How to Create the Perfect LinkedIn Profile – John Nemo

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LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to showcase who you are, what your expertise is, and make important business connections, all in front of a large, high-value audience. But unless you’re truly optimizing your profile, you’re not going to be able to take advantage of this opportunity, because people are just going to keep scrolling on by. Learning how to strengthen your LinkedIn profile will go a long way, according to LinkedIn trainer John Nemo, as it also strengthens your professional brand.

How to Create the Perfect LinkedIn Profile – John Nemo

Rich:  My guest today is a bestselling LinkedIn author and trainer who has been featured by LinkedIn’s official marketing blog, Social Media Examiner, Entrepreneur on Fire, Inc. Magazine, Huffington Post, Business Decider, and many, many others.

He has personally rewritten the LinkedIn profiles of Chris Brogan, John Lee Dumas, Mari Smith, Dan Miller, Ray Edwards, Tom Ziglar – son of Zig Ziglar – Jerry Robbins – son of Tony Robbins.  And one day he hopes to rewrite my children’s LinkedIn profiles, too. I just added that. Yeah. Anyways, let’s break down how to improve your LinkedIn profile and approach with John Nemo. John, welcome to the show.

John: Your kids are in good hands, Rich. Thanks for having me.

Rich: Excellent. Just stick around long enough so that when they get on LinkedIn, right. That’s all I ask. John, you have a very infectious laugh, by the way. I’m sure you’ve been told that before.

John: Oh, thank you. Well, I’m here to help. I’m here to serve. We need a little light in this crazy world at the time of this recording, Coronavirus pandemic. You can’t laugh, Rich, you can cry. When it rains, it floods your basement as you know, so well.  It’s a very good friend to be on my friend.

Rich: Alright, so let’s start from the beginning. Back in 2012, you had the safe six figure job. You had a wife and three young boys. You had enough money for 30 days in your bank account. There’s other questions I have about why only 30 days when you had a six figure thing, but that’s a different podcast right now. You quit your job and you went all in on LinkedIn even though you had this wife and three young boys. My question is this, how did you ever get your wife to forgive you?

John: It still hasn’t happened. So a great question. Yeah. Why did I only have enough money for 30 days? Because I didn’t save. I had a bunch of debt at the time, too, credit card debt. Dave Ramsey would kick me off his show in a heartbeat. I have a very high risk tolerance, and what I found back in 2012, was like a lot of people I was really unhappy in my day job. I had a safe six-figure gig, I wasn’t going to get fired. It was fine, but I really had this entrepreneurial edge. I wanted to start my own thing, start my own marketing agency. And there was never going to be a perfect time and I had one client and I did only have enough money from him for about 30 days.

And the story I told myself and told my wife by the way, Rich, was I can always go back and get another day job. At that point in my career I was established enough, I had networked enough, I can go interview and get another job, you know what I mean? Like just go for it.

And so thank God I haven’t had to go back to that Plan B because what I was able to see, even back in 2012, was understanding I can use LinkedIn to build a huge book of business quickly. And that was how I had gotten my first client and it really doubled down and triple down on that strategy because I didn’t have a budget, I didn’t have investors, I couldn’t go anywhere. It was me social distance seen at home back in 2012. Right? All I have on my laptop. But I was able to 90 days to use LinkedIn to get six figures in revenue to build a book of business. And thankfully have just gone forward from there, now pivoting into show other people, okay, what did you do and how do I use LinkedIn in that way? Especially almost a decade later, so much has changed. But, but that’s really where, where it all started.

Rich: Awesome. Awesome. So people know you as the guy who fixes bad LinkedIn profiles. What’s wrong with most people’s profiles on LinkedIn in your opinion?

John: Yeah, I’m going to start a long time ago. Not in a galaxy far, far away, but any business book far, far away, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Dale Carnegie wrote this book. Yeah, he wrote it in 1936 and I literally built my entire business off one sentence in this book and I built everything including my LinkedIn strategy off this one sentence, and this is the sentence from Dale Carnegie.

He says, your ideal prospects, your ideal clients, ideal customers do you not care about you. They care about themselves. Morning, noon and after supper. And he said suffer – because it was the 1930s and that’s what you said – but what 99% of LinkedIn profiles looked like in 2012 and what they still look like today is they’re all about you. They’re a virtual resume and you talk about yourself in the third person, like you’re a pro athlete or a celebrity, right? Like, “John Nemo has done such things as blah, blah blah.”

And the problem with that is you know, nobody cares. Nobody cares about you. They do not care about your work accolades. They do not care what letters you have after your name. Did you not care about industry awards? They only care about solving their problems. And so the way that I try to teach people to utilize LinkedIn is start with your profile page, flip it upside down. Instead of having it read like a resume, have it be what I call ‘client facing5’, which is all about the problems that you solve, your ideal audience.

And one of the things I want to share, a little secret sauce here, is with LinkedIn in particular, the riches are really in the niches. If you try to be everything to everyone on LinkedIn, you’ll be nothing to no one. And so I’m going to give you an example to crystallize this.

