016: Use LinkedIn to Grow Your Network AND Your Business

016: Use LinkedIn to Grow Your Network AND Your Business

 

Strong for Performance Podcast

 

016: Use LinkedIn to Grow Your Network AND Your Business

by John Nemo

Have you struggled with how to use LinkedIn most effectively? Meet John Nemo, author of LinkedIn Riches and Content Marketing Made Easy. John helps coaches, consultants and other service professionals make the most of this powerful platform. He knows that creating the right connections and then building strong relationships with them are the keys to expanding your business. In this interview John shares many specific strategies you can start using TODAY.

You’ll discover:

  • How to create a LinkedIn profile that attracts your ideal clients
  • Why it’s important to focus on just ONE niche instead of trying to appeal to everyone
  • How to personalize your connections requests and increase the number of acceptances
  • A template for a script you can use with 1st level connections that elicit responses and start a conversation
  • Why you’ll want to ask permission before sending links or resources to someone
  • How to write up a client success story as a case study that does the selling for you

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Read the Transcription

Welcome to another episode of the Strong for Performance podcast. I’m your host, Meredith Bell. And today I am super excited and delighted to have with me, John Nemo. Welcome, John.

Oh, so glad to be here.

Well, John and I have known each other now for almost four years. I first heard John when I was participating in a webinar series around LinkedIn, and I think for probably 30 or more speakers, and John is one who stood out to me. He gave more ideas in his presentation per minute than anybody else. So, I was very impressed, and I attended his webinar and signed up for his LinkedIn Riches course right on the spot because I could tell it had valuable information that would serve me well.

And since then, I’ve been involved in his monthly calls which are always very valuable. And John, I’ve read out of your books, LinkedIn Riches and Content Marketing Made Easy, which I have the Kindle version of, so I can’t hold them up but thank you-

For your listeners, I was doing the gratuitous book flyby for the audio listeners.

Yes. We’ll talk to you about how you can get those books a little bit later. But you’re going to want to get out paper and pencil and take lots of notes, or your iPad or whatever you write on, because John talks fast and he’s just got so much valuable information. John, before we jump into specific strategies and suggestions that you have around LinkedIn, tell us a little bit about your journey and how you got here.

Yeah, great. Thank you for having me. Kind of my story really quickly. I grew up as a son of two English teachers, so literally grew up in a house lined floor to ceiling with books. Storytelling, that whole thing, teaching was just in my DNA and in my blood. And so that led to a career in journalism working for newspapers, the Associated Press and writing articles, eventually doing public relations, eventually social media for different trade associations.

Back in 2012, like a lot of your listeners, coaches, consultants, and solopreneurs, I really had this itch to go out on my own. And so, I made this crazy leap, this crazy decision. I had our three young kids at home. My wife was home taking care of them. I had the job, that safety job and I quit. I quit and launched my own business with one client and enough money for 30 days.

And I had an idea. I had an idea at that time that I could find clients in a kind of unconventional way – especially back then in 2012 – which was to use LinkedIn. And I’ll get to more of that whole story but basically what that led me to be able to do was start my own business, start finding clients on LinkedIn and that really evolved into eventually having so much success there that people, like you, started saying, “Hey, this is great. Teach me what you’re doing. Don’t just fish for me, teach me how to fish.”

And so that led to writing a book, LinkedIn Riches, an online course and then writing more books and more courses on content marketing and webinars. And so, what I do today is I offer one-on-one coaching and then online courses. And really my core audience that I focus on is coaches and consultants. Anyone who’s kind of a solopreneur running their own business and helping them attract and engage and sell to their ideal clients online but without being sleazy, without being you know heavy-handed, used-car-sales-person type technique.

Very much genuine, authentic, true to your personal self, using content, using LinkedIn. And I love it, Meredith. It’s just my favorite thing to do.

Well, I know, because your enthusiasm in our monthly calls is just very invigorating and motivating for all of us. And what I especially appreciate is the specific examples that you give of clients. And one of the things, because I work with so many coaches and consultants as well, they struggled with their LinkedIn profile. How do I make it effective? What does it need to have?

