Leigh: Hello and welcome to the better business podcast brought to you by Employsure. I’m your host Leigh Johnston and in the series we tackle the big issues in small business with the industry’s brightest minds. This month we’re looking at social selling. A new movement in the way business owners can generate leads, build customer relationships, and ultimately drive sales online. And this is a really important topic for the modern small business. It’s no a secret that the social media revolution has changed the way people research products and services and decide where they should buy.
Recent research suggests that half of shoppers spend at least 75% of their total shopping time conducting online research and while it might seem like the balance of power is in favor of the consumer, social selling actually levels the playing field by giving business owners new ways to find and connect with customers online. Data from hubspot found that 65% of sales people who use social selling fill their pipeline compared to just 47% of reps who don’t use social selling. Meanwhile, four in 10 sales reps have recently closed between two and five deals directly thanks to social media. When used correctly, platforms like Facebook, Linkedin and Instagram can be more than just ways to share the occasional post or selfie.
They can generate better leads, build your personal and professional brand and help you reach and connect with buyers in new and interesting ways. Joining us for this episode is Mark Mcinnis, an absolute pioneer and thought leader in this field. Think of anything sales related and this guy is doing it, has done it or is innovating it in some way. He’s Australia’s number one ranked social seller. He’s the founding member of the sales enablement society and has developed his own social selling training program called social for sales.
We’re really lucky to have him on the show and he talks us through the basic principles of social selling, how you can use it to grow your business and some of the online sales tactics you can use and more importantly the ones you should stay away from. It’s a fascinating chat and it offers some great tips for small business owners who have any kind of social media presence. And with that here’s my interview with Mark Mcinnis.
Mark is such a pleasure to have you on the show. Thanks for joining us.
Mark: Absolute. Pleasure to be here. Thanks for the invite.
Leigh: Let’s jump right in. You’re ranked as Australia’s number one social seller, how does that even work? Is that even a thing?
Mark: Yes, it is actually. The way that that works, Linkedin of course is a social media platform and at the premium end when you buy their premium software, they can actually track how effective you are or are not. I’ve been able to get people to connect with you, start conversations, reply to your messages, engage with your content, that sort of thing. And for a number of years I was just basically using some ethical persuasion strategies, which are very well known. So what that means is Greg linguistic skills and we were able to get basically a ranking of 98 out of 100, three years in a row. So then using that algorithm in the back of Linkedin. Linkedin, we’re able to determine how effective we were at getting people to communicate with us.
Leigh: And I imagine there’s a fair bit of competition on Linkedin as well. So that’s, that’s a fairly outstanding achievement.
Mark: Yeah. The really interesting thing is that myself and the guy that I worked with at the time, John Dugan, we wanted the three years that it actually ran, and that is testimony, not to our skill, but to the systems and processes that we use, that we just used a structure that would enable people to be more likely to reply the note or more likely to connect with you the note. So it wasn’t really a trick, it was just a structure, if you know what I mean and we won that award three years in a row.
Leigh: Okay. Well, you sound like you’re the right man to talk to about social selling. So it is a relatively new concept. A lot of people may not have heard of this particular term before. Can you tell us what is social selling?
Mark: Yeah. Okay. So social selling is really about using your preferred social media platform. And for me, that’s Linkedin to engage and educate your clients and your prospects. It’s a great tool for retention. So you need to able to engage your existing clients so that they don’t move off to your competitors and it’s a great tool to be able to drive new business. It’s a mixture between sales and marketing. So the social selling component is, or the language calling itself social selling is a little bit of a misdemeanor because you don’t actually say “Hi Leigh, please put your credit card in here and buy my goods and services.”
You’re doing that in more of a softer way about promoting and providing thought leadership if you like, around your products and service and saying “Hi, the people that are great in this space are currently using this for example,” a lot of people interact with that piece of content and then that gives you an opportunity to then reach out and have a conversation and in time those conversations and those interactions will become business. So it’s a mixture between marketing and sales. A lot of people get the mixture wrong either on one one way or the other.
Leigh: So it’s not the hard sell, but it’s not the occasional selfie or photo of your lunch either. There’s a little bit more strategy and forethought around this.
Mark: Yeah, that’s exactly right and I think you know at the very start that’s where people go wrong is they don’t have a strategy, so they just think, “I’m going to post pictures of myself on a podcast, for example, and that’ll go viral and I’ll be able to sell a whole bunch of something.” The reality is that you might get a lot of likes for a picture like that, but how can you transform that content and that interaction into a business conversation. Does it make sense?
