HOW TO GENERATE MORE LEADS ON LINKEDIN

How to generate more leads on LinkedIn with Dana Lindahl

  • What we've been realizing recently is that LinkedIn is actually a great place to post content.
  • The one thing I tell most people is that there is such a thing as too much content on LinkedIn.
  • Any person that's trying to actually generate more leads on LinkedIn, they need to focus first on having a completely optimized LinkedIn profile. This is what I view as the modern business card today to B2B sales.
  • If someone were to gain access to your message box and post that publicly, would you be embarrassed by what was there?
  • So the biggest mistake I see all the time with people using LinkedIn is just bad targeting. 

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Any person that's trying to generate leads on LinkedIn needs to focus on having an optimized LinkedIn profile. I view this as the modern-day business card.

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Doug: Well, welcome back listeners to another episode of Real Marketing Real Fast. Today we're going to talk about lead generation. All things around lead generation, how to position yourself as an expert, how the world has changed in the last six to eight years in terms of lead generation, but more importantly, how it has changed in the last six to eight months. And my guest in studio today is Dana Lindahl.

Dana is the founder of a company called Legendary Leadgen and it's one of the first outbound focused marketing agencies. He and his team have been helping business to business, B2B service companies, and marketing agencies grow since 2014. So he's not the newest guy on the block, he's been around. He probably got some war wounds to show for that. Now he and his team specialize in helping companies set up sales appointments with their ideal prospects as well as establishing them as an authority within their industry. So if you're interested in generating highly qualified leads, using highly professional, respectful, and engaging techniques, I would suggest that you stay tuned. I really enjoyed my conversation with him and listen in.

Doug: So I'd like to welcome Dana to the Real Marketing Real Fast podcast today. Hey Dana, super excited to have you on the show today. So, welcome to the Real Marketing Real Fast podcast.

Dana Lindahl: Hey Doug, glad to be here.

Doug: So, I can't think of a better topic to talk about than lead generation. I mean, there are so many elements in running our business and we can argue which one is more important, but I would say that if you don't have a well-qualified lead, you're not making sales, then you really don't have a business. So, maybe you want to take a minute and just fill in the kind of background for our listeners. Kind of what your superpower is and what you guys do.

Dana Lindahl: Yeah, sure. So our superpower, in general, is outbound marketing, although we've seen that take a wild drive since we started here in 2014. We started out primarily doing outbound emails and now we find ourselves on LinkedIn and to be honest, our method now is not really based around marketing, so much as it is around content and authority building.

Doug: Okay. So when you say content authority, what does that mean?

Dana Lindahl: So we help our clients to establish themselves as authorities on LinkedIn by producing content that puts themselves out there as thought leaders within their industry. So this all kind of starts off by growing their networks so that people can actually see their content, see who they are, and see what they have to say. All of this would be for nothing if it didn't actually get out there into the world so people could see it. So, instead of doing the normal thing that you're probably seeing, all of your listeners are probably getting bombarded on LinkedIn by outbound messages with Calendly links and let's get on the phone and let me see if I can figure out your pain point for you so that I can then sell you something based on what you've told me. This is the kind of endemic message that happens in your inbox on LinkedIn.

Doug: Are we doing a screen share? I thought this was a podcast, you're looking at my LinkedIn inbox with all the people that want to solve my problem and get on the phone call yet they don't know what I do.

Dana Lindahl: Yeah, exactly. I have LinkedIn lead generation companies reaching out to me to see if they can put sales appointments in my calendar.

Doug: That's funny.

Dana Lindahl: I get three to five of those a day. But the thing about it is that if you're reaching out to somebody on LinkedIn and you're in their inbox and you provide a service, that person knows that you're available to get on the phone to talk with them about your service.

Doug: Yep, we're in business.

Dana Lindahl: Yeah.

Doug: Yeah, I'm happy to talk if you want to talk, yep.

Dana Lindahl: So the constant, “Hey, would you like to get on a call? Just checking in, would you like to get on a call?” It used to work, it did. We started this in 2014 and if I'm really honest here, I wish we were back in the days of 2014 where it was easy enough to spin up a list, send out an email with your value proposition, get someone on the phone and if they like what you have to say, they'll buy from you. The issue is that today so many people are doing this, that it is just creating a whole bunch of noise pollution and it makes it harder to stand out and everyone's just tired of it. Nobody really wants to have their LinkedIn inbox, their email inbox inundated with these sorts of spammy messages. And in my personal opinion, it's a lot of the automation tools that have come out in the past year or so that make it easy to do this for literally dozens of dollars per month.

