There is a popular commercial in the U.S for a rather yummy 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, kind of whimsical voice that says at the end, “Sorry, Not Sorry”. It is about trying the candy and not being a bit ashamed that you have done so. The phrase leaked over 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 assist with our success. After all, sales are about getting that edge over your competition with some sort of information that could help you with your process. There are a variety of tools available but one I like, that is rather easy to use is LinkedIn. The tool has probably been around for 15 -20 years or so. Unfortunately, when I worked in Corporate America, I viewed it more so as a tool to use when I was looking for a job, rather than one to help me with my job. Shame on me. Don’t get me wrong, I used it plenty to get that edge, I am just not so sure I realized actually how valuable that was for my sales process.
This week I was working with some folks and the subject of LinkedIn came up. The group was not totally unanimous in the application as an effective sales tool. The subject arose, about searching someone you were about to meet and looking at their profile. For me, that seemed like an edge. I would want to always do this as a best practice, but others seemed a little at odds with this, some even thought it was creepy. So, what is it?
My answer to this group was a sales process is situational. I believe that I would use the application to get as much information as I could, 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 provide you insight into the person you are about to meet with. It may be that they are private. It may be that they are technically challenged or that they just don’t bother with this type of corporate social media. If indeed the profile is full, it will provide us with a rich source of information that can accelerate our rapport-building process. There is a million way to dissect the data you see and 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 should always be in good taste, accurate and truthful. For me, LinkedIn is the business version of other popular social media applications with a lot less of the 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 think 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 themselves 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 and say, “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