Mastering LinkedIn for Social Selling with Brynne Tillman
Today is all about how to use LinkedIn to develop new relationships and business for your bank. We sit down with Brynne Tillman, CEO of Social Sales Link. 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.
Learn more at https://brynnetillman.com/
The views, information, or opinions expressed during this show are solely those of the participants involved and do not necessarily represent those of SouthState Bank and its employees.
Intro: Helping community bankers grow themselves, their team and their profits. This is “The Community Bank Podcast.”
Caleb Stevens: Well, Hey everybody. And welcome to “The Community Bank Podcast.” I’m your host for today, Caleb Stevens. I’m joined by Tom Fitzgerald, Tom, good to be seeing you today in the studio. How are you?
Tom Fitzgerald: Yeah Caleb, good to see you. It’s been a little while since we’ve got back together, but, here we are.
Caleb Stevens: So today’s show is all about LinkedIn. We did one, I don’t know, six months ago or so with Mark Galvin. And that was a good show. We wanted to follow that up with Brynne Tillman. She is the CEO of Social Sales Link. She helps coach a business, people, bankers, all kinds of folks on how to use LinkedIn to up their referrals, to great content and to grow their business. And she also works with our friend Jack Hubbard over at St. Meyer and Hubbard, helping coach specifically bankers and commercial bankers in this arena.
Caleb Stevens: And Tom, I have to ask you, was this a convicting show because I really don’t see much from you on LinkedIn. So when are you going to step your game up and put more, put more effort into LinkedIn.
Tom Fitzgerald: I think I’m going to give Brent a call as far as engaging her services? Because yes, it’s got some dust collecting on my LinkedIn profile.
Caleb Stevens: I know.
Tom Fitzgerald: I will admit that.
Caleb Stevens: You could be promoting this show a lot more and getting us more followers. So I don’t know, maybe we need to, we need to have a monthly review for all of our team on this. I’m just joking, but seriously, if you are like most people, you probably have a LinkedIn profile, but you’ve never really put a lot of time into it. Maybe you share some things here and there and you maybe accept your connections that send you an invite, but you don’t do a whole lot with it Brynne makes the case that you are leaving money on the table by not investing time and energy and effort into LinkedIn. And she talks about why that is. She talks about how LinkedIn has a short game as well as a long game, and you need to be playing both. And she also talks all about how LinkedIn will help your bank’s overall marketing efforts and your marketing campaigns that you’re running and helping you really see a return. On investment for those dollars as well. So let’s jump into today’s interview with Brynne Tillman. Thanks for joining us.
Well, Brynne, thanks for hopping on the show today. It’s great to be talking with you. How are you doing?
Brynne Tillman: I’m well, thank you so much for having me, Caleb. I’m thrilled to be here
Caleb Stevens: Give us a little bit of your background and everything you do with St. Meyer and Hubbard and with your company, social sales link.
Brynne Tillman: Thanks so much. I’m the EVP of social selling for St. Meyer and Hubbard and I’m the CEO of social sales link and essentially what we do is we help professionals leverage LinkedIn to start more sales conversations. And my work with St. Meyer and Hubbard is solely helping bankers, master LinkedIn.
Caleb Stevens: And kind of along those lines, when did you start noticing LinkedIn as a platform that was full of opportunity for bankers, for business professionals to develop new relationships and grow their business and grow their sales? Because we were talking before we started recording, it felt like we started out with the Facebook thing and Twitter, you know, 10, 12, 15 years ago. And then we had Instagram and Snapchat come on the scene. LinkedIn’s been around for a long time. I mean, I remember using it 10 years ago in college, but it really doesn’t feel like it’s been all that long ago, maybe three, four years where it’s really taken off and people are really seeing the value to it. So when did you start noticing those opportunities?
Brynne Tillman: Just about a dozen years ago. So, actually very early on, it was very clear that LinkedIn solved a major problem that I had, that the bankers I was working with had, which was getting more referrals. So most commercial bankers or bankers that are responsible for business development are trained to ask for referrals. So we say, Hey, Mr. Client, I’m so glad we’ve been able to help you get that line of credit that really, help you to get the inventory that you needed, and all those crier, the people that you needed and all that stuff, who do you know, that could use our banking services the way you have? And inevitably nine times out of 10, the client would shrug their shoulders and saying, I can’t think of anyone right now, but if someone should ask, I’d definitely refer you.