And I know that that is something you are an expert in. In fact, I just love your copywriting style and it’s one of the things that caused me to want to work more closely with you because it’s conversational. It is genuine. And so, I see myself as being authentic and wanting to come across as trustworthy and your approach really resonated with me.

Why don’t you talk a little bit or a lot about what does it take to create a really effective LinkedIn profile. What are the ingredients?

Right. And I think this is so critical especially if you are a coach or consultant, someone in the high trust industry. I think about, if I’m going to put my life in your hands, so to speak, as I go my professional well-being, like I really have to know, like and trust you. And I can’t get that from my resume.

And so, what 99% of LinkedIn profiles do and kind of what the people have been trained to do on LinkedIn is upload it like a resume. It’s written in a third person. It talks about you like you’re a famous athlete or a Rockstar, like Meredith Bell has done such famous things as, let’s say … We write it in this resume format. And what I tried to teach coaches and consultants right away is to flip that upside down and instead make a, what I call, client face, which it comes from one of my all-time favorite books. You’ve heard me talk about it, Meredith, but How to Win Friends and Influence People.

Dale Carnegie wrote this all the way back in 1936, and I really took this approach on LinkedIn. this one line that stood out to me, he said, “Your ideal clients, your ideal customers don’t care about you. They care about themselves morning, noon and after supper.” And he said supper because I guess, it was the 1930s and that’s how you talk back then.

I was like, “Yeah, that’s it.” They don’t want to read my resume. They don’t care about my accolades. The people coming to me for coaching and consulting want to know how can you fix my problem; how can you help me? Are you someone who understands my world, my industry, my niche? And so, what I teach people to do with your LinkedIn profile is instead of being that resume, its client facing.

Then here’s like a one-sentence right away you can immediately use as the first line of your profile. And I have a template for this, but the first line is, “What I do,” colon. You say, “What I do,” in all capital letters and you say, “I help,” and then you insert a target audience. “I help this audience achieve or get,” and then you list some benefits that they want.

“I help my target audience get these benefits by providing one-on-one coaching and consulting.” And what that does is people immediately pre-qualify. So, let’s say, you want to coach dentists, and we’ll talk about why about why the riches are in the niches with LinkedIn, but let’s say, I’m a business coach and consultant. I want to help dentists. So, I have a lot of dentists who are looking for business advice.

Your LinkedIn profile, the first line would say, “I help dentists,” and then what are some benefits. “I help dentists get more patients, increase revenue and improve staff culture by providing dental specific one-on-one coaching.” And then the next line might be, “What makes me unique? As a former dentist who practiced for 25 years, I know exactly what it takes run a successful clinic. That’s why now as a coach, I help dentists, blah-blah-blah,” like what others say, and then you put in some testimonials.

And this is the approach you want to take with LinkedIn. Having a profile that’s all about a target niche audience that you serve and preferably one where you have experience. One of most successful and easy ways to really stand out on LinkedIn as a coach or consultant is go back to where you’ve worked previously or areas that you specialized in and go approach those people.

If you’re a former executive in the healthcare industry and now you’re a business coach, go market to healthcare executives. This is the simple thing is when I first started, I didn’t have any experience as a coach, but I have worked as a marketing guy in different trade associations. And one of the trade associations I worked in was for debt collectors.

And so, I did public relations for the trade association in social media. So, I knew the industry. I knew debt collectors. I knew they needed PR help obviously, because nobody wants to talk to debt collectors and they’re not really popular, but they need business and they’re good people, and they needed help with marketing.

When I went on LinkedIn, when I jumped with that one client and I have 30 days, I’m like, I need clients fast. I’m going to be a marketing agency but who do I appeal to? The best advice I got was the riches are in the niches. Be a big fish in a small pond. I reformatted my LinkedIn profile to say debt collection marketing guy, debt collection marketing services. I help debt collectors get more sales, increase revenue and reduce complaints by providing industry-specific marketing services, PR advice and website design or something like that.

And what I found, Meredith, was now when a debt collector looked at my profile, when they got an invite, they’re like, “Wow, this guy is all about me. He’s walked in my shoes. He’s worked in my world. And look, here’s all the ways he can help me get what I want.” And so, at the very high level, that’s really what the profile needs to be client-facing and really appeal to a target audience.

