Episode 42: LinkedIn and Networking Perfect Together
In this episode, the Social Sales Link team will discuss why LinkedIn and networking go so well together, just like peanut butter and jelly. Tune in to discover the three different ways that can help you when it comes to using LinkedIn for networking.
Bill McCormick 0:00
Hey everyone, welcome back to another episode of Making Sales Social Live, where today we’re gonna be talking about LinkedIn and networking. It’s kind of like you know, peanut butter and jelly, or for this weekend, peanut butter and chocolate if you’re a Reese’s fan. They go together really, really well. We’re going to talk about three different ways that can help you with LinkedIn and networking. Brynne, why don’t you break those three down.
Brynne Tillman 0:28
I love it! Okay. So one of the reasons LinkedIn’s so powerful when it comes to networking is, number one, it’s really easy to find lots of people to network with, right? So, identifying who else in the world or in your region, or wherever you sell, is selling to the same buyer, but is not a competitor is a wonderful person to network with. The other thing is, LinkedIn allows us to search and filter our networking partners’ connections, so we don’t have to leave it up to them to figure out who to introduce us to. So those are kind of the benefits of networking with LinkedIn. But there are three areas that we’re gonna to talk about today. The first one is how do you position both your profile and your presence, your content, and your engagement in a way that when we are approaching networking partners and they vet us out, they’re like, “Oh, this would be a really good person to network with,” right? We’ve got to sell us on them as well. Number two, we’re going to talk about, “How do we find networking partners?” And there’s a lot of ways to do that with LinkedIn and leveraging our connections. And last, we’re going to talk about how to ask and run a productive networking meeting. That sound good, guys?
Bill McCormick 1:55
That sounds great. Let’s do it!
Brynne Tillman 1:57
So Bob, why don’t you start a little bit with, “How do you position yourself well from a profile perspective?”
Bob Woods 2:02
Yeah, so from a profile perspective, what we’re talking about is, is essentially doing what we always talk about, when it comes to profiles and social selling in general, and that’s transforming that profile from a resume to a resource, and while we’re doing that, mainly for clients and things like that, any potential networking partner coming in, who serves the same general type of audience or client will then read through your profile and say, “Okay, this person is speaking my language, this person knows what my audience as well needs, and I can tell that from the profile.” So this person would be a good networking partner for me because we jive in terms of our thinking when it comes to serving customers. So that’s probably, uh, the biggest thing there. So you’re not gonna necessarily do anything really different to the main parts of your profile, but you do need (inaudible) a resume to a resource, so that you’re not only a resource for clients, but the people who are coming in and looking for wanting to be a network partner with you, also recognize that you are serving the same types of clients that they are.
Brynne Tillman 3:19
That’s pretty much perfect, I love that!
Bill McCormick 3:21
And I would just add that, I think one of the things you want to make sure of is that you have your ICP down well, that you know the clients that you’re looking for. So that,’ because, that’s going to be what the other networking partner recognizes also, because as Bob says, they’re probably selling into the same type of clients. So making sure that that’s there, right in your headline, you know, “Who do you” and the “Who do you help?” We always say, “Who do you help?,“”How do you help them?,” “What are the results you bring?,” and “What is it that you do?.” So making sure you have that right there, so then people looking at you are going, “Oh, okay, wow, yeah, he or she wants to know, the same people that I want to know, we should definitely talk.”
Brynne Tillman 4:00
Yeah, and just just ICP’s your ideal customer profile, or persona, depends on how you slice that one up. So I love that, absolutely, when you can define that, it makes it really easy for your potential networking partner to say, “Hey, we sell into the same people,” so perfect, perfect. There are other areas to position even beyond the profile, like the content that we’re sharing and who we are engaging with, does anyone want to take that?
