Using Social Media in Your Sales Process, with Philip Calvert [Episode 361]

Joining me on this episode is Philip Calvert, social media sales expert, and social media sales strategist, based in the UK. Among the many topics that Philip and I discuss, are Philip’s journey from financial service sales to social selling strategist, how LinkedIn gives salespeople a public face, how to use LinkedIn effectively and politely, and how social media can build bridges, but cannot close sales.

Key Takeaways

  • As the founder of a networking site, Philip received invitations to speak about social media, not only for financial services, but for law, accounting, pharmaceuticals, etc.
  • When Philip asks audiences if they know why they’re on LinkedIn, hardly any hands go up. Unless you have been trained on it, you’ll never fully get the best out of it. LinkedIn is the website for your personal brand. People buy people.
  • Everybody, in every organization, is potentially a salesperson. The social media philosophy of a business must be extremely clear, and in a policy book. E.g., “We encourage everybody to get involved, but don’t do anything stupid.”
  • It starts with training people how to build a professional profile. Make sure to have a good photo and some human interest on your profile. List your interests in the Additional Information section, as searchable keywords, separated by commas.
  • The ‘loose connection,’ concept includes connecting with everybody possible, except spammers. What does Philip say is the main function of social media?
  • Social media can distract you with shiny new tech. “Give that a go,’ is not a strategy. Have a strategy about which platforms to use, and how, to create conversations, which can build relationships.
  • Most people never bother to customize the LinkedIn connection request. Do it! Always connect from a person’s profile page, not from the LinkedIn suggestions list, so you can see their interests, to customize your note.
  • What does Philip advise you to do when you get a notification that someone viewed your profile?
  • Use courtesy and common sense to determine the best way to start building a relationship with the person you find on LinkedIn. It may be through LinkedIn, or it may be to pick up the phone, or send an email.

More About Philip Calvert

What’s your most powerful sales attribute?

Speaking.

Who is your sales role model?

Denis Waitley, Tom Peters, Elon Musk.

What’s one book that every salesperson should read?

Get More Referrals Now! The Four Cornerstones That Turn Business Relationships Into Gold, by Bill Cates.

What music is on your playlist right now?

Joe Bonamassa, Glenn Hughes, Metallica.

Episode Transcript

Andy Paul (0:35)

It’s time to Accelerate. I’m your host, Andy Paul. Join me as I host conversations with the leading experts in sales, marketing sales, automation, sales process, leadership, management, training, coaching, any resource that I believe will help you accelerate the growth of your sales, your business and most importantly, you.

Hello and welcome to Accelerate. I’m looking forward to talking with my guest today. Joining me on the show is Philip Calvert. He’s social media sales expert and social media sales strategist. He’s based in the UK, where there seems to be actually a fair number of quite strong experts in social selling. Philip, welcome to Accelerate.

 

Philip Calvert (1:17)

Thank you very much, Andy. It’s great to be here today. Thank you.

 

Andy Paul (1:20)

So, take a minute and fill in that sketchier direction. Maybe tell us how you got your start in sales and how you ended up in being a business expert in social media selling.

 

Philip Calvert (1:29)

