Category Archives for "Digital Selling"

Mar 30

Selling By Email – 5 Mistakes Most Salespeople Make

By Andy Preston | Digital Selling

In this article, leading Sales Expert Andy Preston explains why most people struggle with ‘selling by email’ – they don’t understand it, they don’t know when to use it (and when not to) and they don’t know how to use it for best results…….……

After reading this article you’ll be able to utilise email to add value to your sales efforts – instead of hampering them – and get your sales figures back where they belong!……..

When I working with sales teams all over the world, Sales Managers and Directors often tell me that they believe all salespeople are inherently lazy. I’m not sure I agree with that hugely sweeping statement, but I do think salespeople often look for the quickest way to do something!

I think this is partly down to the fact that a lot of salespeople only start earning real money when their commission kicks in, so any task that isn’t directly related to bringing in new customers, orders or money, they tend to try and find the quickest way to do! Hence why the managers think they’re lazy.

As salespeople though, this ‘quickest route’ habit can often cause us problems! Particularly as technology has advanced and email is a popular communication method for many. However, this often results in salespeople resorting to email communication – at the expense of their own sales figures! Have a look at the examples of common email sales mistakes below, and see if any ring true for you……

Email Sales Mistake Number 1 – Using It To ‘Follow Up‘ Your Pipeline

Let’s look at this from a ‘new business’ perspective. You’ve spoken with (or met with) a client previously, you’ve started to develop rapport, but they’ve probably got an existing supplier, or existing way of doing things. So you didn’t pick up their business from your initial call or appointment.

Your boss has probably been putting pressure on you about your sales figures or your sales pipeline. So you decide you need to ‘follow up’ with a few people, this particular prospect included. So what do you do next? Pick up the phone and call them, establish their current situation and needs and potentially see how you may be able to add value to what they’re trying to achieve over the next few months? Close for another appointment, attempt to dislodge the existing supplier (or existing process) and pick up their business? Or send an email?

If you’re in the ’email’ category, stop it! Right now!

Email Sales Mistake Number 2 – Just ‘Adding‘ People To A Mailing List

Another great idea from the marketing department. Sending an email newsletter or similar to keep people ‘informed’ of your products and services. The funny thing is, how many newsletters do you get that you don’t read, or you don’t read in full? I bet it’s quite a few. If you don’t know the sender well, you probably don’t read it at all. Sometimes even when you know the sender well you still don’t read it!

Don’t sit back and think that just because someone is on your generic email list that that’s helping you ‘sell’ to that person. In most cases it isn’t. That’s more of a ‘nurture’ campaign for the Marketing department to worry about!

The responsibility to move that person through your sales pipeline is still yours!

Email Sales Mistake Number 3 – Sending Mainly ‘Flyers’ By Email

Please tell me you’re not still doing this? Even worse if the email is titled ‘offer of the month’ or similar! If the person hasn’t used you before, you’re relying on ‘luck’ for the person to buy from you. And the more competitive your marketplace and the higher the price of what you sell, the less likely people are to buy!

Plus as mentioned in my last point above, it’s hardly ‘personal’ communication to that prospect, is it? Is this really the professional sales job you were employed to do? If this is the best you can do in terms of ‘sales persuasion’, you’re in trouble!

Email Sales Mistake Number 4 – Responding To New Sales Enquiries Via Email

Let’s think about this one. You or your company has expended time, money and effort in producing the incoming sales lead. Whether it’s come from a previous phone call by you or a colleague, networking, advertising or over the internet, you’ve managed to get a precious incoming sales lead.

oopsThe next question is, what are you going to do about it? Pick up the phone and find an excuse to start a dialogue to understand their needs in more detail, positition a ‘next step’ in the sales process and look for some committment from that person. Or just send a quick email giving some information and leaving them to ‘wander’ on their own, with no idea how motivated they are to purchase, their timescales, or what other options they’re considering?

Looks like you’ve missed your chance again, doesn’t it? In most cases if they come back to you, it’s because when they enquired with your competition, they did a worse job than you did (hard to believe I know, but it could be true). Is this really the best way of dealing with that precious incoming sales lead do you think?!!

