Sales tips for the aspiring rock star!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Play #39 David Copperfield and LinkedIn Group Discussions

Let’s take a quick break from the virtual world and visit the real world for a moment, shall we? Would you ever go into a room, get everyone’s attention, start a conversation (that gets the room involved) and then boogie the hell out of the room; never to return? Kind of wacky when you think that an adult would vanish like that but these “David Copperfields” exist in force and they have found a home on LinkedIn!

They start intelligent discussions, which attract intelligent people and then Poof, Copperfield has left the building! I’ve even witnessed others ask a question back to Mr Copperfield but to no avail cause the son of a bitch says hold all my calls, Daddy is offline baby!

Kind of makes one want to respond with the customary typing of “WTF?” 3 times fast!

Here are some tips that will help you add magic to your discussions, minus the disappearing act!

First, remember your manners and stick around, better yet, facilitate the discussion. When you facilitate the discussion you encourage a dialogue, get additional visibility and keep your discussion at the top of the threads. Kind of cool when you think about the benefits of being one of the first threads to be seen, don’t ya think?

Thank people for their input and contributions. People like to be thanked and thanking them publicly enhances your brand and theirs. Keeps your thread alive too!

Thank people offline by sending them a quick private message. Its not only good manners but a no brainer insurance policy that they will contribute to future discussions you host!

Ask compelling follow up questions, ask people to expand, give examples, ask for a different spin. Keep the conversation alive, interesting and moving forward. Facilitate!

Offer links and resources to help the group. Give value first and make sure you do it in a way that isn’t shameless self promoting (aka "Pimping")

Note to the group leaders on LinkedIn: Monitor your group for heaven’s sake! I see more crap not only clogging your boards but in the responses you are allowing to go undeleted. You see someone shamelessly self promoting, delete the bastard! While you are at it, do some housecleaning and delete all the open networkers who post threads for that (not sure why since it really isn’t a discussion), people who get cutesy on us and start a discussion and leave us off half ass with a link and the line that reads “for the rest of the article visit my blog at” Note to those who like to do that: Post your blog in the news section. Its an accepted process and you won't look like this guy . . .

We need to beware of the “Featured Copperfield” This is when the group manager features so many discussions that all the new discussions seem to disappear. If you are going to feature a discussion, do so for no more than 24-48 hours. If it can’t sustain itself after that, trust me when I tell you it aint worth featuring.

While we are at it, don’t do your “David Copperfield” when your group members reach out to you to flag the spammers!

So I guess its time for all of us to stop embracing our inner Copperfield, finish what we start and put a broom and mop to our discussion threads in the spirit of cleaning them up!

It's time for me to do a "Copperfield" and disappear from this blog and get back to my day job!


  1. Paul, well said!! There is a certain group I belong to and am considering dropping, because the "Featured Discussions" exceed the first page view of the Discussions tab. I follow the discussions I want to follow, and otherwise want to see only the new and good stuff on the top of the list.

    Another group has more new discussions in a day than can be shown on the first page of the discussions tab, and most of it is %^&*(! Not worth reading the digest or going to the group...

    Thanks for putting a voice to this.

  2. Nice post, Paul. Excuse me while I go beat up my inner Copperfield and take charge of the situation.

  3. Thank you Val and Bernie!

    I want you both to be the first to know that Paul Castain is in fact a recovering "Copperfield" lol

    All the best!


  4. Sorry I didnt get to this post yesterday Paul but I was in the middle of hearing about all the great new innovations here at Annan & Bird. You knew one of us smart asses was going to do that.
    The one thing that I will add to this is that we make sure that we are doing this promoting for other people. We are all here to get or keep business, if not it's just facebook. We have to help other people first and that's a tough thing to do for us ego maniacs. So let's all promote someone on linked in. If you are having trouble figuring out who, I guess you could just start with me and then work on from there.

  5. Brilliant!! A spade is a spade and you called it well. I totally agree with Bernie Macht and the "featured discussions" in groups that daily are the same postings from the group leader. It makes me want to drop out of those groups. Your blunt assessments are refreshing. Thanks.

    Grayson Hodge

  6. @Dale and Grayson . . . Thank you for feedback and input!

    There are two groups on LinkedIn that aggravate the hell out of me. They each have at least 7-8 featured discussions and the average age of the thread is like 2 months. WTF?

    I know this is shallow, but the only reason I stay with them at this point is to recruit for my linked in group.

    I can see it now, one of the disgruntled group managers will write about me in their blog and how I bring everyone over to the party with the "cool kids"

    Rock on!


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Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics (CGX) one of North America’s leading general commercial printing companies. Paul has over 25 years of sales and sales leadership experience. He has trained, mentored and coached over 3,000 sales and sales leadership professionals. An accomplished public speaker, Paul has delivered numerous key note addresses. He has authored numerous training manuals, articles, blog posts and is currently working on his first book for release in 2011. Feel free to email Paul This has been a paid announcement by the friends of Paul Castain!

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Paul Castain's Sales Play Book is blog dedicated to strengthening our sales game, supporting rock star development and developing jedi like skills. All that is required is a willingness to learn and a sick sense of humor!

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