Selling on LinkedIn, with Dennis Brown [Episode 722]

Dennis Brown, LinkedIn sales consultant and author of The Ultimate Guide to Generating Inbound Leads with LinkedIn, joins me on this episode.

Key Takeaways

  • Selling is not about “fairness.” You don’t get the order if you don’t win the sale. Dennis shares his stand on pricing early in a conversation. “Here is why I’m more expensive.”
  • You can’t get a pricing objection from a qualified prospect. Qualify your prospects early. Find good prospects and don’t spend time with unqualified prospects whose primary concern is price.
  • Be proactive and declutter your pipeline. No stakeholder is served by a pipeline full of unqualified prospects.
  • Dennis talks about two problematic approaches salespeople use on LinkedIn — 1) treating it like a speed-dating app, 2) failing to create valuable content.
  • Dennis generated over 3,500 inbound leads in 2018 on LinkedIn, from content he created or curated. Video can have a great impact.
  • Build a network of relationships, not transactions. Share content that’s useful and valuable to the people in your network. They will engage when they find value in it. They will look at your profile to learn more.
  • As a seller, use LinkedIn as a career asset, not a job asset. Relationships you build will have value for the length of your career. Take the long view. Even if LinkedIn goes away, real relationships can last.
  • Some people don’t research. One rep reached out to Andy recently and asked if he’d ever thought of doing a podcast; he was selling a podcast opportunity. He didn’t know that Accelerate is a top-rated sales podcast.
  • Don’t spam LinkedIn accounts. It is a violation of the LinkedIn Terms of Service agreement. LinkedIn is serious about shutting down services that generate spam. Spam reinforces negative sales stereotypes.
  • Dennis foresees two upcoming trends — 1) LinkedIn Live Video will be a premium feature to build engagement. 2) Content creators will focus on interactively engaging with commenters on their posts.
  • Always have a content strategy. Keep the long-term view of providing value. 80% of Dennis’s content doesn’t talk about LinkedIn or social selling. He posts valuable, interesting content that is relevant to his target market.
  • Andy quotes Thomas Huxley — “In life, you should try to learn something about everything and everything about something.”

Episode Transcript

Andy Paul  

It’s time to accelerate. Hey friends, this is Andy. Welcome to Episode 722 of Accelerate the sales podcast of record. So I have another excellent episode lined up here today. My guest today for you is Dennis Brown. Genesis, the founder of delinked. Academy, and the host of the growth experts podcast, as well as author of the book The Ultimate Guide to generating inbound leads with linked in. And I think that I’m saying he generated 3800 inbound leads last year for his services and products on LinkedIn. So he is truly one of the experts on using LinkedIn as a sales tool. And in today’s discussion, we’ll be getting into some really practical and valuable strategies that you can put to use in your selling on LinkedIn. Where I start early on by getting into sort of the two problematic approaches done see salespeople using LinkedIn, which is first of all, treating it like a speed dating app, which I think we’ve all personally experienced, as well as failing to create valuable content that attracts the attention of their potential buyers. So we’re going to get into why you need to build a network of relationships, not transactions, why you need to share content that’s useful and valuable and compelling to people in your network. So that they will engage and they find value in it when they want to look at your profile. Learn more and then reach out to you to connect with you and say, Hey, perhaps there’s an option to do business here. Now, before we get to Dennis, I want to take a quick second to talk about the sales house. It is the sales performance accelerator for b2b sellers. Now, in a typical sales training, you learn a lot of things. So process methodology, but what I see is missing is that you don’t learn how to win. I mean, in sales, winning an order is not the process result of your process or the methodology you use. It comes from executing a lot of small things savagely well. So in the sales house, we focus on teaching you the behaviors and the skills that you don’t learn in sales, training, these essential skills that make a huge difference in your ability to win new deals. So if you’re not up to speed on these skills, then you’re going to be at a competitive disadvantage. And the sales house is the resource you need to reach the next level. This was the level above that so come learn how to sell with more confidence, trust and value, visit sales. house.com that is Is the sales house.com All right, let’s jump into it. Dennis, welcome to the show.

 

Dennis Brown  

Hey, thanks for having me.

 

Andy Paul  

It’s good to have you here. So you’re joining us from where today?

 

Dennis Brown  

I live just outside of Buffalo, New York, a little little suburb called Clarence, Clarence, New York. I’ve been here for about a lifelong resident here in western New York, huh?

 

Andy Paul  

So winter is just about to start.

 

Dennis Brown  

You got jokes, right? You got jokes?

 

Andy Paul  

A joke as we’re recording this in April.

 

Dennis Brown  

Yeah, it’s may 2 on a road a week ago. Yeah, we had snow. It didn’t stick of course, but I mean, we literally had snow. And it’s so funny because my wife is like a creature of the weather. Her moods are determined by, I don’t know, by the lunar cycles, or by the tides or by snow. So it’s one of those deals, you know, it’s crazy around here. You don’t know you’re gonna get it but it does have some nice seasons and this is where we live. So yeah,

 

Andy Paul  

that’s funny. I have a lot of friends from Buffalo.

 

Dennis Brown  

Oh, really? Oh yeah. But they’re all California residents. I mean, it’s it seemed like they wait a minute they lived in California and they came to Buffalo voluntarily No, no, vice versa

 

Andy Paul  

they all

 

Dennis Brown  

escaped. I say that doesn’t happen that’s like that’s like the reverse of what happens right? They were born in cheektowaga or, or you know, Amherst and they moved away because they were like, screw this. screw this up.