Dana Lindahl: You can just spam everybody on LinkedIn with something that took you two minutes to write. So, I understand how we've gotten here, but we've had to react to the market and figure out a better way to go about this. And what we've been realizing recently is that LinkedIn is actually a great place to post content. LinkedIn is a content deficient platform compared to a lot of the other social media networks out there, namely Facebook and Instagram, which have so much content on it, you'll never be able to get through it all. So the way that LinkedIn actually shows content to people is much different than the others. If you're scrolling through your Facebook newsfeed, you're going to see most things from your friends-

Dana Lindahl: … You might see some things from friends of those friends if they've commented on it, but it's going to be mostly 85% of your friends. If you go scroll through your LinkedIn news feed, it's mostly people who aren't in your first-degree network, it's second degree, sometimes even third-degree connections. And that may not seem like a good thing to you as you're scrolling through your own newsfeed, but if you're posting things to your profile, if you're posting status updates, those things are all being shown well outside of your own network.

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Any person that's trying to generate leads on LinkedIn needs to focus on having an optimized LinkedIn profile. I view this as the modern-day business card.

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So our new, not new, but for the past, six to eight months or so our pivot within this whole LinkedIn lead gen industry has been to build out a target market, build out the network so that this content has a wider reach. We reach out and instead of trying to get people directly on the phone, we reach out to potential targets, but we simply share long-form content with them that is helpful. It might solve a major pain point in their industry, sure, we're still assuming what pain points are, but we're not trying to get them on the phone to exactly hash them out right then and there. We're simply sending something along that is supposed to be helpful, valuable to these people.

Dana Lindahl: And as I said, these people all know that if you want to sell them something, if you have something to sell them, all they need to do is ask you for the phone call and you'll be more than happy to get on the phone. So we're no longer annoying people by asking them, “Hey, would you like to get on a call?” People are still asking to do so. And our clients are sort of-

Doug: So you're sending them content that can help them and helping them means they can get the help within the content, they don't have to phone you, book an appointment or put their credit card in to get the help.

Dana Lindahl: Exactly. The content is not behind a paywall, we're not making them give anything to get it- 

Doug: Yeah.

Dana Lindahl: … There might be an opt-in on the inside of the content or something like that so they can join the newsletter, but it's completely devoid of any sort of an ask, it's outside of, “Hey, read this content. This post that I think you'll find valuable.” So those make up the bulk of our quote-unquote “campaigns” now, rather than trying to reach out to people and just be direct sales, “Hey, I think I can sell something to you. Let's get on the phone and see if I can.” Now, “Hey, I wrote this article. I think you might find some value in it. People in your industry have told me that it's valuable and it helped them out. Let me know what you think.” Then as we build out this network, we create another type of content. And this type of content is much easier to produce and it's the status updates that you see on LinkedIn, the things that you're seeing as you're scrolling through your news feed.

Dana Lindahl: LinkedIn has a 1300 character limit for these types of posts, so it's much easier and simpler to sit down and write something for LinkedIn than it is to sit down and write something for your company's blog.

Doug: Yeah.

Dana Lindahl: It's also much easier for people to digest it and take something away from it because even if they have skimmed through it, they can still get the majority of it. It's only 1300 characters, which is about 200 words. So unlike having to share long-form blog content, which you would have to really dive into, you can give someone some insight into your brain, into what you think about your market, into what you think about your industry and that is the way that we help our clients develop themselves as thought leaders in their industry.

Things that do really well on LinkedIn right now because LinkedIn has sort of a quasi inspirational, always positive sort of place, are people sharing inspirational stories of when they've learned from a mistake that they made within their company. Those sorts of vulnerable types of posts go really viral. I would caution everyone to make sure that the story is real because I've seen a few recycled stories, we hired someone who was late for the interview and he turned out to be our most punctual employee. Those types of cliche posts you see all the time, but-

Doug: Again somebody trying to shortcut the system, right?

Dana Lindahl: … Yes, exactly. I mean there's a lot of shortcuts here and the unfortunate reality is sometimes those shortcuts work. I mean, if you're selling a B2B high ticket service and it's several thousand dollars a month for your service, all you really need is one person to sign up to validate that and you'll see people running campaigns and there'll be sales and they'll be spammy with them, but someone will just need what they have by coincidence-

Doug: Right.

Dana Lindahl: … But that sort of validates it in their brain, that what they're doing is right so they keep taking those shortcuts and-

Doug: Yeah.

