Performance Management: How much is hanging on to Non-Performers costing you?

Do your systems and on off hiring windows mean you keep non-performers in their jobs too long?

Does your hiring process take too long?
Can your people make hiring decisions quickly?  Maybe Training could help?
Does that lead to a “Make do and Mend” philosophy?
This is where the manager tolerates poor performers because if they get rid of someone they may not be allowed to hire or be quick enough to hire someone new?
They begin to take a view that this will leave their department short handed and make the problem worse.
This way no one deals with performance issues but they sometimes they move the problem empolyees on.

We think that having someone on the team who is not executing their job well, costs a great deal more than you think. Just add-up the lost productivity, the poor morale and lost opportunities. Then also add-in the frustration, anxiety, stress and management time spent trying to help them perform.

Meet another one of our heroines .
Mary was a top performing salesperson in the Audio Visual industry.
She was absolutely great at bring in “NEW, NEW Business”.
The most valuable type of business to most companies.
She also had the highest incentive package to pursue this kind of business.

Mary had been with the AV company for six years and was considered a top performer in the industry.

Rick was the Administration Manager responsible for quoting and delivering the products that Mary and the rest of the sales team sold. Rick was also a top performer. Unfortunately because he was good he was headhunted by another AV company. This company had a reputation for growing and developing people, promoting from within and having a very close and connected team.

When Rick left, the station hired Chris to take his place.
Chris looked good on paper and for the first two months did very well.
He seemed to catch on quick, but as the work piled up, it became clearer that he was not organised or prepared.
He was not that experienced and seemed to miss basics that would have saved him time, helped him stay organised and feel confident in his role.

Mary had to promise new customers a short turnaround time to get them to change suppliers and products. However she had to rely on Chris and his team to get his job done to keep her promise. When Chris’s team caused delays, she looked bad with a new client. She and the company lost out on potential repeat business when the company couldn’t deliver because Chris and his team let her down.

For six years, Mary had ignored the calls she was getting from recruiters and other AV companies who knew her reputation for developing new new business. However after a few months of Chris’s delays, Mary started to take those calls. The end of the tale is obvious.

Chris was eventually let go, but it was too late.  Mary was already gone.

Our view is that the cost of keeping non-performers in their role too long is much higher than their salary and benefits. You run the risk of turnover among your top performers who are the most likely to not put up with mediocrity.  You lower the standard of performance of everyone who interacts with the non-performer.  You risk losing customers.   You damage your brand.

So, why do companies keep non-performers when there are so many reasons not to keep them?

We think there are two main reasons:

1. No systems and processes in place to make the best hiring decisions

2. No structured game plan to on-board and geta new hire up to speed and quickly  . Maybe try Onboarding Coaching?

If you want to keep your top performers, raise your standards in both your hiring and onboarding practices. Don’t settle for second best . Hire the best possible person to fill every role.

Don’t minimize the importance of getting new people up and running quickly, thoroughly and effectively.   If you want people to perform well, you need to provide them with a solid foundation to build on.

Performance Management Training: Why do people leave?

Meet our hero. John has worked at the same Management Consulting company for the past seven years.
When he started, he was a single. He had just one aim.
To prove that he deserved to be on the partner track at his firm.
In those seven years, he has got married, he and his wife have moved to a bigger house in the suburbs, and recently had their first child.

He’s never complained about his job, the sometimes crazy hours that he’s worked for clients.
He can certainly not complain about the money he’s made, salary rises each year and grade rises every other year.

(We cover this topic and others in our Performance Management Training Workshop)

However our hero is noticing that plates are shifting at the firm.
His boss just left to join the client he’d worked with for the last three years.
Our Hero is also noticing that the partners are nervous about their ability to grow business in the slowing economy.
There is pressure mounting for John and his team to do more in less time and to develop business themselves.

However as the pressure to perform increased, there has been a decrease in the acknowledgment and appreciation he thought he deserved for all his extra effort. He can no longer attend the partner meetings, which once included those on the partner track, because of the increased workload. Neither John nor his colleagues have been informed about the specific expectations they were to fulfil. Consequently rumours begin to fly and he starts to feel insecure in his role and question his long term prospects with the company.

