Arlen: Welcome to the eCommerce marketing podcast. Everyone, I am your host Arlen Robinson, and today we have a very special guest, Gessie Schechinger is the laziest salesman in America as well as Vice President of Sales for the OnCourse Sales Engagement Platform. Gessie is passionate about leveraging technology and automation to surpass revenue targets so he can help protect golf and bar time for the salespeople of the world.
Gessie won annual sales awards at 2 different Fortune 500 companies. His 20+ years of sales experience began in an outbound call center where he averaged 450 calls per week and blew out his quota by 297%. Unsurprisingly, he moved to field sales where he traveled 300 days a year convincing the biggest companies in the United States to open their wallet. He now spends his time educating sales leaders to utilize the most effective sales tool in the world and co-hosts the mediocre podcast, TechTales.
Gessie: Oh man. Arlen seven years trying to get on your show. Seven years, finally, finally, you’re letting me on.
Arlen: Not a problem. Yeah, it’s been, it’s been a long time and I’m glad you finally were able to get on.
Gessie: Hey, listen, Arlen just isn’t letting anybody on this thing. People, this is a struggle.
Arlen: Yeah, we have some gatekeepers that, you know, are definitely scrutinizing everybody that’s trying to get on.
Gessie: Yeah. Great.
Arlen: Gessie it’s great to have you, and I’m super excited to talk to you about a area that’s really hot today, which is LinkedIn sales automation. And I know you’re, you’re really an expert on, in that.
But I know I kind of give you a quick intro. Um, but yeah, if you can just give me a quick little background as to how you got into the role that you’re playing today and how you were prepared for that.
Gessie: Yeah, so it’s a very unlikely series of events. I mean, first and foremost. Love selling, love to sell.
I’m one of those guys that has the opinion of, you know, the world would not spin if one person wasn’t selling something to another. And so I’ve just always appreciated, I always liked the concept of not really having to do. Do much as long as I hit my numbers and basically bosses couldn’t tell me what to do if I was productive.
And so that was a really appealing part of the job. And so as you kind of mentioned in the intro, I had several sales positions and I had a buddy who owned a software development company. And he was having issues. Yeah. Basically with the cost of sales tools and things like that, and asked me, he’s like, Hey, if you were going to build a perfect CRM, could you help me and put that together and what would that look like?
And I basically told him as a sales guy, I just decided. The highs doing all of what I will call the work that everyone really leans into. You know, it’s like, you gotta make your 400 calls a week and blah, blah, blah. And I just was, you know, I was put in an SDR position. Early on, and you know, within a couple of months of doing cold calls every week, I was basically on suicide watch.
I was like, this thing’s gotta be a better way to do this. And so, you know, we’ll call it cheat the system, for lack of a better word. But I was always trying to look, look for a quicker way to just get through this. Like, I don’t want to be on the phone, I don’t want to do any of this, but I just want to get people on the phone and talk to them.
Right. It’s the fun part of what we do. And so that was the position I took. And you know, that was kind of what led me to get into this role is hanging out with that buddy. And since then I really have embraced the fact of like, how can I sell doing the least amount of work? A largely largely what I’m in favor of.
Arlen: Gotcha. And that’s, that’s the goal I think of everyone, you know, we all want sales, but you know, who wants to, like you say, um, you know, be on the phone for six hours of the day or longer and, you know, do these phone calls. It’s grueling work. You know, no matter how seasoned of a sales professional you are and say, how much did you love it.
Work is work and it takes, it takes time, and it takes a lot of effort to do that. So I definitely understand you and to feel your pain. Well, you know, the, the landscape today is a little bit different. There’s a lot of channels out there to do, you know, develop sales funnels from, and LinkedIn, of course, is one that’s really exploded on over the years.
So why don’t you tell me a little bit about really what exactly is a LinkedIn is LinkedIn sales automation, and you know, what types of businesses can benefit from it.
