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9 Behaviors of Great Salespeople

30 Oct

People aren’t born to be great salespeople – it is a learned trait nurtured over many years. Chances are your organization has great, good and bad salespeople. Because sales managers are often dealing with the bad apples, they aren’t investing enough time in coaching the good salespeople to be even better. If you are the sales leader in your company, you must either hire the best salespeople from the beginning or carve out more time for developing employees before they leave.

Beyond their bottom-line performance, what does a great salesperson look like?

  1. They are a consultative salesperson. Gone are the days of talking about all the great features of your product and pushing until the prospect (regrettably) agrees to buy.
  2. They do everything asked of them and more in their first year with a company. Year one is an important period for learning and that requires extra effort from the new salesperson. They are also comfortable with the fact that their sales activities are under increased scrutiny as they get out of the gate.
  3. Real salespeople know their product and services. They always have a crisp elevator pitch and value proposition prepared along with 10 questions. Their messaging sounds natural but is practiced and often memorized so they are always prepared; even this weekend when they bump into a prospect at the grocery store.
  4. They are authentic – and memorable. They don’t change their personality in front of prospects and clients which ultimately creates real connections. They also say “please”, “thank you” and “I’m sorry”.
  5. Great salespeople really listen. They are curious and ask a lot of open-ended questions. If the prospect or client is talking, the salesperson is probably winning.
  6. They sell solutions. Most prospects don’t really care about your product or service. They have a challenge in front of them and it can potentially be solved with your product or service.
  7. Winners are consistent. They take days off and have a balanced life, but they always hit their activity numbers, follow up, dot the i’s and cross their t’s.
  8. Closers drive towards YES or NO. A great salesperson must be aggressive and is conscious of time management. This means they understand how to target and qualify prospects. They aren’t here to please prospects, but to close deals (or move on).
  9. They continually learn. It doesn’t matter where they start, the best are always improving regardless of age or experience. They actually read the sales books given to them and challenge the entire company to better understand the prospects and customers.

Of course, being the best translates to hitting their sales and gross margin numbers. Your bad salespeople are regularly stuck between 1-2 times gross margin. Your good salespeople are hovering between 2-3X. The great ones are at 4X and beyond. Investing more time in your better salespeople is easy math. Is it time to cut the cord on your lowest performer? The answer is YES if it’s affecting the time you can spend with the rest of the team.

It’s time to grow faster~ Drew

drew@blueoctopusllc.com

blueoctopusllc.com

4 Tips to Become More Memorable

10 Oct

In sales, we must be memorable. How do we do that in 2019?

The other day as I was digging out some old boxes and organizing my storage, I ran across an unopened box of 1987 Topps baseball cards. I decided that I was going to open a few packs…

As I opened the first one, a wave of nostalgia kicked in, carrying with it a rush of childhood memories surrounding collecting baseball cards. The feel of the waxy paper that held the cards, the gum stain on the last card in the pack, the players that I cherished from that season and the old piece of gum itself. I even had to try the gum – but wouldn’t recommend it to anyone else!

The human mind cements an incredible amount of memories attached to a smell. If you grew up playing tennis, open a fresh can of balls and it will likely induce some nostalgia from the old days on the courts. The smell of chlorine may cause you to recall positive memories at the swimming pool. Freshly baked chocolate-chip cookies might take you back to your childhood when mom pulled them out of the oven.

These memories are powerful and even emotional. The positive emotion is what cements it as memorable. But you might sell something that your prospects can’t even touch (much less smell) … how do you become memorable enough so that they will think of YOU when it’s time to buy?

1. It starts with being UNIQUE. If your product or service doesn’t have an attribute that separates it from anything else in the world or is easily replicated, the only differentiator is price. And if lowering the price is your method of landing the next client, you’ve already lost. What is your unique differentiator? Are you clearly articulating to the prospect its advantages and benefits? This is an absolute must.

On the same note, make sure YOU are memorable alongside your company’s product or service. Are you differentiating yourself and highlighting your strengths?

 2. You LISTEN well and ask purposeful questions. Your next prospect doesn’t really care about your offering. They are concerned about their problem or challenge ahead. On an appointment, I strive to understand the prospect’s three biggest priorities at the moment. If I don’t have a solution to those priorities, it’s probably not the right time to be closing.

3. You are CONSISTENT. The last time you were in front of the prospect, it was the wrong time – but the very next month, your solution may be relevant. Are you keeping in touch until the moment is right? This is one of the simple keys to developing my last point – trust.

