How to Sell on LinkedIn, with Erik Qualman [Episode 424]

Erik Qualman, #1 bestselling author and motivational speaker, joins me on this episode. His books include bestsellers like Socialnomics: How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business, Digital Leader: 5 Simple Keys to Success and Influence, and his latest book, How To Sell On LinkedIn: 30 Tips in 30 Days. In this episode, we uncover the pure power of social selling, and how reps and harness it for their benefit in unexpected ways.

Key Takeaways

  • Erik’s background is in digital and search. In 2009, he wrote Socialnomics. It became number one in eight countries, and he started speaking. He has made a career of motivational speaking, while writing five bestsellers.
  • Social selling is a tool to help you connect. You need to use your EQ more than IQ. These tools do not replace selling face-to-face. Using LinkedIn incorrectly is a loss for all parties.
  • You’ve got to network before you need to network — before you need the favor or the transaction. Play the long game, in a short timeframe. There’s an art to the conversation online, as much as there is offline.
  • Listen first; sell last. What’s their issue?
  • Erik supplies four questions to answer in your summary that will make positive connections with your prospects.
  • Follow thought leaders on LinkedIn. Questions asked of them point to challenges, opportunities, and pain points. Provide answers in the forum, to give value, and find prospects. Hard work separates you from your competition.
  • Model your LinkedIn profile after the profiles of the people you aspire to become. Study them, and provide similar value and content. They’ve done the R&D of what works. Use the best from them, and make it personal to your case.
  • Study the network of your competitor. See if you have meaningful connections with any, and reach out to them.
  • Post it forward. You can endorse someone new each day. That is networking before you need to network. When you want a warm introduction, indicate why, and the value you want to be bring to the introduction. It’s a win for each party.
  • Use email for outreach. Erik says to Google how to download your contacts’ email addresses from LinkedIn.
  • The selling happens in the face-to-face meeting. Offer a few specific times and dates to meet, and get an appointment.
  • Erik offers strategic questions that help you find if you have the decisionmaker, and if so, what the budget is — without asking sensitive questions. Ask thought-provoking questions, that give revealing responses.

The Sales Enablement Podcast with Andy Paul was formerly Accelerate! with Andy Paul.

Episode Transcript

Andy Paul  0:56  

Hello and welcome to the Sales Enablement Podcast. I am excited to talk with my guest today. Joining me is Erik Qualman. Number one best selling author and motivational speaker Erik has performed in 45 countries and reached 23 million people just this decade. His books include bestsellers like social nomics, how social media transforms the way we live into business, digital leader, five simple keys to success and influence and how to, and then today we’re gonna talk about how to sell on LinkedIn, his latest book, how to sell on LinkedIn 30 tips in 30 days. So Erik, welcome to the Sales Enablement Podcast.

 

Erik Qualman  1:50  

Now, thanks for having me. It’s great to be here.

 

Andy Paul  1:53  

I appreciate it. So yeah, I’d serve a skeleton introduction there. So fill in the introduction of it. Tell us about yourself.

 

Erik Qualman  2:00  

So my career has always been on the digital side a lot on the business side. But then in 2009, I wrote a book called social dynamics just because I saw that I thought that was the greatest new thing and the change of communication. And my background was in digital and search. And then from there, the book went number one in eight countries, I got on stage and spoke. And then an agent said, you can make a career doing this. And fortunately, I had a background in speaking from my previous jobs as the head of marketing at travels that worked at Yahoo back when they were kind of the Facebook of the day. And so I was very fortunate to be in the right place at the right time. I had to find luck. And so I’ve been doing that now for the last eight years, I’ve written five bestsellers. And as you mentioned, the latest is a solid LinkedIn. So it’s been really fun. My main vocation aside from writing is I do motivational speeches for mainly large companies fortune 1000. So it’s been a great ride, and I’ve met a lot of great people like you. And so it’s an honor to be here.

 

Andy Paul  2:55  

So first question for you then and we’re going to talk about this book, how to sell on LinkedIn, which I really enjoyed. But the first question I have about that is, you know, here you wrote some really pretty brilliant thought leadership pieces social nomics, digital leader. And then you compuserve, a really sort of prescriptive, how to step by step guide for LinkedIn. So what was the impetus to write the book on LinkedIn?