Gessie: Well, first of all, let’s just say that LinkedIn, interestingly enough, is the politest of all sales channels. As we were doing our sales efforts, people have no problem.
It’s actually interesting. I get emails all the time that I don’t want to read. I delete them and move on with my day. There’s a section of the population out there that loves to give you a piece of your mind because you violated their email box, right? So people can get a little sideways with you there, and then people also love to hang up on you and stuff like that on phone.
And I don’t know what it is. I think maybe it’s just because their picture is literally next to the place that employs them, but they’re very, they’re a lot friendlier on LinkedIn. Right? So when we were, I mean, so we were hitting the phones, um, selling. And as a lot of your audience probably knows who’s done cold calling, you really make a hundred calls.
And if things are going well, you talked to two people, that’s the kind of engagement you can expect and get. And so we pivoted to start going on LinkedIn. And it really just all of a sudden a bunch of challenges surfaced. Number one is, all right, so I’m going to connect with all of what hopefully are my decision makers.
And how am I going to be able to actually like connect with these people, follow up in and reasonable time, try to track any of this stuff and the LinkedIn inbox, uh, love LinkedIn as a platform, but it’s like the worst thing to navigate ever. Like try to like scroll back through the, this loading of death scenario, um, to try to find out the last person you talked to and when and whatever, just simply wasn’t working.
And so. What LinkedIn automation is, is really using, um, an external tool to help solve for the inbox problem, solve for the followup problem, and again, automate the first couple steps. Right. And so I’m Arlen, I’m sure you’re familiar with sales navigator and inside of LinkedIn. Yes. Yeah. So, you know, being able to just bring up a list of maybe a thousand contacts and use a tool to set up and.
Really just kind of have them run down the line and automatically connect with people. And you’re going to have to do that. Like first, you know, thanks for connecting or whatever message that you want to send out. But then the problem is, is there’s tools that we’ll just do automated canned messages and there’s tools that will do auto connecting.
There wasn’t anything that would give you a. Prepopulated manual step, and that’s where the key to LinkedIn automation really comes, is the ability to have messages prepopulated for you. And so you can take a second and personalize it because I mean, I’m sure Arland you can spot a canned message from a mile out and you receive a fair amount of them.
Arlen: Yeah, yeah, definitely.
Gessie: And it’s like, I actually don’t really think you are interested in my business. I think you’re trying to sell me something here. You have this deep concern. People were always get deep concern for my business and want to learn more and how they can help. And so those canned messages really work.
And if you do take the time to personalize, and so that’s really what it is, is leveraging technology to get those first. Couple of steps out of the way and amplifying your efforts. So you’re only really having to do the stuff that you should be burning calories on. Right? Like the only the work that you need to use your mind for.
Arlen: Yeah, and I think a lot of this is new and that the, the things that you’re doing or the different tools that you’re doing is, I know it’s new because like you said before, all of this, everybody was, you know, I’ve heard of the different hacks with LinkedIn where you can, you know, you can, you can export your contacts and I don’t, I think it’s limited now, but I know with these tools.
What you’re saying is, is definitely doable. So like what, what are all of these tools that you would need to have in place in order to make, make this happen and, and allow you to have personalization, I guess you could say in mass so that you don’t come off, you know, just as like a
Gessie: canned robot. Yeah. So Arland this is the point of the podcast where I just go full on shameless plug, right?
So yeah, we have Encore sales engagement platform, and inside of that is a LinkedIn Chrome plugin. And with that plugin, it will allow you to. Again, set up these multi-day multi-step sequences, and then as you know, you put it well in this current environment we’re in. So for those of listening in 10 years, cherishing Arlen and I’s conversation, we’ve got a full on pandemic cap running right now, so we’re not traveling and shaking a lot of hands.
Um, so in this current condition. We really are, um, having to do a lot of remote selling and it’s just going to help you navigate and use your traditional CRM type functions to follow up. But have it. Bring that LinkedIn screen right up and be able to pre-populate those message and make it as easy as possible to start leveraging that platform.
