In this episode, host Ben Baker talks with relationship marketing specialist, Janice Porter, about the story behind how Linkedin became a way for her to build her business. She talks about its advantages in building relationships and shares advice on how you can best present yourself in the platform—from your way of communicating to the images you use. Janice then discusses the importance of staying on top of mind and doing things that will make sure you are remembered for people to work with you. Learn more about how to connect with people and see your business and brand thrive.
Janice Porter is not only a phenomenal woman but she is an incredible speaker. She does LinkedIn training, relationship management, and a lot of networking training as well. For her, it’s all about communicating the right way. Janice, welcome to the show.
Thanks, Ben. I’m delighted to be your guest.
You were kind enough to have me on your show so I had to reciprocate it. We both met through LinkedIn. It’s a perfect way for me to meet a LinkedIn trainer. It’s amazing how many of my guests, relationships, friends, and customers that I have all come through LinkedIn. It is an incredibly powerful tool if used the right way. I’d love to start off by letting people know where you come from. Where are you? Where are you going? What is the impetus of your business? What was the genesis? What makes you special? What makes you different?
My background is teaching. I was a school teacher in my first life then I became a corporate trainer. It’s always been around me that I teach. You say you learn from teaching and I think I probably do, too. I did corporate training for many years. I was training business customers on how to use their newfangled phone systems and voicemail systems back in the day. It was a lot of fun. It got to a little bit of tech side which I wasn’t prepared for originally. I taught how to answer the phone and the soft skills around phone courtesy as well. After many years of a good ride as a contractor, my world changed because everything changed in the world. The company didn’t want contractors anymore. I was a contractor by choice because I had a daughter at home that I was raising. I had to figure out what was next.
I’d always been one to want to do something on my own. It took me a while, but I figured it out. I fell into LinkedIn as I was exploring, “What is this thing?” I knew what Facebook was and I’d played around with it but I didn’t know what LinkedIn was. Back in 2011, I’ve started to look at, “What the heck is this?” I was fortunate enough to meet a young man who was ahead of the curve. He was doing LinkedIn training and he enlightened me easily and quickly about LinkedIn. I found myself as a natural teacher sharing what I learned with people I knew. The light went on. I went, “I could do this. This is my way back to teaching.” That’s how my LinkedIn training as part of my business started. If we are natural networkers, which are part of what I do as well, we tend to share what we do with people. It could be a good movie, a good restaurant or anything that has to do with passing along a good thing. That’s how the LinkedIn piece started for me then I turned it into a business.
Why LinkedIn and not Facebook? They have a different viewpoint, attitude, look, smell, and feel. The customer base and communication are different amongst the different media. Facebook and LinkedIn are two of them. There are hundreds of other social media platforms. Why LinkedIn versus Facebook? Which one, as you first admitted, are you far more comfortable with?
I never liked the casual social feeling of Facebook. I didn’t want to put my family on there. I was thinking of Facebook as a backyard barbecue. You’ve got in your casual clothes and you’ve got a beer in your hand or soda. You’re chatting about the movies you saw, the restaurants, the football game, the hockey game or whatever. It didn’t seem like business to me. I think part of LinkedIn was linear. It’s straightforward. The details were organized for me. That was the attraction, not to mention that the level of conversation was more advanced. It was business so I could get to the heart of what I wanted to get to people faster.
That’s the big difference between Facebook and LinkedIn. The culture, communication, and expectations are different on LinkedIn. That’s why 90%, probably 95% on my online communication is through LinkedIn. People assume that if you treat them well and with respect, if you engage with them properly and if you are professional, they will connect with you. They will engage with you and they will have amazing meaningful conversations. I have clients, friends, and relationships around the world that I could never have had but for LinkedIn.
There is an art to being able to create those conversations that will quickly move forward. How often do you reach out to somebody on LinkedIn to make a connection and they accept your connection request? That’s it. They don’t do anything. The point is to communicate and start a conversation to see where it goes. It’s networking online.