Well, I remember just sitting in 1992 way before LinkedIn and Facebook and all those fun things. I remember sitting in front of a client staring at his overflowing Rolodex thinking if I could get my hands on that for 20 minutes, I could see who he knew that I wanted to meet and then ask for very specific referrals, introductions and to people I knew he knew, but it wasn’t exactly politically to crack to say, Hey, Mr. Client, can I send them through your address book, Right? When I saw LinkedIn, that’s when I recognized it. So it solved that problem because the, there, there are a lot of different reasons to use LinkedIn. But the reason I chose LinkedIn as the number one sales tool is because you can search and filter your connections’ connections. So I can look through my client’s rolodex or, look through their address book and identify the 8, 10, 12 people that my client knows that I might want to meet, run the names by them, and maybe end up with 2, 3, 4 meaningful introductions that I already pre-vetted.
Caleb Stevens: Now Brynne, you, advocate for a five pillar plan to really up your LinkedIn game. Can you kind of step through some of those pillars that you speak about?
Brynne Tillman: Yeah, that’s a great question. So they’re really five areas, five pillars that bankers really need to focus on. If in fact, they want to use LinkedIn for business development. It’s very different. If you are using it to find a job or to recruit and stuff, very different for recruiting. But if you’re finding a job, everything we teach goes out the window and it’s all different skills, but if you’re using it from a business development, there are five pillars. The first one is moving your resume or converting your resume, your profile from a resume to a resource. So right now, most people’s LinkedIn profiles is a resume. It’s the years in business, my passion, my mission I’ve hit plan five years in a row. All those things that your clients don’t care about, right? They don’t, what do they care about?
How can you help me? How do you help my business grow faster? How do you help me scale? How do you help me get into a better building? Those are the things that our clients care about. Treasury services that can help me run my business better, but they don’t care about the treasury service as much as how does your treasury service make my business easier, run smoother. And so we have to kind of rethink the way we position things. So instead of saying, we do all these things, we want to actually move it to kind of educating around that the differentiators, the things they should expect from treasury service, so that they go, oh, I’m not getting that. I want that. Like that kind of mindset shift. And believe it or not, we want that in our profile because that’s an opportunity for them to go, Ooh, that’s interesting.
This is worth a conversation. So profile number one, number two, social listening. I think it’s, it’s almost hysterically Common is when I talk with bankers that are using LinkedIn, mostly all they’re doing is sharing content and the content they share, they say, you know, I get some engagement, but it’s other bankers. Well that’s because the content they’re sharing is content they like, not content that their clients want to consume or their prospects want to consume. So we have to do a little social listening. What do our clients care about? One of the things you mentioned is that you guys talked about the economy. They care about that, [crosstalk] But they don’t care about necessarily, loans specifically. They care about the money, but they don’t want to hear the intricacies around getting a line of credit.
So I think you guys clearly get that because you know, one of the things is bankers care about the economy, but their clients care about the economy. So you want to share content that your clients consume. And so we have to do that through social listening. What are they engaging on now? What’s a priority for them? Talk to them. Social listening is also social questioning, use polls on LinkedIn to find out what their priorities are and what matters to them. Number three is content. And that has, that’s a three legged stool. We want to curate content, other people’s content to share. We want to create original content and we need to engage on content. So the first one was profile. Second one, social listening. Third one is the three legged content. The fourth one is nurturing our existing connections.
And this is something we all fall short on. We’ve got 500, a thousand, 3000 connections, yet we’re out there going net new net new all the time. We need to go back and take inventory of our existing connections and identify who in our list should we be talking to? So one of our clients, Michelle Vincent in the middle of the pandemic, when everything was like, shut down, did this. And she noticed one of her clients moved from one company to another company when she took inventory. She took a look at where are my people? She’s like, I didn’t know that she made that move. And she brought in a $1.5 million account, which is now over 3 million in the middle of the pandemic because she took inventory. And it was an easy call to someone that had worked with her before. So one thing that we know that LinkedIn tells us is on average.
And if you’re selling into CFOs, this is absolutely statistically accurate as there’s a 20% turnover year over year. So if you’ve been on LinkedIn for five years, everyone has moved, not everyone, but a significant number of those people have moved or moving. So CFOs that you called on four or five years ago are at a new company, so they’re new opportunities with people you’ve engaged with before. And number five is warm market prospecting for referrals. So that’s going back to the reason I chose LinkedIn as my primary sales tool, because now we have the opportunity for the clients that love us. And we should have a lot, we can search their connections, bring a list of people to them, and ultimately ask very purposefully for introductions. And we can do that with our CPAs. And we could do that with the payroll, people that keep bugging us to have meetings, take them now, search their connections and ask for some introduction.
