087 | B2B Sales And Marketing | Content Strategy For Social Selling | Using LinkedIn Platform Effectively | Connor Dube

Our guest for today is Connor Dube. Connor is the founder of the Mile High mentors podcast, partner at active blogs and industry leader in LinkedIn social selling, and content marketing for highly complex industries. Connor founded his first visit business at seven years old he developed an eight-figure marketing department while working his way through college, and has done you need to build his brand around b2b sales and marketing ever since.

 

Welcome, Connor.

 

Thank you, brother. appreciate you having me. It’s good to see you, man. It’s been a while.

 

Yeah, same here. Well, you’re an early starter, and you started your business at seven. So tell us about that. Like how did that happen?

 

Talking about bootstrapping a business.

Yeah. I mean, I grew up with two parents that were in real estate for years. My dad was for franchising. REMAX offices, my mom’s been in mortgages and real estate. And those real estate peoples are pretty entrepreneurial. And you get you to get that energy going. So I was always very fascinated by entrepreneurship at an early age. And, and at the age of seven, it was 2001 in the Twin Towers, a hit, you know, hopefully, you remember that. Hopefully most people remember that day. And I wanted to find a way to give back. And so I stole rocks from my neighbor’s yard and I painted I’m with patriotic symbols. And I went to a motorcycle, motorcycle rally convention. And I actually sold them and I donated all the funds that we raised from that effort. So yeah, that was my first dive in entrepreneurship pretty early on and sales and marketing. I’ve been passionate about sales and marketing ever since.

 

That’s great a noble cause for sure. So let’s talk about marketing. And you are specializing in content marketing, b2b marketing. So how do these aspects of marketing combined together like b2b marketing is a is something that people do not understand very well? So can you shed some light on that? How does this work? And how is it different than b2c marketing?

 

Yeah, I mean, there’s a couple questions in there. So b2b is different that business to business is you’re selling to other businesses, consumer, you’re selling to other consumers, you’re selling to like I would sell, you know, a product to you directly. And that would be a consumer sale, I heard you do another podcast you used to do Amazon? sales, right? Was that right? Amazon? or drop shipping? or something along the lines?

 

No, no, I didn’t do it. But that maybe somebody else but maybe guesses,

anyways, that’s consumer and business to business, instead of selling to one person, you’re selling two teams of people you’re selling, generally, you know, to to the enterprise. And although people make the mistake of thinking, although it’s business to business, it’s human to human. And it’s much more human to human than consumer, actually, because it requires that relationship-building process, that nurturing process, you know, really feel comfortable with each other, because generally a b2b sale, for the most part, not all the time, but generally, they’re much more long term relationships. So I’m just to give a little bit of background because again, there’s a lot of different markets out there, there’s a lot of people and you know, marketing, like everyone in their mom has a marketing agency now. And so my contextual understanding of b2b marketing is different from others, because of my experience, and kind of where our organization has come from which, you know, by the way, we’re a family business. So I’m a partner in that particular company, mile-high mentors are my mate’s, my own company, active blogs, I’m in partnership with my own father, believe it or not, and we’ve been partnered up in that company. So he was a very early innovator in what was called content marketing, which, you know, it’s just it’s another, but it’s the marketing buzzword because all marketing is technical, you know, has content in it. But, like content, did a lot of company newsletters, a lot of blogging, anything that was like really written custom content for these really highly complex industries. And so that was what the business has been built on over the years. And, you know, my dad came from doing newsletter consulting, to like building that and has built a business that’s on millions and millions of dollars in residual income over the years. Now, me and what’s led us to where we are and why we’re industry leaders in the space we’re in now, is, I started when I was in college, I did door to door sales for two and a half years, as I was working my way through college, I’ve done another array of you know, odd sales, jobs and stuff like that. But, you know, door to door sales, I did that in a space, you know, most people don’t last two and a half weeks doing door to door sales. Side easy, it’s kind of scary. But I did that for two and a half years eventually went on to grow in that company, to manage a team of 25 people and I helped take that department from 4 million to 11 million in a year and a half. Now, what’s interesting is this entire company I saw grow from about $13 million when I first came into $72 million when I left the organization for four and a half years later. And something interesting that I kind of picked up on is you know, of course, I’m a young I’m a younger millennial. So I grew up with technology grew up with social media is very intuitive to me. But with this company, they’re doing a lot of traditional stuff, you know, the door to door sales side, I go to somebody’s door, and they’re just so happy. I’m there because people just love when they’re trying to cook dinner for their kids and you’re, you know, banging on their door. You know, just smiling. And, and, and, and so I go show up at somebody’s doorstep and they’d be like, Oh my god, you guys are here again. Like, for real? You just had a guy out here last week. And I was at the Home and Garden Show, by the way. And. And in, you know, I saw you’re doing some raffle at the Home and Garden Show. And I got one of your flyers in my mailbox. And I got an email from you guys this morning to and Isn’t that your damn commercial on TV right now? I’m like, Yes, sir. It is, like, all right, I get it, sign me up. Let’s do it. And I was like, Whoa, this is crazy. Like this guy saw us, you know, probably 10, 15, 20 times before he decided to buy from us now this was consumer sales were I was selling windows at the time. And so I saw this big expansion, this growth, and what was called Omnipresence, right being in all places. That’s what this company did so damn successfully. And that’s why they grew so aggressively. And so, you know, when I left when I graduated college, you know, pay my way through college earning my marketing degree, I was either going to go into, I was straight going to go straight into entrepreneurship because I like didn’t want to work for anybody, I drive people crazy if I had to do that, or it was just natural to go in and partner up with my dad and his business. Because I was already very passionate about sales, very passionate about marketing, and it fell right in line with what you know, he has done over the years. So I took my understanding of Omnipresence. And you know, what I learned in this very consumer-driven market, and what he’s done traditionally with the content side, and I married them together, and built it into our business and in under the genre of what’s called what’s now coin social selling. And so that’s like our fastest growing side of the businesses, you know, help our clients with social selling, either done for you coaching, training, or combination of all of the above.

