We have Rick Miller and Josh Turner. Rick Miller has held a lot of high level executive positions. He’s talking about being the Chief. He’s got a TED Talk. He’s got a new book. Josh Turner is a Wall Street Journal bestselling author. He can tell you anything you need to know about LinkedIn. He is an expert in networking.
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Becoming A Chief Leader with Rick Miller
I am here with Rick Miller who is an unconventional turnaround specialist, a servant leader and a go-to Chief. He’s also an experienced and trusted confidant, an author, a sought-after speaker and expert at driving sustainable growth. For more than 30 years he served as a successful business executive in roles including President and/or CEO in Fortune 10, Fortune 30, a startup and a nonprofit. In each case, he was recruited from the outside to turn around poor performance in difficult times. It’s great to have you here, Rick. I’m interested in your book, Be Chief: It’s A Choice, Not A Title.
I’m delighted to be with you, Diane.
This book is something that I’d like to include in a lot of the courses. I teach a lot of business courses. We talk about all the titles and the C-level. That’s why I love your TEDx Talk too because you described how Chief titles are widely used for power. If everybody’s got a Chief title, it’s confusing these days. Don’t you think?
It can be. There is certainly a large number of them. When I started in my career, Vice President was the term of the day. People wanted to finally get to a Vice President and they want to get to Senior Vice President, Executive Vice President on their way up the ladder. Now it seems like it’s Chief fill in the blank Officer. Department heads are Chiefs and many employees are Chiefs. They tend to be confusing. I appreciate you referencing the TED Talk, because the big point of the TED Talk and the book, the Chief title is interesting, but what is interesting is the power associated with the word Chief. At a time when many people are feeling powerless in their jobs with poor engagement, the challenge is how we use titles or whatever else to help people feel powerful and be all they can be.
You hear some of these interesting titles. I had Steve Kerr on my show and he was the first Chief Learning Officer. He was talking to Jack Welch about it that he wanted to be the Chief Education Officer, but then that would have been the CEO and it was confusing. There are all these titles. I’ve had people that were Chief Happiness Officers, Chief Excitement Officers and all these unique titles. It’s hard to tell what people do now.
I find in certain organizations you can pick a number 30, 40, 50 Chief titles and with only 26 letters in the alphabet. You find a CTO. Is that a Chief Tax Officer or a Chief Technology Officer? You’ll find a lot of confusion out there about chief titles. No question.
You’ve had some serious title in some serious companies. Can you give a little background? You were the former President at AT&T Global. Give me a little bit of background.
That was again, the title thing I shared in the TED Talk. Over the first twenty years of my career, I took a traditional path and did hold titles of Vice President, Senior Vice President, General Manager of a technology firm which is now a Unisys. I did move over to AT&T and had the title of Corporate Officer and President of Global Services. I was President and a member of the board at an internet startup. I was the President of Lucent Technologies Government Solutions and the Senior Vice President of that corporation. I’ve been Chief Sales Officer, a lot of chief titles. Increasingly, you find that the titles don’t matter as you’ve been talking about. The question is what are you doing?If the right question is not asked, then you have problems. Click To Tweet
I’ve had a lot of people on the show who talk about what leaders think they should know, what they should be doing, what people think they’re doing and what they think they should know. This consensus seems to be the lot of leaders is worried that people will discover they don’t know as much as people think they know. Do you think that that’s true?
There’s always some at all levels. They’re a little concerned about do they know everything they should know. The best leaders at any level understand that the key is asking good questions. Gone are the days when you’re supposed to have all the answers. Leaders who are the most effective, no matter where they are at the top of an org chart or at the bottom of an org chart, you could certainly be a leader at any level. The best ones understand that it’s about the questions that you ask. With the smart phones we all carry, the answers are sometimes not far away. If the right question is not asked, then you have problems.
That’s an interesting point because I’m writing about curiosity. A lot of people fear asking questions and looking bad because they ask the wrong questions. How important do you think curiosity is to your success?
It’s critical. Curiosity is one word for it, but trying to continue to learn and to grow. Lifelong learning is about being curious in one way about things that stretch you in a way you want to be stretched. Curiosity is an important element. Nobody knows it all. Be wary of the person who thinks they do.
How do we develop that in people? You’ve been such a big successful leader. You’ve developed a lot of people. In my research I found there were four things that held people back from being curious. It was either their fear. Their assumptions they weren’t interested or didn’t want to know more about something. Technology sometimes did it for them or they were afraid of it. Their environment, what they grew up with, teachers, family, whatever. If you can identify what holds you back in anything, you can be successful. Do you think that you can improve this in people? From what you’ve seen, from the people you’ve led, do you think that that’s possible?