So my story back in 2013, I launched my marketing agency. I have one client, he’s a debt collector. I had spent time working in a trade association doing PR for debt collector. So I knew the industry, this was my one client and I was like, well what do I do? Do I try to be a marketer, be for everyone on LinkedIn? And I got this great advice from my brother-in-law. That’s when he said, “No, the riches are in the niches. Just double down on the debt collector stuff and be debt collection marketing guy.”

And so I literally rewrote my LinkedIn profile. It’s ‘John Nemo, CEO Nemo Media Group’, which was me with a wobbly folding card table, right? It was like, come on. It was John Nemo and my LinkedIn headline said, ‘debt collection marketing services6’. You know, and this is the tip I want to give people with the LinkedIn profile, is nobody cares about your job. Nobody cares about your company name. What they want to know is, what’s the service you’re providing and who is it for.

So for example, you could say, John Nemo, marketing services for business coaches’, or John Nemo, SEO consultant for dentists’. Within two seconds, people know what’s in it for them if they connect it, what’s your service and who’s your audience. So that was part one.

The next part of your LinkedIn profile is your “About” section. And again, most people started with I have done all these things or accomplishments or awards or they get all aspirational no one cares. They just want to know how can you solve my problem. So my line back in 2012 was ‘John Nemo, debt collection marking services’ headline, first-line of the profile use this template, “What I do: I help insert the name of your target audience, get benefits that they want by providing your product or service”. So for me, it read, “What I do: I help debt collection agencies increase revenue, generate clients and improve sales by providing industry specific marketing.”

Now Rich, we step back. If I’m reaching out to you on LinkedIn to connect with you, you’re a debt collector, how appealing is that profile?

Rich: I absolutely hear you. Right.

John: Yeah. And that’s, that’s the secret.

Rich: I remember seeing years ago an advertisement for project management software for web designers and I’m like, this ad is speaking to me, and we bought it and we’re still using it. It’s Base Camp, and still using it 15-20 years later. So I absolutely hear you. The more you can niche down, the more – not just that people hear you – but they’re also willing to pay more for that service, too, because they feel you must be the expert if you’re niching down this far.

So we’re going to get into in a few minutes taking a look at some people’s LinkedIn profiles. And we’re not hurting anybody’s feelings, all these people said we could do it. But before we get to that, I wanted to know from your standpoint, John, why do you think the LinkedIn profile is so critically important?

John: It’s one of the top results when you Google your name is your LinkedIn profile. So whether you like it or not, when people are kicking the tires about you online, your profile is showing up on that first page of Google search. And the other big thing is so many people ask me, Rich, well, how do I make money on LinkedIn and how do I make sales, how do I get client? Is it a company page, is it publishing a ton of content and status updates?

Really it’s a very simple process that I teach. And the LinkedIn profile matters most because it’s your personal brand, it’s your personal page. And so at the end of the day, people are going to buy you. They’re going to buy the brand of Rich Brooks, you have an agency, you do all these things. But I want to know, like, and trust Rich. He’s my guy. We’re going to sign on for his team to deliver whatever the service is, but I’m buying Rich.

And so if your LinkedIn profile first and foremost isn’t all about me as a prospect and solving my pain points, I don’t really care. I have no desire to connect with a doctor or a dentist or an intern or somebody that calls themselves a ninja or a guru. I want to connect with someone. Like you said, I need project management software for my business. Oh, this is perfect. So that’s part one. And then part two is bringing out your kind of real self on LinkedIn through your profile and who you are and what you’re passionate about, how you help others get what they want. That really sets the standard and the table for how to win business on LinkedIn. All of which comes through one on one personal engagement.

All the money on LinkedIn is in the mailbox. It’s all in one-on-one message. It’s not in publishing a hundred articles. It’s not in putting up 50 videos a day. It’s all in old school, Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People, one on one relationship building. But here’s the secret. You’re doing it at scale because you’re not leaving your laptop.

Linkedin’s inbox and one-on-one messaging allows you to hyper personalize your conversations because before I ever talked to you, Rich, I can look at your LinkedIn profile and see where you live, where you’ve worked, where you went to school. I have a bunch of icebreakers, who we know in common now, I can personalize my message to you and hit it off and break the ice. Just like real life one-on-one. And because you can use LinkedIn like a search engine for leads, I sifted through 700 million profiles to find the exact decision maker who wants my product or service. So that way I’m not wasting time with gatekeepers or people that aren’t qualified. I’m only going to the people that I want to sell to and I’m doing kind of this old school, break the ice, build a relationship, offer value just digitally. And it really is an effective system.

Rich: Absolutely. But, and again, just to come back to the original question, the reason why your LinkedIn profile is so important is when you’re doing that outreach, the natural reaction for somebody is to check you out to see who you are. And that’s when they’re like, “He does debt collecting. That’s so weird because I’m a debt collector, so maybe I should be paying attention.”

John: Yes. Yeah. The simple cues. Yes.