It’s another way to communicate. I look at it from a different point of view. It’s amazing to me how many people connect with me. People take the time and effort to connect with me. They put a connection request in front of me, I sit there and say, “Yeah.” I look at their criteria and say, “Is this person interesting to me? Can I add value to these people?” Yes. There are criteria here. I then connect. The first thing I do is I’ll reach out to them and say, “Thank you for connecting. Nice job. I’d love to find a little bit more about you.” 65%, 70%, 75% of these people never connect back with me.The word social on LinkedIn is different from social on Facebook or Instagram. Click To Tweet
That’s my point. Why bother?
People are looking for vanity metrics.
That’s true. Also, there are a fair number of people who are having third-party tools or having someone do the third party connecting for them initially. Number one, that’s not kosher on LinkedIn. You’re not supposed to do that. It’s against their policies. Number two, I get the idea that you want to separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak, but you’re still at a disadvantage if you don’t connect yourself.
Our reason to be on social media platforms is to be social. We engage with people to network. Can you add value to them and could they add value to you? It’s got to be in that mindset, “Who can I help?”
It’s s servant mindset. However, the word social on LinkedIn is different from social on Facebook or Instagram for example. That’s the thing that people have to realize and understand. I was talking to a woman that I met on Facebook Live. She was one of the people that was commenting on what the person that was doing the presentation was talking about. I connected with her after on Facebook and LinkedIn because she needs help on LinkedIn and I think I can help her. When I spoke with her on a phone call, she doesn’t understand the power of LinkedIn. That’s what I love to be able to share with people. They don’t know where to start if they don’t know. They don’t know what they don’t know.
If you were bringing a new client on board, what would be the first things that you would help them with if they don’t know what they don’t know? There are many people out there with LinkedIn profiles. I look at them and go, “You don’t know what you’re doing. You’re not communicating the right way. You’re not playing the right image across.”
It’s all about first impressions.
Absolutely. What would be the top three things you would help somebody with to be able to make sure that they are putting their best foot forward?
The first thing I would ask them is, “Who are they looking for? Who is their target audience? Who do they want to be seen by? Who are their prospects? Do they live on LinkedIn?” There are certain professions and businesses that it makes sense to be somewhere else. If their target audience is there and they’re satisfied there is one, they may have a certain target audience that fits Facebook or Instagram. They also have a new audience or different audience that they want to pursue on LinkedIn. That’s where we would start. I would look at keywords that we’re going to use throughout their profile that would attract the right people doing a search for them. We start to build their profile to give that first impression first of all. Their banner, their photo, and their headline, those are the first three things. People nowadays don’t have to talk to you before they form that first impression. For example, if I go to your LinkedIn profile and all I see is the default blue background behind you, that’s one of two things. You either don’t know what to do with it or you haven’t taken the time to personalize your profile and make it look effective and professional along with your headshot photo. That's the first impression.
It’s the little things that make a difference. It’s like people who use the default PowerPoint presentation. When you click Open on PowerPoint, that’s the open presentation and they don’t know what else to do. They have no idea how to customize colors and they don’t know how to do fade-ins, animations and all those things. It gives a basic idea of there’s more to do than just the basics. Tell me about images and graphics. Graphics tell a good story. What type of headshots would you put in?
Let’s start with the headshot because that is first. For headshot, I hope people can afford to get a professional headshot if they’re in business. There’s a range for sure, but they’re not that expensive. It’s a good investment for your business. Head and shoulders and I want to see that sparkle in your eyes. I want to see your face. I don’t want to see you looking off to the side in an artistic pose on your headshot photo. There was a photographer I once spoke to on LinkedIn. He didn’t like to be on camera himself so he had a picture of him, taking a picture. It’s cute but we want to see who we’re dealing with. We want to see a head and shoulders, a well-lit photo.