4. You establish TRUST. They might like the fact that you were present but didn’t push. Or maybe you helped them in a different way with a referral or pointed them in the direction of a solution that you personally don’t sell. Maybe their communication style is short and sweet, so you mimic them by also quickly getting to the point. Trust is many things, but it comes down to them having absolute confidence in YOU.

On a recent appointment, I brought the prospect a cup of Starbucks coffee. I chuckled to myself as they peeled off the lid and took a deep breath, taking in the aroma that led them back to some unknown memory. Unless you are selling scratch and sniff stickers, you aren’t going to sway the prospect with a childhood memory. Being memorable comes through the hard work of listening, consistency, trust and clearly communicating what makes you unique. 

It’s time to grow faster~ DREW

drew@blueoctopusllc.com

blueoctopusllc.com

The Effect that Good and Bad Apples have on your Sales Team

18 Sep

A “great” salesperson isn’t just a performer – he/she is a team player who is able to help co-workers due to their experience from past challenges and successes. A “bad” salesperson isn’t only a poor individual performer, they are a bad employee even as they attempt to sell for the organization.

I often talk about the importance of hiring strong salespeople, but today I’m sharing a true story about the positive impact of a great salesperson – and another example of the ramifications of keeping a bad salesperson.

The Good Apple

A few years ago, I was consulting with a company and running their monthly sales meeting. Other than their monthly meeting and separate one-on-ones with their leadership, I had little contact with the salespeople outside of those two hours a month. My job was to run a great meeting and motivate the salespeople while keeping them on track.

What the meeting was lacking was a veteran salesperson. I asked ownership why their top three performers weren’t required to attend the meeting and convinced them that we needed to have the best of the three present at the next three sales meetings.

We quickly determined that Julie was their best all-around salesperson. She knew which suspects made great prospects… she knew how to balance the workload and pressure of hitting her goals… and Julie knew how to close.

Because I wasn’t a full-time salesperson in the company, Julie was better equipped to share real examples with the greener group of 8 salespeople. I asked Julie to attend three meetings and basically, made her a one-person panel.

  1. At the first meeting, I asked her 10 questions about lead generation and the activities she focused on in order to always have enough prospects in her sales pipeline.
  2. In the second meeting, I focused my 10 questions on targeting and qualifying. Which suspects and prospects deserved her time?
  3. In the third meeting, it was all about the close. How did she hit her record numbers over the past year? Exactly what was her sales process all the way to close? She knew the questions that I was going to ask ahead of time and never failed to show up prepared with great examples and stories.

WWJD?

By the end of that third meeting, I saw the sales team’s eyes light up. For the next few months it was WWJD – What Would Julie Do? We talked about how she built up her base of clients over the last four years. We discussed her obstacles and how she overcame them. The effect she had on that group as a significant sales performer was immeasurable. By the end of that year, the company had surpassed their 16% projections – mainly because of the newer group of salespeople getting out of the gate faster than expected. I give most of the credit to Julie.

The Bad Apple

This past year, I had a 6-month project working with a software company. Before I started the engagement, we gave a sales assessment to the entire team of 11 salespeople. 4 of them were clearly wired for sales. 6 of them seemed coachable and had the potential to become top performers. One was an obvious misfit for the sales role.

Thomas was the sore thumb. He had been there for two years and hit his goals just once out of all eight quarters. I joined him on a sales call and caught him out-right lying to a prospect. As I dug in, I realized that there were two tough customers the company worked with – both clients had been landed by Thomas. In my second month, a project manager shared with me that there had recently been an issue with a client that had been promised a delivery date that wasn’t humanly possible. Guess who was behind that promise? Thomas.

Thomas showed up to half of the internal meetings late. He blew me off as someone that couldn’t help him with his sales process. He had a likeable personality and supposedly a huge rolodex when he was hired, but he wasn’t a good salesperson.

The year prior, half of the salespeople hadn’t hit their numbers. It didn’t seem to be a problem with their software, operations or delivery. The problem seemed to rest squarely on the sales team’s lack of activities. And Thomas had the least phone calls, least appointments and fewest proposals the prior quarter.

Harvard Review recently did a study (https://bit.ly/2FrduBJ) and found that “employees are 37% more likely to commit misconduct if they encounter a co-worker with a history of misconduct. This result implies that misconduct has a social multiplier of 1.59 — meaning that, on average, each case of misconduct results in an additional 0.59 cases of misconduct through peer effects.”