Rich: So why don’t we dive in? I know that we had a few people who reached out to us, so if you want to share your screen and we are creating a video for this that we’ll post up. But yeah, why don’t we take a look at what you’ve got.

John: This is going to get fun, Rich. Anything is possible. I’m controlling the screen. By the way, you can publish gifs on LinkedIn. They worked really well on desktop. They don’t necessarily work on the mobile. Just a little insider stuff there. Okay. So let’s take our first victim, I mean volunteer, Michelle. Okay. So Michelle is in Boston. Let’s take a look at your profile.

Rich: Wait. I have a question. I happen to believe that Michelle was actually in Burlington, Vermont area, but I know that almost anybody in northern New England often will say “greater Boston”. In fact, I don’t even think that New Hampshire is searchable on LinkedIn. The entire state is invisible. It’s like there’s 49 States in the U.S. according to LinkedIn. People will put in New Hampshire, but most people in New Hampshire only show up for searches on greater Boston. So I don’t know if you have any thoughts on this about whether or not people should be putting in their hometown, their business area, or does it look better if you’re in say in this case, “greater Boston”, “greater Atlanta”, whatever the case may be?

John: Yeah, I mean I think honestly, unless your business is really tied to your geography, people are going to move through that pretty quickly there. They’re just going to look for this as an ice breaker. Like, “Oh, how do you like life in Boston? Well, actually I’m in Maine”, you know what I mean. So I think that’s a good question. I think it’s really, I don’t want people to overthink it. I think just if you can put your exact location, great. If you can’t, I mean, mine says Minneapolis/St. Paul. I live in a suburb of St. Paul. No one would know it outside of their. I think it’s good just to get prospects. Everyone knows Boston around the world so it’s easier than. Again, just a touch point.

So let’s look up and I picked Michelle because interesting the icebreakers and let me go back here. So she said random tidbit. John and I graduated from the same university and then she talks about our high schools. So see how instantaneously when I land on Michelle’s profile, LinkedIn’s telling me an icebreaker. You both went to this university during these years, we’ll see how easy this is for everyone watching, listening. You have instant icebreakers built in. So Michelle and I can instantly bond and build rapport on, hey, we both went to St Thomas. We both can hate on both schools. St John’s, we hate the Johnnies are the worst, right? We can instantly break the ice. And so what you’re able to do with this is move through and really see icebreakers about people.

But now I want to give Michelle a little feedback, a little critique. So first thing I started with, Rich, is the LinkedIn background image, which is what appears above your head. She’s got a good one. And what it’s telling me is she’s a speaker and she’s smiling. She’s laughing, welcoming, right? The cave person brain is looking at this going, is she safe? Is she fun? Is she someone I would be happy to engage with? Yes, her visuals are all telling me that. Now she’s got some text in there, which is what I recommend. It says, “Amplify your authentic voice”. And then it’s got her signature, her branding. I’m looking at that as a LinkedIn prospect well, what does that mean? Who’s this for? So I’m just tearing it apart, Michelle. Cause you’re a Tommie, you can take this, don’t worry.

Okay. Her profile photo looks great. It’s a nice clean, professional headshot. She doesn’t have on sunglasses or look goofy.

Rich: There’s no disembodied arm around her shoulder.

John: Right! It’s not like party photos from college. It’s her. So then here’s her LinkedIn headline under her name it says, and I’ll read it for the people listening, “CEO Evolutionize Media.” So it’s CEO of her company, and then it says “speaker, MC and panel moderator, podcast creator and consultant, developing modern leader.” So what’s the big thing missing from this, Rich Brooks? I’m going to put you on the spot. What do you see missing from it?

Rich: The direct audience based on everything you’ve said so far. Like if she’s focusing on women or entrepreneurs or people in greater Boston, that’s not coming through right now.

John: Yeah. And so, Michelle, you’re being a good sport letting us pick on you and believe me, nine of 10 profiles look bad. So here’s what I say. Take out the CEO of Evolutionize Media, no one cares. I’m going to say speaker, MC and panel moderator for audience type. Or I’m going to say podcast creator and consultant for audience for entrepreneurs. And is it location-based? Is it industry style? Developing modern leaders is, it’s just aspirational. There’s no practical purpose to it. That doesn’t mean anything to me as a prospect. I don’t care. I just want to know what’s in it for me if I connect with you.

Because if you think about how our profiles work on LinkedIn is all I see. Typically if Michelle sends me an invite or I get it, I see her face, her name, and her LinkedIn headline. And so again, I’m big on taking out the aspirational kind of mission kind of stuff in my why. It’s just about, give me a simple two second summary of what you do. “Podcast creator and consultant for blank know speaker panel, moderator for blank. You do that, you’re really dialed in.

