There is a popular commercial in the U.S. for a rather delicious candy called Reese’s. For those of you that have indulged, you will know it is a tasty chocolate peanut butter cup delight that tastes even better, I think when it is frozen. No matter, their advertising campaign is memorable in that it has a person with a deep, whimsical voice that says at the end, “Sorry, Not Sorry.” It is about trying the candy and not being ashamed that you have done so. The phrase leaked recently into a highly publicized incident when Tom Brady, of the World Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, decided to throw the Lombardi trophy to a fellow teammate on another boat during their Super Bowl Boat Parade in Tampa. A family member of the creator of the trophy was aghast at such behavior and demanded an apology. The general manager of the Buccaneers responded as if he had just consumed a Reese’s, “Sorry, Not Sorry!”. That was pretty much the end of the controversy.
In sales, there are several tools we use to gain success. After all, sales are about getting that edge over your competition by using some sort of information to help your process. There are a variety of tools available, but one I like and that is easy to use is LinkedIn. This application has been around for approximately 15 -20 years. Unfortunately, in the past, I viewed it more as a tool to use when I was looking for a job rather than one to help me enhance my job. Shame on me! Don’t get me wrong, I used it plenty of times to get that edge. I am just not sure that I actually realized how valuable it was for my sales process. While recently working with some folks, the subject of LinkedIn came up. The group was not unanimous in this application as an effective sales tool. The subject arose about searching for details about someone you were about to meet with and looking at their profile. For me, that seemed like an edge and a best practice. Others seemed at odds with this approach, some even thought it was creepy. So, what is it?
My answer to this group was that a sales process is situational. I believe that I use the application to get as much information as I can to be prepared for the sales process. After all, if the person did not want it out there, perhaps they would not have filled out their profile. Or, if the profile is limited in the information that it provides, it may share other insights into the person you are about to meet. It may be that they are private. It may be that they are technically challenged, or they just don’t bother with this type of corporate social media. If the profile is full, it will provide us with a rich source of information that can accelerate our rapport-building process. There are a million ways to dissect the data you see that is adjacent to a given profile to assist your cause. How you use it is entirely up to you. Nevertheless, your profile is part of your personal brand, even if you are part of a large brand and company. It is a must that this profile is in good taste, accurate and truthful. For me, LinkedIn is the business version of other popular social media applications with a lot fewer wasteful items that tend to clog up those platforms.
In today’s world, I feel that edge is nothing we need to be apologetic about. I believe that in a selling scenario a customer or a prospect would be grateful that you made the effort to learn a little more about them from publicly available information. I tend to draw the line from a business perspective and not look at other social media sources unless, of course, the company itself conducts business on other platforms that would serve a purpose to review. I struggle with anyone who would be offended that I tried to learn more. Is that not the whole purpose of these tools?
So, next time you are in a sales situation and you need to use a sales tool like LinkedIn to learn more about your customer or prospect, go right ahead and use it to get that edge. If you don’t, you may find that your competitor has beaten you to the punch. And if your customer challenges you for looking at their profile, all you have to do is think of Reese’s “Sorry, Not Sorry.”
Roger McNamara Bio:
Roger is a 25+-year veteran of the Payments Industry, most recently as the Director of Business Development with American Express in the US. He has worked on the largest Acquisition targets for acceptance across multiple industries and across the globe that include: Airlines, Communications, Technology, Cruise Lines, Entertainment, Fractional Jet, Freight, Government, Healthcare, Insurance, Oil & Gas, Residential Rent, Restaurants, QSR’s, Retail, Services, Supermarkets, Travel, Vehicle Sales, B2B and Wholesale. Over that time, he has sold more than $200 Billion worth of Card processing and became an expert in Bankcard Interchange and Discount Rates, how they are calculated and what merchants pay to accept Credit, and how this is dramatically different from what they believe they pay. He is an expert in Merchant Statement analysis and payment processing and the rules and regulations associated with payments and the associations. Roger has also developed the insight for Merchant Services Salesforces and salesforces, in general, to be able to better position their products and gain share, particularly in B2B. Let him show you how you can too. He can be reached at Guide2Interchange@gmail.com