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PODCAST TRANSCRIPT: SalesProChat, "Developing Your Personal Brand to Drive Revenue"
Nov 22, 2016 | Canadian Professional Sales Association, Social Media & Tech Series lock
Bill:
Welcome to the October 2016 SalesProChat Podcast, brought to you by the CPSA. I'm your host, Bill Banham. This month we're looking at personal branding for sales and driving revenue through improving your online brand.

Today's buyers are more selective than ever. When it comes to using vendors, they must be someone the buyer can trust.

In connection with the October 2016 webinar, which looks to help sales professionals uncover ways that developing a personal online brand can impact revenue, I'm lucky to be joined by one of the webinar presenters, Mario Martinez, Jr. Mario is CEO and Chief Social Selling Champion at M3Jr Growth Strategies. He's also a startup advisor and a contributing writer for the Huffington Post. Mario has been identified by Linkedin as one of the top experts in the world on social selling, and more recently he was named as one of the top ten sales gurus in the world by Rise Market Insight.

Mario, welcome to SalesProChat.

Mario:
Bill, I'm excited to be with you. Thank you so much for having me. This should be a great conversation and I'm looking forward to it.

Bill:
You are a big celebrity in the space, sir. I've been very excited about getting a chance to chat with you. We've got some pretty in depth questions. We're really going to test you out today, sir.

Mario:
Let's hope I can answer them, and thanks. I never thought of myself as a celebrity, but I guess I'll take it.

Bill:
Okay. Let's jump straight in. Let's start by defining a personal online brand and what are the key social networks that one should be on. Please can you share your thoughts on what a personal online brand means and why it matters as well?

Mario:
That's a really great question. That question takes on multiple meanings, depending on who you're talking to and what their role is and what they're looking to accomplish online. As an example, it could be that you're looking for the next great role in your organization or outside your organization and you are a non-sales or marketing person or a non-customer interfacing individual. I'm going to put that discussion of personal branding aside. I'm going to just focus on what I truly care about from my personal mission and goal, and that is all about those that touch the customer, predominantly sales and marketers.

When you think about this personal brand, rewind back twenty years ago. You and I didn't think about this personal online brand that we had to have in order to be able to help drive sales. We thought about branding ourselves internally, making sure we're following the right steps within the corporation to be able to climb the corporate ladder or to take the advancements, so those types of things. We thought about doing all the right things internally for growth trajectory inside an organization. However, what changed is the fact that there is this now predominant society that we live in that is digitally connected, that is socially enabled, and that is mobile enable. We all live on social networks.

One of the things that sales people and marketers, or those that are customer facing, can actually do is develop themselves as an influencer, as a leader in their space in their market, so that when buyers are looking for in formation their contact information, their profiles, their thought leadership, their sharing of materials and information can actually pop up in front of a buyer. That's extremely powerful. I think that's one of the things that sales and marketers are oftentimes forgetting, the power of building their brand so they can be looked at as an expert in this area.

In most cases you're not a stand alone sales person that doesn't have competition. In most cases you do have competition and buyers have choices. When buyers are engaging, they are engaging online. How do we know this? There's hundreds ... Thousands of buyers who have filled out surveys from Gartner or CEB as an example that says they actually go online and are about sixty percent or greater through the way of their research process prior to actually picking up the phone and calling a sales rep. Where are they doing that at? None other than social networks, online buying communities, and through the world wide web.

Really this online brand, it's speaking to how do we position ourselves as sales people and as marketers to be able to A, be thought of as a industry leader or expert in our particular segment, to actually be thought of by a buyer when they're thinking of an investment or purchasing a particular product, solution or service, and also to be thought of as a go-to resource, as someone that they want to engage with in order to be able to get answers to their questions that they're looking for. Does that answer you question Bill?

Bill:
It certainly does Mario. That's a fantastic overview. Thank you very much. Let's drill down on one thing that you mentioned just a moment ago, and that's kind of this idea of finding your feet in the road of social so that you can then leverage it. More specifically, how can a sales focused person find that unique voice that speaks to the needs of the modern buyer?

