As part of my series of interviews about “How to Use LinkedIn to Dramatically Improve Your Business,” I had the pleasure of interviewing Jeff Winters.
Jeff Winters, founder and CEO of Sapper Consulting, has relentless determination to continuously develop his skills in revenue production, sales psychology, negotiation, problem-solving, leadership, and management. Jeff is able to grasp, execute, and teach newly learned and complicated strategies and tactical initiatives at an extremely high level. Jeff and his team at Sapper Consulting understand that lead generation is crucial to the success of any business, so they collaborate with clients to develop customized strategies for generating high-quality sales opportunities.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
All of my previous jobs were in sales and sales management. In my most recent job before starting Sapper Consulting in 2013, I had to secure sales meetings and sell software to high-level individuals at Fortune 1000 companies. I could not do it, and I struggled a lot with it.
It wasn’t until I started waking up in the middle of the night and sending funny emails as a tactic that worked — and helped me schedule about 170 meetings in just one year. If I could set sales meetings with those decision makers through personalized emails, then I could set meetings for anyone with anyone. I ended up quitting that role, and Sapper Consulting was born.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?
Another amazing St. Louis company just acquired us. The courtship began the day I started the business, and it has been an incredible process. I’m so happy to be joining the Abstrakt Marketing family.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
When we first started, we got a ton of office space for only four employees. It literally had 25 workstations, so I have no clue what we were doing. But I wouldn’t take it back because I knew that you have to visualize something before it happens. At the time, we visualized filling those empty workstations long before that growth happened.
Which social media platform have you found to be most effective to use to increase business revenues? Can you share a story from your experience?
If you work within the B2B sector, LinkedIn is the main marketplace for all of your prospects, and it will be the most effective to use to increase business revenues. It includes information from professionals seeking jobs, information about vendors or partners, and information about potential clients, colleagues, etc.
LinkedIn is where our buyers spend considerable amounts of time. The post that generated the most organic business, believe it or not, was a post from my alma mater. I never thought anything of it until we started fielding dozens of inbound calls. The moral of the story? Don’t prejudge the types of platforms that can help increase business revenues.
Let’s talk about LinkedIn specifically, now. Can you share 5 ways to leverage LinkedIn to dramatically improve your business? Please share a story or example for each.
The five ways to leverage LinkedIn dramatically to improve your business include:
- Recruiting: There are plenty of ways to use LinkedIn to source candidates, but the one that has been most successful for us is sharing stories. Get creative, and don’t just share job postings.
- Appreciating your team members: Whether it’s related to a work anniversary or a promotion, LinkedIn represents an amazing channel to share public praise for your team.
- Raising money for great causes: This year, we raised $20,000 in a weekend to help support homeless shelters in St. Louis. It was bitterly cold this winter, and the director of the shelters told us how the money we raised helped save lives.
- Sales: It might sound obvious, but many people still underrate using LinkedIn as a sales platform. I’d argue LinkedIn is as helpful for moving deals from the opportunity to close as it is for generating initial conversations to have with leads and prospects. If your company has a great presence on LinkedIn, it enhances your credibility and can help guide potential customers from “on the fence” to “closed won.”
- Customer success: LinkedIn can be so valuable for customer success professionals. It is not only helpful for building relationships but also for expanding your business.
Because of the position that you are in, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I believe every company needs to make philanthropy a crucial part of its business. This year, Sapper Consulting raised $20,000 to help a local homeless shelter cover its utility bills. Entrepreneurs are so busy that it sometimes feels like there isn’t enough time to give back to their communities. Still, I believe it’s important to make time to help the people in our local communities.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
I would love to have a meal with Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce. I would love to ask him a million questions about how he built Salesforce.
Thank you so much for these great insights. This was very enlightening!