Dana Lindahl: … You can keep taking those shortcuts and you can continue to bring in customers by taking those shortcuts, but oftentimes those are the types of customers that churn faster and you're not really building much of a brand or story behind your company by doing things that way. Everything is happening just in the DM's and you're not really showing anything publicly about your company out there that's going to be a long term asset than simply the messages that you're sending to people in your inbox.

Doug: No, that totally makes sense and that sort of stuff isn't scalable. I mean, most of the pitches that I get for people that want to do lead generation for me come to me by email. I'd say probably 80% email, 20% on LinkedIn. All the ones that come to me, I won't say all, but I'd say 99% of the ones that come to me by email go into my spam filter, so obviously if they're not compliant, they're doing exactly what you said there, they're scraping, building a list, blasting it out and then wondering why nobody is responding. So in terms of posting, you said you post, one idea was inspirational stories, what's the kind of frequency that you help your clients to post? I mean, is every industry different? Is every client different? Do you have minimums or a maximum number of posts? What sort of guideline would you give us?

Dana Lindahl: Yeah, so we like to see our clients posting a minimum of twice a week. We generally go, at least in our service offerings to a maximum of five days a week. We don't have our team working Saturdays and Sundays. The one thing I tell most people is that there is such a thing as too much content on LinkedIn.

Basically, the way the algorithm works and this is my interpretation of it because LinkedIn is not public about how their algorithm works. So everyone is left to sort of deciphering how it works on their own, but generally, when you create a post and people start engaging with it, once you create that next post, they stop prioritizing engagement to the previous one. So there will be times where we have a post for the client that just absolutely takes off. They're getting dozens of incoming connection requests and inquiries about their service because of this one post. We'll just not post the next day because we want to still milk that engagement that we're getting from that previous post.

Doug: Okay. So, that's interesting. So, that speaks to… I mean, there's nothing wrong with using obviously some automation. I'm assuming if you're using a tool like Buffer or Hootsuite or MeetEdgar to post, but you're going to want to be looking at the numbers, the analytics and see what's happening. Are people responding to your content and if they are, shut off your post until you've got as much value out of that post as possible. Is that correct or?

Dana Lindahl: I just say don't post new content if the old content is still performing well-

Doug: Okay.

Dana Lindahl: … If you post something on a Wednesday and you wake up Thursday morning and you're still getting likes and comments and incoming connection requests and messages about that post, keep it going, ride that, ride that lightning, and don't try to overshadow it with something new. Just save that for the following day because it's quite unlikely that the post is going to perform that well for two days in a row. It can, but generally, we'll have viral posts do well for two days and then we move on to the next one.

Doug: Now, what are your thoughts in terms of the source of content? So, I've definitely heard on Facebook, there are different Facebook marketers that have ideas of content, so they'll say, “Hey, post eight posts of general content that serves your audience. And then post one that may become more self-serving where it's an offer or it's a link back to your content.” Do you recommend that your clients post everything that's organically written or do you recommend that they share or re-post either content if it's going to serve their audience?

Dana Lindahl: Yeah, so things that can serve an audience on LinkedIn really well are, if you're running, particularly very popular right now is free webinars to help people through the coronavirus crisis. Whether that be going digital with their teams or working from home or just advise them on how to make sales throughout the crisis or how to at least be less tone-deaf and sensitive to people's needs right now, those are all very popular. Things like that can work very well and I don't see those as promotional because the whole point behind them is to provide value.

Of course, some people have an offer at the end of those webinars, but as long as they provide the value upfront, I think that's okay. I'm generally in agreement with around an eight to one ratio of just organic good content to the promotional type of content. The only caveat is that really, really promotional content doesn't actually perform that well on LinkedIn the reason being is that engagement is what tells LinkedIn whether or not to show this to more people.

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HOW TO GENERATE MORE LEADS ON LINKEDIN

Any person that's trying to generate leads on LinkedIn needs to focus on having an optimized LinkedIn profile. I view this as the modern-day business card.

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Dana Lindahl: So, people that don't tend to really engage with the promotional type of content. When a B2B company makes an announcement about a hire that they've just made or a new feature, this is something that people think is cool, but it's not always the type of thing where people are really liking, linking, liking, engaging and asking questions. If it is within your industry, then it might be good to use it more often, but I recommend using promotional things sparingly and just being a little bit less pushy with how you're promotional about your posts on LinkedIn.

The way that I see this whole system working is that every person who's trying to make sales from LinkedIn, so this could either be the CEO of the company who might not deal too much in sales, but could push all incoming needs towards their sales team. This could be the salesperson themselves. Any person that's trying to actually make any sales from the platform, they need to focus first on having a completely optimized LinkedIn profile. This is what I view as the modern business card today to B2B sales.

