Episode 400: Your pipeline building toolbox, with Stephen Woessner.
Stephen is the CEO of Predictive ROI and the host of the Onward Nation podcast. He is the author of two bestselling books, speaker, trainer, and his digital marketing insights have been featured in SUCCESS, Entrepreneur, The Washington Post, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, and other media.
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Good Morning Onward Nation — I’m Stephen Woessner — Happy New Year and welcome to this week’s solocast. And today’s episode also happens to be Episode 400 — so before we dive into the sales pipeline building toolbox that I want to share with you — first — I need to offer up a very big thank you, Onward Nation.
If someone would have told me back on June 15, 2015 that we were about to launch a podcast that would soar to the top of iTunes New & Noteworthy, that our email list would grow to over 20,000 people, that we would receive feedback every day from business owners who we have impacted in a positive way, that our message would now reach 105 countries around the world…and that all of the knowledge we collected in the last 18-months would turn into a book that a major publisher would want to buy and then publish…there is no way I would have believed that person.
In fact, I might have run the other way.
And yet, what I just shared with you is exactly what happened. And it happened because of you, Onward Nation.
Because you downloaded episodes and then let us know how we could make them better.
You emailed me, you hit us up on Twitter, you shared your thoughts on Facebook — and my team and I listened. We made adjustments and then you offered even more advice.
So we pivoted again. And again. And then again.
And we will continue to pivot and adjust because our goal is to deliver as much value to you, Onward Nation as we possibly can.
Please continue to let us know what you think of Onward Nation…thumbs up or thumbs down. We want to get better — and our first 400 episodes — are just the beginning.
So thank you for being here — and please know — how much you downloading, and listening to our episodes, and sharing your feedback means to me and my team.
Thank you, Onward Nation.
Let’s continue the momentum that we started during last week’s solocast…Episode 396 that I entitled, “Get Your Hands Dirty” and we focused on two main lessons:
1) why and how you should jump into the trenches with your team — and the impact you getting your hands dirty — will have on your team
2) how to create your client avatar so you and your team focus your valuable time and attention toward the right customers.
And as I walked you through the practical and tactical steps last week — the “in the trenches process” that you need in order to create your client avatar — I also made you a promise.
I promised that last week’s solocast would be the first in a series of four tactical lessons you take and apply in order to fill your sales pipeline.
So today’s solocast is my next step in fulfilling my promise.
Today’s lesson is going to tactical and provide you with another opportunity to get your hands dirty working alongside your team.
However, I am also going to push you to think differently before you dig into the tools.
I am going to do that so you can be sure to get your mindset right — to get your head right — so you are ready to unleash your full potential. If you work through the client avatar exercise from last week without getting your mindset right — you may focus on clients who don’t push you — who will not challenge you to grow — you may focus on the ones who you think are safe — prospects who are lower hanging fruit — decision makers who operate at lower levels in the organization instead of the C-suite.
Run from those thoughts, Onward Nation.
I believe it was Albert Einstein who said, “The same thinking that got you and your business to your current level – is not the same thinking that is going to get you to where you want to go.”
So you must push yourself to be open to the ideas I share with you – even if I challenge you – even if I make you feel uncomfortable from time-to-time – please know – that’s what a good mentor does – they help you see the path you need to take.
For example…I can almost certainly guarantee that as you and I move our way through the lessons over the next several weeks…you may begin to think of challenges you expect to encounter if you were to implement what you learn.
You may think to yourself…
“That would never work in my industry.”
“I can work on that when I have more time.”
“I would put that into practice if only my team were up to the challenge.”
“My sales have slumped because I have a couple of really tough competitors – or – our pricing is too high.”
I am here to tell you – as a good mentor would – your key challenge – your key obstacle to having a vibrant, full sales pipeline heading into 2017 – with a steady stream of qualified prospects is not being blocked by any of these.
Okay, so then what is blocking you from having a full sales pipeline?
It’s you, Onward Nation! Yes, you.
But how could I say such a thing? Please…just hear me out.
We as business owners…we fall victim each day by asking ourselves really horrible questions like…
“Am I good enough?”
“Am I smart enough?”
“Oh, that company over there would never want to do business with us because we are too small!”
We tend to set ourselves up for failure before we ever start.
We tell ourselves we can’t do something. The way we speak to ourselves — in our own heads — can be truly cruel at times.
Instead…as you are building your client avatar…you need to get your mindset right…to eliminate the word “Can’t” from your vocabulary.
Why do you need to eliminate this word – and these thoughts?
Because this word is the root of the Imposter Syndrome – and if you don’t take aggressive action – the word will build a stronghold in your mind…and the Imposter Syndrome will keep you as its victim.
The Imposter Syndrome is your one and only barrier to success – and it will keep your sales pipeline empty if you let it.
Onward Nation — you are good enough – you are worthy of more – you have worked hard!
Don’t let the Syndrome become a roadblock to your next level.
In fact, next time you catch yourself asking yourself road-blocking questions…I want to you to apply a little success secret to push past the blockade.
Here it is…
“Decide to win – before – you ever start.”
And that’s a powerful lesson I learned from Joanna Riley during Episode 324.
She went from zero to being the largest shareholder in her company now worth over $800 million.
Jo has accomplished much – but – it is because she learned at the age of 14 what it took to believe in herself – and that winning was as much about performance as it was deciding to win at the outset.
