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Your LinkedIn Outreach Is Terrible (and what you can do about it)

Your LinkedIn outreach is terrible.

I don’t know exactly where people are getting “advice” for how to do outreach on social media...but what they’re being told is really bad.

Every day I receive dozens of LinkedIn connection requests that look the same, sound the same, and even smell the same (yep, they smell like you-know-what).

I’ve been in the online marketing industry a very long time--I had hair when I started--and was networking long before these platforms even existed.

“Hey, man. Saw you were in the same restaurant as I am, so I figured I’d sit my ass down at your group's table. How ‘bout it?”

This is the level of LinkedIn outreach message today.

Is that how you want to present yourself?

Is this the level of dialogue you wish to imply is available?

“Hey, man. We haven’t even met yet but why don’t we just get this crap over with and you buy my stuff / we get married / have a baby with me already?”

That’s what you sound like.

connection network linkedin join outreach

Photo by Darrel Und from Pexels

Clues To Effective LinkedIn Outreach

You may have noticed that I do like to provide solutions where I see problems. So here are some genuine recommendations you’ll find to be effective.

First, Niche Down.

Goodness! When someone sends me an out-of-the-blue connection request, and they aren’t even in my industry… can you guess what my automatic response will be?

Bye-bye.

And--get this--the reaction is even clearer, stronger and more deeply emotional (for that split-second of attention it gets) if you have dumped one of those inane copy-paste “I just thought we should” messages into the request.

It is better for you to have used NO message. If you’re coming from outside the person’s industry, it is better for you to not have said anything at all.

Let your profile do the talking instead.

That headline. It’s copywriting. A field I’ve been involved in for over a quarter-century and made a lot of money for both myself and my clients in. Your LinkedIn headline: that’s where you should be spending all of that careful crafting effort. It was true offline in traditional printed advertising and it remains true today in online platforms. Human nature has not changed.

Spamming outreach is not prospecting.

Churn-based activity is not effective work.

Can I be clearer?

Focus for Outreach Effectiveness

If you are sending “X” number of connection requests a day because somebody told you to--without any other attendant strategy--then you are wasting your time.

Pick a freakin’ niche first.

Let me tell you about my own experience. Some of you know that I work in the space industry. The moment I changed my profile and my headline to reflect that and only that, and started outreaching to space industry people, my results got much better.

They saw I was “one of them”. And after a few weeks the Network Effect really caught on: people wouldn’t even look at my profile before they hit “Accept”.

I am connected to generals, senior officials and other high level people because of this focus.

Beyond that, though, and where nearly all of you fall down is this: my intention is to develop some kind of relationship with every connection I make.

Are You a Superconnector?

It needn’t be a deep relationship. In fact, the Superconnector books (and I am a superconnector, my friends tell me) say that you probably shouldn’t focus on developing those. Just a favor, a kind word, an introduction here and there, once or twice a year: that’s enough for people to remember you.

But I do create deep relationships, and quickly. It’s how I got all my advisors for my firm in less than 12 months.

That is my intention. Not to simply have you as a hanger-on, a never-noticed network blip...but to actually know you a little.

Can you say the same?

In my experience, probably not. You’ve probably adopted that dumb old sales “maxim” about “some will, some won’t, so what, next!”. The lack of qualification screams from that line. It’s a business model for idiots.

Niche down. Pick a target. Get some discernment. Engage that Network Effect to start acting on your behalf.

When a new USAF general sees that they and I have 122 shared connections, what do you think their next move is? “Accept”. They don’t even read my profile. The mutual connections, the headline, and that’s it. Plus my intention behind the scenes.

Remember The Number One Rule of Marketing and Stand Out, will ya?

Second, adopt a more formal tone.

That’s the way business introductions used to be. Formal. Now I’m not saying “Do it this way because it was better in the olden time.” I’m saying so because it is in direct contrast to the sloppy, casual, “flop down next to you in your restaurant booth seat like I’m your neighbor” approach so disastrously common today.

Rule Number One in marketing is Stand Out.

If you must send a connection message, make it formal. Have a good reason why you’re connecting: not this “I just figured” or “If you’re open to” nonsense.

I’m open to any space industry colleague wanting to connect through LinkedIn outreach. I don’t even look any further than the headline. I know that's helping my network effect power.

I am NOT open to you, Skippy, with your “I help overtired executives recover their life and times with energetic healing” me-me-me nonsense that I’ve received one hundred and fifteen nearly identical requests about over the past 30 days.

