My first sale was a series of TV commercial spots to an Amish furniture maker named Amos for $10,000. He didn’t even own a TV! That’s when I first tasted the power of persuasion. Using a cheesy “coffee-is-for-closers” style, I became the top new business salesperson for FOX Television nationwide. Back in those days, cold calls, Power Points and pushy salesperson tactics were still highly effective.
As you may have noticed, things have changed a smidge since then. Today’s modern buyer is 24/7 mobile, social and digitally empowered. The way we all make decisions has changed more in the last 10 years than the last 100! Blocked by social, mobile and digital screens, we are unable to rely on that 90% of nonverbal communication to persuade and influence others to give us an opportunity. Whether you’re a sales pro, marketer or entrepreneur- it’s easier than ever for today’s digitally empowered buyers, employers and colleagues to simply ignore your outreach. Most of our messages go unanswered or deleted. But some people get through. Some people are heard. Some people persuade others via social, email or text to give them a chance, a meeting, a call. What do they do differently? They are using principles of digital persuasion- and so can you.
With less than 2% of cold calls resulting in an appointment, and 84% of C-level executives using social media to support purchasing decisions- it’s no wonder that Forrester Research predicts 1 billion salespeople will be obsolete by 2020.
My mission is to ensure you aren’t one of them.
As a business owner for the last decade, I exist at the intersection of buying products and services for my company and selling our products and services to others. As a buyer and a seller, my unique experience from both sides of the table revealed something extraordinary to me just a few years ago.
As a CEO, I was (and still am!) hammered with horrendous sales messaging on a daily basis. I’m ashamed to admit that I was guilty of sending similar self-serving, promotional messages to cold prospects myself. Since cold calling had long ago stopped working, I turned to social media messaging and email to try and persuade prospects to meet with me. On average, buyers would respond to my messaging about 2% of the time. I was so frustrated, stressed out and over it- until two things happened.
The first thing that happened was a friend shared Dr. Robert Cialdini’s Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion with me- this triggered my interest in the scientific psychology behind why we decide to get on board and comply with others.
The second thing that happened was monumental. It was around 5pm on Friday in the dead heat of summer. I had just spent all week hammering out carefully crafted LinkedIn messages and emails about my business and hadn’t gotten ONE SINGLE RESPONSE back. Not one. This was way worse than my standard 2% response rate. This was a disaster. I poured myself a flute of cold champagne to the very top and decided it was time to swallow not just my bubbly but also my pride and take a hard look at what I was doing wrong.
I spent the entire rest of that night doing an audit of my own email and social media inboxes. I looked at the language, sentence structure, word choice, positioning, tone, subject lines, even punctuation of all the incoming messages I had ignored, deleted, or responded to over the last year. I went through my calendar from the last year to see who I had met with and what they had sent me that persuaded me to give them an opportunity. I went through Quickbooks to see what I had signed off on from whom. I wanted to understand my own buying behavior to try and figure out how I could become a more persuasive digital communicator- like the people who had influenced me to buy.
What I discovered shocked me.
It turned out that as a buyer, I also only answered about 2% of the sales messages that were sent my way- the same response rate I was getting from my own outbound messages. Of those 2% that I answered, I met with 65% of them in person or via video conference. Of those 65% I met with, I signed a contract or referred them to someone 40% of the time- almost 1 out of every 2 people. Talk about persuasive! I was envious and intrigued. How had these digital ninjas persuaded me- from behind a SCREEN- to meet with them over the other 98% of salespeople whose messages I had ignored?
This was where I discovered the pattern that improved my ability to influence from behind a screen forever. Each persuasive digital message possessed the same three commonalities- every time. The senders had effectively modified basic principles of offline persuasion to be more effective in the online communication world.
Analyzing this pattern and referring back to my notes on Dr. Cialdini’s book- I white-boarded a rough messaging formula to try. First thing Monday morning, I began testing this new approach to see what would happen. Week by week, I began optimizing my formula based on what was and was not able to persuade others to give me an opportunity to meet with them.
Within a year, using this method, my small agency attracted the attention of huge clients that were WAY out of our league. We were small potatoes compared to some of the fancy global agencies, and yet somehow we managed to persuade The Academy Awards, VISA, ABC/Disney, Nelson Mandela’s Legacy of Hope foundation, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, Hitachi Healthcare, and other huge global brands (that had their pick of international agencies) to meet with us- all from behind the social media screen.
The freaking Oscars hired my small Orange County agency over all the fanciest power agencies in Hollywood and beyond! My mind was blown that just modifying my digital communication approach opened the door to such an impactful opportunity.
Scoring all of these incredibly huge contracts was fiscally awesome, but even better was the fact that I was spending my sales time in a SMARTER, more effective WAY. I was connecting with buyers that were a better match for me to work with from the start. My response rate from messages went from 2% to 65%. My brand looked better, my network became vibrant, my rejection rate went way down, my inbound leads went way up- and life became a whole lot more fun.
My digital persuasion formula will empower you to create the same success in your daily sales, marketing or entrepreneurial life. You will earn attention for your ideas, responses to your messages and grow your business a smarter way.
My presentations, book and workshop are all designed to help you improve your digital persuasion power for more influential communication to succeed in the modern marketplace.
Let’s get started!
"Erin Gargan King is a high energy, engaging speaker that we were lucky to have present at World Fitness Expo 2018. She was well embraced by the audience who found her expertise in social media very helpful. Her presentation has had a positive impact in their professional lives. I would highly recommend Erin as a speaker."
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