I convinced management to cut ties with Thomas. Without his negative presence, I’m confident that most of this team will hit their 3rd and 4th quarter numbers if they commit to the activities. For those underperforming, their chances probably doubled the day he walked out the door.

The bad apple exists in most companies. If he/she sits in the sales team, they are costing you real money. Good apples pay dividends – not just in terms of their individual production, but the amazing effect that they can have on the rest of the team.

It’s time to grow faster~ Drew

drew@blueoctopusllc.com

blueoctopusllc.com

YOU are the Sale

17 Jul

In 2019, we are selling ourselves. It doesn’t matter what your position might be – frankly, it becomes more and more important the higher you are in a company. And as an entry level salesperson, you carry YOU forward – whether that’s at the same company all your life or more likely, whatever career is generated from your first few years in the workplace.

How do you sell yourself today?

1 – You have a kick-butt LinkedIn profile. Because that’s what professional people do. You also have other social media sites – at least Facebook – where you are community-facing on a regular basis. In the old days, networking happened in your neighborhood or at your place of worship or the grocery store where you knew everyone. Today, it’s on the world wide web.

2 – You operate every day with every person under the golden rule. People around you start saying (because you usually succeed at living the golden rule), “I wonder what that guy does…”. They won’t listen or remember – unless they ask with genuine curiosity. That curiosity only comes when they like you as a human being.

I grew up learning from people and many sales books that the buyer didn’t need to like you. It’s actually true – but then you can only be one thing – an expert with a perfect product or service. In case you aren’t the expert yet and/or your product service is only very good in a competitive field, genuine, trusting relationships go a long way in the ten years that I’ve been running my own business.

3 – You are authentic. Part of being likeable is being vulnerable. You have a couple warts and you talk about them openly.

For example, I don’t like golf. That makes me a bit odd in the business community, but I haven’t played a hole since my third child was born. Somehow, I’m accepted.

I’m also a spazz. My children and fiance definitely understand this. They also know they can say “shoosh you dumb bear”… and I’ll immediately realize that I might be talking an octave too high about something that probably isn’t that big of a deal.

4 – You strive to be the best in the world at something. It doesn’t have to be work-related because whatever it is, it makes you human and helps people remember you. I’m not the best in the world (yet) but my passions and talents are in writing. I’m a recruiter, consultant and salesman, so I decided to put off the fiction novel and pour my efforts into these blogs and business books until I’m 50 (then I write the novel).

If you have these four principles above well in hand, there are many directions you can go from there. It’s all about taking your passions and making you memorable – beyond the privacy of your friends and family...

You’re good at golfing… then represent your company at EVERY charity tournament this year.

You’re a juggler… then learn how to juggle EVERYTHING and tell everyone about it (think concise, short stories 🙂 ).

You love to travel… is your office covered with pictures from your vacations away? What’s the front-page screensaver on your phone? Buy a padfolio with photos on the cover. Start a blog for photos or writings.

You’re a pastry chef… then why isn’t EVERYONE at your office getting a birthday cupcake from you every year? Or maybe deliver some cakes to your clients? They will think you are nutty… but they won’t forget you.

You’ve got a heckuva story to tell… you don’t have to be a writer to be an author. What would be cooler than starting your own book? I can help you with that one if you reach out.

It’s time to grow faster~ Drew

drew@blueoctopusllc.com

Blogs Written at a 5th Grade Reading Level are Better?

9 Apr

start

Surprisingly, blogs (or any of your marketing materials) that are written at lower grade reading levels typically get the most attention. I’m failing. My last three blogs were written at 8th, 9th and 9th grade reading levels. This article is written at an 8th grade level. I’m striving for a 7th grade reading level.

The Wall Street Journal is written at an 8th grade level. My local paper, the Star Tribune (and probably most newspapers), is written at a 5th grade level. Hemingway wrote at a 4th grade reading level and Leo Tolstoy wrote at a 7th grade level. The Affordable Care Act is written at a college reading level! 

4 reasons why I think blogs written at lower levels succeed:

1. Your entire audience can’t read at a 7th grade reading level. 

There’s a book called What Makes a Book Readable that cites:

  • 1/3 of adults read at a 2nd-6th grade reading level
  • 1/3 of adults read at a 7th-12th grade reading level
  • 1/3 of adults read at college levels

If you write at a lower level, everyone obviously has a better chance at being able to understand it.

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2. Even the smart people need new material dumbed down a bit.

Learning Solutions magazine says that we forget 50% of what we learn within an hour. The more complicated, the more likely we are to forget. Humans require immediate comprehension of the material to increase our chances of retaining the information; when reading an article, we are often reading about topics that we don’t know a lot about.