 

Andy Paul  

Yeah. Well, there is a big series of friends here in California. That’s just like Bree from Yeah, there’s a while I just served. Yeah, it’s a different Buffalo, right.

 

Dennis Brown  

A lot of warm places. A lot of people from Buffalo in Vegas. A lot of people from Buffalo in Florida. A lot of people from Buffalo in California and Arizona. So

 

Andy Paul  

and it’s all rapids, rabid Bill’s fans are rabid Sabres, fans, whatever. So, yeah. All right. So, I had worked to talk about LinkedIn then using LinkedIn for sales. But before we do that, as is, I’d written a post in the last couple days about reacting to some sales experts online saying that you know what you should do and buyers aren’t being fair to you. And yeah, didn’t react well to that. But it’s funny as then I looked on your LinkedIn feed and you had this video from Bill Gates or about Bill Gates sales are 11 lessons he taught his daughter 11 rules you never learned in school. And then the first one says, life isn’t fair. And it seems worth it to reinforce that lesson.

 

Dennis Brown  

Yeah, it’s like I’ve forgotten. It’s a forgotten lesson, right? I mean, I remember as a child, my grandparents and my parents, instilling that into me whether I was unique or not from an early age, you know, life isn’t fair.

 

Andy Paul  

And okay, so life isn’t easy or Fair. Right, but right, but make the best of it.

 

Dennis Brown  

That’s right. Sometimes you’re the bug. Sometimes you’re the windshield. Right?

 

Andy Paul  

Well, we all go through those phases. I’ve, I’ve been both right. Yeah, me too.

 

One other thing that that was interesting, too, in the 11 rules from Bill Gates is you had your favorites, and I like those as well. But yeah, the one that that I like as your school has your school may have done away with winners and losers life hasn’t. And things really started stroking for me in Denver and some similar groups on LinkedIn. And here we see a lot of the same content or no, a lot of the same people. But it really struck me in the last year or two that there’s a lot less talk about winning these days. Right. We talked about sales, we talked the process and worried about closing and, you know, we’re gonna do these steps, but people don’t talk about winning. It’s almost like What’s going on here? I mean, you can’t get orders unless you win. Right?

 

Dennis Brown  

Yeah. Yeah, you know, I mean, if I take this, but I have two young daughters, right, one’s 10 one’s 13. And if I bring this back to, you know, kind of the real world out, even outside of business, you know, it’s one of those things where participation trophies have become the big fad, particularly over the last 10 or 15 years.

 

Dennis Brown  

Yeah, longer I mean, but for me, it’s, that’s where I’ve noticed it, right. Because my kids and, and, you know, and it’s one of those things where I guess it probably, it could transcend into their later life. And that’s one of the fears. And so, you know, in business, obviously, you know, when you’re in a sales situation, you know, no one likes to think of a winner and a loser, but the fact is, there is your competition either beat you for one reason or another Or you beat them because you got the order, right, you got the deal, you got the opportunity to, you know, to do business with that client for however long you can provide enough value to, to, to keep them right. But there is a winner and a loser and every sale and every order, right and every deal. So, you know, I don’t know why people would shy away from it. But I think it probably has something to do with that whole context that we started with, you know, nobody wants to, nobody wants to face the fact that the world is not always easy or fair.

 

Andy Paul  

Yeah, I mean, I, I’m sure as you have as well, we’ve gone through I’ve gone through business for decades, and backed by chapter and verse about instances with a buyer wasn’t, quote unquote fair to me. But I didn’t expect fairness. Right. I expect that I had to earn fairness as opposed to being bequeathed fairness. And I think this is something that made people become cynical. client on thinking sort of through the technology and how technology can take the place of humans on the selling processes that they don’t think about it necessarily in a stark of terms as they need to. And then sales is fundamentally a zero sum game.

 

Dennis Brown  

Yeah. You know, one thing that I think there were people focused on around this where they’re asking for fairness is in regards to price. Right. And I think a lot of the conversations that I’ve heard, at least in regards to fairness go to price. And here’s always been my philosophy. And this is how and right wrong or indifferent. This is how I’ve approached sales because I’ve been in businesses that are very much commoditized. And prices is a topic that’s always talked about. And I’ve been in other businesses where it was very unique. And you know, price wasn’t an early conversation because it was such a unique value proposition and I can tell you that in my personal opinion, and just from my personal experience, but what I’ve adopted is trying to introduce The fact that I’m not ever the cheapest. And, some of the time I’m even more expensive than the rest of the people. Hmm. But here’s why. And so I try to introduce that very early because what I want to do is I want to, I want to, I want to get those people out of my pipeline as early as I can, right? Because they come back to me and they say, Well, you know, we’re really looking for, you know, the cheapest Well, I’m definitely not your guy.

 

Dennis Brown  

And I have a conversation early. Yeah, you want to, I want that conversation

early. I exit stage left as quickly as I can, in that process. Because I know that if we’re talking about it in the first two or three conversations, I know it’s only going to get worse on the back end. And we’re going to have 20 conversations about it later. And I’m just not going to be that guy. It just it’s never been part of me. Well, I have to say I lied when I was a younger , earlier salesperson entrepreneur. Sure. You know, I would do whatever I had to do to get the deal even if I didn’t make money, which was stupid. But I flipped the switch and realized that, you know, I found enough confidence in the value that I could provide that I said, Listen, I’m not going to be the cheapest guy. If that’s the number one ingredient that you’re looking for in this in this relationship, then I’m probably not your guy. And if they kept talking to me at that point, I realized that they were looking for value in price. Right? So I was okay with that.

