Making LinkedIn Part of Your Sales Process with John Bellamy
Many of us have a love-hate relationship with LinkedIn; we’ve all got profiles, and we get connection requests, sure – but do we really use it to its full potential?
With over a decade of experience in business development and marketing, today’s guest, John Bellamy is here to show us how to profit from LinkedIn and turn it into a money making machine.
A fellow Aussie, John Bellamy is from the Gold Coast, and while recording this episode he confirmed that he was wearing board shorts!
John’s career trajectory started around 1999, when he was working for direct mail communications company Salmat, in the “junk mail” (i.e. unaddressed advertising mailers) division.
While there, he learned marketing techniques from a variety of different angles, but as he moved up through the ranks, it became clearer and clearer to him that this wasn’t his permanent career. “I always knew that I wanted to go and work for myself,” he tells Troy. “I always knew that the corporate world and doing the whole 9-5 thing wasn’t going to be a fit. I wanted to work on a laptop, mobile phone, I’m done.”
The Rolodex of the Future
When John first started getting LinkedIn invites in his inbox, it took him a while to pay any attention to it. But after receiving several dozen requests, they started to pile up, and he realised this could actually be something useful.
Working in a corporate environment, he and his colleagues were surrounded by thousands and thousands of business cards, filed neatly away in Rolodexes. When John finally signed onto LinkedIn, somewhere around 2008, he just started digitalising them.
Before long, he realised he had something really cool on his hands – a bona fide digital networking tool he could leverage. He used it to keep up with colleagues after they changed jobs, and he was able to smoothly use those relationships to build into sales conversations over time.
John was able to use LinkedIn to leverage existing connections and conversations and improve on them. “And then it was just a natural progression that I sort of got known for in that space,” he says. Word got around that he knew what he was doing with LinkedIn, and people began reaching out to ask him to have a coffee for some advice.
That’s where the lightbulb went on, and John started building his own business.
The Business Model
John runs a dispersed team of remote workers in the Philippines who, like himself, work from home on their laptops. He and his team offer coaching and consulting in two ways: a DIY model where clients can follow an online course that includes a review call with his team, or a more service-centric model where clients can meet the team face-to-face or via regular video calls for more high-touch coaching.
John is a big fan of providing his service as a packaged product as much as possible, and using templated personalisation to bring the right level of service to his clients.
Spamming Versus Selling
What’s the best way to leverage LinkedIn for sales without being a spammer? John says that, first of all, spam is in the eye of the beholder. “I can’t decide what they believe is spam or not until I put it in front of them,” he says. He also stresses that as long as you genuinely believe in what you’re offering, you have something of real value to provide to others on the platform. You have a solution to a particular problem or challenge, and the network is a tool to find people who need that solution. That means lead qualification is key. You shouldn’t get pushy with people who clearly aren’t the clients you’re looking for; you should use the tools available to you to find people who are, and concentrate your energy on them.
John says a sales pipeline needs to be filled with the right kind of leads – qualified, interested leads – rather than just being full. You need to leverage the tools available to you to make sure you’re sourcing good leads, and then invest the time in qualifying them properly. He recommends using pipeline tools such as InfusionSoft, Proposify and Sales Navigator to help with this. However, the key is developing an organised sales process and sticking with it consistently. You need to decide how often to touch each lead after qualification, and how much time you should wait between touches.
Scaling Through Systemisation
A lot of common sales tips rely on direct, personal relationships with leads. So if you’re leveraging LinkedIn to speed up and systemise those relationships, how can you keep that personal touch when you’re operating at scale?
Working in a team, with separate qualifiers and closers, John says this can be tough – but the key is to ask more psychographic questions at the qualifying stage, and to really listen and record the client’s answers so they can be passed on. Crafting good questions is essential to the process, and if you know your client niche well enough you’ll be able to develop a consistent set of questions that works for them.
John and his team rely on a system of 85-90% packaged, “product-ised” service, with 10-15% customisation for each client. According to John, this is the perfect ratio to maintain the right level of personalisation at scale.
John has some tips for the reluctant, introverted or otherwise scared seller:
- Consider the positives of your “negative” outcomes
- As long as you’ve followed your system, you know you did everything you could. The ultimate decision to buy or not was out of your hands, and that’s ok
- You can’t expect to make every sale, nor should you
- Be authentic online – it’s the easiest way to keep your branding consistent, and seeming more genuine will help you connect and make sales
- If you believe in the service you’re selling, you feel more comfortable reaching the right people and letting them know you’re available to help
John’s Tips for a Better LinkedIn
- Make sure your eyes and shoulders are facing forward in your picture
- Use a headline that describes what you actually do, not just your job title
- In your background description, tell a story about what problems you solve
- Include who you are, solutions you provide, and some social proof such as testimonials
- Don’t just copy the “About” section from your website! Add value!
- Make sure you have a page for your business as well as for yourself