How do you respond to coaches or consultants who say, “But I work across a lot of industries? I’m concerned about limiting myself and limiting my opportunities.” How do you respond to that?

Yeah. Here’s what I would say. If you try to be everything to everyone on LinkedIn, you’ll be nothing to nobody, like you literally … We’re all self-centered. I want to know, Meredith, if I’m hiring someone, do you work with solo business owners? I was looking for tax guy, I didn’t care if you work with dentists and doctors and what. I want to know; do you work with internet online business owners?

We’re all self-centered, and so what you can do as a coach and consultant, you can really go all-in on LinkedIn for one niche and use other marketing channels for other niches. Use your website, whatever. The other thing I really recommend too is you can list multiple experiences on LinkedIn, multiple jobs, multiple audiences. One of the things I teach is if at all possible, focusing on one or two target audiences on the top half of your LinkedIn profile, the summary, the headline.

I’m all about helping these one or two audiences with this niche approach. Lower down later on, then you can say, “I also helped this audience and here’s a whole separate listing about that. I also helped this audience. Here’s a separate listing about that,” because what it’s going to do and the way LinkedIn evolves over the last, how many ever years, is much of the business you’re going to generate on LinkedIn is going to be you reaching out to someone, outbound lead generation.

I do a search on LinkedIn. I connect with all these different dentists. I start a relationship. I start engaging. I offer free tips. Then they hire me to coach them. I’m using that example. One thing people worry about is, “Oh, what if someone from this industry finds me on LinkedIn and sees I’m niched for dentists? Oh, no.”

That’s such a small percentage of leads as opposed to if you’re actively going out every day and connecting to a hundred dentists, your profile better says, “I’m the dentist business coach.” Because you know what those dentists want to know, “Do you even know my industry? Do you know all the learning curve? Have you walked in my shoes? Have you ever worked with other dentists?”

They don’t want a generalist. They want a specialist. And so, I can’t emphasize that enough. You can hedge your bets on LinkedIn with your profile lowered down in the experience section, but if you want to get results, if you really want to do well, pick one or two audiences. Go outbound, reach out to them, start relationships and that’s really where the business is.

And that’s the key is getting out of this mindset of I have to appeal to everyone. It has to be a resume. I have to please every different audience ever possible and just go, “No, I’m using this as a sales tool. Who’s an audience I want to go after right now? I’m going to focus on them.” Six months from now, I might change audiences. Great, it’s a digital profile, just change it. That’s the beauty of this.

That makes so much sense, and I think it’s important for people to understand that it’s very rare for your profile to just appear to somebody, or them to find you. It’s much more contingent on you reaching out to connect with other people. And so, tell us your approach to customizing that invitation to connect because that’s an important … I don’t think it’s a good idea for people to just click connect, connect, connect without customizing or personalizing it somewhat.

What are some things that you’ve seen work well there?

Right. An approach that I’ve taken and had a lot of success with is you’ve really got to do personalized one-on-one marketing. Just like if you walked in and met me for coffee or met me at a bar, you would start asking me questions. Where are you from? Do you have a family? Where did you go to school? Do you have a favorite sports team? You would break the ice.

You wouldn’t just walk in and go, “Hi, John. I’m Meredith Bell. I’d like to coach you, here are my rates.” Like, “Whoa, where is the professional courtship.” Or you wouldn’t walk in without any context, just ask me for 15 minutes of my time. So, when you reach out to someone on LinkedIn, what I love about LinkedIn it’s 600 million members, 200 different countries, 2 new members join every second.

What LinkedIn has done in a brilliant fashion in a very big brother kind of fashion, it collected every scrap of data that we’ve entered into our profiles. You can reverse engineer that with LinkedIn searches to say, “Oh, I’m a business coach. I want to target dentists in this location who went to this university who have this many year of experience, who have this many employee.”

Now when you refine that search, you can reach out to each dentist on the list, say, it’s dentists in Detroit, Michigan. And say they’re dentists in Detroit, Michigan that went to the University of Michigan. This is an example. You can niche down in the LinkedIn search that much. Now I can go to each dentist on that list, send an invite that says, “Hey, Fred. Hey, Sally. Hey, Bill. I hope life in Detroit is treating you well. P.S. Go blue. I thought I’d reach out to connect because I work with a lot of dentists. Cheers.”