 

Andy Paul  

Yeah, I wrote an article a number of years ago now shut up, bring it back to life here. Shortly it’s on my list of things to to revise but in the title And the title was, and I sincerely believe this is you can’t get a price objection from a qualified prospect. That speaks to your point exactly. If you barely qualified them early and disqualified the ones for the prices, right, you can’t have a price objection from a qualified prospect. By definition, they’re not qualified if they’re objecting To your price.

 

Dennis Brown  

Yeah, good point. And then I that’s well said, that’s a much more concise way of saying it, then my long rant. I’m older,

 

Andy Paul  

I’ve had more time to think about it.

 

Dennis Brown  

Yeah, so thank you for that. But that does make total sense.

 

Andy Paul  

Yeah, I mean, think about that, that that context is, you know, you have to qualify and price early in the deal to your point. Because if there’s a big disconnect, if your premium price if you’re selling high value, and they just aren’t going to go for it, you want to surface that early because you don’t want to invest your time in them. There’s not gonna buy for you and that’s okay. Now, I wrote about this this week. And a post is, you know, my my rule which is it’s, it’s a big world, and there’s always willing prospects out there. So rather than waste your time on those who are not a good prospect, go out and find one that is,

 

Dennis Brown  

yeah, 100%. I had one of my last businesses that I started back in 2003. grew and then later sold in 2016. We were in the logistics transportation space, and if you know anything about that space, When you rate freight, okay, when you create a freight rate, it goes on a per mile basis, and you can win and lose deals on cents per mile. Hmm, sure. Okay. It’s crazy. Like it’s a very nickel and dime business. It’s a high volume, low margin business. And you know, and so a lot of people play that game, you know, some of the bigger companies play the Walmart version, where they’re doing it all on volume. And I hear a lot of people in the industry have come to me and said, Well, listen, you know, I can’t be cheaper than XYZ. I said, Well, don’t be that. You need to find the prospects that are focused on you being the cheapest, and then you need to connect with them, but it’s harder, it’s definitely harder. It takes a little bit more time. Or you have to take a different approach. But ultimately, you know, that’s where I really honed the skill of pre qualifying my prospects very early in those conversations, because they appreciated it as well. There, I had people that thanked me, right? Because they didn’t have to go through the process of, you know, several weeks or a month or whatever, of this whole due diligence process. And they had marching orders from their boss that said, Listen, we’re looking for this. And if it doesn’t meet this, then we can’t do it. And they appreciated the fact that I self selected out. And it seemed to both of us a whole lot of that.

 

Andy Paul  

Yeah, and I think that’s our last message from any sellers, because and I, again, I wrote about that this morning on my, my daily newsletter is, if you have to be proactive and decluttering. I call it decluttering. Your pipeline. Yeah. And otherwise, yeah, if you just want to if your whole emphasis and unfortunately, we’re seeing more of this emphasis in sales, which is on managers, sort of evaluating the performance of other salespeople and sales, elite corporate leaders evaluating performance of their sales managers based on the size of their pipeline, which is, through all experience that I’ve had is that is antithetical to high productivity, because you’re just wasting time on, on your by necessity, you’re wasting time on deals that are never gonna cross the finish line.

 

Dennis Brown  

Yeah, you’re putting just a bunch of Deadwood into the pipeline, just just to check the box and it doesn’t serve anybody. It doesn’t serve the company, it doesn’t serve the manager that’s trying to manage the, you know, the overall deal flow. It doesn’t serve the salesperson or the client doesn’t serve anybody and they’re not one stakeholder in that equation is served beneficially?

 

Andy Paul  

Yeah, except maybe, you know, a CEO or board member wants to look at a report and say, Oh, good. We’ve got a good pipeline.

 

Dennis Brown  

Yeah, but it doesn’t translate

 

Andy Paul  

doesn’t translate, right.

 

Dennis Brown  

It’s a false sense of security. Right. It’s Wilby that doesn’t keep you warm, right. Yeah, yeah. It just doesn’t do anything for you. So no, that’s a great point. And I do and I and I’m not a sales trainer. Don’t get me wrong. That’s not my forte. That’s not what I do. But I see it myself with clients that I work with their sales teams in and I see that emphasis and I see the technology showing that emphasis on pipeline. And I see a lot of drivers that are pushing that continuing to push that agenda. Push that, you know that that is a metric. Alright, let’s jump on and talk about

 

Andy Paul  

LinkedIn. Because that’s a good segue there. Because Because you’re an expert in that in terms of developing new business through LinkedIn is, yeah, I believe that one of the reasons we have this emphasis on big pipelines is now we have sort of in this golden age of sales technology, we’ve got these great tools out there that enable sort of mass outreach, quote, unquote, personalization at scale, which is a little bit of an oxymoron. But nonetheless, and you stark contrast that with LinkedIn, which is sort of a one by one type methodology, right, one person at a time, though, you can scale it some but yeah, it’s a different approach. And I think part of the reason that we’ve got this emphasis on big pipelines is because you can Generate big pipelines more easily now, you could in the past, unfortunately, resulting in dramatically lower win rates. But nonetheless, so let’s start looking at this are the challenges for salespeople and using LinkedIn now to in this environment to develop new leads new opportunities, because we certainly you’ve certainly experienced I’m sure I’ve experienced this, you know, a day doesn’t go by where somebody wants to connect with me to pitch me, basically, the most common complaint. So how do you successfully operate a salesperson in that environment to use LinkedIn effectively?