Caleb Stevens: There you go. So let’s drill down a little bit on what you mentioned. I think it was step three, which is content and here’s something I’ve noticed before. And I’d love to get your take on this. It’s a three legged stool. What you mentioned, sharing content, other people’s content, curating that content, creating original content. That’s yours. You wrote it, you posted the video, you typed the words and three, engaging on other people’s content. Comments, shares, likes those sorts of things. I’ve noticed that some people tend to major in one and get quiet in the other two and that’s something I I’d probably fall into as well. I share this podcast a lot and I share other people’s content some, but I honestly don’t create a lot of original content to me. And so you’re here challenging me on this show as well. Talk about why all three matter, is there an algorithm component that matters or is it just, you need to get good at all of them? Why do you think that matters?
Brynne Tillman: Well, so the algorithm piece, isn’t smart enough to know what was yours or what was curated, but there is an algorithm to LinkedIn but it’s more around, is it a video? Is it a document? Is it text? Is it an image, is it uploaded video or a link to video? So the algorithm itself, doesn’t necessarily get affected by what you’re sharing necessarily. There’s some caveat to that, that I could get into, but ultimately it’s the reputation that you’re building that to me is what’s most important. There used to be called an 80/20 rule, 80% of other people’s content, 20% of yours, so, when it’s always your content, people tend to glaze over and say, he’s always promoting himself, even if it’s not a promotion, but ultimately whatever you’re sharing kind of needs to do five things if you want this for social selling.
So again, if you’re sharing content just for engagement, and you’re not looking to convert the connections to conversations, it doesn’t have to do these five things. But if you are looking to convert, take that content and convert the people that engage to conversations, another five rule. So number one, it needs to resonate with your buyer. So if you are curating a piece of content and you’re speaking directly to how small business owners in your county are doing X, Y, and Z, you need to start the topic like when you share it, that literally says Montgomery county, small business owners are, cause I go, oh, that’s for me, we have to be really specific or people that there’s too much other content that if they don’t see immediately that it’s for them, they glaze over in their gone. Number two, you need to create curiosity. One liner, I’m not talking about deep curiosity. But it could be, you know, do you fall in the top 3% of the CEO’s and you’re I don’t know. Let me see.
Caleb Stevens: A little bit of Buzz feed, kind of a headline in there, just a tiny bit.
Brynne Tillman: It still works. It captures their attention, but once you do this and that’s fine for engagement, you could stop there and get engagement. But if we really want to start to build this rapport and connection with people, the right people that we want to have a conversation with, we need to hit three more points. Number three is we need to teach them something new. Even if it’s really little teaching, them something new could be kind of anything that they go, oh, that’s interesting. Oh, I didn’t think of that before. Something like that’s going on in the world that relates to their business that they didn’t think about before. The fourth one and this is really important from a conversion standpoint is what you taught them needs to get them thinking differently about how they’re doing business, how they’re banking today, for example.
So it might be, did your bank serve you? Did you get your PPP loan through your bank? Or did you have to go somewhere else? Like now I go, oh gosh, my bank wasn’t there for me. I don’t know, whatever that was, because that happened a lot, in a lot of places. And so now they’re going, oh, I like my bank, but yeah, they really weren’t there. I mean, that’s just one example. What are some of the things? So now they’ve kind of going, I’m questioning my bank just a little bit. I’m wondering if maybe I should look at other options. It’s like just planting that little bit of a seed is what gets them closer and closer to being willing to take your call.
The last one. So we had resonate, create curiosity, teach them something new, get them thinking differently about their current bank, their current solution, and then create a compelling moment. So the creating a compelling moment is the only way we can know who they are, It’s content. So if they’re a lurker, you might see you had 473 views of this, but only nine people commented. We don’t know who all those other people are. So if we’re not creating a compelling moment, that creates a reaction, a comment, an outreach, and accepting your connection requests and asking you to connect. We can’t start a conversation. So the compelling moment is really a call to action, asking them a question, getting them to engage. If this resonates with you, click the light bulb in comments, and ask them to say something in comments. I’ve had people tag your favorite client in comments, There’ve been, tag your client of the weekend comments. And now you’re bringing in other people, you need to create a compelling moment because you can’t start a conversation with lurkers because you don’t know who they are. We have to convert the lurkers to engagers.
Caleb Stevens: Well, let me ask you this brynne, because you talked as part of your five pillars, you’ve kind of mentioned some don’ts as far as, creating a compelling account or profile. Is there one thing, a lot of our bankers, they sort of got into LinkedIn because well, we had to, and the effort that went into it probably is not that great. Is there one mistake that you see over and over again, that sort of that killer like, oh, I’m going to move on to the next profile after I see that.
