Episode 59

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Phil Gerbyshak is a speaker and a trainer, who delivers programs on the power of technology, social selling and connection. With a unique speaking style—part technology and sales expert, part entertainer—Phil keeps his audiences awake and engaged while providing micro-tactics to help you get more leads, earn referrals, and improve your business. When he’s not traveling, speaking, or making new connections, Phil writes. He’s published 5 books, including “10 Ways to Make It Great” and “#TwitterWorks,” more than 2,500 articles, and has been interviewed by the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Financial Times, and more.

 

 

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Social selling: getting people to convert for you
  • Making a connection with someone online (this isn’t a follow or a like)
  • Why keyword targeting isn’t necessarily the best path to success
  • Why Phil actively connects people he thinks should know about each other
  • How Phil uses LinkedIn as a powerful sales and research tool
  • Why you have to share content that isn’t your own
  • Why you should congratulate your competition — and why you need to be genuine about it
  • Phil’s strategy for creating content people need and starting conversations
  • Cultivating and leveraging testimonials
  • How to use your pinned post wisely
  • Things you can do right now to start putting into practice the ideas from this episode
  • Phil’s podcast “Conversations with Phil”

 

The Golden Nugget:

“Shooting a shotgun is not a good marketing plan and it’s a worse sales plan.” – @PhilGerb Click To Tweet

 

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Announcer:

If you’re going to take the risk of running an agency, shouldn’t you get the benefits too? Welcome, to Build A Better Agency, where we show you how to build an agency that can scale and grow with better clients, invested employees and best of all, more money to the bottom-line. Bringing his 25-plus years of expertise as both an agency owner and agency consultant to you, please welcome your host, Drew McLellan.

Drew McLellan:

Hey there, everybody. Drew McLellan here with another episode of Build A Better Agency. So glad that you are with us today. If this is your first podcast, welcome. If you’ve been around for a while, you’re going to love this episode hopefully as much as you have loved all the others. My guest today is a dear friend, someone I have known for gosh, over a decade for sure. I met him back when blogging was very uncommon. Marketing and salespeople, all those kind of people weren’t really blogging back in ’06, ’07. Phil was one of the very first people that I met sort of in that genre.

I will tell you that his topic is one that I think is super important for agency owners and agency staff to understand. He lives it and he breathes it and that’ll come through I think throughout our conversation. So let me tell you a little bit about him. Phil Gerbyshak believes in the power of social selling and connection with a unique speaking style, which I have enjoyed many times. Part sales expert, part entertainer, Phil keeps his audiences awake and engaged while providing actionable steps to bring in more leads, more referrals and more business.

When he’s not traveling or speaking or making new connection he writes. He’s published five books including 10 Ways to Make It Great, #TwitterWorks and more than 200 or sorry, 2,500 articles and has been interviewed by everybody, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Financial Times and more. So, Phil, welcome to the podcast.

Phil Gerbyshak:

Hey, thanks, Drew. It’s great to be here, man. I can’t believe that it’s been over 10 years. Holy cow. It seems like yesterday.

Drew McLellan:

I know. It does, doesn’t it? Well, I’ve always said that blogging years are sort of like dog years.

Phil Gerbyshak:

Absolutely. Well, they’re long and sometimes they’re lonely but I can tell you that I’ve made some of the best friends in the world because of my blog. So I’m so grateful for it.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah, me too. So let’s talk a little … Let’s define first this idea of social selling and connection. A lot of agencies sell social and a lot of agencies do social but in many agencies, it’s sort of relegated to an intern’s job or something like that. They’re just sort of cranking out articles or things like that but they’re not really engaging in the way that I think you talk about. So let’s define first social selling and then we’ll talk about connection because in my mind, although, they’re linked they’re obviously pretty different.