Okay, thank you very much. Well, my background has been in financial services. I got started in financial services, something like 30 to 35 years ago, and I used to work on the sales side and the key accounts side for a large life insurance company. They also did pensions, investments, those sort of things. I always loved the whole marketing thing as well. It was very much my scene, I always took a great deal of interest in that, and after quite a few years about 15 to 18 years ago, I was given the check, and told my services were no longer required, and off I went. And I’d been sort of thinking about starting my own business for a while. And almost the day after I left employment, I went to a networking event here in the UK. I never heard of the speaker before, but to cut a very long story short, it was somebody from a website called Ecadamy. Academy but with an “E” on the front, ecadamy.com, which it was probably the first business to business social networking site. It focused very much on small business owners, although it also had some very successful international entrepreneurs on the site as well. And this concept of being able to network with people online, really got my attention. Not quite sure why it did, maybe there was an inherent laziness that I didn’t have to leave the house to meet people. But there was certainly something that I thought, “well, this is this is really interesting.” I could potentially meet virtually dozens of people every single day. And I signed up for this site and you created a profile page. In fact, the Ecademy was around quite a few years before LinkedIn appeared, back in 1998. Ecademy was doing what LinkedIn does now. You know, it looked a bit clunky, that’s the way the internet was back then. But it did the job, and very effective it was too. What was really interesting was when you actually went to a real networking meeting that the Ecademy used to host quite regularly. The amazing thing was that you could walk into a room full of people that you’d never actually met in the real world before, but you felt that you already knew them. You saw their photo; you knew quite a lot about them. And this to me just really grabbed my attention very quickly. And I kind of absorbed myself into it. And literally the next day, so I was kicked out of my job on one day, I went to this meeting the next day, and the day after that, I decided, “well, I’m going to set up my own online community within financial services.” That was an industry I knew quite a lot about. In particular, I knew a lot of financial advisors, financial planners. Just like LinkedIn has groups, you could do that on Ecademy. I created a group for financial advisors. And this grew really quite quickly. And we promoted it under the concept that financial advisors could network, exchange best practice, share ideas, ask questions, give answers, and so on and so forth. And it really went very well. And two or three years later, we realized that we were going to have to build a website for this rather than run it as a group sitting on the Ecademy site. Back in 2008 we set up our site at www.IFAlife.com, and it’s still going strong today.

 

Andy Paul (5:07)

So, this community of financial advisors is just in the UK or is it worldwide?

 

Philip Calvert (5:12)

It’s predominantly in the UK, but we have financial advisors from all over the world join the site. And really what’s fantastic. This is one of the great things about the internet and social media is the ability to share ideas and best practice across international borders. Wherever you happen to be based in the world, you have something to add to a conversation that’s taking place, and you see that on LinkedIn every day. So that’s how I really got started in it. And I guess if you’re the founder of a social networking site, you get asked to speak about social media. And that’s basically what I do. And I’ve managed to expand that from not just social media within financial services, but social media within other highly regulated entities, like law, accountancy, pharmaceutical and so on and so forth.

 

Andy Paul (6:06)

So, let’s get into the pharmaceutical because that’s a big business to business sales arena. In the US it still one of the last vestiges, but in the trend toward inside sales this is still notable, least the pharmaceutical industry for the number of reps that are out in the field, calling on doctors and so on. So, that’s a really inexpensive sales model. So, for your pharma companies, how are they changing their model in using social media to social selling to serve reduce the reliance on going out and making calls on 20, 30, 40 doctors a day?

 

Philip Calvert (6:46)

That’s a really good question. The pharmaceutical industry, like any other regulated industry, is one of those industries that knows it needs to be looking much more closely at social media. But my goodness, aren’t they nervous? For all the reasons that we can think of, the magic “compliance” word comes up time and time again. And, all regulated industries, they know they need to be getting involved with this, but they are extremely nervous about doing anything that goes out of line against the rules. So, it’s still very much a learning process. What’s interesting is, you look at LinkedIn, it been around since around 2003’ish. Not everybody’s on LinkedIn, they’re still have many new members joining every single day. And you would think that if this technology goes back all those years, you’d think that most of us in the world of business would kind of have got it by now. But my experience of most industries is they still look at social media as something a bit new, something that the kids are using. Something they are a bit nervous about, but at the same time, I think there really is a huge potential here if we get it right. And it’s the “if we get it right” bit that I’m most fascinated by. I look at LinkedIn, and if I take financial services as an industry for sake of example, in the UK, when I ask audiences, for any industry for that matter, hands up, if you have a profile on LinkedIn, almost everybody puts their hands up. Almost everyone.

 

Andy Paul (8:32)

But what does that profile look like though?