Like those improv theatre events , you get to choose the ending here….

How do you think it will end?

  • He takes a better paying job elsewhere?
  • He stays in his job, putting in extra hours and effort with a smile on his face?
  • He stays in his job, putting in extra hours and effort and complains every step of the way?
  • He leaves the company for no extra money but a better environment?

As a business owner or an executive team member, how would you feel if a star performer left their job to make a lateral move for no more money?  Are there people on your team who physically show up for work, but don’t bring their best selves to their role?

It is the easiest way to exonerate yourself to dismiss the issue of a good employee leaving as a money issue. However most recent research says that three of the top four reasons people leave jobs have nothing at all to do with money.

People leave jobs for the following top four reasons:

  •  Don’t feel my employer values me.
  • Employer doesn’t pay enough.
  • My efforts are not recognised or appreciated.
  • Not enough career advancement opportunities.

Before you throw more money at the problem, ask yourself and your leadership team,  what can be done to express appreciation and recognition of good efforts as well as results?
Brainstorm ways that you can demonstrate to your team that everyone is important and valued.  Make sure everyone in every role is clear about the future opportunities that exist for them as they grow with your company.

That way our hero might stay with you.

Interviewer Skills and Performance Management Training: How much will it cost you if people leave your company?

Will people jump ship if the green shoots of recovery appear?

How much will that cost your business?

A while ago CIPD came up with these figures of  replacing people.

“On Average” it costs £17k to hire and replace a good manager who leaves your organisation.

That figure dropped to “On Average” £7k to hire a new individual contributor…

(We cover this topic and others in both Interviewer Skills Workshop and Performance Management Training Workshop )

We think these numbers are very very conservative . We’d like to encourage you to come up with your own numbers.

Here are some of the factors that we think you should consider to come up with your specific numbers.

  • Cost of hiring someone via a recruiter
    In some industries that is 30% of first year salary
  • Cost of Job Boards +  Classified Ads Career Fairs/ Misc
  • Cost of time spent sourcing resumes
  • Cost of Time Spent Reviewing 1 Resume x Ratio of Resumes Reviewed per Phone Interview
  • Time Spent per Phone Interview x Ratio of Phone Interviews per Person to person Interviews
  • Cost of Time Spent per Personal Interview x Ratio of Personal Interviews per Realistic Job Preview (or 2nd Interview)
  • Cost of Time Spent on Realistic Job Preview (or 2nd Interview) x Ratio of Job Previews (or 2nd Interview) per Offer Extended
  • Time Spent Preparing an Offer
  • Cost of taking up references / background checks
  • Number of Offers Accepted
  • Costs of training a new person
  • Management time to On-Board that person and get them up to speed.
  • How much less productive is a new employee in first year vs previous experienced employee?

Using these numbers what is your total cost of replacing a good manager and a good performer?

Remember these people may have left because they didn’t feel appreciated, recognised  or developed or could see no career path.

We think it would be a great exercise to work out YOUR numbers..
We’d be very interested in hearing from you too.

We also think that when there is a discussion about whether it’s worth training your managersto

We think this would be a good time to get these numbers out and add those to the discussion too.
Then make the decision on whether there is an ROI on training.

Win Loss Analysis#2: Measures, Communications and Who runs it?

In order for a B2B business to thrive, it’s really important for them to understand

  1. The decision-making criteria of their clients.
  2. The decision making unit and how it works
  3. The client’s buying and decision making processes

What’s a simple and cost-effective way to do that?

You can find out how clients make decisions with a Win-Loss Analysis Programme .
Using that understanding our clients have delivered specific, actionable, and measurable improvements in products , processes and people.

Question 1 for Win-Loss Analysis:   What are you going to measure?