And then we’ll go down and we’ll keep picking on you, Michelle. You’re a good sport. So it’s about, and she’s leading with storytelling, which a lot of people do. But again, what I’ve found Rich, and let me read the beginning of her about section for people that aren’t watching. She says there’s stress and burnout epidemic out there and people deeply want to change their approach and work in life. We’re taught to work hard at all costs. And then she told her story. I saw two of my parents plan for me, go to college work hard, get a job better, et cetera. She’s just telling her story, right? Work myself to the bone. So she’s kind of doing her hero’s journey. But I would reframe this about and say “What I do: I help burned out, stressed out female executives in the hospitality industry get these benefits.” Like, give me a target audience for this pain point. So I help this audience and let’s say burned out, stressed out people in some industry profession, get these benefits, reset, relax and reinvigorate their career by providing 20 plus years of consultant experience.

You’re immediately seeing that first line of your about section. Here’s who I help – this audience, here’s the benefits they get from working with me, and here’s how I do it. And then you can create lower down in the about section, my story:, or, my why:. But there’s lots of different ways you can do this. And then you can talk about how it works and why we do what we do and what others say.

And I can show some examples of other profiles we’ve done this with. But again, the idea is to really make it so that I can scan up and down quickly and see, “Oh, okay, here’s what is in it for me. Here’s who she helps.” Like you’re lower down women empowering women, awarded woman to watch, E-women’s network. So is that your audience? Is that your niche?

I’ll give you an example. Here’s a great one. There’s a client of mine, I’m just thinking of this out loud, so I’m going to just show people on the screen. Her name is Mary. So “where you’ve seen my work”, so this is another example of a LinkedIn header that you can use. If you’ve got a bunch of big name clients, it says where you’ve seen my work, and then it has logos for Boston Scientific, General Mills, Wells Fargo, Marriott, Medtronic, she’s coached for some huge companies.

And then we’ve got text in her LinkedIn header that says, “Executive coaching for women, leadership, and personal development.” So just visually you see the credibility and the logos of companies she’s worked with. But then look at her headline, “Executive coaching for women leadership, professional development.” We go down to her about section, “What I do: I’ve spent the past 25 years helping professional women.” There’s your audience. Here’s the benefits they get: advance their career, create clarity and purpose, and achieve their dreams. Where are you seeing my work, and then she drops in names of the big clients.

What makes me unique, this is another thing to put into your profile. What makes you different or better than the competition? She’s talking about, I combine a PhD in psychology and counseling experience with practical, proven strategic leadership. From the trenches, bottom line, here’s my why and then see this versus what others say where you can just paste in testimonials from real people. And that’s an example.

Rich: And also just a couple of things that you didn’t mention but I wanted to make sure that we get to. Because I was going to ask you about the previous one. First of all we’re seeing a lot of emojis, which I know a lot of people are uncomfortable using. I’m a huge fan of emojis, just like I’m a huge fan of animated gifs. I think they are modern hieroglyphics and I think they’re a great way of connecting with people. So it’s a great way of telling a story. So I’m glad to see this here. You don’t want to overdo it and you don’t want to get too cutesy about it. They’re definitely people. I roll my eyes when I see it. But she’s using it, she’s using it well.

And the other thing is at the very bottom of her about section is a call to action. Now the links aren’t clickable unfortunately in LinkedIn here in this section, but it’s very easy to see a copy and paste (coacholk.com, which somebody can go visit if they’re feeling it). And of course you can, I’m sure connect with her on LinkedIn as well. But yeah. That’s I think also a great way of wrapping that section up.

John: Yeah, yeah. I actually wrote this for her and I mean, well, you can even do, some people are comfortable putting their phone number in there because you can tap and click it on your mobile. So it just depends what you want to do. You can literally put a number in there for your office and what we do. Then as you can see kind of as we go through, you know, what I do, how I do it, what makes me unique.

And one other thing I’ll point out quickly, notice how I’m using all capital letters for these kind of what I do, where you’ve seen my work, what makes me unique. Those help stand out. There are little hacks you can use to get bold or italicize text on LinkedIn. I can show you that, but it changes all the time. I just like having clean all capital letters that are very easy for someone scrolling up and down. It catches your attention. And so use little, I call them mini headlines, what I do, where you’ve seen my work, all caps. So that’s a good after example.

Let’s look at a couple more of these. So let’s go in with, okay, so Lanette Pottle, Life and Business Strategist. Okay. So let’s see. She’s got a good truth bomb. Something doesn’t have to be so hard. So one of the things we’re all wondering, okay, probably like for something like that. She’s got grow your business plus enjoy your life. So she’s got a good benefit up there. Instead of where it says truth bomb and her header, I’d love to see the services. Coaching plus consulting for whoever, but she’s got that good personal brain and she’s looking friendly. Great professional photo. Approachable. Yeah, very approachable. Smiling.

Rich: And for those people at home who are listening and not watching, the way that LinkedIn puts your profile image, unfortunately it’s covering up some of Lanette’s messaging so we can’t exactly see what those captions are. It could be like ice cream. It’s doesn’t have to be so hard, just let it sit out for a few minutes. We don’t know.

John: Rich Brooks everyone, stand-up comedy. Don’t quit your day job.