Mario:
Part of the steps to social selling, I've defined it as number ... There's five particular categories or steps that you have to go through. The first one was branding. We just covered that. The second one is really taking the time to understand your buyer so that you can engage. Once you understand how you help a buyer, then you can start mapping engagement directly with that buyer in your voice that speaks to the needs of that particular buyer. That's really, really, really critical. If you ask many sales reps what do you do, most sales reps will say I'm a sales rep or account manager or account executive or national accounts, local accounts, whatever the answer might be, for a company.

Okay, great. What really do you do? I'm not exactly sure what you mean. The answer really should be, Bill, what I do is I actually help sales organizations connect with, and in my case connect with today's modern buyers through social networks that delivers sales results. That's what I do. I state it for you in that particular statement, how I help buyers and who I actually help, sales people and also connecting with today's buyers, because that's really the challenge. That's where I think reps really need to take the time to sit back and understand the needs of their buyers. What problems are they solving for once they understand those business problems? Now they can go ahead and learn to engage with that particular buyer based upon the needs of the buyer.

Bill:
Okay. Thank you very much. Let's now move on to considerations of relating to the audience and building up that relationship with them. Can you offer some insights on how sales pros can go about building a strong relationship with their target customers? How can sales people be seen to be a go-to for solving business problems and offering the best solutions?

Mario:
That's a really great question. It's really about creating a level of relevance to your buyers and learning how to relate to them, which ultimately leads to ... The option here is to connect. You'll notice that some of the comments that I'm giving you ... I talked about understanding the buyer, which leads you to engage earlier. This one, I'm talking about learning to relate to your buyer, which leads you to connect, right?

Things that you can do, or how you go about doing that is you absolutely should be leveraging tools to do research like Linkedin, like Twitter, and understanding what are some of the pieces of content that your buyer is actually publishing, that your buyer is actually putting out for inside of groups, as an example, and asking questions to their online community, saying has anybody dealt with this particular problem or this particular issue?

I think we're well into that particular segment of what many reps are doing today in terms of trying to discover what their buyers are interested in, and they're looking and doing some of the research, but you'd be surprised over how many sales reps do not leverage the social networks to be able to see what their buyers are talking about, including even looking them up on Facebook as an example, which I would not encourage you to engage there, because that's usually more personal in nature unless they're a public figure, but looking them up on Facebook and understanding do they have children, do they have kids, what was the latest thing? Some people have their profiles open in public.

You need to be able to relate to your buyers by engaging with them and very specifically mapping content to the buyer's journey. This includes having content available inside your profile and this includes putting content out there on your networks and this includes putting content directly to them. I want to give you a great example. I actually had a client who through research discovered that one of their buyers was an astronomy fiend. He loved everything about the stars and outer space and the universe and all this other stuff.

She started engaging with him by sending him content specifically about what his personal interests were. By the I think it was the third or fourth message that she had sent him saying, "Hey, I found this article. This is actually pretty intriguing, I thought you might be interested in it," he actually turned around and said, "I've never had a sales rep do this before. I want to meet you face-to-face," and that turned into a conversation.

Sometimes content that we map to the buyer's journey may not necessarily be to solve the business problem, but it might mean to learn to develop a relationship that actually maps to their interests. Does that make sense?

Bill:
Absolutely, and you've really given some great examples there of research. Just a little bit of research going to a Linkedin profile, Facebook page, whatever it might be, understanding the particular interests of that likely candidate, that likely prospect, can make all the difference, and the information is out there. It's just a case of spending the time and doing your homework.

Now let's talk about the sell itself, okay? Imagine, Mario, that I'm doing all the right things, I'm out there on the right social media channels, I'm doing my homework, I'm doing my research into people and creating the right types of content. How do I now start to monetize that? What are the ways that I can begin to generate revenue from my big online brand?

Mario:
The online brand is one of the five steps, if you would, of engaging with a buyer in this methodology, in this sales processing methodology called social selling. Quite frankly, in two years from now social selling won't be called social selling. It will just be called selling. Like today, when someone says go and prospect, it is a given that you are leveraging things like the cold call or email marketing to be able to create outreach to a buyer. In two years from now, social selling will just be that.

