(816) 616-2201 [email protected]
Thank You Mr. Prospect

Thank You Mr. Prospect

Thank You Mr. Prospect for teaching me…

  • My time and energy is a valuable commodity, and I can’t give it away for free.
  • To be more organized and follow up in a timely manner.
  • To ask the tough questions and have the guts to get to the truth.
  • To have a plan and a system for my sale.
  • To stretch my comfort zone so I can call at the C-Level.
  • To listen more than I speak.
  • That lowest price doesn’t really matter if I do my job right.
  • I really don’t have to explain everything about my service, and that people will trust me to do my job.
  • Some people do have budgets and are willing to spend them on the right solution.
  • Prospects can make firm commitments and live up to them, and I can too.
  • Not all prospects are right for my product or service, and it is OK to get a no.
  • Prospecting will pay off, and nothing motivates me more than winning a sale.
  • Social calls in sales are a myth, and the bottom line of selling is going to the bank.
  • Sales is a skill that not everyone can master, and I am valuable to my company and family.
  • Before I can “have” or “be” I must first “do” and “become.”
And Most Importantly…

To get what you’ve never had, you must do what you’ve never done.

Happy Thanksgiving,

Mike Montague

Two Types of People You Want To Add To Your Social Network

Two Types of People You Want To Add To Your Social Network

People You Want To Add To Your Social Network
In Sales, there are only two…

I often see salespeople and marketers brag about how many people they have on their social networking sites… They have 500+ connections on LinkedIn, 1,000 Facebook friends, 5,000 Twitter followers, and no more sales than they had in 2005 with none of that.

If you are in business, sales specifically, there are only two types of people you want to add to your social network: Customers & Referral Partners

Think about it. 

  • If they can’t buy from you, or they can’t or don’t want to refer you, then why are you connected?
  • If you don’t know them, why would you add them?
  • If you can’t refer them or buy from them, why would they want to add you?
  • If you have never had a conversation in real life, what are they chances you will do business together in the future?
As a social media expert, I will add any personal friends I keep in touch with on Facebook. However, I am more concerned about my professional appearance and associations on LinkedIn. You are judged by the company you keep, so keep it classy on LinkedIn. On Twitter, you don’t have to be associated, so anyone can follow you, but watch who you follow back. I find it a lot easier to see important updates from clients and referral partners if they are not lost in a stream of who had what for lunch or what Justin Bieber did today.

Customer Connections

I highly recommend connecting with clients on LinkedIn. I would let them choose to follow you on a Facebook business page or Twitter account if they choose, though. LinkedIn allows you to see who else may be an ideal client for you that they know, plus you will typical see any important business updates or status changes. Don’t you want to know when that Purchasing Agent changes jobs?
The issue for most people comes in trying to add prospects. From my experience, very few of these potential clients convert, and a year later you wonder how that person got connected in the first place. I would accept invitation from prospects, but I would not request the connection. Wait until you get the first order or at least a working off-line relationship before you go initiating the connection. 
Two more things. You may want to request an introduction through a mutual friend on a social network to get the ball rolling if you don’t know someone, but I recommend calling the friend and asking for a personal introduction first. Also, you may want to leverage prospects early for referrals. If they don’t have their connection public, you will have to add them to see who they could introduce you too, but make sure you have at least a working relationship first.

Referral Partners

Referral Partners are ideal for social networking. Really, the basis for social networking is to give and get referrals to businesses, people, and things that your networking recommends.
Again for business purposes, LinkedIn is the best network for leveraging referral relationships. Most strategic alliances and referral partners don’t want to see the family pics on Facebook, but they are interested in your new product announcement, new hire, or press release. 
Referrals are the reason, I am extremely picky about who I connect with on LinkedIn. If you ever get the chance to peek at my connections. I will gladly refer you to anyone in that list. I am also careful to only add people that I know, like and trust in real life. This means that if you want a referral, I usually have their cell phone and email and they will take my call.
For those of you still blindly adding everyone that will have you on LinkedIn, can you say the same about your list of connections. If you really have 500+ clients and referral partners, you should be selling at record paces and dominating your market…

Now assuming you actively seek out and build more relationships in 2013, why couldn’t you do just that?

