On this week’s episode, our guest is “The LinkedIn Whisperer”, Brynne Tillman! Brynne is the CEO of Social Sales Link and for over a decade has been teaching entrepreneurs, sales teams, and business leaders how to leverage the awesome power of LinkedIn for social selling. She has adapted proven traditional sales techniques to the new, digital world in order to find and engage the right target market.

LinkedIn is the most powerful digital database for business. It offers users the ability to search and filter connections and leverage relationships in order to earn referrals and the permission to name-drop, like a virtual sales conference lobby social. Brynne’s insights into LinkedIn marketing helps companies and individuals maximize business opportunities on the site. Her tips include:

  • How to convert your profile from a resume into a client resource
  • Why it’s important to use a permission-based model
  • How to engage with influencer articles to find new business
  • The importance of offering free content to your network
  • And so much more

Brynne’s company offers e-learning memberships, coaching, and a community of like-minded business people making the most of what LinkedIn has to offer, but you can get all of her most important LinkedIn lessons by listening in now!

Mentioned in this episode:


Voiceover: You’re listening to the Conversational Selling Podcast with Nancy Calabrese.

Nancy Calabrese: Hi, it is Nancy Calabrese. And it’s time for Conversational Selling. The podcast where sales leaders and business experts share what’s going on in sales and marketing today and it always starts with the human conversation. Joining us today is Brynne Tillman, the LinkedIn Whisperer and CEO of Social Sales Link. For over a decade, she has been teaching entrepreneurs, sales teams and business leaders how to leverage LinkedIn for social selling. 

As a former sales trainer, and personal producer, Brynne adopted all of the traditional sales techniques and adapted them to the new digital world. She guides professionals to establish a thought leader and subject matter expert brand, find and engage the right targeted market and leverage clients and networking partners for warm introductions into qualified buyers. In addition, Brynne is the author of the LinkedIn Sales Playbook, A Tactical Guide to Social Selling. So folks, I’m sure we can all agree that LinkedIn is all over the place today, and an excellent resource, especially for the b2b world. Brynne, I know you have an abundance of tips to share with us today. So welcome to the show.

Brynne Tillman: Oh, my gosh, Nancy, thank you so much for having me. I’m so honored.

Nancy: Oh, well, ditto, ditto. And, you know, as I, as I opened up, LinkedIn is all over the place. I believe in LinkedIn marketing as an important channel in the marketing process. I’ve gotten clients from it, as I’m sure many of my listeners have. But why is it so important in sales and marketing? Why is this channel really credit a critical component to a plan?

Brynne: There’s so many directions, I can go with that answer. But the first one and the most simple one is that’s where the business people are. Right? This is, this is the professional platform, that almost everyone in business, particularly in the US, but even globally, is at least at least has a presence. So that’s number one. Number two, not only is it the biggest, I believe the biggest professional database, but it is the the only self updated database, meaning there are things like Dun and Bradstreet lists and Zoom info. 

But all of those are updated by either bots that are scanning the web or human beings, where LinkedIn is, hey, I moved my my company, I’m at a new company, I’m updating my profile. So I’ve been really, it’s as up to date as any info you can get anywhere. And the number one from a sales perspective, why I think LinkedIn is the most powerful tool in any tool chest, not just today is because we have the ability to search and filter our connections, connections and identify who they know that we want to meet and leverage our relationships to get right one referrals or permission to name drop. And I could go on with another 50. But I’ll start with those three. 

Nancy: Wow. So you know, what really caught my attention in the opener was that you adapted traditional sales techniques to the digital world? What techniques Did you adapt in particular? And how did you know it was time to do it?

Brynne: Well, you know, I, I don’t I started doing this before it was time to do it. But I knew it was a better way a faster way to get to where I wanted to go. So I guess it’s sort of a two part question. So let’s, I’m going to back up for a second and answer. The first part is what what did I do to adapt? And the interesting thing in answering that question is, what I do is bring in what I would traditionally do, just do it on digital. So for example, I’m just going to throw one example out and again, there could be 50 of these but I come across this very engaged upon article by an influencer in the industry who’s attracting lots of my potential buyers. I just stumbled across it or I went and I purposely founded but either way, there’s a gold mine sitting here. 

So I want you to think about this. This is a networking event that article, author is the keynote. And all these people that are commenting are, you know, in the audience or even in the lobby having a conversation before they even go into the audience. And they’re talking about the topic that that keynote has just posted, right? So in real life, if that were the case, you would walk into a circle of people talking at a networking event in or you know, prior to the, the, the main stage, and you would listen, first you wouldn’t kill, you wouldn’t butt your head into a circle of people say, hey, guys, I help companies just like yours. Right, right. That’s what this what people are doing on LinkedIn. 