3333. We want it quick and fast. 

In the internet age, things get skimmed, not read. The most popular blogs are one of two types: Lists and How-to’s. The most attention any of my 100+ blogs have ever received was a recent post I did on the Top 50 Largest LinkedIn Groups (Largest Groups on LinkedIn). Lists are simple – and how-to’s tend to be quick lessons that can immediately be applied. It has been found that on screens, we read faster and consequently, understand less.

44444. Reading has changed.

With the younger generation clamoring to YouTube and Facebook for “news” and information – and communicating through short texts and emojis, the demographics have shifted to suit our shorter attention spans. As a writer or blogger, you should embrace this change versus fighting it. If you want to write the next Moby Dick, go for it! But recognize that half of your audience CANNOT comprehend it (granted, it is probably much better material than your average blog).

What is the ideal grade level for your writing? 

The answer is dependent upon your audience, but my overall point of this blog is that it is probably a few grades lower than what you think. A few suggestions for “improving” your score include keeping your paragraphs and sentences short, avoiding complicated and unnecessary words and breaking up your content. And a few pictures and bulleted lists go a long way in keeping the reader’s attention.

There is a measurement called the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level Reading Formula to determine the level of any piece of writing. It was first published in 1948 and it relies on the structure of the English language taking sentence and word length into consideration in order to determine readability.

How to figure out the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level:

  • If you are a user of Microsoft Word, go to the Review option at the top of the screen and Check Document.
  • This will give corrections (like spelling, as you probably know) and other refinements; after running through those, the Readability Statistics window will pop up.
  • Listed are the word counts and averages as well as the readability score which shows the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level of your document. This will pop up after you run through the suggested corrections and refinements.
  • If you aren’t a Word user, you can also go to this site to measure the documents readability: https://readable.com/
  • Here is another site for editing lengthy and complex sentences: http://www.hemingwayapp.com/
  • Lastly, there are a few other formulas if you’d like to try them out: the Gunning-Fog Score, the Coleman-Liau Index and the Dale-Chall Formula.

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Now, my title is a bit deceiving… I don’t think 5th grade level blogs are “better”. But if our end goal is to garner attention and educate, we need to be thinking of our audience and cater to them. I personally need to do a better job of making it easier to read my material. It’s not about dumbing it down but rather making your point clearer and more concise.

It’s time to grow faster~ Drew Schmitz

drew@blueoctopusllc.com

blueoctopusllc.com

 

Getting LinkedIn Recommendations

12 Mar

recommended

In my blog posts over the last six weeks, I’ve covered LinkedIn as a part of a 7-part series (this is my 7th and last post!).

In my opinion, recommendations (not to be confused with skill endorsements) are the most important section on LinkedIn. Recommendations are probably a bigger differentiator than anything else on their site.

If you are a job-seeker or salesperson, recommendations may be the number one thing that make people comfortable hiring or doing business with you. We can all tell people how great we are – but someone else’s words mean a lot more. Get at least 10 recommendations on your page.

givehands-and-heart

How do you get recommendations? Give them. I make a concerted effort to write them on a regular basis – and in most cases, it’s an opportunity to ask for one in return. Don’t make this a bigger deal than it is; write 3-4 sentences about why you think highly of them (and if you don’t, do not give them a recommendation!). And don’t get caught up in making it perfect. 

My recommendations say something like:

“I worked with Joe when we were both at ABC Company. I had the opportunity to see him in action and he did SOMETHING really well. I’d highly recommend Joe – please reach out if you have any questions!” (under SOMETHING describe 1-2 specifics).

This took me about 90 seconds to write.

write

Here are the 3 steps for writing a recommendation:

  1. Go to their LinkedIn profile and click on the 3 dots in the right corner. In the dropdown menu, choose Recommend.
  2. Choose how you know this person and your position at the time.
  3. Write your recommendation.

Clients and people that you’ve reported to are the best recommenders, but colleagues you’ve worked with can also provide a recommendation. Just like the ones you give – only ask those that think highly of you and/or love the service you provided them. So don’t be shy and ask for them! Then ask again… if they say yes the first two times, then politely pester them a third time until they actually write one for you.

People are heavily influenced by these so don’t wait until someone asks for your references after interviews – put them out there for the world to see! 

gifthatsallfolksIt has been fun breaking down some of the best features of LinkedIn over the past 6 weeks. If you took my suggestions to heart, you understand better how to sell, recruit, find a job, join groups and receive recommendations… and you probably have one of the better profiles on LinkedIn. The quality of your profile will have ongoing benefits.