Leigh: It does. It does. It absolutely does. It might be helpful also for small business owners to maybe go through what social selling isn’t. There are some of the things that are often considered social selling, but are clearly not. Not things that you would recommend people to.
Mark: Look, there’s two absolute standouts. The first one, and particularly Linkedin, again I’m very focused on Linkedin, is people will try and connect with you and then straight away they’ll say, “Hey Leigh, would you like to buy my products and services? Thanks for connecting.” So it’s basically spam, renal wars, just a cold outreach. So it’s definitely not that. You don’t need to be a little bit more intelligent than that, a little bit more marketing focused in that but it’s also not just promoting and posting your companies, whether it be large or small content tirelessly without any commentary or any thought behind it.
One of the big challenges I see in large organizations is somebody will make a press release. We’ve got a brand new flavor of flavored drink, for example. And then people will post that on social media and say that there’s social selling, but there’s not really any reason for people to interact with that piece of content and the reason why it’s called social is because people are interested in what you’re doing in your business. They’re not really interested in what your business is doing. And that’s a very subtle difference. But that’s the key.
If you’re standing there with a brand new flavor of fizzy drink and say “This is awesome because, I’ve just had my first can account wide to sell this all over the country,” that’s going to go really, really well and a lot of people are going to go, that’s great. When can I get my hands on some, which is completely different than just liking or re posting the advertisement from that large corporation. So you can say one of them is very, very authentic. Okay. And so the people that you’re connected with will go, “Hey, I’m really interested in what Leigh is doing. I’m going to lock that. I’m going to ask him for some more information.” Where one of them is just basically re posting an advertisement and people can see the difference.
Leigh: You’ve mentioned this word a couple of times, so I wanted to ask you about it to get a bit more clarity, a content, what kind of content should people be thinking about as a form of social selling?
Mark: Okay, well that really depends on what you’re comfortable with. There’s lots of stuff that you can post. You can take something from your organization and just reword it or reframe it. If you use that example of a flavored drink. You say, “Hi, here’s a brand new flavored drink and I think it’s awesome because,” and again, people are interested in that. You could find something from a competitor or from something that’s not terribly related to your industry and then reframe that. So if you’ve come up, you know, something from the Banking World Commission for example, it’s very topical at the moment.
You might talk about how one part of your industry nights, a royal commission or about how they’re concentrating on a part of consumer rights and how that might work in your industry, for example. So that’s very topical, so as far as content is concerned, you’ve got the typical things, you’ve got pictures, text, video chart goes very, very well, but this is a little bit harder for people to do and that can be a little bit shy.
Mark: It’s really very easy people, if you are listing, just make it and put it up. It’s not as … no one’s gonna judge you as much as what you think. They’re the big ones but I think that the key takeaway for me, a brand content is the content delivery strategy and we call that 411. And that is you could post four pieces of thought leading content about your industry. That’s not a direct plug for your business. So it could be high if you’re in sales and you’re interested in being better, here’s some great sales objection handling techniques for example or here’s how you could find people on Linkedin or here’s five things not to do on Linkedin and here’s something else that might be how do you set up a video?
How do you make videos very quickly and cheaply, for example. So there are four things that would help people in that space, but none of them are direct page for your business, but they’re all talking around being a styles thought later for example.
Leigh: So that’s an important distinction is that the content is designed to be helpful and really about positioning yourself and your business as that thought leader, providing helpful, valuable content to people to kind of organically bring people to use. Is that a fair summary?
Mark: Yeah, that’s exactly right. And the second part of that is the 411. One should be of your personal, picture of you with your clients or … some way for people to be able to engage with you as an individual. Again, it’s social media, so they interested in your social relationships. Okay. And the last one is the full pitch. “Hi, I’m running an event this Saturday. Come down, it’s 25 bucks,” or “I’ve got a new product, let me know if you want me to come and show it to you.” So, any more pitching than that and people start to lose their trust in your social content any less and then you just run the risk of just putting stuff up mindlessly without driving that sales or business conversations.
Leigh: So it is like, “Hey, I put the occasional picture of your puppy on Facebook,” but it’s got to be balanced with some thoughtful and helpful content as well.