Bill McCormick 4:31
So, I think one of the things is identifying networking partner, I always want to say clients, right? Identifying potential networking partners, going in, looking at their content, and seeing, you know, what kind of content are they creating, so that you can engage on it, but then also when you identify that common denominator, so you know, Bob and I, I’m in payroll, and Bob’s an accountant, and we sell mainly to small businesses, if I find some content that is appropriate to small businesses, I can share that with Bob. “Hey, Bob, as someone who sells into small businesses like I do, I thought you may find this article on XYZ, really pertinent. It had some great points, I thought one and three were great, would love to know your take on that.” So I think that’s really important, but I think the big thing is engaging on their content, if they’re sharing content, because it’s going to really get you on their radar, and put you in a much better position to reach out to them to have a networking call, because that’s really what we’re—you know, usually we say, we oughta have more sales conversations, well, that’s the end game in this, but really where we want to start is I want to have a networking conversation.
Bob Woods 5:47
And I actually think that Bill kind of inadvertently backed into a point, that when he was confusing clients with networking partners, in a sense, a networking partner is kind of like the client, and I think that that’s why he kind of stumbled on that a little bit, you still need to support your networking partners, like they, in a sense, like they are clients, because you are helping one another. So you should support them as such, essentially, so, so, and that’s a bit more of a mindset type of thing, but when it comes especially to the commenting on their content, and the sharing content thing, I think that’s where that idea really comes together, that partners, they’re kind of like clients at the same time.
Brynne Tillman 6:33
Well the interesting thing, too, just to add to that, and I think Bill touched on this, but I’ll go like, just kind of reiterate, is that, you know, and I think you may have even touched on this too, Bob, but, you know, when that networking partner is vetting us, they’re not vetting us necessarily on how we can help them in their business, they’re vetting us on whether or not, we are going to be helpful to their clients. So when they see the content, so maybe we come across their content, and we’re engaging on their content because we want to get on their radar. But we may want to share that with the rest of our network as well, if more people like them would engage on that, if that’s content that would attract more of those people. But I think the reason, our profile as a value center profile doesn’t really adjust for clients or for networking partners, is our clients are looking to see how we can help them and our networking partners are looking to see how we can help their clients. So I think that’s a big win. So the positioning, we kind of really covered that. I think you guys did a great job of really talking about how do we show up in a way that’s valuable to our networking partners. Let’s talk about finding networking partners, because I think, you know, a lot of times we’ll have folks say, “Yeah, this is great, but I don’t really have anyone to refer business to or to get referrals from.” And by the way, I just want to kind of side note this, a networking partner is two ways, you are not just finding them so they can refer to you, you need to refer to them as well, so, we have to vet them, we can’t just work with any networking partner, or any vendor that we’re going to introduce into our network. So we need people that really are pre-vetted. So my favorite way to do this, and you guys can chat about some other ways, but my favorite way to do this is to ask my current clients, who are they using? So we’ll stick with payroll, accountant, CPA, right? So ‘’m a CPA, and I go to Mr. Business Owner that I’ve been working with for years. And I’m like, “You know what? I’m committing 2022 to be the year where I meet all of my clients’ other trusted advisors, and so I’m curious, who are you using for payroll, and do you like them?” And so now that client can say that their CPA, “You know what, I’m using this company for payroll, but I never really talked to them. I don’t find them very good or whatever.” Now you have an opportunity to introduce them to other payroll people that you’ve been networking with. If they love their payroll person, you say, you know, this would be great if I could meet them, would you mind providing their contact information and when I reach out, I’ll let them know that we share you as a client. And you start to build those relationships.
Bob Woods 9:36
There’s actually another benefit to having a strong networking partner, network, for lack of a better term, you can use that as part of your USP, unique selling proposition, you know, hey, if you need other services, I have a wide network of people who are able to help you out please let me know if you need anyone who is a bookkeeper or a CPA you know, and just go down the list too, so that you really become a hub for your clients, and then at the same time you’re giving, which is what networking is all about, which we have a comment there. Build that network, so that you can actively kind of market yourself like that. But at the same time you are truly giving too. I mean, it’s not like you’re saying that you’re doing you’re not doing it, you really are doing it. So become that resource through everything that we’ve been talking about, and we will talk about.