I do. It comes to modeling the behaviors. You introduced me with a couple of titles, but the two that I liked the most are Player Coach and Student Teacher. Servant Leader is pretty important too, but I used those other two because in fact there’s a give and take to our earlier question about questioning and curiosity. They’re linked. As you model behavior with any of the people who worked for you or who you work for or you work with. If you’re constantly reinforcing, asking questions is an important part of what you do, the people who are around you are going to understand that it’s okay for them to ask questions. Curiosity can grow, but it’s about repetition and it’s about creating a safe space.
You mentioned where some people are reluctant to ask questions, reluctant to perhaps be curious. Certainly, I’ve been in environments where the unintended consequence of a boss who might try and cut somebody short, cut somebody off when they were trying to search for an answer. That has unintended consequences. It can put a damper on that. For those that are aware, you’ve got to create some space for it. Not at every meeting.Your best ideas will come from any angle. You'd better create that opportunity for curiosity to what could be reinforced. Click To Tweet
You can have brainstorming days. You’re going to certainly have those sessions where you need to get something done. You have to go into transmit mode at some point. Not every meeting can be a free for all if you’re meeting with a large group. You’ve got to create those spaces and reinforce that everyone’s view matters. There is a quality in the workforce, particularly equality of ideas. Your best ideas will come from any angle. You’d better create that opportunity for curiosity to what could be reinforced.
You brought up an interesting story on your TED Talk about a lot of us look at other people and think we’re different than they are. We can’t relate that these leaders are so much above where we couldn’t relate. You were talking about being on the jet with a Fortune 10 CEO. Could you give that background? A lot of people could benefit from that.
That was an epiphany for me. I had spent about twenty years at that point climbing the corporate ladder. I did want the title of Chief. I was working hard and sometimes waiting my turn for somebody else to identify it’s time for me to get the next rung in the ladder. I had the good fortune to be at the time, I was President of AT&T Global Services, running a worldwide organization, 10,000 people, a $13 billion business. Many people would say, “It’s a pretty big job.” I was on the corporate jet with then CEO of AT&T. I was looking across the aisle at him. I had one of those moments where things stop. I looked at him and I realized that he was wearing the same blue suit that I was. He was wearing the same white shirt, the same red tie and the same shiny black shoes.
I said, “That’s interesting.” I’m working hard to get his job. I would be years before I’d be considered for the CEO of AT&T. I know that’s what I was pointing towards for my whole career. I looked at his face and I realized that he looked as tired as I felt. I realized that I’m killing myself. I’m working crazy hours. My definition of success literally was to be in his seat. I saw him for the man that he was. He was a good guy, but it shifted everything for me. I began a process. I started to look for a career change after that. He didn’t know it, but after that plane flight. I’d worked my whole career with wonderful people who did not have Chief titles, but who had the values that I did want to emulate and I did along the way. The lure of the title, the lure of the job and what I thought went with it, I saw it for really what it was.
The CEO of AT&T was a wonderful individual. He did a great job, but I had overinvested in that definition of success. It was probably six months later that I left AT&T and joined an internet startup. I had a wonderful run running a different organization going from a $13 billion P&L to an organization that when I got there was struggling to put up their first $1 million in revenue. I wouldn’t have made that move had I not had that plane flight and seen, again a great guy, but we all put our pants on one leg at a time. That’s what hit me in the face during that plane flight.
You reminded me of a reason I left the company. I was meeting with one of the leaders, and he was talking about somebody who I reported to who didn’t have the values that I thought were great for leadership. I remember his boss who I’m talking to, he looked at me and he goes, “This guy is the future of our company.” He was talking about how great he sees the future for this guy. It was at that moment that I thought, “That doesn’t align with my values of what I want.” You get these epiphanies where it takes one thing like that. I left several months later and for the same reason. I thought, “He’s out of touch completely with what I think would be good for the company or for me.” We get these epiphanies and we think about what it takes to be a real chief. You talked about five things to be a real chief. How do you define a real chief and what are those five things?Power is all about clarity, influence, energy, impact, and confidence. Click To Tweet
It talks about power. I define power in five ways. Power is all about clarity. Power is all about influence, an energy, an impact and confidence. My assertion is that you can certainly build your clarity with discipline. You can build your influence by supporting other people. You can build your energy with additional self-understanding and insight. You can build your impact with creativity. You can build your confidence with values and focusing on your values.