I have a story talking about this workshop I was doing for a team of mortgage brokers. I was talking about the headshot photo. There were quite a few people in the room and I said to this one guy, “James, would you mind if I brought up your profile?” After I had talked about, “You don’t want logos as your profile picture. You don’t want pictures of you at the beach or at the party. Often, we’ll see pictures of you at a wedding where you’re in a tuxedo or a nice cocktail dress. You’ve got your arm around somebody and you cut that off so that now we just see you in the photo.” I cut into his LinkedIn profile and sure enough, that’s the photo that was there. It’s a wedding, cut off at the arm. He was like, “I was so embarrassed.” He was a good sport about it and he did change it soon after. The first image is your headshot.
The background photo, I see as an opportunity to market yourself. I was working with a realtor and he said, “What do you want me to put in there? What should I do?” He did the color of the company that he works for and he put their big logo on the banner. I said, “This profile is about you. We’re focusing on and showcasing you, not the company.” I’m okay with the logo of your company being in the corner. Maybe on the top left corner or bottom right corner, you can have the logo of the company you work for. This is about you so we want your slogan, your URL and your tagline on there. We want people to be able to get a hold of you if that makes sense easily. It’s going to be your website URL or maybe your phone number, depending on what kind of business you’re in. Even though you’re going to have that information throughout your profile, that’s the instant image that people can find out how to get a hold of you. That’s what I recommend that has something to do with your business.
I’ve got my book. It’s on my background.
It makes sense to me or maybe you speaking as a faded piece or a part of the background because that’s what you do as well. Anything that works to give us a sense of who you are. For me, I did a simple background that matches the colors of my website. I tried to keep my branding all the same colors and that was my tagline and my URL on there.
It’s important to make sure that the graphic matches your personality. This is how people judge your personality. Some people judge you whether it’s right or wrong. You have less than three seconds, you probably have less than two seconds to make an impression.
Somebody told me you have 55 milliseconds.
You have an extremely short period of time to get people to sit there and go, “Of 355 million active profiles on LinkedIn, this is what I want to read. This is interesting to me.”
If they don’t have a photo, I never bother to connect with them if they’ve reached out to me because they didn’t put time and effort. If I see something creepy looking, I don’t connect with them or accept their connection requests. If I see something that doesn’t work with anything that I’m looking at, I don’t bother. First impressions are extremely important.
What about the taglines that people use? You have 120 characters, which isn’t a lot to be able to tell your story.Natural networkers tend to share what we do with people. Click To Tweet
It’s more than you think. It can be surprising somehow. It’s not a tagline per se but some people use their tagline there. What I teach my clients to do is to think, “This is where we start with, the keywords.” These keywords need to be what I call egoic labels. You’re an accountant, an author, a speaker or a trainer as opposed to an accounting firm or training. LinkedIn is a little bit different than on Google because people search for people most of the time. That’s why I suggest two or three keywords that are egoic labels. For some, it might be four or five keywords. For other people, it might be two or three. Add a benefit statement or positioning statement around how you help people and how you give value to people.
Someone’s new, a Millennial, Gen Z or someone like that, and they’re getting started with LinkedIn. How do you start? What’s the best piece of advice for somebody to start? You’ve got zero connections, zero likes, zero followers or zero everything. How do you get there to be able to build something that people would go, “That’s interesting. Maybe I should take a second look?”
What was the name of that kid that we met at the restaurant? That’s a perfect example. I helped him with his profile. It was night and day from what he started. He came from another country. He had a degree in some professions, something to do with earth science and sustainability. He’s in the perfect place in Vancouver, British Columbia. He was working at a restaurant as a server. I’ve worked with a few people that are like that, including my children. They need to present on LinkedIn an authentic profile as professionally as they can with a professional headshot. I think it’s important to use terms that tell your stories. I like to say for people who have come out of university, for example, to look at who are they.