Rich: I’ll be here all week.

John: Here all week. Literally, all season. Okay. But yeah, LinkedIn, it formats your LinkedIn header goofy for desktop versus mobile.  So it can be a little tricky. But she’s got a kind of extra long name because what she did for her first name section, she put her first and last name and for her last name section she put her job title, which you can do. It’s okay. Life and business strategist. So then I’ll read her LinkedIn headline for everyone listening, “Increase your profits.” So she’s leading with a benefit. “Increase your profits without sacrificing your sanity, sleep or fun.  Guide plus mentor to women who own service based business.” This is pretty good. So yeah, she’s leading with a benefit. Increase your profits without going nuts. And then she’s saying, I’m a guide and a mentor for women who own a specific type of business.

Rich: Yeah, no, that sounds good.

John: Yeah, I liked this. And so, and then we go down to her about, get it done. That’s what you do. You’re high achieving. So she’s kind of going into the avatar persona and she’s got some good stuff in here. Let’s see, I mean, again, it’s kind of similar to Michelle’s where there’s a lot of storytelling and a lot about her and her hero’s journey. And I would rather lead with what I do. I help service-based female business owners increase profits and grow revenue without sacrificing their sanity. What makes me unique, having spent X amount of time doing this, working with over X many women, I’ve really got a deep understanding of the niche. This is the thing where people again are like, it’s about me, it’s about me, it’s about me. How can you help me? How do you help people just like me do what I want? So I would suggest that Lanette restructure a little bit “what I do” and maybe even putting in some testimonials, what others say.

I have some testimonials that you can put straight into your about section from the women that you’ve helped. Lynette is a lifesaver. After working with her I was able to blah blah blah blah blah. Right? This would be a little bit too much about Lanette and her journey. And then the avatar, again, the way that LinkedIn works is people are scanning and you have about two seconds to decide if you even care. So her name, okay, and then I would even move guide plus mentor to women who want service based business”, because if I’m a woman that owns a service based business, now I’m interested in her because she’s all bumped. So I mean overall it’s not bad. There’s definitely ways to improve it. There’s a lot of good stuff in here.

All right, let’s do one more. All right, Molly, buckle up. Molly Ship Goodyear. All right, so let’s see. So we’ve got a background header that’s like a pretty flower and a laptop, and it says 802 Social, educate, inspire and power. 802 I’m assuming is an area code. It’s the area code for Vermont. Okay.

Rich: Yes. So locally, I think that would work, the brand name. In Maine, if you say “207”, it’s shorthand for the state of Maine. It’s actually longer to say “207” than it is to say “Maine”, but it’s the hip way of saying it. So 802 I think works same way in Vermont.

John:  802 Social, so if you’re going hyper local, hyper niche, that’s a good name. That’s a good thing to put on your header. I would change the background image and put a picture of Vermont or the skyline or the city or something that just screams your state. And then the photos is good.

Rich: Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.

John: Yes, yes. There you go. I love it. I’m hungry. I see a good photo. She looks approachable. She’s smiling. Okay. So then she has for her headline under her name, “social media Marketing expert, coach manager”. I’m going to point out a couple of things here. One of the things that – and I used to make, by the way, full transparency – I used to make all these same approaches and I learned the hard way. Don’t call yourself an expert. Don’t call yourself a guru. Don’t call yourself a ninja. If there was a time warp and you looked at my profile during some of my early years, I would try to say LinkedIn expert, LinkedIn master. Don’t call yourself that because right now by saying you’re a social media marketing expert, you’re claiming authority, but you’re not demonstrating it.

Anyone can claim authority online. I’m the guru or I’m the Ninja. It’s much different when you demonstrate it through content. So I would say instead for Molly, social media marketing, plus coaching for X, Y, Z.

Rich: Right, she is not being specific. I mean, anybody in Vermont recognizes she’s local, probably works with local businesses, but we’re not necessarily seeing the niche that she’s going after.  This is an important question.

John: Yeah.

Rich: You had the debt thing that worked out really well for you. I know a lot of people are terrified of going to the niches because they’re like, “Oh my God, then I am going to give up 99.95% of my potential business. Don’t I want to work with everybody?”  So what’s your answer when people say that to you?

John: You’re going to be nothing to no one. You’re not going to get any business because, Oh, by the way too, I picked the smallest possible niche.

Rich: I think so, unless you added left-handed and Jewish.

John: Yeah. And you know what? I made six figures in 90 days in that little niche. And here’s why. By the way, there were only a few thousand debt collection agencies in the United States. Very few of them could even afford a marketing agency. Most were mom and pop, a couple people running it. But because I was all in on them, it was much easier like you said earlier, Rich, to be viewed as “well you’re really focused on us, there’s, you must be an expert. You must be good at this. I should listen to you.” You’re hyper focused on our little area. You can talk shop with us and that’s I, you know, with my main website, NEMA media group, like my other social channels, I didn’t niche, right? I went after other audiences, but for LinkedIn only, I just niched for a couple audiences that will get you more than enough business.