Are your emails getting rejected or worse going unnoticed?

Are your emails getting rejected or worse going unnoticed?

Are your emails getting rejected or worse going unnoticed?
Are your emails getting rejected…


Email is tough way to communicate:

Email is actually a fairly reliable means of delivering communication. As long as you didn’t get a bounce back notice in your email that you had the wrong email address, the chances are that it was delivered to the person intended. The problem is that it is really difficult to get a response.

There are several reasons for this:

  • You went to junk mail.
  • You were collected in a spam filter until tomorrow.
  • You were 1 of 200 emails in their inbox.
  • They didn’t want to respond.
  • They didn’t read the email.
  • They didn’t check their email.
  • They were too busy…
The list goes on and on… but one thing is for sure. Email is a pretty unreliable way to get a response.

Are your emails getting rejected or worse going unnoticed?
or worse, going unnoticed?

Here are some tips to get your email opened and read by your prospect:

First, you have to get into their inbox. If you have not previously emailed each other, there is not much you can do, but I do have a few tips. 
  • Use your domain name email address. 
  • Avoid mass emails
  • Don’t use spammy language.
  • Make it plain text or limit pictures and links.
Have you noticed the state of your junk mail folder lately? It is probably full of fake accounts created on gmail, yahoo, or hotmail. Most of them also mention prescription drugs, dating sites, or “adult” content. And chances are they have some kind of special, sale, discount, free offer, or promotion. Many of them have just a picture or link.
Once you are in the inbox, you have another second set of problems. You are going to need to get noticed, opened and read. Your email is only 1 event in hundreds or thousands in your prospect’s day, so it is going to need to be quick, memorable, and easy to deal with. Here are some tips:
  • It’s all about the Subject line.
  • Give them a context about how they know you or why they should.
  • Make it short. 3-5 sentences should be good.
  • Make it a simple message with one theme.
  • Make it super easy to respond, and don’t rely on it.
KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid. The longer, more complicated, harder to read, harder to respond, and harder to relate to, the worse your chances of getting read and replied to. People are busy, distracted, and generally not interested in you. They are interested in themselves and the 157 other things on their plate. Keep it simple and don’t require a lot of work to respond. In fact, don’t require a response at all, if possible.


Here is an example of a good prospecting email:

Subject: Question

Hi Steve, 

Have you ever had anyone talk to your sales staff about how to use social media and email correctly?  

I got your name from Tom Jones at the Chamber event, and he said you were concerned about your teams internet behavior. 

If you think it makes sense, we can talk it out. I am available on Wed at 10am, and I will call you then. If that doesn’t work, shoot me back a better time or have your secretary reschedule with me. 


Mike Montague
From Click To Close
[email protected]
(816) 505-2500

Would you open it, and would you respond? It’s not perfect, and makes a couple of assumptions, but overall it should get read and responded to. First, who doesn’t want to know what the question is? Plus, it may be from a client or prospect of theirs  Second, it is personal and shows that I know the person by name and was referred. It is only 4 sentences so they can read it in a few seconds. I connected with his business concerns and not what I wanted to sell, and I didn’t ask him to respond unless it was a negative.
Finally, I set it up so that I can follow up by phone. I don’t want to get into a long back and forth with email, talk about price, or have the sales conversation over months of emails. Also, I don’t want to put the responsibility on the prospect to be required to take action. Right now, Steve is only obligated to take my call on Wednesday or reschedule. That is pretty easy.
Bonus: You save yourself a lot of time and energy too! You can plan out your whole week’s prospecting calls by sending these emails a week early or on Monday, and you have effectively booked yourself solid with productive calls.
If you have any other tips that you think might work better, or any concerns about this approach, please leave them in the comments below. Thanks for reading!
Social Networking Sales Goals

Social Networking Sales Goals

Social Networking Sales Goals
Social Networking Goals for Salespeople

In recent survey, networking was ranked as “important” by 90% of business people. It is clear that most salespeople see business networking events and social networking as valuable skill. Chances are however, showing any kind of legitimate return on investment for your time spent on social networking sites is going to be fairly difficult. That is, unless you have some SMART goals and a plan of attack to reap the rewards.

