How To Use LinkedIn For Business, Sales and Marketing
Hello John, can you please tell us about yourself?
My name is John Nemo, and I’m a full-time LinkedIn Trainer and bestselling author of the book “LinkedIn Riches: How To Use LinkedIn For Business, Sales and Marketing!” Since 2012 I’ve helped hundreds of Small Business Owners, Coaches, Consultants, Trainers, Sales and Business Development Executives use LinkedIn to generate more sales leads, clients and revenue. I blog regularly about LinkedIn for publications including Inc. Magazine, American City Business Journals, Business Insider and others. I’m also the author of 7 books, and a former Associated Press reporter, Award-Winning PR Director and Social Media Consultant for clients worldwide. Most important, I’m the father to three wild, young boys (ages 12, 10 and 8) here in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where I live with my wife, Sara, and Rosie, the world’s best dog!
Can you talk about your book, how it began, when, and so on.
Back in 2012, I was miserable. I was working a job I didn’t enjoy. The thought of creating a company and working for myself was just a daydream I entertained while stuck in traffic on my commute home. However, I realized something important during those months of misery: Nothing changes unless YOU change. You can’t just keep doing what you’ve been doing and expect a new or different result. So I did something new. I quit! I left the safest, highest-paying job I’d ever know and started my own marketing agency. I had approximately one client and enough money for about 30 days. I also had a wife at home caring for our three young boys (all under age 8 at the time) and plenty of bills to pay. Failure was not an option. In order to feed my kids, I needed targeted sales leads, clients and revenue for my new business ... fast.
I set up a wobbly folding card table in a corner of our bedroom, perched my MacBook Pro on top of an empty Super Pretzel box and opened up my “office” for business. (Yes, humble beginnings, I know!) However, within 90 days, I’d generated more revenue - $135,000 - for my new marketing agency than I’d earned in an entire year at my old job.
I did it all using LinkedIn. That was the beginning of an eye-opening, incredible relationship I had with the network. I quickly learned during those 90 days just how powerful LinkedIn can be when you use it not as a job-seeker, but instead as a way to find your ideal prospects and clients instead. As my marketing agency grew, I kept bringing in more new business via LinkedIn, and eventually my marketing agency clients asked me to do the same thing for them. I started running LinkedIn campaigns for my clients, and then began training their employees as well. I quickly realized I had something valuable to share, and so I wrote “LinkedIn Riches” in 2013.
It became a bestselling book on Amazon, opened up a bunch of doors and that led to me creating a companion online training program in 2014. Ever since then, I spend all day, every day, teaching others how to use LinkedIn to generate more sales leads, clients and revenue. I actually closed down my marketing agency because the LinkedIn training and consulting business became so in-demand I couldn’t keep up with both ventures.
Being a famous public speaker and a trainer, what suggestions would you like to share to newbies?
The biggest piece of advice I can give anyone as it pertains to your presence on LinkedIn or anywhere else is this - be unique! There is only one YOU. There are lots of people who will offer a similar product or service, but nobody can match your unique approach, personality and style in how that product or service is delivered.
As a speaker, online trainer or service provider of any type, that means injecting your own personal style, stories and personality into what you teach and how you teach it. At the end of the day, people are going to choose someone they Know, Like and Trust when it comes to booking a speaker or hiring a trainer. Yes, you must have the knowledge and quality services, but assuming all things are equal in terms of what you’re providing or sharing with others, the big difference-maker is showcasing your own personal style and approach.
For example, I’m a huge extrovert - I’m gregarious, loud and have over-the-top energy when I speak or do live trainings. I make LinkedIn fun - for example, I explain how Vanilla Ice (for anyone not alive in the early 1990s, Google him!) holds a secret to creating a killer LinkedIn profile, and I reference 1980s movies and make jokes while I teach and train. For me, it works, because my target audience knows my pop culture references and gets my 1980s and 1990s jokes, and loves that style of what I call “info-tainment” ― providing valuable information in an entertaining, fun fashion.
Now, my style is not for everyone, and that’s fine, because what it does it repel the type of customers or clients who wouldn’t work well with me, while attracting the exact people I do want to work with! Bottom line - be yourself, and don’t be afraid to bring your personality, sense of humor and quirks to the job!
What’s the worst and best encounter you have had with a client?
The worst encounter I had with a client was taking calls nonstop while on a family vacation, putting out one fire after another because the client was unhappy with a website our agency was creating. It was a great lesson on many fronts, but the biggest takeaway was that if I didn’t want to be bothered at all hours by clients on vacation or any other time, I either needed to (A) Be more choosy about who I took on as clients or (B) Create a business model that didn’t rely on me serving countless “mini bosses” in terms of juggling and keeping clients happy at all times.
I chose the latter, creating an online training program (LinkedIn Riches) that doesn’t require me to be present at all hours to answer questions or do the training live, on-site. The best encounter I’ve ever had with a client is seeing him or her win new business using my LinkedIn tips, and then call or email me to tell me how well a certain strategy or approach worked. I’ve even had clients put my likeness on a cookie and mail me a box! (Photo is attached.) For the record, I taste delicious! LOL.
How do you see the digital marketing after 5 years?
I see two huge trends - video and mobile. If you’re not using video to train, to teach and to bond with your target audience, you’re going to be left behind in a hurry. Also, if you ignore mobile - both the formatting necessary for websites, videos, photos and posts AND the attention span of a mobile user - you will also be left behind in a hurry.