The big myth about LinkedIn is, people are going to find me and then think I’m not for them and leave. Nobody’s going to find you on LinkedIn. There’s 700 million members. Nobody is logging into LinkedIn going, “I wonder if I can find Rich Brooks”. You know, what they’re looking for is how to solve their problems. And also 99% of the business you’re going to win on LinkedIn is you reaching out to someone and starting to talk to them. It’s you doing a LinkedIn search, inviting someone to connect, talking to them one on one. This is 99% of winning business. 1% is someone randomly finding you through 700 million profiles.

So here’s the point of that riches. When I’m only reaching, if 99% of my LinkedIn views are for people I reach out to, well then I’m only going to reach out to debt collectors and they’re going to see my profile as a debt collection guy. Now when I changed, I went to market to dentists. Guess what? Linkedin’s digital, I changed my headline to marketing services for dentists. So you can switch around and play different niches and you can add in your experience section, you can add all your different audiences and services. The key is just at the top.

Rich: When you were going after that business. And I was going to ask you, I’m glad you said that. So I mean if you are in health care and hospitality, then maybe one month or for one quarter you focus entirely on healthcare and you make it everything about healthcare. And then you basically just update your information and you talk about your hospitality experience and you go after that hospitality crowd. You know, the bottom line is people are still going to find you.

This has been great. All right, so let’s move away from LinkedIn. We’ll go back. We’ll stop sharing screens, and we’ll get back to some of the questions that I had revved up for you. I know you love your eighties pop references, but why do you feel that Vanilla Ice holds the secrets to being successful on LinkedIn?

John: Well, to get back to what we were talking about earlier – end he was a lyrical poet, Miami was indeed on the scene just in case Rich Brooks didn’t know it. I can keep going. I can do the whole song and the lyrics. But anyway, he has this great line in Ice, Ice Baby where he says, “if you’ve got a problem, yo’ I’ll solve it. Check out the moves on my DJ revolves it.” Of course he’s talking about solving problems and I use this all the time when I do presentations and webinars because I want to make it fun. I call it “infotainment”. I’m going to inform you and I’m going to entertain you. It’s cool and everyone’s going to walk away from this podcast. Remember I invoked Vanilla Ice. How can you not remember this tip now because you’re hooked into Vanilla Ice. Your profile needs to be about the problems you solve for clients. I helped this audience. This benefit or outcome, I help stressed out executives find clarity in their lives. That’s the problem you solve. And that’s why Vanilla Ice indeed does hold a key ring, we just have to learn from his lyrical wisdom.

Rich:  And I also, then he did the segue from rap to reggae. So he also used that same technique of hospitality and health care. So you know, he reinvented himself just like people should on LinkedIn. This is just going and going.

John: And they he did a home improvement. So talk about niche-y all over it. Oh my gosh. Yeah.

Rich: Earlier you mentioned that the money’s in the mailbox and by that we’re talking about LinkedIn Messenger. How would you talk to somebody through Messenger and not make it look like you’re just trying for the sale? Because god knows I’ve been on the opposite side where I know that somebody is just waiting for me to respond so they can, you know, sell, sell, sell.

John: Yes. So here’s the secret to this. You have to start, obviously you have a client facing profile, so it’s all about how you’re going to help this exact person get what they want. So when they get the invitation from you, they see that you’re all about them and it’s very clear what you could do for them if they connected, right? Step two is you don’t try to marry someone on the first date. You don’t connect and immediately ask for something. The amount of the amount of your ask when you connect with someone on LinkedIn. Think about this, how many people connect with me on LinkedIn and immediately asked for a phone call? Let me ask for a free demo. Immediately asked if you’re interested in these services, the amount of your ask has to be in direct proportion, the amount of trust you’ve earned in the relationship.

So here’s what I do. I start with icebreakers. LinkedIn is great for this. Rich, as you mentioned, the one on one LinkedIn inbox is very much like a texting platform. You can do animated gifs, you can do emojis. You can actually insert, I’ll hold up my mobile phone, we actually shoot little selfie videos inside of the LinkedIn mailbox and send people personal videos. You can do little personal voice memos. So it’s a very human engagement. So I always look to break the ice first, “Hey, I see you’re living in Maine. I bet you’re Stephen King’s neighbor. Hah. You never heard that one before, right?” Or whatever. Like find an icebreaker, “I see you went to this university. Do you still follow the sports teams? I see that you used to work at this company, you know, blah, blah, blah.”

You break the ice, you practice a little professional courtship. You get a little banter going just like you do in real life, one-on-one. The secret to this is treat LinkedIn like the world’s largest coffee shop. You’re doing one-on-one coffee meetings at scale digitally. You don’t start all one-on-one coffee meetings in real life saying, “Hey, now I’d like to have 15 minutes to look through your financial portfolio and find a way to save you $10,000”, right? Like you don’t do that kind of hype.