Email Sales Mistake Number 5 – Sending Proposals Or Quotes By Email

Now it’s time for my personal favourite! Sending proposals or quotes by email. This has become an interesting area over the last few years, with many prospects asking you to send your quotes/proposals etc via email.

Now, most of the ‘old school’ trainers will tell you that you HAVE to go in and present the proposal face-to-face. That that’s the ONLY thing you can do.

I don’t agree.

I agree it’s BETTER to be able to present the proposal face-to-face and talk it through. I agree that the more expensive the product (and the more value you have to build before presenting the price) the more important it is to try and get in face-to-face to present it.

But what happens if you’re not in Field Sales/Outside Sales? What if you don’t have the opportunity to visit the prospect? And how about the prospects that ask you to send through your proposals and quotes via email?

Andy’s Tips On Sending Proposals Or Quotes Via Email

The main thing you need to be aware of is that the minute you send through your proposal or quote via email, you lose most of your control over the sales process. You allow the prospect to go into ‘hiding’ – not returning your calls or emails, and basically going quiet on you!

Therefore you need to have asked ALL your ‘sales questions’ BEFORE sending through the proposal, otherwise your chance of winning the business is dramatically reduced!


If you are interested in me working with you or your team to overcome some of their problems with proposals, pipeline management and closing, then contact me here, or call +44 161 401 0142 to see how I can help you!


Follow the tips above and watch your sales soar! I look forward to hearing how you get on…..

(This article is copyright Andy Preston 2004-2019. To copy or syndicate this or any part of this article contact Andy Preston for guidelines).

Apr 08

Email Selling Mistakes….

By Andy Preston | Digital Selling

In this article, leading Sales Expert Andy Preston explains why most people struggle with ‘selling by email’ – they don’t understand it, they don’t know when to use it (and when not to) and they don’t know how to use it for best results.

After reading this article you’ll be able to utilise email to add value to your sales efforts – instead of hampering them – and get your sales figures back where they belong!……..

When I working with sales teams all over the world, Sales Managers and Directors often tell me that they believe all salespeople are inherently lazy. I’m not sure I agree with that hugely sweeping statement, but I do think salespeople often look for the quickest way to do something!

I think this is partly down to the fact that a lot of salespeople only start earning real money when their commission kicks in, so any task that isn’t directly related to bringing in new customers, orders or money, they tend to try and find the quickest way to do! Hence why the managers think they’re lazy.

As salespeople though, this ‘quickest route’ habit can often cause us problems! Particularly as technology has advanced and email is a popular communication method for many. However, this often results in salespeople resorting to email communication – at the expense of their own sales figures! Have a look at the examples of common email sales mistakes below, and see if any ring true for you……

Email Sales Mistake Number 1 – Using It To ‘Follow Up

Let’s look at this from a ‘new business’ perspective. You’ve spoken with (or met with) a client previously, you’ve started to develop rapport, but they’ve probably got an existing supplier, or existing way of doing things. So you didn’t pick up their business from your initial call or appointment.

Your boss has probably been putting pressure on you about your sales figures or your sales pipeline. So you decide you need to ‘follow up’ with a few people, this particular prospect included. So what do you do next? Pick up the phone and call them, establish their current situation and needs and potentially see how you may be able to add value to what they’re trying to achieve over the next few months? Close for another appointment, attempt to dislodge the existing supplier (or existing process) and pick up their business? Or send an email?

If you’re in the ’email’ category, stop it! Right now!

Email Sales Mistake Number 2 – Just ‘Adding‘ People To A Mailing List

Another great idea from the marketing department. Sending an email newsletter or similar to keep people ‘informed’ of your products and services. The funny thing is, how many newsletters do you get that you don’t read, or you don’t read in full? I bet it’s quite a few. If you don’t know the sender well, you probably don’t read it at all. Sometimes even when you know the sender well you still don’t read it!

Don’t sit back and think that just because someone is on your generic email list that that’s helping you ‘sell’ to that person. In most cases it isn’t. The responsibility to move that person through your sales pipeline is still yours!

