Friday, July 26, 2013

LinkedIn Life Events – Showing Your Contacts that You Care

By: Sam Richter

After tens of thousands of hours studying business, I have come to a startling revelation—those with whom we conduct business are human beings. While there is a bit of sarcasm in that statement, there is some truth in that all too often in today’s high-tech world, we treat our business contacts as data points in a spreadsheet or CRM system. Too often, we forget that business is about people and people do business with people who they like.
See who in your network changed job titles and/or has a birthday and easily send them a quick note.
Login to your LinkedIn account each morning and see who has changed jobs, job titles, and/or who has a birthday. You can even access the information via your LinkedIn Contracts mobile app.

In those hours of studying, I’ve come to another startling conclusion. People are amazingly passionate about one thing. Themselves. And again, while there is a bit of sarcasm in that statement, there is a lot of truth to that fact that most of us only reach out to a business contact when we have something to sell or tell them. Yet the honest to goodness truth is your business contacts don’t care about you nearly as much as they care about themselves.

One of the core messages in my Know More! training and our new Social Selling Institute Programs is the value of staying in touch with others in ways that are meaningful to what the other person cares about. It’s all about relevancy.

One of my favorite Sales Intelligence resources,, has some great tools that enable “accelerated relevancy” whereby you can automate the ability to stay in touch with others in ways that are meaningful to them. One of my favorite LinkedIn accelerated relevancy tools is LinkedIn Contacts.

Through LinkedIn Contacts, you can automatically learn when a business contact changes a job, gets a new job title, or even has a birthday. Download the LinkedIn Contacts mobile application and information gets pushed to you wherever you are, when you need it. For example, you can quickly access information about the people you are meeting with minutes prior to your meeting, and then quickly scan the other person’s LinkedIn profile and find a relevant talking point.

To use LinkedIn Contacts…

1) Make sure you are logged into your LinkedIn account.

2) Click the “Network” tab and then choose “Contacts” from the pull-down menu.

3) Note that in LinkedIn Contacts, you can quickly locate one of your contacts by using the search engine and/or the side-navigation filters.

4) On the “Settings” area (to access, click the gear icon “Settings” link in the upper navigation of the Contacts page) choose to link with the offered applications. You can link with external contact programs, calendars, and even email programs.

5) Once you synchronize, you can use the Contacts dashboard to review changes and events that are occurring with your contacts, that day.

6) On the dashboard, if a person’s picture has a briefcase in the lower corner, it means they have recently changed jobs or updated a job title. Click on the name, review the change, and then send the person a congratulatory note.

7) If a person’s picture has a birthday cake in the lower corner, it means today is that individual’s birthday. Click on the name, and send the person a customized birthday greeting.

When you send a note to a contact, you can choose to have the email sent from your email program or from LinkedIn. Note that LinkdIn claims a 70%+ open rate from emails sent via the LinkedIn system.
When you send a note to a contact, you can choose to have the email sent from your email program or from LinkedIn. Note that LinkedIn claims a 70%+ open rate from emails sent via the LinkedIn system.

8) Note that in the form where you can customize your message, the top “From” field will automatically say “Send Via LinkedIn Message” meaning when the individual receives your note, in their email program it will say that it is a message from you via LinkedIn. By clicking on the arrow next to the “Send Via LinkedIn Message” you can choose your email address and the message will be sent with the “From” field being your selected email.

9) If you’ve synched with your calendar, you can even see who you’re meeting with that day and quickly access their LinkedIn profile so you can remind yourself about the person’s history, accomplishments,  interests, etc.

Again, you can also download the LinkedIn Contacts mobile application to your mobile device—note that this is a different application than the standard LinkedIn mobile app—and easily access the information described above anytime, anywhere. This makes it super easy to send relevant and meaningful messages to your contacts and communicate something of importance to THEM.