I believe in you, Onward Nation – you are far more capable, amazing, awesome, wonderful, and beautiful than you give yourself credit for.
And now I want to repeat the two warnings from last week because they still apply for today’s lesson.
As we move through the steps…you may catch yourself saying… “Oh, I already know that…”
If you catch yourself saying that – take a moment – and instead ask yourself – “But have I mastered it?”
And then take it deeper by asking yourself, “Can I leverage it even greater that what I am currently doing?”
Okay, so let’s jump in.
The primary tool we will focus on today is LinkedIn.
Why? Because LinkedIn is the platform where business-to-business deals get done – and – get done quickly.
Plus, there are over 433 million business people on the planet who use LinkedIn.
So it is highly likely that your top prospects are there – using LinkedIn – every day.
And you should be, too, Onward Nation.
LinkedIn members also may represent the right demographic – the right economic earning potential – that fits your ideal prospect or client avatar.
So let’s begin…and in total…I am going to share tactical steps — or tools — you can use to find your client avatar in LinkedIn, build your Dream 50 list, expand your number of connections, and then reach out to your Dream 50 to generate leads to fill your sales pipeline.
Step 1: Boost your LinkedIn profile.
You need to do this by giving it a serious, deeply critical look. Does it include a deep summary description?
Have you linked videos from your YouTube account?
Do you have your experience section properly built out? And if the answer is “no” to any of these — you need to make immediate adjustments.
Why? Think of your profile as your landing page within LNKD. If it’s not up to par — then prospects will bounce off your page and move on with their day.
Step 2: Participate in LinkedIn’s Pulse publishing platform by sharing your long-form content at least once per week.
Publishing to LNKD gives you the opportunity to share your expertise and deliver value to your connections – and – to boost credibility on the platform.
Go to my LNKD profile for tangible examples that you can dissect and get some ideas.
Step 3: expand your LNKD connections
I encourage you to export your existing email list, import it into LinkedIn, and send connection requests. But why?
Because with each new LNKD connection, your network of 1st degree, 2nd degree, and 3rd degree connections expands. This will give your team a larger network to search within for high-value prospects — your client avatar.
For example, I have over 4,000 1st degree connections on LinkedIn, which equates to a lead gen network of approximately 17 million people for business development team here at Predictive ROI, my content marketing and lead gen agency.
By expanding your connections, your will be able to “see” as many high-value prospects within LNKD as possible.
Step 4: expand your email list!
Now you should reverse the process from Step 3 and export your list of LNKD connections — and then — import the email addresses back into your email list.
LinkedIn is the only social media platform that allows you to export the email addresses of your connections.
This rinse and repeat cross-pollination will ensure yours prospects receive future content via multiple channels.
Step 5: build your Dream 50 list
Here is where you will take the details you identified regarding your client avatar using the recipe I shared with you in Episode 396 — and then apply it — to build your Dream 50 list using LinkedIn’s Advanced Lead Builder tool.
The Advanced Lead Builder gives you the opportunity to conduct custom searches based on keywords, titles, industry, years of experience, employee size, geographic proximity to a zip code, and a variety of other variables.
But…just a heads up…LNKD recently announced their decision eliminate a number of the searching options because not enough members were using them.
Ugh. So we will have to wait and see what the revised version of Advanced Lead Builder will look like — I will keep you posted.
Once you have your Dream 50 list compiled — you will be ready for Step 6, which is sending your InMail messages. InMail is kind of like LNKD’s version of email — except it is only available to premium members — you can only send 30 InMail messages per month without buying more credits — credits cost $10 each — and — the process cannot be automated…each InMail is sent to each recipient manually…one at a time.
Yes, I know — it is time consuming…but…that is also why we often see response rates of 10-20 percent…because there is very little spam via InMail.
You can go to Episode 298 of Onward Nation for our complete InMail template so you can swipe it and then customize the content for your business.
Now, that covers some of the core LinkedIn ingredients but there is another success secret I learned from Jeffrey Hayzlett in Episode 121 that I want to share with you right now.
And that is – to Crawl – Walk – Then Run.
Yes, it is going to take you time to perfect this recipe.
My team and I have sent thousands and thousands and thousands of InMail messages within the last 24-months alone.
Did it take us time to develop the expertise that we now have?
Of course it did.
So do as Jeffrey says…Crawl…Walk…and then Run. And soon…you too will have mastered LinkedIn and your pipeline will be full.
So with that…I want to thank you again for taking the time to be here with me today. It is an honor to have you here — thank you for tuning in — I am delighted you chose this episode to be what you listen to, study, and take with you on your morning run, or maybe Onward Nation has become part of your daily commute, or in some other way has become part of your morning routine.
However our daily podcast fits into your daily routine — I want you to know how much I appreciate you sharing some of your invaluable 86,400 seconds you have in your day with me and the strategies we learn and share each day from today’s top business owners.
And please continue to let me know what you think of Onward Nation…good or bad…I always want your feedback. My direct email address is email@example.com — and yes — that is my actual Inbox.
No fancy filters or filing system and I read and reply to every single email.
So please let me know how you think we are doing. I look forward to hearing from you.
We will be back tomorrow with an incredible interview with Kyle Reyes — where we focus on the power of not losing your identity as a business owner — and how your identity can, and should, become the foundation of your brand. Kyle is rock solid awesome.
You will not want to miss it, Onward Nation!
Until then, onward with gusto!