Email Sales Mistake Number 3 – Sending Mainly ‘Flyers’ By Email

Please tell me you don’t do this? Even worse if the email is titled ‘offer of the month’ or similar! If the person hasn’t used you before, you’re relying on ‘luck’ for the person to buy from you. And the more competitive your marketplace and the higher the price of what you sell, the less likely people are to buy!

Plus as mentioned in my last point above, it’s hardly ‘personal’ communication to that prospect, is it? Is this really the professional sales job you were employed to do? If this is the best you can do in terms of ‘sales persuasion’, you’re in trouble!

Email Sales Mistake Number 4 – Responding To New Sales Enquiries Via Email

Let’s think about this one. You or your company has expended time, money and effort in producing the incoming sales lead. Whether it’s come from a previous phone call by you or a colleague, networking, advertising or over the internet, you’ve managed to get a precious incoming sales lead.

The next question is, what are you going to do about it? Pick up the phone and find an excuse to start a dialogue to understand their needs in more detail, positition a ‘next step’ in the sales process and look for some committment from that person. Or just send a quick email giving some information and leaving them to ‘wander’ on their own, with no idea how motivated they are to purchase, their timescales, or what other options they’re considering?

Looks like you’ve missed your chance again, doesn’t it? In most cases if they come back to you, it’s because when they enquired with your competition, they did a worse job than you did (hard to believe I know, but it could be true). Is this really the best way of dealing with that precious incoming sales lead do you think?!!

Email Sales Mistake Number 5 – Sending Proposals Or Quotes By Email

Now it’s time for my personal favourite! Sending proposals or quotes by email. You’re in field sales and you’ve had the meeting with a potential client ……the prospect then asks you to ‘send a proposal’……and you put it in an email. Really?!! Now you’re in trouble.

Why on earth didn’t you position your offering when you were face to face with the client? When you could read their body language and reactions to your offering (and your price) best….when you could judge whether you had got the proposal right or not?……when you had the best chance of getting them to say ‘yes’?

Even if you needed time to put the details together, why on earth didn’t you organise a second meeting to discuss it in more detail? Crazy! You’re giving other salespeople a better chance to win that business over you – why on earth would you want to do that?!!

Note – if you’re in internal sales or do most of your selling over the phone, it may not be practical to go out and see the prospect face-to-face, and if you can’t get them to come and see you, you’re almost ‘forced’ to send the proposal via email – however, you know when you do this it’s less persuasive.  As an ABSOLUTE MINIMUM you should have covered my ‘7 Things To Do BEFORE You Send A Proposal’ – otherwise I’m still going to be hard on you!!  Anyway, back to my ‘field sales’ example….

So Why Do Field Salespeople Send Quotes Or Proposals Via Email?


Normally field salespeople send quotes or proposals by email for a few reasons. The first reason is fear of rejection. It ‘hurts’ less to send it by email as at worst, they just send an email back saying ‘no thanks’ – much easier to deal with than them saying it to your face, isn’t it?

Or if they don’t reply to you (or send an email back saying they’re thinking about it) they haven’t really rejected you at all, have they? Can you see how that kind of thinking is holding you back from making more sales?!!

The second reason is laziness. You probably would say it’s because you’re busy, but it’s laziness. This is one of the most important parts of the sales process, and you’ve decided to email it because it’s ‘easier’! From an objective perspective, how stupid is that?!!

The third reason is because is ‘normally’ do it that way! Does that mean it’s the best way? Or even any good at all?!! Let’s think about this – it could be the most important part of the sales process, and you’re just sending it off into the ‘ether’ and hoping they’ll give you a positive response. Again – the more competitive the marketplace, the higher the price of your product/service and the longer the time elapsed from your initial conversation/meeting the less likely you are to get the business!

You can also ask any questions about this article or sales in general, by contacting Andy here

Follow the tips above and watch your sales soar! I look forward to hearing how you get on……..


This article is copyright Andy Preston 2004-2017. To copy or syndicate this or any part of this article contact Andy Preston for guidelines.

Dec 19

LinkedIn Sales Tips – Endorsements….Useful? Or A Waste Of Time?….