 

Philip Calvert (8:34)

Well, that’s the interesting thing. Then said to them, “now put your hands up if you know why you’re on LinkedIn”, and hardly any hands go off at all. And there’s the thing, I guess it’s like any other bit of software that you use in your business, whether it’s your CRM system or whatever it is that you use, or specialist software that you use in your business. Unless you been trained on it, unless you really know how to use it properly, you’ll never really fully get the best out of it. And I think the same goes for LinkedIn, and I think the same goes for other social media sites as well. We’re all on LinkedIn, but a huge percentage of us have absolutely no idea why we’re on LinkedIn. We cut and pasted our CV up there. Maybe we were looking for a job at one point, we put our CV up there, we sat back, smiled, and waited for the headhunters to call and of course, they never did. I think it’s still the case that most people look at LinkedIn as a really fancy job site. When in fact, today, it is very much a real time networking and sales platform.

 

Andy Paul (9:45)

Well, yeah. I feel good from the standpoint of a personal brand. That’s is the website for your personal brand.

 

Philip Calvert (9:51)

It certainly is. And this is another issue that I think a lot of industries struggle with, the bigger your company is, the more awkward you find social media; and certainly, companies that have got some history to them that have been around for quite a few years. You want people to buy into your brand, your brand values, your reputation, what do you stand for and your history. I remember my dad telling me when I left school, this is wonderful, good old-fashioned concept that “people buy people”. And one thing that social media people really talk about an awful lot is, you need to get your people involved. And really big companies struggle with this. And it kind of goes through their mind, they say, “we know, we know this, but we’d rather only restrict our sales people, or maybe our comms people, or maybe our customer service people to using social media”, but even then, they kind of think, “who do we dare let loose with the keys to the Twitter department? Who can we trust enough to represent us as an organization?” So, that’s something that they really struggle with.

 

Andy Paul (11:05)

How do you resolve that? Because that is sort of the key issue is, right? Is this push-pull as you’re talking about, especially bigger companies that are more brand conscious, if we turn everybody toward social media, are we diluting our message, reading multiple messages out there?” But the fact is in sales, if you are a salesperson you call on a potential customer. The first thing they’re going to do besides– maybe they will first look at your company, and secondly, they’re going to look at you at LinkedIn.

 

Philip Calvert (11:31)

Yeah, I think in this day and age we all know this. Everybody in every organization is potentially a salesperson. Yes, there’s a group of people who go out there and do the face to face stuff, or the tele sales stuff, but everybody goes, and increasingly people like customer service people. We’ve all been to conferences where the customer service expert on the stage has said, “today’s most unhappy customers is potentially the best advocate for your business.” And social media is increasingly being used in the customer service environment. Not very well, in a lot of cases. But really, we’re starting to see more and more people within organizations and across all different areas of a business starting to get involved. But I think the answer is two-fold. First of all, your social media philosophy as a business has to be extremely clear to every single employee. And it’s got to be written into the social media policy that you haven’t asked to say quite clearly, that as an organization, we believe in social, it is a part of our business, it is a part of how we get our message out there and we encourage all employees in the organization to get involved. And then of course, you have various rules, some of which I’ve seen. I’ve seen social media policies that say things as simple as, “we encourage everybody to get involved, but don’t do anything stupid.”

 

Andy Paul (13:08)

Fairly clear, right?

 

Philip Calvert (13:10)

Yeah. And that kind of sums it up. So, how do we make sure they don’t do something stupid? Or how do we try and minimize that? Training. It’s really as simple as that.

 

Andy Paul (13:18)

And some of the training really has to start with something as simple– especially a large organization you’re getting involved, start with the profile, right? Make sure people have pictures, make sure they have something of human interest on their profile besides just their CV, and that they are sharing something that reflects their knowledge and their passion about the business they are in.