 

Dennis Brown  

Well, I think you pointed out a really good and compelling, you know, observation, which is the problem. There’s two big problems that I see with salespeople leveraging LinkedIn to generate, you know, some leads and sales, right? One is they treat it like they’re speed dating, right? They think it’s Tinder, swipe right and they’re just moving and moving and they’re just trying to play the numbers game. And they’re in a hurry, and they push too hard too fast. And, you know, in my opinion, you’re going to alienate way too many people. And you’re going to work way too hard to try to generate just a small number of leads, right? When if they take a little bit longer term approach, and they focus on, you know, they, they first they qualify, they prequalify and scrub the people that they are connecting with to make sure that number one they meet the right you know, the customer avatar, the perfect prospect on file, you know, that they’re in the right industry, the right you know, company size, the right title, the right, you know, all they checked all those boxes, and they’re only spending time with the right people. Once they’ve done that they have to invest. And you know, that investment is no different than if you were to meet somebody at a trade show or a conference and you’re not going to beat them over the head with your pitch at the trade show or the conference, right? We want them to know what you do.

 

Andy Paul  

You should do one but they do. But just go ahead.

 

Dennis Brown  

Yeah, you want them to know what you do. You want to develop some relationship, a basic rapport and relationship with them. And then you’re willing to, you know, develop that over time. But if you’re expecting that to immediately turn into deal flow or be a part of your pipeline, it’s just not going to happen. It doesn’t work that way, right? I mean, for a couple of reasons. Number one, you know, you just haven’t invested enough time to build that trust, right. Second of all, there’s a whole bunch of other people that are trying to do the same thing. It used to be cold calling, right, everybody would smile and dial and now people don’t pick up the phone, right. And now people are trying to translate cold calling into emailing or through LinkedIn. So you know, I think you just have to slow down the process and treat it as a focus more on the relationship than the transaction. And that takes time and people don’t like that. That’s the reason why lotteries are so successful in every state in the United States, right? You know, that’s where you have millions and millions of dollars invested people have put $1 in a dream into lotteries. Because they want immediate gratification. And I’m sure there’s people that over the last 30 or 40 years that if they had saved the money and invested the money they had put into lotteries, they probably have close to a million bucks. But they, but they weren’t willing to do that. So that’s number one. And then the second one is, and this is the one that’s really come to my attention in the last couple of years in particular is salespeople, whether it be the company or the salesperson, they don’t have a lot of good direction.

 

on creating content, okay, so yeah, a lot of companies

 

Andy Paul  

companies don’t want their salespeople to create content.

 

Dennis Brown  

That’s right. A lot of companies don’t want their salespeople to create content. They want them you know, there is a very strict protocol. And on LinkedIn as you know, one of the there’s basically three ways to generate leads and clients through LinkedIn, you got paid ads, which is obviously a whole different animal, right? That’s not a salesperson driven. You know, Focus, you got outreach, which is what we’re talking about where they do outreach to targeted, you know, private, you know, profiles and people that are on LinkedIn, and then you got inbound, and the inbound, that’s where the content comes in. Right? You know that and you create a lot of content, a lot of great content on LinkedIn, people engage with that. And some of them turn into conversations, right, some of them will ask you a question and eventually turn into a conversation, some of those will be better qualified than others. But ultimately, it’s a way for you to generate inbound leads Now personally, in 2018, because of the strategy I’ve taken for my own business, and that I helped teach other people with their businesses, I generated over 3500 inbound leads with LinkedIn. So I’m not trying I’m I’m not saying that to impress you. I’m just saying it to let you know that it works, right.

 

Andy Paul  

I am a salesperson. I am impressed.

 

Dennis Brown  

Yeah, I mean, I mean, I generate that many inbound leads. Those are people that raise their hand and say, Hey, Dennis, can you help me with this, right? And so A lot of them were not heavily qualified. So you got to have a filter. But I think if salespeople were able to have an easy way or a framework to create content, and I don’t want them to spend 20 hours a week creating content, but I don’t think you need to, there are some easy ways that you can create content without actually, you know, doing a whole lot of work, like curating content, right. You know, you can use other people’s content, images, videos. I mean, you gave a perfect example, right, that Bill Gates, that Bill Gates video that lessons, the 11 lessons that you learned, never learned in school, I didn’t create that video. I didn’t create that video, I leveraged the video that they created, and it ended up getting thousands of views, and it ended up getting hundreds of engagements. Now, it’s not a perfect example, because that’s not content that’s heavily oriented towards a specific, you know, towards my specific microcredits that was a video about x. Then it could have had the same impact. Do you get my point?

 

Andy Paul  

Oh, yeah, no, but I’m sure that people are listening to it as well. Because I think that, just to clarify, is that the first step you talked about in terms of connecting and finding the right people and so on. And so I think that the mindset that sellers don’t have, is that changed away from the transactional to? And I love what you’ve read Keith ferrazzi. And if his books I haven’t showed you love it, and never eat lunch alone and books like

 

Dennis Brown  

oh, okay, yeah, yeah. Okay, so I didn’t recognize the name, but I never eat lunch for long. Yep.

