LinkedIn is the new cold call. Perhaps this sounds familiar to you...
As a marketing speaker and marketing coach, I continually study the field, read a ton of books, and attend seminars and workshops from my fellow marketing enthusiasts.
And I'd like to respectfully disagree with that analogy.
LinkedIn is way better, smarter, faster, and more effective than a cold call. In fact, I'd slant the analogy a different way altogether:
LinkedIn is the new email with a red velvet rope around it, a priority seal, and a much more attractive return address envelope!
First let's explore those three points and then you'll see an example of LinkedIn in action PLUS here are some sample social media scripts you can use that have gotten awesome results for our clients in our marketing mastermind and private mentoring programs.
3 Reasons LinkedIn Beats Email
1. Red Velvet Rope - This is a term popularized in the marketing arena by Michael Port. It means there's an exclusive, members-only feel to your marketing. It's not for everyone - and not everyone qualifies. You need to be "in the club." When you reach out to a fellow Group member on LinkedIn, you both are in the club and there's a strong element of peer-to-peer belonging that encourages community, communication, and responsiveness. Can't say that about a cold call or a plain old email!
2. Priority Seal - Most executives and business owners feel overwhelmed by email. When they're not tackling the email monster (click here if you'd like to master your email!), they are wall-to-wall with meetings, phone calls, and their daily dose of dealing with crises. LinkedIn messages DO trigger an email notification but you have the choice of responding via email or via LinkedIn -- and LinkedIn messages (for most of us) are few and far between so they give the impression of being more important, more filtered, and more personally relevant. Think of it as a FedEx envelope arriving in your daily mail. Sure, you can ignore it - you can toss it - you might not get to it for a few days. But chances are greater that you will because of curiosity - a basic trait of human nature.
3. More Attractive Return Address Envelope - LinkedIn messages tend to be shorter than emails - and a shorter note merits a shorter response. You've just given your prospects, clients, and connections a huge "out" because they do NOT need - and probably would not even consider - sending you a long, involved response. If you send a short, succinct note to reconnect with a past client - they'll respond with a short, succinct note and you'll probably use LinkedIn to make plans to connect in a longer format offline (phone call, lunch, coffee, in-person meeting). Yours will be a fast, easy and appealing note to respond to - so your chances of getting a prompt response just went up considerably!
LinkedIn in Action and Results
This story was submitted by my motivational speaker colleague Jim Clemmer to the excellent SpeakerNetNews:
Using LinkedIn to (Re)Connect and Build Business — Jim Clemmer
I have been using LinkedIn to reconnect with old contacts and to connect with anyone signing up for my newsletter. I do this with the LinkedIn for Outlook utility showing if anyone sending me an email (or completing any website form that is emailed to me) has a LinkedIn account. As my connection numbers build, more website visitors, book readers, and subscribers are now asking to connect with me. We’ve also done a few email blasts to our database asking for connections to those who have LinkedIn accounts. Over the last two years we can directly trace a few hundred thousand dollars in speaking/workshop or long term/ongoing consulting fees that started with these (re)connections.
3 LinkedIn Secrets from Jim's Success:
1. As my friend and Speaker Hall of Fame member Dr. Alan Zimmerman likes to say, "your business comes from your business." (He's a guy who enjoys a 92% repeat and referral rate from his client base so he's walking that talk.) Note that Jim Clemmer is also generating his success not ONLY from new connections - but from RE-connections. Try it for yourself and see what conversations you can generate with the folks who already know you, love you, and have given you money in the past.
2. You gotta ask for the connection. Note that Jim's strategy also involved email blasts to his list proactively asking them to connect on LinkedIn. And not just once - but several times over the past 2 years. Remember to make your social media scripts appealing, relevant, and NOT focused on you - but focused on the value you'd like to deliver to your connections.