By Andy Preston | Digital Selling

In this article, leading Sales Expert Andy Preston talks about LinkedIn Endorsements…. what they mean… how people interpret them….and whether they’re any use…or not!…

One of the things I’ve been asked about a lot recently, is the LinkedIn ‘Endorsement’ feature. Added to a few profiles for ‘testing’ last year (before they rolled it out fully) this has been a topic that comes up recently WHENEVER LinkedIn is mentioned!

And because so may people have asked my thoughts and opinions on it (as well as how to best leverage it, if they are going to use it), I thought it would be useful to put my answers to various people’s questions down here, so you can benefit from my thoughts on the topic too!

So here are some of the questions I’ve been asked… and my responses to them…..let me know what you think by commenting at the bottom of the article as well!

Does Anyone Like The Endorsement Feature?

I must admit, I’m personally not a huge fan of the Endorsement feature on LinkedIn. I personally feel that it actually distracts people from focussing on the more important parts of the profile – like the recommendations section – where you can get a true ‘gauge’ of that individual and what they’re like.

Unfortunately, when LinkedIn made the changes to the profile layout, they ‘forced’ the recommendations section of the profile into the lower section of your profile – so you have less control than you did over how far down (or up) your profile your recommendations appear.

Now that your Endorsements are higher up than your Recommendations, the Endorsements are one of the initial things people base some of their initial judgements about you on.

Interestingly, in this blog in the Observer, written just after the endorsement feature was launched, seems to point out that the feature just seems to encourage people back to LinkedIn itself! Making the site more ‘sticky’ and more people to use it – obviously benefiting LinkedIn itself (and it’s advertising revenue!).

Is The Endorsement Feature Reliable And Trustworthy?

I think the short answer to this is ‘no’. Unlike the Recommendation feature, where people write individual feedback (so you can make a judgement as to the ‘strength’ of the recommendation), the endorsements are done simply with a click of a button – in fact LinkedIn often ‘prompts’ you to endorse people’s skills on occasion just when you land on their profile!

This is made even worse by the fact that it’s sometimes easier to get rid of the ‘do you want to endorse xyz for..’ by clicking ‘endorse’, than it is to click ‘skip’ – as you know if you click ‘skip’ the box will appear NEXT TIME you land on that person’s profile and ask you to endorse them! Just easier to click ‘endorse’ – and lo and behold! Another meaningless endorsement!

The consequence of that, is that you get people endorsing you for skills when they have had little or no interaction with you, and have no idea if you have that skill or not! Even worse, you get endorsed for skills that you don’t actually want on your profile, just that the person endorsing you decided to endorse you for that too – it then appears on your profile – bizarre! Everyone I’ve spoken to talks about this happening to them – and everyone hates it!

If you want to turn off your endorsement feature, or delete any of them, a good article that explains how to do it quickly is here.

Will It Get Any Better With Time?

Actually, I think over time it will get worse! When the Endorsement feature was first introduced, the ‘count’ on the number of endorsements was in 3 figures, i.e. it was able to go up to 999. I know this because some of my own endorsements had over 100 endorsements on there (I have a big network of course, and I’m known for being good at what I do).

 

In their first revision of the feature however, LinkedIn limited it to 2 figures, so the most endorsements any skill can display is ’99+’. Nobody viewing your profile has any way of telling whether you have 100 endorsements for that skill, or 999!

You can see from the example of my own profile on the left, you can get 99+ endorsements for most (if not all) of your top skills pretty quickly – especially if you have a large network and have trained tens of thousands of people around the world like myself – it’s easy to get to the 99+ stage, fast!

It’s less of an issue for the majority of people right now however, as most people aren’t at the 99+ endorsements for each skill yet. But over time? They probably will be. Which negates any usefulness the feature might have left by that point!

Some of LinkedIn’s own thoughts on Endorsements can be viewed here.

Do You Think LinkedIn Will Remove The Feature Entirely?

I think the Endorsement feature could well be removed by LinkedIn in the future. Once people’s endorsements start to get over 99+, then I think they’ll start to see the uselessness of it!