Arlen: Okay. That’s, that’s good. That’s awesome. And because you, like you said it, LinkedIn really is one of the most politest platforms, and like you said, I don’t know what it is. Is it because of the picture? Is it because of the, you know, they see the corporate brands of, of people that are associated with certain brands.
It’s the tone of it is a lot different. Yeah. I haven’t really had any. Really bad experiences or you know, negative conversations at all on LinkedIn that I can think of and I’ve, I’ve had some great, have been able to create some great relationships just from that. So it is something different about it.
Now, let’s say a business goes through this process, uses this tool and is able to, you know, step through quickly and personalize these, these outreach points. What type of results can they expect to see from
Gessie: this. Okay, so your typical engagement. So with email, you’ll get like a click through rate of one to 2% as we’ve talked about telephone, you’re going to see around 2% if you do telephone and email, that could shift to about 8% with LinkedIn, with LinkedIn.
You are at 17% engagement. So just think about the ROI on your time going through LinkedIn and plus, here’s the coolest part about it. Selling and LinkedIn is nice because I have been selling for a very long time and been cold calling on the phones longer than I care to admit, and still to this day, I get that little nervous feeling.
Right before they’re going to answer. You know, like that half like you have like a half pray for voicemail, half. Hopefully they’re going to get on the phone. Exactly. Situation. So the cool thing about LinkedIn is like this jitters go away a little bit. And you do want, I mean, money only comes to the telephone.
So you do need to use LinkedIn to create. You know, asking them for time on their calendar so you can get a nice dialogue happening, but it’ll be a little bit warmer and you’ll know what you’re getting into. Right. But that is the best part of it is like you get more engagement. And quite frankly. You have a pretty good headstart when it comes to, if you have a very mature product, when you have a good sense of who your decision makers are, you’re able to reach out, ask the gatekeepers straight to those people, and in situations where you don’t know who the decision maker is, it’s very easy to work top down.
I mean, one of our most successful messages that we send out on LinkedIn. Is, you know, have you ever used, you know, is XYZ company currently using any technical partners? And you know, could you tell me what the best way is to work with your company? Are? And they’ll usually give you a quick, like, yes, we do.
You gotta take, you know, call Debbie, call whoever. But if you can approach CEOs and C level with a really easy, like no, yes, like three word answer. They tend to respond if you try to keep it too open ended. They’re too cool for us. Right? So, but if you can keep it wrapped in a bow for them so they can just say, yes, Debbie, and then like you’ll Barch.
And then of course he used that, well, you know, Debbie, bill told me to call you, so you get to use all those angles. But that’s probably the best thing when it comes to selling versus LinkedIn is being able to cut through the gatekeepers. And you know, the next step is that. I have all kinds of different clients from a lot of different industries.
And what I would tell, you know, the people are, your audience is don’t necessarily think that LinkedIn will work for your product. And a good example of that is, I mean, we have a company there called Idaho specialty storage. These people store hazardous chemicals and they’re filling up space on LinkedIn.
Yeah, we have. IBS. It’s Inno BioSurge. These guys sell dental implants. They’re, you know, reaching out to tennis on LinkedIn. And so. Regardless of what you’re doing, there’s probably an Avenue expecially now, since more people are bored and by themselves than ever, and I’m like 10 right. You know, like that’s one of the great things about trying to set demos, right?
And as people are just like, well, I’m dying to talk to anyone but my wife in seven days. So I’ll talk to Jesse about a sales platform. Right,
Arlen: right. Yeah, I definitely hear you. So yeah, it’s definitely a time, more than ever to take advantage of these types of tools and being able to get that initial contact.
Cause like you said, I think that that’s kind of the beauty of LinkedIn is where as opposed to the. Cold calling, like you said, well, you’re going to always get those initial jitters and you’re half praying for it to go to voicemail. This is a, it’s a little bit easier to connect, and then of course you still going to have to get them in on a call or a zoom call or just a phone call to set up that initial meeting.