3. It takes time and there are both direct and indirect benefits. Notice that Jim said, "over the last two years" - not the last 2 weeks or 2 months. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Notice also that he said he could DIRECTLY trace several hundred thousand dollars of new business. That's great - and in addition, Jim has likely generated that much money or more INDIRECTLY, meaning that people didn't hire him FROM LinkedIn but BECAUSE they saw something he contributed, received a connection update, or otherwise "bumped into" Jim's name, content, ideas, website, blog or network - and were prompted to engage with him.
Your LinkedIn Success Story?
Please use the comments area below to share YOUR best LinkedIn tip or success story.
Had a terrific marketing mentor call with a new client who has made MILES of progress in the short time since we started working together.
During our last conversation, I praised his action-orientation, and the great progress he’s made in recent weeks. He acknowledged how much better he felt about his marketing, positioning, and programs.
But then he asked me a powerful question - “David, if I’ve made this much progress, why am I not making more money?”
I gave him my initial responses (it's still early in the game, not enough prospecting activity, no consistent sales process) but since then I’ve developed many more reasons that speakers, authors, coaches, and consultants aren’t making the money that they know they could and SHOULD be making.
Here are the top 17 reasons YOU might not be making the money you want and deserve. Do a quick self-check and then leave a COMMENT below with the ones that resonate the most with YOU:
- You’re great at delivering your product or service but you’re terrible at marketing and sales
- You’re not getting the right kind of marketing or sales help in time – or at all!
- You’re not delegating or hiring part-time help to take care of the “intelligent gruntwork.”
- You don’t have a business plan/goal/vision/destination in mind, including failure to plan for failure!
- You have no differentiation – you’re trying to market me too, “Same-o Lame-o” boring stuff
- You don’t take yourself seriously (indicated by homemade business cards, freebie website, trying to cut every corner, etc.)
- You over-invest in these same things – fancy business cards, $25,000 website, overly expensive and overly broad advertising, and you think that’s enough
- You lack obvious expertise and you ignore thought leadership in your marketing mix
- You’re a mass generalist not an expert specialist – you try to be all things to all people
- You don’t develop alliances – Stop trying to succeed alone. Joint venture, build alliances, or use strategic partners
- You’re not connecting with prospects on their most relevant, urgent, and expensive issues
- You don’t have a defined sales process and find yourself winging it almost every time
- Your proactive outbound prospecting plan consists of sitting by the phone waiting for it to ring. (Not good!)
- You’re forgetting that we live in the Attention Economy - first you must earn your prospects’ attention and only THEN will you have a chance to earn their money
- You’re relying too much on one marketing channel (email, social media, direct mail, networking) and your prospects are starting to see you as an annoying pest, not a welcome guest
- You’re not adding enough tangible sources of excellence to your marketing mix - in other words, you’re failing to create marketing materials that are too good to throw away!
- You underestimate the amount of time and/or money it will take to grow your business successfully. Remember, not all things are going to work the first time. Or the tenth. Plan for experimentation, testing, and thousands of small adjustments along the way
p.s. Want to make sure your business is focused on what matters most to maximize your influence AND income?
Download your copy of the Do It! Marketing Manifesto for free right here.
As a speaker, consultant, thought-leading executive or entrepreneur, you may have heard about the importance of building an audience for your work... Sounds great.
But pleasing a nice audience is nowhere as important as developing a market of true buyers for your expertise.
Here are 17 vital differences between a market and an audience.
You can spend YEARS attracting and serving an audience that is NOT your market. And that's just sad, painful, and frustrating.
These are as pernicious as they are deceptive.
WHICH of these has been holding you back - confusing you - or set you to wondering how come you're not making more money as a speaker, consultant, or solo professional?
Let's go down the list...
- An audience listens - A market pays attention
- An audience wants entertainment - A market wants to solve problems
- An audience values an experience - A market values expertise
- An audience wants to watch - A market wants to act
- An audience wants information - A market wants implementation
- An audience reacts - A market responds
- An audience wants their questions answered - A market wants their answers questioned
- An audience wants you to be popular - A market wants you to be right
- An audience asks “What can you do?” - A market asks “What’s next?” and “What else?”