Despite the length of my 2019 LinkedIn entries, we have not exactly covered the breadth of this site. If you have questions about anything on LinkedIn, feel free to reach out to me.

It’s time to grow faster~ Drew

drew@blueoctopusllc.com

http://www.blueoctopusllc.com

 

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/getting-linkedin-recommendations-drew-schmitz/

#linkedin

 

How to Maximize LinkedIn Groups

5 Mar

alone

This is my 6th entry in a 7-part series about LinkedIn. Feel free to check out my previous posts at: BlueOctopus. Next week, I’ll finish this series by covering recommendations.

Last August, LinkedIn updated the group section of their site and now have a dedicated team of engineers to support and focus on it. For a while, many of us were wondering if they were abandoning groups altogether – but even though their changes were subtler than I’d prefer, it’s a great sign that LinkedIn is now recognizing the importance of groups.

There are 6 primary reasons to join a LinkedIn group:

  1. Find a group that is specific to your industry.
  2. If you are looking for your next job.
  3. You are hiring.
  4. Your organization sells something.
  5. You’d like to lead a niche group (specific to your industry or otherwise).
  6. Discover various learning opportunities outside of your industry.

Searching groups on LinkedIn is a bit clumsy but can be done one of two ways:

  • Go to Groups by clicking on Work in the upper right. At the bottom of the page of your groups, you can click on Search other trusted communities that share and support your goals.
  • Otherwise, just use the normal search box in the upper left. Then you will have to define your search under More and change to Groups.

SUPER GROUPS. The largest groups have the most activity. That doesn’t always translate to being the best options, but it’s a great place to start. Here is a list of the biggest LinkedIn groups as of 2019: Top 50. By joining some of the larger groups on LinkedIn – including some specific to your industry – you give yourself further exposure to others.

Image result for i got a job

GET A JOB. If you are looking for a job, there are some obvious groups to join. If you aren’t looking for a job, you probably will be in the future, so joining a job group still isn’t a bad idea.

Here are three options for you: Linked: HR, Hub.Careers & Engineering Jobs Worldwide. These are larger group options but don’t forget to find smaller ones in your area and industry (LinkedMinnesota, Minnesota Job Seekers & Minnesota Jobs.com are examples in my home state). Also note that any and all groups can help a job seeker. They usually allow openings to be posted and can be extremely supportive for someone promoting themselves for work.

Image result for recruit

RECRUIT YOUR NEXT HIRE. If you are hiring, there might not be a better place to find your next hire than on LinkedIn. The Recruiter.com, The Recruitment Network and HR Jobs are great for full time recruiters and HR professionals. Also, join the three job groups mentioned above. And again, find a niche group to your industry and look for those specific to your area.

Image result for catching fish

LAND A NEW CUSTOMER. If you’ve read my past articles, being active on LinkedIn as a salesperson is a no-brainer. Figure out where your prospects hang out and join all those groups. Worst case scenario, join all of the largest groups as this will allow you to directly message more people.

Image result for niche

 

FIND INDUSTRY & NICHE GROUPS. If you are in marketing, social media or just curious about this industry, join SocialMediopolis, Digital Marketing, Marketing CMO Social Media Business Digital, Marketing Communications and Media & Marketing Professionals Worldwide. These are huge groups because marketing folks are among the most active on LinkedIn for obvious reasons. But if you are a project manager selling SaaS software, join a project manager and SaaS group… if you are fascinated with cryptocurrency, join those groups.

Niche groups are wonderful for everyone. Join a few and determine which ones are the most active. Even the smallest can be wonderfully effective depending upon their activity (and the manager that runs the group).

Image result for lincoln color

BE A LEADER. You may want to consider starting and running your own LinkedIn group. As a promotional tool for you and your business, this is a great way to build awareness, position yourself as an expert, showcase your company, generate interest and nurture relationships. You may also be a part of a smaller group of people that you just want to “collect” for internal discussions (I’ve done so for two alumni groups). Just make sure if you start one, that you are actively leading the group and contributing to discussions at least on a monthly, if not weekly, basis. For more detail on starting and managing your own group, here is a resource: https://buffer.com/library/linkedin-groups.

Related image

GROW YOUR BRAIN. Sometimes the benefit of LinkedIn isn’t a job, a hire or a new client. LinkedIn is a great place for educating yourself about the latest and greatest trends in business, technology, your industry/interests and other happenings in the world. There are people like me that post articles but within groups, there is all sorts of additional content – and you can post questions to the group. People love helping people and LinkedIn can be a great example of that.

