How To Market Properly So That You Can Build Authentic Relationships With Your Customers With Collin Mitchell
Marketing is all about building valuable relationships. Your relationship with your customer shouldn't be artificial; it should be authentic. Don't thank your customer with a gift bag that was made at the last second. Get to really know them so that you can build that relationship. Join your host Chad Burmeister and his guest Collin Mitchell as they discuss how you can build real relationships with your customer. Collin is the host of Sales Transformation and the co-founder of Salescast. Listen in to today's conversation about marketing and how to correctly do it.
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How To Market Properly So That You Can Build Authentic Relationships With Your Customers With Collin Mitchell
I'm here with a cool guy. Collin Mitchell is the host of Sales Transformation and the Cofounder of Salescast. He does 2-4 podcasts a week, which is the thing to do these days, I'm told. We're going to dig into some fun stuff around social selling business startups and selling with video. We'll pick a few topics and we'll take it to the ground. Collin, welcome to the show.
Thanks so much for having me on. I know you're coming on my show. I'm super pumped about that as well. I know that you and I are going to have a ton of fun.
I love the poster on your wall. It says, “Get stuff done,” but the word is not stuff. You got to move one foot in front of the other. To help our audience get to know you, I like to ask the question first and that is, when you were younger, like the early passions that you can remember, what did you like to do? Who is Collin from a young age?
To give a little background, I was raised by a single mom with three brothers. My dad was never around. I enjoyed sports as a kid. I loved baseball and I played baseball for many years. That was my happy place. My mom did the best she could to keep food on the table and a roof over our heads. Sometimes we came up short. There are many moments where that was not ideal for a kid but I believe that a lot of those struggles early on have molded me into the person I am and have given me some skillsets that are maybe a little bit harder to teach than I gained through experience. When I got my first sales job, I knew this was my way out. There wasn’t a ton of opportunities knocking on my door. With that one there, I put in the work. I was the first one in and the last one to leave. I came in on the weekends to get my list ready. I did that dance for quite some time. It’s taken me some places that I probably would have never even dreamed of.
I think we share a lot in common. I remember going to New Zealand. I was in a marketing class and the last chapter was on sales. I’m a highlighter guy. I also scribble stuff down. I highlight 12 of the12 and I’m like, “This is me,” competitive. It was natural to take the competitiveness and parlay it into a sales job. What have you seen change because a lot has happened? What’s different now?
Everybody wants to learn how to sell virtually for those that weren’t doing it previously. Out of the three different companies that I’ve founded, we’ve always had a virtual setting, a virtual team. We’re all over the place. We’ve always leveraged and leaned into using video. We’ve got more into creating content, doing video, podcasting and all of these other things. What I’ve seen a big shift in is for the longest time people have been playing, forever really, the quantity game.
Sales is a numbers game. If we send this many emails, we get this many positive replies, we’ll book this many meetings, we’ll get these many deals in the pipeline and certain percentages will close depending on your company, your product, your skillset and many other variables. I think people are getting a little bit more serious. What’s more effective is quality. Quality over quantity. You can’t go all-in on quality but you should be dedicating a certain amount of time to that consistently. What I mean is, who are your high target value relationships and go deep and investing into building those. I’m not one of those guys that says, “It’s this or that. ”There’s room for both but you need to have a consistent habit of building high-quality, high-value relationships that can drive revenue for your business.
I learned the equation from a guy named Skip Miller with M3 Learning. He’s written multiple books. You’ve probably heard of him before. He talks about revenue equals frequency times competency. In fact, there’s a funny podcast or webinar I did some time back that said and I used to tell my reps, “Get the F up in the equation. Get the frequency up,” especially when you’re a new rep. More calls, more emails, more whatever.
Have a consistent habit of building high-quality relationships for your business.