How to set sales goals for your social networking activity:

You are going to need a few types of goals for social networking and for sales to find and prove your success:
  • Daily goals
  • Short-term goals
  • Long-term goals

Setting Daily, Short-Term, and Long-Term Goals

As in any area of life, there are some things you can just flip the switch and do, some things that take special timing or longer effort, and then there are long-term, stretch goals that may take years or a life-time to attain. It is important to break these activities up into manageable groups so that you can focus day-to-day, but not loose site of the big picture.
Daily goals are the small steps that you can complete every day that lead you towards your ultimate goals. These easy tasks are just like flipping a switch, when you decide to do it. For example, you can send and email to a client, post a status update, or send invites to a special event. A great daily goal is to call or meet at least one person in real life that you are connected to online.
Short-term goals are the intermediate steps that take weeks or months to complete, or require special timing. These goals require extra planning or effort, or are not feasible to do in a day or every day. For example, you may want to 50 new leads per month to hit your quota, give referrals to your top strategic alliances, or host a meet-up at your office. These goals are not typically not feasibly done everyday and require some time-frame between 7 and 90 days to complete. A great short-term goal for social networking is to add enough new leads to your pipeline to hit your sales goals each month.
Long-term goals are typically those BHAG goals. That’s right the Big Hairy Audacious Goals that will make your year and signify your ultimate success. These goals typically take 90 days to a year or more to check off the list. This is your ultimate yearly sales quota, the income you want to make, the public praise or private pat on the back that drives you in your career. Most people have these goals in the back of the heads, but again, studies show that very few have them down on paper, or a plan to attain them. A great long-term goal for social networking is to develop the relationships and personal networking strong enough to provide a steady stream of qualified referrals, so you never have to prospect or cold call again.

How to set sales goals for social networkingSuccess Challenge: 

You have spent some time reading this. Spend a few more minutes and write down your top 3-5 goals for each category.

People with written goals and a plan to achieve them are over 10 times more likely to achieve the levels of success they want in their business and their life.

Social Networking Balance for Business

Social Networking Balance for Business

Social Networking Balance For Business
Social Networking Balance For Business

Usually on this blog, I try to talk about the “ideal” way to engage in social networking, but it occurred to me that a lot of small business owners and sales people don’t necessarily want to or have the time to invest in being the best at social networking. Some people just want to know what the minimum level of acceptable activity is so they don’t look bad or hurt their business, or at least a way to keep up with the competition.

I am sure most people are too busy running their business or doing their actual job to be fully engaged in social networking all day, so I want to try to explain a way to find some balance.

Social Media Balance for BusinessSocial Networking Balance for Business

Marketing your business online can be a little tricky. You can literally spend millions of dollars or you do nothing, and still have a successful business. You can have outdated websites and social media profiles that give very bad impressions, like you are out of business or out of touch, or you can overwhelm people with thousands of marketing messages per day.

So how do you find your sweet spot?


Here are a couple of general rules to help guide you:

  • Keep your profiles and contact information correct, consistent and current 100% of the time.
  • Keep dates, timelines, copyrights, and other time sensitive elements up to date to current to the month or year.
  • Set some kind of calendar, to-do list, or email reminder to make updates on a regular basis.
  • Keep a password book or spreadsheet with all the links, log-ins, and profile pages you create for your business.
  • Set a Google Alert or create a reminder to check your business’s online reviews, ratings and comments so you can manage your reputation.
  • Post on your blog and social media accounts as much as you can manage or as much as your followers want to hear from you, whichever is least.
  • Don’t forget that social networking is a two-way street. You will want to comment, post on customers or business partners walls, and engage with other people too, so don’t spend all your time on yourself.
  • Make it a priority for your team, friends, family, business partners, clients and other close “real world” relationships to help promote and share your content.