Are they an aspiring accountant? Are they an aspiring geologist? As a benefit statement, they can say that they are looking to gain knowledge in their field by meeting lots of people. Whatever it is, make sure that everything that they’ve done is listed on their profile. I’ll give you an example. I once spoke to a young man who took piano lessons. He was right at the top level of taking piano lessons to the point that he could teach piano. The ARCT, it’s called. He went to the piano teacher who was a friend of mine. He’d finish university and he was looking for a job as an accountant or in an accounting firm. He said, “Do you think I should put this on my LinkedIn profile and on my resume?” She said, “Of course, you should.” He said, “Okay.” He goes for an interview with a big accounting firm. The principal that he was talking to said to him, “I see that you played the piano.” That was the thing that struck this person. The reason it did is that this is what we would call stick-to-itiveness. He’s taken something all the way through, finished it, and has something to show for it. It doesn’t matter what it is, they need to put in on their profile.
It’s the difference between jobs and skills. Yes, I was a waiter. Yes, I dug ditches. Yes, I pulled drywall up to the third floor. Those are jobs. The question is, “What did you learn doing them? What are the skillsets? What did you do? How are those skills transferable?” Those are the things that you would be able to put on your LinkedIn profile. You’re trying to tell a story. I love the fact that you said aspiring. I’m aspiring this or aspiring that because that’s authentic. You’re not saying, “I’m an expert with 10,000 hours doing whatever.” You’re saying, “This is where I am and this is where I’m going. This is my vision.” People will relate to that. Everybody starts somewhere. You’re right with the piano story. What it tells people is that this person went through years of training with thousands of hours of practice. That’s dedication. If they’re dedicated to that, they’re also going to be dedicated to you.
I saw a podcast interview with Kody Bateman with Nancy Lieberman, who was an amazing athlete. She runs a huge charity organization and she was a basketball player who is close to my heart. She was saying, “There’s a number of people who are reaching high standards in their field and that we’re all on teams.” They were athletes. That’s another piece that bodes well because you’re a team player or you have stuck with something to become successful at if it was an individual sport. That speaks highly and a lot of what kind of a person you are.
You’re willing to sacrifice for the greater good of the team. That’s why I was getting back with skills. Those are the things that people need to focus on. It’s not the job that you did, it’s what you learned. What are the skills that you developed while you were doing that job, whether you were in a university or whatever?
A young man that my husband and I know is successful in his business and he’s a true entrepreneur. He told me that he doesn’t hire people for a job. He hires them for the skills that they have and he finds them a job. I’m like, “That’s amazing.”
Let’s talk about relationship management. Not only do you have LinkedIn training and networking coaching, but you also do work with SendOutCards. You said, “I was with Kody Bateman, who was a CEO of SendOutCards.” He’s going to be on my podcast and I’m looking forward to having him on the show. In fact, you introduced me to him so there’s another LinkedIn connection. We’re building our connections one at a time. I want to find from you why you love SendOutCards so much. It’s not only a system, but it’s a way to remain, create and build relationships. Tell me about SendOutCards, what it means to you, and how you use it effectively.
I’ve been on SendOutCards as an affiliate for several years. It’s part of my DNA now. People tease me if I go to ask somebody something, they’ll say, “I know you’ll want my address too.” That’s what I do, I get their mailing addresses. Some people that I talked to about SendOutCards will say, “How do you get people’s addresses? Nobody gives those out anymore.” I never have any trouble. I just ask. When I ask, it could be five minutes after I first started to talk. They have no problem giving it to me. What I love is that I can send somebody a heartfelt card at the drop of a hat. I don’t have to go to the store, buy a card, come home and write it, find a stamp, go back out and mail it. It’s a convenience of being able to act on one’s promptings and to be able to make somebody’s day.
The best epitome of SendOutCards that I can tell you is the story that I’ve been telling for a long time that’s in Kody’s book. It still gives me goosebumps. This is a story where Kody Bateman who taught me how always to think, “Who needs to hear from me now?” He sends cards every day. This particular day, he decided that it was the organist at his church. He wanted to tell her how much he appreciated the music that she plays every week in the church. He picked an ordinary card out of the catalog, it wasn’t fancy, sent this message to her and sent the card out. Two weeks later after church, this woman came up to him and her name was Pat. Pat said, “Kody, I have to tell you that that card that you sent me, you have no idea. That morning, I was thinking of quitting. I was tired of people saying to me ‘Why don’t you play this? Why don’t you play that? Could you make the music differently?’ I was being hurt by it. I was going to phone the church and quit. Something told me to go to the mailbox first and there was your card. Not only did I cry, but I didn’t quit.” It’s that little bit of kindness that somebody showed her and made her feel special.