But it appears to be here to stay… at least for now….. so we need to make sure that our Endorsements get us seen in the best light, and aren’t detrimental to persuading people to connect with us, network with us, buy into us, or buy from us – depending what your outcome is from your LinkedIn profile of course! It’s a case of Risk-Mitigation if you will.

So Andy, What Would You Suggest In Terms Of Risk Mitigation?

I think, whether we like the feature or not (and I think you’ve guessed my opinion on it by now) we need to bear in mind that people will make judgements on us (and our capabilities) based on the what we’re endorsed for, and the numbers.

Their initial judgements will be formed based on that, and backed up (or not) based on your profile summary and your recommendations. Those are the two other places people pay most attention to when looking at a LinkedIn profile as a potential buyer of your products or services for example.

So in terms of ‘risk mitigation’, I’d recommend that you ensure your ‘endorsements’ are for things that relate to your role or areas of expertise.

For example if you’re in Recruitment, ‘recruiting’ should be a skill high up (if not at the top of your endorsement list).

I know this sounds simple, but you’d be amazed how many people fall foul of it!

In the screenshot above, you can see the example of my friend and fellow International Speaker Geoff Ramm.  His top 6 endorsed skills cover the areas he specialises in, or relate to them.  5 of his top 6 relate to either Marketing (his area of expertise) or Speaking (his main method of delivering his message).  His other skill in the top 6, Entrepreneurship, relates to some of his audience.

Okay Andy, Can You Give Us Another Practical Example Of This?

Yes! I know one recruiter who is very very good at recruitment, but his LinkedIn profile doesn’t even show ‘recruiting’ as a skill to endorse! His top is endorsed skill is ‘Russian’ (he is an English guy based in Russia), so his endorsements actually say to people ‘I’m crap at recruiting, but if you want to learn Russian, I’m your guy!!’ – definitely NOT the impression he’s looking to give potential clients!

In an ideal world, while the Endorsement feature is still active, you want your endorsed skills at the top of the list to reflect the most important skills about you and what you do. For example, in this recruiters case, things like ‘recruitment’, ‘finding hidden candidates’, ‘recruitment in russia’, ‘international recruitment’ etc etc – you get the picture.

Thanks Andy, Can You Give Us Any Final Tips?

Well the people I work with most (in relation to training on LinkedIn) are salespeople, and people using LinkedIn for Lead Generation and Business Development purposes. I don’t tend to train standard courses on ‘how to use linkedin’ – anyone can do that! As part of my ‘Stand Out Selling’ sales methodology, I train how to use LinkedIn as a Sales Persuasion tool as part of your sales process – which is a very different thing entirely.

The biggest tip I can give you in relation to that, is think how your profile looks to potential buyers. Your objective (from a Sales Persuasion point of view) is to demonstrate your credibility, your professionalism, how you’ve helped people, how you’ve generated results for them etc etc. Think about the key skills they would want to see (in order to think about buying from you, or at least giving you an enquiry) and make sure they’re right at the top of the endorsements on your profile!

 

Good luck with your LinkedIn profile and your future sales! Oh, and if we’re not connected already, make sure you connect to me on LinkedIn as well!

And what are your thoughts on the LinkedIn Endorsements feature?  Add your comments below…..

This article is copyright Andy Preston 2014-2016. To copy or syndicate this or any part of this article contact Andy Preston for guidelines.

Nov 15

The 10 Biggest Sales Mistakes People Make On LinkedIn…..

By Andy Preston | Digital Selling

In this article, leading Sales Expert Andy Preston explains that although LinkedIn is one of the best business development tools available, many people don’t use it properly, and even worse – make mistakes that actually LOSE them sales, rather than WIN them…..

Whenever I’m talking to salespeople or business owners about online sales tools, the one that they mention most often is LinkedIn. Yet I’m often amazed at how many people admit they don’t really use it properly – and even those that ‘think’ they’re using it properly don’t get the sales results they could from it.

Even worse that, some people make various ‘sales mistakes’ over LinkedIn – often without realising – that cost them valuable leads, connections and ultimately sales.

