I want to share a story of someone who has taken off in her career based on these 5 tips. Lindsey and I have had some great conversations to get to know her story a bit better and below is how she did it.
Little did Lindsey Boggs know when she graduated with an opera degree she would share a stage with Shaquille O'Neal and be described as a "social selling legend" by the Head of Marketing at LinkedIn. Lindsey knew from a young age she was destined to be on stage, just a different stage than she expected.
Lindsey knew there was more to her career than her first job out of college being an executive assistant at a Fortune 500 company. She's always been very outgoing and Type A (ENFJ, for those that are curious), but it wasn't until she networked with some friends that she knew she was destined for a career in software sales. It took 9 long months of persistence (more on that later) to get her first sales interview, but once she got in, she soared, and quickly.
Networking is the first step to achievement.
Lindsey got her first job out of college networking with her friend's parents who all had jobs. She firmly believes career paths are entirely about "who you know" so leverage tools like LinkedIn to build a robust network. Being the extrovert she is, a delayed flight at an airport just means more time to network with other folks that are stranded. Lindsey advises to use every opportunity you have to network, as it is the most crucial part in succeeding in your career. "People buy from people they like" and it's "all about who you know" are key quotes in Lindsey's life. Every single job Lindsey has gotten has been because of relationships and networking. I loved hearing this because that is exactly why we built my own startup to streamline and help automate the process of getting and receiving referrals and introductions.
Lindsey is defined as a LinkedIn social selling pioneer. She adopted prospecting through LinkedIn long before the rest of the world. Instead of cold calling someone to talk about their software, or cold emailing someone describing how their company could 'drive XYZ revenue', Lindsey took to LinkedIn to uncover personal and relatable things about the prospect. Her emails, voicemails, and LinkedIn messages were entirely personal, and made what she was selling secondary. Lindsey quickly rose to #1 on her team and paved the path for becoming a 'social selling expert' on LinkedIn.
Ask for forgiveness later.
Much of Lindsey's success has been self-driven; meaning, she had goals to hit and she would try conventional and unconventional ways in hitting her numbers. Instead of unsuccessfully cold calling and cold emailing like her peers, she would try her own ways in getting a prospect's attention. The most creative? Cutting a Starbucks gift card in half with a handwritten note, asking for 10 minutes of the prospect's time, and if they agree she'd mail the other half of the gift card.
Publishing content on LinkedIn.
Lindsey quickly knew through her success that she was on to something, and instead of keeping it to herself, she wrote about it. Not only did she write articles about sales and prospecting tactics, she wrote about personal life stories that helped shape who she is today. Writing helpful and popular content quickly got recognized by LinkedIn Corporation and Lindsey was asked to speak at their 2015 Sales Connect conference where she held her own sessions on social selling. Additionally, Lindsey shot free throws with Shaquille O'Neal and was recognized for the highest Social Selling Index (SSI) score at the conference.
Lindsey credits her success today to sales tools like her current employer etailinsights, as well as several mentors who have coached her along the way. A phrase that a mentor once shared with her "it's never as good as it seems, and it's never as bad as it seems" sticks with Lindsey daily. While she struggled in the beginning of her career to make ends meet with a then-family of 3 (now 4!), she reflects on that time often and pays it forward every chance she gets, whether it be helping someone makeover their LinkedIn profile, make an introduction, or offer career advice.
For people looking to make the jump into a new career in sales, Lindsey's advice is: "Jump. Don't look back. Surround yourself with positive, successful people and the sky will be the limit".