 

Cool, cool. And now, what kind of content do you produce? Like when you say social selling? Is it more geared towards LinkedIn? Or is it more like on all other social media channels? So what is your focus right now?

 

It’s 100%, geared towards I mean, I hope, I hope our clients to contextually understand how other social channels play a role. But mostly 100% focused on LinkedIn, because for our clients that sell very complex, you know, high dollar long sales cycles involved products and services, LinkedIn is the avenue for it. Now, here’s the difference. And this is probably what separated my you know, my thing, like what I talk about in rant and rave about compared to any other marketer out there, anyone who’s like talking about social selling, is these traditional businesses have been built for years with traditional methods of marketing. So cold calling, you know, spending six, seven figures on trade shows, conferences, email marketing, you know, SEO pay per click, inbound marketing, through content, the traditional stuff that we still sell. And going in there, you know, a lot of social media people like me are going to these companies and saying, Look, do social media die, right? If you don’t adopt social media, your company is going to, you know, go under, and I’m coming in, and I’m saying, Look, guys, cold calling is not dead. Neither is email marketing. Neither are all of these traditional methods, marketing has not changed, sales have not changed in the last 100 years, marketing is not changing last 100 years, the only thing that’s changed is the buyer has changed. They’re doing more research than ever before. We’re constantly distracted. You know, we got our cell phones in our face 24. Seven, there’s so much noise out there, that we have to show up and have that Omnipresence, right goes back to the Omnipresence I talked about. So LinkedIn simply just provides a way to close the gap on your Omnipresence with all of your other sales and marketing activities.

 

And, you know, obviously, LinkedIn has evolved over the years, I joined LinkedIn, I think they back in 2005, 2006. Back then it was more like, you know, just post your resume kind of thing online and people can find you, uh, how has it evolved over the years, especially right now, I see a lot of people sort of focused on LinkedIn. What, what, what has changed?

