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Join a gym they said, get a great physique, get muscles. They didn’t say how long it would take.

Join a gym they said, get a great physique, get muscles. They didn’t say how long it would take.

by Phil Stubbs | @PhilStubbs14 | LinkedIn

If only life was that simple – we could turn up at the gym, walk around a bit, go home and then admire ourselves in the mirror. Getting in shape at the gym takes time and effort. A 45g bar of milk chocolate will take a man 21 minutes to ‘run off’ and a woman 28. That’s a proper run at a decent pace.

Eight months ago, I started Yoga, I’d tried Pilates before but Yoga, in my local gyms, is dominated by women – it’s a tough environment for a man to break into! I’m no weakling but boy! I struggled. A down dog left my arms and shoulders aching, my plank left a lot to be desired and as for a Chaturanga – it was embarrassing.

Now, when my diary permits, first thing every day I attend Yoga or Pilates – I persevered and although I still have stupidly tight hamstrings and a back that refuses to rotate, I hold my own. Some mornings, I wake up and think it would be so much easier to stay in bed another half hour, forget going to the gym and just log

 on to start my day. No one would care, the Yoga class wouldn’t say ‘Oh no, Phil’s not here, we can’t do this without him, lets all go home’. And then when I next turn up everyone doesn’t rush up to me asking where I was and if I’m OK. Life isn’t like that.

I think we can all agree that to get any benefit from an activity you have to put in the work – unless, here comes the but, you just want to stay as you are. My Mother doesn’t read my posts so I can share a story – for many years she will admit she was overweight but had a growing list of reasons why she was unable change. Then, her first grandson announced he was getting married – come the ceremony, there was my slim mother in her new outfit. She just needed a good reason to make the change.

My reason for Yoga? For me, getting older was no longer an excuse for not looking after myself – I wanted to feel better. I’m in the best shape I’ve been in for years (OK, a couple of decades). I no longer drink, but I’ll save that for another blog.

Sales Navigator/LinkedIn and social selling only come into their own when you put in the effort. If I only went to one Yoga class a week, I would most probably be in the same shape I was in eight months ago. Very early on, I was aware of the results I could achieve if I put a bit more work in. Now my average weekly activity bar is set high. You need to raise your Sales Navigator and LinkedIn ‘bar’ to get the social selling penny dropping for you. It’s all very simple but it’s not easy, just like my early morning classes.

Maybe you are waiting for your very own ‘grandsons wedding’ moment – a reason to act before it’s too late. Maybe it could be a new CEO, CMO or Sales VP joining your company and demanding that employees hit a high average level of activity and performance on Sales Navigator and LinkedIn. Or maybe – prepare yourself – you stop making excuses and get on with it. Not being active on social isn’t a calculated business choice it’s downright lazy.

Sales Navigator and LinkedIn are where the clever people go to prospect. It’s not picking up a telephone and wasting hours trying to make your 70 calls a day. I’ll go as far as saying that anyone that says cold calling is better than social is saying it because they haven’t bothered to try or just find it easier to keep reeling out limp excuses as to why it won’t work for them.

Going to the gym is never going to be easy and neither is being successful in business. Get stuck in and stick with it – if you don’t start you stay as you are.

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The importance of a good LinkedIn headline

How to Jump Ahead of the Competition

The importance of a good LinkedIn headline

The importance of a good LinkedIn headline

by Adam Gray | @AGSocialMedia | LinkedIn

Have you ever wondered why you should write a compelling headline for your LinkedIn profile rather than just the generic “Sales Manager at xxxxx” that LinkedIn gives you?

The other day we were working with a client and one of the sales leaders said “it’s important to me that people DO hear that generic headline because it lets me quickly see if I should cold-call them”…we said that this is EXACTLY the reason that people should change them as nobody likes being cold called. Actually, that’s a joke (well not the fact that nobody likes being cold-called…that’s not a joke, but the bit about that being the resin to change it). 

