“Ditch the pitch, provide value and insight,” so says our guest this week. Bill McCormick is the Chief Sales Officer and LinkedIn Strategist at Social Sales Link. He went from being a student of social selling to providing sales leaders and sales teams with the lessons and tools they need in order to deal with the changing environment of the modern buying journey. He teaches sellers how to build stronger relationships online and make the connection from digital to face-to-face.

Too often we are focused on the sales process and not the buying process. Bill reminds us that on LinkedIn, a quick connection is not an invitation to try a hard sell. His lessons on leveraging LinkedIn relationships for sales success include:

  • Stop telling them how you can help them and just help
  • Be consistent in creating and posting content with client value
  • Be a resource and the sales will come
  • And many more…

LinkedIn is the Google of business, a networking room that is always open. Build relationships with your ideal clients. It starts with your profile; there are no quick steps to social selling success so approach it from what your clients need. Social selling is the way of sales today and we are fortunate to have Bill with us as we learn what works. And don’t miss his free offer. Listen now!

Mentioned in this episode:


Voiceover: You’re listening to the Conversational Selling podcast with Nancy Calabrese.

Nancy Calabrese: Hi, it’s Nancy Calabrese, then it’s time for Conversational Selling. The podcast where sales leaders and business experts share what’s going on in sales and marketing today, and it always starts with the human conversation. Joining us today is Bill McCormick, Chief Sales Officer and LinkedIn Strategist at Social Sales Link. He provides sales leaders and sales teams, the tools necessary to deal with the changing environment of the modern buyer’s journey. Bill actually discovered the power of LinkedIn, and social selling when he and his wife started their advertising specialty company over five years ago. With only a handful of clients, he quickly became a student of social selling, discovering how to find leads and generate sales. 

Now Bill’s passion is to take what he’s learned, and pass that on to those in sales, helping them leverage LinkedIn to build stronger relationships, and making connections from the digital space to the face to face. LinkedIn is such a powerful tool, I think we all know that to attract, especially in the b2b space to attract, engage and convert prospects. And yet most of us, including me, don’t leverage it to its capability. So all of you listeners out there, get your pen and paper out as Bill shares, tips and tricks that will make us more successful. So excited to have you on the show, Bill. Welcome.

Bill McCormick: Thanks so much, Nancy, I’m excited to be here excited to talk to your listeners about how we can leverage LinkedIn and incorporate it into our selling process. But more importantly, to help our buyers with the buying process. I think sometimes we’re too We’re too focused on the sales process, we forget that there’s a buying process that’s out there too. And if we pay attention to that the sales process takes care of itself.

Nancy: Cool. I’m definitely gonna pick your brain on that. But I want to start with, you know, leveraging LinkedIn for lead generation. Why is it such an effective tool? 

Bill: Well,  I think, first of all, every every LinkedIn trainer that’s out there that heard you see those, say those two words together probably cringe like lead generation on LinkedIn, because there’s so many companies that are out there doing it doing automation around that. And it’s kind of given it a bad name. But really, what it comes down to is finding the people who you want to get in front of, you know, having an idea of, you know, the the ideal client profile, which you know, we should all have that. But if you’re in b2b sales, there’s a good chance that those people are on LinkedIn, one of our clients, we were talking to him, kind of interviewing them about how we help them. 

And and they said, well, of course, we want to train you on LinkedIn, because isn’t LinkedIn, the Google of business? And I was like, wow, there’s a there’s a saying, and it’s true, that, you know, LinkedIn is a is a 24 hour a day, seven day a week, 365 day a year networking group. There are people in there all the time. So it makes sense that that’s if that’s where our buyers are, that that’s where we should be. The thing is, is that we have to to approach that in the right way. It’s not telemarketing. And it’s not email marketing, or social media marketing. Social selling is different from that.

Nancy: Okay, how so? 

Bill: So our definition of social sales link of social selling is that it’s building relationships, providing value and being a resource and understanding that the sales will come when the time is right. And many sales people have a problem with that last part, because they want the time to be right now.

Nancy: Yeah. They’re not being real. I mean, it doesn’t happen. You know, the first time you shake somebody’s hand, doesn’t mean you’re gonna you’re going to close business with that person.