 

Philip Calvert (13:38)

Absolutely. Some sort of continuity. I know we’re all individuals, but if we have a LinkedIn profile and it says that we are employed by ABC, Inc, or whatever organization it is, there needs to be some kind of continuity across the piece. But as you said, it does come back to this concept that “people buy people”. And as human beings, when we go to an event or conference, a networking meeting or something like that, invariably we are drawn to other human beings where we perceive that we have something in common. And more often than not, as a conversation takes place at a networking event, it doesn’t take very long to realize, actually, I have nothing in common with this person. Or, more likely, there is something I have in common. Maybe you both come from a certain area, maybe you both have a mutual interest, maybe you like football or skiing, or traveling, something that you have in common starts to emerge. And that’s where real dialogue and real relationship starts to happen. But what a lot of people don’t realize is, you can do this on LinkedIn. To me, one of the most valuable parts of a LinkedIn profile is one of the sections that an awful lot of people don’t bother to complete, and that’s in the additional information section where you can listen out your interests. So, if you are into skiing, and travel, or red wine, or whatever it is, you list these things out. And if you list them out in a particular way, those words then become clickable and searchable. So, you can actually find other people on the site who have got the same interests as you.

 

Andy Paul (15:23)

You said list them a certain way, what’s the way you’re supposed to list them?

 

Philip Calvert (15:26)

Okay, what most people do when they do this particular section on LinkedIn is, they say, “I love walking holidays in Europe. I drink my favorite red wine. And we have two dogs and a pony.” Full stop. The correct way to do that is actually to put “Europe comma, red wine, comma, music comma”, in other words, pretty word comma. Literally list out those words, but literally put a comma after each one. When you do that, it makes each of the word’s clickable and searchable. And I’ve used this technique many, many times. In fact, I did it with a financial advisor on Skype only yesterday. So, he’s in the city of Lincoln in the UK, and he’s looking for accountants that he wants to build relationships with, so that perhaps he can pass business to them, and they can pass business to him. Now, in the past, he would just go onto a website and he’d start searching around. And I said to him, “well, let’s do this right now.” And I typed in accountant, and I then put the filter of Lincoln and it produced 503 names. And I said, “well, there’s a list for you to start with. But let’s see which ones you’ve got something in common with.” Now, I had a look at his personal interests’ section. And he’s got things like Formula One racing, he’s Got jazz, things like that. And I said, “well, let’s just pick on one of these words”, I clicked on jazz, I think it was. And then so LinkedIn then shows me everybody else on LinkedIn who’s got jazz in their profile. But then I stopped, I use the filters, I then put by location, Lincoln. And I also put by industry, which I think was financial services or accounting, whatever. And it narrowed that list of 503 down to four people. Now, those are for people that will have a conversation with him, because if he can see quite clearly we’ve got something in common, there’s a great way, there’s a great opportunity for them to connect.

 

Andy Paul (17:41)

It’s a great tip for people that are– if you’re a sales rep or sales professional, you’re thinking about “how do I connect with people?” Yeah, instead of doing it just by industry and so on, sort tip it on its head, as you said, and start with the personal interests that you have in common, and then filter down to the industry that you’re serving?

 

Philip Calvert (17:58)

Yeah, Andy, you’re a speaker. I’ve done this with kickboxing, for example, it’s one of my interests, and I thought, let’s see if I can find a speaker booker or someone in a speaker bureau, or a conference organizer that I’ve got something in common with, and I clicked on the word “kickboxing” in my profile, LinkedIn finds everybody else on the site has got kickboxing in their profile, and then I literally narrow it down and filter it down by industry and location. And there you go, I can find myself three or four people that I can quite comfortably approach knowing we’ve got something in common, and we can have a bit of a chat about kickboxing.

 

Andy Paul (18:40)

Very interesting. That’s a great tip. Another interesting thing, you talked about an article, which I thought was a great way for connecting with people and sort of ties a little bit, it’s what you called the loose connection. I thought that was really a very thoughtful and indirect way to identify people. So, if you could run people through that, I think that’s a great tip.