My assertion is that you don’t need a title to do any of those things. You don’t need a title, you don’t need a position. People think that power is about authority and control. Control is an illusion. You and I both know that. People get hung up on these, particularly the term chief, which is what I play with. I say, “Chiefs are powerful but anybody can be a Chief. Anybody can have clarity, influence energy, confidence. Anybody can make an impact, but they have to be aware of their choices.”
That’s what the book is all about, Be Chief: It’s A Choice, Not A Title. It is about the simple choices that any of us can make to be more powerful. The book was a fun project because it put out there that you can define power in a way that it’s accessible by everyone. You can measure your power. You take a short survey and you can measure how powerful am I. You can make the decision am I as powerful as I want to be? Could I make some small changes to my choices and become more powerful? The book is for anyone. If you are a manager, there are some tips, tricks and tools that I’ve used in organizations ranging from a startup to a multinational that can help you help others be more powerful. It doesn’t mean getting a new title, it means helping them be a better version of themselves.
Can you share any of those tips of how to be more powerful in this setting? Is that possible or is it too complex to go into here?
There’s a ton of them. If you want to take a look at energy. How can you be more powerful with energy? I believe that the key to energy, because energy comes from inside you. There are tips about energy and how you would gain that with additional insight. I believe that you get insight by being present. I was with a group of bankers recently. Someone said, “Being present is that some of that stuff that Oprah talks about?” I said, “Let me ask you a question. Have you ever seen any of the Jason Bourne movies?” He said, “Yes. I love Jason Bourne. I love Matt Damon.” I said, “Think about the first Bourne movie that came out when he was sitting across from his accomplice at the diner. She says, ‘How do you know that you are the spy? How do you know they’re not dreams?’ Jason Bourne, Matt Damon, stares at his accomplice across the table and says, ‘Why would I be able to tell you the license plate numbers of all six cars in the parking lot? Why would I be able to tell you that the bartender weighs 250 pounds and could handle himself? Why can I tell you that our waitresses left-handed?’” He goes on and on.
I turned to this individual who was concerned about this discussion about being present, moving towards the Oprah zone. I said, “What was Jason Bourne, Matt Damon, demonstrating?” He said, “That he’s a bad ass.” I said, “No. He was demonstrating that he was being incredibly present.” The individual that I talked to stop and thought, “I guess.” I said, “Think about when you walk into a meeting if you’re a businessperson. Are you totally present to what’s going on in the meeting? Are you thinking about the meeting you came from or the vacation that you have next week?”
This whole idea of insight, talk about being present in a way that your audience can understand it. I can tell you that we talked about insight in terms of being present and being still. Being accepting of what is and the energy that comes from it. There are some real simple tips that I talk about in the book and share regularly. Who would’ve thought that you have a look at the Jason Bourne movie differently, but maybe Matt Damon and Oprah have something in common? They might get there different ways, but if you could truly be present and harness the energy of what’s happening, you can be more powerful. That’s one of the examples I’d offer.
That’s a great example. It’s bringing to mind the differences in what I’ve seen in the workplace over the decades. It’s hard to turn on any TV program or anything that they’re not talking about millennials. I’m wondering if you did much research to determine. Do Millennials want to be chiefs as much? I know they like unique titles and all that. Do they want the power that goes along with that? Are we looking at flatter organizations where it’s more team-oriented now?
It’s funny when you talk about the Millennials. The time I did my internet startup was the year 2000. That was one of the first wave of Millennials hit the workforce. While we talk about the 80 or 85 million members of the Millennials as one, you know because you studied on it. There are at least three or four different groups of Millennials. Even though we characterize the boomers, the boomers always think this or the boomers always think that. It’s even more challenging with the Millennials. The Millennials that I dealt with in 2000 have little in common with the Millennials who are still hitting the workforce. That said, I would tell you that for large groups of younger people, they are far more interested in my definition of power in terms of they do want impact. They do want influence.There's always more to learn. Click To Tweet
They’re searching as we all are for clarity, energy and confidence. If someone’s overconfident, be careful. There’s always more to learn. Those are the things they’re searching for. Titles, there are certainly some in the Millennial group who would rather have a title than not. They’ve understood that sometimes additional title comes additional compensation. There are other things that come with the title. The title itself, people like to grow. There’s a thirst for growth personally and professionally in most of the millennials that we need to understand if we’re trying to create environments where they can excel. It’s about that growth. A title bump may facilitate some of that growth.