That’s a great ice breaker invite. They’re immediately intrigued. Their curiosity is immediately peaked because they’re thinking, “Wow, this person took time to look at it to do some icebreakers.” One thing I learned too, Meredith, in How to Influence People is you know what everyone’s favorite topic is, it’s themselves. You want to ask me about my hobbies and passions and sports teams. I’ll go all day like you’re the greatest. This is a great conversation. You’re asking me all about hockey.

And so, one of the examples … I’ll tell a quick story to drive this home, how this turn into business. I called it the “Send it in, Jerome” story. Basically, I was looking for that collection executives to connect with to sell our marketing services in 2012. And one gentleman I came across. He lived in Connecticut or worked in Connecticut and I don’t know anything about the East Coast really, but I love college sports.

And so, I looked at where he went to college or university. He went to University of Pittsburgh and it was in the 1980s and I was like, “What do I know about the University of Pittsburgh in the 1980s?” I’m a college sports fan. I remember they had a great basketball team. And the Pitt Panthers, and I remember, oh, yeah, there was this famous play. One of their players, Jerome Lane, went up and dunked the ball during a game that was on national TV.

And the announcer, Bill Raftery had this iconic call, and he’s like, “Send it in, Jerome,” because when he dunked it, the glass backboard shattered, and everyone cheered. And I remember as a kid watching it and then suddenly, “Whoa,” like if it was today, it would be a viral YouTube clip, but anyway, I’m like. “Okay.” So, in 10 seconds I looked at this guy’s profile, saw he went to Pitt during the 80s. Surely, he remembers, “Send it in, Jerome.”

So, I sent him an invite. “Hey, I want to reach out to connect. P.S. Do you remember ‘Send it in, Jerome’?” He accepts the invite. Now, remember I have a client-facing profile that says, “I help debt collectors get all these benefits.” He’s a debt collector. “Oh, okay. This guy is all about me.” Gets this personal invite. He’s curious. He looks at my profile, sees I can serve him, writes me back a LinkedIn message, and he says, “I was at the game. ‘Send it in, Jerome,’ like I was a student. I was at the game. I’ll never forget it.”

So, then I sent him back a YouTube clip of the video, he’s like, “Oh, man, the memories.” I can almost hear the song Glory Days playing in the background from Bruce Springsteen. He’s back in college. He’s having fun. We’re bantering. We’re breaking the ice about an onward topic that took me 10 seconds to come up with on a LinkedIn invite.”

And now, it pivots into the business side because he looks at my profile. He sees, I’m all about him. I offer all the services to help him get what he wants. And he says, “Hey, I looked at your profile. I’m really impressed. We’re actually looking for marketing help for our agency. Can we have a call tomorrow?” “Sure.”

So, we had a call, closed a $10,000 contract that next day. And it was really because it was so niched and it was so personalized because when I asked him, I was auditing clients at the end of that year, why did you choose me. Was it my website, my logo, my brochure? And he goes, “No, man. It was, ‘Send it in, Jerome.’ Like I just knew you’d be really fun to work with. We hit it off.” And he goes, “I knew that if you were that personalized in marketing to me, that you’d help us do that with our clients. Show us how to do that on LinkedIn with the hospital executives, we want to collect debt for.” And I’m like, “Yeah, we can do that.”

And so, that’s an example of personalizing that engagement on LinkedIn, one-on-one messaging, really instead of trying to do kind of the salesy approach or just blasting things out. And it’s harder to do and it takes more time, but it’s what works in real life, and it also works, imagine this, online because it’s how humans interact, right?

That is such a fabulous story, and I love it for a number of reasons. One, it shows the importance of taking time to look at someone’s profile, to see where there might be some common ground and interest. I think sometimes the pressure is on to reach out to a lot of people and it’s all a numbers game. And what you just illustrated with that story is, “No, it’s better to slow down, take your time and do a quality invitation that says to the person,” because you didn’t say, “Oh, I went to your profile and I looked.”