Qualification.

Third, why not use the affiliate model?

We use it in the online marketing world all the time. Have a well-known industry professional in the niche you want to be in introduce you to their existing list of contacts.

Yes, it’s going to be work. But you’re already doing at least half of that work now--and your way, alone, is ineffective.

And there’s going to have to be something in it for the industry pro. Hopefully you have one as a friend already. You can get creative, can’t you?

I do this, and it has made an amazing difference.

The language is formal. My kingpin contact recommends me in a three-person message. Like a tennis match, I hit the ball back over the net with my own formalized response. Perhaps the third party, who is in the same industry and at the same level as us, remember, has said something in response during this time. Then I can send the connection request, again with some super formal language reminding them of why I’m connecting and on whose behest, in case a few days or a week has gone by since the original exchange. Sometimes the new contact sends me the connection request themselves.

Do you see how different and how much more effective this kind of process is than your sad, lonely, disconnected-to-anything outreach?

Free Course for Effective LinkedIn Outreach (and it's not even mine!)

I’m not going to spill all my secrets--those are for paying clients--but I will leave you with a final gift. It’s a big one. Remember me in your will. This is a free course from a friend of a contact who got ahold of me for a consultation. He mentioned this site and I took a look around. Then I watched this course. I hope you understand I’ve seen a lot of things and so when I say this free course is better than many paid ones I’ve seen, that’ll matter to you. Go check it out. It’s A to Z, how to prospect effectively on LinkedIn.

Hell, you don’t even need me. What you do need is a change of mind.

>> FINALLY ready for effective, proven positioning, mindset, outreach and sales methods? Then you're ready for SALES ON FIRE <<

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How Getting Fired Saved My Sales Life [Guest Post by Matthew North]

Matthew North has genuine sales experience to share with us here. It's about the lazy attitude towards training displayed by many companies. That their focus is on making sales by whatever means—and if it grinds the salesperson's soul into dust, who cares...and the shift you can make so the process of selling can become much easier for you.

Let's join Matthew North as he describes the trainwreck of an experience that lead to his personal shift in selling...

~Jason

matthew north afraid of selling fired sales

This is a guest post by ex-sales pro turned writer Matthew North. You can follow him on Facebook for more posts like this and see if he'll write for you.

Let's talk about getting you in front of a trove of qualified people whose wallets are wide open, ready and waiting to buy from you.

I'm reporting from experience of being on the front lines. As a former sales guy, I became desperate to connect with people who actually wanted to speak with me. I grew tired of being the marauder of phone books and telephone directories. Sick of calling fax machines and the dominion of secretaries.

But things were good. So it never occurred to me why some people were easier to sell to than others. You just had your good days, then your bad days. And besides, the sales were easy. People kept buying, so I kept selling—which was fine until we ran out of leads.

I didn't suspect anything at first. Fewer people than usual called me back, and a couple of proposals fell through. No problem. I was going through a downswing, and soon I'd be on my way up again.

Things continued like this for a while. Each sale we lost would expand the pressure on the company to keep itself standing. Consultants of many different hats and titles were called in to doctor the cause. None of this mattered. The business had been kicked and dragged around towards bankruptcy.

But we had a plan: a list of old recycled leads. These people had shown interest at some point, and it was my job to close them. Just as I started calling, secretary commandos paraglided in to subvert me. "James? Is that who you want? Well, he doesn't work here anymore." "Brian is in meetings all week. Why don't you leave your number and he'll call you back if he's interested." "I don't really see why I should put you through unless can you tell me what this is all about." A whole calendar worth of presentations, gone. Management roared with criticism. They then gave me an opportunity (as they called it) to either meet target, or get out.

All this would culminate on a Wednesday morning. I was pulled by the neck to a small room; inside, my manager had waited. He closed the door, and handed me an envelope. I knew what was coming. He looked at me. I looked at him. We both stared. They then kicked me out, to a street that was laden with garbage. "Send him back where you found him," I heard them saying.

Over the next few months, everyone watched as our former employers went out the back door, and left behind a death knell of lawsuits and press releases addressed to anyone who'd read them.

Matthew North: Lessons Learned

It didn't matter how many dials I made, how polished my pitch was, or what kind of jokes I told: nothing had made a difference. Prospects had turned into brick walls.
A decade later, things are now clear: once the walk-in buyers were gone, it left only the "Not interested" punters behind. There was no real finesse to what we were doing, no process. We chased, and they ran, that was about it.