But. It’s softer because they know it that at least at that point, who they’re dealing with, you know, they will have been able to look at your profile, your business’s profile, and see what you’re about so they know what they’re getting into. So it’s not like they’re just getting blindly bombarded by a cold call.
So I think that’s, that is really the beauty of it.
Gessie: Yeah. Those are, I would say in Ireland, like, I’m like my final piece of advice to anyone that’s looking to sell on LinkedIn is. Don’t be the thrill up your value proposition and the first message guy, because that guy never even, that guy never even gets past first base, right?
So don’t, there’s a very tendency, just because you have, you know, a machine gun. Does it mean you should just like rail through all these leads? Like you, you know, take the time, work the relationship the proper way, like you should. And you know, there is a setting within LinkedIn that allows you to put a message in when you ask for to connect with people.
I advise highly against it. Don’t do it. You put it in a message. They know that you don’t know me. You know they’re selling. I mean, that’s my biggest piece of advice. Someone sends me a message. It’s never been like, Oh, I was just with your college roommate we were talking about yet, so I don’t have your number and connected on LinkedIn, like that’s never how the situation’s going to go down.
So just do a connection blind. You know, say nice to meet you to learn about, you know, what’s going on. You’ll get to see, you have some great information about where people went to college, their previous work experience. You got a lot of ammo to try to, to jump start the relationship. And so automation is great and it should be used responsibly.
You know, use it for the little thank you to connecting and scheduling the follow ups, but take the time and invest in the relationship. You know, and do so cautiously and with your reputation in mind, because again, like you said, everybody in LinkedIn is like one click from finding out who their bosses are.
Also, you don’t want to get yourself in any trouble. Exactly. Exactly.
Arlen: Then I’m glad you mentioned that there is some finesse to it. You know, you don’t want to give up everything immediately and just kind of blind someone with. Everything that shit looking to do. It’s just like anything. You got to build the relationship slowly, you know, get to know them, find out what they’re about.
Is it going to be any cohesion between you and who you’re trying to connect with? And, you know, just, just grow from there. So it’s just like anything, there’s, there’s really no replacement for the standard relationship building that has to happen. So, yeah, you definitely nailed it in that for sure. Well, Jesse, I definitely appreciate you coming on.
I loved, um, you know, your candidness about selling and, and how you transitioned to. You know, create this platform, which was really birthed out of the need to be able to connect people a lot differently on a platform where there’s going to be really a, a greater level of engagement. So I appreciate that and appreciate you being on the eCommerce marketing podcast.
And lastly, you know, if any of our listeners want to get a hold of you, what is the best way for them to get in touch with you?
Gessie: Yeah, no. So first and foremost, please go to try oncourse.com sign up for a demo. Let us show you a little bit out of the platform when you get on the phone. It could be me that’s answering.
We don’t know. It could be anybody. So get on the phone and we can help you and show you a little bit about our tool, what we’re doing on LinkedIn. And then also, of course, LinkedIn is best. So, um, you can reach out to me at Jesse Shakira on LinkedIn. And I like saying this simply because I was able to get.
Get this name early on, but at the real Jessie on Twitter, it makes me feel like maybe I’m a celebrity
Arlen: that does. Definitely, you only hear celebrities use that beginning handle.
Gessie: Alright. Awesome.
Arlen: Awesome, Jesse. Well, I appreciate you coming on today to the eCommerce marketing podcast and I know everything you shared is going to go a long way.
Gessie: Hey Arlen if there’s any chance I could get back on the show without having to wait another seven years, I’d really love it.
Arlen: Okay. Not not a problem. We’ll definitely bump you up on the list for sure.
Gessie: Hey, thanks so much. I really appreciate it.
Arlen: Not a problem.
Vice President of Sales for the OnCourse Sales Engagement Platfor