Mark: Yeah, that’s right. So I think you’ve got to balance it out. Exactly right. So if you just put everything, photos of your puppy, you might get high levels of engagement. Okay. And that’s because puppies are really easy things to like, but how many of those puppy likes can you turn into a conversation about your business? Now, if you’re in the puppy grooming business, probably quite a few. But if you’re in professional services industry, then you’re actually wasting your time. You need to be able to post something where people say, “Hey, I like that.” And then you can go back and say, “Hi, Leigh, thanks for liking that article. What is it in particular that you liked about that fluffy puppy and how can I help you and your business?”
That conversation is really easy to have if you’re posting content about your industry and your area of specialty.
Leigh: And that’s a really important point because people will be more open to a harder sell if they’ve already received some helpful content, something that they found valuable, something that’s helped them in their day to day work. They’re going to be a little bit more receptive to having that conversation with you.
Mark: Yeah, well that is absolutely one of the cornerstones of ethical persuasion. And I referenced that at the start. So if you share something or give something away with the intention of starting something or getting something back, that’s called reciprocity, which is one of the principles of persuasion. And if you think about a waiter, you know when you go for dinner and you’re going for dinner with your wife or your partner, and then the waiter brings over the bill, they give you some means when you get that bill, why do they give you the means?
Leigh: I don’t know actually.
Mark: So that you’ll give them a tip.
Leigh: Right. Okay.
Mark: Okay. So there’s a reason why they give you the means that you haven’t paid for. They give you … some times in the Italian restaurants, a little pace of a drink of limon cello or something like that. And of course you’re supposed to feel an obligation to then tip a little bit higher than what you would, and research is clear that you do. How does that relate to social? So if you see a content that people are saying as valuable, they say as valuable and maybe you say, “Hi, I see you liked that article. Here’s another article I shared last week that you might also find interesting.” People are like, “That’s really thoughtful.” You now have the right to ask them for a conversation and they are incredibly more likely to say yes.
So if I was to share a piece of content and online you liked it, I said, “Thanks for that.” Then I said, “If you like that you might well like this can.” You won’t even read that piece of content, but then the week after that I can say “Hi Leigh, how do you go with that piece of content. I’d be really interested to know what’s going on in your business around employment right now for example,” because I’ve given you those two pieces of content, you’re going to reply.
Leigh: And that becomes a warmer lead. They’re more open to having that conversation.
Mark: Because most people don’t … Most they say is “I don’t have enough pop on. Well, then I’d have enough leads.” What they really mean is I just don’t know how to start those conversations.
Leigh: One of the biggest barriers that sales faces, that they feel too salesy. Is there a point at which social selling becomes too pushy or just irritate to lead rather than helps them?
Mark: Yes. Yes, absolutely. But I think it comes down to the phrasing and the way that you present that information. So nobody likes the emails in a row, everyone’s signed up for something downloaded, a piece of paper about something that you were interested in, whether it be motor barks, recording consoles, microphones, whatever the case might be. You’re interested in it. So you said, let me have a look at that report and then before you know it, you get emails. Even though you’re somewhat interested in that piece of original content, you’re going to get tired of those ratios. So the trick is, again, it’s about phrasing that trying to give people an easy way to get out, but also understanding that people aren’t going to respond every time that you send out an email.
What I find is most people actually chicken out and they will only send two emails and say, “Well, Leigh wasn’t actually interested,” and what I’d be suggesting is you probably need a process to run between seven and 12 and the research is pretty clear that you need about 12 reach outs to engage a cold prospect or a warm prospect. And what I mean engage is engage into a conversation where most people stop well before that, but if you’re just doing salesy push outs and there is absolutely no personalization, that’s where people get turned off really quickly.
Again, if you’re saying, “Look Leigh, I’m reaching out to you because you liked this article and I’ve sent you this and we’ve already swapped a couple of messages on Linkedin, Facebook, whatever, then you’re going to be much more likely to put up with those seven to 12 touches without starting to think negatively. If I’m just sending you an email that he’s clearly templated and says “Hi Leigh, or hi nothing, blah, blah, blah, blah, go to our link, download our well, that’s clearly just cut and paste. Then within two touches you’re going to be annoyed at me. So again, I think it’s the power and the quality of the message that makes the difference.