At the same time, some principles have remained the same ― people want to do business with someone they Know, Like and Trust. The more you can build those three elements into any interactions you have with others online, the more sales you’ll have as a result. Also, the more clear and niche you can be in your marketing, the better success you’ll have.
On LinkedIn, especially, the riches are in the niches!
What would your advice be to people who want to jump in the digital marketing field via LinkedIn?
The most important thing is to create what I call a “client-facing” profile. (I have a free video training series called “How To Create a Killer LinkedIn Profile!” that covers this approach.) Meaning that instead of having a LinkedIn profile that reads like a virtual résumé, you repurpose your profile to talk about the key audiences you serve and how the products and services you provide help your clients achieve their top goals.
Here’s a simple one-sentence template you can use at the beginning of your LinkedIn Summary:
“WHAT I DO: I help [MY TARGET AUDIENCE] achieve [THEIR GOAL] by providing [MY PRODUCT OR SERVICE].”
So, in my case, as a LinkedIn Trainer, it could read this way - “WHAT I DO: I help Business Coaches, Consultants and Small Business Owners generate more sales leads, add new clients and increase revenue by providing easy-to-implement LinkedIn trainings, tips and strategy sessions.”
Also, I’d suggest you target a niche audience or audiences.
For example, when I did $135,000 in revenue in just 90 days back in 2012, I targeted one tiny, niche market - debt collectors. Because I had experience working for a trade association that represented debt collectors, I knew the unique challenges and needs they had when it came to sales and marketing. So, when I opened up my new marketing agency, I had my LinkedIn profile read like this ―
“LinkedIn Title: Debt Collection Marketing Services | Debt Collection Marketing Consultant
LinkedIn Summary: WHAT I DO: I help Debt Collection Agencies generate more sales leads, add clients and increase revenue by providing industry-specific marketing services, invluding website design, PR campaigns, copywriting, marketing videos and more.
WHY IT WORKS: Having served as the PR and Social Media Director for ACA International, the trade association representing debt collection agencies worldwide, I have a unique and unparalleled understanding of the specific marketing challenges and needs debt collection agencies face.”
I then found and connected with Debt Collection Agency Owners and CEOs on LinkedIn. As soon as we got connected, I would send them 1-on-1 messages sharing my advice on how their particular agency could improve its website or increase sales to a target market. I’d also share how my unique background working for their trade association meant they wouldn’t have to teach or explain to me how that often-complex industry worked, and what (most important) their key prospects and clients looked for in a collection agency.
It worked like gangbusters, because the debt collectors felt like I was all about them. In reality, I could do marketing for anyone in any industry, and in fact had clients in countless different industries in short order. But, taking that niche approach on LinkedIn worked extremely well, and it’s something anyone can replicate in any industry.
How ‘LinkedIn’ can help an individual/organization to connect globally?
LinkedIn has 450 million members in 200 countries worldwide, and is adding 2 new members every single second. It’s only getting bigger and better, especially with Microsoft recently acquiring LinkedIn for $26.2 billion.
Once you understand the incredible amount of searchable and sortable data LinkedIn has on all 450 million members, and how you can instantly and easily access that data to find the exact people you want to do business with, the rest is easy!
Why ‘LinkedIn Riches’ and not ‘Twitter Riches’ or ‘Facebook Riches’?
I’d been using LinkedIn since the mid-2000s for my own job searches and personal branding, and had great success leveraging it to build my personal brand, land new jobs and make important connections with media members and others. I saw where the network was headed, and I also didn’t see others using it like I was to generate new business. To this day, most people still think LinkedIn is just a “jobs” website. That couldn’t be more wrong!
In my opinion, LinkedIn is the single best place online to generate nonstop sales leads, clients and revenue in the B2B marketplace. Granted, it depends on making sure you use LinkedIn correctly, and not just spamming or harassing people with irrelevant sales pitches. But that’s where trainers like myself come in - to show you how it can be done! :)
I also love the long-term future and outlook for LinkedIn as a business and sales tool, especially given its recent acquisition by Microsoft and all the doors that will open up as a result.
How linking to people have changed the course dramatically since last 5 years?
I would say the biggest change is that it continues to become faster and easier to find the exact people you’re looking for, and then to connect with those individuals. Lots of new automation tools have emerged as well, which allow you to quickly build and scale 1-on-1, personalized relationships faster than you could ever have imagined.
Most important, the quality of the people and connections you can make on LinkedIn is unparalleled. People are on LinkedIn for a very specific reason - to do business! They’re not on there to find funny cat videos or look at family vacation photos from their friends. They’re on LinkedIn to find a job, find an employee, read industry news, get some free training, find a vendor or get a business partner. That’s why the opportunities are so vast and plentiful on the site.
In a nutshell, why LinkedIn is different from other social networks?
Again, LinkedIn is all business - people might mix business and pleasure on other social platforms, but on LinkedIn, when people spend time on it, they’re in “work” mode, and as such they’re more dialed into doing business with you and me.
The key is understanding how to find, engage and sell to people on LinkedIn - there’s a whole psychology and style that goes into the process. In a nutshell, it revolves around finding people who will be interested in what you have to offer, engaging them in a personalized, 1-on-1 fashion, building up some rapport and credibility, and then doing business as a natural extension of that relationship.
This article is published on HuffingtonPost