Episode 26: Treat LinkedIn Like a Networking Meeting
Listen as the Social Sales Link Team talks about “Treat LinkedIn Like a Networking Meeting”.
In this episode, the Social Sales Link team will teach you the overarching philosophy of treating the person on the other side of the message, the same way we would, if they were on the other side of the table.
Bill McCormick 0:00
Hello! Welcome to another episode of Making Sales Social Live. This week, we’re going to talk about how to treat LinkedIn, like an actual real networking room.
Brynne Tillman 0:13
I love this topic because you know, LinkedIn, we always talk about it as a social selling tool. But it really is many things, including this networking tool. Some of the mistakes that we make as salespeople on LinkedIn is we treat the LinkedIn members like leads, right, your lead lists instead of treating them like human beings. So I’ll start with our kind of overarching philosophy, and then we’ll get into the conversation. But our overarching philosophy is to treat the person on the other side of the message the same way we would if they were on the other side of the table. These are the same human beings that we used to meet in person, they’re just on LinkedIn, for a second, think about when you walk into a networking meeting, and you would join into a conversation with six or eight people chatting, you’d not walk up to them and go, “Hey, I’m Brynne Tillman, I help companies just like you–(Bill) a card for you, and a card for you, and a card for you.
Bill McCormick 1:17
Right, we all know that, I think we’ve all been–if you’ve been around in networking circles, you’ve been in a room where somebody has walked in, and they’re not sure about themselves or not sure of how to approach people and break the ice and have a conversation, and so that’s what they do. They’re the business card slingers, and they come in to say, “Hi, I’m Bill”, and “hey, I did this”, right? And I actually had a guy call me out and say, “Hey, I bet you I can pull my card faster than you. And I was like, “oh, man”.
Bob Woods 1:43
Some people, unfortunately, I’ve met people like this who do that on purpose. When you’re doing it on purpose, it’s not good.
Bill McCormick 1:51
Right, and so let’s talk about, what the LinkedIn equivalent of that. Which I would have to say is the connecting pitch. Connecting with people just because they’re an ideal client, and either as soon as they connect with you sending a pitch of your product or service, or right in the connection requests, rather than saying, “hey, Bob, you know, here’s why I want to connect”, “hey, Bob, we help companies just like you, please add me to your to your LinkedIn network”
Brynne Tillman 2:22.
And so here, here’s the way we want to think about it. I look at I look, we’re walking into, let’s say, a conference, and there’s a keynote to me that’s walking in or finding a piece of content on LinkedIn, by a really good author. And then all these people are commenting, right? So that’s like I walk into this conference, we’re excited to see this keynote, the author speaks, and all these people that are commenting are the people that are in the audience that are waiting for the keynote to begin, right. We’re having conversations, we would never do what Bill just said, which is, you know, “hey, I’m Brynne Tillman, I help people grow their business by using LinkedIn”, like we don’t start conversations that way. Or we build a terrible reputation and person, we’re building the same one online, we don’t want to do that. So what do we do, let’s start a conversation around the topic that the author is talking about. So if you’re in comments, and you’re engaging on Bob’s brilliant content piece, and everyone in that audience is chiming in, maybe you start a conversation around that content, maybe you start a conversation or more things that Bob has, has shared, right? There are so many ways that we can start conversations with people on LinkedIn, in a very similar way as if we were in person and in a networking event.
Bill McCormick 3:44
Yeah, absolutely! And it comes down to what Brynne started out by saying, you’re going to treat the person on the other side of the screen, on the other side of the profile, as if they’re on the other other side of the table, just because we’ve got this disconnect now, because we’re doing it through a Zoom camera, or we’re doing it through electronic means, doesn’t remove normal courtesy and normal. I don’t know if they’re quite the right word to say here, but it doesn’t give us the right to just blast them. And so many people are doing that. And I think it’s because they just don’t know any better. (Bob) Yeah.
