A Time to Sell

I recently got a LinkedIn invitation from a sales producer from a client company. Since I was familiar with the company, I accepted it. Here’s the response I received. Thank you for accepting my invitation. I am using this venue as a means of utilizing LinkedIn’s objective, which is to network with other businesses.

I would like to speak with you about offering…to the staff at (my company). There are currently over 50 million people who carry…. Some of our major clients include…. Due to the… our policies have become an important part of insurance portfolios, at no cost to the company. I would appreciate a brief 10 minute meeting to show its value to you and to the staff.

Hope to hear from you soon.

Regards,

What would have been your reaction?

This note in my inbox was a reminder of how many financial advisors, planners, brokers, reps, and other sales producers lead with selling, rather than relationships.

And this goes for both social media and face-to-face “connections.”

There’s a big difference between networking and selling. Networking is developing a relationship where learning and helping is the focus. Over time, the relationship could turn into business for one or both parties. Selling is pitching or promoting a product, service, or opportunity.

Both approaches are good. But there is a time and place for each.

As a sales producer in the financial services industry (or most industries for that matter), here are a few friendly reminders to consider when making more and better connections – online or off.

Approach

By approach, I mean are you taking a sales approach or are you truly looking to network? I was just speaking with a colleague who attended a networking event recently. He described a number of scenarios where someone he met practically [$#!%] all over him. You catch the drift. Bottom line – what is typically the reaction to this approach?

Purpose

When attending an event or posting a message, what is the next step you are looking for? After they “connect” or “follow,” what’s next? Are you sending them information? A link? Do you want them to visit your website? Are you looking for a sales appointment? Phone call? And if so, why?

Pronouns

When communicating with others, at least as an advisor, general agent, annuity producer, business owner, or service provider, it’s impactful to use a lot of “we” and “you” language rather than “me” or “I” language. Always try to make it about the other person as that’s the best way for them to make it about you. Or “we!” What do you do? What brings you here? How do you add value? The exception? How can I help you?

Engagement

The key to sparking a connection is engagement. What can you say or write that will get those you meet engaged enough to learn more about you, meet with you, refer you, and buy from you? Will the message above do it? Without engagement, or what I like to call a “connection,” nothing happens.

Value

Everything you say or write should be of value. The value can be entertainment, education, or an idea that can help solve a problem. What are you doing to add value to those that you are trying to engage in a process? It’s one thing to post how you help people – it’s something else for your post to actually help people. How do you want your probable prospects, clients, and referral sources to think of you?

Call to Action

Have one! If your message has some of the ideas above in mind, you may want to be purposeful with your next step. Thank you for connecting. I think it’s important that we meet as it seems our respective businesses share clients in the same marketplace. It would be great to coordinate a call and explore how we might help one another. When can we set up a call for next week? If need be, follow up accordingly.

Social media, and networking as a whole, is such a great way to meet new people, expand existing relationships, socialize, and ultimately grow your business – if done correctly.