Dana Lindahl: People can go to your LinkedIn and immediately find out everything that they want to know about you if you have put all those things front and center and made them easy for people to find them. So in a way, this is all kind of just a long elaborate scheme to drive people and drive targeted traffic towards an optimized profile. It's almost sort of trying to buy ads and drive traffic towards a landing page on your website. The attempt is slightly different, but the end goal is the same. It's to bring people who are likely to be interested in the offer and drive them to a page where they can learn more about it and make a decision for themselves if they want to get in touch or sign up.

Basically the content that we're putting out there is acting similarly in the way of a Facebook ad or an Instagram ad. It can reach so many more people at once compared to these one-to-one direct messages that we used to use as the main way of driving sales.

Doug: So, in terms of the steps of getting this right, I'm guessing based on what you've just said, is making sure that your LinkedIn profile is optimized is kind of number one. You don't want to send people to a store that's run down and doesn't have any inventory.

Dana Lindahl: Definitely. Yeah. I can share some, some tips here right now if you're interested to know what could-

Doug: Yeah, that would be great. Yeah.

Dana Lindahl: … Yeah. So the biggest thing that I see for people on LinkedIn is, this is not the worst one, but definitely just have a good profile picture. If you're at a bar or something like that, it just doesn't look good-

Doug: Yeah.

Dana Lindahl: … The caveat is if you're in a very casual industry, it might work a little bit better. Second is don't have that big ugly greenish-blue turquoise cover photo in the background. That is a huge piece of digital real estate that you could be using to advertise your business, the value proposition of what you do to people, or what you do for people I should say. And then I recommend making sure that the about section and the section that you can write about yourself like your current position at your company. This is really important. I recommend making sure that you put the most actionable or not actionable, but the most impressive thing about your company as the first line, of course, but the way that I always recommend that people write this is to not sit down and write it as if they would write any other biography about themselves or their company, but to try to reverse engineer the process and try to write this from the perspective of their clients and written from the perspective of this is what we received after working with this company. It's really difficult actually for most companies to be able to do this correctly because so many… Even the CEOs, they're stuck in the day to day of the operations and running their company.

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Any person that's trying to generate leads on LinkedIn needs to focus on having an optimized LinkedIn profile. I view this as the modern-day business card.

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Dana Lindahl: This is what we do as a company for our customers and it totally shows out when they try to write one of these themselves. But being able to write this in a way that your customers would say it resonates with them so much more strongly when they actually land on it and it's like you're speaking to them in their own language. Those are the biggest things, but a couple of additional things is that LinkedIn has rolled out some new features lazily, excuse me lately, such as the featured section.

So you can actually put some of your best content and articles front and center with nice big images to entice people to click through. And this is actually one of the best ways to take people off of the platform. Anytime you try to post external content, a link to an external website or something like that in your newsfeed, LinkedIn will try as hard as it can to actually not show it to anybody because they don't want you taking people off of their site, then they don't click ads and things like that.

Dana Lindahl: So this feature section is the absolute best place to highlight your best content, your most valuable pieces of content that you've ever written, front and center, right in your LinkedIn profile.

Doug: Yeah, I noticed that on yours and I really liked your point, you picked a really amazing photo for the hottest stand out from all the noise on LinkedIn. So Westerners, when you go take a look at Dana's LinkedIn profile, you'll see that multicolored zebra there which caught my eye right away.

Dana Lindahl: Yeah. That was the point. The picture is a bunch of zebras standing there and then one of the other zebras is rainbow-colored, it's really hard to scroll past it without seeing it and then you see it and everyone I feel is kind of talking about the same things on LinkedIn these days. Talking about LinkedIn on LinkedIn is extremely meta. And I like to try to just stand out from all the other advice out there. There's a lot of advice on how to write the best sales copy and how to reach out directly and make sales from LinkedIn. And I've been on a bit of a mission this year to sort of turn that all on its head and make it a better process for everyone involved.

Doug: Well, I just want to ask you a question as it relates to that exact point. So right now I can't ever remember in all the years I've been in business, so many people, it seems in the business of generating leads from LinkedIn as right now. So, I'm not asking you for your secrets in case your competitors are listening to the podcast, but what efforts have you had to take to step up your game? I mean, because obviously you've got lots of experience in this space and looking at your bio, you've got experience in sales and copywriting. So, what have you had to do to step up your game in what seems to be this pool of people that rushed in to be LinkedIn lead generators?