I do believe now it’s less about the title. It’s more about the growth opportunities. That’s why millennials are staying in jobs and with companies in a shorter time frame than I did certainly. In my first job with a company was for fifteen years. Started with a company as a trainee and left fifteen years as Vice President, General Manager of the North American division. That’s not as likely these days. It happens, but it’s all about growth. The good news was the company that I was working with afforded the growth opportunities every 24 months. I feel like I learned quite a bit and grateful to that company for the opportunity. It is about growth more than it is the title.
I worked for AstraZeneca for close to twenty years. You do get these opportunities. Part of me was glad I stayed that long. Part me I admire that they get all this experience from going from company to company and some of the stuff they have opportunities now. You mentioned about over self-confidence, because I wrote my dissertation on emotional intelligence. I’m fascinated by all the personality skills. Why would you have too much self-confidence? What would that cause as a problem?
I would say that the overconfidence, arrogance line is thin. It’s not what you feel, it’s what other people feel when they’re with you. Overconfidence over anything, too much of a good thing. It has unintended consequences. You can go into any situation. If you are overconfident, you might be less likely to listen. We talk about that student teacher element. Many of the clients that I work with, I select based on them understanding that I’m not coming in as the mentor. I’m coming in as a peer and we’re going to swap stories.
One day I’m going to learn, one day I’m going to give. The overconfidence stands in the way of truly give and take. People feel it. You’ve been around and you’re the pro. My observation is that you’re with someone who’s overconfident. Other words like overbearing and other things can come into it. If you’re looking for an open exchange of ideas, you probably do want to deal with someone who is confident and can put forth their ideas enthusiastically, but still open to learn new things. A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. You’ve got to be careful.
Would you have wanted to work for Steve Jobs?
I know of what I read of Steve. Depending, there have been complimentary things written and less complimentary things written. Anybody who is going to challenge the way that I understand Steve and others that has been attributed to Steve, not knowing him, this is all secondhand. Let’s put it this way. Anybody who’s going to try and get the best out of me by using a demanding, I guess overconfident style, that’s not going to get the best out of me.
It’s interesting to see the different Steve Jobs the first time he was with Apple and the second time he was with Apple. Time will change and shape people based on experiences. What you’ve done with your book is fascinating. You’re helping leaders ask the right questions. You’re focusing on the things that are important. Engagement’s such a problem if we have only a third of the workplace engaged. Any of the things that we hear about with culture and all the problems out there, this is such a timely book. It’s interesting that you wrote it now because I’ve seen you’ve written in the past. What led to your interest in writing it at this point?
I’ve self-published a couple of books that were meant for frankly friends and family. It wasn’t a big effort. I found in my turnaround work, there are many people out there who could benefit from simple ideas that’s flat work. Questions that need to be asked in many situations. I wrote the book with the best of intentions to get things out there that will help other people, consistent with the servant leadership approach. I should mention that all proceeds of the book are going to be going to a charity called Sammy’s House, where they take care of wonderful kids that have some special needs. There’s a service, a focus of the book in helping others is both what I put into it. Hopefully the benefits that people get out of it, buying the book you’ll be helping kids.
It’s a project that I believe in strongly. It only took me ten years to write it. I get a full engagement and turnaround work, which is my primary profession. The idea of taking simple ideas and helping other people, whether it’s going from Jim Collins’ Good To Great, which is a fantastic book. Sometimes things aren’t good and I get involved in turnarounds where things aren’t good, yet they still need to be great. The key to all of those things is to ask the right questions to bring out the best in your people and bring out the best in yourself.Nobody knows it all. Be wary of the person who thinks they do. Click To Tweet
A lot of people should check out your book. Can you share how they can reach you and find out more?
The best way to go to take a look at the book is BeChief.com. We put up a free chapter on there. On the website you can take the survey free and figure out how powerful you are. Under five minutes you can get a numeric score for your power. That’s all free. Get a sense of what small changes you might make to be more powerful. In the book, obviously we go deeper into case studies and how you would apply these tools in all kinds of different situations. It all starts with an understanding of power and choices we all can make easily to be more powerful if we choose to.
Thank you so much, Rick. I’m looking forward to seeing the success of your book.