Bill: Yes, that’s exactly true. But what’s happening on LinkedIn right now are people are coming on and connecting, and rather than connecting with you and shaking your hand, they’re they’re digitally shoving their business card in your face and saying, Nancy, we help companies just like yours. And I think where that’s coming from is there’s so let me just go back and like two years ago, what was happening on LinkedIn was people were connecting not sending a personal note just kind of blindly connecting with people. And if you accepted one of those connection requests, they would send back a pitch of their product or service. 

Nancy: Right. 

Bill: And then at about a about a year ago, this thing called COVID came and all of a sudden, all these outside sales reps were stuck in their houses. And they had no way of getting to their clients or getting to prospects, they couldn’t go knock on doors, they couldn’t call people because many people weren’t in the offices yet. They hadn’t forwarded their phones. And so they suddenly switched to this pitch on LinkedIn, where it transformed into this now where rather than just sending a connection request, I’m going to send a connection request with my pitch right in it. And I’m going to pitch to you, and I don’t know who’s teaching them that. I don’t know how it can ever be effective. 

Because if I’m going to sell to you, I’ve got to develop a relationship with you. And you know, and what really blows me away are people in the financial services sector that’s doing that or doing this. You know, they’re sending these blank connection or these connection requests with this pitch about, you know, dealing with my money. I don’t even know you, I don’t know if you’re credible. So I think that I think what’s happened is we want quick, we want plug and play, we want the five steps to building a successful financial services market. And we know that if we do step one, and then step two, and step three, then step four, and five will happen. And the problem is the real world’s not like that. We have to develop relationships.

Nancy: So you know, you you’re this a great segue into another question or statement, you know, you You’ve stated, ditch the pitch and provide value and insight. How do we do that on LinkedIn?

Bill: We have to stop telling people that we can help them or how we help them and we just have to help them. And it starts, it starts with our profile, your profile is not about you, it’s not about your years of service, it’s not about how you’ve won the President’s club award. When I see a salesman that puts in their on their LinkedIn profile about how they’ve won so many awards for being top salesman, I’m like, they’re gonna rip, they’re a really good salesman, they might rip me off, you know. We have to realize that our profile has to be about our ideal prospects. And we have to write it from that point of view, we have to create it as a resource so that when they land on our profile, it resonates with them, it creates some curiosity. It teaches them something new, it gets them thinking differently, and most importantly, gets them asking for more or at least gets them interested in more.

Nancy: Yeah.

Bill: That’s really where it starts. What we say is really your your profile is the foundation of everything you’re going to do. Mark Hunter said it best. You know, he said that these days, our reputation arrives before us. And often the way it arrives before us is our profile on LinkedIn.

Nancy: Wow. You’re so true. Especially you know, when you said what you said earlier, it’s a networking community that’s on 24/7, every day of the year. So we might as well learn how to use it right to be effective for our audience. You also stated, somewhere I read that a lack of productivity is akin to being busy and broke. Great statement. How does this relate to LinkedIn?

Bill: LinkedIn really is all about consistency. And really, anything we do in sales is about consistency. Consistency is our friend. But really what it is, is consistently doing the right things. I can be busy on LinkedIn, I can look at people I can, I can like some people’s posts, right, I can click the react button, you know, and that’s kind of like a drive by. And that doesn’t help anything that doesn’t help start conversations, consistency will help create more conversations on LinkedIn. And it has to do with everything from from being on a regular basis by creating and posting content. That’s a value, not what you want to say, I set out on a coaching call today, I tend to get in an echo chamber, right, I have this cognitive bias. I’m really against automation on LinkedIn. 

So I find I post a lot about automation on LinkedIn. And you know, who likes all that stuff? All the other LinkedIn trainers who aren’t my ideal clients, they’re just my you know, the choir, I’m preaching to the choir. I’m saying what what I already know what what we need to do is find out our clients or prospects. What are they interested in reading? And I call this the difference between the golden rule and the platinum rule. Everyone’s heard of the golden rule. Do unto others as they would have done unto them. So that’s me posting about what I want to post about, but the platinum rule is that do unto others as they want to be done unto. So find out what is it that your clients, you know, I’m at the at the end of the day, I’m a sales trainer I’m helping people to, to use LinkedIn to create more sales. 