So here’s the ultimate, I call this the magic message, this is my LinkedIn sales message and it’s got four parts. So after we break the ice, after we banter, I start with a question. I stay, “Rich, it’s great to connect, really fun reminiscing about Vanilla Ice. Curious, are you interested in blank?” And that’s part one, I asked you a question; “Curious, are you interested in blank?”

And blank is a benefit or a topic that I want to sell you something around. So for me, if I want to sell you my lead generation services, then I’ll say, “Hey Rich, curious, are you interested in getting more clients with LinkedIn? And then I start and then I say, “The reason I ask is I’ve got a great blank.” And that’s a free piece of content that’s something that’s going to demonstrate my expertise. “So are you interested in blank? The reason I ask is I’ve got a great free on demand webinar, a great free ebook, a great free blog post, podcast episode”, whatever it is that shows you how to get that benefit.

And then this is part three is, so part one is ask a question. Part two is you offer something of value. And three is you ask permission. This is super important. You don’t just include a link to the webinar and assume they want to attend. You say, “If you like, I can send over a link through the webinar to the ebook, whatever, and then just reply yes or thumbs up.” Real simple little call to action. And then part four is you take off the pressure and you say, “If not, no worries.” So it’s a very simple script. Let me show, can I share my screen for our video friends?

Rich: Yeah.

John: I’m going to show you right now in real time how I’m doing this on my LinkedIn inbox while we’re talking. So here’s an example. Here’s the message. I say, “Brian, I hope you’re safe and sound right now. If it helps while you’re stuck working from home, I’ve put all my best free resources.” This is a bunch of content that links into opt-ins and lead magnets and you know, selling stuff eventually. “If it helps, I’ve got a bunch of free stuff. Here’s what it covers. If you’d like a link to what I’m calling “free Nemo”, just reply with a thumbs up. And if you’re not sure, zero worries.” Now I can instantly copy and paste the link to that content. It jumps him off of LinkedIn and onto the free Nemo page.

Rich: Alright, so I get that. I’m curious about what kind of conversion rate you’re getting, at least for people to say yes. And knowing how LinkedIn works, I know that if you say, just say yes or give me a thumbs up, then two of the three options down below for the one-click response are going to be the word yes and the thumbs up. So that also makes their lives a little bit easier, too.

So here’s my thing, and maybe I’m just jaded and I don’t want to put you on the spot, but that’s literally what I’m about to do. So do you think that the age of asking, “do you want some free stuff that I put together”, no matter how valuable it is, do you feel that people are getting jaded towards that approach? Because I definitely am getting people who are savvy in doing that towards me rather than just like, “Hey, do you want to buy one of my websites?” Looking at all the great examples that we’ve done, are you still seeing it work as well as it did when you started doing this, or is this something that you think is going to work forever?

John: This is live, I didn’t practice this. “Yes, thanks”, which equals ‘yes’ in my book. Yes. Thumbs up. Much appreciated. Thumbs up.

Rich:  With the prayer hands.

John: Yeah. Prayer hands. Here’s the thumbs up. Here’s the thumbs up. Okay, so that’s out of my last one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. I don’t know the last 10 messages. Eight have sent thumbs up.

Rich: So yes, that is absolutely working. I’m just wondering if everybody is as stabby as me and the answer is no. So that’s good to know.

John:  Here’s what I found. This has changed a ton over the last eight years. I used to be able to include links and people got offended. And here’s the other thing too, you have to connect all the dots. If your profile is really client facing and hyper-focused and demonstrates your value and has testimonials, like you said, Rich, before I give you a thumbs up, I’m going to go look at your profile. Is this guy even legit? Does he look like he even has a company? Wow. He’s got Chris Brogan and he’s got John Lee Dumas and he just did a big virtual summit. He’s a legit guy. I bet his advice is good. Now there’ll be like thumbs up, I want your free stuff because you’re somebody.

Or the other thing is you just offer something to value and people will self-qualify. The great thing about LinkedIn is, there’s 700 million people to go through. I don’t need them all to like me or want me. I just want people that go, “Yes, I am curious. I will raise my hand. Yeah, I do want to know more about how to get leads on LinkedIn.” Great. I don’t have to spend any time now warming you up. My content will do all the work. I’ll send you to an ebook that links to an on demand webinar that links to an email sequence that if my content does its job, demonstrates expertise, makes me likable, gets you more Vanilla Ice jokes, you at some point will come through my automated funnel and say, this is really good. How do I learn more? How do I work with you? And that’s how you’re able to scale yourself as a business owner.

Because you can’t have 40 one on one conversations where you start from the beginning each time and tell your story, give them advice and tell them how they can improve. You bottle all that up as content. You’ve scale it through one-on-one LinkedIn messages. The people that raised their hands, they’re now qualifying themselves, they’re interested, give them more and let your content carry them along. She was at that point where they’re ready to buy.

Rich: And it’s interesting you mentioned you don’t include links anymore. And usually every year around the time for Agents of Change and this year for the Fast Forward Maine, originally there’s going to be conference. I will often reach out to people who are local in this case and be like, “Hey, we’re putting on this event”, and I’ll include a link so they can learn more.