We all know that “What we measure is what we manage”.
It’s therefore critical that you are set up to measure the right things in the first place.
It’s best to involve people from the sales, pre-sales, ops, technical, and client-facing areas.
In short anyone you feel has an important role to play in your sales cycle.
Determine which information and elements in your sales cycle need to be better understood.
Tailor quantitative and qualitative questions to measure that specific information.
You will benefit from everyone’s knowledge and expertise.
You begin to get buy-in, co-creating the measures and driving improvements.
If we answer Question 1 well, it will set up your programme for success.

Question 2: How should we communicate the Win-Loss Analysis Programme  Internally?

Decide how many sales cycles you intend to review.

  • How many each month
  • How many each quarter
  • How many in total for the  year.

This decision should be based on size of opportunity, cost of making a sale, industry focus, or any other relevant criteria to your business.
Communicate this criteria to the entire sales force.
Help them to understand the purpose behind the activity and the role they need to play.

 Question 3: How should we communicate the Win-Loss Analysis Programme  Externally?

We suggest that the very first meeting with a new prospect is the best time for the sales team to position your programme.
Give a simple statement to your sales force explaining to the client that:
“As an organisation we strive to continuously improve and streamline the way we work with our clients. One mechanism we use to achieve this is called a Win/Loss Analysis which happens at the end of the sales cycle.   It usually takes about an hour, it’s run by an independent company. It helps us get a better understanding of how well we engaged with you through this process. Would you be comfortable providing us with some of your time at the end of this sales cycle to assist us in improving what we do?”

Some clients, for reasons of privacy or personal ambivalence, will decline to participate.
However if positioned appropriately, the vast majority of prospective clients are more than happy to provide their time and often extremely candid feedback

Question 4: Who should run Your Win-Loss Analysis Programme?

It can be either run by you or run by a independent organisation.

Each approach has its own pros and cons.

What are the Pros of “You run it”?

  •  Cost are hidden in that it becomes another job for people to do
  •  It’s can be easier to change focus , manage and aggregate the findings and insights from the reviews
  • The sales team already has an existing relationship with the client

Cons of a “You run it” Approach

  •  The sales team already has an existing relationship with the client
  • It can be hard to be dispassionate in delivering negative feedback
  • It can be awkward for the prospective client to talk to you which may dilute the feedback they provide

Pros of an Independent company

  •  The client is more comfortable providing honest, candid feedback
  • They are often more willing to share negative insights
  • It’s easier for an independent to deliver difficult or challenging feedback to you
  • They provide you with Win / Loss support and best practices during the development and execution phase

Cons of an Independent company

  •  Costs are over and above existing staff costs
  • The company  may need time to understand the specifics of your particular sector niche
  • It requires an additional discovery phase with you prior to execution

Running a Win-Loss Analysis Programme successfully really tends to comes down to your organisation’s maturity.
Are the people in your company willing to try to understand what you do well and how you can be better?

If you would like more information on Rainmaker’s Win-Loss Programme then email us at info@rainmaker-coaching.co.uk

Sales Mentoring: Can you learn anything from Lost deals?

“I’m sorry but we’ve decided to go with another supplier.
Thank you so much for all your hard work.”

After a long and complex sales cycle , hearing this from a prospective client is a killer blow.

Most sales people when confronted with a lost deal try to work out what went wrong.
However they don’t usually want  “Help” from the Leadership team.
Most sales people learn to bounce back quickly.
The best way to do that is not to take on any blame yourself.
We all have the key reasons ready as to why we lost so that we can move on and quickly.

(We cover this and other topics on our Sales Mentoring Service )

You may hear …

  •  It was lost on price
    • (and so nothing to do with me)
  •  The client had a pre-existing bias towards their current supplier
    •  (and so there was nothing we could do)
  •  I couldn’t get any of our executives to visit the prospect
    • (Vague enough to blame all and yet blame no-one)

Sales people often genuinely struggle to understand where we went wrong.
For their own sanity they do need to move on to the next deal.

It is rare that two sales cycles are the same.
Therefore the reasons we win or lose a specific opportunity can be difficult to find.
How do you measure the fact that a key decision maker already had a negative perception of your solution?
Did one of your main competitors outflanked you with its sales strategies?
For sales people it’s just easier to quickly move on to the next opportunity.