 

Andy Paul  

So he talks about the fact that you as in your career, your network has value, right? It’s an asset that you need to develop. And so rather than looking at these connections that you make with people as something that’s transactional, that I’m going to connect and that’s that I have to learn, turn into some action. It’s, well, first, I’m building this network, but I don’t know I’m going to monetize it eventually. But I’m creating these relationships in these contacts with people that in some ways have value. So my next step is how do I then begin to use that in a way to extract some of the value from that? And that is, well, yeah, to your point is I’m gonna start sharing content. And something that’s useful and valuable, too. It could be curation, it could be creating something to those people in my network, that you know, there is some circuit to teach them this idea that I share something or I, I create something, it’s great. They’re gonna say, yeah, it’s worth my time to engage with that because you know, that’s valuable, right, that has some value to me in my day to day world. And this is the mindset for me that sellers need to get into on LinkedIn is to take responsibility and start two ways. One is long term vision on the network. And secondly is, and this is the controversial one is to have a point of view and the point of View is what’s represented in the content you share or comment on or create or the conversations you get into online. When you do contact somebody, and they say, oh, because I do, I get contacted by a salesperson, first thing I do is look at the LinkedIn profile, right 100% of the time, and I will know who they are and what they care about. macrobiotics, when you connect with someone, in a way to get business, if you have a point of view is how I summarize it, as opposed to the person who’s got, you know, a crappy little picture and no point of view.

 

Dennis Brown  

Yeah, for sure. To go back to the beginning where you talked about, I think it was Harvey Mackay that coined the phrase dig your well before you’re thirsty, right? I think he wrote that book. And that, you know, investing, you know, in that before you need it. And the problem is that everybody wants it today, right? They want to sign up on LinkedIn. They want to put a basic profile together and they want everybody to just start reaching out to them and thinking they’re going to get deals and it doesn’t work that way. Or they’re going to just start spamming a whole bunch of people and think that that’s going to create a deal flow and it doesn’t.

 

Andy Paul  

Well and that right, but as a seller, you have to look at LinkedIn as a career asset, not a job asset. That’s right. And so the network you’re building is an asset for the duration of your career unless LinkedIn goes away. I guess it’s always possible but assuming it’s here for the next several decades, this network you build has value. And so it’s not Jeez, I need an ROI on the time I spend on LinkedIn today. It’s no it’s what’s the ROI get over the time and effort I invest into it over the length of my career. So long view, right.

 

Dennis Brown  

That’s the hard part. Right? That’s the way everybody struggles is to play the long game. And and the fact is, even if LinkedIn did go away, the relationships that you converted from Digital into the real world, don’t go away, right? Those people who end up in your Rolodex, will you end up having a meeting with or have a phone call with I mean, you and I met through LinkedIn right there. was how we first engaged with one another. And now we have an offline relationship. So if LinkedIn went away, we could still do business together, have conversations, provide value, collaborate, whatever we do, you were on my podcast growth as a podcast. I appreciate that. And then, you know, part of this was you thought that I might be a good fit for your audience. And now we’re here. So, but that all started from LinkedIn. But that’s because you and I both took a long view to the process. And now we have a relationship where if I called you or you called me, within 24 hours, you know, we’d get a return phone call.

 

Andy Paul  

What I think this is, this is like an issue because I’ve had other LinkedIn experts on the show and talking about what salespeople should use LinkedIn. And again, it’s all transactional. I know that plays to the, you know, sort of the immediate appeal to salespeople. If I want to invest time in this, I want to get something out of it right away. And I’m just telling people to listen to it as you have changed your mindset about LinkedIn because LinkedIn is a long term play. You may get some short term business out of it. But I tell you, I mean, the people that, and I’ve had this several times over the last couple months, I’ve sort of reached a breaking point, sometimes with people who I think should know better, who reach out to me and and like there’s a guy who, who reached out to me and said, Have you ever thought of starting a podcast? And we work with this person, this person, this person, and I looked at your profile, and you’d be a great candidate to have a podcast. And so I wrote back to him, I said, Well, here’s the deal. Did you really look at my profile? Because, you know, I’ve got perhaps the top rated sales podcast was over 700 episodes.

 

Dennis Brown  

You know, if you spent a minute you would have found that out. And I said, Yeah, it’s so funny because

 

I had a mirror situation in the last two weeks where A LinkedIn expert reached out to me and said, Hey, listen, you know, I think you’d be a good candidate for our LinkedIn marketing services, right? something to that effect. And I literally chuckled. Normally, I would like that person I’d fire right . I would light him up because sometimes my, my, my tolerance is low, right? Sometimes I have zero tolerance usually ignore

 

Andy Paul  

but occasionally I’ll say, I feel compelled or

 