The other bad thing that links do is that LinkedIn pulls in information from that page and makes your message so long that they will often not even see parts of it. And I think that could also be another turnoff. So I’m totally going to take something from a page and just be like, we’re putting on this event, whatever it is, and let me know if you want some more information about it and try and keep it as quick as possible. Because I think that might be more effective going forward. So I appreciate it.

John:  Yeah, no, it is shorter, is better conversational. Have some fun, banter, bring your personality out, ask a quick question, give a thumbs up and then deliver. And like you said, you’re right. When you put a link, it puts in all these previews and it can get really messy.

Rich: Yeah, absolutely. Alright, John, I don’t do lightning rounds here on the Agents of Change Podcast. It’s just not my bag. But for you, sir, I’m going to make an exception.

John: Oh boy. All right.

Rich: Are you ready?

John: For the people watching the video, I still barely want to stand up and show you my Zubaz pants. I’ve literally, can I do it?

Rich: I don’t see why not. Wow. I literally gained or lost so much respect for you right now, I’m not even sure.

John: Even my wife literally covered her eyes before when I walked out. And here’s the thing. If you don’t know Zubaz, Google it. Z U B A Z, greatest pants ever. So comfortable for the work from home Coronavirus round. Let’s do it.

Rich: All right, so I’m just going to say before anybody Googles that, that you won’t be able to unsee it.  There’s no control Z.

John: You will be scarred, make sure there are no children around. Oh my God. They’re the greatest pants ever. And I just told everyone.

Rich: Alright, here we go. I have good questions for you. It’s an either or, so you tell me which one you’re going to go with. All right. You ready? The Breakfast Club or Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? 

John: Ferris Bueller all day.

Rich: Goonies or Gremlins.

John: Oh, Goonies, all timer.

Rich: Footloose or Risky Business.

John: Woo. Ah, tossup. I’ll go Footloose.

Rich: Guns N Roses or Bon Jovi.

John: Oh, GNR man. I know all about, I can go deep on GNR trivia. Yeah, that’s my jam.

Rich: Michael Jackson or Prince?

John: No, Prince. All the way. I’m from Minneapolis. You kidding me? That’s required by state law to have friends. It’s the best.

Rich: John Cougar or John Mellencamp.

John: I always like John Cougar, it’s a little edgier. What about John Cougar Mellencamp?

Rich: Well, you can, yes, go ahead. Those transitional years. Big hair or mullets?

John: Oh, I live in Minnesota the land of hockey hair, where mullets are king. Yeah.

Rich:  It’s all away ripped knees or high waisted jeans?

John: Ooh. We’ll go with the ripped knees as far cooler than the mom jeans. Yeah.

Rich: Alright. And our last question. Smurf Berry crunch cereal or Mr. T cereal?

John: Well, I pity the fool. Mr. T all the way, dude. I am back in the eighties where I belong. That was the best! Oh my.

Rich: John, this has probably been the most fun that I’ve had, both preparing and having a podcast. Thank you sir for that. Why don’t you tell the people at home where they can find you online?

John: Yes. I will be waiting for you in my Zubaz pants at LinkedInriches.com the word LinkedIn and then riches.com. If you go there you can get a free copy of my whole book, LinkedIn Riches. Obviously I’m on LinkedIn, you can Find Nemo, get it. Finding Nemo, that movie finally paid off, people will remember my last name. John Nemo on LinkedIn or LinkedInriches.com. I also have a podcast, nemoradio.com, so hit me up there. I will be ready and as gregarious and goofy as ever.

Rich: And is that podcast all LinkedIn centric or is it other things as well?

John: Great question, it’s actually all kinds of different online marketing sales, mindset, a lot of different guests; Chris Brogan, John Lee Dumas, Amy Porterfield I’ve have had a lot of really good people on there. And it’s kind of a freewheeling discussion of all things, you know, online marketing and sales and all kinds of topics.

Rich: Well, it sounds like you’ve had two of the three biggest names in Maine on your show.

John: I just am missing Rich Brooks. Only if you wear Zubaz for the interview.

Rich: All right. I’ll do it for you. Yeah.

Rich: Do you have a pair?

Rich: No, I’ll have to go buy one.

John: I’ll send them to you buddy.

Rich: I don’t want your used Zubaz.  All right, John, this has been great. Thanks so much, appreciate your time and appreciate all your expertise.

John: Thanks so much for having me.

Show Notes:

John Nemo teaches business professionals how to leverage the world’s largest professional network to enhance their brand, generate leads, and increase sales by infusing some pop into their LinkedIn profiles. Learn more at his website, and definitely connect with him on LinkedIn.

Rich Brooks is the President of flyte new media, a web design & digital marketing agency in Portland, Maine, and founder of the Agents of Change. He’s passionate about helping small businesses grow online and has put his 20+ years of experience into the book, The Lead Machine: The Small Business Guide to Digital Marketing