If you want to join groups privately: 

  1. Click the Me icon in the top right of your LinkedIn homepage.
  2. Select Settings & Privacy from the dropdown.
  3. Click the Communications tab at the top of the page.
  4. Under the Channels section, click Change next to Email frequency.
  5. Click the Right icon to the right of Updates from your groups.
  6. Check or uncheck the box next to the group you’d like to receive updates from.
  7. For more detailed control, click Manage to the right of the group name.

Once you’ve joined a few groups, you can message other members directly, post new conversations within the group (like “I have an opening!”) and comment on others’ posts without requiring a first degree connection. 

I highly recommend doing some work searching and joining groups. There are too many benefits, so join a few more this week!

It’s time to grow faster~ Drew

drew@blueoctopusllc.com

blueoctopusllc.com

The 50* Largest Groups on LinkedIn

26 Feb

hugepublishable

Over the past month, I’ve been trying to find a way to cull a list of the largest groups by searching on LinkedIn and the web… apparently, it’s not that easy. There hasn’t been an updated list (that I can find) since 2017, so I’ve assembled the 50 LinkedIn groups below and would like to share them with you. There is an asterisk next to my title as it required a lot of inefficient hunting and pecking, so I wouldn’t be surprised if I’ve missed a group or two or three that tops 300,000. If you know of one, please make a comment (or email me) and I’ll get this updated!

Please see my blog series on the LinkedIn topic at: blueoctopusllc.wordpress.com. I go into further details about selling, recruiting, job seeking, groups and recommendations.

There are many groups that have 200,000-300,000 members but the list below contains all that currently surpass 300,000 (note you can click name to link to any of the groups listed):

  1. SocialMediopolis.com (1.9 Million members)
  2. Software & Technology Professionals (1.8 Million)
  3. Digital Marketing (1.2 Million)
  4. Harvard Business Review (1.1 Million)
  5. Linked: HR (969K)
  6. Finance Club (900K)
  7. Forum VAGAS.com  (894K)
  8. The Project Manager Network (865K)
  9. The Recruiter.com Network (833K)
  10. Marketing CMO Social Media Business Digital (743K)
  11. Dubai Recruitment (715K)
  12. Marketing Communications (700K)
  13. On Startups (638K)
  14. Telecoms Professionals (599K)
  15. Media & Marketing Professionals Worldwide (582K)
  16. Lean Six Sigma (572K)
  17. Pete Asmus’ Real Estate Networking (565K)
  18. The Recruitment Network (543K)
  19. Sales, Marketing, Social Media, Advertising and Technology (542K)
  20. Future Trends (534K)
  21. Retail Industry Professionals Group (525K)
  22. Engineering Jobs Worldwide (515K)
  23. Banking Careers (504K)
  24. Finance Plus: Private Equity Venture Capital and M&A News (481K)
  25. Consultants Network (468K)
  26. Digital Marketing: Social Media, Search, Mobile & more (464K)
  27. Cloud Computing, SaaS & Virtualization (460K)
  28. Oil & Energy Recruitment (453K)
  29. Oil & Gas People (445K)
  30. Hub.Careers (423K)
  31. Cloud Computing (410K)
  32. Information Security Community (399K)
  33. Event Planning & Event Management (379K)
  34. Project Manager Community (379K)
  35. Procurement Professionals (374K)
  36. MarTech Advisor BD Guild (368K)
  37. Vagas & Jobs (368K)
  38. Pharmaceutical Jobs (351K)
  39. SAP Community (351K)
  40. Big Data and Analytics (348K)
  41. Executive Suite (333K)
  42. Java Developers (326K)
  43. Information Technology, FinTech, Blockchain and Bitcoin (326K)
  44. Oil & Gas Industry Professionals (316K)
  45. Marketing Pros – Largest Marketers Group (312K)
  46. Sales Best Practices (310K)
  47. Sales Management Executives (310K)
  48. Business Development – the Missing Link (309K)
  49. International Export Group (307K)
  50. .NET Developers (302K)

thumbsblogWho did I miss? Let me know!

If you enjoyed the post and are a LinkedIn user, please do me a HUGE favor – click on this link to the Pulse article and reshare or give it the thumbs up icon: LinkedIn Pulse article Thank you!