If we’re not connected already, connect with me here – http://uk.linkedin.com/in/andypreston/ for specific ideas on how to get better results for your time spent on there, but in the meantime, here are the 10 biggest sales mistakes people make on LinkedIn……

Sales Mistake Number 10 – Not Having A Good Profile Picture

Linkedin Profile Page OptimisationLinkedIn is an online networking site. What’s one of the most critical factors in networking? People getting to know you, like you and trust you. And that’s even more important in first impressions online. Yet many people don’t have the best picture when you click on their profiles!

So what do I mean by not having the best picture? Well if you’re on LinkedIn for business development reasons (and most of the people I speak to are) then you need a good, clear picture of you (so people can see what you look like and recognise you ‘offline’ if necessary). It also needs to show you in a ‘professional’ light, not look like a picture that belongs on Facebook instead! That doesn’t help your professional credibility – and if you’ve got a company logo there instead – even worse!

Sales Mistake Number 9 – Having A Twitter ‘Feed’ Into LinkedIn

Using Twitter Feed on LinkedinThis is even more serious than the last point! With the advent of ‘Social Media Automation’, it’s very easy to put automatically put your twitter feed straight into Facebook, LinkedIn etc – but just because it’s easy, it doesn’t mean it’s a good idea!

What most people forget is that they’ve changed ‘platform’ (from Twitter to LinkedIn for example), so there’s also a change of context. What might be acceptable on Twitter can actually be VERY DAMAGING on LinkedIn!

For example, one of the things LinkedIn does that Twitter doesn’t is store previous status updates on your profile page. So all the people you’re trying to impress and gain professional credibility with, are now reading your late-night Twitter updates about how many bottles of wine you’ve drunk, what you think of a particular football team, or which person on television you fancy – don’t laugh because I’ve seen it hundreds of times! It’s safe to say – those people have DEFINITELY lost business because of that!

Sales Mistake Number 8 – Getting Poor Quality Testimonials

As more and people get onto LinkedIn, this is a problem I’m seeing more and more frequently. As people are trying to gain credibility with their profiles (or get their ‘profile completeness’ up to 100%), they’re asking people for testimonials or recommendations that are in fact, worthless!

In terms of raising credibility online, testimonials and recommendations are obviously critical to that – but only the good quality ones will help you – the poor quality ones can actually make people think worse of you!

So what do I mean by a poor quality testimonial? One that says ‘Andy is a nice person’ or similar is pointless! As is one that’s from a colleague! Pointless! As is one that’s obviously from a ‘mate’ – especially if you’ve given them one back! We can see through that sort of thing very easily – and now the credibility of those testimonials (and your own credibility) has just dropped through the floor. Not a smart move.

Sales Mistake Number 7 – Talking Too Much About The Company

Being Too Corporate On LinkedinAnother mistake most people make on LinkedIn is to talk too much about their company, rather than themselves. Now, I’m not saying that I want to read about how many cats you have, or what you got up to at weekend – save that for Facebook!

What I’m saying is too much of a ‘corporate face’ and not enough about you individually and what you do will switch people off from connecting with you, networking with you, and doing business with you.

Your profile wants to introduce me to YOU first, then your company later. Company profiles are where the majority of the company information goes. I want to know about YOU first – what you do, who you are looking for, and how you can help – before I want to know anything else.

Sales Mistake Number 6 – Having Too Many ‘Applications

How to use LinkedinAs LinkedIn release more and more applications, the number (and relevance) of the applications of your profile become more and more important. Too many people are including too many – and irrelevant – applications to their profile.

Unless you’re an IT contractor or an interim manager (or you’re looking for a new job!), uploading your CV is irrelevant to your LinkedIn profile. In fact it can have a detrimental effect as people think they can’t trust you enough to do business with you as you’re probably moving on quickly.

And do people really need to know your travel movements? ‘On a trip to Basingstoke’ or ‘on a trip to Grimsby’ don’t have quite the same ring as ‘on a trip to New York’ or ‘Las Vegas’.

And don’t think that uploading your corporate presentation to slideshare helps you either. It’s probably been designed for people who have agreed to see you, or asked for the presentation. Contacts on LinkedIn wouldn’t fall into either of those categories. It will be boring and irrelevant at best!