 

Erik Qualman  3:16  

They always say, if you want to write a book, write a book. And so the first one’s always the hardest. Once you start writing, you’re gonna get an idea for another one. So part of it was writing. What happens in Vegas stays on YouTube, I understand that there’s a nuance of LinkedIn that needs to go deep. And then beyond that, the real impetus for it was when I was speaking at these large companies, a lot of the questions started to send around LinkedIn. So I touch on LinkedIn how to sell just briefly, and then all of a sudden, they’d really dig into that. And then I talked to them more. And they’d say, yeah, we’re trying to write guides for our sales team on how to sell on LinkedIn. We don’t know what we’re doing, because I’m in social media, and they’ve assigned this to me, and I’ve never sold anything in my life, or I’ve been in this department in HR and they’ve handed us LinkedIn. I’m supposed to tell the sales team how to get a profile up and a summary, so the more meetings I sat in, especially at the sea level, and also the sales level, I started to really they told me basically, they gave me the idea that said, Hey, if you could write a very digestible book for salespeople, it would be huge. I go, I can do that. So then I was fortunate to be able to put it together and put it very easy. I would say, Take three minutes a day, you’re in sales, I want you out there selling. So this book is just 30 tips in 30 days, less than three minutes a day, because I want you out there meeting people having those coffees having those lunches, and then augmenting it with LinkedIn to go deeper with those contacts.

 

Andy Paul  4:37  

Well, that’s really one of those I was gonna get to that a little later, but bring up now since you raised the subject so there’s one thing that’s different about your book is that you say look, hey, it’s not just we’re not gonna do everything virtually here. We may connect virtually, but at some point, we got to talk face to face person to person, and that’s what’s missing from a lot of LinkedIn books. It’s like, yeah, we can do it all online. It’s like, No, no, no, this is still safe. Stop people, the people business.

 

Erik Qualman  5:02  

It is and you got to use your EQ and your emotional intelligence more than your IQ. But at the end of the day, I always say these tools do not replace face to face. They’re there when time and distance are an issue. They’re there to deepen relationships but if you don’t use them properly, you’re going to use them incorrectly and it’s gonna be a lose lose for both folks. And so that’s really the viewpoint of this entire book is that 30 tips really got showcased. Okay, this is where it matters offline. And here’s how you combine it with online together working in harmony,

 

Andy Paul  5:31  

which is, I think, what makes it really important for people to pick up and read because yeah, you don’t get that combined perspective very frequently. So you start off sir, the book we talk about, you have lost statistics, so I thought they were interesting for people to find out is, is 45% more I think most of these come from LinkedIn is 45% more opportunities created if using social selling three times more likely to achieve quota if you’re deeply involved with it. The thing I thought was sort of interesting you said 98% of reps with 5000 plus connections achieve quota which The only caveat is that’s not a clarion call to go out and rush out and make random connections.

 

Erik Qualman  6:09  

No, it’s not. I just thought that that was the data point that it sensibly is if you’re in there connecting, I talk about is one of the tips, you got a network before you need the network. And a lot of us make the mistake of only networking when we actually need the favor or need the sale or it’s transactional. And so I go in deep on a lot of the tips about don’t do everything as a transaction, you got to play the long game, but in a short timeframe, I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but it’s okay, play the long game, but in a hyper accelerated path. So meaning that it might be a six week process, but don’t pepper the person three times within three days, it’s, you know, start a conversation, a dialogue, and a lot of it’s what you do in the offline world. But we forget that when we get online, we try to sell right away. And that turns people off just like it would at a cocktail party. So that’s why I’m trying to help people out on LinkedIn is that just like in the offline world, there’s an art to the conversation online as well.

 

Andy Paul  7:04  

Yeah, well I think people take the perspective as you said this something they wouldn’t do in an offline world but online they feel like they have a really limited period of time to make an impression so they feel like they have to do it all the first time the first outreach the first interaction

 

Erik Qualman  7:20  

No, you’re exactly right. That’s why I talk about you know, listen first, sell last and so as sales are like, You’re crazy, I gotta meet my quota. That’s how you’re gonna meet your quota. I actually do this like for our business when I talked about I get on stage is that my team when they use LinkedIn, it’s a they take the longer approach and it always works out in the end for us so it’s just listen first, what’s their issue to get a lot of this stuff sold sales tips, but it’s the same that applies online as well.