 

Philip Calvert (19:04)

Well, in many ways it’s a bit like what we’ve just been talking about, this concept that “people buy people”. I talked to networking experts about, “should we connect with everybody who wants to connect with us on any social site? Or should we just connect with people in our niche?” And there seem to be two schools of thought on this, and people have different opinions on it. One school of thought is, just focus on the niche. And the other school of thought is connected with absolutely everybody. And my personal view is I try to connect with everybody I possibly can, with the exception of the very obvious spammers. And I do this because it dramatically increases the likelihood that there will be a connection there somewhere. I think it’s really important for people to remember that networking is not an activity where you are looking for opportunities to do business yourself. That sounds really quite odd. But let’s put this into context. We’ve all been to networking events where maybe there’s drinks or something, or canopies before a particular event. But there’s always a couple of people who sneak into the room first. And they put their business cards and all the chairs. We’ve seen that, yeah. Now, those are the sort of networkers who’ve got a frame of mind that says, “you know, I’m giving up this couple of hours this evening, or this lunchtime, or this breakfast meeting, and I’m going to really make the most of it and get everything I can out of it.” When in fact, the best networkers are the people who take exactly the opposite view. They go to a networking event with the intention of thinking, “who can I help today? Who, from my network, could I introduce to somebody that I’m going to meet?” And is the loose connections that I’m particularly interested in is. The chances are Andy, you and I may never do business together, but you’ve probably got a connection to somebody that I might find use for, or there could be potential for some sort of relationship there. And that’s kind of what I call a loose connection. It’s not me to you, it’s me to somebody you might know who you could introduce me to, or somebody that I could help out in some way, shape or form. And LinkedIn has helped us brilliantly with this, it’s the second and third-degree connections, which I think are really important.

 

Andy Paul (21:42)

So yeah, but you’ve had a very specific process, or have advocated for people use to identify those loose connections, so it’d be useful.

 

Philip Calvert (21:50)

Do you know I can’t remember? It’s an internet. I certainly remember writing the article that.

 

Andy Paul (21:59)

— we do research in your past; we find out what’s going on.

 

Philip Calvert (22:03)

That’s fantastic. Was that on my website? Sounds like it was from a while ago.

 

Andy Paul (22:06)

It was. We’ll link to it in the show notes page for the episode, we’ll provide a link to that. But let’s move on to the next topic. One thing about social media that people talk about, is that is really good for making those initial connections. But, how are you finding it’s valuable for the people you work with? When they get into the middle of the funnel, we presume it’s always good to make connections with people at the top of the funnel, your sales funnel. But give us strategies for using social media in the middle of the funnel.

 

Philip Calvert (22:50)

Can you give me an example? What sort of scenario are you thinking of?

 

Andy Paul (22:53)

Well, once you get past that initial connection, you’re actually selling them, right? So often people look at socials, “well, that’s great way to engage with people”, but once I sell them social falls off the map. So, do you have any advice you give to people in the middle of the funnel?

 

Philip Calvert (23:07)

