How did you end up at HDH Group?

I fell into a great situation. I spent a few years arbitrating long-term disability claims. I knew that wasn’t what I wanted to do, but it led me to medical device sales. By chance I consulted the Chairman and founder of HDH, not knowing who he was. The next day our current President and CEO called me up and said, “We think you'd be a great fit for our organization.” I was blown away.

How did you first start using LinkedIn Sales Navigator?

When I first got to HDH, Social Selling was a whole new concept. Before [when I was in medical device sales] I used to just go to a doctor’s office and offer some free lunch to get face time with a decision maker. A lot of people will open their doors, if you bring food. But whether they do business with you or not, that's a different story.

Then I started connecting with people on an intimate level through LinkedIn. I would send an InMail and they would respond, it was like that ah-ha moment. I was like, "This is working." I signed up for Sales Navigator and paid for it out of my own pocket. I did it for an entire year. When I saw how it cleared out all the noise around an account, I just remember thinking, “Wow, this is powerful."

 

"LinkedIn, everyone says they have it. It's like a gym membership. But you don't necessarily see the results, unless you train and utilize the platform appropriately."

Was it easy selling your team on LinkedIn Sales Navigator?

I went out on a limb within my organization, being that I was the lowest tenured sales rep on the team. I got buy-in to launch a pilot program with the six sales reps that had the highest SSI scores, which is how LinkedIn measures people’s social selling activity.

The hardest question I had to answer was, “Are these six salesmen going to continue to engage in Sales Navigator after we purchase it?” To solve that problem we made a system whereby if we didn’t meet certain metrics, then we would be charged for Sales Navigator. So we were tied to the results, and if you didn’t meet them, you paid for it out of your own pocket.

Can you tie your activity on LinkedIn Sales Navigator to any deals or new relationships you've built?

I can give you two or three, actually. The first example is of a prospective client, who is connected to me through my network. He recently told me that when I share information with him, he saves it because he doesn't necessarily always have time to read it.

But I know he's seeing it, and I know he knows my thought processes. Through Sales Navigator, I'm also gaining insights into what he finds valuable. I'm seeing what he likes and what he comments on. He’s said to me, "Hey. You're always top of mind for me," and that's priceless.

And just last week I got a call from a woman who was a connection. She said, "I check my LinkedIn at night and by darn it, if you weren't the only person that I ever saw, I probably would have never given you an opportunity." She goes, "I might as well give you the opportunity because I see you all the time." That’s the power of Sales Navigator.

 

Michael's secrets to social selling

We've compiled Michael’s favorite LinkedIn Sales Navigator tips and suggestions.

How do you think selling will change in the next five years?

When I look at the financial services industry, it's always been about who you're meeting, and what relationships you’ve built. But I think more and more people are going to find that Sales Navigator will offer greater insights, and greater connectivity to organizations, and people they want to do business with.

People might say, "Well, you have to make 100 calls a day." Yeah, but if I make 100 calls a day, and I get one response versus sending out ten specialized InMail messages, and I get three appointments, I'd rather have that success ratio.

 

How do you spend most of your time outside of work? What are some of your favorite hobbies?

My son and my wife are very important to me. We're blessed to be welcoming a little girl in August. So a lot of my time is focused on them. In addition to that, I play adult league ice hockey and I love working out at the gym. Sometimes I get my best ideas while working out.

I love being able to withdraw from home life and work. But it’s funny – sometimes I just can’t get away. Like one of my teammates on the hockey team just became a new client.

How do you define success? What does it mean to you?

If you're doing what makes you happy and you enjoy it, then you're being successful in life. The moment that you don't feel like getting up in the morning, you should find a new job. I love what I do, I'm able to help people and make an impact on people's lives. I think if you're passionate about what you do and you love what you're doing, that's success.

 

Last question. If you could tag team a sales pitch with any person alive, historical, fictional, who would it be and why?

That's a good one. From my standpoint, someone once gave me a book on tape from Zig Ziegler. He's the visionary who started a lot of the movement of showing value versus just being a slick-tongued salesperson. So we'll give it up to the late Zig Ziegler. He'd be my pick.

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