You didn’t give all that preliminary stuff. You just jumped right to “Send it in, Jerome,” and he knew then that you knew you had gone to Pitt without you having to say it. And so that kind of connection and credibility, it’s amazing to me what that does to build trust because instantly, it conveyed to him probably on a subconscious level, a lot of different things about you which you mentioned that he said that you’d be fun.

But I just think we need to really hammer that home because people feel pressured to get the numbers.

And there’s nothing worse than giving the generic script that just basically says, “Hey, you’re a number to me. I’m trying to pedal some services. There’s something about just taking the time to make a comment. For example, as we’re recording this, I’m in Minnesota. We just fired the general manager for our hockey team. That’s all I can talk about online. It was like, if someone who’s a hockey fan, it doesn’t have to be sports, connect with me on Linked in and say, “Hey did your team find a new general manager?” I’d be like, “We’ll be telling you everything I think.”

And all of a sudden, we’re having this fun banter because he’s taking enough time to look and know I’m a nut about hockey. And it could be sailing. It could be reading. It could be the city I live in and it’s just, there is. There’s a psychological connection. There’s a level there that also separates you from 99% of people connected on LinkedIn. And all these invites and all these pitches and I hear you actually ask me about where I went to college and what I think of living in the city or you mentioned you also worked at this company or our new …. And it just what we forget, Meredith, is we’re marketing to human beings.

That’s right.

You can’t market toward humans with algorithms and scripts. You have to bring in the emotional. And the real hard part about this that so many of my clients struggle with is how do I overlay the real life enjoyable, fun to hang out with Meredith Bell into a LinkedIn message. How do I do that? How do I not sound stiff and formal or salesy? It’s really the secret is what you mentioned earlier is conversational. It’s having a conversational tone in these one-on-one messages.

The way that I found that it works really well, and I talked about this all the time inside the LinkedIn Riches training, so you know, but the money is in the mailbox. The money is in this one-on-one interaction, the bantering, the personality where you can share a funny GIF emoji or crack an inside joke that you have with this connection about where they live and the weather.

There’s a real format too where you engage with someone, you break the ice, and then step two is you’re going to ask permission. Curious, are you looking for blank? And that’s where I’ll say, a benefit. “Are you looking to generate more leads with LinkedIn? I know you’re a coach, are you looking for that?” And then I’ll say, “The reason I ask is I have blank,” some sort a free resource, a free webinar, a free book, a free whatever. “If you like,” this is where I ask permission, “I’m happy to share the information or the link. If not, no worries.” And you take the pressure off.

This is a script I’ve developed called messaging magic, these four parts. You ask a question. You offer a free resource, and then you take off any pressure and you just break the ice, like you make it very conversational. You don’t spam people with links. You don’t ask for time. That’s another big thing with LinkedIn is people will connect to you and immediately ask for a phone call. And it’s like, “Let’s have a little professional courtship. You know I’m not going to marry you yet.”

People’s valuable asset as a prospect is my time. I don’t know you yet. You didn’t even ask me if I’d be interested in coaching help right now. Maybe I don’t need help. Maybe I already have a coach. Why didn’t you ask me? If I’m a coaching and I’m marketing to dentists in Detroit, I’m breaking the ice talking about Detroit and University of Michigan.

And then I’m saying, “Curious, do you have a coach right now or are you ever looking for coaching? The reason I ask is I love working with dentists as a business coach. In fact, if you’re interested, I’ve got a great free case study on how I help a dentist in Michigan increase revenue 6,000%. If you like, I can share a link to the PDF or if this isn’t of interest to you or not a focus, no worries.”

And then you just stay connected. You try again a month later. This is how you build these relationships and people respect that because you’re asking permission and you’re letting them qualify themselves and can kind of self-select. And that’s where the content comes in to, like capture their attention with great stories and what I call infotainment, informing them and entertaining them and getting them to know, like and trust you because coaches and consultants, they have to know you.

They have to like you. They have to feel an emotional, I would like to have a beer or a coffee with you type of connection because I’m not going to hire a coach that I wouldn’t go have a beer with. It’s like, “Why I am investing my life into you? I’ve got to really know you.” And it’s hard to do that online unless you take that conversational approach.