That’s really interesting. Many people get very wrapped up in the technology of social media. And I see businesses saying they look at their competitors, they go, “well, our competitor down the road, they have a YouTube channel, maybe we should give that a go.” And they see somebody else down the road, “they’re using a company page on LinkedIn, maybe we should give that a go.” And some see another competitor down the road, they’re using Google Plus and they think, “well, maybe we should give that a go.” And “give that a go” is not really a strategy at all. It kind of says, “we’ve not given any thought to how we’re going to use social media in the in the sales process.” That doesn’t appear to be any plan, it seems to be something like, “let’s go for the latest shiny new social tool that’s out there.” And there is something new almost every single day. At the very outset, there has to be a very clear plan for why you are using social media, and how does it fit in with your with your main business plan. But to me, social media has absolutely nothing to do with the tool. It’s a bit of tech, yes, that can help flag up people that you might want to talk to. And it could be a tool and a bit of tech, that a potential customer might spot you online in some way, shape or form. But for me, social media is really a tool to create conversations. We look at Facebook, and if you look at your newsfeed, you will see adverts and some of those adverts have got the magic button shop now on them. So, you see an advertisement it’s in your newsfeed and it may well be that you think “yep, I need one of those.” And you know what Facebook’s like, the advertisements you tend to see are pretty well tailored to you and your needs and your browsing habits and your interests. So, there’s a fair chance that if the advertisement has been tailored correctly, you might buy immediately. But for most businesses, to me social media is a tool to generate dialogue, to get conversations going. Going back to that example of using kickboxing to find a speaker booker or something like that, I could find two or three profiles on LinkedIn, and I’ve got a couple of choices. Well, one choice is I could look at their profile and think, “no, this is not somebody I need to be talking to”, or I could send a connection request. And trust me, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do connection requests. Or I could do something remarkably old fashioned and pick up the telephone. Either way, it oils the wheels of any relationship if we can get a little bit of dialogue going. So, I see social media in the sales process as very much something to just start a conversation, get a little bit of dialogue going, which hopefully will start to build a bit of a relationship. And that then could maybe lead to a coffee somewhere, an initial get to know meeting and off we go from there. So, I don’t think that social media is the be all and end all of the sales process, it forms part of the sales process.

 

Andy Paul (26:30)

Sure. So, what was your tip on the right and wrong way to connect?

 

Philip Calvert (26:33)

Well, I don’t know about you, but I don’t know how many connection requests you receive on LinkedIn every day, but I get about 10 every single day. And almost every single one of them is the standard connection request, almost every single one of them. Now, this is a really basic thing, but most people in my experience on LinkedIn, never bothered to, at the very least customize the connection request. Just the most basic thing, customize the connection request. And always connect with somebody from their profile page. Never connect with them from the suggestions that LinkedIn gives you. Because you can customize it when you click the connect button from their actual profile page. And what I always do is, before I connect with anybody, I always have a look down to put down their profile. I’m looking for something that we’ve got in common, be it kickboxing, travel, red wine, music, I’m just looking for something, it could be their location, it could be somewhere that they’ve worked before, and I always put that into the equation connection request, “oh, I was browsing, you came up in a search result”, or, “I saw a post that you commented on LinkedIn. I had a look at your profile, and I noticed that you like music”, or so on and so forth. Just that one tiny little thing is enough to spark a human connection at a very human level. It is also common courtesy to do that. And I’ve had people tell me, I’ve had clients of mine tell me that the very first time they customized a connection request, they ended up with a with a new client. And this goes if I may, on the back of another little tip, which again sounds so obvious, but hardly anybody on LinkedIn does it. And that’s when somebody looks at your profile page. The overwhelming majority of people, when somebody looks at their profile on LinkedIn they ignore it, yet a really cool thing to do, and a real courteous thing to do would be to say “thank you”. A lot of people say to me, “well, that’s a bit old school saying thank you to people, isn’t social media about shortcuts and tricks and cutting corners?” Well, the actual fact, social media is about relationship building. And if you imagine you had a store on a street somewhere, and you saw a customer walk into your store, and you suddenly ran around the back or hid down behind the counter, how do think the customer would feel there? You would actually welcome them warmly and offer them some help, that sort of thing. And you have to remember the when somebody looks at your LinkedIn profile, they don’t ever do it by accident, they always do it on purpose. And if someone’s looked at your profile page, they’ve done it for a reason. Now, we don’t yet know that reason. When we look at their profile, we may be able to get a sense for why they might have looked at our profile, and we can get all sorts of information about them, depending on what level of membership we’ve got on LinkedIn. But what I do is I have a look at their profile. Then I go back to them and say “thanks, John, or Susan”, whatever the name was “for taking a look at my profile today, I hope you found something useful.”

 

Andy Paul (30:10)

Now, this is for people you’re already connected with?