Now it’s easy to show others that you notice what is going on in their life and that you care, now that you Know More!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Turning Excellence Into A Habit

by Kit Grant

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act but a habit.” … Aristotle

I am always interested to find how many people are pursuing the goal of being comfortable, not of being successful. What’s the difference? Successful means you keep on getting better and recognize new opportunities will present themselves every day. You don’t have to grab onto every one, but you do know they exist. Comfortable, by contrast, means you can now coast. Well, I don’t know many people who can coast very long while going uphill!

So turning “Excellence” into a habit rather than a periodic convenience will allow you to reach different (and higher) levels of success. Most successful people do not possess any inherent skills or gifts separating them from others. They are just willing to do what others are not. It’s not that other people can’t do what is required to be more successful; they’re just not willing because coasting is so much easier.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Your Keeping In Touch (K.I.T.)

by Kit Grant

“A man is not finished when he is defeated. He is finished when he quits.” … Anonymous

How many people could have reached a goal and become successful if they had just kept going even one more time. Most people experience failure as a huge roadblock preventing them from moving on. The successful people just regard failure as another step in the much bigger process. Keeping going when times are tough is the sign of a winner and your success rate will increase as you persist.


It’s July already and that means half of the year is already gone! Here in Calgary the last two weeks have been something to witness first-hand. The city underwent its worst flood in history with more than 100,000 people evacuated (just under 10% of the entire population). Some folks are still not back in their homes two weeks after the event. The amazing outpouring of help from volunteers who have assisted total strangers to retrieve what could be saved from flooded basements and entire houses displayed a great sense of community spirit. Many have lost everything and it will be a long time before anything approaching normal is realized by those who have neither home nor belongings. Insurance claims may take months or years to settle and many dwellings and some commercial buildings are beyond saving and will just be torn down. It’s a real blow to the city and yet encouraging to see so many with so little still having such high spirits and optimism for the future. It will also hopefully change the way new developments are built so that any future floods will not have the same devastating effects.

Despite the floods, the Calgary Stampede starts tomorrow. Billed as the “Greatest Outdoor Show On Earth”, it regularly attracts more than a million visitors. While attendance may be down this year because of recent events, it will still be 10 days of great fun and enjoyment for locals and visitors alike.

Hope you are all having a great summer (or winter for those SILVER Members from the Southern Hemisphere). Remember — if it’s not fun, stop doing it!

Monday, July 1, 2013

The NSA Asked Me to Train Them on How to Find Your Information

by Sam Richter

On July 28th, I will be in Philadelphia delivering a customized Know More! program to the NSA on how to find information online, specifically inside information on companies and people. I’m anticipating a packed room and an exceptionally engaged audience.

Although most of the NSA folks are skilled researchers, I’m very confident I will be able to share new tricks, tools, and secrets on how to use search engines, the Invisible Web, social networks, and premium research resources to identify what an individual really cares about. When I’m done, all attendees will understand how to find data and use it to identify patterns, which allows one to paint an accurate picture of what’s going on at a company, and in a person’s life.

I will share real examples on how to find out about an individual’s personal interests, family life, business goals, and personal objectives. I will expose the NSA on how to determine what books a person reads, what movies they like, what restaurants do they enjoy, what pets do they have, what websites do they visit, what online videos do they watch, what music do they appreciate, what religion do they practice, what their children do on the weekends, how do they lean politically, and even where a person is physically located at that very moment. Because knowing information on companies is equally important to the NSA, I will be sharing how to find a company’s business objectives, customer information, new products, new hires, former employees, financial information, credit ratings, competitive threats, organizational charts, and even future directions.

Yes, I know this is pretty scary. If you’re like most, you’re deeply concerned about privacy issues and what I’m going to share probably makes you nervous. Thus I apologize in advance for having to teach the NSA how to access your most personal data.

Yet if those within the NSA are going to do their jobs correctly, to the best of their ability, to serve their constituents, then they need to understand how to gather and use this sort of data. It’s imperative that they understand how to translate data into information; transform information into knowledge; and then act upon that knowledge to achieve core objectives.

National Speakers Association Logo
Why is this so important? What do those at the NSA need to know how to access your most personal data?

