I was lucky enough to come along to the Sales Hacker London conference with the Creation Agency team in central London, September 12th. For me, it was great to be at a conference and meet so many of the names and faces I have met and know through social media and in sales industry blogs.

The speakers at the conference covered a range of topics, but sales coaching was prominent. If you get a chance, take a look on Sales Hacker’s Facebook page to watch back the sessions.

Personal brands work

Among those, I met (the list could go on) was Host of the Salesman podcast Will Barron. One thing I really noticed when I met Will and others like Tim Hughes was that we already knew each other and recognised each other even though we had not met or spoken at great length before. I saw Will on his way out of the main stage area and wanted to speak to him before I left for the day, and it was clear immediately when we began talking that we knew each other to an extent pretty well already.

This made me think, I have never tried to sell Will anything. I have never really had a conversation that should be memorable to a guy who gets hundreds of emails from people who watch his podcast every day, let alone sales emails too.

So how does Will remember me? I share every one of his podcasts on my Twitter, and tag his account. I share the podcast episodes on LinkedIn quite often too and when Will posts in his Facebook group for the listeners, I always comment.

So it must be because I make an effort to be visible and share content on my social networks. If I do want to approach a person to see if I can help them, my efforts to create and share content serve as an advantage. That works for salespeople, for executives trying to create connections in potential new clients, for marketers and for anyone with career goals too.

The key thing I learned from that is that making yourself visible is one thing. It is another to be known for a certain thing, and how you do that is really interesting. You need to think carefully about what the content you need to be making and sharing is, and how that leads into conversations and sales for you. If I shared funny memes everyday, I would pretty soon become known for that in some regards, but it’s worth putting real thought into what you want your niche to be and how you establish yourself within it.

Go all in on social before events

While I was watching keynotes and networking, some of the people I had met on Twitter and LinkedIn prior to the event came to our stand to see where I was so that we could meet. I knew before the event that some people would be tweeting about their attendance so I could arrange to meet them there. It was great to meet so many people at the event, but even more so from Twitter and LinkedIn conversations. I already felt like I knew the people I was talking to. If this was a sales situation, it would be a huge advantage.

If you are going to a big conference and want to generate sales opportunities and appointments before you get there, monitor the event hashtag on Twitter. Use LinkedIn and search for the event name, you may find people talking about going to the event which you can use too. I personally wanted to connect with the speakers of the event before I was there, which led to some great conversations. I connected with Jake Reni before the event, and as we met for the first time he walked to me and gave me a fist bump. That is the power of connecting on social! Imagine if my buyers did that, how powerful could that be!

LinkedIn is the new business card

I didn’t see one single business card at the event. This made LinkedIn the business card of choice for me at the event, and it made me think about how strong my LinkedIn profile is. Equally, I thought about how strong every profile there was in the room would be. It is beyond important to be as super-strong on LinkedIn and other social platforms relevant for your social selling as possible.

One thing I thought about as well once I had connected with some great people I spoke to, was how to keep up the relationship. It’s one thing to shake hands and talk, but another to keep in contact. That is, of course, the whole idea of networking. Something I thought pretty important to do is to message people you connect with reminding them of where you met, and what you spoke about.

So when I apply this to general social selling, context when connecting is absolutely essential. If you want to make a conversation interesting, worth having and beneficial for both people you need something juicy to talk about.

In real life, people often talk about the weather in general small talk. I am sure if you send a sales email to a prospect asking about the weather, you will get nowhere. So the lesson I take here is that having great research that gives you the golden nuggets you need to make contact with a prospect with a really engaging message is huge.

This is no secret in the world of sales or sales development and is basically the reason that sales enablement exists to a point. But when you read your messaging back, or look at your approaches to prospects you should feel as though the real thought has gone into your work.

We all get those emails and calls where they are making contact hoping that you have product fit, or have a need that they can solve. I was called 3 times during the process of writing this post to check if I had any debts that a company could help me with – I do not.

So if you want to achieve stellar results and have success in sales, you need to be making better approaches to prospects. Better approaches mean better research and context in the outreach.

I learned a great deal from #SHLondon, and it was great to meet so many people in the sales industry. I cant wait for the next one…