 

Andy Paul  7:49  

All right, so let’s let’s dive into some of the tips. So I’m gonna just highlight the ones I thought that you had some sort of different takes on from what normally people would have heard and some a book like this is one is constructing your killer summary if you use the phrase you have to be likable. And this is something that probably is not in the mind of a lot of people when they say, you know, I can make myself seem attractive but not likeable?

 

Erik Qualman  8:17  

No, you’re right. And when it comes down to the summary to be specific on that I give specific tips on how to write it more of a story.

 

Andy Paul  8:25  

As a dialogue, which I liked, you know, so use it if you want to learn how to use real world languages, envision you’re doing this dialogue with somebody. And that’s the language you should use in your profile.

 

Erik Qualman  8:35  

Exactly. And it connects more with the person that I understand that person and so I don’t have the script right in front of me. But what I wrote in the book was essentially if you’re in construction, let’s say you’re an architect or in the construction business, if you don’t list out all the construction words and the fancy words that no one really understands that it doesn’t make you human. It’s really, hey, since we all got our favorite Christmas gift, or we all got our favorite holiday gift, we all get our favorite birthday gift. Let’s say we all remember our favorite birthday gift. My favorite birthday gift was when I was eight years old, I got a Lego Construction Set. And since that time, I fell in love with the architecture behind construction. And that’s why I’ve done it all my life. And then you put in something about what a client says it’s like, and that’s why all my clients have always been satisfied, they say the two things that they like best about me is I’m always on time and under budget. So whatever those two things are, you’re kind of selling in there a little bit, but at the same time, it’s a short story and try to keep it tight. And it’s not you as a robot or a person as a robot.

 

Andy Paul  9:40  

And the other caution you throw in which I think is an excellent one because too often people resort to this is stay away from sort of the overblown adjectives the world class, the industry leading the so on and so forth.

 

Erik Qualman  9:53  

Know exactly that, like the four tenets I talked about in your summary is you’ve got to answer these questions like, how do I think you’re going to be a helpful and valuable partner? Are you likable? That’s what we’re talking about about likability, when you write it, are you trustworthy? And what makes you unique? And why is that so great. And so that’s really the four pieces that you kind of want to cover off in your summary, in a short way. And we give specific details in the book about how you take an offline conversation, and then put that into a LinkedIn summary.

 

Andy Paul  10:25  

Right. And I think that’s a great way for people listening when you think about your summaries. Yeah, imagine if you’re talking to a friend offline, about what you do and why you’re passionate about what you do and how you help your customers. And I imagine you’re talking to your friends, you don’t say yeah, I’m a world class expert in whatever or you know, the overblown language. So you get that real world language, everyday language in there which again, is a great tip for people. So the next thing I thought was very interesting. You’re talking about finding prospects. And you went through a series of steps about how to find influencers in your space and how to use them to surface prospects. And I thought it was really interesting. As you talked about, you know, you’re engaging with the seeing what the thought leaders are interested in, you’re seeing who’s asking questions of the thought leaders, and oftentimes that then become prospects that may be a need for your product.

 

Erik Qualman  11:14  

No, you’re exactly right, everyone, there’s always thought leaders in each space so you go out and find those folks. A lot of them are LinkedIn. So if you go into LinkedIn groups, so whatever group is specific to your industry, let’s say that you manufacture ice cream, it might be the ice cream manufacturers group, and you go in there, and then there’s conversations within there. And it’s usually the people that are asking the questions, the beautiful thing about LinkedIn, you can see their title, you can see their position. And often those questions are pointing out a challenge, an opportunity or a pain point that person is currently facing. And so if you can help provide an answer in that forum to that person, then you’re starting one you’re now providing value to that person, but also to you’ve now identified a prospect of something that you can help solve their pain point or tax. that opportunity that they have out there for. So that’s why I love a tool like LinkedIn, because it’s kind of all out there in front of you. And like I just mentioned, as a salesperson, you might be going, whoa, that might be a little bit of hard work. And I always say the great thing about hard work, it’s going to separate you from the competition. That’s the beautiful thing about it is your competitors not going to do that. So why are you doing that you’re gonna stand out, you provide that value. And at the end of the day, like I said, it’s it’s hard work, but it’s, it’s not that many minutes invested in it to find that those those those prospects out there, right and without resorting to too old of a cliche about hard work to reference what you talked about being lucky in the early part of the conversation. As you know, my father always told me, the harder you work the luckier you get. 