Dennis Brown  

this time, I replied back to him. And I said, Are you serious? And question mark, question mark. And he replied back and he goes, Oh, my God, I’m so sorry. Right. So, you know, I let it go. And you know, he was apologetic and whatever. But that’s the challenge with automation on LinkedIn. Right? There are these. There are these sass companies and in Google Chrome applications that people are putting together to try to automate this whole process on LinkedIn. And while that seems fantastic, right, it seems like it would make things a lot easier, there’s two big problems with it. Number one, LinkedIn doesn’t want it, it’s a definite violation of their terms of service. And they get pissed every single time, they find one of those companies and they’re gonna try to shut them down. Now, sometimes they’re successful, sometimes they’re not. They’ve been successful multiple times. And so if you want to jeopardize your account, that automation piece, you have to be very, very, very careful. Now, I’m going to be dead honest and tell you that a couple years ago, I tried some of those things. I did try them because I wanted to see what they were all about. I mean, I can’t, I can’t, you know, I can’t cast, you know, scorn on something that I didn’t actually try. So I tried it for a very short period of time. And I realized it was like a drug, right? It was like, Oh, my gosh, I can get all these messages out. But I realized the backlash from the users that were that were upset about, you know, getting beat over the head with automation. And then LinkedIn themselves, I realized that it was just not the way to go. Right. So I knew that it wasn’t. I reinforced it and I put it to the side because I wouldn’t ever put my clients in that situation. So I think some of the people that are transactional are really focused on that automation piece, just like in any marketing automation, but there’s a good and bad way to automate. And you know, me personally, you know, that’s not my approach. That’s not my style. That’s not to say I would never put my clients in jeopardy. I would never put my own account in jeopardy, because ultimately, you don’t own your LinkedIn account, you know, take it away anytime they want. Right.

 

Andy Paul  

What is one of the sort of the irony is, if you will, is that salespeople complain about the negative stereotypes about salespeople, and yet we’re continually leaping nets are a class of people leaping to use these tools that just continue to reinforce that bad image right because of the way we message people and connect with them. Yeah, and I’m sorry, like us, I reached my limit. At some point I tried to actually respond to one guy, and I sort of started saying, you know, give us a well known guy who clearly had outsourced this to somebody. But the same thing as They are talking about, you know, Andy as a new business consultant, and blah, blah, blah. It’s like, okay, you know, I’ve been in business for 20 years, you know? Yep. Two best selling books, the podcast. And so I wrote back to say, you know, don’t come across a server deck, but, I mean, I don’t use those words, yet. But, you know, just spend even a minute doing this. And so I understand maybe you outsource this. So, you know, did you do quality control? I mean, this is, yes, a person that writes about the negative image to salespeople, and I said, Look what you’re doing. Yeah.

 

Dennis Brown  

For sure, no, I totally agree. And, you know, it’s, it’s definitely a pet peeve of mine. And I’ve grown a little bit more tolerant of it, but I immediately disconnect from those people. And you know, and I just set it aside and obviously, I, I have my own strategies and tactics that have worked for years and have worked for my clients and, and this seems to be that they’re very similar to yours. type of approach. So, you know, I think everybody has their styles, it is what it is. But I think that you’re going to do way more damage taking that shotgun approach than you will with taking a slower, more targeted approach.

 

Andy Paul  

Okay, so we’re sort of winding down timewise. So times go very quickly. This is a question. So what do you see as sort of the two big changes that are coming to LinkedIn? What’s over the next year? And what are the impacts for sellers or what have you things have just recently been introduced, that seller should be embracing that they’re not.

 

Dennis Brown  

So there’s a couple of things. You know, there’s a whole bunch of things I could talk about. There’s two things I want to talk about that are really top of mind for me. One is LinkedIn, they launched a couple years ago, they launched LinkedIn and made a video where you could upload videos prior to that you could only know, use YouTube or video or third party applications. You could do LinkedIn native video and it has been wildly popular and very successful at driving people to their future. Engagement within the feed. But recently they launched LinkedIn live in a beta format. I actually just interviewed Quintin alums who is one of the people that was part of that beta. And I’m going to be releasing that soon and growth experts. But you know, I think LinkedIn live could be an extremely powerful, you know, tool for LinkedIn and for salespeople, and for anybody who’s on LinkedIn. Right?

 

Andy Paul  

So the equivalent, sort of on a Facebook Live,

 

Dennis Brown  

It’s very similar to Facebook Live, but it’s going to have some differences, right? One thing, for example, and I’ll let the cat out of the bag is that it’s not initially at least it’s not going to be released to every user, even after the beta. Okay? And initially, it’s going to be a premium feature. So you’re going to have to pay for an additional subscription in order to have it Ah, now that may change later. Okay. But based on the roadmap that they have right now, based upon some insight from Quentin and some other sources, it’s going to be kind of a pay to play application, which has pros and cons, right? The pros are, it’s going to kind of scrub the quality, hopefully a little bit, and you won’t get a lot of those, hey, this is just a test to do LinkedIn live messages in the feed, right. And hopefully, it’ll enhance the content. And hopefully, it will increase the amount of good content that’s out there. Right. So. So LinkedIn live, I think, could be a very powerful feature. I don’t have the beta. That, you know, I wish I did, but it is what it is. I’m hoping I’m going to be able to be an early adopter of it. And I’m going to do a lot of testing because I can tell you, I resisted Facebook Live for a while because live video is really interesting, right? It has its own set of slides as we’re recording this, you can edit it, you know, there’s some things you can do. But life has a whole different set of challenges, but I can tell you that live video on Facebook in the right context has been really powerful. So I think it could be. I think it could be huge for sales and marketing in general on LinkedIn. Now, the jury’s still out. But I think there’s strong potential. The second thing, unless you want to comment on that, because there’s two things I’m not

 

Andy Paul  

sure I agree, I think that in the right hand side will be a great tool. Yeah.