Phil Gerbyshak:

Yeah, they’re definitely different, so that’s good. Yeah. Let’s talk about social selling. So social selling really is about getting people to convert for you, so that could mean getting them on your newsletter list. That could mean scheduling a face-to-face phone call. That could mean actually responding to your email. That could be being okay with maybe going in with some sort of demonstration of your work. It could even be as simple as agreeing to have a cup of virtual coffee with you over Skype or Zoom or some other session but it’s about going beyond the typical, “Hey, look at me. Be aware of me. I’m really good.” And really gets to the point where you’re actually converting them and have an opportunity to earn their business.

Seldom does the actual conversion, the transaction of money take place online but often, once they’ve seen enough of your information and touched you enough times, just like any other sales tool, social selling now offers the ability to really go deep and to really make a difference and to really convert people so they can make an informed decision about, yes or no. Are you the person that I want to do business with? Are you the agency that is going to do business with me? So all of the social type stuff really penetrates to the heart of where the sale happens.

I think a lot of agencies end up signing clients by luck more than they do through any sort of process or any sort of deliberate social means online, right? Offline, they have some great programs, they have some great tools. I bet they probably have amazing pitch decks but they don’t really have that same philosophy when it comes to online tools and doing that social sale.

Drew McLellan:

Okay, so let’s define connection and then we’ll go back and dig into social selling first.

Phil Gerbyshak:

Sure. So connection, really that’s kind of the first step and connection is more than just someone liked your fan page or someone is following you on Twitter. Connection is where they actually give you that first glimmer of starting that persona of a real email address and answer some real questions. Often, the connection piece is where you now finally become a LinkedIn connection and now we have some more richness of information. That connection will take place because there’s something in common. When we think about a connection, if it’s you and I, Drew, we have some third thing that we’re both interested in either because we love it or because we need it for our business or because it is of interest to us in our world.

But there’s something else that connects us together typically, it’s not just you and me. It’s something else and so that’s where a lot of the social tools make that very easy to make a connection because people don’t just share business stuff unless they’re really boring and put people to sleep. They share their passions and that’s easier to connect with or they share their interests. Maybe they are interested in food or beverage or wine or beer or whatever it is that they’re interested in. That then is the basis for which a connection is formed. It’s that third thing that’s out there between a relationship between you and I that starts because of something that we can connect to.

In our case, many years ago, it was the blog and as you become more and more connected to someone, you find that there’s more and more things that you have in common. Small talk becomes more meaningful because we can get beyond the superficial. Here’s one thing in common and we can find out what’s really important that’s in common and how that aligns with our values and our message.

Drew McLellan:

So I’m guessing that for some of our listeners they’re hearing all of that and they’re going, “Yeah, yeah, yeah. But oh, my God, that sounds like it takes forever and I want to sell somebody something today.” So talk about the speed at which all of that can and does happen.

Phil Gerbyshak:

Sure. So it can be fairly rapid. It doesn’t happen in a day unless you really do some digging and really find a need. Seldom do people directly say, “Hey, I really want an agency to do my work.”

Drew McLellan:

Right.

Phil Gerbyshak:

It’s not typically how it works, okay. Now, if it did-

Drew McLellan:

It would be awesome if it did. If there were just a sign on their forehead.

Phil Gerbyshak:

Yeah, if they put a help wanted sign on-

Drew McLellan:

It could be like Pokémon GO, where you just walked around looking for them and then you just threw something at them.

Phil Gerbyshak:

Yeah. That’s what people do though, with social, Drew. It’s funny you say that because that’s often what we do, right? We key in on those keywords that automation. I can tell you that I get automation targeted all the time on Twitter and it drives me nuts. I mentioned something about, “I hope that works out.” I think I said workout instead of works out. So of course, 12 gyms followed me and sent me messages that I should really check out their fitness gym because it’s clear that I’m passionate about fitness.

Drew McLellan:

Ha.

Phil Gerbyshak:

Hmm.

Drew McLellan:

Okay.