Bottom line: Make managing your online reputation a priority.

You wouldn’t walk around with business cards with the wrong phone number, or pass our coupons with expired dates from 5 years ago on them, so don’t let it happen online. Also, if you take pride in your business and reputation in the real world, then you should make sure that your online reviews and comments reflect that same image and professionalism.

Minimum Social Networking Activities for Small Businesses

  1. You must claim your local map listings immediately on Google+ Places, Bing and Yahoo.
  2. Send a mass email with events, news and articles at least once per month. 
  3. Your list should be at least the size of your client base for the last 3 years.
  4. Post a new blog or news article on your website at least once per month.
  5. Post on your Google+ page for your business once per day.
  6. Post a status update on your Facebook business page at least once per week.
  7. Post a tweet or retweet someone else’s every day.
  8. Update your personal LinkedIn profile and your Company Page at least once per week.
  9. Request reviews from every satisfied customer on your Google+ places map listing.
  10. Encourage employees, referral partners, and close connections to share your most important message or offer of the month with their connections.

Bonus Points:

  • Run a small pay-per-click Google Adwords campaign for your business name and other common searches that identify for your business.
  • Use Facebooks promoted posts or “Like” pay-per-click campaigns to grow your page’s fans.

Ideal Social Networking Activities

  1. You must claim your local map listings immediately on Google+ Places, Bing and Yahoo, and any other prominent review sites.
  2. Send a mass email with events, news and articles once per week. 
  3. Your list should be at least 3 times of your client base for the last 3 years.
  4. Post a new blog or news article on your website at least once per day.
  5. Post on your Google+ page for your business 3 times per day.
  6. Post a status update on your Facebook business page at 3 times per day.
  7. Post a tweet or retweet someone else’s 5 times per day.
  8. Update your personal LinkedIn profile and your Company Page at least once per day.
  9. Request reviews from every satisfied customer on your Google+ places map listing, and rotate the other sites in so you can have dozens of reviews on all major listings.
  10. Encourage employees, referral partners, and close connections to share your most important message or offer of the week with their connections.
  11. Run a pay-per-click Google Adwords campaign of about 1% of your total sales each month, for your business name and other common searches that identify for your business, and more keywords and phrases.
  12. Use Facebooks promoted posts for each blog article, coupon or offer, and continuously run a “Like” pay-per-click campaign to grow your page’s fans until you reach 3 times your client base.
I hope that give you a baseline to work from and a goal to shoot for in your social networking activity for your business. If you have any comments or questions, please share them below.
Top 10 Ways to Convert Social Networking Into Sales

Top 10 Ways to Convert Social Networking Into Sales

Converting Social Media Into Sales
Social Media Sales From Click To Close

This topic is really why I am writing this book. I was doing some research about social media, and I found thousands of books and articles on how to get followers and grow audiences through social networking. After reading a dozen of the best books on the subject I found that most of them stopped once you grew your audience, but that doesn’t actually translate into sales at the bottom line. Since then, I have found a few books and websites that talk about sales and social media, but still very little information about what happens after the “like.” They all say something like “engage your audience” or “develop the relationships” and no one really tells you how to do this… until now.