Dana Lindahl: So I just want to say, I actually have no issue with giving away any of our secrets to our competitors because I hope that they actually do use them to make the platform a better place for all of us.

Doug: There you go, good for you.

Dana Lindahl: As I said, I've been on a mission this year to try to make the platform a better place. I do not like what it has come to and honestly and selfishly it makes my job much harder to do when people are out there putting garbage into the platform and-

Doug: Sure it does. Absolutely, yep.

Dana Lindahl: … So all my competitors out there, listen to this, take it all, replicate it, I would love to see that. As for what we've changed, so we found ourselves on LinkedIn starting in 2018, we got our start on cold email and GDPR really threw us for a loop. We didn't think it would, we weren't working with European clients and we didn't think that the new EU data regulations would really affect us, but the inboxes, the algorithms, the Gmail, G Suite outlook, overnight they changed how things were placed in the inbox. So our campaigns went from getting great responses to going to spam overnight and now I'm getting Viagra emails into my personal inbox because the algorithm just doesn't know what to do with itself for a few weeks. That was the point where we switched over to LinkedIn and we weren't one of the first LinkedIn agencies, but we were one of the first cold email agencies.

Dana Lindahl: So we had a lot of experience and it carried over very well. For the first six to eight to 10 months or so, it was gangbusters, it was working really, really well. It was almost like it was cold email back in 2015 where you could just get in touch with someone, here's the value prop, you want to get on the phone? Okay, let's do it. It was that easy. We were having a great time, everything was good.

Then automation tools come out, they make it easier for companies who don't actually know how to do all the ins and outs of these things to just, okay, well, we will just buy this automation tool for $49 and spin up some copy and send it out. And that's where we kind of ended up at this point where you scroll through your own LinkedIn newsfeed and you see people complaining about the DMs that they receive all the time. So that's where we started to think about this a little bit more and go, how could we still take our reputation, our domain knowledge here in this industry and try to turn it into something that people are actually going to appreciate and enjoy rather than combat against, people trying to pitch them all the time.

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Any person that's trying to generate leads on LinkedIn needs to focus on having an optimized LinkedIn profile. I view this as the modern-day business card.

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Dana Lindahl: And it was then that we sort of realized the ability to post things on LinkedIn and get a much wider reach. I noticed this at first when we would post a few things on our business Facebook page and then I post something on my LinkedIn and it was like night and day. I came back over to LinkedIn fairly late into the game, back when I started to realize that maybe we should switch over to LinkedIn, I was averse to it at first. I still thought that LinkedIn is as recent as two and a half years ago was a place I would go if I somehow found myself needing to look for a job again-

Doug: Right.

Dana Lindahl: … And that's slowly changing. A lot of people are realizing that it's a great place to be and network and share content and share thoughts and ideas with others, but I was averse to moving over and then I saw how well it was working and then I saw things drop off again. But then I realized I wasn't even active on LinkedIn two years ago than I was on Facebook, but I'm getting way more attraction to everything that I post here on LinkedIn. So I started deep diving with my team and figuring out, okay, what is this that's causing it? And the difficult part of us and this… Everybody who works with social media knows that they're kind of at the mercy of the algorithm-

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Doug: Yeah.

Dana Lindahl: … For whichever social media platform that they're working on and the companies Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, they're never going to give you the algorithm. They're never going to tell you how it works.

Doug: No. No, for sure.

Dana Lindahl: So we're all trying to figure it out. So, I spend time buying courses from multiple different people and taking training and trying to figure out who I trust and who I don't know, who I believe in, who I think is just making assumptions and things like that until we've come up with our own hypothesis. Everyone only has a hypothesis when it comes to these sorts of things. So it was at that point that we realized we can really get a lot of interests through this content and by helping to establish our clients as authorities rather than trying to establish them as salespeople. So, once we made that switch and focus, it became so much easier to just help them to be genuine and help them to put the things out there into the world that they really wanted to be out there. Nobody really wants these sales messages out there in their name. That's not really-

Doug: No. You don't want to log into your platforms, regardless of the platform saying, “Hey, I really hope there's a whole bunch of pitches and sales messages that are coming in.” That's not why you're logging in.

Dana Lindahl: Right. And I always tell people to do things on LinkedIn. If someone were to gain access to your message box and post that publicly, would you be embarrassed by what was there? If your customers and your prospects could see how you were approaching your market. And if you are, then you need to be rethinking your approach. So, that was kind of what-

Doug: That's a really good point.

Dana Lindahl: … Yeah.

Doug: Would you be willing to show your existing customers how you're marketing to attract a new customer?