 

Andy Paul  12:45  

So well, the other thing you said in there that that was, again, a nuance that is interesting for people to absorb and to perhaps implement in their own profile is you talked about focusing on the thought leaders in your space and then doing some research, see what they have in common? And then adjust your profile to make sure that you’re appealing to what that commonality is.

 

Erik Qualman  13:08  

Yeah, exactly right. Don’t recreate the wheel. The beautiful thing about having over 7 billion people on the planet is that your idea is probably not necessarily a new one. But it is unique in terms of how you utilize it or how you position it. So go look out at the two or three people that you’re aspiring to kind of become and see what the common traits they share on LinkedIn, or what they’re producing or their language, what they’re writing, where they’re writing. And you can kind of utilize that go, okay, obviously, the three commonalities are this, they’re all centered on this word on LinkedIn. And they’re all centered around doing this type of video on LinkedIn or this type of blog post on LinkedIn. So that obviously seems to work. And so they’ve kind of done the r&d for you. they’ve paid it with their probably larger budgets, and then you can kind of take the best of what they do, and then spin it to what’s it your wheelhouse in what you’re good at, and then go from there.

 

Andy Paul  14:04  

And another tip you give us to compare your network with your competitors network. So why is that important?

 

Erik Qualman  14:11  

Well, it’s important to see who they are surrounded by, right? So we talked about the people’s enabler. And we know that quite well both offline to surround yourself with, and then also online, and so figure out who are they connected to and who they’re connected with. And then you can reach out to those folks as well try to find that commonality. Let’s say you find these 20 people that they’re connected with, well, they’re probably connected to hundreds, but you narrowed down to Hey, there’s 20 that they’re connected with, that actually went to the same alma mater that I did. And so that’s an easy way for me to connect with those people. And then now you’re starting to run in the same circles.

 

Andy Paul  14:45  

Which leads to the next topic I want to talk about with warm introductions. And you know, it’s something that, again, oftentimes people aren’t using correctly within LinkedIn because what they do is they may connect to see somebody has a second level connection with somebody. They want to be in touch with, and they asked for the introduction as opposed to, you know, asking for information about that person or what that person might be concerned about, and so on. So do you have or tips you have for people to use LinkedIn for warm introductions?

 

Erik Qualman  15:18  

It all depends on the connection. Yeah, that’s why I always stress the network before you need it. So if you’re constantly always saying, carve out three minutes a day, and all of us have three minutes a day if you don’t have to get alive, but everyone has three minutes they can carve out and I talked about one of the tips is posting it forward. And what posted forward means is that each day you’re going out, you might be endorsing someone on LinkedIn, that’s an easy way takes a couple seconds to go out and door someone for a skill set. And it’s gonna send them an alert that hey, you know, Erik just endorsed you for this. So they’re like, Oh, that’s really cool. It made me feel good that this person endorsed me. But the reason you’re posting it forward is number one is the science shows are going to make you feel good. That’s the right thing to do as a human being. But the second thing that obviously makes the recipient feel good as well, is that that is networking before you actually need the network and posting it forward every day for three minutes. Whether it’s endorsing someone or highlighting someone saying, Hey, here’s three thought leaders respect in this space because of xy and z, and you list their name is that long term, what that’s gonna allow for you to do is when you need that warm introduction, it’s warmer in terms of asking for it. At some point, maybe it was a month ago, you actually endorsed that person, or a month ago, you highlighted them and said, Hey, congratulations to Jim, on his brand new job. So when you reach out to them, it’s actually not out of the blue after four years. But when you do reach out if there’s anything you can do to provide a value to that person before you ask for that introduction, that’d be fantastic. Secondarily, it indicates why you want to be introduced to that person, the value that you’re going to bring, because we always protect our connections. And so we want to make sure that if we’re providing an introduction, it’s win win win. So win for the introducer, maybe the person you’re asking to introduce as well as the person that’s actually asked for it, and also the person who’s receiving it. So indicate why you want that it’s your actions and what the value you’re going to bring to that person by being introduced to them. And that is a win win win scenario for everyone. So that’s a way to provide value throughout the chain. So that’s what I strongly stress rather than just going, Hey, King introduced me to this person, you actually go, you’ve posted forward so it’s not too cold of an entry. Secondarily, you’ve indicated why you want to be introduced to that person, the value you’re going to bring to that person, and then you go from there.