The reason to change your headline is that it enables you to stand-out from your competition. Imagine (for the sake of argument) that you are an ERP salesperson and that everyone else in your industry who is also an ERP salesperson does the same thing ALL of you will have a headline that reads “Sales xxx at Some ERP Vendor” so you look like everyone else who is trying to pursue the client for a sale.

LinkedIn is very good at facilitating this kind of searching. If I type in ERP Sales LinkedIn delivers 1,377,548 results to me and to be honest almost all of their job titles say the same thing. Then, if I do take the plunge and click on one, then LinkedIn is kind enough to show me all of their competitors (in this case all with the same job title) down the right side of the page.

Here is the best opportunity for you to make a quick first impression that is markedly different from everyone else.

As Dave Trott explains in his book Predatory Thinking, there is a huge opportunity to create recognition by being different, and therefore standing out, Dave calls this Gestalt Thinking and it’s based on the fact that standing out from the crowd creates two options in the human brain you or the crowd (a 1:1 chance of being chosen) whereas being one of the crowd (of say 10) creates a choice of 11 possibilities for the brain (a 1:10 chance of being chosen).

These days your competition is everyone else in the world and when they all look just like you the buyer doesn’t know which way to jump…

So, give it a go…you might be surprised.

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We empower YOU to be great.

We empower YOU to be great.

by Adam Gray | @AGSocialMedia | LinkedIn

We speak to lots of organisations that “help” their clients embrace social media. I use the word “help” in quotes because if you help someone (or a business) what you do is make a difference and so often that isn’t the case.

The two types of organisations we see are: Agencies and Digital Transformation Consultancies.

Agencies do he work for the client. Perhaps this is based on managing their client’s social presence, or writing content fo the client or creating adverts but all of these things work in the same basic way. The client outsources part (or all) of the work to the agency.

I get why this is attractive. It’s a quick fix. The client doesn’t have to spend time either learning or doing so the agency can simply sweep-in and make the pain disappear. 

There are however, a couple of things to consider with this approach.

  1. the client pays quite a lot of money for relatively little. If I were running the agency I would buy-in the staff and sell their services out at a profit, therefore typically the client gets a junior person for a senior price.
  2. When the client stops paying the agency, the benefit ends. It is a very tactical approach and not one that we at Digital Leadership Associates favour. Our clients do on occasion say to us “can you do this for us” and we always say “no because we would rather teach you how to do it for yourselves” as this leaves a permanent benefit rather than creating an ongoing cost.

Digital Transformation Consultancies, or Management Consultancies. All of the large consultancies like to offer social media as part of their “digital transformation” programmes as they acknowledge that this is a crucial part of how people communicate these days. However, deploying social media within a business has little to do with knowledge transfer and education but has everything to do with changing people’s behaviour. Everyone’s behaviour.

That cannot be accomplished by putting in an appendix which says that ‘people will be encouraged to use social media by sharing company approved articles” because this is not social…this is spamming. 

The process of success in social media comes from a combination of:

  1. a clear process. eg. when an important prospect posts an article like/comment/share that article. Always.


  1. empowerment. Everyone needs to recognise that they have a crucial role to play and that the value that they add is THEIR voice (rather than the company’s voice).

In my experience the “social media experts” within Management Consultancies are not experts. A quick glance at their own social media presences will underline that they are not experts because they are not exhibiting the sort of behaviours that experts do. Drinking the Cool Aid is the perfect metaphor. I (personally) and everyone at Digital Leadership Associates (and our resellers) is an experts because you need only look at our profiles and you will see that we are all demonstrating Best Practice.

If your advisor doesn’t lead by example they simply cannot understand what you are grappling with because they clearly have not grappled with (and solved) it themselves.

LinkedIn has nearly 600,000,000 members. Facebook has nearly 2.5bn users. For every major social media platform the number of users is simply mind boggling and if you want access to those people you will have to work hard to achieve that.

What I mean is YOU will have to work HARD.