Our experience of Win-Loss Analysis has told us that moving on quickly is a big mistake.
It’s easily summarised by this quotation
“If you always do what you’ve always done,
then you’ll always get, what you’ve always got”

Analysing Sales Wins and Losses

From the Sales View

Many sales organisations continue to repeat their mistakes in deal after deal.
They somehow hope for a different result. Why to they do this?

People really want to avoid awkward conversations and conflict.
Many will do anything just to risk an awkward conversation and offending someone.
The sales person who has just lost a deal is feeling pretty miserable anyway.
Many sales people think it’s better that we avoid the conversation completely.

What about the the client side?

Usually clients have got to know us really well during their buying cycle.
They are genuine people too and have no desire to hurt our feelings.
They often provide half-hearted excuses, sensing that we don’t really want to know.
We think clients do this to protect our feelings.

What can we really learn from these experiences?

Total Quality Management (TQM) tells us that everything is a process.
We take the sting out of the analysis by looking at the process first.
Then at the skills of the people operating the process.
Then resources they have to hand.
This way we are constantly learning from each sales cycle, eliminating errors, and work out what works.
We gradually improve and refine our end-to-end sales process.

What if each and every lost sale helped us identify one thing we could do better?
What if we communicate that one thing to our whole sales force?
What if every sale we win helps us to differentiate ourselves or gives a nugget of competitive insight?

Is Win-Loss Analysis really that simple?
The short answer NO it’s not .
It can expose some less than great things about your sales processes.
It can lead to some difficult conversations.
It requires a commitment from the Leadership team to not turn it into a witch-hunt.
If it ever does watch out for passive resistance on a massive scale.

Rick Marcet author of the recently published book Win Loss Reviews explains it can deliver benefits like:
“For those B2B sales organisations prepared to undertake a little research and ready to acknowledge the flaws in their sales process…
the tangible deliverables from a well-executed Win Loss Analysis programme can include:

  • Improved personal and company-wide win ratios
  • Quicker close rates
    • Through understanding the factors delaying sales cycles in the past
  • The ability to establish clear win/loss benchmarks
    • Then sharing these across the organisation
  • Dramatic improvement in competitive win rates
    • Through understanding losses against key competitors
  • A culture of continual improvement
  • A more client-centric sales model
  • A mechanism to track sales effectiveness

 

When you begin to uncover successful sales strategies or key differentiators in your sales approach, which you may not have been aware of , then it gets interesting. The opportunity to highlight what you learn to your entire sales force is immensely valuable. Add in the specific competitive insights that the programme will add on topics like your pricing, positioning, sales strategy, and deal crafting… Now you begin to realise the potential returns that Win-Loss Analysis programme can provide to a B2B sales organisation.

In the end, the decision is based on a simple cost-benefit analysis.

What does it cost us to lose a deal?

  • How much margin on the initial sale?
  • How much do we lose over the life of a customer?
  • Add the cost of sales people time
  • Any time / cost of pre-sales consulting?
  • What cost to bid and generate a professional proposal?
  • How much to do our due diligence?

Then ask…

Do we believe we’ll win more business if we adopt lessons from the programme?
How many deals will we need to win to pay for it?
Is it really likely that our win rate will improve that much?
What if we improve the win rate but only in a small way?
How much more margin will we make ?

Compare that with the cost of the Rainmaker Coaching team doing this for us?

What kind of ROI does that give us?                Can we say it is worth it?

If YES…    email info@rainmaker-coaching.co.uk with your arithmetic or call us.

Business Development Training: Consultants how can you be cross-sold into more projects?

If you work as a professional service deliverer in a law firm , a consultancy or IT firm then at sometime you may have been “on the bench” or not being utilised as fully as either you or the company would like.

In order to do some rainmaking on your behalf the people inside your company do need to:

  • Know you
  • Know what you do and what you can do for their clients
  • Trust that you will treat their clients well
  • Feel that there maybe something in it for them

So how about we come up with a plan to get you off the bench and on a client site?