Well, you just packed in a lot of content and value there in your last statements. And I want to make sure people really get this because we’ve all been inundated with people who request to connect with us. And then immediately, it just seems like it’s more and more prevalent now, they are trying to sell, “Oh, you need this.” Well, how do you know? Like you say, there’s been no effort to get to know anything about me.

A lot of times, they haven’t even looked at my profile because they think I’m a coach, which I’m not. We have tools that are used by coaches, but I can always tell they haven’t done any real reading of this to get to know me at all. But what you were saying I have found also to be so true that … Because I used to put links in. If you’d like to have a conversation, just use my calendar link or if you’d like to get this free, whatever it is, just use this. I don’t do that anymore either. I learned that from you.

The idea of asking permission makes a huge difference because then you see who’s really raising their hand and that you can have a nice conversation with from there and follow up and ask. In fact, recently, I had sent an invitation to people to get this free thing. And those that had said yes, I sent a follow up email a month or two later saying, “Did you have a chance to read it? I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.” And some have turned into sales conversations because of that follow up.

And I think that that sequence of patience, taking your time and recognizing that you can’t rush this. But one of the things I want you to go a little bit deeper in because this is a true power tool, this idea of a case study. Talk about how your advice because I know you’ve worked one on one with a number of consultants where you’ve helped them pull out their stories, pull out these success case studies and how you encourage them to use those on LinkedIn.

Yeah, this is a great analogy because I just did this with a client who got a five-figure contract in less than seven days. And so, here’s what we did. She came to me, she said … Her name is Melissa Thibodeaux and she says I can share all of that publicly. And you can look her up on LinkedIn and I mentioned her all the time in training calls.

But Melissa came to me and said, “Hey, you know, I’m going to go out on my own as a consultant. I’m not really sure yet of how to niche myself.” I said, “Well, tell me your story.” “Well, I worked in a staffing agency industry for decades, and I was the star performer and I had a lot of success.” She initially says to me, Meredith. She goes, “So I’m thinking maybe I’ll market myself to HR people or employers and help them with company culture and hiring practices.”

I said, “It’s really good but you were like a total Rockstar in staffing, right?” She’s like, “Oh, yeah. You know I took one branch from $600,000 a year to $48 million and it only took like 48 months or four years.” I’m like, “What!?” It was something like 600 grands to I think 16 million in revenue in four years that she did with a failing branch.”

I’m like, “That is a case study, like why are we making this hard? Like go to the people where you’ve already walked in their shoes and had success and sell and tell that story.” What we did was we niched Melissa to staffing agencies. We said she is a staffing agency consultant. What I do, I help staffing agencies increase revenue, retain top performers and improve their bottom line by providing decades of industry-specific experience and success.”

And so, we redo her profile to niche into staffing agency owners and then we write a case study. And it’s very easy because she just tells a story. It started with the $5 Starbucks gift card. What did? Oh, this $48 million change or whatever it was. And it was about her approach to building and turning around this failing staffing branch.

And so, what we did with this case study is we followed three very simple things that I put into my content marketing approach, which is what it was like, what the situation was, what happened, what did you do to improve it, and what it’s like now. And so, for Melissa, it was just a three-part story, what it was like the branch she got put in charge of was failing? What happened? She did these different techniques and things to improve it starting with a five-dollar gift card. And then what it’s like now? It’s up to $16 million a year, I mean, how many ever million percent growth that is.

What we did then to connect it to LinkedIn was client-facing profile for staffing agencies, case study, how I took a staffing agency from 600 grand to $16 million in 48 months. And then we sent that and invited staffing agency owners that she connects with, “Hey, curious, are you looking for any tips on how to grow your agency, how to grow or turn around a failing branch? If you are, I have a great case study, happy to share the link.”

Yes, some people said yes. And the interesting thing here, Meredith, is she didn’t get thousands of views. She didn’t get hundreds of likes but the people that did read it, one of them within the first seven days of publishing it called her on the phone, said, “I’m in Orlando. What’s it going to cost for me to fly you down for two days to train my entire office?” Basically, like name your price. And she’s like, “I don’t know what to do. I just started my business.” She’s like, “Help me price this out.” I’m like, “All right, we’ll figure it out. Say yes. Say yes.” “Make up a number.”