Phil Gerbyshak:

No, not so much, right? I hope that works out, hmm, no. So if a human being had read that, they would see that I was not talking about working out but rather work out, right, works out. Hope something gets better or has a positive outcome. That seems obvious when I point that out but so many times we keyword target and we think that’s the fastest path to success. We use some … There are tons of tools out there that help us better target our people and we create these great personas for our agencies of, these are the things. If people say these words, “Oh, my gosh. Let’s jump on them.” We hope that’s going to convert to an immediate sale.

That’s what people hope but I can tell you, it is seldom that somebody is that obvious about what they need. So it does take a little more time but it takes a lot less time than you’d think. I mean, it doesn’t draw the sales cycle out to be a year or 10 years or anything like that but it does require more attention to the right things, to actually what people are posting, what the intention of their Tweets, of their LinkedIn posts, of their information is. Paying attention, I mean, we do see clues that can lead to faster change.

So if we’re watching the news stream of some of these companies on LinkedIn, let’s say. We notice that they suddenly hired 20 or 50 people or even five people in a small company, now might be an opportunity where they might need some help. So if we’re paying attention to that and we’re connected to them. We’re excited about their news and we have some listening tools set up, it does actually speed it up. This does not slow down the sales cycle at all. It makes it more meaningful and gets you to the point where people can say, “Yes, or no.” much faster than before.

Drew McLellan:

When I hear the word connection, especially when I hear it in relation to you, for me, connection is about making connections. I think one of the ways you’ve built your business is by being as Disney calls it, aggressively friendly. You have gone out of your way many, many times to make connections between people saying, “Hey, Drew. I think you would love getting to know Babette.” Then making that connection and then stepping out of it so it’s not really about you but it’s about finding like-minded people and bringing them together.

But I also have to think that being the connector A, positions you in the marketplace but B, creates opportunity for you because I’m guessing that in the universe out there when you connect me with someone else and that’s a valuable connection for me. I sort of consciously or unconsciously sort of keep tally in my head that I sort of owe you, right? That I want to return the favor someday so again, it’s probably I’m not thinking about every night before I go to sleep but I am looking for and recognize pretty quickly the opportunity to introduce you to someone that I think would be helpful to your business, don’t you think?

Phil Gerbyshak:

I do think so. I think that does help. I think at first that was very unintentional. I really do. I light up watching people that I care about connect. It’s really amazing whether I care about them personally or professionally. Watching that connection get made is so much fun. I get a lot more joy from that then I get from a referral fee. Some might say, “Well, dude, you don’t pay your mortgage with goodwill.”

Drew McLellan:

With joy.

Phil Gerbyshak:

Right but you do though and I say that because here’s the thing. There are a lot of people that I can connect, that even if I wanted them to do business with me, they likely wouldn’t. Not because they don’t want to either but because right now there might not be a fit. So instead, I go out of my way as you said, to be aggressively friendly, aggressively connecting people. Absolutely, that pays back because what happens is then when there is a need, people think about that.

The other thing that happens is when the first thing that those people talk about is me, when I make that connection, “So how do you know, Phil?” “Well, I know Phil because of this.” “Well, how do you know Phil?” “Well, I know Phil about this.” Then it often sparks a totally different conversation because they never … They know that I would not refer them business if it was something that I did but now as you said, you think, “Well, he referred that business away or he connected that nice person to me. Boy, I wonder what Phil needs?”

I can tell you, I have an amazing network with you of course, Drew, and very near the center, my friend and who are always helping me and always willing to make a connection for me. So seldom do I have to ask and if I do ask, here’s the other thing. By making valuable connections, even when sometimes they go awry and I’ve had a couple times where people that I have mad respect for have forgotten the social part of sales and gone right for the, “Hey, you look like my perfect target. Will you promote my blah, blah, blah?”

Drew McLellan:

Yeah, yeah.

Phil Gerbyshak:

They copy me in and I’m like, “Oh, my gosh. Really, dude, did you really do that to that person that I’m connecting you with?” I don’t say that but then I get the nice private message back from the person that just yakked on that says, “Hey, just-

Drew McLellan:

What the heck, right?