 

Um, I don’t know so much that LinkedIn has changed, but maybe people’s perception of LinkedIn has changed more, you know, they’ve added more empowerment in the sales and marketing arena. But I mean, look at things like paid ads, like I don’t, I don’t start my clients on paid ads on LinkedIn, because they are damn expensive and not near as targeted as what you can do, organically, human to human. So you know, it’s, it’s more that people’s understanding of change, and you hit the nail on the head like people have looked at it as recruiting platform, you know, business networking. And still, I mean, dang, I talked to like, CMOS, who have been at the game for like 20 years, and they have no contextual understanding of what LinkedIn provides, and how to actually take advantage of it. Excuse me. Now some things are like as technology has changed, LinkedIn has provide better ways to stand out and break through the noise. So for example, if I’m prospecting, and you’ve probably experienced this, someone connects with you on LinkedIn, and they send you like a really shitty sales mesh, you know, pitch like two seconds later, that’s like five paragraphs long. And it’s all about them. Well, I can really breakthrough by using native video, audio, pictures, like I don’t even send text messages tomorrow, prospects on LinkedIn anymore, I either send an audio voice message, or I send a video, or I can send in shit, because I’m not going to like risk, spending the energy on it and like looking like everybody else out there who’s you know, using LinkedIn. So LinkedIn is added more tools are adopting, you know, Microsoft purchase on a couple of years ago, that means they’re only going to continue to expand. Their goal is to get all working professionals using LinkedIn, they’re at 650 million users, there are 3 billion professionals on planet Earth, which means that if you really start looking at the platform the right way, then I mean, the opportunity to bootstrap and grow your business without any budget, zero marketing budget, zero sales, budget, zero marketing budget, I can minimally grow, I can grow a six, seven-figure company, just from you putting the right pieces in place on LinkedIn. Awesome, that’s great.

 

So, people who are not initiated in LinkedIn and do not know as you put it, like a lot of expediency and most, they do not know about LinkedIn, how will you recommend they get started? Like, you know, obviously, without sharing your trade secrets or anything? What can you share as advice for people who are new to LinkedIn, or they may have been on the platform, but they don’t know how to utilize it properly?

 

Yeah, it’s not necessarily about getting started, it’s about stop doing the things wrong and eliminate the things that you’re already doing wrong. So number one, stop putting so much emphasis on your company page, start looking because again, high dollar complex b2b sales are relationship-driven. So your personal brand and personal brands within your organization have to be the vehicle. See, when I say social selling, people get confused, and they think go to go to LinkedIn and start selling people and start pitching people against social selling is just a buzzword. It, it really is the marriage between sales, marketing, and personal branding. LinkedIn is just you know, social channels are just the deployment vehicle for that, so so. But places to get started is like people need to start building their personal brand now. Now, I don’t care. Like I give all my secret sauce away for free. It’s just whether or not you’re willing to take action on it. So there are really four key components that you have to have in place to make this work. And, you know, first off, there’s so much noise out there. Right? A lot of your listeners are kind of like mid-sized entrepreneurs, right? startups, mid-sized entrepreneurs is that

 

Yeah, good.

 

Yeah. So, um, some of you may be operating with like, zero budget, or you may have a significant budget, but either way, I truly believe the most successful companies of the future are all going to be experts, and specialists, not generalists. Because although I used to be able to start a marketing agency or start a software development company, or application development, or SAS or IT company, and be everything to everybody, now your buyer has access to everything. So they’re researching and who are they going to want to talk to, they’re going to want to talk to an expert, not a generalist. So number one is messaging, you have to have the right messaging on your social media brands on your personal brands. messaging creates, meaning creates meaning for your buyers, not job seekers. So I would, I would, I would say like the number one starting place is in your LinkedIn profile, there are about 10 key points there, to turn it much more into almost like a micro-website, or an extension of your company’s brand through the personal brand, I using prime real estate there to talk much more about what I can do, how I can help people in what the end result of it is, because people don’t give a shit about your job title, and they don’t give a shit about what you sell. They care about the impact of what you sell. That’s all that matters. So you have all this real estate on your social media profiles to do that. And then you want to get your team to consistently like, get that messaging if you have 10 people on your team than anyone client business development facing, build out their personal brands that way. messaging creates meaning. Number two is engagement. And that’s the thing is like you have to engage, and what most people use LinkedIn for is to, you know, pull up their prospects, and then they go spam, bunch of shitty connection requests with sales pitches in them. And then they lose the year of the person who would have been a really good opportunity, maybe six months down the road.

 

Yeah.