Building Relationships Through LinkedIn with Josh Turner
I am here with Josh Turner, who is a Wall Street Journal bestselling author and the Founder and CEO of LinkedSelling, a marketing, coaching, consulting and training firm that was recently named number 252 on Inc. 5000. He is widely considered as a worldwide leading authority in using LinkedIn and Facebook to generate leads, appointments and clients. It’s nice to have you here, Josh.
It’s great to be here, Diane.
I am interested in what you do. A lot of people use LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and all the different sites. I know that a lot of people still don’t know the ins and outs of the deeper ways they could use them and what they’re missing in the process. I wanted to get a background on you before we got into that. How did you get into this? What lead to your bestselling book?
I stumbled into it. It’s one of those things I wish I could say I had this amazing business plan. It’s not how it started. I got to go back to 2009 when I was a CFO of a construction company. That company was hit hard by the last, big downturn in the economy and was forced to shut its doors. At that time I thought, “Do I want to go find another gig, work for somebody else or is it time to start my own thing?” I’d been itching to do my own thing for a while. That was the kick in the butt I needed to say, “Now’s the time to do it.”
Absent any better idea, I hung up a shingle and started working as an outsource CFO. I saw an article in the local business journal about a couple guys who were doing fractional CFO works for small businesses. I thought that was a brilliant model. I thought, “I could probably get some companies to pay me to do that.” I started working out of my house. In the first year of that business being in existence, LinkedIn was the one thing that was generating real results for me. Going and having coffees at networking events and going to chamber meetings, all of these people say you should do wasn’t moving the needle for me. I was getting clients off of LinkedIn. Some of those same clients saw what I was doing on LinkedIn and said, “Do you think that would work for us? Would you be willing to do it for us?”
That was a light bulb moment for me because I realized this is 2011. There are a lot of companies out there that could use this service. I couldn’t find a single service provider or marketing agency that specialized in LinkedIn and knew how to use LinkedIn for real business development and generating sales appointments. Even to this day, there’s not that many that know how to do it the right way. Most people out there who are social media generalists, the stuff that they teach you on LinkedIn doesn’t move the needle. Back in 2011, I had one client that asked me that question. I said, “I’ll do it for you because I can’t find anyone else to refer you to.” The business took off from there.
Early 2012, I realized, “This is a business that has a lot of demand all over the world.” Companies in the UK and Australia were approaching us to help them. Pretty quickly boiling down the CFO business and pushed all my chips into LinkedSelling. In the few years since then, fast forward to now, six years later where we’ve been on the Inc. 500 two years in a row. We’ve grown an amazing team and we’ve served thousands of companies around the world. It’s been a great ride. We’re proud of what we’ve done.
The reason why it’s been successful is because our whole philosophy is around building real relationships. Using these online tools like LinkedIn to build trust with prospects, and to leverage that, to move these online relationships and turn them into real world business relationships. That’s what we do. You asked about my book. What specifically do you want me to share about the book?
How can people get it and what led to your interest in writing it?
You can go to go to Amazon and look up. You can Google Josh Turner and find the book. My first book is called Connect, which was a Wall Street Journal bestseller. The reason that I published that book, I wrote that book, etc. is because I wanted to use it as a lead generator essentially. The ultimate business card, they say. Something my sales team could send a prospect, etc. It’s become a flagship authority piece for our business. That book’s been out for years now. I get people reaching out to me all the time. Sending me connection requests on LinkedIn, sending me emails saying, “I picked up your book and wanting to connect with you. Getting so much out of it or I bought your book. I’m implementing the strategies and getting great results.” It’s been cool and I’m a big believer in how effective a book can be as a foundation of any business is marketing.
Some people are saying the book is the new business card. A lot of people are writing quick books or they want to have a book because everybody else has a book. Network consultants need to have that for authority. Speakers need it for the same reason. It’s interesting to me to see how popular books have become, especially in B2B selling. You’re a specialist in B2B. Do you do training at all in B2C or is it all B2B?
Our focus is almost all B2B. We have clients that are technically B2C businesses who we work with as well. What they use LinkedIn for is different than what a B2B business would do. Somebody that’s operating a restaurant isn’t going to go on LinkedIn to try and invite people to come in to have dinner. They might want to connect with people in their local media for press and publicity. The person who manufactures dog collars, they’re not going to go on LinkedIn and try and sell somebody a dog collar. They would go on LinkedIn and try and connect with distributors or buyers to sell them thousands of dog collars. There are a lot of uses for B2C companies that most people are totally overlooking.You get insight by being present. Click To Tweet
You brought up the media and I get a lot of people on my show who wants to get exposure. They’re either consultants or speakers. They’re trying to get television rep on big shows or even local shows. How do you go about doing that on LinkedIn? Is that a good place to do that?