Brynne Tillman 4:21
So we want to talk about some things that we can do, and there’s one other perspective I want to talk about, you know, we’ve been talking about networking on LinkedIn like or in person for over a decade now, truly using it that way. You know, there are some other folks in the industry that talk about it a little bit differently and were inspired by Mikayla Alexis when we had her in a Masterclass. She talks about it, and I love this and I use it all the time. The difference between you networking as a person and networking as a company page, so as a person, it’s like you walked into that conference. You’re starting one-on-one conversations. And you know, you’re shaking hands and building relationships as a human-to-human. And then they say to you, “so tell me a little bit about what you do”. And so you can grab their hand and you walk them over to your booth. That’s your company page, I think that’s just brilliant. I love that. So what does that mean? That means on your personal page, don’t pitch your stuff, don’t throw out even all the awards you’ve won, or all the things that are bragging, do that on the company page, right? So brag on the company page, share new product launches, and then as a human being engaged with that company page post. So when I was a solopreneur, a very long time ago, I went on the company page. And I’d say, “congratulations to our CEO, Brian Tillman”, and then I switch back to me and go, “thank you so much for your kind words”, right? But what’s the company braggin? And so when we think of a networking meeting, and we’re drawing kind of parallels to online, think of you as a human being having these conversations, and your company page as the company booth that has all your brochures, and all those other things that can help promote, so I love that.
Bill McCormick 6:17
Yeah, it’s so good. And what we have to realize is, is LinkedIn is a networking room, if we start looking at it, that way, we begin to see the power of the–I don’t know where we’re at now is that 716 million users, (Brynne) something like that–(Bill) a new person joins LinkedIn new account is created every two seconds on LinkedIn, and so it’s global. So if you have a global business, you literally can have a networking room that’s open 24 hours a day, and it gives you that opportunity to do it. And I think one of the things we have to realize, you know, about not being rude is we shouldn’t ignore people, you know, imagine going into a networking room, going up to someone and saying hi to them, and have them turn around and walk away from you.
Brynne Tillman 7:08
That’s accept and forget.
Bill McCormick 7:09
Yeah, right. That’s it. Yeah. So when we accept people into our network, and we forget about them, and we never interact with them again, also posting ghost, you know, somebody says something really wonderful, you know, in the networking group, maybe it’s there, maybe it’s their spotlight presentation, and you go up to them out there and; “Bob, that was amazing. I really love what you said around XYZ”. And Bob looks at me, gives me a thumbs up, and turns around, and walks away. You know, that’s posting and ghosting, we can’t do that, we have to realize that this is all about having conversations. And that’s what we do in networking circles, right? We look for opportunities to have conversations with people to open up other opportunities, whatever they may be, and may be referral sources, it may be new business, it may just be a friend. You know, one of the things when I started going to real live in person networking events, I found people who were my peers, who understood what it was like to own a business, that my other friends, who didn’t get. So maybe it’s just peers, but all of that can happen on Social and can happen, happen on LinkedIn. You know, I have a friend now that’s in California, he’s on the other coast. And we’ve developed this great relationship that never would have been possible without LinkedIn, and it sometimes has to do with business. But a lot of times it has to do with just other stuff. And so that’s why I think one of the great things about LinkedIn being this 24 hour a day networking room, is it gives us that kind of access to people, but we have to approach it with the right heart, right? We have to approach it with an abundance mindset that what I have, I want to give to you. And if something great comes from that fantastic, if it doesn’t, that’s okay too, as Scott Schilling says we have to come in with high intention, but low attachment, high intention that we want to give of ourselves low attachment to whatever the outcome we think it should be.