 

So there are all these amazing touchpoints, like one of my favorite features of LinkedIn, that is unique to any other social media platform is profile viewing. If I go and look at your profile, LinkedIn notifies you they email you. And they’re basically trying to get your attention because they want you addicted and hooked into their platform. And every time you’re doing those engagements, those touchpoints, I follow someone I engage with their content, I comment on their posts, I find them in a group. I connect with them because they’re connected with an existing client of mine, and I use that referral. So there’s a difference between spamming connections and using referral connections. All those things every time I’m doing the engagement pieces, that’s bringing eyeballs to my messaging, and then back to my company’s brand. messaging creates meaning engagement drives the eyeballs to your messaging. And then content closes, or I’m sorry, content creates context. So I’m using my LinkedIn profile as a way to showcase my unique differentiator from competitors. And, and, and I’m like being very focused there. And I’m talking much more to the end result, content is there to create the context of all the other areas that I can help what we do, why we’re so cool, why are person Why are brands so innovative, and like, and sexy content is meant for that. But again, people who even know this do this wrong because they take their blog posts, man, you got me on a rant here, I’m just gonna, I’m just gonna keep spitting. So they, what most people do wrong is they take a bunch of links, or they try to automate this process, right? We’re stuck in this era of trying to automate everything, and we don’t end up getting anything done. That’s actually having an impact. So if I take my company’s blog, and I just shared into my newsfeed, or I have Hootsuite or feed Lee or something that’s just like auto-posting content. Well, guys, LinkedIn doesn’t want you to leave their damn platform, they want you to stay on their social media platform. So I’m native content, video crushes it written articles directly on your LinkedIn profile in the form of publications do amazing to drive traffic to your profile, LinkedIn, the world’s largest b2b blog. But that doesn’t mean spamming your blog out. It means negatively using what’s organically already on the platform. And then consistency, consistency closes sales.

 

Awesome. That’s great. And then one thing you mentioned, which is quite important, in my opinion, is engagement. So how can you raise engagement? Like, you know, there’s a science behind it as well, like, not only you need to get engagement on your, on your posts on your content, but it’s encouraged that you need to engage with other content pieces as well for other profiles, is that correct? Or is that not so important?

 

Well, the category, in my definition, the category of engagement doesn’t just fall under engaging with people’s content, because content content alone, like you’re not going to grow your sales just by I know, influencers who have asked me for help, because they’re getting 1020 30,000 views on their posts, and they’re not getting any sales from LinkedIn. Right? Like, it’s not driving sales. It’s not there’s, why are you doing it? brand is cool influences cool. Helping people is great. But can you really help more people if you’re not profiting in your business? So, so um, yeah, I mean, more engagement. Like there’s all these different hacks and tricks to get more engagement on your content. But I’m telling you right now, I would much rather have less engagement on my content that’s highly targeted with the people who are actually paying attention to me, and they may be silently consuming my stuff. But they’re seeing me show up, and I’m educating them, then I would lot of engagement. That’s vapid because I can tell you how to make a post go viral. It’s easy. Like, go look at posts that are viral on LinkedIn. It’s frickin easy to make your posts go viral. But are your is your content, actually creating context? for your business and your audience? Okay, so stop. And that’s another thing people get too hung up on likes and comments, like, I’ll do one post that just like blows up, and I’ll do another that gets one like on it, but still gets 400 views. Because people don’t, some people are just lurkers. But those people are my clients, and they end up in same with you, your clients are just silently observing you. Right? I hope I answered your question. Okay.

 

I’ll take it a little bit further. So when you say context, just so that, you know, we can unfold this, are you saying we need to provide value, we need to provide advice in terms of addressing the target audience that is going to be your future client? Or is is the context something else,

 

play the 80 – 20  rule 80% of the content you’re putting out should be educational, entertaining, or storytelling. That’s about 80% of your content, I lean a lot of educational, like, you probably see me, like, I’ll just start dropping from my whiteboard. And I’ll just drop 10 minutes of content. And it’s just like, there’s no sales pitch in it. It’s just giving as I said, I give everyone my secret sauce, because it’s, it’s about the ones that take action on it. That’s where people struggle. Yeah, consistency. But I’m 88, you know, 80 to 8020. So like, 20% is that action taking? Hey, LinkedIn audience, you know, you’ve been seeing me show for a little while now we have this webinar that we’re doing that is, you know, being bing bing and bing register here. And that’s all the posts is geared towards, or, you know, hey, I have this $20 ebook, you know, by my ebook, like, that’s sales content, but people lean too heavily one way or the other. So 8020 rule applies perfectly to that when you’re trying to when you’re like, trying to decide like, what do I do? Like? How should I be using my content strategy on social?