 

Andy Paul  17:34  

Well, the beauty about posting a forward is, is if people are familiar with Robert Cialdini, his book influence is you know, what the six core fundamentals of influence is reciprocity, you know, sort of almost encoded in US people do something for us, we feel sort of the the human need to reciprocate and to do something for them. And so posting it forward certainly plays into that. That. Another thing that I think a great point you made about the warm introductions is just that. We too often assume that people know what we do or what we’re interested in the introduction for. And you said, you have to be very specific with the person that’s connected, that they understand exactly what you’re looking for.

 

Erik Qualman  18:19  

No, you’re exactly right. And I personally like a lot of people, you love helping people out. So if it makes sense to introduce you to someone, you’re happier than heck to do that. So don’t also be afraid to ask for that introduction. Especially if you have a good relationship with the person that we are as human beings and the neuroscience shows that we want to help each other. So when you reach out to the person, some people are just afraid to ask for that introduction. But don’t be afraid, especially if it’s a good relationship.

 

Andy Paul  18:49  

Well then the last part of that, again that you recommend, I thought was certainly different than what you see normally is your recommendation once you get the intervention, don’t message within LinkedIn, but use email for the hour.

 

Erik Qualman  19:01  

Ya know, and a lot of people don’t understand one of the greatest things about LinkedIn is if once you have a first connection with someone, you can hit the button, it’s really high on the page. It’s a little hard to find but look below their profile picture, there’s a contact button, if you click that it usually opens up and drops down and usually has their email address. And that’s a way to if you don’t have their email address, you can get it on LinkedIn most A lot of people have it in that spot, right. So once you have that first connection, you can get it and then go crazy enough not to get too much into the weeds because this is getting a little bit more technical than I do in the book. But you can actually it’s very easy to go in and Google how to download all your contacts from LinkedIn. And I got to think at some point LinkedIn is gonna stop you from being able to do this. But the other day I downloaded 13,000 emails because all my connections on LinkedIn, you can actually download all the emails.

 

Andy Paul  19:58  

Alright, Tip of the day. We’re not gonna tell LinkedIn that it came from Erik. We just heard it. We just turned it on podcast somewhere.

 

Erik Qualman  20:05  

Yeah, no, no, it’s totally upfront and aboveboard. I’m just saying at some point, I would think LinkedIn might not allow for you to do that. Or you’d have to charge to do that. But right now, it’s great. You can go just download all my contacts, emails that are connected on LinkedIn.

 

Andy Paul  20:18  

So the next next thing to talk about you mentioned before, listen, first cell last. One thing that I liked about that was you talked about when you got to the cell stage we talked about this before is setting up offline meetings. So you know, you’ve engaged in some active listening, you’ve started interacting, joining conversation, adding value to them. But then when it comes time to meet, do it offline.

 

Erik Qualman  20:49  

Exactly. Yeah. I mean, I think that you’ve got to play it by ear on what the person is using your EQ again, what the person likes, but you can never replace the face to face meeting and we know that So the quicker you can get to an offline meeting, that’s fantastic. And then when you do that, I see so many sales people make this mistake. It used to be in the old days, the mistake was made, as they’d call in, they talked for five minutes, and then they wouldn’t leave their phone number or their name. I was on the buy side, right? Like how to market it. And I mean, are you crazy? I just wasted five minutes when I was sad to leave my number or as his name, or I said it so fast, I couldn’t discern it, is that the biggest mistake I see now is, hey, do you want to grab lunch sometime, instead of like being specific about the scheduling is that you’ve got to make it as easy as possible for that person, rather than putting the onus what day works well for you, well, they go, I gotta go look at my calendar, I’ve got to have my admin, look at my calendar and figure out what day works for me, rather than if you give them a couple of dates. They can look at that specific date and see that it’s open and go and grab it and go, yep, that sounds good. And the more you can space those dates out, ones probably like in the near term, this week, ones maybe two weeks and one three weeks out. You give them a bunch of options, and a lot of times, if they take the three week, they might take the three week one out. Because they’re like, Oh, that’s that for a while, I’ll take that meat. Or they’ll take the immediate one because they know there’s nothing there and nothing’s gonna jump on their plate. So that’s why you want to give them those options.