In answer to your question of leveraging the right social media channels, to target the demographics or target your audience and how do you start to see the benefits of that in the sales funnel and generate revenue, here's the fact of the matter. The fact of the matter is the idea is to create a brand that is attractive to your buyers and that serves as a lead magnet, where they instantly see when you engage with them that you are somebody that can potentially offer value.

Then once they've done that and they've engaged to with, whether it's through a profile of you on Linkedin, or whether it's through a tweet or some other online fashion, you begin to engage with them, you get that engagement going. Now your next step is to connect with them, and once you connect with them your next step is to feed them, and that's how you build that relationship.

That naturally turns into an opportunity to be able to actually take that relationship that you've developed online and turn it into an offline discussion, and that's very important. The goal here is to turn every online conversation into an offline conversation. The phone is not dead and your legs are not broken, so you still have to get out and meet face-to-face to your customers or do the virtual meeting, to meet with them, and the phone is not broken, so we still have to make those calls to be able to help connect the dots, if you would.

When you do those types of things, then you start to reap the benefits. Just a case in point, in our business alone we do zero outbound prospecting and we do not do any advertising whatsoever. All of our sales opportunities and leads are a hundred percent inbound as a result of the branding that we do from content writing, content re-sharing, from engaging online to engaging with our targeted buyer's content, to also leveraging every single time somebody actually looks at our profile. Is this a person that I want to engage with, right, of that person? Doing those things will help lead to that sales opportunity.

One of the things that I talk about in the sales process here and developing your sales funnel that most people forget to do and most people don't do it very well, and that is what I call humanizing the connection experience. If you want to build a relationship you need to humanize the connection experience. Anthony [inaudible 00:14:55], a friend of mine who is also a sales leader and keynote thought leader on sales ... One of the things he said recently in a webinar he did with me was, "Your job is to make things unequal between you and your competition."

That was just fabulous advice. All things being unequal, relationships win. All things being equal, relationships win. Our job is to learn to humanize the connection experience. In the old days we used to walk into a office to meet face-to-face, Bill, with our buyer. The first thing a sales rep would do when walking into the office is look for that big fish on the wall, the picture of them holding the big fish on the wall, or them with their children, something that would help us to start that personal conversation of the first ten minutes of the meeting. Do you recall those days?

Bill:
I do. I do. They're many years ago now, but yeah-

Mario:
Exactly. Here's the problem. The problem is that you and I, we're so virtually connected society, we're socially connected. We are texting to be able to have relationships now with individuals. Companies have cut off hundreds of millions of square footage and shrunk the square footage of organizations and they put people to work at home environments, and in some cases many leaders don't even have offices anymore. When they meet with somebody face-to-face, if they do face-to-face, they're meeting in a public conference room that is borrowed for the hour or the thirty minutes that you've got, right?

Connecting with your buyer is so critical and there are some articles we're coming out with really talking about humanizing this connection experience. How do you take an online connection that you've just made, Bill and I just connected as an example, and we just connected. How do I turn that into an emotional connection where you actually are building trust instantly?

Bill:
Mario, I could sit here with you today and chat about this stuff for hours more I think. We haven't even got on in depth into the metrics and the measurement of some of these activities, but that will wait for another time. I do hope we can get you on again. For now, before we wrap up, how can the CPSA audience learn more about you?

Mario:
A couple things I would encourage them to do. Number one, connect with me on Linkedin. When you send a connection request personalize it and put inside there Sales Pro Chat Rules. #Sales Pro Chat Raps, Sales Pro Chat Rules, whatever you want to say. Then I'll know exactly that you found me through the podcast.

One other area that I would highly, highly, highly encourage individuals to take a look at and leverage, we have a plethora of videos on our YouTube channel, and most of the videos are three minutes or less. We do a segment called Raw and Unfiltered, and I could be walking on the streets of San Francisco, I could be with my son or kid and a thought comes to mind or an email comes to mind and I start talking about it. Subscribe to that channel and I think you'll find some value out of those videos there.

Bill:
Mario Martinez, Jr., thank you so much for being our guest today. It's been awesome.

Mario:
Thank you for having me. I appreciate it.

Bill:
Audience, until the next time this has been your host, Bill Banham, with the Sales Pro Chat Podcast.

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