That’s SendOutCards in a nutshell. Yes, it’s a system. Yes, you can send your clients touching base type of cards so that your top of mind and remembered throughout a period of time when you might not be. By being remembered and by having those cards come to you, they may think of a referral to send you that you might have been out of touch with them. I have another story. One of my SendOutCards friends sold three homes in fifteen years, all in the same area. They bettered their housing situation and each time, they used a different realtor. Why? It’s because nobody stayed in touch. That’s an example of staying top of mind so that you are remembered and people will work with you again. You can’t take people for granted. It does both of those things in my estimation.
People want to be listened to, understood, and valued. That’s what the system does. It’s a card in the mail that comes that addressed to you. You open it up, it’s a four-colored card that may have a picture but it’s the fact that somebody is thinking about you that day. It’s a tangible touch. It’s something that people put on the mantle or on drawer and remember it. There is a relationship there that you’re never going to get with an email. When somebody sends you a physical card, you know they sent it to you. They didn’t send it to a hundred thousand other people in a mail merge situation. They sent that card to you.
They may have done that. You have to be careful that when you do a mail merge type card that the words and phrasing on it those people feel special. There are people who use it that way. You have to be careful because you walk a fine line. There are still those in both types of situations where you can use it.
If the matter of looking at things and they’re going, “How do you make people feel special?” That’s what it’s all about.
I send those things that make me feel good but when I received one not long ago when my first grandchild was born and my friend who’s a SendOutCards client took a picture of my grandbaby that I posted. She put it on a card and sent it to me and said, “You need to have this on your desk. She’s beautiful.” It touched my heart. It reminded me of what it makes other people feel when I do it for them.
It’s the physicality of that picture along with the card that builds long term connection and long term relationships. That’s what it’s all about for you whether it be LinkedIn or networking training. It’s teaching people how to build relationships in a meaningful way so that they last five, ten, fifteen years down the road. People remember who you are. When you leave a meeting, when you get off the stage, when you get in your car and you drive away, what’s the one thing you want people to think about you when you’re not in a role?
What I want them to think about is that I gave them some value. I did it in an authentic way. I’m approachable and if they want more help or more training, more conversation that they can reach out to me.
How do people reach out to you? It’s JanicePorter.com.
Janice, you have been an absolute treat. Thank you for being part of the show and we’ll talk to you soon.
Janice began her career as a teacher, was a corporate trainer for many years and has now been in business for herself for several years. She found her niche coaching and training business professionals to network at a mastery level and turn their connections into new business.
Her passion is working with motivated people who are coachable and want to build their businesses through Relationship Marketing and Networking - offline & online.
LinkedIn training is a huge part of Janice’s business – she believes anyone in business or looking for a new position, needs to have a professional LinkedIn profile, and that it is a powerful online platform for attracting new clients or being found by recruiters. It is also a valuable tool for building and strengthening one’s reputation and authority in his or her field.
Janice knows how powerful it can be for one’s business to build relationships and show appreciation to prospects and clients alike. It really is all about the follow-up! She is affiliated with a company called SendOutCards – and shows her clients how to use this system to show appreciation, stay top of mind with people, and increase their sales.
If you are interested in hearing more about LinkedIn, effective relationship-building strategies, appreciation marketing, or receiving solid networking information, Janice welcomes your calls. You can also listen to Janice on her Relationships Rule Podcast – on iTunes and most other podcast platforms.
Janice really values the friendships and business associates she makes and when she meets someone new is always thinking "How may I support you?" as ultimately this is what it is all about to her - being of service.
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