Here are the top 10 ways to turn social networking in to actual sales revenue for your company:

1. Having business conversations

Two of the most common mistakes people make when social networking is that they share posts and start conversations about the wrong things. They either only post personal information about what they are eating and where they are going, along with sports, weather and news, or they only post offers and constantly bombard you with their latest marketing messages. No one likes to follow the person who only blasts out spammy sales messages, so don’t get me wrong here. The key is to share interesting information and start conversations about your business and the problems you solve.
Try to find a happy medium in the middle, so you can start having meaningful business conversations. Try to keep posts related to your business on sites other than Facebook. Your personal Facebook page can be more about you, but make sure your friends and family still know what you do for a living so they can use or refer you. On your business Facebook page, treat it more like LinkedIn and keep it about business. Ask questions and post articles that start conversations about your area of expertise and this will lead to more leads and sales.

2. Listening, watching, and caring for your audience’s needs

Another chronic problem with social networking is that it is usually all about you. We love sharing and posting about ourselves, but we hardly ever listen to what others are saying and sharing. Your sales antenna should always be up, and you should constantly be seeking out people who have the type of problems you solve. Find people, groups, blogs, and communities who fit your target market and watch and listen for opportunities where you can be of service. Reach out to others when someone can benefit from your product or service and offer to help in any way you can. Start the conversation and see if it doesn’t end up in more sales.

3. Proactively starting conversations and sharing helpful information with others

Following the previous step, you don’t always have to wait until you see someone post about a need. There is a good chance you know what someone looks and sounds like when they need your company. Seek these people out and offer a hand. When I designed websites and I came across a really bad site with a copyright at the bottom from 5 or 6 years earlier. I knew they needed a new site, so occasionally I would reach out to them with an offer or a helpful suggestion. This can take many forms. You might send an industry related article to a referral partner or client, give some advice to someone making common mistakes in your area of expertise, or just say hi, tell them what you do and offer to be of service if they need you. The key is to not wait for people to seek you out and follow you, but to be proactive and go find people who can buy from you. Many times they don’t know what they are missing, and you can help them discover your company for the first time.

4. Using open ended questions and challenging statements to start conversations

This can be tricky at first, but with a little practice you can get really good at posting questions, articles, or statements that start conversations. Too many people forget there is no “dislike” button on social networking sites, so people are much more likely to interact with positive messages then negative ones. Also, if they are too boring or obvious most people won’t waste their time. Think to yourself what would make you or your business likable. What message would cause people to comment or hit that share button to show all of their friends. Don’t waste you and your prospects time with boring posts or negativity. Try to give them something compelling and uplifting. Humor gets shared quickly around the world. 
Don’t forget about tip #1 up there! They should be related to your business, and lead you to prospects not useless conversations about food or politics.

5. Doing a little free consulting

Normally, we discourage salespeople from doing too much free consulting and solving the prospect’s problem before they get paid for it, but social networking is a little different. This is a prospecting activity and not a sales call so it is OK solve some people’s problems, especially if hundreds or thousands of people can see you do it. Don’t be afraid to share too much inside information on your blog or social networking sites. Chances are that people can’t do it themselves anyway, or you wouldn’t be in business. Take this post for example. I am giving away a lot of good information about how to sell, but I know most of you can’t or won’t take the time to do all 10 of these things and eventually you will probably need more of my help. (I don’t mean you. You are committed to take action on these items immediately and will be forever changed.)

6. Sharing an easy entry offer

If your goal is to get more sales through social networking, eventually you are going to have to ask for the sale. Despite what a lot of marketing gurus say, people usually don’t just call up and buy the biggest and best your company has to offer because they liked you on Facebook. You are still going to have to sell. One easy way to move your audience into the funnel is to make a no or low cost offer as an entry point. This will help you collect their information as a lead, and it will allow them to sample a bit of your solution before they take the big plunge. Think about how this might work in your business. It could be 30 day trial, a consultation, or a coupon. Just make sure it is easy to buy or try, and that you make it highly visible on all of your social media accounts and website.