It’s time to grow faster~ Drew

drew@blueoctopusllc.com

blueoctopusllc.com

 

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/linkedins-35-largest-groups-drew-schmitz/

#linkedingroups #largestlinkedingroups #linkedinrecruiting #linkedinsales #sales

Get a Job on LinkedIn

20 Feb

job seeking

This post is the 4th in a series in which I’m covering LinkedIn in detail. The past two entries focused on selling and recruiting on LinkedIn. Recommendations and groups are the final two topics soon to follow this article.

You don’t have to read my first three posts to understand this entry, but I’d highly recommend you go back to the recruiting topic (Recruiting on LI blog). If you are going to use LinkedIn to find your next job, you should understand how recruiters, HR professionals and hiring managers may be using it.

As a job seeker, it’s crucial that you have a great profile – below I’ve highlighted seven areas on which to focus.

#1 – Your Photo. I believe people can go overboard regarding the importance of your picture on LinkedIn, but this IS the first thing people see. Make sure it’s not a lame selfie – but a good head shot. Absolutely do not use LinkedIn without including a picture of yourself.  It personalizes and warms up interactions. And when there isn’t a photo, I usually assume that the person doesn’t actively use LinkedIn.

#2 – Headline. Besides your photo, this is the first thing people see even if they don’t click into your profile. A headline is limited to only 120 characters, so make it clear – state what you do and/or what you are looking for. If you aren’t working, it’s a must to put “Actively Seeking Employment” on this line. Even better, “Actively Seeking Employment as a SaaS Salesperson” is the type of descriptive headline you might want to use. What do you want people to know about you? Mine personally states that I’m a Sales Recruiter, Sales Coach, Consultant, Author and Speaker. That’s clear, concise and covers all the things that I do as an entrepreneur. Be sure to take advantage of this line.

Editing these sections is done by clicking on the pencil on the upper right-hand side of your profile page. The intro section includes your photo, headline, name, current position, education, location, industry, contact info, summary and media attachments. It’s not mandatory, but consider attaching a video, documents and/or samples of your work. 

#3 – Summary. This section is at the top when someone clicks to view your profile. You can be fairly descriptive about yourself as it allows for 2,000 characters. The summary should be about YOU because it gives people a chance to learn about your talents and what “makes you tick”. I think it’s important to not only illustrate what you offer and are looking for, but also show a little bit about your personality. This is your opportunity to share more than what a one-dimensional resume describes about you.

After your summary, be sure to fill out Experience and Skills & Endorsements. Experience is your work history – I suggest you copy and paste EXACTLY what is on your resume. Selecting your skills are easy and important; but in my opinion, getting endorsements of your skills from others is a silly feature so don’t bother asking for them.

#4 – Keywords. Don’t underestimate the importance of these. By optimizing your keywords, you will turn up higher in search results. These are the words others will enter into the search box when recruiting qualified candidates. I would suggest repeating industry key words in your areas of expertise so that you will be easily found in advanced searches.

#5 – Recommendations. Much different than the triviality of skill endorsements is the importance of getting recommendations. I can’t stress enough their importance! I care more about what other people say about you than what you tell me about yourself. Clients and people that you’ve reported to are the best recommendations – but colleagues as well as others you’ve worked with on projects can also write one for you. Don’t be shy – ask for them! Then ask again… if they say yes the first two times, then pester them a third time until they actually write one for you.

What is the best way to get a recommendation? Give them to other people on LinkedIn that have impressed you over your career – and then ask for one in return. You should get 3-5 recommendations as a job seeker… but you know a lot of people so why not get 10+? People are heavily influenced by these so don’t wait until they ask for your references after interviews – put them out there for the world to see!

#6 – Job Alerts. These are a confidential way to advertise that you are looking. Through job alerts, you can let others know you are open to opportunities with specific companies – and only those companies will be aware of your interest.

  • Click on Me in the upper right then Settings & Privacy; under Privacy, select Job seeking preferences.
  • Next, search for the companies that you’re interested in on the LinkedIn homepage.
  • On the Company Page, click the Jobs tab.
  • Click Create Job Alert to setup alerts for when the company posts jobs that match your skills.
  • Once you create these, you can also let recruiters know that you’ve have job alerts for their company by switching the toggle to On.

Ongoing, you can view and manage your list of company alerts for by clicking Manage job alerts on the Jobs page. Here you can also manage your specific job alerts from the section – At companies you’ve saved job alerts for.

Obviously, LinkedIn has its own job postings that you can easily navigate by clicking on Jobs at the very top. You are going to need to be proactive with your network and connections, as this feature (and job boards in general) won’t necessarily get you hired.