So as a sales trainer, what are sales people? What do they want to know about? And that’s what I should be creating content for. And if I do that on a consistent basis, all right, Bob Burg in Endless Referrals said said at the end of the day, all things being equal people do business with people they know, like and trust. Well, how do they get to know you like you and trust you? Well, the way the way they do that is if when we can attract, teach and engage them on LinkedIn, we attract them with good quality content that they want to read that answers their question. We teach them something, right we we create curiosity, we teach them something new, we we save things from kind of a different perspective. And then when they react to that, when they comment on it, we engage on that back. 

And that takes consistency. So if you think about if you’re standing out in front of your house, and that’s your post, you’re you’re saying some things, and people come by and people view that post, right? So they drive past your house, the ones that way that you they’re the ones that react, they give that reaction, you may wave back, that’s great. But what you want is to have conversations. And so those people that comment on your posts, they’re people that pull over to the side of the road there will roll the window down, they say, hi, Nancy. And then what do you do? What do you do then? If you just give a thumbs up and go back in the house that’s just like liking their comment. But if you say, I’m doing great, how are you, you then started a conversation. That’s how people get to know like, and trust you. 

And that’s how they get to see you as a thought leader in your specific sphere or industry. I love what Kenan said, he said, relationships are great, but really where people do business with people they find credible. And that and by building credibility, that’s where you become the go to person in your sphere that they know that, hey, if I need, you know, when it came time for me to look for LinkedIn training, I went to Brynne Tillman because I knew that she was credible. And that’s kind of how we started our relationship. So really consistency is doing on a regular basis. 

And listen, if you’re listening to this, and you know, maybe you only post once a week, or maybe not even that, for me to tell you to post every day would be crazy, right? It should be an attainable goal. If you’re posting once a week, try uploading it to two or three times a week, if you’re doing three times a week, try to go to four times a week, the more consistent you are, the more success you’re going to have. It has to do a lot with the algorithm, the algorithm as you post more and have more engagement on posts, it will begin to release your your your content to more people. And a lot of folks don’t understand that.

Nancy: So is there too many posts that you know people do you know, you post one a day like what’s what’s the platinum rule on how many things you post or share?

Bill: So if you post more than one time a day, you’re going to end up shooting yourself in the foot because the algorithm will actually suppress one and not raise the other. So once a day is great, if you’re going to do two posts a day, they recommend six hours between posts. And so really doing one and then you should post and then make sure you’re monitoring that post and you’re replying to conversations, right? You’re, you’re replying to comments on it, because that’s what’s going to really drive the engagement. Because as you reply to comments, more people are going to end up seeing that.

Nancy: Yeah. So we started the conversation and you talked about the buying process, right, the selling process and the buying process. Can you go into that in a little more detail?

Bill: Yeah, sure. So the selling process is what I want to do. So I want to get you on a call, I want to tell you how great my product and my services are. So that I kind of browbeat you into saying, okay, okay, Bill enough. Yeah, I’ll use your I’ll use your services. And I’m being a little facetious there. But but that’s what it is. It’s about me. It’s about I’m in the driver’s seat. And I’m going to do what I want to do. Let me get through my questions that I have to ask because my boss says I have to ask these questions. And they’ve done some study at a high level and determined that if I ask these questions in just the right way that 85% of the people are going to buy so let me get through my questions and that’s the selling process. 

The buying process means that I come into a meeting or get on a zoom call with you get on an insights call with you get on a sales call with you with high intention and low attachment. That’s a Scott Schilling thing. You come in when I come in with a high attention of how can I serve you. What insights and resources can I give you to help you. And I have low attachment to the end result. Because if I’m because let’s face it, the end result for me is I want you to buy from me, right? But nobody likes, nobody likes to be sold to but everybody likes to buy. And the whole idea of the making it about the buying process is allowing you to reach that conclusion. So if I’m, if I’m really attached to that outcome, then I’m I’m pushing you, you know that that’s what I’m putting, if we could still meet in person, that’s what I’m putting the pen on the contract and sliding across the table with that smooth move, you know, so what’s keeping you from signing with us today. 