Leigh: Okay, so some of the marketing methods that small businesses might be more familiar with is the traditional advertising and maybe some ad words and using social media in those more basic ways. This is a bit more of a shift though in kind of using people’s psychology and building relationships over time. Why is this such an important change from what people may have traditionally been doing to what current consumers are now expecting?
Mark: Okay, so one word trust. So Deloitte social media report, 2018 has been released about six weeks now. And in their report they talk about the level of trust that people, that’s the right way to describe it. How influential particular advertisements and other forms of media are in making people move to a purchase. Okay. And things like a billboard for example, has a rating of 35. So if you sell cars and you take a billboard for example, over the five whole bunch of people are going to see that billboard but not many people actually are interested in that brand, that type of car.
It might be a sports car and if I’ve got 10 kids, that’s not good. So you can see what I mean. The amount of people that are actually seeing that that are going to be potential customers is quite low. Whereas social media ranks second highest. So people inside your network, your social network, making recommendations or promoting their products or talking about their products and services ranks second highest only to direct recommendation from one of your family or friends.
Leigh: So word of mouth is still number one.
Mark: So word of mouth from family and friends is still number one, but social media. So remember if I’m connected to you on any of these social media platforms and I’m talking about objection handling for something for example, and you say, “I need to go and talk to somebody who’s a sales specialist,” you’re more likely to go, “Well I’ve seen Mark post a bunch of stuff and he seems to be pretty good, so I’m happy to recommend him.” Or if you’re making the purchase yourself, you’re going to say, “Well, I remember seeing Mark all the time, so I’m going to go and see him,” and you will see that more powerfully. That’ll drive you to action more powerfully than a TV ad, a billboard, any of those, or even my website.
So people don’t trust those mediums anymore. And that’s just the thing is that these social platforms are a form of word of mouth really. So, you have the direct recommendation, but then things like a Linkedin posts, that is another form of word now, so that takes up the top two spots, which means, so if your selling really is important.
Leigh: Yeah, absolutely. And I have a reasonable amount of connections on Linkedin, not massive, like literally 5,000. You would think I would have 10 times that. There’s a reason why I don’t but if I post something and it goes particularly well, I get 50,000 views and those 50,000 views will be some predominantly people inside my target market. Now to get that kind of saturation in Sydney for example, I would need to advertise pretty heavily on TV. And one of those two strategies costs a lot less than the other.
Mark: Tipping is the Linkedin stuff.
Leigh: Yeah, that’s exactly right. Is there any data or ROI numbers that indicate why this has become such an important marketing avenue?
Mark: There are, but little disclaimer they seemed to come predominantly from the digital marketing software providers. So you have to type them somewhat with a grain of salt. So you know, most of the mark statistics come from people like Linkedin, hubspot, hootsuite, and these guys are selling these platforms. So it’s in their best interest to make them look as good as what they can and they’re talking about the average salesperson, sorry, the salesperson that has more than a thousand connections on social media, for example, closes 50% higher deals that deals that are at a 50% higher rate than those that don’t.
You could then say, “Well, those types of people are probably more outgoing and more likely to be having social media and social conversations more frequently because maybe that fits their personality type and they also talk about people that have strong social selling experience, discount, a lot less and it’s about 20% from memory. So there is some data out there, but what I clearly say is that the people that are able to use social selling get more leads and they find the whole prospecting and prospecting and finding more customers much easier and they’re able to then make the structure of a social selling message and use it in face to face meetings if you like.
One of the big things I think has happened is marketing has driven our brains into marketing overdrive and we feel like we need to give every reason that people should buy from us every time we have a conversation whether that be online or face to face, social media you don’t have that much space. You’ve got 140 characters or for Twitter or whatever the case. So you need to be quickly succinct and just pick one target and go with it. And if you can use that in face to face in other selling situations or conversations, generally you’re going to be more successful.
Leigh: Why in your view is it so important for small business owners to really think about adding social selling to their marketing toolbox?
Mark: Because they can then compete with the big guys, with the big buckets. It doesn’t matter, particularly in services or in small business if … it doesn’t matter what it is that you do, you can build your network to directly fit your target audience. What I mean by that is if you’re located in Sydney and you sell just to barbers for example, in a very short period of time, you can connect one way or another to people that are barbers in Sydney. So your messaging is going to be extremely tight if you’re talking about things that barbers need and it’s going to be really easy for you to broadcast to all those types of people much easier than the large conglomerates who are gang going to try mass media, same TV or whatever the case may be.