Dana Lindahl: So once we kind of came up with this theory of everything that we should be doing should be above board and appreciated by our current customers in our efforts to find new customers. That's where we went for this different direction of okay, well, why don't we just switch this up and instead of under the guise of trying to help people, let's just help people.

I started to realize that the most influential people on LinkedIn and the people that are getting the most engagement aren't actually trying to sell anything outright, they're doing tons of business and they're getting tons of sales from the platform, but they're not actually going for it, at least outright, at least publicly. But they're out there and they're willing to help people, they're willing to put out content and they're willing to take the time to get on the phone and help people.

Dana Lindahl: And that's the biggest thing that I can say here, is that the halfway shortcut to all of this is to pretend that you want to help people and then try to sell them when you get them on the phone. That's not a good way to do it either, that's still taking the shortcut. If anyone out there really wants to-

Doug: That is switch and beat, right?

Dana Lindahl: … Yeah.

Doug: I mean, and that's what people do, writing headlines for advertising, those subject lines for email and then you get into the email and it doesn't meet the promise. So, you've really lied to your prospect with your first engagement.

Dana Lindahl: Yeah, exactly. And of course, nobody appreciates that. So I always urge people that if you want to use a system like ours and you want to put yourself out there and be helpful and be genuine, that actually has to be you. You have to be willing to get on a few calls now and then and realize halfway through the call that this person is not going to be a good client for you, but you help that person anyways-

Doug: Yeah.

Dana Lindahl: … Because what we've been realizing and what I've been realizing is I've been on the phone with dozens of people in the past few weeks trying to just help them through this crisis and help them adjust their campaigns and adjust their strategy and sometimes these people can't afford to hire us, but they do remember us as an expert who helped them with nothing in return. And these become the people that refer people onto us more and more and more. So it really is strange,

I've been in the outbound world for a long time and the longer that I stay in here, the more it all kind of shifts to inbound, even though it kind of still starts with an outbound process. Everything that we're doing is trying to drive more inbound traffic and leads through the outbound process. It's kind of a weird mishmash at this point, but I really have been enjoying it because I've been connecting with a lot more people than I was before when we were doing a more direct sales style campaign when it was working. At that point, I would just connect with people who wanted to hear my pitch.

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Dana Lindahl: Now I'm connecting with other entrepreneurs, other business owners, people that are just trying to get something started up and they're in turn connecting me with other people, referring people onto me. And of course, my job is much easier when I'm getting someone referring someone to me, as an expert it's easier to sell them than it would be if I was trying to do it by reaching out to them directly.

Doug: Yeah, it's interesting, like you said, the world has changed, but what you were talking about is you are talking about being intentional. So, you're saying outbound is turned inbound, but I mean, you're being intentional with your outbound messaging and your desire to help people and if they connect and resonate with how you've helped them, they're going to reach out and maybe routine to you as a client or they may be a good referral source or better than that, what I've found is some people that you reach out and help that can't retain you become huge brand evangelists and share and comment everything you produce.

Dana Lindahl: Exactly. Yeah. And we're still looking at the data here because this is a fairly new process that we've been unveiling over the past eight or nine months or so, but we have a few clients that switched over to this new style with us. So we've been comparing kind of the average length of the time that their customers are with them and there's still not enough data. So it hasn't been enough so far, but it's pretty much looking like so far that people are staying on longer with these people, with our clients I should say, that are marketing themselves in this more inbound way than with the people who connect with them from a more direct outbound message. And I believe that to be, because these people come in already with a little bit of familiarity with what this company does, already sort of understanding their content and their position and how they approach things and they're actually wanting to hire this company, not just wanting to hire a service provider that does the service they're looking for.

Doug: No, that makes sense. So what are the big mistakes that people tend to make? So, there's going to be people listening to this episode and they're going, “Okay, I'm on LinkedIn and I've tried all these different things and I'm not getting any results.” And I'm sure it wouldn't take you very long to take a look at what they're doing to figure out what the problem is. So what are the most common mistakes that business owners, entrepreneurs, sales, and marketing guys are making on LinkedIn?

Dana Lindahl: So the biggest mistake that I see all the time is just bad targeting. LinkedIn Sales Navigator is in some ways a brilliant product and then other ways I wish it would just go and die in a dumpster fire because it's the bane of my existence some times. LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a great way to profile people based on a lot of different filters. But LinkedIn has also incentivized to show you as many results as they can. So what commonly happens when people go and start running these campaigns is they'll use an automation tool,

I'm not big on automation at all, we don't use any automation tools within our campaigns that we run. But people often use automation tools because they don't have the size of the team to dedicate towards this that we do since we're running it as our sole service. So they use an automation tool and those generally rely on a URL taken from sales navigator, a list that they've created based on search terms and filters. The problem with this is that especially as you get past about page 10 of the sales navigator search, the results tend to be pretty crap.