 

Andy Paul  22:12  

What I love the phrase used in the book, which I think is a great thing for people listening to remember is you said LinkedIn is just a way to communicate before and between real world meetings. And it’s not a substitute.

 

Erik Qualman  22:27  

Exactly right. It’s much more fun to be there face to face. So that’s why your insistence? Yeah, just remember these. This is a great tool. It’s the world’s greatest sales tool. it’s ever been invented, but it does replace face to face.

 

Andy Paul  22:41  

Yeah. And then sort of the last thing about the book and LinkedIn is, if you had some really great questions that I think people could easily use to sort of initiate conversations. One was, you know, what are you most excited about in the next 12 months? And yeah, it’s a great discovery question. And then the other was, yeah, if they’ve quantified $1 value or monetary opportunity related to what they’re most excited about. So do they know what they’re most excited about? And they know what the value is to them.

 

Erik Qualman  23:14  

Ya know, it’s so interesting, because a lot of times people go, what’s your budget? That’s really tricky. They’re not going to answer that. So I always like to walk them through, okay, what’s the biggest challenge opportunity you’re facing? And then if you nail that, what’s the dollar opportunity? think you’ve done with that? So they might say, hey, if we figured out how to do X, Y, and Z, I think it’s like $3 million, that we’ll get out of it. So now you kind of know their budgets, anything south of $3 million, if just for simplicity sake, sure. But also is that they don’t know the budget, and that’s probably telling you that you’re not dealing with the decision maker, or they don’t know what the opportunity is. They’re probably not doing the decision maker or you can help them figure out what that dollar value is for that. So there’s a lot of reasons why you want to ask that question. And I’m huge digitally, always asking thought provoking questions to where it’s gonna let you stand out, and then they’re gonna stop and think about it. So we just entered in a brand new year. And so one of my things is always asking, you know, what’s your word for this year? And so that’s what I started a lot of emails with, or have it just as part of the senses of a word for this year. My words empowerment, and everyone’s gonna stop and think about that. They’re like, I don’t have a word. No, they’ll actually pause and think. And they usually shoot you back a word. And now you know what their focus is. If they do send you a word, and now you can be their cheerleader throughout the year to make sure they’re holding up to that word, but every conversation from a personal standpoint, now you know where they’re coming from. But most of the most important reasons it’s gonna give you a response because they’re gonna stop, think about an answer to that specific question. And they’re gonna send you an answer.

 

Andy Paul  24:50  

Yeah, I mean, it’s sort of Brent Adamson who wrote the challenger or co author of the challenger customer challenger sale, you know, says it’s a great question to ask. It’s fairly close to what you’re talking about is, you know, asking the customer something they should know about their business but don’t exactly depend on your personality depending on the person that’s on the other end. 

 

Erik Qualman  25:05  

Yes, sir. Again, you’re gonna use your EQ. But I’ll even send like an animated image. A lot of times, instead of saying, Let’s grab beers is like, let’s grab, and then you just put the beers, right images. Or I might say, my favorite Girl Scout cookie is and I’ll post an image of that cookie. Or if you don’t want to post an image, just write out what that Girl Scout cookie is. Again, they’re gonna answer that question, because everyone’s eating a Girl Scout cookie and alive, and they all have an opinion on it. So they’re gonna reply back. And now you’ve got it now on a personal level, and it just makes things a lot more fun. And when you have fun, the sales are gonna continue to roll in digitally.

 

Andy Paul  25:46  

Excellent.And so Erik, now it finished up the show. I’ve got some in the segment show some standard questions I ask all my guests and the first one I’ve asked well over 400 people of interest to get your response to it. It’s a hypothetical scenario. Where are you, Erik, I’ve just been hired as VP of sales at a company whose sales have stalled out. The CEO is anxious to hit the reset button to get back on track quickly. So what two things could you do your first week on the job that could have the biggest impact?

 

Erik Qualman  26:15  

This is a fantastic question. I love this type of show. So this is great. And I’m going to steal from someone I interviewed in a book digital leader is I was talking to a turnaround CEO. And I asked her, you know, how do you go in these companies that seem like they’ve got good executives before you and you come in and turn around? And so this is going to answer your question, this is what I would do is what she does, if I’d come in I go, I want a list of your top 50 customers. And if they don’t have that list, most of the time they do then it shows that things are really a mess. Then you have to figure out how to get that you have to do a little more research to get the top 50 customers, but then I actually would go and meet with them face to face and ask them two questions. Why do you buy from us? You know, what do you buy from us and why do you buy from You know, what do you buy from us? And why do you buy from us? And you’ll start to see a pattern across 80% 80% will be the same answer. And then I turn everything around those two answers. What are they buying? And why are they buying it just hyper focus on that? As much as possible. 