And as I said before, social media is actually really, really more persuasive than these other forms of media anyway.
Leigh: And it’s more cost effective plus the playing field is leveled as well, really, isn’t it?
Mark: Yeah. That’s right.
Leigh: What are some of the best practice social selling tools that you’ve seen? I imagine it’s a matter of being fairly selective with the social media platforms you choose rather than just going off to everything.
Mark: Yes. Well, I think they’re absolutely there’s probe with. There will be some acceptance to one of our mentors, but generally, typically pick one or two and go with our surf, I mean B to B business and that’s why I sell to corporates so high tower people, CFOs, that sort of stuff, sales directors, they’re on Linkedin. If I was selling puppy wash, we spoke about that before then you know, Facebook or Instagram would be a great vehicle for that. And I think it’s just trying then make that poppy Bush vehicle look right. On Linkedin is going to be really difficult for you and vice versa. It’s really hard to talk about sales strategies or increasing your business on Facebook or on Instagram or know people.
Some people do do it because if I think about the way I consume social media. If I’ve got an Instagram or Facebook, I’m checked out. So I want to look at push box. So you don’t want to look at box and motorbikes and stuff like that. I don’t want to say, and even with work stuff in the fade, because by the time I’m flicking through Instagram, I’ve checked out for the day. Everyone will be a little bit different but then I think it’s really difficult, expensive and time consuming to own all those channels. So I’d say just pick one on the effort.
Leigh: And that’s a matter of knowing who your audience is, who your customers are and where they’re getting their information. And you can tailor from there.
Mark: Yeah, that’s right. So, if you’ve got a local, let’s call it a shop. If you ran an accounting firm, for example in Bell mine, people aren’t going to drive from Aubrey to come to your accounting firm unless you’re very, very good. Facebook might be the best way to go when you just do a local campaign and just work on the three or four suburbs around the 10 or 15 minute drive and then work on referrals for example, you know, how who else in your family could, needs a hand, can knock out one talks for example. But from a social media’s point of view, you just want to keep that local. I think Facebook would work in that instance.
Leigh: Are there any small businesses you’ve seen that are doing a particularly good job in this area? Can you give us some examples of what they’ve done and why they’ve been so successful?
Mark: Look, there’s lots and lots in the professional services space, all I can think of right now as is other consulting businesses that are similar to mine but and adjust to what they’ve done is been able to have a relentless message. Pick an enemy. So, we mentioned before about the big banks and I for example. So let’s say you’ve got a more ethical way of giving people access to their money. You might have just start telling a message constantly about how the big banks are doing a bad thing and just posting, you wanted to look too far to find articles that will support that will support that and then talk about how you’re doing a much better job. And then when people come on board, you just promote how people are taking, have they’re changing their lives as a result of fighting that enemy if you like.
So finding an enemy and then promoting the good and the bad side about that is really easy to do. There’s a guy called Graham Hawkins from sales tribe does a really, really good job. He’s got a recruiting business down in Melbourne and he does a fantastic job. He’s a small but growing team and he does a really super job on Linkedin and if you just followed him, there’s also some mortgage brokers do very, very well or sometimes I call wealth coaches. Christopher Bites is one who I think is worth following. He’s fantastic. He posts every day and it’ll be what it was in the news that morning. He will write a piece of commentary based around how that might impact you as an individual from a finance perspective.
Leigh: Oh Wow. That’s super responsive, isn’t it?
Mark: Yeah, and sometimes he’s wrong. You can’t be right all the time because he’s basically jumping on whatever is the lightest thing and then putting a stake in the ground, but I know that too many people are checking him on, because the … and he tells me that he gets all these business from social, every single one. So it’s just about going, this is broad, this is wrong. Someone’s made the wrong call. And he might be calling out people like Alan Kohler or those kinds of guys who are pretty big commentators. But when he thinks I get a wrong, he’s happy to say. I think Allen’s cold is wrong. You know the hailing knock, it’s not going this way. It’s going that way or rights aren’t going this way. You’re going to go this way.
And that’s because people are attracted to that. And he can have that out that morning for example. Rather than having to go through safe, it was through a typical advertising or a letterbox drop or it could take days to get finalized. He can come in straight away and have people looking at his posts and driving towards his business.