What we need to do is get into that circle, listen, ask questions like, what would you naturally do in that environment? And we need to do ask questions, provide additional insights, not about your stuff. But about the topic you’re engaging on. Maybe I own everyone’s engaging on Nancy’s content that is so fabulous. And I say, hey, I, you know, I’m now one on one with someone who commented on Nancy’s stuff. And I say, I don’t know if you heard her podcast two weeks ago with Meredith Powell was absolutely phenomenal. If you’re interested, let me know. I’ll send you a link. And I’m still having a conversation around the topic. I haven’t moved to me yet. Because in real life, you wouldn’t move to you until they say, so by the way, what do you do?

Nancy: Right.

Brynne: Right. And some of that is, hey, they visit your profile. And you notice they visit your profile. So now they know what you do. And you can say, Hey, I noticed you checked out my profile, and I was checking out yours. I’m not sure if you’re exploring this kind of content. But you are, I’d be happy to send you that information too. Right. But it’s a permission based. It’s not pitching your face. And so you know, when you ask the question, taking the traditional networking in sales online, the irony of that is I didn’t have to do too much adapting.

Nancy: Right. I love what you just said permission based, not pitching in your face. 

Brynne: Yes. 

Nancy: All right. Did you come up with that? 

Brynne: Yes. 

Nancy: That’s a good one. I may steal it from you.

Brynne: I’ve already coined it, but you’re welcome to use it.

Nancy: Okay. I’ll give you a shout out if I use it, okay?

Brynne: Three times and then it’s yours. 

Nancy: Okay, thank you. So that answers the one part that when did you know it was the right time to kind of cut the cord and really just go into it. 

Brynne: Well, I was actually a co owner of the sales training company. And we were using LinkedIn and watching 10 years ago, as a as a loss leader, or maybe a win leader, because we were charging, but we would then sell them into more traditional sales training. And it wasn’t aligning well with me, I really wanted to just do the LinkedIn stuff. And my partner at the time didn’t. So we gave each other a hug. She laughed at me. And she said, when this trend is over, you’re always welcome back. And that’s seven and a half years later. We’re still here. But I love it. And it really it just resonates with me. You know, I see the LinkedIn logo and I get happy. It’s just my world.

Nancy: Yeah, well, you’re passionate about it. You know, speaking of passion, I just listened to Simon Sinek talk about passion, which I found on LinkedIn. And so it all goes back to LinkedIn. You also, and I read that you suggest converting your LinkedIn profile from a resume to a resource to become a thought leader. Why is this so important?

Brynne: Well, so I mean, if you’re looking for a job, just hold your ears and scream real loud, because when I’m about to say is wrong. But if you’re looking, if you are in a business development role, you have to earn the right for someone to care about what you do. You even have to earn the right for someone to care about how you can help them. I can’t tell you how many clients start with me, I don’t understand why I can’t get a call. I bring so much value. But they don’t know that yet. 

So no matter what you think you bring to the table. Yeah, they don’t even they have no interest in checking out your table. Right. So you have to earn the right for them to even want a conversation with you. And it can start with the profile. Right? And so they show up. And if it’s all resume driven, and if you’re like a real like hardcore sales person, and it’s my mission, my passion, my years in business, my great negotiating skills, my President’s Club four years in a row. You’re gonna lose them. That’s not what matters to them.

Nancy: Well, what I wanted to add was in listening to you describe that, you’re not describing what you do to help others correct and, and why people come to you, versus this is my great story and hope you love it come to me. 

Brynne: So, the interesting thing is, the next mistake people make is they tell them how they can help them first.

Nancy: Okay. 

Brynne: So you have to earn the right for them to care about how you can help them. And I’m not saying you have to tell them how they could buy from you, or they’ll never buy from you. But you’ve got to earn the right for them to care about that. And so that’s where the resource piece comes in. So, and there’s two major places to be a resource. Could be more, but two that we really stress, which is the about section and the featured section. So most people start their about section about me. Move all that into the experience. About you, about the company, about your products and services, move that into the experience, and make the about section about them. 

And don’t tell them how you can help them, actually help them. That’s the difference, right? If we will we help companies from go from this size to this size, we’ve helped a company move from a $10 million company to $100 million company in five years. We’ve all right, like, so I don’t even care yet. Because here’s the thing, they’re not actively shop, most of them are not actively shopping your stuff. They’re not at a networking meeting, you went up to someone in a networking meeting, and you’re in your first conversations, you’re talking about how we’ve helped other companies succeed, their eyes are rolling in the back of their head going, I can’t wait to get over to the crab dip and lead this person. 