To your point, the frequency game is being played by the tools that are out there, the sales engagement tools. Everybody’s frequency bucket is full now. Some people are at a 12, and some are at a 9.It’s somewhere in between there. That part of the equation that’s already taken for granted. The important one, if you get a bad email, which is 80% of the time or a bad LinkedIn connection with an immediate snap, ask for a meeting to sell you my IT package, that’s a two. Look at the equation, 9 to 12 times a 2or 9 to 12 times an 8 or a 9. The outcome on your revenue side is going to be way higher when you focus on the competency and the quality.
There’s no perfect answer. I don’t care who you are. You’re never going to be hitting it on all marks all the time. Sometimes there needs to be a happy balance of both. I have an example. We have a masterclass that we’re teaching. I went in and started a sequence to let people know about the masterclass. Somebody in there replied and was like, “Did you do any research? I already have a podcast. Why would I go to this masterclass?”
That’s going to happen sometimes but I was able to recover from that. I went deep in looking at her podcast. I saw some podcasts that she had been on. I gave her some tips. I added some value and recovered quickly from that situation. There are certain times where, yes, activity is important. You need to do some things that are scalable, but you got to make room to do some things that are not scalable. That’s going deep, getting more personal, investing in the people and the relationships. Not only to get that meeting booked or that demo booked or get them into your pipeline.
What are your thoughts on “influencer marketing?” It’s a new term that I’m hearing start to pop up. There are fakers in this world, I’m understanding. I found a software for $89 a month that can get me to have 50 people like my post on LinkedIn, 50 people share it. I’m like, “That’s not going to last very long.”
There are two parts to it. That stuff there hurts you more than it helps you. I’ll be the first one to admit I’ve done it before. I’ve used the software to get better engagement on posts. Let’s be real here. LinkedIn is way too smart for you to try to buck the system because what happens is those same people that may not even be the types of people that you want to work with, they’re saying, “Here are these persona types that like Chad’s content.” Those are the types of people that are going to keep seeing your content. You’re constantly in your comments, in your feed, talking to a bunch of robots and you got a bunch of likes and comments, but you got no sales.
There is an influencer marketing pathway that people do have relationships with exactly the right customers. My Fractional CFO has posted about gluten intolerance for years. She’s got more followers than you can imagine. She said, “If I post, lots of people listen. Tens of thousands.” I was like, “Wow.” If you’re a vendor trying to get into a market around gluten intolerance, you ought to reach out to Pam.
Here’s the thing that’s interesting. Influencer marketing is not a new thing. That’s been a thing on Facebook and Instagram for a long time. There are people that make a lot of money only to say, “Here is the prettiest new necklace that I’m wearing out tonight. These yoga or wellness influencers.”
Pam Anderson with odd boots in the early days. She, all of a sudden, wore them on the beach and they're like, “I need to get me some of those boots.” That CEO, for three years, tried to hire influencers that looked like models, but they weren't beach-going people. Pam Anderson wears them and all of a sudden, his sales skyrocket.
Everybody has it. Everybody wants to be Pam Anderson. It’s not that far-fetched to think like, “Influencer marketing is now becoming a thing on LinkedIn, in the B2B space.” People are putting in the time, putting in the work, building a highly engaged audience on the platform. The next logical step is, how do I make some money doing this? It’s this time in this effort to do it right. It's worth it. What’s interesting is you see a lot of people, specifically in sales, if you don’t sell directly to sales, getting a bunch of followers of other salespeople, is that the best move? I don’t think so.
If your plan is like, “I’m mainly spending my time here to become a B2B influencer marketing on the platform,” then that’s another story. Most people are spending time on the LinkedIn platform to get engaged, to build relationships with the direct types of people that want to do business with you. Unless you’re a SaaS product that sells directly to sales people, that strategy doesn’t make a ton of sense. You see a lot of SaaS companies now having these advisors that are posting about their product. I think it’s reasonable as long as it’s genuine. Not only going out and “Am I going to post about this product because they’re going to pay me or do I believe in the product? Do I use the product? Have I got results from the product?” It starts to lose authenticity when people are posting about stuff that has never even used the product at all.