Phil Gerbyshak:

… what happened here?”

Drew McLellan:

Right.

Phil Gerbyshak:

But they give me a little more grace than they would if this were the only connection or if every time I made a connection I thought it was because they could do business together. Sometimes I make that connection just because I think they’re great people or you have something in common, again, that third piece. Yes, on one side it’s me but on the other side, once you get past that I mean, I’m not an egotistical person. I don’t expect that somebody’s going to spend an hour talking about me. I expect there’s going to be some value that’s achieved-

Drew McLellan:

There could be some awkward stories if they’re talking about you for that long.

Phil Gerbyshak:

Yeah. Well, that would be with my mom so if you’re connected to her on Facebook … No, I’m just kidding. Mom doesn’t post that embarrassing stuff but, yeah. I expect that there’s going to be a third reason. There could be a need that I saw because I do pay attention even if it’s not me. If I see someone needs PR help or agency help or design help or whatever, I am not shy about making that recommendation to someone I think can best serve. I think absolutely, Drew, that definitely serves me well.

Drew McLellan:

Well, and you know what? In my opinion it works as well offline as online. One of the things I always recommend to agency owners is that they create some sort of an event where they … It’s sort of a private event where they have all of their clients come and are invited. They also invite some of their best prospects because as you say, the very first thing they’re going to say is, “Well, how is it that you’re here?” “Well, Agency ABC has been my agency for years and they do this.” “Oh, really? Tell me more about that.” So it’s a great way to have other people sell for you without asking them to or without it being manipulative or feel yucky, you know?

Phil Gerbyshak:

Yeah.

Drew McLellan:

So when you’re making connections for other people, a lot of times when they’re saying, “Hey, how do you know Phil?” I suspect that sometimes when the person says, “Oh, well, he does X, Y, Z for me.” The person goes, “Oh, I didn’t know he did X, Y, Z.” Right?

Phil Gerbyshak:

I was just going to say, yeah. Absolutely. That’s often the kind of collateral benefit-

Drew McLellan:

Yeah.

Phil Gerbyshak:

… is people don’t realize all the services that anyone provides. It’s impossible that anyone does and if nothing else, it serves as that proof of, “Oh, yeah. Phil does do that. Oh, yeah. That is a value.” And absolutely that collateral proof without asking for it, if I had said, “Hey, Drew. Will you go say three nice things to this person for me-

Drew McLellan:

Right, right.

Phil Gerbyshak:

… well, maybe two but not sure about three.” As opposed to, “Oh, yeah. Phil does this and that and this. Here’s some of the results he got for me. What’s he doing for you?” Then somebody’s like, “Oh, well, I’m thinking about …” “Well, you should definitely use Phil because he’s a great pick for that.” Yeah, absolutely great collateral benefit for sure.

Drew McLellan:

It’s you used the word collateral benefit and I think that’s one of the keys to creating, being a connector is if you’re connecting simply to make a sale or to have people talk about you in their mutual introductions, that doesn’t work. You have to be connecting them because you genuinely want to help both of them and you think that there’s value for each of them in the connection, right?

Phil Gerbyshak:

Absolutely. Absolutely. Even if they and I mean, really, I don’t know what their conversation is. I don’t care. I don’t monitor that. I do my best to remind people that once I make that connection I’m out unless you need me. Absolutely, that’s never my goal. That’s manipulative. That is shady and frankly, if that was my intention, it would be a lot more forced and a lot less genuine. Frankly, it wouldn’t work.

Drew McLellan:

Honestly, it wouldn’t be fun. I know you and I both love connecting people and for me it’s fun to watch those connections sort of bloom and people to create new relationships. I like that and typically I’m connecting people that I like and respect. So why wouldn’t I want two people that I like and respect, to like and respect each other?