This is the power of connecting with people. This is what I do with the debt collectors. This is what you can do with content and case studies because again, case studies are so powerful if they show that transformation, what it was like, what happened and what it’s like now. And if you can do that for dentists in Detroit to show how a struggling dentist in Michigan used your techniques to get over this hump, other dentists are going to go, “Oh, cool. You’re there for him or her. You can do it for me.”

That’s what this person who read Melissa’s case study. He was like, “I want you to do it for my failing branch what you did for that one.” Very-

That is so great. And I want to just give a couple of examples really quickly because we have two case studies of people that have used our products, one hospital and one with a credit union. And so, I wore up the case study but the star of it is the consultant who actually put that organization. And so, now they are connecting. I’ll give the credit union as an example.

He’s connecting with other credit union executives in part of his follow-up to, after connecting with them is asking them if they’d like to see a case study of work, he’s done with another credit union. It’s exactly that same model and what I’m thinking that would be so valuable to our listeners is for them to think about clients they’d helped, go get a case study, ride it up.

Then that will guide them as to who they should be connecting with on LinkedIn, is other executives that are in that same industry so that they can see how this person helped that industry. It’s that whole niching thing but niching around the case study that I just think would make it so easy for them to get a connection.

Yeah, and just tie it to the benefits they want. The pain points and the benefits are all very similar typically, so in Melissa’s case, it’s how do I get more profit revenue out of our branch? How do I retain these high performers? How do I improve morale? How do I systematize? She knew, she’s like, “This is what you need to do.” I’m like, “Just put it into one good story.”

Take a look at the evening news. They never just say, “Well, you know, test scores were up 8,000% in this district,” they go and show you a student at a desk and they tell you the story. And they interviewed the mom saying, “Yeah, little Sally really is doing good with studying,” like they humanize it. And so, you’ve got to humanize your approach. Ideally, you do it with content that also helps people get to know, like and trust you so that your personality comes through.

This is the other big thing I want to make sure our listeners and viewers here is, your biggest advantage in the marketplace as a coach, consultant, anything else, your biggest advantage is you. It’s your personality. It’s your style of communication. It’s the journey you’ve been on. It’s the unique things that you’ve done. You’ve got to really leverage that as part of your personal brand because let’s face it, everything is commoditized. There are a million LinkedIn trainers you can pick. There are a million coaches. There are a million consultants that can do the same things you do.

Why are people going to choose you? Because they like you, because they know you, because they feel like, “You know what? I just love talking to Meredith. Every time I leave, I just feel happy.” Like this is awesome. She gives us great content and I just loved her personality and we laughed and it’s always fun, like that’s because you’ve put your brand, and people know what they’re getting.

The more you put your personality into your content whether you do a podcast, video, sharing authentic photos of yourself, “Oh, here I am in my 80s gear,” whatever like, I have a lot of self-deprecation and humor in my content because that’s me. I’m nuts. It’s like if you want a real stiff formal LinkedIn trainer, there’s plenty of those. But if you want a goofball who’s going to do 80s jokes and pop culture references, that’s me.

It’s similar techniques and similar strategies but it’s connecting with the teacher, connecting with the consultant and the only way someone could do that online and bridge that gap is you’ve got to put yourself out there. You’ve got to share your authentic self, share your journey, share your stories, share your passions. You will attract people that it resonates with. You will attract the right type of clients. And more importantly, you will repel clients that would not be a good fit because they won’t enjoy your sense of humor or they don’t like 80s jokes.

I’ve repelled a lot of people, thank goodness, that would have been terrible fits for me or would have been nightmare clients. But I’ve attracted these great clients, we laughed the whole time. We still get tons of work done. We crush it. We achieve our goals, but we have fun because they came into my world through content that said, “Oh, I like this person. This is just like me or I could see us hanging out, having fun.” And that’s the key thing with coaching and consulting is you’ve got to really connect at that emotional level.

Great point. And we’re running up on our time, but I do want you to take just a minute because your Content Marketing Made Easy book is so packed with great information on how to develop and use and repurpose content. But you have one favorite that you feel like has been your secret weapon, so I can’t let you go without sharing what that is.

