For my business LinkedIn has outperformed them all. Selling is great on the platform but more than that is the relationships you can develop.
As part of my series of interviews about “How to Use LinkedIn To Dramatically Improve Your Business”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jess Tiffany, the C.E.O. of the Marketing and Networking University an online business education platform and sister company MNU Digital a full service digital marketing agency. Jess is an International Best Selling Author of his LinkedIn book Growth Hacking: Strategically Grow Your Business Connections for Zero to 10K in 365 Days.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
As a child I have just always been very entrepreneurial. When I was 12 I conned the pastor’s wife at my church to let me sell her Avon products. It was so easy just smile and say do you want to buy some Avon products to the little ladies at church. Instant sale! Then in Boy Scouts I sold enough product to pay for the National Jamboree. Later I sold cars, pagers, cell phones, services, farm products, vitamins you name it and I always trended towards the leader lists almost every time for most sales.
At some point I ended up contracted to be on the team that runs all the trainings on 3M’s campus here in Minnesota. I had the opportunity to schedule, organize, distribute and verify compliance on the various trainings. I would introduce speakers on topics like polymeric nano-fibers, then business accumen, accounting, sales, abrasives etc. etc. I found that I really loved facilitating education. Sadly, the entire education team for the most part got let go during the economic issues around 2008.
Forward that a few years and I had the opportunity to facilitate education and sell via the Marketing and Networking University. As I was building this company is where LinkedIn came into play as I needed to track down high level people to teach on our platform. Overtime, I became super efficient on LinkedIn and other platforms. The Marketing and Networking University is a joy to build, however we did find some people struggled even after taking courses. This prompted the necessity to offer full service help through our sister company MNU Digital.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?
I fell for a scam in which a person had my company do some graphic design. The customer had a great explanation how he could not use PayPal but could use QuickBooks. I had QuickBooks so I set up a merchant account so I could take his credit card.
He then proceeded to overpay me by about $1,000 and said I had to forward the overage to the printer because the printer could not take credit cards. This seemed odd to me, however, my thought was, I have the money in my bank account so how could this be a scam? As a precaution I called QuickBooks and they explained it probably is some sort of scam and wait a week or so in case there was some funny business. Luckily, I did not pay the person right away. The card came back as stolen and I got fined for the chargeback plus fees, and I still paid my designer.
I learned to never accept over payments and if someone cannot pay the “normal way” then start to question everything. I am not interested in relearning this lesson. That one hurt.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
When I was first starting out I was working with a new person who was super excited about the opportunity to work with me. The new guy referred me to someone that was less than an ideal, but being the superstar I thought I was I agreed to meet with this guy. He had a total sourpuss attitude, to put it mildly. After giving him my super powerful energetic presentation that closes everyone…. He looks us in the eye and says. “I would rather sell drugs on the street then do anything with you guys.” We said thank you for your time, left and laughed all the way home about this guys response. It was a good reminder to focus on ideal clients vs. just anyone who will let you book a time.
Which social media platform have you found to be most effective to use to increase business revenues? Can you share a story from your experience?
For my business LinkedIn has outperformed them all. Selling is great on the platform but more than that is the relationships you can develop. For instance I met a local Minneapolis person, She ended up moving to Florida. She then introduced me to the owner of LinktoExpert.com that lead me to Rebecca Hall Gruyter the host of several podcasts and a publicist. Rebecca helped me become a International Best Selling Author, put me on several live radio shows, introduced me to some podcasts hosts that had me on as a guest and got me featured in a few publications. All of these wins because I sent out a connection request to a local Minneapolis business lady. I have dozens of stories like this, it truly is an amazingly effective platform.
Let’s talk about LinkedIn specifically, now. Can you share 5 ways to leverage LinkedIn to dramatically improve your business? Please share a story or example for each.
1) The ultimate way to leverage LinkedIn is to establish relationships, referrals and joint venture opportunities. An example of that is I have been able to connect with several influencers that have over 500,000 connections on platforms outside of LinkedIn. Because LinkedIn was not their main platform I could get right to them. After building these relationships and gaining trust, I was comfortable asking them to promote my book when it came out. This was part of the reason I was able to make it to International Best Seller status so quickly.
2) One of the most powerful tools in person to person marketing in a long time is the LinkedIn app. In my LinkedIn domination mastermind one of the things we teach is how to go into a room, walk people through using a group connection tool in the LinkedIn app that can allow the entire room to connect with each other. You can audibly hear the gasps of disbelief as they are able to network a room in seconds instead of hours.
3) Video as everyone is talking about is hot. It is the same on LinkedIn. In order to maximize your exposure here are a few tips. 1) If possible upload the video natively to LinkedIn. 2) If you have an external website link DO NOT put it in your post. Say, link in comments and put the link in the comments. This tricks the algorithm into seeing more activity as people look in the comments for the link, and LinkedIn doesn’t penalize the post for trying to take you off their platform. 3) Transcribe or describe what is in the video to increase user engagement.
Here is one of our clients describing the results from our tips.
“Jess Tiffany has been an invaluable resource to my business with regards to his LinkedIn masterclass. Our posts went from a few hundred views to thousands of views in mere days. His simple yet effective insight/tips have been straight forward and easy to implement. We highly recommend him to all looking for greater exposure via social media! He knows his stuff!” — Employment Law Attorney
4) A little known hack is to find an influencer that you admire, and find a post that has a ton of comments. Open up the comments and hit like on a bunch of the comments by high level executives or other folks that fit in your niche that have commented. The influencer will be notified, thus you may get noticed by them, and you likely will get several connection requests from people you commented or liked in the post. I have had as many as 25 connection requests come in one day by using this technique.
5) Make your profile P.O.P. to create a magnet-like draw to your profile. Be sure you appear polished with a profession quality picture and a well crafted headline message. Next describe the opportunities you present to your potential clients. Finally make sure your profile describes the problems you can solve for your clients. By doing these things you will attract people to you and have to do less outreach to connect with your correct audience.
Because of the position that you are in, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
One of my passions is to help struggling businesses. My friend from High School, Vern Stading, has started a licensed not-for-profit Special Benefits Corporation called Devoted Foundations. His focus is to help struggling businesses on the brink of failure to restructure and fix the problems in the company and help them turn around and become a viable business. I would love to see more business owners giving back and helping out struggling companies become profitable and able to hire and grow.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
Wow, there are so many good choices on this one. I am going to have to go with John Maxwell. His leadership books are amazing. I have seen him in person several times but I have not had the opportunity to meet him in person. I would enjoy having an eggs Benedict while picking his brain and listening intently to every word he has to say.
Thank you so much for these great insights. This was very enlightening!
About the author:
Chaya Weiner is the Director of branding and photography at Authority Magazine’s Thought Leader Incubator. TLI is a thought leadership program that helps leaders establish a brand as a trusted authority in their field. Please click HERE to learn more about Thought Leader Incubator.