Bill McCormick 10:26
So let me just take a more traditional track with this, and you know, there are traditional places to find networking partners. BNI is a great, Brynne’s been a BNI, Bob’s been a BNI, I’ve been a BNI, we’re all former BNI members. I’ve heard it’s like the Marines, you’re never an ex, they are traditional and now that with the hybrid, a lot of our meetings are online. Chambers of Commerce are some others, but in LinkedIn, you can also find networking partners in the comments of your magnet’s posts. So a magnet is someone who draws in your type of clients with their content. So it makes sense that they’ll also draw other networking partners that sell into the same type of client as you. So as you look through those comments and you engage with people there, then it makes sense to take it to a networking meeting, where you can then talk to them and find out, “Hey, is there, is there some kind of connection?” When someone says that they’re all about authenticity, and they’re all about, you know, really selling in genuineness, I always think they need to talk to Larry Levine, because he wrote the book Selling From the Heart, and so I’m all about making those kinds of connections, and so as long as we keep our radar up, right, keep our antennas sharp, and listening, we can be those connectors of people and foster a larger network, as Larry says, your network equals your net worth.
Brynne Tillman 11:56
Yeah, you know, that’s really interesting, because there are two major people that I’m referring to all the time, one is for website creation, and one is for marketing, right, and so I’ve got people in my pocket, but they’re referring to us too, and so I think it’s really important, and it doesn’t always have to be the same people, but that, you know, you’re giving referrals, but you’re also meeting with them, and if they’re not actively giving you referrals, you can do what we’re going to talk about next, I think this is a great lead in, which is, how do we ask and run a networking meeting? But before we do that, the question that came in is, do you find LinkedIn is like a BNI online? The answer is no, but we can make it that way, right? So BNI, is there’s one person per industry and you know, you’re captive in making those introductions, and the reason I don’t see it like a BNI, is there are hundreds and thousands of people, right, and I think you can create your own little hubs, your own little groups of people where you are referring each other, and I think that could be pretty powerful.
Bob Woods 13:11
A little messaging part of those people as well. So it becomes, you know, slightly more BNI-ish, you know, it’s not a true BNI type of thing.
Brynne Tillman 13:18
And you know, one of the things, I mean, there’s a lot that I love about BNI, but one of the challenges is you don’t have a widthof people to like, you know, if you and they’re also very retail oriented, there’s plumbers and painters, and so if you’re a B2B, it may not necessarily be the right place for you. I just joined this M3linked, which is, I mean, which is totally B2B, and meets on Wednesday nights, which is great online, and it’s not limited to one person per seat, and I like that, like you, you can fight for your spot, right? If you’re really good, then you become the person they refer but it gives you opportunities to refer to other people as well. So I think that that’s great. My daughter is a BNI member, and when she moved, she bought a house outside of her BNI networking area. But she went right on to BNI, looked up people in other chapters, found them on LinkedIn and hired them for construction for like, for all the things that she needed. So there’s some real value, but she took it from the BNI directory into LinkedIn. So let’s move on to asking and running a meeting. So now we’ve identified, let’s just say one, we’re still in the CPA payroll. So the CPA is now identified. One payroll company or person, salesperson, that one of their clients works with they love we’ve now connected, how do we ask for that networking meeting?
Bill McCormick 14:48
And again, I want to contrast this with what a quote unquote normal networking, one-on-one looks like, where you know, so Brynne and I are gonna go out and have coffee, and the whole idea of this one hour coffee is, so that Brynne can tell me about her business and what she does, and tell me what an ideal client is for her, and I can tell her about my business, and when I do, what makes an ideal client for me, and we agreed that if we run into anyone, or if we know anyone, in our circles that meet that criteria, we’ll make that introduction, and we partner, we go our separate ways, and we go back to our busy lives, and we may or may not remember to make that referral, it’s really up to chance. Some people are really good at this, and they really keep their feelers open, and they’re really great at saying, oh, yeah, I know someone for this, I know someone for that other people aren’t so great at it. What’s so great about LinkedIn is it gives us this ability, that before Brynne and I meet, I can go into her connections, as long as we’re connected on LinkedIn, and that’s why you should be connected to all of your networking partners on LinkedIn. I can go and I can search her connections for people who match my ideal client profile, and I can come up with a list, she can do the same thing, and so it makes the meeting much more productive, because we both walk away with names of people who we’re either going to make introductions for, or permission to name drop.