(We cover this topic and others in our Business Development Training Workshop )

Step1: Identify 5 people who could get you the kind of project you desire.
How do you choose the right people?
Your criteria for choosing them is:
• Who’s their client
• What’s their focus
• How good at rainmaking or selling are they?

Step 2: Develop a personal relationship with these people 

Step 3: Educate them about who you are and what you do and can do for clients

Step 4 : Make sure they know that you do what you do very well.
Share your stories of success and how delighted your clients are.
Build up a library of STAR stories. S=Situation, T= Task , A=Action you took, R= The Results you got for your clients and you.
The STAR format will force you tell stories … That’s what rainmaker’s need . Indirect ways of selling…

Step 5: Make sure they know that you have an expectation of them and their attempts to sell you.

Have you found other ways of getting off the bench proactively? Let us know what they are .

Sales Mentoring: What kind of Sales Manager do you want?

What kind of Sales Manager do you want?

(We cover this and other topics in our Sales Mentoring Service)

Four Types of Sales Manager?

A number of the Rainmaker Sales coaches have worked their way up from Sales Person through Sales Manager and to Sales Director. We have also worked with numbers of Sales Managers in many kinds of companies and cultures. We put our heads together and came up with a hypothesis that we think we have seen around four types of Sales Manager. There are many variations but in the main four types.

 1. The “Do as I say” or “Dictator” Manager

This type of sales manager “rules the roost” and “dictates” what should be done.
Listening skills are limited.
A typical response is along the lines of “Do it this way because it has worked this way before”
The advantage of this approach is that people know exactly where they stand.
Rules and company regulations are fully understood and guidelines are adhered to.
The result is that overall the sales team is seen as “well disciplined”.
Not a bad place for a while as a rookie.
People also know that if the rules and guidelines are not adhered to, then discipline will follow.
The major challenge with this “do as I say” approach is that you will find it hard to get them to take little risks. Your opinion may not be valued and ideas may not make it out of the team.
Some more experienced sales people may get frustrated and feel under valued.
These managers may be mirroring behaviour of managers that they had themselves and few have ever been near a management training course.

What to do if you have one of these?

  • Stay if you are happy with little need to be creative.
  • Stay if you are a new sales person and need to learn the ropes
  • Move if you are unhappy being told what to do.
  • If experienced then get promoted out of the group
  • Leave management books around
  • Give the sales manager your ideas so that they become their own and consequently dictated to you!

2. The “Now you see me, now you don’t” Manager.

Often characterised by always having other things to do, these sales managers appear not to like to spend days visiting and working with the sales people.
They seem to attend endless meetings, arrange trips to head office and are apparently more comfortable spending time in front of the computer pouring through sales figures.
A day “in the field” usually is  meeting up late morning, chatting over a cup of coffee then perhaps suffering a visit to one customer before having a “discussion” over lunch and then heading off back to a report or meeting.

This type of manager always seemed to want to keep the mobile on during visits.
“Waiting for an important call” maybe their most favourite saying.

You will get little time spent with you and will get even less coaching and review.
Time is spent either idly chatting or issuing directives, maybe because the manager is uncomfortable listening to your ideas.
Especially if these ideas might bring about change and impact on the manager’s routine!

We think these are what HBR refers to as “Successful” in the article Effective vs Successful Managers  i.e this job is only a stepping stone for them.
They are only going to be in the job for a sort period because they think they have future potential elsewhere in the organisation.  These managers are usually promoted quickly and not given enough training. They cannot spend time coaching because they are stretched with some of them still having visible Head Office projects. Some of them are simply inexperienced and are not able to handle their immediate manager. They jump at every request made by the senior manager, they have to attend every meeting, write every report and answer every voicemail and e-mail in order to keep in the senior manager’s “good books”.

What to do if you have one of these?