Mark: And it’s not as complicated as what you think. So he either takes a photo of the front page of the paper with his phone or just grabs a screen grab from the Sydney morning herald and then creates a, so that’s a picture post that and then just puts 300, 400 pieces of text straight into the posts. So he’s not writing a blog, he’s just making a whole post with a picture. And he’s grown driving great levels of engagement and has no need for new customers like it. Literally. And there’s a couple of other guys, Christian Steven’s does very, very well north Sydney, there’s Ryan King. Look these guys up on Linkedin and you can follow what they do.
They all do a similar sort of thing, Christians a bit more salesy. Ryan thinks a little bit more tactically if you like what to do and Chris has been more, you’d be saying Atarmon’s the next big thing. They’re all got their own little angle, but they drive great ground engagement and they’re doing a fantastic job and it’s just them. It’s not a marketing department, it’s not them and two assistants, it’s just cast name.
Leigh: I want to touch on something that you mentioned a minute ago as well about picking an enemy and that doesn’t necessarily have to be a competitor or another business for example, that could be dirty swimming pools or split ends or fleas on your dog or something like that. They can be enemies as well, right?
Mark: Yeah, that’s it. That’s exactly right because people are more likely to move away from a problem than what they are to move towards a benefit. All right, so think about this. If you’re walking down the street, let’s say the corner of George and King Street, pretty busy street and let’s not anymore because they’ve got the tram there. But when it was, if you saw $50 in the middle of the traffic, you’d probably think, I’m not going to pick that up. That’s out there. There’s cars everywhere. If that, and just pay attention to how you feel. If that $50 had flown out of your pocket, how do you feel?
Leigh: I’d run straight into traffic.
Mark: Yeah. Most people would. And that is because they feel a pain of losing that $50, which is much more powerful than the pain of winning $50 providing you don’t get run over by a car.
Leigh: Interesting. So that’s a real insight into people’s psychology and how they approach different problems and what they have invested in compared to what they don’t have invested.
Mark: That’s right. And it’s just a matter, again, with social selling and also sales in general of knowing which levers to pull and the fear of loss or someone’s pain points as much a bigger draw of a for action than a benefit. Most people started, let me save you time. Let me save you money. What you want to do is say you’re already spending too much money. If you had someone sit right near up and sit on site, I can save you $200 on your electricity bill. You go, “Well, that sounds like that might be $200 with the hard work.” If someone rang me up and said, “You spending $200 too much on your electricity bill, do you want me to help you get that back?” You’re going to go, “Yeah,” it’s exactly the same message.
Leigh: But just it’s pitch differently and it triggers different [crosstalk]
Mark: That’s right.
Leigh: So a lot of small businesses will have a social media presence already, whether it’s through Facebook or Instagram or Linkedin or whatever it might be. But this is kind of suggesting that perhaps they could use it in a new way. How can they get started? Where should they start with this to take the first step towards being a little bit more strategic and using social media as a selling tool and relationship building tool?
Mark: Okay. So there’s a few people out there that that can help you, but I think the worst, the first thing that you’ll probably need to do really is sit down and just write a plan. And that plan needs to be very simple. Who am I trying to engage and what am I going to try and get them to do? And there so you don’t, it could be buy from me, but first off it might be get them to talk to me. I know it might need to connect to them in the first instance that sort of thing. Where are they located? Are they all located in Sydney, are they located all over Apac? Are they located in Australia and New Zealand? What social media platforms that I own?
And then most importantly, who are my typical customers or my perfect customers and who aren’t, because not connecting with people who aren’t is just as important because it will mess up your feed if you think about social media. So if you connect with lots of people who aren’t relevant to you, then it’s going to make it really hard for you to get your message out and get your message in. I’ve got a really great takeaway just have to share.
Leigh: Please do. Of course.
Mark: The why Linkedin works is when you post something on Linkedin, each shares your content to 15% of your network, okay? Depending on how that 15% of your network interacts with that content, it will either push it further or just let us see. Now if you have 500 connections and you’ve got a hundred people who you used to work with. A hundred people who have got a great profile, a hundred people who work with your sister or his sister in law and your brother and that sort of thing. 150 people that are your perfect customers and 50 people are just random who your risk and you post something on Linkedin that’s awesome about your business. You don’t get to choose which 15% get to say it. Most of the time that’s pretty typical with most people’s network. So when they post something, that’s why nothing happens.
