A recent LinkedIn discussion reminded me about a post that I wrote about the penalties for spamming LinkedIn Groups. I was curious as to whatever happened to him. So, I looked him up on LinkedIn. Shortly after LinkedIn shut him down, he closed his business and got a job. Now, honestly he had other issues, but the point is that we are all inundated by content. Some is truly remarkable, but some is worse than spam.
#1 - Stop promoting your own content. Period!
This morning I was talking to somebody on my joke list. I have a sense of humor. I like to laugh. I like to shake my head thinking OMG. Occasionally, I like to think, "That's disgusting!" There are probably 20-30 eople on my joke distribution list. I know all of them well and they know me well. I know that there are some blondes that I can't send blonde jokes to. I have some Democrat friends that get upset with Obama jokes and some Republican friends that didn't like the Bush jokes. So, I screen my jokes before I send them. I recognize that some of my jokes are not appropriate for some of the people on my joke list. I also never send a joke to anyone who's not on my joke list. One more thing...They're not my jokes. Somebody sent them to me. I read them. Enjoy them. I delete the ones that should be deleted and forward the ones that should be forwarded to the people that will appreciate receiving them. Question, if you like something about this article, will you RT on Twitter, will you forward the article to a few people that you care about with a short note, like "I read this and thought of you.", will you start a discussion in a group that you belong to and ask "has anybody tried this?"
#2 - Start sharing remarkable content relevantly.
Several months ago, Carole Mahoney said, "Steve (her husband) wants to know if he can get on your joke list." I've gotten to know Steve and he's a really good guy. We agree on a lot of stuff, including the fact that sometimes you just have to stay out of Carole's way. (We're both probably gonna pay for that.) Back to business. I didn't ask Steve if he wanted to subscribe. I never sent him a sample. I sent the sample to Carole and said, "Steve will probably chuckle at this." The other day I wrote about the "Right Mindset for Inbound Sales". This is what I meant. I've spent most of my life bugging people, interrupting their lives, catching them by surprise. Stop asking strangers to 'like' you. Get a friend to suggest it. I don't want to breach anyone's confidentiality, but I've probably had 1,000 'first time' conversations this year. Every one was the result of a mutual friend's suggestion. If you know someobody that had a conversation with me, ask them how they found out about me. It wasn't Google.
#3 - Stop asking strangers to 'like' you. Get a friend to suggest it.
What if you don't have any friends? Do you have a mother? Do you have any customers that don't hate you? Do you have any vendors that you pay for goods or services? Somebody, somewhere likes you. That's where we start. Expand your network. Find people like you, that think like you, that have the same dreams as you, or have had similar experiences as you. Many of the people reading this article have met my wife. She knows that she's always invited when I attend business events. Two reasons... I'm totally transparent with Elaine. She doesn't know how I do what I do, but she's watched and she knows that whether I'm with her or not, I might have a drink at an event, I'll shake some hands and get some hugs and if I smell like perfume or the drink or have lipstick on my collar, she'll know how it got there and that I was working. So, what's the point? That's the other reason that I invite her. People that meet me when my wife's around soon learn that there's only one Rick. I don't have a 'Sales Rick', a 'Dad Rick', a 'Public Rick' and a 'Private Rick' and the more the internet net affects our lives, the more people are going to need real people. Last year, Don Battis wrote "People don’t do business with companies. People do business with people". True then. True now.
#4 - Grow a network. Be a person.
Notice that I haven't said that in order to grow sales, you need to learn how to sell and that won't be #5 either. It's simple. If you want to grow sales in 2014, you have to stop selling. Stop yelling and stop telling. If you've done everything right up to this point, you should have someone that's predisposed to like and trust you. They don't want you to put your sales hat on and chase them away. They want you to know how to engage them. When to use email. When to call. When to ask open-ended questions and when to use multiple choice. My Best Sales Questions was pretty well received. If you haven't tried any of them, please do. They don't want 14 e-books, 11 slide decks, and your latest Vine video. They'd much rather that you ask a question that proves that you're paying attention and demonstrates that you're trying to help.
#5 - Ask great questions and foster engaging conversations.
Thanks for reading! Do good and remember, if you're not having fun, you're doing it wrong!
Bonus - Don't wait for 2014. Start now!
Some people will find a reason to wait for January to make their plan. Thay'll spend three months planning and start around April 1st. If you start now, you can tweak along the way and be rolling full steam by January 1st. This may help you get started now.