Phil Gerbyshak:

Absolutely. Absolutely. That’s the key. When you think about connection again, that’s the joy that I get from the connection and I know the joy that you get as well, Drew. That’s so important because the last thing I want is more work that doesn’t pay, right? I don’t need more work that doesn’t pay. I have enough, thank you. So when I can get some joy instead and make a genuine authentic fun connection, between people that I know will hit it off, man, there’s nothing better.

Drew McLellan:

So I think in today’s world, when people hear connection they immediately, their brain flips over to LinkedIn. Is that a tool that you use a lot and if so, how do you use it to serve your connections there and your business?

Phil Gerbyshak:

Yeah. So absolutely. LinkedIn is one of the most powerful tools in my tool belt for sales. I am out there just about every day. I’m looking for things to comment on, where I can add value to the conversation. A lot of times I get the best insights into things to write for a blog post because of things that I see on LinkedIn in the stream. I’m able to fill my social channels up with other people who have similar thoughts to what I do that either validate or maybe that challenge my way of thinking.

Those are all great ways and those are sometimes a little bit passive ways to do it. By passive, I don’t mean that they don’t acquire work. I mean, people have to be finding me to do that but then the other way is I am intentional about those connections. So if I see something or … something that is valuable or something that I can add great value to, if they are looking for something, if I do get that random, “Hey, what the heck? I need this or I noticed this …” Absolutely I’ll send them a message but often, LinkedIn gives me the ability to research a company or organization that I want to work with so much more rich than anything else because I can get the whole organization view really quickly.

I can tell you that in a sales organization if the top dog in the sales organization is someone who is not very active on social, chances are the opportunity for me to go in and train them is nearly zero. So that doesn’t work. It’s not worth my time. It doesn’t mean that I might not pay attention to that company if they’re in my target range but it does mean that I’m not going to invest a lot of time now. But what I’ll do instead is I’ll use LinkedIn to make connections with others in the organization that I know could be my advocates and try to share articles with them. I’ve got a financial advisor that I’ve worked with. I know that they’re office is not very social at all.

The head of the office has been a financial advisor for 35 or 40 years, could give a crap about LinkedIn but I’m connected to the junior partner in the group because eventually, that junior partner is either going to grow up and become a senior partner. Or that junior partner’s going to go somewhere else where I’m going to be able to help them in another way. So actively cultivating that network, actively sharing my content on LinkedIn and actively being part of conversations is really important and really one of the biggest tools that I have in my tool belt that grows my business each and every day.

Drew McLellan:

So as you were saying that, agency owners across the land are going, “Crap. One more thing to do and I don’t have time blah, blah, blah.” Are there some … Can you give us A, a sense of how much time that takes you and B, are there tools that you use to make that more efficient or effective?

Phil Gerbyshak:

So you can add as much time to it as you have or you can just take 20 or 30 minutes a day. That’s really what I do in a couple of different chunks. I’ll typically take five minute here and 10 minutes there and 15 minutes there and make it happen. If you distribute that amongst your agency, you have a lot better chance of being successful because if every message comes from the president of the agency, you’re really missing out on a lot. So instead, distribute that to your team. Get others involved. Use some employee advocacy to share the message and then from there, it’s really important that you’re consistent more than that you do a lot of time.

So what I mean by that is show up every day. Show up a little bit every day even if you have five minutes, pull out your phone. Spend five minutes each and every day on it. As far as tools that work, frankly the LinkedIn mobile app and then the LinkedIn desktop app are the two you need. The mobile app does a great job of surfacing the popular things. They show up in your network and a lot of times I’m going to see that. I’m going to pay attention to that. It’s going to show me that somebody just celebrated an anniversary. Somebody just changed jobs. Somebody just did something to their profile. Somebody did something that pops up in my stream as the first thing.

I see all the people that I might want to connect with. So on the front-end as you take some time connecting your mobile app, first to your calendar, really important because if I just had a meeting with Drew, I want then after the meeting, hopefully it was successful to then connect on LinkedIn so we can deepen that relationship and make a real connection on that. I typically do not do that before a meeting not because people don’t accept those connec