Dana Lindahl: So you're just running campaigns to people who don't need what you have to sell, aren't even interested in what you have to say and are just going to be annoyed for the fact that you've reached out to them at all. Now, some people might be sitting there and saying, “Well Dana, I don't care if this person doesn't mind what I sell and he wants to get upset with me for reaching out to him, then whatever. That's none of my concern.” And it is though because LinkedIn still does have the spam button. If you're reaching out and connecting with people and they're ignoring your connection requests. Every time you press the ignore button, there's another button that pops up that says, I don't know this person.

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Doug: Yeah.

Dana Lindahl: So if too many people press that button, your account gets restricted, not in a suspension sort of way, but now you need to provide somebody's email address to actually be able to send them a connection request. And guess what? If you're a prospect that you want to get in touch with, he uses his Yahoo address to log into LinkedIn, you're never going to find it. So this is basically going to stop your campaigns right in its tracks. So that's one thing that people need to be focused on is making sure that when they're getting in touch with people, if they're going to be salesy, for sure that is at least the right person. If you're not being salesy, then you can afford a little bit more to have some on targeted connections into your network because you're not actually trying to sell them something. It might seem a little bit strange if you're sending them helpful content, that's something that doesn't really have anything to do with them, but at least you're not pitching somebody who's not going to ever have any need to speak with you at all.

Doug: Yeah, my LinkedIn box is pretty busy. So I have a zero-tolerance policy if you request to connect and I have a list of criteria, my VA goes through to make sure that they're real profile. And then when I send them greeting message and hey, thanks. It's great to connect. If their next message is, hey, buy my stuff or what do you do? I want to learn more about your company. I just go up to the disconnect and they're gone. I just have zero patience and time to talk to people that take that approach.

Dana Lindahl: Yeah. And it's unfortunate because there are people that are genuine and reach out and actually do want to know more about your company and have no intention of selling you. I would say that they're the minority these days for sure, but there are those people out there and you're not connecting with them because other people have soured the experience for you.

Doug: Yep. Yep. So, just a question on a personal note, I mean, LinkedIn for all of the things that is good for, I mean isn't really good for at least in my experience as a CRM. So you get all these conversations that start to happen in your messaging and you said that you don't like to use automation, are there any tools that you recommend that people could use to better manage their conversation? So I'm not talking about blasting out messages, but if you're having a whole series of conversations come in and I can flag something in my inbox for later and I can do all these things with my regular email, but I find that LinkedIn, to be honest, stuff just gets lost.

Dana Lindahl: Yeah, and that goes doubly. So if you're sending out connection requests, even helpful connection requests in mass, it becomes even more difficult to manage that because every person who accepts now your original connection request message is in your inbox-

Doug: Yep.

Dana Lindahl: … So it becomes very difficult to manage. In all honesty, LinkedIn is not top players in the UI and UX world, they need a lot of work on this. It's another thorn in my side as well, trying to manage the LinkedIn inbox. Officially LinkedIn does not support too many tools that will allow you to import or export things from the website. They don't like to do that. It's honestly a big GDPR thing, they're afraid that you're going to take that contact info and misuse it and they're the data controller. They're the ones who could be fined for that. So the one that I am aware of is HubSpot has a tool that can connect your sales navigator to HubSpot. It requires a premium HubSpot account. It also requires the next tier up of sales navigator, Sales Navigator Team, which you can purchase even if you're the only one in your company with sales navigator is just more expensive. But it is something that's quite very difficult to manage on your own.

Dana Lindahl: I recommend most people that do any sort of campaigns or this sort of strategy on LinkedIn to have a VA helping them to just manage the volume

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Doug: Sure.

Dana Lindahl: … And the organizational side of it. For our clients, we put every conversation that's going on into Airtable, that's our kind of de facto CRM that we use just because we could customize it so well and we put new responses in there. We tagged them in there so our clients wake up in the morning and they go into Airtable as their dashboard and there're links directly to the message with an Airtable so that link takes them directly into that specific message in the LinkedIn inbox. That's how we manage it on their behalf. Unfortunately, I don't have a much better solution for people to manage their own inboxes. I am familiar with a few automation tools for sending that it'll replicate the LinkedIn inbox in that tool natively so that you don't actually have to log into LinkedIn to send those messages.