So you need to get rid of all the people in your network who aren’t going to, from a Linkedin perspective, who aren’t going to be able to engage with whatever it is you want to talk about. So for example, we use the puppy example and then we know puppies aren’t great for Linkedin, but if people don’t have a pet, get rid of them. Because I can never buy your products or services. If they’re not within a driving distance of your store get rid of them unless they connected to a whole bunch of people that are into the driving distance of your store. Because driving in direction from those people … so if you’ve got people in Townsville locking your pitch up in Roselle, all the people that are the people that are intangible and more likely to be connected to Paperway.
Leigh: In Townsville.
Mark: Yeah. Otherwise people are likely to drive to a pet shop.
Leigh: No, I wouldn’t think so.
Mark: No. So people chase those connection numbers or those followers or whatever platform you’re on to make themselves feel good. It’s much better to have eight interactions of quality than have 80 interactions from people who can never do business with you.
Leigh: So Mark, are you giving people permission to unfriend people?
Mark: Absolutely. And you should be. Treat your social media like my grandmother used to a Rose bushes and in, I can’t remember which one it was, but I think in winter she cut them back. So they look like just bear sticks. And then every spring they’d grow like crazy and they look fantastic and it’s a bit like that because if you used to work in one particular industry and you don’t anymore, you should get rid of those people. And if you want to stay in contact with them, then find them on another social media platform one way you’re not doing your business and communicate with them there. And if you go back to that industry you can certainly reconnect again. There’s nothing to say that connections are for life.
Leigh: Mark, that is great advice. Before I let you go, what’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received and why?
Mark: Okay, so the best piece of business advice I’ve received by far is the permission to fail. In Australia and in the UK, not so much in the US we’re scared to fail, we’re scared to try stuff and our managers, the business owners or whatever, don’t make it easy for us to try and succeed. So if you think about a sales perspective, the first time you ring somebody up and ask them if they want to buy something from you, you would have try and have a conversation like you’re nervous, you’re clammy and frankly you’re pretty bad at it but we don’t really have a system and process in place to let somebody do that for 10 minutes a day, three times a day so that by the end of the week they’re significantly better.
What generally happens is people go, “Here’s the book of leads, here’s the book of products and services that we sell. Go and lock yourself in that room and make 15 phone calls and our best guy gets two sales so you’ll probably get two two,” and that’s just … all we do is burn people by doing it that way. I spent a fair bit of time in the army when I was young and the why they take you to do anything is just completely let you learn piece by piece. Incremental steps.
Leigh: That is a great way to approach business and you’re great because we will have missed steps along the way. We will have failures and you’re right, often that is close to over while we talk a lot about the business success. You see the Richard Branson’s of the world and you want to try and get to that level, but we don’t look at failure and that’s actually a really important part of being successful.
Mark: Yeah. I think the most successful people that haven’t gotten there by not failing, they’ve gotten there by just continually trying. There’s a very clear difference. Just because you fail once, doesn’t mind it’s over.
Leigh: Mark, that’s great advice. We love your work. We love what you’re doing. It’d be really interesting to see how these field evolves and develops over the years. Tell us where can we learn more about you and your work?
Mark: Okay. Of course Linkedin is really easy. So linkedin.com/markmcinnis and you should be able to follow me straightaway. Send me a connection request. Tell me why you’d like to connect on the little brochure with those but if I don’t connect with you I’ll certainly share some advice or whatever else and my website is socialfoursales and that’s four as in number four.com and there’s some great courses on there that are really inexpensive that can help people get started. You can learn your own time, at your own pace and we’ve had quite a few people go through there and really been able to transform their business and make some really good sense out of social selling.
Leigh: Excellent. We’ll link to all of that in the show notes as well.
Mark: Thank you.
Leigh: Mark, thanks so much for your time.
Mark: My pleasure. Thanks very much.
Leigh: There you have it. My interview with Mark Mcinnis, Australia’s leading authority on social selling. Thanks again to Mark for being so generous with his time in sharing his insights into what will continue to be a major shakeup of how businesses positioned themselves and sell online. Before I go, don’t forget that if you need any help with your obligations as an employer or just want some advice on any aspect of workplace relations, give Employsure a call on 1300651415 or you can visit our website, employsure.com.au where we have a stack of free resources.
That’s it for this month. Thanks again for listening. I’m your host Leigh Johnston, and tune in again next time when we tackle another big issue in small business.