Absolutely. Most of the people who are journalists, bloggers, podcasters, TV people that are producers and such, most of them are on LinkedIn. They’re always looking for stories and things to talk about. They’re always looking for features, etc. What I like to do is look for the people who are active in my industry. For our business we’re all over the world, so it’s not about a geographic focus. It’s about the right people who are writing pieces on our industry or have done things about LinkedIn in the past.
You can find those journalists and those bloggers on LinkedIn. You can connect with them. You can pitch them ideas on and on and on and bras stacks. That’s the approach that we recommend. Figure out who are the people that you want to do a piece on you and your business. You can be a subject matter expert for to provide quotes for them in articles. Connect with them on LinkedIn and develop a relationship with them and show up as somebody that they can rely on.
I get a lot of people who pitch me ideas for the show or different things. Sometimes you get a lot of unsolicited, long, winded things from people on LinkedIn. “Here look at this,” and it will be a whole page of something. What advice do you give people when pitching something like they want to be a subject matter expert like you said? If say you wanted to get into New York Times or Wall Street Journal and you want to get something placed big and you want to pitch somebody something, do you suggest unsolicited pitches, even if you’re LinkedIn on with them through the messaging system? What would you do there?
First off, pitching people in the media is not something that we teach or do a lot of. There are other people who are experts at that one thing more so than me. What I found in my experience is that with building relationships with people in the media in a lot of ways is similar to building relationships with potential clients and prospects on LinkedIn. If you go connect with somebody and you send them a big sales pitch after you connect with them, usually you get no response.
More times than not, you’re doing more harm than good and potentially spoiling the relationship. It’s like going to a networking event, walking up to somebody, shaking their hand and then sticking your business card in their face, and telling them all about all your shiny stuff, your features, products and services. If you did that at a networking event or a conference, that person would be looking for the first opportunity to run from you and avoid you the rest of the time and never talk to you again. On LinkedIn, people seem to do it all the time.
What we find is that the best thing to do is first try and build some rapport with the person and develop the relationship a little bit. Show up as somebody who’s not there to pitch, but is there to be a resource. We have a strategic messaging process that we use to achieve that. Send this a message first and then a couple of weeks later send something like this. What we tell our clients and what we do for our clients is that from the time we connect with a prospect, at a minimum will take six weeks before we will invite them to a conversation or whatever the ask is that we want to put in front of them. With the journalists, you connect with them and your first message might say, “Great getting connected with you here. Looking forward to keeping in touch. If I can ever help with anything, let me know.”Show up in a way that's providing value and being one of the good guys, not being pitchy. Click To Tweet
A couple weeks later, maybe you send them a piece that you find that you thought was interesting. Look up an article that they put out and say, “I saw this new piece that you put out the other day. I thought that it was smart.” You’re building the rapport, developing the relationship. Finally, at the six or the eight-week mark, be a little more direct, “I was thinking, it might be cool for us to have a conversation. I do X, Y, Z and I know you’re doing this. I thought there might be something for us to do together there.”
By that point in time, you, you’ve built up a lot of goodwill and trust. They’ve seen your name in a number of ways by then, not only through messaging but if you’re staying active on LinkedIn. It could be status updates. We’re big fans of LinkedIn groups. They may see some of your LinkedIn group stuff. Depending on how you do it. With our system, by the time you get to inviting a person to a phone call or taking it to the next level, whatever that looks like for you, they’ve seen your name in a lot of different ways and you’re showing up in a way that’s providing value. Being one of the good guys not being pitchy. We get a high percentage of people to say yes at that point.
You mentioned the groups because some of the groups I’ve seen a lot of selling to each other thing. There’s a lot of that going on. How do you avoid being that guy or gal?