Dana Lindahl: That being said, we don't use any form of automation tool within the company. I don't really have any that I can recommend, I just do know that that is an option. I would, however, recommend anyone using automation on LinkedIn to be wary of doing so. They will ban, suspend, warn you for having done so.

Doug: Yeah. I mean, the question is, do you want to risk the time and effort you have put in to build your LinkedIn account and develop those relationships and have the account shut off and then have no way to follow up and connect with those people any further.

Dana Lindahl: Yeah, and it's kind of my metric for seeing how serious someone is about approaching the platform. If they're talking about using automation tools and I give them a fair warning, hey, these can get sure… It doesn't get your account suspended, maybe not banned outright, but you get enough of those warnings, suspensions, they can sort of add up and accumulate and maybe get your account suspended. And whenever I hear someone say, “Yeah, but I can make a bunch of sales in that time,” I'm just like, “Well, all right, have fun. We're not a good fit.”

Doug: Good luck. Call me when your account is suspended maybe I can help you get it back-

Dana Lindahl: Yeah.

Doug: … Probably not. Yeah, that's funny. Well, super cool. Hey, I really appreciate taking the time and sharing today. I want to ask you a couple more questions and one is a recommendation for a guest, who's one guest, Dana that you think I absolutely have to have on my podcast?

Dana Lindahl: So one person that I feel that kind of complements what we do quite well and can provide a lot of good insight and he is a real good talker. He can really do a good show with you guys. His name is Damian Thompson and he's from Salesability and he works with smaller companies, generally 20 employees and under where the founder is doing the majority of the sales and just can't seem to get themselves out of that role or have tried to hire a salesperson or sales team before and it just fell flat on his face. He's the guy that I send everyone to when they're starting to realize that the leads that we're sending them are just too much to handle on their own and he helps them to build up processes to get out of doing founder sales. So, I think he's a really good person for this, especially to build on everything that we've talked about today.

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Doug: That's cool. So you can build all the leads and then Damian can help them to put a team in place to execute on those leads, convert them to sales.

Dana Lindahl: Yeah. Transparently we're not partners, we're just friends and we've shared a few clients in the past, but I've seen him help some of our clients to take those leads and do more with them in the past and I think that he's a great guest on any podcast. Once you hear him talk, you will know exactly what I'm talking about.

Doug: Well, that's great. I would ask if you can make an email introduction, that'd be great and I'll connect with him.

Dana Lindahl: Sure, definitely will.

Doug: Now, what's the best way for people to reach you? Share how do you want them to find you and to have a connection and conversation.

Dana Lindahl: So people can, of course, find and connect with me on LinkedIn, my name is Dana Lindahl. That's a little bit difficult to spell unless you're looking at the podcast title right here. Probably the better way to get in touch with me is just head to our website, legendaryleadgen.com. At the bottom we have a contact form, I'm more than happy to answer any questions anyone from the show has. Oftentimes, when I go on podcasts, I offer to do a completely free profile review and kind of strategy tear down for people. They can put something in through the contact form, send me a link to their LinkedIn profile, let me know a little bit more about who it is that they are looking to sell into and I'll record a Loom video and get them up a review and tell them what I think they can improve upon and certain strategies that I think will work well for them.

Doug: Well, we should have had that conversation sooner. I could have sent you my LinkedIn profile and you could have shown an example of a bunch of stuff probably not to do.

Dana Lindahl: Yeah, I usually like to have a little bit of time to review before I do it but-

Doug: No, no. I don't know if my ego could take you tearing apart my LinkedIn profile, hey, so here are 10 things not to do. Look at Doug's profile. So, hey, thanks again. I really appreciate you, I appreciate taking time sharing. I mean, you gave a ton of information and value here to our listeners and I think it's a great starting point for people who aren't following the rules or aren't looking at a white hat and looking at building a long-term business strategy. This is a great way to start.

Dana Lindahl: Yeah, definitely. Like I said, hi, I welcome all my competitors to steal my strategy. I really like to see this be the new norm on LinkedIn.

Doug: Well, that's a great position. So a great note to end on. So we just want to say thanks to Dana for taking the time today. Thanks, listeners for tuning in. I'd encourage you to head over to his website, legendaryleadgen.com, we'll make sure that we add a link to both his LinkedIn account and his website for you. If you've got comments, questions, like he said, reach out, put some comments at the bottom of the podcast, we will be happy to answer them. So thanks for tuning in, we look forward to serving you on our next episode.

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Get in touch with Dana:

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