Brynne Tillman: Well, so the profile mistake is commercial banker at ABC Bank is your headline. Think of the headline, as like a newspaper headline. There are people that are paid well, not great money, but money to write headlines for newspapers. and what’s the goal to get them to want to read the newspaper. So you need a compelling headline. So your headline typically, because it’s going to go a little bit back to, there’s no education in this, but who you help, how you help them and a little bit of either the results you bring them or why you? So, there are some banks that already have great taglines that you can pull from the tell stories, but it could be commercial banker at bank just isn’t compelling. But if you say, partnering with small business owners to help them get the capital and treasury services they need, so they can grow their business beyond their wildest dreams.
If that’s what they want to do, some people don’t want to grow their business. So that may not be the best thing for them, but so they can meet their business plan and have peace of mind. I don’t know and we could go in lots of directions, but all of a sudden like, oh, they work with small business owners? They work closely? We have one bank that the banker talks a lot about local decision-making global experience. Things like that they feel is their differentiator. The goal is to create enough interest for them to keep reading.
Caleb Stevens: I like to think too, a typical bankers’ LinkedIn profiles kind of like what you talked about about the resume is where it’s like, this is things I’ve done. This is things that I’ve accomplished where you want to turn that around 180 degrees to where it’s like, what can I do for you? This is how I can help you.
Brynne Tillman: Yeah, absolutely, because that’s all they care about. Do they care that you have a ton of experience? Maybe when they choose you as the banker, but that doesn’t get you the first call.
Caleb Stevens: Okay. So, two part question here for you. The first is I can see a lot of our listeners saying right now, okay Brynne, this sounds great. I’m not arguing that there’s value to what you’re talking about, but I’m a bank president or I’m a bank CEO or executive, and I’ve done this a long, long time. And I’ve had a lot of success having little to zero presence on social media. Maybe I made a LinkedIn profile, like Tom said, because it was sort of the thing to do, but I’ve put very little effort into it and Brynne my bank’s doing just fine. Why should I invest in LinkedIn, that sounds like a lot of time and effort. And what’s the return for me and my bank. Any thoughts or advice to that listener?
Brynne Tillman: Yeah. So the first thing I’m gonna say, I’m just gonna tell a quick little story. I started my career actually at Dunn and Brad Street. And I remember when we got an email in 1992, it was actually CC mail. It wasn’t even email. It was called CC mail. And I remember sitting in my boss’s office going, how do you guys expect me to have any time to answer this? I am so busy. There’s no time for email. Well, I think that’s where social is right now. It’s new enough that people are like, I just don’t have the time for this, but it’s going to become so essential that you’ve got to embrace it or you’re going to fall behind. So let’s just talk about why a CEO would want this go Google yourself. I promise in the top three, I shouldn’t promise. I can almost guarantee no guarantees.
I can almost guarantee in the top three will be your LinkedIn profile. So people are vetting you. I’ve worked with some C-level executives that were looking to get bought because they needed their profiles to be attractive to banks that were looking to merge with other companies to buying companies This is your micro site. Your website could be phenomenal, but it’s really not showcasing you as an executive. That’s what your LinkedIn profile does. That’s a one-time investment. It’s not ongoing once your profile is there, if you have other accomplishments and things you want to add, you can always add those. But once you’ve got great profile, you’ve got a great profile. So that’s number one. Number two, your clients, they may be vetting the commercial lender,
So your client facing people need to have great profiles because they’re Googling them too. They may not think, Hey, I need to look them up on LinkedIn as the first place to go. But they are going to Google. They are, and LinkedIn is coming up in the top three. So having a strong value centric, presence is important. No presence is a red flag for people today. If you have no presence [CROSSTALK 24:24] people start to think that’s a little weird that you don’t have a LinkedIn profile. Why can’t I find you? What are you hiding? And that’s definitely where we are today. This is also a place where depending on the size, the CEO of the size bank, most CEOs still have some hand in building business. Not all, but most bank CEOs are still involved in the relationship business,
Like we’re building relationships, maybe even recruiting board members, recruiting C-level executives, C-level executives still have a place in this. The best way to recruit is through your warm market, even the board. Let’s say you’re growing your board, search the connections of your existing board members and review names with them of other people that you might want to bring on your board. Let’s say you’re looking for a new operating officer, go look at all the C-level executives and your board members and see what COO’s are they connected to? What other bankers are they connected to? And especially in this crazy hard to recruit talent world, the best way to get talent is to find passive candidates through warm market ones that are not out there looking for work necessarily, but are willing to take your call because the shared connection said, Hey, you got to just have a conversation. So lots of reasons why C-level executives need to be on. And the last one is, I don’t know that we’re ever really completely going back to the conferences and the trade chosen, the networking in person. I think we’ll go back some, but I don’t know if we’re ever really going back to the way that it was. And that’s where we got to know and trust people and the remote way is to attract, teach and engage people to get to the know like and trust.