 

Let’s see, let’s see. What should be the style and tone? Is there? Is there any guidance around that?

 

What do you mean by style and tone?

 

Like, you know, a lot of people say, you know, write short sentences, it needs to be sort of a copywriting style, conversational style. So do you have any preference? Do you have any guidance around that?

 

Yeah, use your voice, like, use your organic voice. I mean, if you go read my posts, like, I have an entire team of copy editors on my team, and sometimes I just write a post and put it out. And then they’ll come back to me and say, Hey, dude, you got all these grammar errors and stuff in there. But, but it works, because it’s my voice like I am. I’m communicating and my tone. So no, there is no, there is no perfect secret hack. There’s never any secret hack, you have to start, stay consistent, and then adjust as you go along and continue to refine. So that, you know, you’re in business for the long term, hopefully. So you’re your content play is not an overnight sales play. Now, the direct messaging side like prospecting, that’s different, that’s direct, like getting sales conversation started, your contents going to be long term, you’re not going all of a sudden, like, this is why people, people stop posting and they get hung up on likes and comments, is it takes time to build up guys. I’ve been, you know, at this for a few years now. And I’m still just like on the early cusp of what, you know where I’m going with this.

 

I see. I see. And you mentioned consistency. So in your opinion, how often one should share content or post content?

 

Yeah, I mean, I’ve found through all of our client testings, the magic number on LinkedIn is one post a day because the way LinkedIn feed works is it cycles through the audience within the 24 hour period. So if I post in the morning, and then I post that night, it gets better. Now if I’m in it, like I have like milk, like look at the people, like millions of followers, like they can post anytime a day and their stuff going to pop. But most of you are not your what I would consider a micro-influencer, which means you have the ability to influence the decision or the thought process of one person. So when you’re putting your content out, stop thinking about the vitality and the masses, think about the one person that you can impact that day with it. And it’s just one post today. So you know, if you can stay consistent with one a day, that’s good. But you have to stay consistent with the other things connecting with enough people growing your audience, your audience isn’t going to magically grow from content alone. Unless you know, have something that pops and go goes viral or like I was interviewed on Brian burns, podcasts, the truth about birds about sales and selling all sudden I had like 150 people reach out to me and connect on LinkedIn. But that’s not consistent. I have to see I have to keep doing, you know, all the other pieces in the background content is just one of all the other components that go into a place with that.

 

Great. And you mentioned, you know, obviously, don’t do things like send a connection request and pitch them immediately. Is there any other mistake that you have noticed people make in terms of content itself? When the first content?

 

Yeah, I mean content, people like spam posts, you know, talk about their services and posts and less as prompted, then do it but it’s kind of grody. When you’re doing that on a failure that people are doing, you know, they’re not. They’re letting like their other people’s perception, perception of them to hold back, you know, putting themselves out there putting content out there. I can’t tell you the number messages I get every week like hey, Connor, I see July videos, I’m wanting to do this forever. But I just don’t know where to get started. Like there’s just get started, like I don’t like hey, Connor, I want to do videos, but I’m hung up on like, what do I put? Or how do I edit them? Like I use my iPhone and I use iMovie to do 99% of like, all my content. So all the tools are there. Um, I think you’re you just got to set your ego aside is probably the biggest mistake people make is there, too much of their ego, they think they’re going to like all of a sudden sales are going to magically start coming to them on LinkedIn, there are a time and place like don’t get me wrong. LinkedIn is there for business. That’s why it’s such a great platform like businesses, the contextual reason to be using LinkedIn and educating yourself on industries.

But it’s okay to pitch people. But there’s a difference between a value pitch, and just you there’s no context, someone connects with you, and you just as shower sales offer in their face, within five minutes, that’s probably the number one mistake that I’m really trying to get people to shift away from. And, you know, cold calling works, because you can get someone on the phone and they can hear your voice. And there’s like, exchange there. Well, the new era of cold calling, is using those touchpoints, but all within social media platforms. So if I leave a voice message for someone on LinkedIn, then they’re getting me my voice, my personality, and it’s custom, it’s unique, stands out. And then they’re also seeing my message on my profile, which creates meaning, and then they’re seeing my content show up. And then they’re seeing like all the other pieces that go into place. So you know, I would say that’s, again, just to keep circling around it. Like that’s the number one mistake is like just how people are interacting with one another on LinkedIn, because they don’t understand it.