But we’re doing it on LinkedIn, right? On LinkedIn. So what do we have to do, we have to really provide value. And I am going to make a bet that almost everyone on this that’s listening to this today has done this in real life, you’re talking with someone, you ask them about their business, you learn a little bit about their challenges. And we offer value and insights before we talk about our company. We offer some ideas for that we offer right and now all of a sudden, they’re like, oh, this is a smart person, this person is real. We’re not this is totally free consulting. And there are some sales trainers that say don’t ever give free consulting away. 

And I say hogwash, give it away as much as you want. I mean, not the same person for hours at a time, but a lot of people for 10 minutes at a time, right? Because they get to test drive you. Right. And you don’t very well maybe it’s different today, but very few people ever bought a car without test driving it, you got to drive the car for 10 minutes for free. And then if you wanted to keep driving the car, you bought it. But if you didn’t test drive it, you may not have known you’d love that car. And so we have to let them test drive us. And that comes out of bringing insights and value to the conversation naturally and organically in a way that says, oh my god, that was the free stuff like in the back of their head. Imagine if I worked with them. 

So back to the profile. That’s the job of the profile to do that to let them test drive us. So your about section should cover the challenge, some real insights, some aha moments that get them not only learning something new, but thinking differently about the way they’re doing business today, because that’s what gets them to raise their hand and say, yeah, I’m open to a conversation.

Nancy: Well, so I kind of think maybe we covered this because I had asked you to come up with a unique idea that is different and sets you apart, I guess within your space, right, the world of other LinkedIn marketers, what makes you unique? 

Brynne: I think one of the things that I do is I simplify everything. My clients will are blown away at how simple it is to implement what we teach. There are a lot of people that are really smart in our space. But everything seems very complicated and it’s over. Not I don’t wanna say overthought because you know, when I listened to it, I love it. But I’m on that level potentially, right? But for new people, like our trainings are short, but they’re impactful and they know exactly what to do and how to do it. And they have the right mindset for it. So they know why. They know how, and they get like that we’re working toward a goal and this what we’re doing right now is part of that goal. There’s very little fluff in anything you do.

Nancy: Well, that’s right up my alley. Talk to me about something you would like to spotlight. What in particular you want to share with the audience?

Brynne: Or you mean in an insights perspective?

Nancy: Well, um, you know, I know that you have the social sales link, maybe you can talk further about that and a membership program.

Brynne: We do. So everything is simple. Our e learning, it’s $99. And then we have if you’re a member, and you have coaching at $29 a month, so we keep it really, really simple. We have a twice weekly group coaching calls where our members come on, and they ask their questions, and they share their screens. And as a community, we work together to really bring value and insights. And what’s really fun is like much the people in the community are doing business with each other. And the people in the community are referring each other. 

So it’s gone way beyond like my little project. And it’s really an animal in and of itself, which is amazing. I’m so obsessed with it. I’m so happy. And then on the other side of it, which is our primary business or has been for most of the years is the corporate training. We teach both LinkedIn and Sales Navigator to sales teams.

Nancy: Okay. And you know, I’m sure, just a guess here that you’re full of interesting stories. Do you have one you would share with the audience?

Brynne: Oh, sure. Okay, um, this is my own story. I have client stories, too. But I would say probably nine, eight or nine years ago, I was practicing what I teach. So I had a client named Rob Petcove, who owned a benefits company now they’ve been bought out by Gallagher since but it was his own little benefits company the time. And we did some great stuff for them. And so of course, I’m gonna ask for referrals, because that’s what we do is really good sales people. 

But what I teach is to mine connections, and instead of saying, Rob, who do you know, I would say, Rob, I see, you know, these people, when we talk through them. One of them happened to be Rob Curley, who was a heavy hitter at TD Bank that I had been trying to get into for years and just had no luck. And I said, so how do you know Rob Curley? He goes, both our boys had juvenile diabetes. We’ve been in the same group since they were little. And he’s a great guy. I really love him. So can you make an introduction? Sure. Within 20 minutes, it was still in his office. I had a reply with Monday morning. 10am. Here’s the address. 

Nancy: Love it. 

Brynne: I showed up. And he looked at me and he’s like, alright, go. And I said, Well, why am I here he goes, because if Rob Petcove asked me to do something I’m doing and he’s one of my favorite people. So I said, if I can show you commercial lenders, how you can do the same thing he looked at his calendar, he said two weeks from Thursday. 11am. By the way, how much and it was the fastest sale I ever made. And they are still my client today.

Nancy: Love it. Wow. I think I don’t know if you document that story. Pass it out. Because it’s a good one, for sure. It’s leveraging the connections on LinkedIn.

Brynne: Yeah, that story is actually in my first book, that I published. 

Nancy: Okay. 

Brynne: But I mean, I’ve told it for years and years, and I’ve actually even told it to Rob’s team. So.

