#SSHour – Are You Ready to Participate in this Kind of Discussion?

HASHYesterday I was featured on my second social selling chat in two weeks. The first, sponsored by KiteDesk was actually a panel discussion. There were a dozen or so “social selling experts.” Questions were thrown out by Sean Burke, CRO at KiteDesk. Each of us wanted, or rather were expected to, provide our expertise to the audience. With a dozen or so of us panelists and a virtual auditorium full of others, it was fast and furious. Thanks to the @KiteDesk folks and Jenna Dobkin for including me.

Yesterday’s session, tagged with #SSHour was significantly smaller in scope, and attendance, but equally as valuable for the participants. The hosts were Rachel Miller (@rachelloumiller), Chief Listener at Pipeliner CRM, and Brian Fanzo (@iSocialFanz), a Social Tech Evangelist. They were terrific.

Since the topic I “spoke about” using Twitter was LinkedIn, I thought you might be interested in the questions I was asked as well as my answers. The tweets will likely be around for a while, so if you’re interested, the hashtag for the even was #SShour. Go to Twitter.com and search for that hashtag. Every tweet that anyone posted during that session will be listed. I can tell you there were some very insightful people  contributing to the discussion.

Here are the questions and a sampling of my answers: (Grammar and usage is quite a bit looser here than you will typically find in my posts.)

1. You were an early adopter of Linkedin. ID #179286. Why did you sign up early on?

Initially to locate and stay in touch with people I worked with.

I’m generally a technology early-adopter.

Before LinkedIn it was difficult to find people and stay in touch.

2. How has your use of LinkedIn changed over the years?

Use it now for helping clients do blind reference on check sales candidates

Also I will never speak with an executive w/o looking at profile

Now I use it to help colleagues through introductions.

(I have a very clear picture of the graphical view of my connections–where I’m over engaged and where I need to spend more time cultivating contacts. See more here.)

3. What is your favorite thing about LinkedIn?

I get an immediate picture of an existing or new contact.

I can see who they are connected to. (I didn’t bother with “whom.”)

4. What is your least favorite thing about LinkedIn?

The volume of self-serving hype.

Spamming within groups.

Seeing salespeople waste a lot of time on it.

5. What should a salesperson’s LinkedIn profile contain?

If you are looking for a job, an extended resume.

If it’s a sales position, performance against target.

If you are not job hunting, the value you’ve delivered to your customers

A few good recommendations.

6. What are some #socialselling best practices for LinkedIn?

Respect how people want to be contacted

Tell them why you want to make contact–Value forward

Want me to buy from you? Show me the value.

Pay the extra money so you can see who viewed your profile.

Twice a year I cull out contacts who I haven’t been in touch with for two years. Keeps my contact list high integrity.

And… Pay the extra money so you can see who viewed your profile. It’s not self-love. Just an important tool.

7. What are some don’ts for salespeople using LinkedIn?

Don’t Spam.

Sending requests that the contact would never be interested in.

Don’t try to impress with thousands of contacts.

Too many recommendations are a warning sign to me.

If it’s a sales position, performance against target. We need to see that.

Very hard to change your opinion of someone if their LI profile doesn’t represent them.

8. What are some of your LinkedIn profile pet peeves?

No professional photo. No family, pets, hobbies.

Incorrect grammar and/or misspellings.

Mass mailing containing, “Since you are someone I trust and respect…”

9. What are some LinkedIn connection request pet peeves?

Read my profile first. I am not an open networker. (Read more about this here.)

As soon as I see LION I run the other way. (Read more about that here.)

10. Who do you recommend following on LinkedIn?

The LinkedIn for Sales Team: @KokaSexton @RVonSosen
Plus @JillKonrath @Mike_Kunkle

(The participants contributed some other notable names/Twitter handles.)

So here is the question.

This is one of the many new ways people meet and converse, one-to-many or many-to-many. Have you participated in one? If not, and you want to be social selling savvy, you need to. Try jumping into the action Monday afternoons at 1:00 pm PT/4:00 pm ET. Follow the hashtag #SSHour.

Let me know how you do.

Graphic Source: Dan Moyle

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  1. says

    Hello Mr. Stein, and thanks for the kind inclusion here! Sorry that I missed the event. This is great advice, as usual, and I hope people take the extra step to peruse the links.

    Hot topic right now, isn’t it? I am still getting request for a redux of the Six Imperatives of Digital Selling webinar that we did for SMM and have been asked to share it at work and with customers. Fun stuff.

    Some thoughts:

    I’m not an open networker (LION), but once was, and am more lax today than many people. I turn down as many requests as I accept, I but get invites daily and accept many. I’ve gravitated toward expanding my network primarily in sales, marketing, training/learning, all fields of sales support (enablement, effectiveness, operations, etc.), OD, process improvement, change management, business performance improvement and technology – and of course, practically anyone I meet. There are many benefits of a large network – to me, it’s all about understanding the pros and cons, and a matter of personal choice. My large network (~4,500 today) has been very beneficial during a few career searches when in was in transition, and also allows me to help other career seekers, which I do whenever I can. If I were selling today, my expansion would be very targeted and purposeful, but I would certainly aim to grow my network as large as possible to extend reach. In almost 10 years, I can count the number of people who didn’t help me or a connection when I asked, on one hand.

    Be cautious about being cautious about (sorry, couldn’t resist) people with a lot of recommendations. I have 53 as of this writing. I asked for some of them, especially during career searches, but did not ask for many. I’ve also given over 70 (many are not reciprocal, and that’s actually the way it should be – and I only accept or give recommendations that are real and sincere, when we have knowledge of each other’s work). I think I have a lot because I try to live a Pay It Forward lifestyle, network and help people when I can, and generally do good work. But it’s also probably because I’ve been on LinkedIn for quite a long time, and it just happened, over time, organically.

    I did want to call out those two areas of difference and share some thoughts for you and your readers, but that aside, your advice on social selling is pure gold, Dave, and I hope people are paying attention. You offer a realistic, balanced view, understand the tools and their value, and I’d be 100% comfortable recommending that someone heed your advice (even where it’s different than mine). I can’t say that about all the “social selling gurus” that I run into out there.

    Stay the course. And thanks again for including me in your #SSHour and this post!