- An audience says, “Great show!” - A market says, “Great job!”
- An audience tells their friends - A market tells their boss
- An audience buys your book - A market reads your book
- An audience likes your ideas - A market implements your ideas
- An audience wants your autograph - A market wants to give you their signature (on checks!)
- An audience applauds - A market refers
- An audience says, “Thank you” - A market says, “Thank goodness!”
and finally - most important of all - read this next one as often as you need to...
17. An audience will HEAR you - A market will PAY you (well, often, and gladly)
Highly successful professional speakers, consultants, and experts not only build an audience - they develop a hungry market of true buyers who are ready, willing, and eager to invest in their value, ideas, products, services, and programs.
What do YOU think about building your audience vs. finding your market? Use the comments below and join the conversation...
- Imagine you're focused
- Imagine it's working
- Imagine you've mastered marketing
- Imagine you truly enjoy selling
- Imagine clients must qualify for you
- Imagine you're worth premium fees
- Imagine you have unlimited prospects
- Imagine money flowing easily to you
- Imagine punching people in the face with value
- Imagine your money worries fading away
- Imagine a clear game plan that you execute on daily
- Imagine your business doubling, then tripling
- Imagine working only when you want
- Imagine doing only work you want to do and delegating or outsourcing everything else
- Imagine you are #1
- Imagine you're a rock star in your industry
- Imagine you're booked solid
- Imagine you have your pick of high-profit projects
- Imagine moving from five figures to six figures - or from six figures to multiple six figures on your way to seven!
- Imagine speaking to hundreds of people regularly
- Imagine partnering with other experts whom you look up to as role models and now are lucky enough to call friends
- Imagine generating thousands of web visitors
- Imagine building a huge tribe of loyal followers, fans, and subscribers
- Imagine doing this all in 13 days, 13 weeks, 13 months, or if you're really slow and silly (like me) 13 years
- You can do it
p.s. I know you can
Because I did
Starting 13 years ago today
Knowing what I know now, I'm confident YOU can do much (or all) of this in the next 13 months
Do your future self a favor:
Make 2015 the year you develop a relentless focus...
A relentless focus on what matters most.
Every single day.
Focus on it.
Refocus on it.
Repeat it. Reinforce it. Review it.
Think, strategize, and DO accordingly.
Here's to an amazing, prosperous, and successful year ahead for you, your family, your business and your bank account!
p.s. Want to make sure your 2015 is focused on what matters most?
Download your copy of the Do It! Marketing Manifesto for free right here.
If you want to make the next 12 months more successful, more profitable, and more productive than the last 12 months, these ten strategies are for you.
By the way, this list isn’t just for a new calendar year – you can revisit this list at any time and create a real turning point in your business if you’re willing to reboot, reinvigorate, and reimagine your business success.
- List the three most important objectives for your business over the next year. These should be critical “big picture” accomplishments that will lead to profits and future achievement.
- For each objective listed above, identify your responsibility in achieving the objective. WHAT will you do? HOW will you do it? WHEN will you do it?
- Be crystal clear in separating strategies (how and why items) from tactics (what and when items) and use “Verb-noun-date” format to create specific action steps and put them on your calendar.
- Don’t think of the year as a whole. Break it down to monthly metrics and put quarterly goal-planning reviews on your calendar so you can adjust the dials on your plan, measure results, and take a strategic look at your marketing, sales, and business development activities every 90 days while keeping a close eye on results (profits, clients, projects, revenue) every 30 days.
- Don’t go it alone. Remember, lone wolves starve to death. Think of partners, allies, referral sources, influencers and joint venture partners who can help you leapfrog over obstacles and who are a great supplement and complement to your own products and services. Contact them and build (or grow) your relationship with them so you can collaborate more closely – starting right now.
- Write down a list of professional development goals for the next 12 months. What do you want to learn, do, or become as a business owner? Go to conferences? Gain additional certifications or professional designations? Speak more? Get more articles published? Be specific and put these activities on your calendar so you make sure they happen.