 

Philip Calvert (30:12)

These are people who’ve just looked at my profile. So, they look at me, I then have a look at them. And I sent him a nice polite note saying, “thanks for looking at my profile. I hope you found something useful.” And then I will quite often add, “please do let me know if I can connect you to anyone in my network.”

 

Andy Paul (30:33)

So, are you doing that in the form of an InMail?

 

Philip Calvert (30:37)

I do it as a connection request? Now LinkedIn, like to give you the impression that you should only connect with people that you’ve got some sort of relationship with somewhere, be in the real world or whatever. And when you click the connect button, you’re given a very variety of choices as to how you might have come across this person in the past. But what I do is I choose one of the roles that I either have or have had in the past, something that I think might be appropriate for this particular boat, and I send them a connection request. But in that connection request, I say, “thank you for looking at my profile today, Susan, I hope you found something of use.” And then I say, “please do let me know if I can connect you to anyone in my network.” So, what I’m not doing is going into sales mode. What I appear to be doing is saying thank you, I’m being courteous, but I’m offering them a networking opportunity. I’m not saying “oh, I’d love to do business with you. Please buy my thing. Please buy my stuff.”

 

Andy Paul (31:45)

One question for you about that, do people get back to you and say– because clearly, you’ve got thousands of people that you’re connected with that you don’t know most of them. So, they say “well, could you connect me with John Smith?” You don’t happen to know John Smith personally.

 

Philip Calvert (32:02)

You know, that’s one way of doing it. You go through somebody who does actually know them. I think when you do this, when you connect with people, you have to use a little bit of common sense and courtesy here. And just to think, what is the best way of starting to build a relationship with this person? It may well be that the best way of starting to build a relationship with this person is to pick up the telephone, or maybe send them an email, perhaps, it’s pretty easy to find people’s email addresses, even if they’re not on their on their profile somewhere. So, you’ve got a variety of different ways to do it. And it’s not always the best way. The best way is not always to do it through LinkedIn. Sometimes it’s better to actually pick the phone up. Or do it another way. Or maybe visit their website, or just find other way, but to think carefully about this. A very good way to do it is to send them a connection request. When the person receiving your connection request doesn’t receive a message, saying, “Philip Calvert wants to connect with you, he says you used to work together 10 years ago”, they don’t get that message, all they get is a connection request from me. But if that message is personalized, courteous, friendly, not an obvious sales approach, you will then find that the number of people wanting to connect with you significantly increases. And again, I’ve had people tell me, the very first time they said “thank you” to someone in the form of a connection request, they’ve attracted new clients.

 

Andy Paul (33:41)

Excellent. Phil. now we move into the last segment of my show where I’ve got some standard questions I ask all my guests, and I subject all my guests to it, depending on your perspective. The first one is really a hypothetical scenario. You’ve just been hired as a new sales leader in a company whose sales have stalled out, the CEOs anxious to get things turned around, it’s going to be your job to serve, manage that. So, what two steps would you take your first week on the job that could have the biggest impact?

 

Philip Calvert (34:06)