  • Move if you are unhappy being just being left to get on with it.
  • Stay if you are happy with autonomy
  • Talk about how training can improve performance
  • Leave “How to Manage your Boss” books around

3. The “Let me Do It” or the “Super Salesperson” Manager

These managers find it tough to let people work for themselves.
They would love to get back into the field and would do as many field visits as possible.
They miss the customer contact and when out with the sales person immediately engage the customer and “take over” the sales call.
Very little coaching will be done and the manager will tell you the best way to do things based on their experience and success. You will see far too much of your manager and when they take over the sales call you will feel that your integrity in the eyes of the customer is being threatened. Sometimes even your customer will feel uncomfortable.

Having said that many Sales People can actually learn by watching this manager operate.
It can help you as the manager has often been a good sales executive
Your Sales may improve as a result of implementing what you observe.

What to do if you have one of these?

  • Stay for a while if you are learning new techniques and skills
  •  Use a Simple Rainmaker meeting Planner to agree roles before you go to see a customer. Give your manager a role but not as a sales person!
  • Get promoted if you are an experienced sales person and have mastered the sales process but remember you can usually learn something from everyone

4. The Coaching Manager.

The Coaching Manager takes time with his or her people.
Field visits are planned in advance.
Agreements as to what each person wants to achieve out the day are reached and objectives are set and reviewed.
Time is taken to plan good quality sales calls and time is also put aside in order to discuss the business plan.
They also work through any ideas and challenges that you may have.
A full day will be spent whenever possible and the manager will coach the sales person to assist them in identifying their objectives and how best they are going to achieve them.

They will coach you and review how the sales call went and you will get good quality feedback.
You see the coaching manager as supportive but as the manager and not just a “friend”.
You will realise that the manager is giving tough but constructive feedback in order to assist you to development and succeed.
The coaching manager will be skilled in using coaching models such as GROW.

What to do if you have one of these?

  • Stay with them
  • See if you can move with them if they move (Hanging onto shirt tails)
  • Use a Simple Rainmaker meeting Planner to agree roles before you go to see a customer.

Which type of Sales Manager do you have?

Which type do you prefer to work with?

Are there other types we’ve missed out?

Let us know.

 

Business Development Training Tips : Does Hunting in twos make sense?

DOES A LAUREL AND HARDY ACT HELP IN Business Development or RAINMAKING?

A number of the rainmakers I interviewed during my research talked about hunting for business in twos.
I was curious to find out why they felt this worked so well.

Here’s what they had to say:

(We cover this and other topics in our Business Development Training Workshops )

They pointed out that the RAINMAKER has to have the trust of the client.
One of the things that the RAINMAKER must never feel they are doing is selling overtly.
This this will diminish the level of trust that the client has in them.
The Account’s Rainmaker must maintain an air of being on the client’s side and impartiality.
Having a ‘Laurel’ to their ‘Hardy’, means any overt selling is done by Laurel not Hardy.

Sometimes the roles can be split between the services deliverer / pre-sales consultant and salesperson.
However what I would advise is to AGREE who is playing what role first and stick to those roles.
Second, I would use something like a meeting planner Simple Rainmaker meeting Planner
This will help you plan who asks what questions and give a structure to your joint call.

Another option is to pair-up two consultants, where one is the rainmaker, the other a salesperson for one account.
Then for another account their roles are reversed.

This way the RAINMAKER’S advisor status is not compromised and business continues to flow their way

Why not take 2 people, with clear roles, to your next rainmaking opportunity

Let us know how you get on. . .

If you want our help in any of this then email info@rainmaker-coaching.co.uk

Rainmaker Coaching Tips: Can clients be friends?

Can Clients be Friends and Friends be Clients?

This question seems to be a tricky one for people in the area of Rainmaking.