My first two books were called Sales Hack and it took me twelve years to finally get around to writing a book. Once I decided to, it was out in 54 days. The way it came out is that I emailed about 30 people like Henry Schuck, Gerhard Faulkner, all the cool people. I copied them all and I say, “Give me your number one sales hack that you’ve learned in your entire career that you’re willing to share in a book with everyone.” That’s how I got the book written so quickly. If I were to ask you that question about the number one sales hack you’ve picked up over decades of working with people and selling. What would you say that would be?
Revenue equals frequency times competency.
I would say I would go back to what we originally talked about. Invest some time in the things that don’t scale. Building a high-quality network that never stops giving. How do you do that? LinkedIn is the easiest place to do that. Just do it right and find a way to add value to those people. I’m not talking about, “Here’s an eBook. Here’s a blog. Here’s some piece of crap thing that marketing put together that you don’t care about.” That’s not adding value. With the intention of not selling them, not looking at the demo, get to know the people. What do they care about? How can you add value in a meaningful way?
A simple example. Let's say you and I are hopping on a call for the first time when we met on the LinkedIn platform. I would spend more time listening and asking questions and less time talking. I wouldn’t pitch my product. I wouldn’t try to sell you anything. I would try to connect the dots to identify what relationships are valuable to you without directly asking you because everybody does that. I could say, “Chad, what type of relationships are you looking for? I’d love to make some intros for you, ”and then 90% of the people that say that never do it.
What's your budget? What's your authority? What's your need? What's your timeframe? Let's get away from advanced stuff or atleast be a little buried in there somewhere.
Here’s the little hidden secret. If you’re intentional about the people that you’re reaching out to, even if you reach out, you send them a video and you say, “I’d love to hop on and provide this particular thing that you might find value in and get to know you a little bit,” with a no sales pitch guarantee, even if you do that, which most people aren’t.
If you’re intentional about your targeting and you know the types of people that are likely to buy from you, they check out your website and your LinkedIn profile. About 30% of them are going to beg you to pitch anyway because they saw something that piqued their interest. They’re okay with that because they see value in it. You want to stay true to your promise of the no sales pitch. In fact, you’ve spent some time trying to get to know them, adding some value in a meaningful, authentic way and they’re like, “Please, tell me about this thing because it’s on top of mind. I think you might be able to help me.” That happens 20% to 30% of the time anyway.
I love the no sales pitch guarantee. I feel like that should be branded and that should be the default mechanism. There should be AI that listens to your Zoom call and gives you a shock in your seat if you disregard the no sales pitch there.
It’s like with Zoom, it says, "Your call is now being recorded. Your call is now being blocked until you stop pitching.”
I met a guy on my other show called Living a Better Story. He’s all about love and has written books on it. He found out at age 37 that he has a learning disability but his whole view of the world is we’re all interconnected and can all add value to each other. He writes about it and it was awesome. I connected so well that I was like, “I can help you with my social outreach software. Don’t pay me anything. Your message rocks. Would you like me to add value?”
It’s so fun when you meet people who have something that can change the world in a positive way. You lean in on it. We’ve done that at least two dozen times in a few months. I know my cost is this little but when I create a virtual assistant to do outreach for someone to get their book out on the Amazon bestseller list or something, that’s awesome. It’s$7,000 a month worth of value to them if they were to hire an assistant. I can do it at the cost of $50 a month. I’m like, “Let me go give away as many of those as I possibly can to help people do good in the world.” That’s your point. When you try to find out about the person, like, "What are you up to?" It’ll be natural of, “I can help you in this area. I’m not trying to sell you anything but if I can add value, then let’s talk.”