 

Dennis Brown  

Yes. And that’s one of the reasons why I kind of liked the fact that they’re going to charge a premium for it. Mm hmm. Because I think it’s going to help qualify that a little bit. Some people might not like that, you know, he shouldn’t have to pay to have this feature. Well, you know, I don’t know. I mean, I, in some ways, I kind of like that. I don’t mind paying because I know how I would leverage it. Right. And I know it’s not going to just be some random off the cuff guard, right.

 

Andy Paul  

I mean, I don’t I don’t hear nearly as much about Facebook Live. And I don’t see nearly as many people using it as I thought I was going to see or even as I saw initially when it first came out. So yeah, I think the same can be true here.

 

Dennis Brown  

Yeah, yeah. I mean, because people are apprehensive to get on live video. Trust me, it’s scary . It’s a scary proposition for the average person. I know it was for me the first time, you just gotta let go of those inhibitions. But that’s a whole nother, that’s a whole nother, you know, conversation. But the second part that I think is going to really come to the forefront and has already started to come to the forefront is rather than focus on morality and reach, right, which is what the conversations, a lot of the conversations are around right now you hear people mad because they’re getting less views. They’re getting less engagement. And that’s true of social media in general, right. That’s not just LinkedIn. Right? That’s social media in general. What the conversation is going to be geared towards is going to be geared towards engagement, right? And what but what I mean by engagement is engagement with your engagement. So for example, inside of the post itself, rather than you just putting content out there, and then letting people comment on it, where it’s like a TV show, right? It’s one way and then you know, they get to reply back but you never reply to them. I think a lot of the power of that relationship building. And that building rapport is when you as a salesperson or a marketer actually engages within the posts themselves. Now, the hard part about this,

 

Andy Paul  

and I know the challenge, so So give, give an example, more concrete

 

Dennis Brown  

example. So if I were to post a video about

 

you know, how to generate leads with LinkedIn, just a hypothetical, right way to join three ways to generate leads with LinkedIn. And that’s something that is highly targeted to my target market, it’s going to be attracting the people that are really interested in that. And they start engaging within the content and they start asking questions or they start commenting, or they just, you know, they make an observation and they put a comment in there. What happens is a lot of times those comments go unanswered, I’d say the heavy majority of time content, you know, comments go unanswered. And so, what you as the salesperson in the marketer can do or needs to do is to really Try to engage with those people, at least the people that are part of your target market and the ones that have some sort of meaningful content, right? If they just say Cool, well, then you know, it may not require you to engage with them. But ultimately, that concept of engagement within the social media format, not just one way but two ways. So you as the creator needs to engage back. How many times have you replied, you know, replied to a blog post in the comments and never heard anything back? Sure. How did that make you feel?

 

Andy Paul  

Anything for me, but that’s okay.

 

Dennis Brown  

The average person if they asked a question in the comments of a blog post, and nobody ever replied, No, it’s like me that kind of makes me feel shitty, right? Because it says, You What, you put this out here, you compelled me even by putting the comments there to ask you a question or provide feedback and you never even took the time to reply back to me. So to me, our relationship got worse, not better, right because

 

Andy Paul  

like not following up on a sales lead.

 

Dennis Brown  

That’s right. It’s like not following up on a sales lead. I submitted a request to get pricing and information on XYZ product. And it took three months to get back to me. Yeah, I’m not gonna wait for you. Right. And so I think social I think LinkedIn and other social media, I think a big focus should be and is starting to be more engagement, a focus on quality engagement within those conversations versus just the overall reach and virality of those posts, right?

 

Andy Paul  

Yeah. And I would use that I would just base what you’re saying I would I would use the term interaction.

 

Dennis Brown  

Yeah, interaction. Sure. That’s really good, that’s a good slide.

 

Andy Paul  

They’re gonna put a premium on interaction,

 

Dennis Brown  

interaction engagement within the actual content themselves. Yeah. So who cares if you know if you get 10,000 views on your post, but you don’t generate any relationships that convert offline with your prospects and with your target market? I’d rather get 500 views and to two opportunities, right, where I can convert those conversations offline, or at least get some sort of a dialogue or maybe make a new connection. I don’t care About views, I really don’t care about views, I could care less about virality and views. The conversations these days are all around that. And I think I think the secret is to have interaction within that content. And that’s what will drive that know, like, and trust and create opportunity, more opportunities than any virality is going to create for you.

 

Andy Paul  

Yeah, I agree. I agree. 100% on,

 

Dennis Brown  

I think those are the two big things, I would point to the LinkedIn live and then a focus on interaction within the content to try to drive that relationship and move it forward.

 

Andy Paul  

Right, which really speaks to what we’re talking about initially in the conversation, which is the responsibility of individual sellers, individual contributors, to have a content strategy, even if it’s just curating right, because you’re not going to get any engagement unless you’re sharing something. And so sharing interaction, if you’re using LinkedIn has to become a critical part of it. Again, otherwise, you’re just spamming people. And as I say, you’re not selling you’re playing the odds and that’s not gonna get hurt.