So if my company was wrong about selling, what's trick or sneaky shortcut to making huge bags of money?

Mature thinkers know that nothing worthwhile is easy or guaranteed. So there is no a magic close that will force someone to buy, or a pitch so persuasive it sells itself. To seek the easy answers is a misunderstanding of what sales is really about. We cannot force people to do anything.

Instead, give people what they want, listen, and see things from their point of view. Because it's the customer's situation that determines if they buy. We don't call the plumber if our taps aren't leaking; we don't want to shoot the breeze with the cable guy. We engage with companies because we want something, and it's the same for why people will buy from you.

Don't listen to the marketer's jingle of awareness to transaction (which is from the businesses' perspective.) What is going on in your prospect's world? There will always be some unsatisfied need or want if a sale is possible. And if you can't help someone get what they want, it doesn't matter about your prices, how good your product is, or anything else.

What all of this means is that you do not make sales; you find sales. The opportunity of a sale being made is either there or it isn't. And yes, everyone has a fishing story or two of turning somebody around—but how often does that happen? Selling is not alchemy.

When people buy from a salesperson, it's because they were thinking about buying already. The salesperson was just kind of 'there,' handing over what they wanted. In practice, this means there are two distinct, yet concurrent parts to any good sales conversation: qualification, and what happens after. When we talk of simply finding the buyers (qualification), it's the first and most important step of the sale - not the close, nor your glossy sales kits, but who you speak to that matters the most.

This was a guest post by ex-sales pro turned writer Matthew North. You can follow him on Facebook for more posts like this and see if he'll write for you. For a live interview with Matthew North on SalesTactics, click here.

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Qualify Not Close: Make Selling Easier On You

Qualify Not Close. You see a ton of emphasis on The Close in traditional sales training. Get that prospect in there, and BAM! Hit them over the head with The Close. Kill 'em like a squirrel in a deadfall trap.

Killer, huh?

You want to be a killer?

What if word starts getting around that you're a killer when it comes to sales? That this is the attitude you bring to the sales conversation?

Why You Should Qualify Not Close

It may work for appliances and cars—people stupidly buy vehicles, a long term, large financial investment, as if they're deciding what brand of orange juice they like—but in a real, senior B2B selling situation you're likely to get "niced out the door" by the prospects you're hoping to "kill."

Let me ask you this: What matters more...what you say, or what they say?

If you answered, "What I say," you're in error.

If they say it, it's true. If you say it, you have to defend it.

Even if it was exactly the same thing!

Closing without Qualifying is exhausting.

shouting qualify not close

It's mud wrestling that prospect to the ground and pinning them there...in the mud.

It's getting hit with objections, trying to come up with the memorized rebuttal, and overcome the issue.

It's presenting to those who are not necessarily a fit to even see your offer. And the fast-tiring struggle that comes with that.

So while you may have a book in your hands that promises to teach you The Secrets of Closing, what it's really teaching you is how to get tired out trying to force square pegs into round holes. Can you do it? Sometimes. But man, is it exhausting.

Qualify Not Close To Use Your Energy Well

I don't know about you, but I don't have the energy for that.

I don't have the energy to support the case for what I offer entirely on the force of my personality, or my confidence.

If they say it, it's true. If you say it, you have to defend it.

I'd much rather get the prospect to say it.

I'd much rather get the prospect to tell me exactly why they're a fit for this offer.

I'd much rather get the prospect to close themselves.

And the way to do that is by Qualifying heavily up front.

Before any kind of dog and pony show. Before any attempt at a Close.

Put your effort into Qualifying, and you'll have a much easier time Closing. You'll have a lot more energy left over, too.

Even another well-known sales trainer, who really pushes the Closing thing, says this: Fill your funnel to the point where it's overflowing.

OK, he didn't use such nice language, but that was the point. Fill your funnel so that you have so many leads—you can do what?

Pick and choose.

Select those who are most likely to say, "Yes!" to your offer.

Qualify.

Yep, that's qualifying.

Behind the big bang of The Close, which is what everyone thinks and says they want, is Qualifying...which is what they truly need.

Hmm...give them what they say they want...they said it, so it's true...but sneak in what they really need...I have to admit that's good selling.

>> Jason Kanigan is a sales trainer and business strategist. To book a consultation with Jason to discuss your Qualification issues, click here. <<