David Maister says no because professional people need distance and they view a sale as a transaction. http://davidmaister.com/articles/1/80/index.html

In “The psychology of sales call reluctance”  George W. Dudley describes one particular reluctance to sell as “Separationist”.
These people have a reluctance to sell to their friends or ask them for a referral because they fear their friends would be offended or feel exploited.
See our summary of the more common ones we’ve found… Business Development Reluctance beliefs services people
W
e cover this topic and other in our Business Development Coaching and  Business Development Training Workshops

And yet one of my first interviews with a well-known Rainmaker in the City of London contained what was for me a moving view.
He said “I treat every new prospect I meet as though I could wind up going on holiday with them” . Puzzled I asked for more.
He went on to say “I’m going on holiday with our families in a few weeks with a person I first met as a prospective client.
He’s been a client for the last twenty years” .

The reason I felt so moved was that I tried to imagine the openesss, honesty, integrity, caring that went in to nuture that kind of business relationship.

I began to understand just why clients wanted to be dealt with by this Rainmaker.

So I’m of the belief that friends can be clients without sacrificing the friendship.
I also think clients can become friends.
Some of my friends started out as clients.

Some of the reasons I think that works is that we are so close to rapport and have so much common ground that it’s easy to become friends.
When my friends who are clients talk about their work, it helps me understand the world in which my clients live.
If I talk about my business with them they know it well and they get it completely.
They can and do give me honest feedback about our approach , offerings , how we deliver and I find it useful to get honest, informed feedback.

I also think work is more fun when you work with friends.
Let’s face it, there’s nothing like having a friend in your corner, coaching you and advocating on your behalf, when it comes to getting hired by their firm.
And I’d like to think that my friends who are also clients reap similar benefits from the dual nature of our relationship as well.

Is there a male / female spilt ?
Are females more comfortable with Friends-Clients-Friends and male colleagues less comfortable?

What do you think? email me on info@rainmaker-coaching.co.uk

 

Sales and Rainmaking tips: More ideas on using Linkedin to sell more

Tip 1: Learn what’s happening in your prospect companies
People join, people leave, companies make important announcements – any change can present a good reason to get in touch and offer to help.
LinkedIn makes discovering these changes easy. You can follow any company that has a LinkedIn page.
That way you’ll see anything that changes directly in your updates.
It’s an easy way to stay up to date and spot new opportunities.

Tip 2: Add it to your Pre-Meeting Preparation Routine
Got a meeting to go to? About to pick up the phone to a prospect?
1. Check your prospect’s profile for changes and status updates.
2. See who else they’ve recently connected to. Could be a competitor?

Tip 3: Make your profile Effective 
If clients are interested, they will often look at your profile.
Ensure it’s complete and delivers a professional impression of both you and your company.  Include current links to your company site
Have a few high quality recommendations – especially from existing happy customers
This will give visitors a better idea of what you’re like as a person. People still buy from people.
Always have a good quality photo of you smiling.

Tip 4: Once a week Look and look back. 
On Linkedin you can see who’s looked at your profile by clicking on the “Who’s viewed your profile?” link and see a list of them.
The free account limits how many you can see and paid accounts give you the whole list.
This can work for you in two ways:

1. If someone looked at your profile reach out with a connection request
2. If you look at other people’s profiles, a certain proportion will always look back (see 1 above)

Even when you get anonymous visitors described as “Procurement Professional from the XYZ ” you can still click on them.
LinkedIn will then give you a list which will include the actual visitor.
It then takes just minutes to quickly visit each profile to show you’ve looked back.

Our Suggested Action plan on LinkedIn

1. Complete your profile to 100% and add a good quality professional picture

2. Use the description attached to your current employer to deliver a basic sales pitch for the company.

3. Solicit previous customers for recommendations – focus on quality over quantity.
Aim for those customers who have clout in the industries you focus on.
Where possible, make it easy for them and guide them on the areas you’d like recommendations on.

4. Follow companies on your prospect list so you get regular updates
Pay particular attention to joiners, leavers and company announcements.

5. Connect to as many people as you can – contacts breed contacts.
Make use of LinkedIn’s ‘people you may know’ feature.
Always send a contact request within 24 hours of meeting anyone new.

6. Connect LinkedIn to your company website.

7. Check your contacts’ contacts for other people you can connect to – do this religiously for all new connections.

Do you have other ideas to spread on how Linkedin helps?