After all that work, you now have a great profile!

#7 – Introductions. The best thing that LinkedIn can do for a job seeker is help you find the specific name of the person to contact. You can find the hiring managers, leadership and HR contacts and reach out to them directly.

You probably aren’t connected to that person, so find out who is and get an introduction. They don’t have to be hiring – but they will likely be flattered if you tell them that you want to work for them. This may get you in the ideal situation in which you are the only person interviewing for an opening not even posted.

Use LinkedIn to its fullest potential because it is so much more than a black & white resume! If your search isn’t confidential, don’t be hesitant to tell everyone you know well that you are on the hunt – and the more specific you can be, the better. 

Good luck chasing your dream job!

It’s time to grow faster~ Drew

drew@blueoctopusllc.com

blueoctopusllc.com

Selling with LinkedIn

7 Feb

Lion-Panthera-Leo

In last week’s blog, I introduced this 7-part blog on LinkedIn  (https://bit.ly/2Gcmsnh). This is the second in the series (Recruitment, Job Seeking, Groups & Recommendations to follow).

I think the number one use for LinkedIn is for selling you – and your product or service. Below are six ways in which it helps you sell.

#1 – You can search and find the right prospects by name and title. Not only can you find people within companies you are targeting, but you will also see the connections that you have in common (hint, hint – maybe you can get an introduction). If someone works in a white-collar business, they are likely to be found on LinkedIn, so this is a great place to mine information.

#2 – It also allows you to learn a little more about that person. It’s incredible how much information we can gather about someone through LinkedIn before even speaking to them. I’d suggest using a plug-in tool called Crystal. It gives you a detailed summary of the personality of the individual (it gives you 10 free profile views per month and a paid account provides unlimited views). It’s amazingly insightful, using an algorithm for the way a person communicates on the LinkedIn platform. Crystal is a simple tool that is just another way of making this social media site even more effective.

Inversely, when people are buying from you, they probably go to your LinkedIn to gather information about you (just as often or more often than visiting your company website). In 2019, your prospects and customers are more informed than ever prior to meeting you. It isn’t just about your company and products/service – they are becoming more knowledgeable about you personally… so building a great profile is key (especially your Headline & Summary).

#3 – Like Facebook, it’s great for staying connected with people. It’s your 2019 Rolodex – and this Rolodex updates itself for you.

#4 – Networking. It’s ideal for ongoing networking before and after you’ve met someone in person. And it’s also cool that you already know what they look like when you are meeting someone at a busy coffee shop for the first time!

#5 – InMails. LinkedIn has a variety of pricing plans which offer you a certain number of “InMails” (messaging within LinkedIn) for reaching people that aren’t first degree contacts. I don’t think paying for it is a must – but if you do consider a paid plan, I think InMails are the best part of paying for an upgraded subscription.

#6 – LinkedIn Open Networkers. Last week, I talked about being a cat or dog on LinkedIn… but, you actually want to be a LION! LIONs (Linked. In. Open. Networkers.) are willing to connect with anyone. If you are a salesperson, why wouldn’t you want to make a connection with as many people as possible? It may be an employee of a company you are trying to sell into – or it may be a person that lives in another city that is willing to grab dinner with you when you are in town (I once had drinks with a LION connection in Stockholm). As a salesperson, why not open more doors – at the very least, those specific to your industry?

The key to being a LION is basically the “6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon” game… LinkedIn shows your 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree connections: You know George Smith who knows Amy Larson (a 2nd degree) and she knows Margaret Thatcher (3rd degree). The trouble with searches is that you can’t see profiles unless they are 1st, 2nd or 3rd degree connections (and in many cases, it doesn’t even show 3rd degrees). If you want to find more people, you need to be connected to more people. So, advertise yourself as a LinkedIn Open Networker or LION on your headline. I have over 14,000 connections and I receive 5-10 invitations a day from other LIONs – the overall effectiveness is exponential.

You can search for LIONs (see “People filters” for different categories) and send them invitations. They will always accept your invite and not put you at risk. Typically, if someone receives your invitation and they don’t know you, they can click “I Don’t Know” this person… and that’s a red flag. If you receive some of these flags (the number is an undisclosed LinkedIn mystery) – they can suspend or shut down your profile.

If you aren’t doing so already, use LinkedIn to aid your selling efforts. As a salesperson, it’s a must. 

It’s time to grow faster~ Drew

drew@blueoctopusllc.com

blueoctopusllc.com