- Write down a list of personal goals for the next 12 months. What do you want to accomplish for yourself and how would you like to grow personally? Spend more time with your partner? Stay connected with your kids as they grow up and/or pursue their college or post-college adventures? Dig deeper into a special hobby or sport? Drop 10 pounds? Run a 5K? More golf? More vacation time? Where? When? With whom? Map it out to make it happen!
- Don’t get distracted. Shiny object syndrome has a powerful pull on most entrepreneurs and business owners. Stay focused on the big picture goals you set in Step 1 above – and then relentlessly ask yourself for every new idea, initiative or project, “Does this support one of my three goals? If so, how?” And don’t let yourself off the hook as easily as you might have done in the past. If it’s a no, it’s a no. Metaphorically speaking, stop opening up hot dog stands in the parking lot and redouble your efforts to make your gourmet restaurant thrive!
- Live out of your calendar, not your inbox. Plan your day – what MUST get done and WHEN? Chunk your day down into blocks and assign specific tasks to those blocks – Phone calls, emails, client tasks, whatever it is YOU want to do that will move you closer to your GOALS. Keep that calendar under your nose. All day. Make it your default screen. Hide, minimize or (gasp) close your email until “check email” pops up on your calendar.
- Breathe. Relax. You got this. Any time you’re creating an inflection point in your business, it can be scary. You’re letting go of the old – letting go of what no longer works or what no longer serves you well. And you’re embracing the new – the untried, the uncomfortable, perhaps even what seems risky. But the biggest risks of all are stagnation, arrogance, or complacency. Remember: a bend in the road is never a dead end… unless you fail to turn.
Ready to rock your 2015?
Grab your free copy of the Do It! Marketing Manifesto and get ready to go, go, GO!!!
Smart marketing is all about helping you generate MORE leads, BETTER prospects, and BIGGER sales. That also happens to be the purpose of this cheeky, powerful little manifesto. Grab yours here.
Guest post by Ivan Serrano
Focus on relationships first
Solo professionals are almost always providers of some kind of service. Whether you are freelancing, consulting or coaching, almost every gig is based on a relationship. Each of these relationships is characterized by a certain level of trust, and in every case, you must prove your credibility and establish some level of rapport before a new client will hire you to do whatever it is you do.
But, you must be findable
In many ways, an online presence is just like a business on Main Street in any town. Just like any brick-and-mortar business, solo practitioners who do all their marketing online, must know what they are selling, and they must know what their customers are buying. Of the two, understanding what your customers are buying is more important.
However, there are some new dimensions to an online business presence that are new–call them the digital dimensions.
Your digital address is not as easy to locate as an address on Main Street. The map of the internet hasn’t been published yet, alphabetical listings don’t work that well when there are zillions of businesses all competing for your attention. How do you get found? Another way of asking the same question is, “What can you do to stand out and rise to the top of the search listings?”
Marketing is the answer.
First, let’s agree on a simple definition of marketing. For the solo practitioner, the definition of marketing is deceptively simple; marketing is communicating your value proposition to people who either don’t know about you or who need to be reminded of the unique value you can provide. That’s it. Boiled down to its essence, marketing is simply communicating value.
The simpler your message, the better. Marketing is about repeating your simple message over and over, but finding new ways to communicate your value so you don’t sound like a broken record.
The better you are at marketing, the less you have to worry about sales.
What is digital marketing
Now, for the digital aspect of marketing. Digital marketing is all about how, where, and to whom you communicate your value in the online world. This means your web presence, you social media accounts, your blog, your email newsletter–anything where you click a button to publish something.
Every time you click to publish any kind of content, it should be communicating value. However, it doesn’t make much sense to be communicating your value to people who don’t care. Ideally, the people you want to be communicating with about your value are not suspect, not prospects, not leads, although these words get tossed around a lot. The people you want to be communicating with are probable purchasers–the people who are most likely buy what you are selling.
Answer these questions next
In order for your marketing to be effective, and actually reach probable purchasers you have to know a lot about who they are, what they are looking for, and more importantly where to find them online.