What we recommend and what we do for our clients, I like to think of it as do you want to be the consumer or do you want to be the producer? On LinkedIn, there are a lot of people who were reading articles and commenting on stuff. I don’t see that as the most effective way to get legitimate results, that’s closer to what I call the spray and pray strategy. Instead of doing that, what if you’re the one that’s driving the conversation in those groups? What if you are the one that you start your own group? Invite people to it and you’re the leader of that group. You are the producer of content and you’re driving the conversation. You’re seen as the authority and leader. It enables a lot of things that you don’t get when you’re participating in other people’s groups. What we recommend in terms of how our clients manage those groups and what content to put in their groups so that they’re not just these groups that no one wants to be a part of, because it’s people trying to pitch their stuff all the time is to really have balance.People only want to be a part of a LinkedIn group and will continue to stay tuned in if there's legitimate valuable content in the group. Click To Tweet
If you’re building a group is to cater to your prospects, you want potential clients to join your LinkedIn group. You want to make sure the content is stuff they care about. We’ll typically tell our clients, we want 80% to 90% of the things you post in the group to be curated, third party content that you can easily find using tools like Feedly and such so that it’s balanced. Every once in a while, you can slip in there something about what you do, but not in a salesy, pitchy way. It’s got to be content-driven, valuable stuff. Every once in a while, you can have an invite to something a little more direct. People only want to be a part of a LinkedIn group. They will only continue to stay tuned in if there’s legitimate valuable content in the group that they see a reason to stay tuned into. If it’s a pitchfest and if it’s all promotional, you might as well not even do it.
I would say at the same time that LinkedIn groups, this is an important point, over the last couple of years, a lot of people have said, “LinkedIn groups, does anyone even pay attention to those anymore?” The engagement in LinkedIn groups has gone down. LinkedIn knows about it. Since the acquisition with Microsoft, they have been working on a number of changes that are going to soon be rolling out. I know from some of our internal folks at LinkedIn that they’re putting a lot of energy into reenergizing LinkedIn groups. Getting LinkedIn groups back to a place where lots of people are paying attention to them. It’s an exciting time for people that already have LinkedIn groups because they’re going to see some big improvements. For the same reason, it’s a good reason for folks that don’t have their own LinkedIn group and have written off LinkedIn groups recently. Keep an open mind because there are some big changes coming.
It seems to me that people are not spending as much time in LinkedIn groups. If it’s in LinkedIn group, what about all the people that don’t bother going to the groups? They’re missing that content.
With my clients, I don’t advise them to spend time in other people’s groups digging around and reading articles and finding great content. If you want to, if you’re into that, great. What our clients care about is getting results and being able to tie back specific revenue to this client came from LinkedIn. To do that, you have to have a proactive presence where you’re connecting with new prospects. You’ve got a system to move those prospects from LinkedIn into real world conversations. Usually spending time poking around in LinkedIn groups and reading articles is not what moves the needle there.
If you want to get connected to big CEOs, you see a lot of them don’t spend their time on LinkedIn. You’re getting a lot of people who do, but then there’s a big group that’s not being accessible through that platform. What is the best way to connect with them?
I don’t know that I have seen that, there’s something I would say. Are there CEOs who don’t spend much time on LinkedIn? Absolutely. Are they on LinkedIn? They are on LinkedIn. You’re hard pressed to find anyone that doesn’t have a LinkedIn profile. They pay attention to it. Are they on there every day? Not all of them. Some are, some aren’t. It depends. Even the ones that aren’t on there every day, it doesn’t matter. We don’t need them on there every day to get connected to them, to start working them through our messaging process and they will see those messages one way or another. For most of those people, their LinkedIn messages also get emailed to them. When you send a LinkedIn message, you get multiple touch points. When they log into LinkedIn every few days or whatever, your message is sitting there and it’s a much less crowded inbox than their email. Dramatically less crowded. Your message is going to stand out.
We find in a lot of a lot of cases too, high level CEOs in bigger companies. Oftentimes their assistants aren’t the ones in their email or aren’t the ones in their LinkedIn inbox. You sometimes can bypass the gatekeeper in that sense with LinkedIn. It doesn’t matter how much time they’re spending on LinkedIn. If they’re there, we can reach them one way or another. Will everybody respond? No, it’s a numbers game like anything. A lot of prospects that you will work through our process won’t respond. Like any marketing activity, you don’t get 100% of people to respond. What do you do with people who are not responsive on LinkedIn? Oftentimes we’ll try and move the conversation to email and see if they’re more responsive there. We have clients who will straight up pick up the phone, call them and reference, “We’re connected on LinkedIn, etc.” At the end of the day, you’re not going to get 100% of people.
It’s challenging but in the group especially people who read this blog. This is probably where most of your customers are and they say, “Be where your customers are.” If you have a visual product, you probably want to be on Instagram, Facebook or some of the other sites. I know you are an authority on Facebook and other things. What did you think of the Facebook Live? Did you expect more people to do it than they’ve done?
