Think about how you have helped people and not just hitting targets!

For those that know me, know that my background is business development and sales. I also worked predominately in the banking sector and did so around the time of the financial crisis. 

When you work in sales, and in the banking sector, there is a culture of target setting and many workers are set targets depending on the amount of sales they make, or the amount of business they bring in. With these targets come rewards. 

There is no doubt about it; target setting in sales works! I have never met a sales person that has ever achieved great things without some form of targets being set and rewards being granted. 

My main issue however with these points is that as soon as you start bragging about these points, you can start to alienate your customer – and it does not set the right image whatsoever. 

You see, we should all be in business to help one another. Sure, there are monetary rewards and profits to be made – but all of us work as we have a solution to a problem that someone else needs. We just make a profit on that solution. That is business theory brought down to a very basic level. 

Now, there is nothing wrong with making profit. However, the appearance of bragging about making big commissions and ‘smashing your targets’ can really portray the wrong image to your customers old, current, and future. 

Your customers will turn to you to solve a problem that they have in that current time. That should ideally be your main priority as a sales person or business man. If your sole focus is on making commission, making money, or hitting targets is your heart in the right place? Is this how you want your next customers to feel when they walk through your door; just a commission hit, or the next target?

Now, I am not against offering targets or financial rewards where they are justified. These things can work wonders to increase business and to boost profits. They also make a great impact on staff morale and can, if done right, create a great culture to work in. But for your PR and your marketing image these should really remain in house.

Your marketing image and PR view should always be that of helping customers solve the problems they have, to develop long-term relationships with your customers and to offer solutions for your customer needs. 

Hitting targets and earning high amounts of commission should be kept under-wraps and in-house – these elements of success should be hidden from any form of marketing strategy whether planned or unplanned. 

If anything were to go wrong, just like they did during the banking crisis, you only leave yourself open to criticism which will only incur lasting damage upon your brand and marketing message which will be very hard to repair. 

So next time you feel the need to boast about your latest achievements, just think to yourself: “Is this the right message I want to be putting across to my customers?”

The strategy I apply to LinkedIn

Over the years, LinkedIn has grown into perhaps the best social platform for business. There is no denying that.

And over the years, I have developed a strong network that not only looks good in numbers but interacts with me strongly too – I get a lot of daily engagement in the form of comments, debates and conversations.

Which is what social media is for, right? To be social! 

So quite recently I have had people asking me about my strategy on LinkedIn; and it got me thinking. Until this point, I wouldn’t have even said I had a strategy at all. Even now, I would not say I have a strategy as such, or a ‘game plan’ or some kind of tactics that I have pinned up on the wall of my office. 

The more I think about these questions however, the more I start to think about actually what it is I do on LinkedIn that seems to get me the best results. In a nutshell, I like to think of my LinkedIn strategy like that of a standard business networking meeting. 

We have all been to a networking event, right? A good chance to speak with like-minded business individuals, all of whom have their own opinions, and their own insights to life, and their own view points. The same can be said for LinkedIn, and it works for a beautiful analogy.

A networking event always goes better when people are starting conversations and discussions. If you can converse with another business owner, you can open the door to wonderful opportunities and start to develop wonderful relationships. LinkedIn is the same; hide in the shadows, and no one will be able to find you!

We all love to buy from people we love. It can be very easy to post general robotic posts about your business, why your business is so good, and why people should buy from you. But is that personal? Does that kind of post allow your connections to understand you as a person and to start to form a likeness towards you? The more personal, the better. This is social media after all, not a classified ads board. 

If you see something that you do not agree with, move on. Don’t start being the negative one and appoint yourself as ‘head of LinkedIn Police!’ – at the end of the day, you wouldn’t run over to a conversation going on at a networking event and say; ‘please stop talking about your children! This is for business!’

Finally, I always say, keep it social. This is a social media platform after all. If you wouldn’t say it in person, or in public, it is perhaps best not to say it on here. Be professional, be polite, and be yourself. You cannot get it wrong if you just be yourself. 

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