People want to get to know YOU first, before they want to get to know your company or your products and services. Therefore, you want to encourage them to connect with you, message you, or make an enquiry BEFORE they are a qualified prospect for you. Pushing ‘company information’ at them at this stage won’t help – and may even get in the way of them being interested going forwards.

To get the other 5 Biggest Sales Mistakes Most People Make On LinkedIn, go to www.andy-preston.com/ask-andy and request ‘LinkedIn article’.

Follow the tips above and watch your sales soar! I look forward to hearing how you get on……..

About The Author:

Andy Preston is a leading Sales Expert, Trainer and Motivational Speaker

He runs the Ecademy ‘Sales And Cold Calling Tips Club’ as well as writing for magazines, newspapers and trade journals all around the world on anything related to sales and selling.

You can get Andy’s free cold calling and sales tips HERE

This article is copyright Andy Preston 2010. To copy or syndicate this or any part of this article contact Andy Preston for guidelines. Media enquiries – details here
Apr 02

Digital Selling – Are You Ahead (Or Behind) Your Competition?

By Andy Preston | Digital Selling

In this article, leading Sales Expert Andy Preston explains how ‘digital selling’ is impacting the way sales is evolving, and whether you’re ahead or behind your competitors in this area……

‘Digital Selling’ is changing the way sales and prospecting is done. That doesn’t mean that older, more traditional methods no longer work, more that there are new tools and platforms available to the average salesperson that weren’t there 5 years ago for example.

Digital Selling’ is the process of engaging more online with business and social networks, plus using the ‘digital sales tools’ available to drive more sales opportunities, that you otherwise wouldn’t be aware of.

Failing to use Digital Selling could mean you and your team losing out on valuable sales opportunities. But if you ARE going to embrace it, or at the very least dip your toe into the Digital Selling water, there are some things you need to be aware of, in order to make sure you’re maximising your potential sales opportunities.Continue reading

Jan 04

The 10 Biggest Sales Mistakes People Make On LinkedIn – Part Two……

By Andy Preston | Digital Selling

In part two of this article, leading Sales Expert Andy Preston explains that although LinkedIn is one of the best business development tools available, many people don’t use it properly, and even worse – make mistakes that actually LOSE them sales, rather than WIN them…..

Whenever I’m talking to salespeople or business owners about online sales tools, the one that they mention most often is LinkedIn. Yet I’m often amazed at how many people admit they don’t really use it properly – and even those that ‘think’ they’re using it properly don’t get the sales results they could from it.

Even worse that, some people make various ‘sales mistakes’ over LinkedIn – often without realising – that cost them valuable leads, connections and ultimately sales.

If we’re not connected already, connect with me here – Andy’s LinkedIn Profile – for specific ideas on how to get better results for your time spent on there, but in the meantime, here are the 10 biggest sales mistakes people make on LinkedIn……

Sales Mistake Number 5 – Only Using It For Name Gathering

Magnifying GlassThis mistake is more common amongst people that have been using LinkedIn for a while, and is particularly prevalent if you’re in recruitment. LinkedIn was mainly a CV site up until about 18 months ago, when more business development tools were introduced that expanded the scope of the site.

Therefore most recruiters would have had a ‘presence’ on there for a number of years, and while a few years ago the main focus of the site was to gather names and candidates, LinkedIn has advanced massively since then – and to still be only using it for ‘name gathering’ means you’re missing out on 90% of the potential value of the site.

If your industry does a lot of cold calling for example, why would you only use a site like LinkedIn to get the name of a decision maker, then pick up the phone and cold call them? Why wouldn’t you use the tools that Linkedin now offers to get in touch, develop rapport and qualify business opportunities in a different way?

If you just use it to get a ‘name’, then pick up the phone and cold call that person, that’s not really helping you to stand out from your competition, is it?

Sales Mistake Number 4 – Limiting Your Network

Now this is where myself and LinkedIn differ. LinkedIn’s general attitude is that you should only connect with people you know. My attitude is that you should connect with the majority of people. Depending on their business, sometimes my advice to people is not to connect with their competition, but other than that, I’m a big fan of being a ‘open networker’.