These three factors, more than anything else, should guide your marketing efforts, digital or otherwise.
Who are your customers? Ultimately, your customers are the ones who own the budget and write the check for whatever you are selling. The goal of your marketing efforts is to communicate your value to these people. Communicating with anyone else is wasting your time unless they can put you in front of these people either through referrals or introductions.
What are they looking for? Of course, everyone with money to spend isn’t a probable purchaser. You really only want to be spending your marketing efforts on people who are looking for what you are offering. Put yourself in their shoes and figure out what they want. They may want someone to handle something that is a headache for them. They may want a great website design because their competitor just got a wonderful new website design.
The point is, you’ve got to communicate your value in terms they can relate to. If you are solving a problem, it must be a problem your probable purchasers instantly recognize.
Where are they? This is oftentimes the hardest question to answer, and will probably require some online detective work. But once you do, it can be liberating. If you find out your customers and probable purchasers are not online, don’t do a lot of needless digital marketing. You probably don’t need social media engagement. Instead, go where you know your customers are and get your message in front of the buyers.
The truth is, though, that quite a few of your probable purchasers are online, and more of them will be in the future, so it makes sense to figure out online marketing for your particular niche.
Answering these three questions is a requirement for developing a digital marketing strategy.
A word of caution
Social networks are not broadcast networks. Radio is a broadcast medium. TV is a broadcast medium. There’s a transmitter that transmits and receivers that receive whenever they are powered up. Social networks are always on, but the people you are looking for may not be tuned in. They may not even be on the platform you are broadcasting on.
But here’s the real kicker. People on social networks expect some interaction, some back-and-forth action. They aren’t interested in you just broadcasting your message to them. This means you must spend time online interacting.
Just like aimless surfing of the internet can eat up massive amounts of time, so can social media. Your time is not scalable, and it is not recoverable. Solo professionals, more than anything else, must be great stewards of their time. There are plenty of automation tools for email campaigns and social media posting, and they can save a lot of time.
Again, this is why it is so important to know who your customers are, what they are looking for, and where to find them. You can spend a ton of time having wonderful interactions with terrific people who will never buy anything from you.
You can’t do it all
Online marketing can seem complex, and can eat up a lot of your time. This is why it is so important to know who your customers are, what they are really looking for, and where to find them online. Spend your time where your customers are, online and offline. Focus on communicating with the people most likely to buy what you are selling.
More than anything else, you need to develop a deep understanding of your customers. The time and effort you invest in understanding your customers will return value to your over and over. This is the place to start to unlock your digital marketing success – and finally stop spinning your digital wheels.
Guest author: Ivan Serrano. You can follow him on Google+
Too many small and solo business owners get bent out of shape about referrals - they don’t get enough, or they give too many that go unappreciated, or they expect payment without ever asking for payment or making their expectations clear.
It’s just a mess.
So to help YOU avoid disappointment on both sides of the equation, here’s a template you can borrow - adapt - steal - whenever someone GIVES YOU a referral:
Thank you so much for the referral to Paul - I appreciate you.
Will keep you posted as to what develops.
Thinking optimistically - assuming Paul signs on as a client - how do you like to handle referrals financially speaking?
I'm happy to give some referral partners a 10% thank-you gift (for working with folks like Paul, the typical fee is XXXX so 10% is YYY) - some other folks just prefer a nice dinner out via a gift card - and some folks who refer business to me insist on nothing more than good karma and reciprocation when appropriate.
Just let me know and then we can bust the doors down for Paul!!
On the other hand, when GIVING a referral, and if that referral shows up at your referral partner’s door, this version of the same note might help you STOP feeling like a martyr and set clear expectations from the get-go that you DO like to be compensated while asking your referral partner what arrangement would make them comfortable:
I’m so glad Paul ended up connecting with you and that you two discussed the possibility of working together. Please do keep me posted as to what develops.
Thinking optimistically - assuming Paul signs on as a client - how do you like to handle referrals financially speaking?