Caleb Stevens: Okay, go ahead.
Brynne Tillman: No, I just ramped [LAUGHTER]
Caleb Stevens: This is great. So second part to my question here. I was a part of a marketing round table, not too long ago, with a local bank here in Georgia and it was great. We were sharing ideas. I was learning a lot, but the chief lending officer, made a statement that I thought was very interesting and I wrote it down. He said, nothing we’re doing in our marketing is really helping to drive commercial lending. And what’s interesting about that statement is commercial lending is typically the most profitable piece of a bank’s business, the commercial loans. And so I started thinking, investing in LinkedIn and investing in your commercial lenders and empowering them to up their LinkedIn game, I think would pay huge dividends over time if you’re consistent and you do it well. And like you’re saying you’re strategic, and I’ve even seen companies create a full-time position internally called their LinkedIn evangelist. And all they do is help their employees, their team members drive business and improve their LinkedIn presence and profile. And that’s all they do is, hey, I’m going to focus internally on our team, helping us as a team, get better at LinkedIn and that’s their full-time job. And I’ve heard them say this over time, maybe not in the short run, but in the long run, this helps us find new clients close, more deals, grow our business. So for a bank, I mean, do you think there’s some carry over there in terms of how they think about their marketing strategy and their marketing dollars?
Brynne Tillman: Well, absolutely, but what I would say is LinkedIn has a long game and a short game. So the content is the long game. I I’ve been sharing content for a dozen years on LinkedIn, there are people that I connect with, So I’m going to back up for a second, Our definition of social selling is building relationships, being a resource, bringing insights to the table, understanding that the business will come when the time is right. So I have people that are not an opportunity today, but three years from now, they go to a new company and they’re searching for a new bank. Well, not for me, but LinkedIn training, but for you guys. They’re searching and you’ve been top of mine. So I just closed a really nice client who I love working with, and I’ve been connected to this guy for five years.
We had three message exchange when we first connected it was not really a prospect in the top of my mind, now is a vice president of business development and he wasn’t even shopping anyone else. He brought me in and it was a fast close. So when you are the banker, that’s the long game. When you’re the banker, that’s consistently sharing valuable content that even the lurkers are getting value from, you may not be converting them all from lurker to engager, but the lurkers, when they need a new bank where they need some advice on banking, you’re top of mind, that’s the long game. The short game are the referrals. I have a client right now that I’m working with, a banker who, has enormous relationships.
So he is one of the people that traditionally, I’ve got great relationships. Why do I need LinkedIn? And he went through our training and it was, a little bit of pushback for a little bit of time. I hope [INAUDIBLE 30:20] no, it’s okay. A little bit of pushback for a little bit of time, but what we ended up doing was we exported all of his connections and we identified all of his clients that love him, that he’s connected to and we had them connect with all the ones that love him that weren’t. But we mentioned this earlier, we identified clients that he worked with eight, 10 years ago that are now at new companies and so that’s short game. That’s real sales. It’s not marketing.
So there’s a marketing side to LinkedIn and there’s a prospecting sales side to LinkedIn and the prospecting sales side. He closed a new client in three or four weeks, a nice client again, that’s just like I was saying, when Michelle who closed the big client, because that he noticed someone he worked with that already knew, liked, and trusted him, and he was able to get new business. So that’s the short game. And, for the people that say just don’t have time, if you’ve invested any time in building relationships, anytime in networking, anytime in growing referrals, this is the fastest way to do it.
Caleb Stevens: Well tell us Brynne, I know we’ve got probably more than a handful of listeners out there that have a LinkedIn account, but they’re like just still unsure how to go about, upping the game on that profile. How can they get in touch with you to kind of enlist your services, to maybe help in that endeavor?
Brynne Tillman: That’s a nice softball there. Thank you, so first obviously connect with me on LinkedIn, that’s the best place you can reach out via email@example.com and you can actually have some free resources at linkedInlibrary.com.
Caleb Stevens: Oh well, that’s good, fantastic. Well, thank you Brynne, for your time. This has been super informative. I feel like we could go for another hour talking about strategy and LinkedIn and referrals, and this is great content. I know our listeners are going to get a lot out of it and I hope more people who are listening, take the next step and invest more time in the LinkedIn and see the dividends pay off in the future. So thank you again for your time.
Brynne Tillman: Thanks for having me. This was a lot of fun.
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