Yeah. I just got a five-figure sales conversation today from this, from books. This book sees how thin. For the viewers like it’s very thin. I think it’s like … It’s not even … It’s like 110 pages. This book has brought in so much revenue because there is no better content marketing machine on the planet than a book.

For example, people go on Amazon all the time and they’re not shopping. They’re looking for solutions. They’re using it like a search engine. People go on Amazon every day and type in LinkedIn book, LinkedIn marketing tips. This pops up. They buy it for a dollar. They’ve spent then all this time getting to know, like and trust me. You connect that to a funnel which is you want more training, online bonus videos, opt-in to my email list, get more content, come for a free webinar.

Then even in real life, books are great. Think about the power of handing someone a business card versus handing them your book. I printed up with print on demand self-publishing. I printed up 400 copies of this Content Marketing Machine and 400 copies of LinkedIn Riches and I went to one of the biggest conferences in the world, Social Media Marketing World where I was speaking on LinkedIn. And I walked the concourse for three days handing out books.

Everyone was like, “What? You’re going to give me a free book?” It was like I was handing out gold, Meredith. Nobody does that, right? “A whole book? You don’t want to just give me a business card or a flier? Like, yeah, I’ll take a free book. Like I’ll read this on the plane.” What happens is people hang on to books. There’s authority. There’s credibility. You’re at a different level.

Especially as a culture consultant, you can be introduced as, “Oh, she literally wrote the book on LinkedIn. It’s called LinkedIn Riches,” or whatever. Or she literally wrote a book on leadership and she’s a leadership coach. Think of the power of that as opposed to just online content. Yes, books I’m fanatical about, obviously comes from my roots as a kid, son of two English teachers and all the reading. But there’s power in those audiobooks, print books that cannot be replicated. I’ve never found a better way to market my business than books.

That brings us to our wrap up which is how can people learn about you and get copies of your book?

Right, and I give away the books for free. That’s how good of a lead magnet they are. If you go to linkedinriches.com, you can get a free digital or audio book copy of LinkedIn Riches, linkedinriches.com. And then if you go to contentmarketingmachine.com, you can get a free digital copy of Content Marketing Made Easy.

And so, those are the places to learn about me, linkedinriches.com for all the LinkedIn stuff, the free book; contentmarketingmachine.com for that book and all those free tips. And I practice what I preach, Meredith. I just give away tons of content, tons of value.

I know you do.

Pumping the personality and then I let people come to me to say, “I love it. How do I work with you?” And it’s a great model because it’s authentic and it’s genuine. And it’s the best model too for coaches and consultants. There’s just nothing better than great content, a niched brand. It’s just much easier and seamless to really do well.

Well, you’re pre-selling your services, they are pre-selling their services by showing “I know my stuff”. And so, there’s no proof that you have to do. The sales process is so much easier because they have come to see you already as an authority.

Yeah, this is the big thing. My final big point is so many people online today claim authority. I’m a ninja. I’m a guru. I’m a leadership expert, much harder to demonstrate it. Demonstrate authority and you’re ahead of 99% of the pack online and demonstrate it through a book, a podcast, a blog, a video.

And people, like you said, Meredith, they’re pre-sold. They come in and go, “I read your book. It was amazing. How do I just give you money to work with you? Because I want what you’re teaching. I know it’s going to work. I love your stories,” and that’s the beautiful thing about this is you have that opportunity now without any gatekeepers in your way to publish your book, publish your video, publish your podcast.

For those of us that remember the 80s, Meredith, you couldn’t do that.

No.

You need a TV channel. Like now, the world is our oyster, we just have to go out and do it.

That’s great. John, you have delivered, just as I knew you would, lots of great valuable information. People will probably want to watch this or listen to it more than once because there were so many how-to’s. And I highly recommend both of his books. Take advantage of what he is saying. It’s so true. John is a real giver when it comes to amazing content.

And so, if you want to do it yourself, you can learn the steps. He gives it all and so, I just highly recommend doing that. Thank you, John. It’s been such a pleasure having you.

Thank you.