7. Targeting ideal customers

We already talked about being proactive and seeking out people to have a conversation with, but this time I want you to think bigger. See if you can come up with the top 10 ideal clients for you that you have always dreamed of… who would that be? Who would be the biggest, most profitable, dream clients that you have always wanted?
Now go out there and get them. There are no gatekeepers, mean secretaries, or other obstacles standing in your way online. Virtually everyone is on at least one social networking site, and they are out there waiting for you to connect with them. Having trouble reaching that CEO of the hospital who needs your software? What about that rich politician who needs your interior design expertise? What are you waiting for? All you need is a name or a company name and you can find out a way to reach them. Start following them on Twitter, ask for an introduction on LinkedIn, send them an email, make the calls, send a friend request on Facebook, find out where they like to eat of Foursquare. This is why you make the big bucks as a salesperson. Go connect with them and start the conversation!

8. Targeting referral partners and raving fans

Being likable in tip #4 is good. Being share-able is even better. At least once a week, share a post, email, or blog that is designed to be shared by your referral partners and raving fans. These people would be happy to refer you, but sometimes they don’t know how. You can use your easy entry offer, or some compelling educational content to encourage your connections to share your offer with other people you don’t know yet. This is a great way to grow your audience and convert them into sales.

We all know referrals are the holy grail of leads, and creating a post that is easy for people to share will allow your fans to refer you to all of their contacts. The average person is connected to about 250 people. Influential referral partners may have thousands of followers and connections to which you can get a promoted. Want to know who is the most influential in your network? Look up their Klout.com score to get a rough idea.

9. Taking the conversations offline

Very few businesses completely sell and service their clients online, so you will probably want to take the relationship offline and into the real world at some point. Don’t be afraid to make the first move, but don’t be pushy either. People enjoy the relative safety and security of online communications, and calling too soon can be considered pushy. When making this call, I find it best to you a very soft, customer service approach.

When calling a prospect who has completed a call-to-action on your site and entered their phone number, try something like this. “Hi, I’m from ______ company and I noticed that you download the white paper on ______. I just wanted to make sure you found the answers you were looking for and see if there was anything else we could do to help. Did you get everything you needed?” This will lead one of two ways, if it did, you can follow up with “What did you like about it?” “What made you download that one?” or “Great, how did you find us?” If it did not, you can follow up with “Sorry to hear about that. What were you hoping to find?” Those questions can lead to the problems they had that your company can hopefully solve. Just be real and honest and see how you can further the relationship. No need for complicated scripts or high-pressure sales pitches.

Also, don’t forget about your clients and referral partners. Your existing connections need attention too! I recommend calling at least one connection on LinkedIn per week and getting together offline for a lunch or conversation about how they are doing and how you can best help each other moving forward.

10. Following up constantly and consistently

Finally, the big one! Did you know that 55% of Internet leads are never followed up with, and of the 45% that are the average response time is over 2 days?!? Believe it or not, it actually gets worse. Again, of the 45% who follow up on leads, the average number of attempts is less than 2. Most salespeople make one call, email or follow up and then let the relationship drop. This same study found that your chances of getting an appointment actually go up through the first 6 attempts! Learn this lesson now. You are not bothering people by being consistent and thorough in your follow up. People need to be reminded and you are only one event out of hundreds in your prospects day. Don’t give up until you actually get a firm YES or a firm NO!

Follow up also includes those other relationships with referral partners and clients. We all know too well, that just because someone agreed to something, doesn’t make it so. The friend who said they would introduce you to a potential prospect, or the client who said the check is in the mail, almost always need additional follow up. The studies don’t lie. It takes up to 8 contacts to get a result, and you chances of being successful increase over the first 6 times you try. If you want the sales, it is your responsibility to see that each and every lead or introduction has an outcome.

Converting social networking into sales

The key to converting social networking into sales is personal connections and interpersonal communication.

Social networking is really no different that business networking in the real world. Most people screw up both by either being to soft and not talking business, or being to hard and trying to sell before the develop trust in the relationship.
Approach social networking like you would approach people socially at a business networking event and you will avoid problems and make better choices.
Did I miss anything? Please share in the comments below.