Brynne Tillman 9:06
You know, it’s about detaching from what that connection is worth to us, and attaching to what we’re worth to that connection can make a big deal. So, Jacqueline, yeah, that is a great way to look at that, Bill, avoiding the post and ghost concept that Bill talked about, even giving it a thumbs up most of the posts and goes don’t even react. They put out a blog post or you know, they’ve shared content and they never look back. So we want to make sure I love the analogy that Bill’s making at that networking meeting. It’s like someone comes up and comments on “Hey, that was a great speech” and you turn your back and walk away is what we’re doing. So I absolutely love that Patrick relationship and constant communication with your clients or connection. So that is definitely something that LinkedIn helps us do with scale. I 100% agree. And you know, when we’re talking about content, which we’re talking about relationships and networking, but when we talk about content, there are three really, kind of different ways to distribute content. So it’s one-two masses, right? So that’s when we share it to our network, or we have an email blast, that’s like one to masses, we have one too few. So this could be a designated group, where very specific people are part of it could be if you’ve got an engagement thread on LinkedIn, with very specific people–(Bill) sharing certain content to a certain Client Profile. (Brynne) So if you have an ICP, your ideal client profile, or persona, depending on how you look at that, that’s exactly right. If you find a piece of content or created piece of content, specifically for CEOs of small businesses, that’s one too few, right? Maybe we do, a list of all our CEOs of small businesses and we send, you know, 18 people have very similar messages. That’s one too few. And then there’s one-to-one, where I actually deeply do some social listening about you and your company and your industry and your clients. And when I’m reaching out, it absolutely is a personalized message. We’re one too few, is a little tailored one-to-one and is really personalized.
Bill McCormick 11:14
It’s customized, and it’s not only customized for that person, it’s customized for that relationship that you have with them, whether they’re a prospect, they’re a client, or they’re a referral partner, you’re going to tailor and customize that message for that person.
Brynne Tillman 11:32
So tailoring, I see, is one too few. I’ve tailored the message for a persona, customized or personalized to me is that one-to-one, but I love that. So we have “Hi, Bruce, I’ve always thought that a no pitch approach is the only way we agree Bruce, or posting gets folks into our profile, and I do think there’s room for a CTA in our profile”. 100% If you don’t do that, yeah, if you don’t have a call back, they don’t know what to do next. Yeah, probably oversimplified, but basically the way I approach social selling thanks for the conversation. Bruce, we totally agree. Right? Yep. percent agree with you. I think that’s critical.
Bob Woods 12:12
And the way that we build our profiles definitely incorporates all of that, so that it’s attracting, teaching, and then engaging, and then the CTA comes in with the engagement part. And that’s where we encourage people to start that conversation with us so that we can, you know, determine if there’s a basis to do business now or later, or if there’s other ways to potentially take a relationship from there, but definitely no pitch and definitely do have a CTA in there somewhere. And there’s a lot of steps with that as well. But you’ve encapsulated one of our core beliefs.
Bill McCormick 12:47
And I think as salespeople what we do is when we say CTA, what we’re really referring to is a CTS or a CTP, a call to sell or a call to pitch, it’s a call to action to taking some kind of an action. And really what we want the next action to be is to just start a conversation.
Bob Woods 13:06
No, I’m just saying that’s all we want is a conversation to see, if there’s even anything there. Because we’ve all been on calls when we’ve been like–and this probably isn’t such a good thing, but the other person is a good person. So we’ll just keep talking to him. I mean, you know, that’s always a possibility too.
