SPHERE Insights is an ongoing column written by various members of the SPHERE team, highlighting unique viewpoints and expertise. This article comes to us from sales queen and LinkedIn master, Brittany Pimpinella.
Good morning everyone out there in computer land. Brittany Pimpinella here from SPHERE Technology Solutions hoping to put out some positive vibes from my coffee table desk here on Staten Island, USA, just a few blocks from the good ole Royal Crown Bakery.
Drinking my homemade double soy latte that tastes nothin’ like my $12 Starbucks, I wanted to welcome everyone out there in the social-sphere to the very first installment of my monthly blog called – Pimpin’ LinkedIn.
My goal is to break the stigma and share an honest interpretation of a young Millennial woman’s personal business and sales experience, in the hopes that they will inspire or add a smile to face of a total stranger. When times are tough, laughter and a little understanding are the best medicines.
As a local gal who grew up on the Island, if there is an upside to being stuck at home, I gotta say, it’s been refreshing not having to deal with the daily commute to Hoboken. The bridges, the tolls, the traffic — but, if I’m honest, what I really, really miss are my Prosecco nights with the girls and my usual cucumber avocado rolls.
Food, wine and traffic aside, this is still the Big Apple and, in times of crisis, us New Yorkers pull together, overcome, persevere and ADAPT. Given the negative impact to our way of life and the Mom and Pop shops around the City, COVID-19, like 911, is no different. It is time once again to put our big girl pants on and get busy!
How does a gal adapt during a pandemic?
Like most amateur virologists (I’m really not), when the word Corona kept being tossed around by my colleagues at the water cooler, I was thinking to myself, I know the water’s bad, but Mexican beer really can’t be that bad for you. Things got serious when DeBlasio canceled the Firemen’s parade and, not only does it look like I’ll be single for the summer, but there was this bummer realization that this government-imposed exile would drastically affect my nails, hair as well as my innate ability to socialize, travel and service my client base like I am used to.
Week 3 into rearranging everything in my house, while staring defiantly in the mirror at a single stress hair that seemed overly gray, I knew then something had to be done immediately if I was going to be able to continue to do my job effectively. Enough of this new abnormal!! Was there a way I could still be my extroverted self, have fun, meet interesting people and continue to garner interest in closing “Open Access” projects….ALL while driving revenue in the process?!!
LinkedIn, with its built-in ability to contact total strangers with like interests in my industry looked to be the perfect avenue for me to get cracking on expanding my business horizons amid all the Corona madness.
As in life, when faced with adversity and the unexpected, for a salesperson to have any chance of asking a total stranger for money, she would need the proper tools to adapt to her ever-changing business surroundings, as well as manage the relationships that come from these new opportunities. As salespeople, we are constantly dealing with different personalities, goals, communication styles, business objectives and much, much more.
Personally, I think I am pretty adaptive by nature, whether it is working with a prospect who is quiet and reserved versus having dinner and drinks with a client who is just as spunky and outgoing as I like to think I am. This approach, I think, helps build a solid business relationship and foundation for doing business. Another goal, outside of generating revenue and earning an income, is being authentic and having the ability to gain trust while I try to be compatible with the different personalities I come across.
Once trust has been established and requirements are fulfilled, most IT people like to buy software and services from people they like. It is universal and simple. How hard is it to be liked, already? In my somewhat limited experience, I find LinkedIn makes it easier to contact and connect to total strangers with mutual interests. Doesn’t matter whether it is a Senior VP who likes to jog to ease stress or a Managing Director who holds the record for eating the most hot dogs at last year’s church event, LinkedIn allows you to share your personal stories and interests in a business setting while building trust and dialogue that are outside the regular channels of email and phone calls.
Without the ability to schedule a follow-up call or a presentation, it is hard to gauge a person’s initial interest over the phone — but it is a start. Outside of trust, timing is another extremely important element to the sales process. Speaking of relevant use-cases and the problems we have solved at other large, complex IT shops, there are instances where the level of interest can be gauged, but if there is no budget or project charter to work with, nothing will happen past the initial call. But you can still reach out from time-to-time on LinkedIn to say hello once connected, and a response is almost guaranteed.
For me, LinkedIn provides the means to communicate with potential business prospects regularly, regardless of where they are. Being web-based, InMail interactions don’t get hung up in spam filters or stuck in the messaging gateways across corporate America. As a first connection, there is a degree of comfort in communicating privately outside of the usual corporate setting where individuals can feel comfortable being themselves.
When the Pandemic is over and we return to our new normal….whatever that may be, I know I’ve spent the last few weeks making friends, leaning on others, and better preparing myself for when the quarantine is lifted and I can go back to shaking hands or implementing the new fist bump I’ve been working on. We will be able to look back and realize we survived it together. What’s amazing is I have had the chance to meet people’s significant others, their children and animals which are my favorite! Shhhh, don’t tell anybody.
All in this together
Although my on-site interactions have turned into video chats and Zoom meetings, we are all learning to adapt to a new business lifestyle. Why not make some friends you never knew you had? Work on current customer relationships, build new ones, establish trust and keep working hard.
Some days are harder than others, but we all have one another on LinkedIn to lean on. Feel free to reach out.
Stay tuned for my next installment: How to delicately prepare for Zoom Meetings. Get ready ladies!