Anyone that ‘limits’ themselves to only connecting with people they know well, yet is on LinkedIn for business development purposes is missing out on the massive business development potential LinkedIn offers.

For example, if someone you want to contact is a 2nd level connection to you, you can get an introduction through someone you are directly connected with – but if they’re a 3rd level connection or worse, that introduction is a lot less likely to happen.

At some level, the more connections you have, the more likely it is that someone you are directly connected with will know that person – and facilitate the introduction. So if you’ve only got a small number of connections, you’re likely to miss out!

In addition, your ‘status’ or ‘update’ posts are posted onto the home page of every one of your LinkedIn contacts – so why on earth wouldn’t you want them to go to as many people as possible?

Sales Mistake Number 3 – Expecting A Fast Return

Another mistake most people make on LinkedIn is to expect a fast return. Now in some cases you can get a fast return in terms of a good contact that turns into business quickly, but like ANY networking LinkedIn should be part of a longer-term strategy.

You don’t need to spend a huge amount of time on LinkedIn to get very good sales results from it, but you do need to have certain fundamental things in place to get the best from it. Part of your LinkedIn strategy should be to put those things in place FIRST, then set about doing your LinkedIn activity to take advantage of those fundamentals – and not making the mistake most people make which is to try and do activity first, without having those critical things on your profile!

Your behaviour on LinkedIn, the information you put on your profile, your activity within groups you belong to, and pretty much EVERYTHING you do on LinkedIn should have the longer-term strategy in mind, otherwise you’ll burn bridges – and fast!

Sales Mistake Number 2 – Not Using ‘Groups’ Properly

The ‘groups’ area of LinkedIn is one of the most useful for the people who are looking to develop new business and new customers from LinkedIn. However, most people don’t use it effectively – some because they don’t know what to do, and some because they don’t want to dedicate time to it – because they haven’t seen the results quick enough (refer to the last point!)

The groups area (when used properly) is one of the best places for new business development. You can join groups where members have similar interest (Golf, Running, Cars for example), similar geographical areas, an association or trade body, or for a professional interest.

Joining these groups instantly gives you ‘commonality’ with others – which helps when generating rapport with others – which is an essential stage if you want to get ‘engagement’ with others and ultimately do business with them.

However, WHAT you do in these groups is more important than just joining them. How you interest with others. What threads you interact on. What threads you start. How you put together your posts to ensure the appropriate people read the, – and take the action you want – is all about putting the right strategy into action.

Sales Mistake Number 1 – Not Getting Feedback’


Another common mistake most people make on LinkedIn is not getting feedback on their profile and how they’re doing! And I don’t mean getting feedback from just ‘anybody’ – I mean getting feedback from someone who is getting RESULTS from LinkedIn, in terms of incoming sales enquiries or business conducted from it.

I’m often amazed at people that spend large amounts of time on LinkedIn yet haven’t taken the time to put important parts of their profile together properly, and that means that the effect of all their ‘activity’ is being limited by people not taking action when they click on their profiles!

For anyone that is concerned about the effectiveness, or the results they’re currently getting from their LinkedIn profile, connect with me here – Andy’s LinkedIn Profile – and I’ll happily take a look at it, and give you some ideas of what you need to do.

I also run a LinkedIn group dedicated to improving your sales performance, so if you’d like to join that as well, the link is here – LinkedIn Sales Group

To get the other 5 Biggest Sales Mistakes Most People Make On LinkedIn, go to www.andy-preston.com/ask-andy and request ‘LinkedIn article’.

Follow the tips above and watch your sales soar! I look forward to hearing how you get on……..

About The Author:

Andy Preston is a leading Sales Expert, Trainer and Motivational Speaker

He runs the Ecademy ‘Sales And Cold Calling Tips Club’ as well as writing for magazines, newspapers and trade journals all around the world on anything related to sales and selling.

You can get Andy’s free cold calling and sales tips HERE

This article is copyright Andy Preston 2010. To copy or syndicate this or any part of this article contact Andy Preston for guidelines. Media enquiries – details here