For example Kylie Jenner (to pick a celebrity at random) has made $900m from her social media presence, at a smaller level, Zoe Sugg aka “Zoella” (a young British YouTuber) makes seven figures per year. At a smaller level still, my co-founder Tim Hughes is generally regarded (well by pretty much all of the influencer measuring tools) as the world’s top Social Selling expert – Tim hasn’t made $900m or seven figures per year…but like the others he has built a large following that listens to what he says. So when he says the steps are A – B – C then you know that he has experience of what’s required to achieve this fame and to be frank it’s hard work. Tim is ALWAYS on Twitter answering questions and posting interesting content, Zoella is forever making videos (yes she has a small team to help her now, but the is still the subject of a video or more per day) and Kylie Jenner has a (larger) team sporting her but she is still the person shooting the photos and in the clips.

The one thing that they have in common is that they are all working hard to achieve their fame and if you want [appropriate] fame you will need to work hard too.

But one thing is for certain, it’s a great flea easier to post a few videos per week and tweet some interesting articles than it is to make 200 cold-calls per day or live on the “hope” that your campaign might solve your pipeline problems.

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Cher sang – ‘If I could turn back time.’ Well I can with my Time Tunnel Mk3.

The Digital Leadership Associates (DLA) – Marketing Flywheel

The Digital Leadership Associates (DLA) – Marketing Flywheel

by Tim Hughes | @Timothy_Hughes | LinkedIn

Based on the Box flywheel as outlined in the book “Lost and Founder” by Rand Fishkin.

I’ve written before about people over complicating Marketing theory, not sure why but I guess it’s so you get scared, panic and you hire them.

Marketing isn’t that difficult and this is where the Marketing flywheel comes in.  Yes I know it sounds complicated, but I will explain.

If you think about what you do leads onto something else in a circle.

  1. Using Keyword Research and Industry Intuition you
  2. Create content.
  3. Publish this out out through your network.
  4. Promote through social channels.
  5. Earn links and get amplification.
  6. This should (hopefully) grow your social, followers, interactions.
  7. This grows your domain authority with Google.
  8. You earn more search and referral traffic.
  9. You rank better for keyword search (KWS).
  10. Which brings you back to you …. using Keyword Research and Industry Intuition you
  11. Create content

You keep going round this route, each time you will increase your amplification, shares, followers, domain authority, SEO, etc, etc,

It’s that simple.

 People who read this article also read these:

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Why you Need to Merge not Align Sales and Marketing

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The saturation of social media marketplace and a question for you to answer

The saturation of social media marketplace and a question for you to answer

by Adam Gray | @AGSocialMedia | LinkedIn

This week our good friend Simon Kemp came out with his “state of the nation” report – 2018 Q4 Global Digital Statshot which for us is a fantastic tool to see how the macro shifts in behaviour influence what we and our clients do at a more micro level. (you can see the report here)

One of the things that I notice straight off the bat is that the indications are that social media has reached saturation level. Facebook and Google identified that this was starting to happen 3 years ago that there was a ceiling of the number of social media users and that the only meaningful chance they have of increasing their reach is to increase the number of people with internet access. This makes the growth of social channels both slower (which we are seeing) and far more costly as it becomes an infrastructure project.

So, in the last quarter the percentage of internet users who are active on social media has actually decreased slightly, but the number of social media users has [again] increased.

However, as common sense tells you, as the percentage of people on social media increases there are fewer and fewer people left to convert to social media users and therefore growth is bound to slow.

So, as of this month there are 4,176,000,000 internet users and of those 3,397,000,000 are ACTIVE social media users. That means just over 81.3% of people with an internet connection are active on social media. Now consider this. People over 75 generally aren’t active on social channels, and children under the age of 8 aren’t either so that means that those portions of society (all of whom have internet connections) are counted in the 18.7% that aren’t active on social.

So this means that pretty much everyone (certainly everyone we want to talk to from a business perspective) is there now.

Another interesting fact is this (millions):

  • Facebook 2,234
  • YouTube 1,900
  • China 1,415
  • India 1,354
  • Instagram 1,000
  • QZone 548
  • Douyin 500
  • Sina Weibo 431
  • Twitter 335
  • US 326

Of the top 10 most populous places on earth only 3 of them are now countries, the rest are social media networks (if we chose to include messenger apps in this list then there would only be 2 – China and India – ranking 4 & 5).