The key is as you start to learn and if you find some way to tie in how your product or your service can help them, you got to bite your tongue a little bit because you need to stay true to that promise of the sales pitch guarantee. I’ve been doing this for quite some time. I’ve tested all different methods as well with or without a personal note, video first, video second touch. I’ve tested a lot of different things but the one fact that remains true is through all of it. 20% to 30% of the time on average, they’re going to be super curious about what you do. They’re going to already have connected the dots of like, “I’m thinking about this thing or have this problem. It looks like you might be able to help me.” That’s contingent on that, like your website has good messaging, which is a whole another topic. Your LinkedIn profile is optimized to educate people on what you do.
Do you know Steve Richard from ExecVision?
I do. He was on my show.
Invest some time in the things that don't scale.
I remember he told me about partnering with someone that did a study like that. I'm like, “I wonder if Collin's that guy that did the tests of video first and email second or something.”
I ran an experiment of four weeks straight. What I did was I sent very targeted people a no personal note on the connection request. About 55% would accept. I've got a pretty optimized profile, so it's fairly high.
Twenty percent is a typical standard that I see across a lot of clients.
Fifty-five connection requests accept. After they connect, I would send them a 30-second video. No sales pitch guarantee. Adding value on something that I thought that they would care about. Out of that, 29% booked a meeting. I was booking like 14, 16 meetings a week in a lot of cases just by sending 100 connection requests and those were the numbers. Out of those, a decent amount of pipeline got created, then I tried it the other way.
A lot of people are against no personal note. Don't ever send a connection. There are people that sit on different sides of the fence with this and I wanted to debunk it. When I sent it with a personal note first, yes, I got a higher connection request acceptance, 65% roughly. Ten percent more people accepted my connection. The interesting thing is I booked only about 12% converted to a meeting. I think it's because the first impression was in a video. In a lot of cases, people would reply to the initial message and it would be redundant to send the video.
It’s better to get them in first before you tell them what it’s all about.
I think without the message in the first one, they're curious. If the first impression is a video, they're more likely to book a meeting.
That may have changed from years ago because everybody was saying, “You need to personalize to be different.” Now you need to not personalize to be different.
It's like, “Who is this bozo sending me a connection request? No.”
I go to the profile and I go, “How many common connections do I have? 187.” Instant connect.
The next experiment I want to run, which everybody says, “Do not do this ever," is I want to send a connection request with a video. People always say, “Never send a video in the first touch. Always in the second or third touch.” I want to debunk that. I’m going to send 100 connection requests. I’m going to do a video on the connection request. The first touch will have a video. I’m very curious to see what happens.
A friend of mine, Nick Cavuto, who’s an expert marketer, is killing it. He created a brand called Tenure Brands. He’s helping people do videos where he records for an hour and they drop them over the course of a month. They segment them out. They’re well done. He’s signed 150clients in a few months. He would do a LinkedIn that says, “I’m not a fan of those cheesy templates and a couple of misspelled words. Let’s connect. I want to get to know you.” We’d be sitting out at my firepit for a couple of hour sand he’d get 20 responses from that. That’s where he would pop up and go, “It’s Nick. It’s good to meet you. Check out the site.” That personalization with some typos and I’m not a fan of the gimmicky template, all that got him off the chart reply rates.
The interesting thing is you could send 400connection requests a week or something. I don't remember what the limit was, but it was high. Now you can only send 100 a week.
Unless you have a partner like mine, which is our company that lets you do 80 to 100 email requests to connect. It does the max, but then it spills over into email connection requests. That’s one of the hacks out there. You got to stay ahead of the curve. This has been fabulous, Collin. I’m excited to be on your show. I think we’ve shared a lot. Revenue equals frequency times competency. Everybody’s focused on the F. Let’s get the F down. Let’s get this competency and quality up because that’s the leverage point. We all need to do a better job at that. It’s well put. Thanks for being on the show. Thanks, everybody, for joining the AI for Sales Show. We’ve been talking to Collin Mitchell, the host of Sales Transformation and Cofounder of Salescast. Thank you for joining.