TL; DR: LinkedIn is a powerful tool for building a professional network — but it’s only useful for lead generation purposes if you use it in the right way. Author John Nemo shows you precisely how to do so with his free book, “Linkedin Riches: How to use LinkedIn for Business, Sales and Marketing.” Whether you’re an entrepreneur starting a cupcake business, a reseller of hosting services, or any other professional looking to market your wares, Nemo’s advice can help you make lasting connections.
Does your LinkedIn profile feature general background information on your current and past work experience, education, and achievements — a digital resumé, essentially? If so, you’ve followed in the footsteps of millions of other members on the popular social media network.
Unfortunately, according to John Nemo, those footsteps aren’t likely to lead you anywhere.
“The number one mistake I see professionals make is they have a LinkedIn profile that reads like a resumé,” John told us. “It’s written in the third person, and it’s all about you. But your prospect, your ideal client, does not care about you. They care about themselves morning, noon, and after supper. That’s why you need what I call a client-facing profile.”
John, a marketing consultant and lead generation expert, said the key is to flip your profile upside down, highlighting the audience you serve and the service you provide. His book, “Linkedin Riches: How to use LinkedIn for Business, Sales and Marketing,” dives even deeper into the topic, and it’s available on his website for free, as well as available for purchase at Amazon.
“Almost everyone has a professional headline on LinkedIn with their job title, company name, or some hyperbole like Sales Ninja,” he said. “If you want to use your profile to earn business, you have to instead outline the service you provide and your niche audience. It doesn’t matter if it’s SEO for hospitals or HR services for Fortune 100 companies.”
The same goes for hosting providers. Rather than a description such as John Nemo is CEO name of Nemo Media Group, John’s LinkedIn profile reads: “Done For You” LinkedIn Lead Generation for Business Coaches, Consultants & Small Business Owners. That way, potential clients know exactly what to expect from John and his business.
Recognizing the Importance of One-on-One Engagement Online
John said he knew it was time to strike out on his own in 2012 after sitting through one too many frivolous business meetings in his public relations role at an association for nurses. The last straw was a lengthy business meeting focused on sourcing props — faux trees and male actors in tights, to be precise — for a tax demonstration with a Robin Hood theme.
“I had a successful day job, a six-figure salary, amazing health benefits, and the security of a labor union — and I was miserable,” he said. “I just remember sitting in that meeting, and literally, my job was to find men in tights and like fake trees and foliage for street theater. I thought, ‘I can’t be doing this for the next 30 years. There has to be more to life.’”
With only about a month’s safety net and three young boys and a wife at home, John said he found the courage to part with his day job and run his own business.
“If I failed, I could just go and get another day job — at least that’s what I told myself,” he said.
But John didn’t fail. Instead, he launched his own marketing agency and used LinkedIn to generate more than $135,000 in sales revenue within three months. And he did it from his bedroom with nothing more than a MacBook, which he placed on an empty Super Pretzels box atop a folding card table.
“I saw an opportunity to use LinkedIn, not for job hunting or finding employees, but as a B2B tool for leads,” he said. “LinkedIn had all this data on prospects and professionals that I could instantly find for free. I had one client at that point, so I got hopping. Within 90 days, I had immediately validated what I believe to be true about LinkedIn — that you could use it to find, engage with, and sell to your ideal prospects online.”
“Linkedin Riches:” How to Leverage the Social Media Platform for Sales
It wasn’t long before John started attracting more clients via LinkedIn.
“People would say to me, ‘You found me on LinkedIn and sold something to me — can you do that same thing for my company?’” he said.
Soon after that, John was having lunch with a friend who suggested he write a book to share his secrets with others. The result was LinkedIn Riches, which he published in 2014 and has updated annually ever since.
“I wrote ‘Linkedin Riches’ to tell my story of how, but more importantly, to share my secret sauce — how to use LinkedIn to find leads, engage them, and sell to them without being sleazy and spammy. The book took off, and it’s been a bestseller for many years.”
The free book provides information on common LinkedIn mistakes, sales techniques, and templates for building the ultimate profile.
“One tip that people find helpful is this: In the first line of my LinkedIn profile or the summary section, I state what I do and the benefits of my product or service. For example, I used to work with debt collectors, so I would say, ‘I help debt collectors (target audience), increase sales and revenue (the benefit that they want) by providing industry-specific marketing services.’”
While it’s easy to find a prospective customer among 700 million LinkedIn profiles, it’s not always easy to make a sale. John said that the majority of people present sales offers without building rapport.
“If I were to sit down with you at a coffee shop to sell you done-for-you LinkedIn services, I wouldn’t say, ‘I have a product, and I want 15 minutes of your time to do a demo.’ LinkedIn tells me where you’re from, what you’re interested in — it gives me all the icebreakers I could need to connect on a casual basis.”
The majority of the money earned on LinkedIn comes as the result of one-on-one personal messaging that’s conversational, friendly, and engaging, John said.
Stand Out Among 700 Million People on LinkedIn with Free Resources
John told us it’s essential to keep your ego in check when marketing on LinkedIn.
“Nobody knows who I am — I give an insane amount of content away for free because I know how important it is to demonstrate expertise,” he said. “Everyone online can claim authority. It’s a very different story to demonstrate it. Once people see that your free material works and gets them quick wins, they’re more than happy to pay for the full enchilada.”
Providing free content also helps professionals build trust with their audiences. For hosting professionals, this could mean offering an e-book on the benefits of environmentally friendly hosting, or even tips for building and hosting your first website.
John said he also isn’t afraid to show off his big personality online. It allows him to form meaningful connections.
“You’ll see on my website a picture of me with a popcorn bucket on my head playing ‘Star Wars’ with my kids,” he said. “You want to be unique. You’ll attract people who are a good fit and repels those who aren’t.”
The internet is a distracting environment where it’s challenging to capture your audience’s attention. John’s sales approach makes it easy for prospects to cut through the clutter and identify why they’d want to connect with him. After building rapport, his next step is to ask for permission to offer free but valuable resources.
“There are four parts to this: asking them if they’re interested in the benefit, offer something of value for free, ask permission to send it over, and take the pressure off by saying ‘If you’re not interested, no worries.’ Psychologically, these steps help encourage people to raise their hand and say, ‘Yeah, I’m interested — send it over.’”
A Focus on Learning and Sharing the Next Great Thing
Moving forward, John plans to optimize the opportunities presented to him in an increasingly digital business environment. He’s scaling up his consulting practice while working on various online courses and content.
“I love learning and teaching — that’s my passion. We live in the greatest era in human history to monetize your knowledge and reach an unlimited audience. I grew up in the ‘80s, so if I wanted to meet with someone, I’d have to get in the car or access a corded landline.”
Having resources like LinkedIn accessible at one’s fingertips opens previously unimaginable doors.
“Now we carry in our pockets a TV studio, a radio station, a newspaper,” he said. “It’s limitless.”