Okay, from my perspective with an interest in social media, I would be looking to make sure that our organization really knew its customers and existing customers, and what those customers are doing online. Depending on the industry that we’re focused on, increasingly, a sales journey starts online these days, which would suggest to me that many of our customers are probably online in some way, shape or form. We already know quite a lot about our customers. We’ve done our due diligence; we’ve done our fact finding depending on what industry we’re on. But one thing I find time and time again is we’ve never done an audit of what social networking sites our customers are using. So that will be something I would start straight away with. And do a proper audit, go through our entire customer base, our best customers our key accounts, but also the customers that have already done a little bit of business with us in the past, and find out what they’re doing online, what social networking sites they hang out on, so that I can actually watch and listen to them online, or at least our salesforce can do this. This is one of the great things about social media, that used to be really difficult. Typically, in a business, our communication model is such that we as a business proactively communicate outwards with our customers. And we do this one at a time. And we also do it one to many through maybe newsletters, and so on and so forth. And also, the other model is that our customers communicate with us. The bit that’s missing is our customers talking to each other. Very often somebody became a customer because they had a conversation with somebody who is already a customer, that often happens in professional services, for example. Now, wouldn’t it be great if we as the business was able to listen to the conversations that are taking place between the customers. And with social media, you can do that, we can go online, there’s a whole variety of tools that you can use, even at the most basic level, like something like Hootsuite, or TweetDeck, you can follow your customers and you can watch what they’re talking about online. And use a variety of tools to observe that data and to follow trends to see how things are going. To me, this is really what social media is all about. Many organizations have focus groups, for example, where they’ll get some of their best customers into a room, get some food and drink down their necks, you maybe give them a bit of a dog and pony show, and you ask for feedback and it’s all great. But today with social media, we can use it as a listening tool. So many businesses look at social media, they think sales marketing, they think outward bound communication, when in fact one of its most valuable properties of social media, is as a listening and a research tool. So, if I was the CEO, that’s what I’d be doing, I would make absolutely sure that we have data on where our customers are on the social spectrum, that we absolutely nail that one down, and that we dedicate a team to listening to our customers online. And then the next step would be to start to build a strategy to engage with those people. Not going straight into sales mode, but to slowly but surely engaging them in conversations, so that we can constantly keep the plates spinning with relationships. This is such a powerful thing with social media, is that we can be just gently talking to them constantly. Well, you’re not talking to your customers. Other people are. Exactly,

 

Andy Paul (38:08)

Exactly. Alright, so some rapid-fire questions. Give me one-word answers if you wish or elaborate. And the first one, is when you, Philip, are out selling your own services. What’s your most powerful sales attribute?

 

Philip Calvert (38:21)

Speaking. I was first person to say social media is absolutely fantastic. I’m also the first person to say that enabling people to see the whites of your eyes is pretty important to be quite honest.

 

Andy Paul (38:36)

All right, so who’s your sales role model?

 

Philip Calvert (38:39)

There’s a really good question. Well, the name that really popped into my head straightaway was Denis Waitley, and Tom Peters. Denis Waitley talked a huge amount of sense in terms of relationships, and Tom Peters also talk since but there was a sort of a presence to him that I really admired. Those two people are extremely important. These days we have a lot of new kids on the block. I have to say people like Elon Musk are incredibly impactful in many people’s lives for their sheer ability to think on a scale which most of us certainly couldn’t imagine.

 

Andy Paul (39:33)

Great answer. So, what’s one book, you’d recommend that every salesperson read?

 

Philip Calvert (39:37)

Get More Referrals Now by Bill Gates?

 

Andy Paul (39:41)

Great. He’s been on the show, been a guest. That was great. So, last question for you, what music is on your playlist these days?

 

Philip Calvert (39:50)

Joe Bonamassa. Glenn Hughes, he used to be with Deep Purple. And I have to say I do like a bit of Metallica now and again.

 

Andy Paul (40:01)

There you go. I think they’re coming out with something new if I remember properly. Well, thanks for being on the show. Tell people how they can connect with you.

 

Philip Calvert (40:10)

My website is phillipcalvert.com. You can find me on Twitter @PhillipCalvert. And if you would like to connect with me on LinkedIn, just look to search for social media speaker.

 

Andy Paul (40:26)

Okay. And that is Philip with one “L”. Thank you again for being on the show. And remember, friends, thank you for listening today and make it a part of your day, every day, to deliberately learn something new to help you accelerate your success. And one easy way to do that is to take a minute and subscribe to this podcast Accelerate. That way you won’t miss any of my conversations with top business experts like my guest today, Philip Calvert, who shared his expertise about how to accelerate the growth of your business. So, thanks 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.com. For more information about today’s guests, visit my website at andypaul.com.