Brynne Tillman 13:20
Well, so here’s the thing about this. And I think it’s important, your CTA needs to be really clear, right. So if you are a CEO, and are challenged with this, let’s chat. I’m happy to provide additional insights around X, Y, and Z very specific. Even if we never worked together, I’m confident our code will be well worth your time. Here’s a link to my calendar, here’s my email, here’s my phone number. So we are still qualifying in our CTA, yes, so that we don’t end up on a whole lot of those calls that do happen, they definitely happen. But here’s the thing, when we are at a networking meeting, I want to bring it back to the topic for a second, we don’t set up a call with every single person we exchange cards with, right? We can still be picky in who we want to take it from LinkedIn to a Zoom call or to a phone call, we can have online conversations that in some ways are qualifying. And here’s the qualification, not if they’re a good prospect for us. But if we can bring value to them. That’s the difference. We want to qualify when we’re walking around a room of people at a networking event, and we’re talking if I have another conversation with this person, can I bring them value? Can I offer more insights that can help them do x? If the answer is yes. And and by the way, insights without them having to pay for it. Right? What insights can I bring to this first and second conversation, the call to action? Now our first conversation in LinkedIn might be Hey, they visited my profile, they engaged on my posts, the next conversation on zoom or phone call Let’s go back our profile or our content should attract the right people. And then our call to action should make it very clear who it is that we want to talk to, and what value we can bring. So we’ve got some more, what’s this up? Yeah. Yeah. So we never want to do that, we would never want to so pitching tends to turn so many people off, especially when someone just appears in a DM You don’t even know. You know, a kid we say on a connecting pitch is a bait and switch. Never want to do that. We’ve got to earn the right to get those conversations, relationships. First, conversation consistency? Absolutely. I go three to one content creation approach, every six pieces of content includes three education, to Who am I and one, please visit my profile in one form or another. That’s interesting. And everyone I mean, there’s no wrong way to do this. For us, we don’t really talk a lot about who we are but we position our profiles to do a lot of the work for us. Right? Right. So our content is bringing them back to our profile, which is positioned to be value centric, right, so and to Bob’s point, if Bob does tons of makeovers for hundreds of professionals. So I don’t want to steal his thunder too much. But ultimately, when you talk about attract, teach, and engage, right, like that’s the job, your profile needs to get them to raise their hand and say, I want more. So if we’re even pitching on our profile, who wants more pitch, no one wants more pitch, they want more value and insights.
Bill McCormick 16:40
So we’re just about at the end of our time.
Brynne Tillman 16:43
That went so fast, I want Bob to just quickly tell his–what he does with follow up after the event.
So now we’re splitting out the LinkedIn from the event to to a certain point, and I’ve said this a lot, if you haven’t heard it, that’s fine. But I’ve been on LinkedIn since the very beginning. 2003, one of the first things that I started using it for was to keep in touch with people after I met them at events, and it’s a lot, I found immediately that it was a lot easier to do it via LinkedIn, rather than just trying to reach out to someone constantly and do that type of thing. Putting it in the social realm actually made it easier to keep up with other people. And this is way before anything that we teach now. But just even in that little bit of space, I was able to foster connections, to foster relationships just to keep up with people and even introduce people to other people. Back then, which is something else that we teach, I was doing this, like way back in 2005. Basically, you’ll always keep that in mind, too, that LinkedIn can be used as a tool just to keep up with people with whom you need to, and I even had, like an ABC strategy. You know, if someone was like someone who I really thought could benefit, they would be in group and I had a specific cadence, one not so much Group B, and then it kind of went down from there, I’ve got that stuff somewhere, I should probably take a look at it one of these days. But, you know, just fostering those relationships based on a real world type of situation, which obviously networking is and hopefully one day we’ll get back to that. I would just suggest always keeping that in mind too, that LinkedIn can be used more directly when it comes to follow up after meeting people.
Brynne Tillman 18:37
So I’m just going to bridge that really quickly to your welcome messages, right? Yep. don’t connect and forget. Don’t accept and forget, right. Yeah, make sure just like in networking, we’re following up, you want to make sure you look at those people. And maybe they’re in your three categories. Maybe you’re a prospect, maybe your B is a referral partner, and maybe your C is a client or or someone that you’ve worked with, yes, you put them in your own categories. But I love that right. be purposeful, and make sure you’re following up in the right way. And I’m going to send this back to Bill, close us out.
Bill McCormick 19:14
Yeah, so all great, great stuff. Remember, LinkedIn is a networking space. That’s how we want to treat it, we want to treat the people on the other side of the screen, just the same way as if they were on the other side of the table. So thanks once again for tuning in for another episode of Making Sales Social Live, and we’ll see you here next time.
We need to treat LinkedIn like an in-person networking event. We look for opportunities to have conversations with people to open up an occasion to other conversations. These could be referral sources, prospects, or business peers. The key is we have to build a relationship, start by getting to know someone, and look for ways to impart insights and educational value.