Brynne Tillman 16:15
So I love that. I.m gonna hop into this question that came in, “Ultimately, how do you make the marketing message more human?” So the marketing message, originally, to that networking person should come from, “Hey, we share a client.” There’s nothing more human than that, you know, we’re, you know, friends with the same friend, right, like there’s an immediate connection. So I think when you’re doing it this way, you’re not cold calling networking partners, you’re in a much better position from a human perspective. When we take it from, I had the conversation that Bill just talked about with our networking partner, and now we’re going to get some introduction, to make some introductions. I think it’s literally so if we’re getting the introduction, it’s easy. Bill says: “Brynne, please meet Bob Woods. Bob and I were chatting the other day, your name came up in conversation, and after he told me a little bit about his CPA firm, I thought it might make sense to introduce the two of you, I’m not sure if you’re exploring new folks, but you know, or if you’re happy with your current one, but I recommend taking Bob’s call. It’ll be well worth your time.” Right? So now we make that introduction. If it’s permission to name drop, “Brynne, Bob Woods and I were chatting the other day, your name came up in our conversation, and he thought I should reach out and introduce myself. Let’s connect, and I’ll loop you in what we chatted about,” and it’s really that simple. Why is that personal and human? Because we have a shared friend. This is the difference, right? We do not love cold calling on LinkedIn, we are much happier when we’re coming in through a warm market. So the last question of the day here is, “What percentage of your time involves old school cold calling, if you are using LinkedIn properly?” As I know, the three of you do, we do not, zero, zero percent cold call.
Bill McCormick 18:07
LinkedIn gives us this opportunity that we can find out about people, we can learn from them, we can learn about them, that we can come in, warm, we don’t have to come in and cold, and as Brynne just said, if there’s a mutual connection, we can ask for either an introduction or permission to name drop. So we’re coming in at that higher level of credibility, so many people right now are reaching out on LinkedIn cold, and it’s ruining the platform, and people are getting sick of being spammed on LinkedIn, that’s what they see, they see cold outreach as spam. You can disagree with that all you want. But they get to set our clients, our prospects get the set that definition, and they’re saying if you’re reaching out to me cold on LinkedIn, that’s spam, and so I think anyone that’s reaching out cold on LinkedIn, if you’re having success, my guess is it’s a low percentage of success, and you have to ask yourself what you’re doing to the people who aren’t accepting you? We don’t promote cold outreach on LinkedIn, at all.
Brynne Tillman 19:11
Yeah, the direct outreach, which might answer this, is I’m engaging with someone’s comments, I’m starting a conversation with them, I’m ultimately taking that conversation from LinkedIn to a Zoom call or a phone call. But, it’s like meeting someone in a networking meeting, right, I’m not cold calling them. I’m walking into a networking meeting and I’m starting this conversation that ultimately leads to, “Hey, let’s have coffee,” which is the Zoom call, right? So, okay, we’re going to close this up, Bill. I’m going to hand it back to you.
Bill McCormick 19:48
Yeah, so LinkedIn and networking are perfect together, like peanut butter and jelly, like peanut butter and chocolate, if you’re a Reese’s fan, some people who are —(Bob) peanut butter and bacon, (Bill) peanut butter and bac—peanut butter and bacon? (Bob) Oh, yeah. (Bill) Anyway, so, but they go on LinkedIn and networking go perfectly together. As I always say LinkedIn is a seven, I think we’re up to 750 million user networking room, that’s open 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. So make sure you’re using that, and we’d love to hear, reach out to us and let us know the successes you’re having. So until next time, thanks so much. We’ll see you on making sales social life. Have a great rest of your day everyone. Bye-bye.