Nancy: I love it. Yeah. So tell me something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

Brynne: So I don’t know if nobody agrees with me on this. But we just finished a study. So I proved something out. So I don’t know, completely like no one agrees with me, because I do think there are people even colleagues that agree. And one particular colleague that inspired the study. But it’s whether or not to send someone a link to content. So we typically, throughout you would say, you know, hey, I noticed you’re interested in this. And this, I found a blog post on this topic. Here are some of the great insights, thought you get some value from it. Here’s the link. I’d love to hear your thoughts. 

So we did that for a long time just sharing valuable content, nurturing our connections. And one of the my colleagues said, that feels really spammy today. I really, this is an existing connection that I’ve had engagement with, but okay, so let’s, if that’s feeling spammy, let’s ask permission. So now, you know, I might say, hey, Nancy, I came across this article in Selling Magazine that I thought, you know, as someone who is deeply connected into sales, training, coaching, you find it of interest. Some of my takeaways were this, this and this, let me know if you’d like the link, I’d be happy to send it over to you. 

Nancy: Okay.

Brynne: So we did the test. And literally last week we finished it. We did 100 messages, giving the link and 100 messages, asking permission to send the link. The 100 messages that we sent, we got 19 click throughs. Not bad. Right? You okay, 19? That’s not bad, right? And remember, these are existing connections. So it’s not cold calling. It’s just nurturing people that we’ve already connected to. So 19 sounds right. But the second hundred, 69 of them said, sure, send me the link and 58 clicked through.

Nancy: Wow. 

Brynne: Right? 

Nancy: Yeah. 

Brynne: They didn’t feel spammy. I think two things happen. And now what I’m about to say is not part of the study. It’s my observation. Number one, they didn’t feel spammed by me. All right, they had the option, and they didn’t feel like I was trying to throw a link in their face. The second thing is FOMO fear of missing out, if I send you the link, you have the link, you can click through anytime, you’re not missing anything. It’s always available to you. If I dont’ send the link, you’re probably like, hmm, I wonder if that’s a good link. 

Nancy: I bet you’re right. Cool. So I’m just curious, what would be the next step, the people that went into it.

Brynne: So I mean, it would depend on so in this particular case, the next step was inviting them to if they clicked through inviting them to a webinar that was on that subject, which is in two weeks, so I’ll let you know. But that was the cadence we decided. So it looks like you had some interest in a day in the life of a social seller was around cadence and putting, you know, kind of a process around your social selling, if you’re interested, it’s completely free. And then we’ll sell them into the E learning for $99. At the end, they’re gonna get so much value. Right? You know, you know, but but that’s sort of the cadence. And then and if they want to hop off and not listen to the pitch, I mean, we’ll be really one of my transition slides is because I teach them about, you know, do we earn the right, we earned the right idea. 

And I’ll say, did we earn the right to tell you a little bit about how you could work with us? Put a y in chat? And everyone, yes, yes, yes, yes. Yes. Right. So we just did a permission base, can I sell to you? So my webinar runs the same way as everything else, then I’m asking you permission, can I tell you how you can work with us in the $99 you learning $29 a month coaching, and my and we sent it out to way more than those 200. But those were the 200 we were tracking for the money. And then most of the others were permission based. But we’ll probably have three or 400 people that register and maybe 150 to two hundred people that show up and maybe 75 that buy.

Nancy: All right, yeah. I’ll take that right. 

Brynne: Yes, absolutely. 

Nancy: Yeah. We are coming to the end of an amazing conversation. And the one takeaway, if anybody walks out of this or stop, you know, gets out of this program, what would that be? What do you want to leave the listeners with?

Brynne: The one takeaway is really treat the person on the other side of the message the same way you would on the other side of the table? These are human beings that we’re doing business with no automation, no bots, you wouldn’t send a robot to network for you. Just show up, be human, be of value. Have real conversations, the sales will come when the time is right.

Nancy: Wow. How can we find you? How can my listeners get in front of you?

Brynne: Well, I’m still the only Brynne Tillman on LinkedIn, which is pretty good. So that works. You can also access our free content and find us there at socialsaleslink.com/library, and there’s a ton of great resources there. But I think that’s those are probably the best ways to connect.

Nancy: Well, if this was awesome for me, and I hope it’s been awesome for all of you listening in. Have a fantastic sales day everyone and remember, reach out to Brynne. Let’s all get the most out of LinkedIn marketing. See you next time.

Voiceover: The Conversational Selling Podcast is sponsored by One of a Kind Sales. If you’re frustrated that you don’t have enough leads or your sales team complains that they just don’t have enough time to prospect, we can help. To work with Nancy and her team one on one to help you manage your sales team, install her proven outbound sales process and create more bottom line results, email her now at Nancy@oneofakindsales.com. To learn more about Nancy and her outbound sales secrets, grab your free copy of her book, The Inside Sales Solution at oneofakindsales.com/book.