 

Andy Paul  27:17  

So now I’ve got just a handful of rapid fire questions. Give me one word answers if you want, or you can elaborate. So the first one is when you Erik are out selling your services, what’s your most powerful sales attribute?

 

Erik Qualman  27:28  

Our most powerful sales attribute is actually producing videos showcasing them what we actually do. And that’s been the biggest winner for us, not only me on stage, but also we’ve gotten into the 3d and 4d animation part of the business. And so it was just by mistake, right? So I wrote social dynamics, I was given a speech, and I used an existing video. And then I said, You know, I need a video like this, but it’s specific to what I’m talking about to open up. And so I went and wrote a script and then hired A kid I was in Boston at the time. So I got someone from the local university at MIT and asked him, How much can I give you $300 for you to produce this video, and he did. And then away we went, that thing was massively viral. And then subsequently, I’ve actually started a company, an animation company, and we’ve even done work for Disney. So a lot of times you just have kind of that dumb luck. But for us, it’s definitely been video and then also testimonials just like any business, you’re in. Every testimonial, we make sure we ask for those the moment we’re done with the project, or in the middle of it, right, because once it’s over, it’s so hard to get them. So we want to make sure we always have it as part of our process. We’ve got to get that testimonial, the more specific it is, the better. And then from there, let past partners and clients speak for us. And so that’s the biggest, biggest win for us just like it is for a lot of the listeners. 

 

Andy Paul  28:51  

Okay, so sort of who’s you if you have one who’s your sales role model?

 

Erik Qualman  28:57  

I’ll tell you who I listen to a lot. Going back old school. I get in there to do Zig Ziglar. Listen to that stuff. Yep. I listen to Tony Robbins, more modern day guys like a peer who I know is a great guy. And he practices what he preaches. Gary Vaynerchuk. Yep. So he’s fantastic. Listen to his stuff. And so those are, those are the three main ones I listen to. I am also very religious, and it’s interesting. If you look at the churches like Andy Stanley, out there online or Brad Thomas, you’d be surprised and amazed at how digital those churches that are some of the most progressive when it comes to digital out there, but more importantly, when it comes to sales. If you listen to their mindset, and you listen to what they’re doing, they’re actually part of the sales process. And when you think about what they’re doing when they’re building these churches as well is that they have to raise money. So they’re every everyone’s in sales, right, all right sales rep. And so if you look Listen to those, they share a very common theme with all the folks that I already mentioned.

 

Andy Paul  30:05  

Okay, excellent. So besides any of your own books, what one book would you recommend every salesperson read,

 

Erik Qualman  30:11  

Given by Adam Grant, and it’s a recent book in the last couple of years and Adam’s out of Wharton. He’s more of a social scientist, but he talks about, he did a lot of research that the more you give, the more you’ll get long term. And it’s so that in sales sometimes I mentioned earlier, we’re so transactionally focused here and now because we’ve got, you know, quotas to meet. But as we look at it, I’d say Adam Grant, because it’ll give you a nice little breather and break from your normal reading of sales, traditional sales books, but I think that long term it will probably have the biggest impact on your bottom line. 

 

Andy Paul  31:33  

Excellent. Well, good. 

 

Erik Qualman  32:02  

Well, it’s an honor to be here. I’m very easy to find. 

 

Andy Paul  32:21  

All right. Well, Erik, again, thank you very much for being on the show. And friends. Thank you for taking the time to spend with us today. Remember, make it part of your day every day to deliberately learn something new to help you accelerate your success easily and do that as well as join my conversations with top business experts like my guest today, Erik Qualman, who shared his expertise about how to accelerate the growth of your business. So thanks again for joining me Until next time, this is Andy Paul. Good selling everyone. Thanks for listening to the show. If you like what you heard, and want to make sure you don’t miss any upcoming episodes, please subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or Stitcher for more information about today’s guests, visit my website at AndyPaul.com