Because if you were hiring someone from the National Speakers Association, you too would want the presenter to fully understand you and your needs so he or she could prepare a customized program.

What’s going on at the other NSA (the government one) is one of today’s most talked about news stories. Whether you think Edward Snowden is a hero for his whistle-blowing activities or a traitor for exposing what information the United States government is gathering on its citizens, it certainly has brought to light the data-driven world in which we live, and the access to private information that organizations are collecting.

When I first read the story on what Snowden exposed related to the Prism program, my reaction was a simple: “Yeah…and that surprises you?”

I certainly don’t claim to be an expert on the NSA, CIA, FBI, and what government agencies are collecting on virtually all of us. Yet from my understanding of what was being gathered, it’s really no big deal. So the government knows who you call, how often, and when. So the government knows what websites you looked at. So the government knows when you sent an email and to whom. So what?

Basically, the government is collecting this data (and probably more) and throwing the information into a huge database. You’ve probably heard the term “Big Data.” In its simplest form, what that means is a huge collection of disparate data is put into a massive computer server. Then an incredibly powerful algorithmic engine is used (in the NSA’s case, Prism), to sort through that data and identify patterns that would otherwise be impossible to determine.

For example, in a matter of seconds, through Big Data, the other NSA might find a pattern such as: people who call Europe at 3:00 a.m. every Wednesday and Friday, who eat Lucky Charms for breakfast, who ride unicycles on Sunday, who send the most emails on Tuesday afternoon, and who watch Dancing With Friends are six times more likely to be a member of a terrorist group versus someone who does the exact same activities but who instead eats Wheaties.

Frankly, the other NSA is doing EXACTLY what consumer brands and ecommerce companies have been doing for years. Ever shopped at and an advertisement pops up that says something like “people who have bought the book you’re looking at have also enjoyed these books?”  Ever logged into your Facebook account and wonder, “how the heck did the Facebook advertising team know that I’m planning a trip to Belize?” Ever wonder why the direct mail you receive is personal to the restaurants you enjoy, the dry cleaners you could be using, the car you just bought, and the boat you’d like to buy? Welcome to Big Data.

“Okay…so that’s a little creepy—where does this information on me come from?” Great question. And the simple answer is: you put it there.

We live in a digital world. Every time you use your credit card, ATM card, register for anything, visit a website, buy something online, buy something offline, dial your cell phone, send an email, comment on a blog, send a Tweet, watch an online video, post on your Facebook page, sign into Foursquare, play Farmville, use your Xbox, update your LinkedIn profile, send an Instagram photo, post that photo on your Pintrest page, etc., you are sending bits and bytes over the Internet. Because it’s a digital file, those bits and bytes can be accessed, archived, and made searchable—FOREVER.

This is the world in which we live. Unless you choose to live in a cave somewhere (and even then, you still probably have Internet access) there’s really nothing you can do about others accessing your personal information. Even if you don’t subscribe or use any online social network, there is still an incredible amount of information about you in the public domain. For example, birth records, marriage records, real estate purchases, driving offenses, charitable donations, memberships, political affiliations and more can all be quickly found, if you know where and how to look.

In my opinion, that Snowden exposed that the government is collecting information on its citizens is a big “so what?”  Your credit card company has more information on your personal preferences than what the government is supposedly collecting.

What the government does with that information, how long it is stored, and can it be used to extort, embarrass or otherwise harm a private citizen is a very legitimate concern—and an issue that deserves considerable attention. Yet the fact that the information is out there and that it is being collected should not come as a surprise.

What I teach in my Know More! Selling program and my Take the Cold Out of Cold Calling book is how to ethically find information and use it to benefit others. What I teach in my Know More! Reputations program and our new Institute for Social Selling interactive workshop is how to control what others are finding on you.

In the 21st century, understand that your private life really isn’t that private. Whether it’s THE NSA or the OTHER NSA, understand that others are looking for information on you, every day. Understand that there are ways to find and gather information and use it to benefit others. Understand that there are steps you can take to at least manage your digital life and reputation. Understand that this is life in the digital world, now that you Know More!