Some of my referral partners share a 10% cash referral fee - some other folks underwrite a nice dinner out via a gift card - and others show their appreciation in other ways (services, discounts, lavish gift baskets, etc).
Just let me know how you like to operate and that will open the door for even more introductions to great folks like Paul in the future.
I appreciate you.
What do you think? How do you handle referrals? Please leave a comment below and let's discuss...
You did not start your speaking, consulting or professional practice because you woke up one day and said...
"Gee, I'm EXCITED to market and sell all day... Nothing I love more than hunting prospects and facing daily rejection, fear, uncertainty and doubt. Oh boy, I can't wait to start another day of THAT..."
But you probably DID start your speaking, consulting, or professional practice because you are EXCITED about entrepreneurship and running your own show... you are EXCITED about sharing your ideas... you are EXCITED about helping people and making an impact on their work, their lives, and their success.
Well, this EXCITEMENT might be precisely what is killing your business! More on this concept in a moment...
You may have already seen the details of our next FREE teleseminar program and thus my questions for you:
- Did you make a New Year's Resolution LAST year to kick it up a notch (or three) in your speaking, consulting, or professional services practice?
- Are you tired of being the best kept secret in your industry or professional expertise?
- Do you want to raise your personal visibility as an expert in front of your prospects and clients?
EXCITEMENT vs. EXECUTION:
Excitement... is fleeting - and what's worse, it is unfocused. As entrepreneurs, we often get excited about NEW ideas, NEW business models, NEW opportunities - and too often these turn out to be NEW distractions that reduce our level of focus, clarity, and momentum. Excitement is about SPENDING emotional energy.
Yes, it's positive and fun - but it can often lead you to suffer from "shiny object syndrome" where you're excited about your new ideas but end up spinning your wheels in frustration because your new ideas have no traction or framework to be turned into results.
Execution... is permanent - It is about getting into focused daily action and moving things - one at a time - from your "TO DO" list to your "DONE" list! The more you execute, the more you will find yourself having greater levels of focus, clarity and momentum.
Action begets action.
The path emerges where one step leads to the next and pretty soon, you have accomplished more, gotten concrete results, and built a new foundation for doing even better in the future.
Execution is a muscle - When you exercise it, it gets stronger and stronger. And the bonus? When you execute and succeed - you earn the other kind of excitement - the kind that PAYS YOU BACK in emotional energy and gratification.
If you are ready to EXECUTE (and become excited about your progress), please check out the details on this FREE training call: Your 2015 Strategic Marketing Blueprint.
Hope you'll consider adding some EXECUTION to your EXCITEMENT about your coming year of business success!
Here are some thought-provoking questions for creating your best 2015. These are from the Soul Purpose Institute and they struck me as especially relevant for consultants, speakers, authors, coaches and independent professionals.
Not only will these questions help you clarify your goals, focus, and themes for 2015 - they will also help you narrow down your choices, remove some overwhelm, kill some unnecessary "shoulds" in your marketing mix and generally help you focus on what matters most to your business, professional, personal and financial success.
13 Questions for Creating Your Best 2015
- What would you like to be your biggest triumph this year?
- What advice would you like to give yourself?
- What is the major effort you plan to do to improve your financial results?
- What would you be most happy about completing?
- What major indulgence are you willing to experience?
- What would you most like to change about yourself?
- What are you looking forward to learning?
- What do you think your biggest risk will be in 2015?
- What about your work, are you most committed to changing and improving?
- What is one as yet undeveloped talent you are willing to explore?
- What brings you the most joy and how are you going to do or have more of it?
- Who or what, other than yourself, are you most committed to loving and serving?
- What one word would you like to have as your 2015 theme?
Want to kick it up a notch in your business for 2015
and get a grip on your most important marketing, sales and business growth strategies and say goodbye to spinning your wheels, inertia, and overwhelm? GOOD! I thought so... Sign up NOW for "Your 2015 Strategic Marketing Blueprint" FREE teleseminar on 11/20/14