So where once you might say that “my customers aren’t on social media” or perhaps “my customers’ aren’t influenced by social media” this isn’t true. Now, EVERYONE is on social media and we are all influenced by it..

Given that all of the evidence seems to suggest this position, I would pose the following question to YOU.

As adoption of social media continues to increase, as dwell time on social networks keeps rising, as the influence that these networks has on people both micro (clothing purchasing) and macro (democratically electing leaders/referendums) continues to rise… Why would you make social media and how you and your company are perceived and act on an adjunct to your company, sales and communications strategies rather than central to them?

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Why A Good Blog Isn’t Measured on Word Count

Why A Good Blog Isn’t Measured on Word Count

by Tim Hughes | @Timothy_Hughes | LinkedIn

Here at Digital Leadership Associates (DLA) if you are a regular reader you know that we are big users of content marketing.

Yesterday, the company being only 20 months round and we published our 400th blog. Why? Because it creates us 3 pieces of inbound every day. We don’t, as we don’t need to, spend money on any form of outbound marketing. We don’t cold call, we don’t advertise, we don’t tune for SEO, we don’t use email marketing (we deleted our database to comply with GDPR). We don’t have to, spending on those activities don’t support or market the modern buyer, content does.

We all do it. If we want to buy anything, from something low cost to a new Accounting system, we go on-line and research. We read articles, blogs, watch videos, consume content I understand people call it. You prospects and ours are just like us, we consume content and if you don’t have engaging, insightful and educational content then your prospects and customers cannot find you and you have left yourself open for competitive loses,

What Makes a Blog

People often ask us, what makes a blog? Well actually it’s really easy. If you think about any course you have been on or article you have read. You only remember one thing. So only write about one thing.

Blogs are also short form. If you think about the “white paper” you download it and put it in a folder “to be read sometime”, they might be downloaded, but they are never read. And if they are, as they are crammed full of facts, you never remember them.

You know if, I sent you a blog of say 300 to 500 words, probably take you 3 mins to read, you would read it straight away.

Blogging is the New Prospecting

As a salesperson I totally agree in a prospecting culture, all salespeople should do it. Which is why I write. Writing is my prospecting. If my customers and prospects are searching for content, then that’s where I need to be. Where my prospects and customers are. I certainly don’t think that content is “marketing’s job”, why would I outsource the possibility of me making or not making target to somebody else.

The great thing about us sales people is that we are some of the best communicators in the world. Everyday, we craft emails, to get people to do things, get resource for sales or to try and push prospects down the pipeline. We stand up and present complex solutions to our clients and prospects and make they easy for them to understand. That is why, writing, once we try it, becomes natural.

I’ve always been an early riser, I get up at 05:00 AM to feed the cat, otherwise he wakes me up, by tapping me on the head. I also “get up and go” so yesterday, while my first meeting in London wasn’t until 11:00, I got up, had breakfast and got the train into “town” as we call it. Found coffee shop near the prospect we were calling on and sat and wrote. 3 blogs, about 2,000 words later and Adam my co-founder arrived and we sat and chatted before the meeting.

Any company that posts a blog a day has a “hungry animal to feed” but it’s should be an easy objective to achieve with any company with a prospecting culture and an understanding of the modern buyer.

But It’s Not About Word Count

Sometimes when we talk about blogging and content creation we get into what seems like a negotiation. Is it, 300 words, or 500 words, usually I say, it’s a side of A4 paper. As we talked about above, enough to get your message across, little that somebody will read it now.

The company we called upon yesterday described themselves as a “word company”, so they are like a marketing agency, copywriting company, words are their tools. They have found a niche, where they take Financial Services speak and change it into to wording that you and I might understand. It was explained to us as “as a pension company you need to motivate 23 year olds to buy a pension, how do you get a 23 year old to buy a pension?” That’s what we deal with everyday.

One of their team came up with a great comment “It’s not about word count, it’s about idea count”. Beautiful.

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How Companies Will be Disrupted by the New World Order of Social…

Shifting to social selling is like left foot braking – may seem scary, but you get used to it.