And that kind of thing isn’t going to work. Now what we have to do is make it a buying process and make it about our, our, our clients. And I, I believe it was Michael Port, who said it, that we should give away so much value that we think we’ve given too much and then give more. And, and we and we should be doing that when we’re talking to our clients. How can we serve you? And how can we help you so so that you get to the point where like, wow, if if they’re giving me this much free? I imagine how much I’m going to get with them if I if I work with them. And when I work with them.

Nancy: Man, we should have carved out two hours for this conversation. What do you say is so interesting. What would you like us? Or what would you like to spotlight.

Bill: So we we love like free stuff, we love to give away resources. And so if your listeners go to socialsaleslink.com/library, they can sign up, they can sign up as a silver member, which is our free level of membership. And they’ll get all of the access to our whole content library, which are a lot of digital resources, replays of past webinars, replays of past master classes where we’ve talked to people such as Darrell Amy and Larry Levine. We had Jeff Bajorek just last week. Next week, we have Richard van der Blom, who is one of the LinkedIn algorithm experts. Liz Windley coming up in April, I believe, and you can hear and if you go listen, you’ll listen here a lot of stuff I’ve said today because I’m not that smart. I, I learned a lot from other people, but but we would love to have people be a part of that free content library so that they can learn the best practices on social selling and leveraging LinkedIn to build their business.

Nancy: Yeah, tell me something that’s true. And nobody agrees with you on.

Bill: So this is I had such a hard time with this question. Because I’m a nice guy, I want everyone to like me. But you know, I think in the social selling world, you know, the truth that there are other ways to reach out to clients then via LinkedIn, I, you know, a lot of social sellers will tell you cold calling is dead, and you shouldn’t be doing that. And email marketing doesn’t work. And here’s the thing, that’s true, except when it’s not. And I know that what I realize is, you know, I don’t just use LinkedIn, you know, I really am a multi channel person. And I will actually pick up this funny thing sitting next to me, that is a telephone, and I’ll call clients and I will call prospects. But I would think that there are many in the social selling realm in the LinkedIn training realm that would disagree with me on that and say, yeah, that doesn’t work. So I guess that’s the that’s the thing that that I believe that that some people would not agree with me on.

Nancy: Well, you and I are in the same boat, because that’s what we make our livelihood on here. So picking up the phone.

Bill: Great minds think alike.

Nancy: You’ve got it, but also I like you, I totally believe in multi channel outreaches, then you know, you’re doing everything you can. And, you know, gosh, we’re at the end of the program here. Two other questions. What is one takeaway you’d like to leave the audience with?

Bill: Well, I’ve had to say that in your social sell my activities, make sure that you’re authentic and genuine, don’t fall into the trap of using mass outreach. Don’t use automation on LinkedIn, because LinkedIn’s Terms of Use is against that and you can be shut down. But really be authentic and be genuine that you can never go wrong with that.

Nancy: Awesome. And finally, how can my people find you.

Bill: Sure that well they can look me up on LinkedIn. Bill McCormick and then if you put in the the initials masi after my name is an industry designation leftover from LinkedIn. So Bill McCormick masi, find me on LinkedIn. Please send me a personal note and say that you heard me on Nancy’s podcast or just go to socialsaleslink.com. I have a contact page on there. Even a place where folks can schedule a call 15 minute profile review call with me.

Nancy: Well everybody out there go go go. You know, it’s been fantastic. Thank you all for listening in and Bill for your participation. Have a fantastic sales day everyone and remember reach out to Bill. Not only does he know a heck of a lot more about LinkedIn, he wants to hear from us and will provide awesome value. Thanks for being on the show, Bill.

Bill: Thanks so much, Nancy. And thanks everyone for listening. Hope to hear from you soon.

Voiceover: The Conversational Selling Podcast is sponsored by One of a Kind Sales. If you’re frustrated that you don’t have enough leads or your sales team complains that they just don’t have enough time to prospect, we can help. To work with Nancy and her team one on one to help you manage your sales team, install her proven outbound sales process and create more bottom line results, email her now at Nancy@oneofakindsales.com. To learn more about Nancy and her outbound sales secrets, grab your free copy of her book, The Inside Sales Solution at oneofakindsales.com/book.