If you’re like many sales professionals, you typically don’t work outside of the 9 to 5. You may even follow my successful social selling routine, which increases your chances of getting in touch with champions, influencers and decision makers at the organizations you’re trying to connect with.
However, it can be extremely challenging to get ahold of CEOs and other C-Suite professionals during regular business hours. In fact, these executives are increasingly using Sundays as a day to catch up on communication, connect on social media and the like.
Before you give up and think that you’ll never be able to make connections with these individuals, this actually creates an opportunity for social sellers to leverage Sundays—when these individuals are online to get in front of them socially and make that connection.
To discuss how CEOs leverage their Sundays and how you as a social seller can, too, I recently spoke with Rahul Kumar, CEO of New Horizons, Australia.
Dave: Rahul, can you provide some insight into your Sunday routine?
Rahul: Before I became the CEO of New Horizons in October 2014, I would have done an hour or two of work on a Sunday. Saturday is my dedicated family day but the moment I became a CEO I realized that Sunday was probably my best day to be at work—and I'm actually physically at work on Sundays, not working at home.
I work from 7:00 am in the morning to 5:00 pm in the evening on Sundays because it allows me uninterrupted work time. There's no salesperson wanting my time or no client emails I need to respond to. It allows me to really hone in on the craft and start sharpening the axe for the next week. So, now on Sundays, I respond to all my LinkedIn messages, which I don't have time to during the week. I do all of my social postings and I save all of the stories to see which ones I will choose.
Dave: What about social messages or emails you receive from sales reps? Do you respond to those on Sundays as well?
Rahul: First, I never reject social outreach from sales people because you don't know which social or email outreach will lead to improving your business. So I tend to say to all of those sales reps that reach out to me via social media or email: “If you don't mind, I'll respond to you on Sunday,” because that's my day—from 7:00 am in the morning to 5:00 pm in the evening, I'm at work, completely uninterrupted for 10 hours.
And, I'm not the only CEO doing that in Sydney, Australia. I see quite a few business meetings happening, in a very casual sort of environment. People dress down, enjoy their day, enjoy their latte, but they’re having a business conversation.
Dave: Right. And so, that perfectly compares with Jamie Shanks, our CEO of Sales for Life, who actually has a mostly identical routine. We’ve got two examples right there of CEOs literally on opposite sides of the world from each other where Saturday is a dedicated family day. The cell phone goes away, the computer goes away, and there are no email responses. But Sunday tends to be a fairly full work day, albeit a little more laid back.
So, now, we as social sellers can begin to use this to our advantage because we've seen in particular that Sundays actually get great engagement.
We're finding this is the day when a lot of decision makers are indeed on their social accounts because that's when they have the time to do that.
And so, if individuals like Rahul and Jamie are on LinkedIn, responding to the LinkedIn messages, or on Twitter finding content for the week's schedule, this is a perfect time as a social seller to passively and/or somewhat directly get in front of them.
It's not necessarily as aggressive as a direct phone call and a cold call sales pitch on Sunday, which may not be received so warmly. But instead, if it's a quick communication like sending an article delivering value and sparking conversation, or responding and engaging with the content that CEOs like Rahul are sharing, it has a higher degree of likelihood of being viewed... Correct me if I'm wrong.
Rahul: Absolutely. Also, keep in mind a lot of CEOs will allow their best sellers to engage with them on weekends. I use a company called Thinktank Social for my B2C clients. Their director, Sam Mutimer, and I do a work in progress call at 9:30 am on Sunday. Perfect, you know. She's relaxed, I'm relaxed. We're casual and we're video conferencing with other. We've become fairly good friends. So, from a CEO lifestyle perspective, CEOs do their best work during outside hours. Sunday is a very, very good no noise period for social sellers to engage with meaningful content because a lot of our mobiles are connected to Twitter and no other seller is using that time block. So if you use it wisely, there's a strong chance I'll read it.
Dave: So, in terms of social engagement, when I get engagement on my LinkedIn posts or when people engage with me on Twitter that appears directly on the lock screen of my phone. Do you have that as well?
Rahul: Yes, I do. My Twitter and my LinkedIn, actually. They're the only two applications that I have on my lock screen.
Dave: So, it's interesting, because in our program we teach that when you engage socially, it's not uncommon for your name and your face to literally pop up on the lock screen on somebody's phone, wherever they are in the world. You could be here in Toronto and someone could be engaging you socially and still popping up on your lock screen.
Rahul: I can tell you right now, someone in Sydney, Australia on Twitter this morning has spoken about leveraging Twitter to expand your LinkedIn reach. I know this company because I saw it this morning on my lock screen just before I started shaving. So yes, absolutely.
Dave: In addition to Sundays, can you speak to social selling after hours in general?
Rahul: I’m not just talking Sundays. My best time is after hours and my best sellers know to call me after hours. Another company that I'm working with that does digital strategy—Brian Sullivan is their salesperson. The only reason that he got my business was his politeness, his persistence, and his choice of time block.
If you call me between 8:00 am in the morning and 6:00 pm in the evening on weekdays, there is no chance I'm giving you time at all because my time blocks are taken up in five minute time blocks. Literally five minute time blocks. And this is not uncommon for CEOs. I'm not trying to be rude. I just don't have the time.
However, if you try and engage with me from 7:00 pm in the evening onwards, maybe you'll get me, maybe you won't. You engage with me socially 9:30 pm to 10:00 pm hours, you'll get a 100% hit rate. Maybe just before I go to bed, I'll tuck the kids away, et cetera. Their bedtime's 8 o'clock. Now it's meditating. I know I've got an hour to be a geek again, and my wife knows. When she comes out of the shower or meditation, she'll say, "Are you LinkedIn-ing again?"
The application my wife hates the most is LinkedIn. We've been at barbecues where people have said, "Aren't you wondering if he's talking to a female?" She goes, "No, he's more than likely talking to another CEO." Through after-hours social engagement, actually, these people have become my friends.
I also want to share with you as someone who travels 15 days a month, it's a lonely place to be. There are no mates in the job. You are always traveling around and you lose your social network of real friends very, very quickly. You look forward to your feed.
Dave: And in contrast to that, how about the morning routine? How about that 5:30 am to 7:00 am when you're getting ready?
Rahul: For me, that's gym time, so I wouldn't go on social media then. But the first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is log into LinkedIn and look at who liked my notifications, who liked my shares, et cetera. To me, it's my currency, how I value myself.
Dave: It’s vanity metrics, right?
Rahul: It is. But to me, those vanity metrics are important. So, I'm looking at social media very, very differently.
Dave: Any final thoughts?
Rahul: I'm not the only one who does this. There are many CEOs globally who are using weekends very smartly. They won't use both of the days of the weekend but it is almost the norm for them to use at least one. When I go in on Sundays, I want to share with you that at New Horizons Australia, it's very common to find six or seven people there on a Sunday. Very, very common.