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Imagine it’s 7:30 a.m. and more than fifteen CEOs, business owners and presidents are logging into LinkedIn for an interactive workshop. The day before, more than twenty-five executives showed up for the same workshop during a torrential downpour and tornado warning.

Now, imagine the sales manager walks into the conference room and says,  “I am too busy to attend this workshop, sorry.”

We all know someone like this person. They are always too busy, they are mired in “stuff.” Their world is on fire, and only they can solve it. I hope this is not you or your sales leader. If it’s you, reconsider your mindset. If you are the CEO or business owner and this is your guy, you need to coach them or move them out, because they cost you revenue, opportunity, talent, and relevance. They set a backward mindset in your organization.

Some might say that I didn’t do a good enough job of establishing my value as a trainer. Fair enough, but I didn’t even have a chance to let him know why it was important for him to attend. I think it has more to do with his attitude and mindset. I notice when people don’t take the chance to learn it’s because they are closed-minded. They have a bias steeped in an unwillingness to consider that there can be a better way, and a fear of the unknown. Oh, and they think they have all the answers.

I see it all the time. The people that show up for training, coaching and mentoring want to get better. They commit the time, energy and brain power to dig in and learn, even when they don’t want to or it’s outside of their comfort zone. 

I worked with a sales consultant years ago that reminded me that you don’t get the juice (the good stuff, i.e. a new client) without squeezing the fruit (the process of prospecting, engaging and adding real, substantial value). There has to be a willingness to learn how to sell in today’s world, set up a process, put it in motion, test it and follow through with modifications. This is true regardless of your industry, brand or maturity. Why? Because, as today’s buyers become younger and younger (I am not talking just those in their 20’s, I am referring to anyone under 55) this is where they vet and verify. More than 76% of B2B buyers go online to vet and verify you and your company. Are you relevant?

Salespeople and sales leaders who are not embracing their professional development and uncovering new ways to engage with prospects and customers also typically don’t meet their quota. They ultimately fail to increase their value to their company and customer.

It important to be relevant, today more than ever. Leverage insight and technology to engage with prospects and customers in new ways. Quality and service are table stakes; everyone has them. A backward mindset endangers your organization and quells innovation, engagement and positive disruption in your company.

It also gives your competitors a distinct advantage. When I spot a company who is not doing what it takes to be relevant, to leverage platforms that enable networking and conversation with the right people at the right time, I look for their competitor. That’s the company I want as a client. I think, your customers and prospects would agree.

So, why not the company that isn’t finding new ways to network? They don’t have the story, the value, the resources, and the mindset to see it through. These are the companies who immediately want to have the ROI talk, or want to know what we are going to guarantee. They don’t understand that this is a marathon, a new way of thinking and engaging in business.

On a recent webinar I pulled up someone’s LinkedIn Company Page, and they had more than 3800 followers (people who say they are interested in this nonprofit) and yet there was not one piece of content posted on their LinkedIn Company Page. Interestingly, the person who worked for this nonprofit was surprised and even mentioned that those 3800 followers were more than the combined total of their Facebook and Twitter followers, even though they were using those social channels. What?!

What a missed opportunity for this nonprofit. How many followers do you have on your LinkedIn Company Page and how many are you overlooking?

Ahhh, I may have digressed. When the sales leader doesn’t fight for every dollar through for professional development and content for themselves and their team, they are probably not going to be able to drive the growth your business needs. Selling in today’s world is more sophisticated than ever, even for salespeople who sell, gulp, “transactionally.” Unless you have a sales training program, and the skills and tools to engage intentionally on LinkedIn and social channels you will be woefully behind. My guess is you may have already fallen behind. The question is how long will you let that slide?

LinkedIn and social channels are no longer new. LinkedIn has been around for thirteen years. Yes, thirteen years. I’ve been on LinkedIn every day for more than twelve years. The salespeople and companies who win embrace change.

The table stakes are higher than ever. Learning, encouraging and helping your employees understand and use LinkedIn to tap into their individual and collective networks and tell the story of your company/organization in a way that inspires people to want to work with you is critical to your success. The smart companies get this.

The sales leader who skipped my LinkedIn workshop most likely wouldn’t even recognize himself if he read this. I’m confident this post won’t be on his radar, but his CEO and his VP of Operations walked away from the workshop saying they had some work to do.

Do you?