As a certified practitioner of Neuro Linguistic Programming, I have found it to be extremely effective, and have used it as part of my training programs for years! With very good success!
However, in todays “digital” and “socially connected” world, sales people need to learn another kind of NLP: Networking, Learning and Posting!
Let me explain! There’s an old saying in business: The opposite of networking is NOTworking! So many sales people fail at this. And I don’t understand it. How is anyone going to be successful if they aren’t constantly networking! And in the new world, we have more than one way to network! It used to be that networking was just going to events and meeting people face to face. And that is still true! Sales people absolutely need to do this! But that is linear! One to one! It is no longer enough!
Today, when we speak of networking, we mean getting your name and brand out to the places it matters! Blogs, LinkedIn groups, industry websites, etc. A few weeks ago, I was at an event and I introduced myself. The person immediately responded: “Oh, Anthony Solimini. I just read one of your articles in the SCMP!” I have never met this person, yet they knew who I was. Much more powerful than a cold introduction.
So, that leads me to the “Learning” part of the new NLP. Sales people today not only need to learn about their products and services, industry trends, prospecting skills, etc., but also how they can get their personal brand and identity out to the places where you can find leads!
It doesn’t matter that you have worked in sales for twenty years. Your learning and education are an ongoing process. Subscribe to sales blogs, attend webinars and conferences, have conversations, and get into arguments. Similarly, continue to stay up-to-date on your industry so that you can provide relevant, highly-specific consulting to your prospects and clients. Never rely on information that is several years old!
Knowledge is power, especially in today’s rapidly-changing world. Salespeople quickly become irrelevant when they stop exploring, questioning, and trying new strategies. Keep in mind that today’s strategy, fact, or statistic might be tomorrow’s mistake. I have trained 1,000s of sales people and this is particularly true for older sales professionals. It’s a different world. Embrace it! Or fail.
And finally, we get to the P in the new NLP: POSTING! Yes, posting. It’s no longer just for teenagers on Instagram. Let me explain.
I Google my name all the time and have an alert set up to notify me of anytime my name I mentioned in the news an article, a blog, etc. (Yes, salespeople have big egos!)
As a matter of fact, go Google your own name. If you don’t appear at all, that’s a major red flag. If you appear in only a few hits, that’s also a problem! Why?
Let me explain using some psychology! The “recency heuristic” (also called the availability heuristic) is a cognitive bias in which the mind perceives the credibility of something to be proportional to the ease of remembering it.
In other words, the more available it is to the mind, the more weight it’s given. In other words: If it’s easy to remember, it must be good.
So we’re biased towards things that are easier to remember. This internal bias is one of the drivers for “top of mind” advertising, which is why companies like McDonald’s and Coca-Cola spend millions of dollars every year to advertise a product everyone knows about. They want to come up first in your mind when you think, “I’m hungry and thirsty.”
Every time you post on LinkedIn, or any other social media website, the people who see your post get a little ping, a little reminder of you. They might not engage with the post. In fact, they may not even consciously remember seeing it. But you’ve made it a little easier to remember you. The likelihood that you are at the top of their list when it comes to your product or service increases dramatically.
Sales today is still about face to face. It always will be to close the deal. However, the more you can do BEFORE you actually meet the client the easier your life will be and the more deals you will close. Research shows that today, 67% of the buyer’s journey is now done digitally. So you need to give them a reason to choose YOU before you even meet them.
So let me conclude with some tips that you must implement immediately if you are selling in the new world!
· Spend time learning and networking “online” to find out where your prospects spend their time. That is your target for “social networking”
· Post your thoughts, your successes, your views, your new ideas, anything that adds value to the reader for your specific industry. When your network sees your posts talking about your areas of expertise, they unconsciously extend your expertise beyond just the topic of the post. You become more competent all-around. Likewise, when you share a client success story, or a picture of you with your clients or even colleagues at a conference, that credibility extends beyond you into the offline world.
· Engage with the content of prospects and others you want to influence. When you like, comment on, or share the content that someone else has posted, the LinkedIn algorithm thinks, “Oh, these two people are close enough to engage with each other.” That means that you are more likely to see posts by them…and more importantly, that they will more likely see posts from you.
· Anchoring describes a bias in which we give an outsized amount of value to the first piece of information obtained when making a decision. People “anchor” around that first piece of data. It’s why first impressions are so powerful: whether we like it or not, all further impressions are influenced by the first. This is the same reason that I teach salespeople to offer a higher initial price when presenting to prospects. Prospects will anchor their expectations around that initial number and you’ll probably end up at a higher number by the end of your negotiation. The question to ask is: What is your personal brand anchored to? If they don’t think about you at all then it’s not anchored to anything. But if they see regular updates on social from you, you’re anchoring them around the brand message that you want. You’re anchoring it to “competence” and “expertise.”
Good luck! And remember, all you can control is y our PERSONAL BRAND! So make sure it’s in line with what you want it to be! If I Google you, does your brand shine through?