 

Dennis Brown  

It’s not a winning strategy right? In any game, particularly in sales and marketing, so if you think just throwing, you know, a bunch of random connections out and messages and even random content, you know, you’ll you will be reinforced by getting an occasional lead or client here and there, but you’ll never have a predictable and sustainable source of, of leads or contacts or connections or sales

 

Andy Paul  

reps, which goes back to the first point, which is to look for a long term, long term view of the network you’re building and the value it has for you, again, over the duration of your career, and you’ll continue to build on that. But you have to be providing value to that network. That’s if you just have connections, and you’re not helping them in any way. There’s not much value. No one perceives you as being a value.

 

Dennis Brown  

Yeah, hundred percent. And there’s one more point I want to make. And this is where I got this question just the other day. And so I think it’s relevant. They’re like, Well, listen, what type of content should I be creating, right? What type of content should I be creating? And I say my theory is, even though I do LinkedIn consulting, coaching and training, the majority of my content and you can attest to this 80% of my content doesn’t directly talk about LinkedIn, lead generation or social selling, right. But a lot of that content is, excuse me, relevant to my target market. So if my target market is consultants, and b2b entrepreneurs, right, so, there’s a lot of different things that those people are interested in. So I’m using that to attract the audience and to develop some relationship with them. But it doesn’t always have to be around my product or service. I agree. Okay. And people think that that’s the case they think that they constantly have to be talking about, I mean, listen, if all I posted on was LinkedIn, LinkedIn, LinkedIn, LinkedIn, LinkedIn, LinkedIn every single day, you would get burned out in any hearing for me. I mean, it just happens. You get that, that that? You know, it’s almost like you’re like, Oh my God, not again, right. But if I vary my content in the type of content, the style of content Whether it be images videos text base or otherwise and I create some variation but I focus on topics that are interested in my target market I will tell you that that’s my approach is to try to vary the content in the topic and in the style and for me it works well

 

Andy Paul  

yeah and I would just add to that is because the soul mate could trigger a longer conversation about one life had multiple people might write about is to do it dance is talking about is you have to be interested in something other than just sales or what you’re doing right is what what else are you interested in? You know what else you want to learn about what else you have learned about the joint. Maybe I’ll share it with people if you know, the broader you are, the more attractive you’re going to be to people, potentially they’ll become your customers. And you have a favorite quote or saying it comes from British philosopher Thomas Huxley people listen to me show my show probably tired of hearing it but his philosophy and I’ve I found was early in my career and I’ve lived my my career by it is that you know, in life you’ve tried to learn something about everything, and everything about something. And it’s something about everything that makes you interesting.

 

Dennis Brown  

Yeah, absolutely no question. I mean, the people that win on Jeopardy and disappear mega you know, I was watching Jeopardy the other night. Jason are the people that are the most well read, right? And the people that have the widest broadest experience, right. It’s not the people that are super narrow, you know, they’re not, you know, there’s advantages to being niche, right. But when you’re talking about creating content and conversations and relationships, the broader you are and the deeper you are in those channels, the better off you’ll be. I remember you told me that you shared that with me in our first conversation. I think you shared that with me in our podcasts. Yeah.

 

Andy Paul  

So very important. All right. That was a great, fantastic conversation. So tell people where they can get a hold of you.

 

Dennis Brown  

Yeah, great. Well, listen, appreciate it. If you guys are, I put together a kind of a little gift for you guys. If you’re interested in learning how to generate leads. Inbound leads with LinkedIn kind of like some of the strategies I talked about, I put together a guide. It’s called The Ultimate Guide to generating inbound leads with a LinkedIn catchy phrase, right? So you can get that for free at ask Dennis brown comm forward slash guide that’s just asked Dennis brown comm forward slash guide. Feel free to connect with me on any of the social channels, particularly LinkedIn asked Dennis Brown. And if I can help you guys in any way just reach out let me know you heard from me and Paul show and I appreciate you having me, Paul. All right. Dennis, thank you very much. And thank you, Andy. I’m sorry. I’m thinking of Paul, my friend, one of my good friends. And thank you, Mandy. I really appreciate it.

 

Andy Paul  

You’re the one who works. Yeah, I’ve gone through my whole life of two first names. I respond. I appreciate it. Thank you so much. All right, everyone. Thank you for joining us, and we’ll look forward to seeing you next time. Dennis. Thanks a lot. Awesome.

Okay, friends, that was accelerated for this week. First of all, as always, I want to thank you for Joining me, and I want to thank my guest, Dennis Brown. Join me again next week as my guest will be Doug winter. Doug is the founder and CEO of seismic face right here in my favorite city, America’s finest city, San Diego. And we’re gonna be talking about the impact of sales enablement on sellers and buyers. And as always, we’re going to get a little bit off track and have a deep conversation about how to really elevate sales productivity, so you’ll definitely want to check that out. And be sure to join us then. So before you go, don’t forget to visit us at the sales house calm the sales performance accelerator for b2b sellers, just like you that is the sales house.com. And thanks again for joining me. So until next week, I’m your host, Andy Paul. Good selling everyone.

Bring DNA is the leading revenue acceleration platform that uses AI to help scale business growth. trusted by the world’s top sales teams across the globe. Ring DNA has proven to exponentially increase call Connect rates, opportunities and revenue wherever your teams live and work. So if your sales support team has gone fully remote, ring DNA can arm your team with the tools they need to work from anywhere on the planet. Learn more at ring dna.com forward slash Andy that’s ring dna.com forward slash Andy