 

Yeah. Cool. That’s great. Now speaking of mistakes, Have you made any mistakes in building your business and growing your business? And can you share some? What kind of experience did you have?

 

Every day, man every day? Sorry, finish your question. I’m sorry.

 

No, no, no. I mean, it was a, you know, everybody makes mistakes. And as you said, you know, there are mistakes that happen every day, some of them are prominent enough that they teach us an important lesson. So I always try to ask my guests, you know, what are some of the key mistakes you made? And some of the key lessons you learned? So if you can share a few, that’ll be awesome.

 

yeah, I mean, again, one of my early mistakes with, with like LinkedIn, for example, is I perceived it similarly to everybody else. Another key mistake is I got far too hung up on other people that were way more ahead of where I am. And that’s frustrating because you feel like you’re behind, and then you don’t take action on the things that are going to impact you, you’re too busy focusing on other people. And, you know, there’s all these like influencers and all this stuff on LinkedIn again. So that’s where I just always try to bring myself back to, okay, why I’m putting this piece out, like I’m putting my energy out, forget the masses, it’s only about that one, single person. And then I would say the very last mistake, that’s still a challenge for anyone, and everyone is again at the end of the day.

And I’ve learned this through mentors of mine, which, you know, I have got a mentor, his, his name is JV crumb, the third he hosts a podcast called the conscious millionaire, 12 million regular listeners, he lives here in Denver, a good friend of mine, and, and something that I’ve really, you know, learned is that you can’t like it’s okay to be selfish in your business in a way that you need need to profit in your business to actually impact people. If I make good person, then I can do more good with 100 million dollar company than I can with $100,000 a year company, because I can give back more I can bring more people on, I can employ more resources, and I can again, just give back more like I can’t empower more people without that. So that goes back to like, every time I get I get stuck is, is I’m never prospecting enough. And I think this is people’s hardest to hang up, is they’re not setting an intentional, this is where consistency comes in. Every single day, they’re not sending an intentional amount of time, every day, whether it’s 20 minutes, or at least an hour, I would say an hour dedicated prospecting is, is a good starting place. Then, you know, sales lag, you know, any prospecting I didn’t do 90 days ago, affects my sales 90 days now. That’s the b2b, you know, sales cycle. And so, you know, that’s another massive mistake I’ve made over the years is just not prospecting heavily enough. And, and when I do then it goes in dips and flows. And I’m not consistent with it. And that’s always impacted. Or, you know, impacted our business. And that’s how most businesses go out of business.

 

Yeah, well, thanks a lot for sharing. Now, this has been a very enlightening conversation about LinkedIn. Thanks a lot for sharing your secret sauce, as you put it. Now, before I let you go, can you share your company website? How can people reach out and take advantage of the services that you provide?

 

Yeah, yeah, thanks, man. I appreciate that. You know, I would say I don’t normally give this out on the podcast. But I’ll do it for your audience here. Because I think it’d be pretty important. If there’s one resource that you want us to start off with, we have a completely free webinar training that gives you you know, those four components that I went over as a starting place, we’ve broken those down further into more granular steps. So if you want to learn about those and find out how to implement those, whether you’re a one-person operation, you’re just getting started, or you’re 100 million dollar company with lots of resources, and you want to expand to 150. Go to active blogs.com, forward slash webinar. So again, I’ll just say one more time active blogs. com forward slash webinar, and it’s a free training, it’s called the missing links to LinkedIn success. And then if you want to find me, I’m on all social media platforms, but especially LinkedIn, come connect with me on LinkedIn, it’s at Connor Dube which is fitting because I’m in Colorado, so you know, maybe I’m in the wrong business.

 

Well, thank you so much for being with us today. And once again, it’s been a very, very interesting and enlightening conversation. Thank you.

 

Same here. Appreciate you.

 

Links & Mentions From This Episode:

Connor’s webinar link: http://activeblogs.com/webinar
TetraNoodle consulting services: https://bootstraptechstartup.com
TetraNoodle professional training: https://courses.tetranoodle.com

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