the incredible wisdom and insightful pearls of wisdom that I am so generously dispensing! (ahem).
Often a presenter may feel that they are presenting a "boring" topic and are looking for ways to liven things up a little. Before we get started, make sure that you honestly ask yourself.. do I have knowledge, first hand experience and passion for my topic? If so, then the solution comes down to using the presentation design template and following the rules for using powerpoint in designing your presentation. The good news is that just need to make sure that your delivery is engaging. Even if the content is not engaging and you have no props or powerpoint multimedia, you can still be an engaging presenter.
It was great to speak with 30 inspiring managers at the Australian Institute of Management (AIMQ) in Townsville today. I am grateful to Event Coordinator and MC Mike Mitchell in addition to our switched on attendees. It was a great opportunity to share my personal experience and passion for Presenting Powerfully to Groups with such an enthusiastic group.
The renovated Jupiters Casino is superb and room was perfectly set up for the presentation and networking before and after the event. I provided an opportunity for people who attended the presentation to write any questions down on my "Hand Back" as opposed to a "Hand Out". I had a lot a great questions that I will answer in the coming articles and blog posts:
What are the top three websites that inspire you and you can rely upon. What is the best way to gather feedback of a guest speaker or presenter?
How do you turn content into engaging content?
Do you acknowledge people arriving when you have started the presentation?
How do I sustain the enthusiasm for what you are doing day in day out?
Do you consider that you are a different person when you are presenting?
What techniques do you use for signposting and transitions in style?
How do I market myself as a speaker?
When was a time that you presented to a group where everything went wrong?
What do you do with people who really don't want to be at your presentation?
What are the top three books that have inspired me?
What is a good resource to use for icebreaker ideas and presentation methods?
How do I make a topic like compliance be engaging?
What is the ideal presentation length to ensure that people remain "engaged"?
Paul Timms is a Professional Speaker and the Managing Director of Business Entourage, an organisation that helps entrepreneurs start, grow and sell their business.