We have a division of our business called Elite Digital Group that specializes in Facebook advertising and lead generation using Facebook, with an emphasis on B2B companies. We’re one of the few businesses out there that has a solution for B2B companies to use Facebook. Most of our clients aren’t doing Facebook lives as much. In the B2B space, there are applications but not as many. For our business, we’ve done Facebook Live. I see a lot of people doing Facebook Live. LinkedIn, where a lot more people in the B2B space are doing a lot more with video, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a LinkedIn Live video offering before long.
For anybody that hasn’t paid attention to what’s going on with video on LinkedIn. It’s a great place to get a lot of exposure. LinkedIn is incentivizing people to post videos. If you put a native video on LinkedIn, they’re going to show it to tons of people. You can get a whole lot of reach. That’s not necessarily the case if you post on your Facebook business page. A lot of it depends on the business. If you’re a marketing agency that specializes in helping accounting firms get clients, are the CPAs and the owners of accounting firms that you want to connect with going to be active on Facebook to the point where they’re going to watch a Facebook Live?
Are they even going to want to get connected with you on Facebook? They might not because a lot of times people in traditional businesses want to have a real separation between their personal and their business. For a business like that, you want to be on LinkedIn. There are a lot of different applications because at the same time you can’t use Facebook to target those people. It might be in a different way than a Facebook Live. That’s what we’ve seen with our clients.
How much do you do with Twitter?
We use it for internal marketing firm for our own stuff, but we don’t do anything for clients using Twitter.
Why is that?
We’re not a full-service marketing agency. We specialize in a couple of things that we’re great at. We’re not trying to be all things to all people. We don’t build people websites. We don’t do SEO. We don’t do pay-per-click. We don’t do Twitter. We don’t help people with blogs. We have a system for getting leads with LinkedIn and we have one for Facebook for B2B companies. That’s what we do. That’s why we’ve been able to scale and grow because we’re focused on what were the best in the world at.
You can download your contacts from LinkedIn into an Excel spreadsheet. Do you recommend people do that and contact people that way? Is that a total no?
In some cases it can be effective, but you have to do it the right way. You don’t want to just export your connections and import them into your Constant Contact, Infusionsoft or whatever email system and then start blasting them with email newsletters. People get pissed about that. They don’t want to be added to a newsletter that they haven’t opted in for. Can you take their email off of LinkedIn and send them a personal email? Absolutely. We do that on behalf of our clients. In fact, we developed an email solution called Connect 365 that works within Gmail and Google apps. It can work with any email but it’s built-in in Gmail. It allows you to take batches of prospects’ emails, names, etc. and have personal emails sent in an auto responder-like fashion.
With Mail Merge, you can take all your LinkedIn connections for example. You can have them in a spreadsheet. You could set up an email in Gmail, Outlook or whatever that will send a personalized email to each of those people in the spreadsheet. You can send 100 emails of a couple of clicks of a button. They all go through to those people looking like you wrote them a personal email. There’s no unsubscribe button, nothing like that. Those emails get a high response rate. It’s a pain in the ass to set it up and get the spreadsheet properly linked to your Gmail. We built a solution that automates that and not only sends the email but allows you to up triggers and follow up campaigns.
That would be useful. What you do is helpful for many people who need help in this area. It’s time-consuming all this stuff. A lot of people don’t understand it. I appreciate that you were able to share some of these great tips and everything that you’re working on. Can you let people know how they could reach you if they want to find out more?
You can go to LinkedSelling.com. I would love to connect with anybody. I’m on LinkedIn as well, look me up there. When you send me the connection request, make sure to type a little note to me. Let me know that Diane sent you so I know where you’re coming from.
Thank you so much, Josh. It’s been so much fun having you.
It’s been great being here. Thank you so much for having me.
You’re welcome. Thank you so much to Rick and Josh. I hope you join us for the next episode of Take The Lead Radio.
About Rick Miller
Rick Miller is an unconventional turnaround specialist, a servant leader, and a go-to Chief. He is also an experienced and trusted confidant, an author, a sought-after speaker, and an expert at driving sustainable growth. For over 30 years, Rick served as a successful business executive in roles including President and/or CEO in a Fortune 10, a Fortune 30, a startup, and a non-profit. In each case, he was recruited from the outside to turn around poor performance in difficult times.
About Josh Turner
Josh Turner is a Wall Street Journal bestselling author and the Founder & CEO of LinkedSelling, a marketing coaching, consulting & training firm that was recently named #252 on the Inc 5000. He is widely considered as a worldwide leading authority in using LinkedIn and Facebook to generate leads, appointments, and clients.