Rhonda Sher, the creator of The Two Minute Networker™ concept and author of the book, The Two Minute Networker™ has become a nationally recognized expert in business networking. She is the author of The Two Minute Networker, The ABC’s of LinkedIn, Get LinkedIn or Get Left Out and How to Avoid the Business Card Pile-Up – 52 Ways to Boost Your Business with Business Cards.
Rhonda is the expert at teaching entrepreneurs and small business owners how to eliminate the common cold call and replace it with warm handshakes and networking using LinkedIn. Rhonda helps small business owners, coaches, trainers, sales executives, realtors, mortgage professionals and others leverage LinkedIn to generate more sales, increase credibility and add clients and take relationships to revenue using LinkedIn.
Anya: Hello everyone, and welcome to the show. I am very excited to introduce our first guest, her name is Rhonda Sher, aka LinkedIn Diva. Welcome to the show Rhonda, thank you so much for being here today.
Rhonda: Oh, thank you for having me.
Anya: Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself and your professional journey and how you got to where you got where you are today?
Rhonda: It’s actually kind of an interesting story. I started out, believe it or not, as a paralegal, which is where I got to learn how to research so well, which has served me extremely well in LinkedIn. And so I spent the first 20 years of my career basically working as a paralegal, a divorce mediator, everything related to legal.
The short story is that when I was living in Thousand Oaks, California, I had somebody ask me, “Would you give a talk to our group? You’re like the best networker I’ve ever seen.” I thought they wanted me to talk about prepaid legal services, which I was selling at the time, now known as Legal Shield. Well they said, “Oh, no no no, we want you to tell us your secrets of how you network.” So that ended up leading me to write my first book, The 2 Minute Networker. Which actually, Bob Burg, who is the author of The Go-Giver series, is a friend of minute, he actually wrote the forward on the book. As time went on, I ended up writing another book called The ABC’s of LinkedIn: Get LinkedIn or Get Left Out. And another one called Avoiding the Business Card Highway: 52 ways to boost business with your business card.
The short version is that I’ve always been a connector. I’ve always been somebody that knows how to make the connection with people and I loved LinkedIn because LinkedIn is a place where you can always find a new friend in a business connection way. The short version to my life, which is kind of an interesting story actually on that, is that I was married for 28 years, I have two amazing kids, 26 and 28. Got divorced, and for the six years that I was divorced … I did technically remarry my ex-husband, so I have a wasband and a husband. So during the time that I was divorced … and that was when the speaking business kind of just went down the drain, I had to figure out a way to really go out and earn the kind of money I was earning. So for a short time I actually started selling life insurance, and I used LinkedIn to find all my clients. I really just said well, who has my clients, and it was the mortgage people, because anybody that buys a house has clients that are getting a mortgage for the most part, and if they’re getting a mortgage they need life insurance because they’re not going to die, but if they get sick they’ll lose their house.
So I started selling a ton of life insurance and what happened along the way were I was giving LinkedIn tips to the mortgage people. End of the story is I found LinkedIn … what I was doing before anyway, was something I absolutely loved, and just went back into it full-time, probably about four years ago. I have been helping people, literally identify who their ideal client is, who their ideal referral partner is, and then teaching them, once I help them with their profile, how to use LinkedIn as this powerful tool to find a never ending stream of referrals and leads and prospects. That’s kind of the short version with a funny twist in the middle of, you know, my personal life. But that’s really what it’s been, and every day it’s just more fun than the next day because I get to meet somebody great, and you never know who I can help, or they might have something for me.
Anya: Well that’s so interesting that you said that you were selling insurance and you used LinkedIn to find your ideal customers. So can you give us some tips on how we can do the same as new construction sales reps to help us identify people who are maybe in the market, or how do we really use our LinkedIn profile to make ourselves likable, right? They say people buy homes from people they like, so how can we make ourselves likable on LinkedIn?
Rhonda: Well, the first thing that you want to do, is you want to make sure you really have a profile that tells people who you are, what you do, the people that you serve, the kind of results that you get. Because we all pretty much make all of our decisions based on third party. If we’re going to see a movie, we look and see how many stars, if we’re going to a restaurant we Yelp it. If somebody refers us to a plumber, a doctor, we typically will go on Google and we’ll look to find some reviews.
Well, 70% of the time when somebody Google’s your name, if you have a LinkedIn profile it’s going to show up on the first page of Google. The first thing that I’m going to say is make sure that you have a LinkedIn profile that when you look at it, from the standpoint if your ideal client, would you do business with you? For somebody who’s in new construction, who would the ideal person that they would be looking to attract be? Would it be the end user, would it be the realtor, you tell me.
Anya: Both, yeah. Definitely you want to establish relationship with realtors, because realtors do bring clients. But also, I’d imagine a lot of the clients are doing a lot of the research on the website and they say once they walk into your model, they’re actually on step eight, not on step one in the sales process because they’ve already stalked your website, chances are they’ve looked at your profile, et cetera. Yeah, so it would be attracting both realtors as well as the end user.
Rhonda: One of the first things that I would say is make sure that on your profile that you have a banner, which is absolutely free by the way, to make that banner pop and the free piece of software that I recommend that everybody uses, something called Canva. Canva.com. It’s free, and you can create that banner there.
Anya: I love Canva! I use it all the time to create graphics for my blog and everything else including flyers, social posts and even brochures. Here is a link to a free tutorial on Canva.
Rhonda: I also think it’s important that you have a very professional head shot, you want to actually get a picture that’s professionally done. Then you have a headline that actually tells people exactly what you do. Because if you don’t put a headline there, LinkedIn will default to whatever your first position is in experience, with your title.
How can you generate leads from that? Well, if somebody has already been through the new construction and they’re thinking of buying it but they want to check you out, what you want to have on that LinkedIn summary is you want to let people know this is who you are, this is what makes you different, these are the kinds of services that you offer, and most importantly have a place for 14 pieces of media. And that’s where you want to put testimonials of people that have worked with you before. Whether they’re clients, or they’re strategic partners, you want them. I like the idea of using video, so I use audio / video because nobody wants to be in front of a camera. So they record it and then you can put a power point behind it, and I do that, but it’s not that hard to do.
You want to make sure that you have that third party validation there. And then most important, and this is what everybody leaves out Anya, about 90% of the people leave out, is if you’re not connected to somebody, they typically have no way to contact you. So in your summary and also if you can put it in your banner, make sure that you put your website, put a phone number if you want people to contact you. But put all of your contact information within your summary, because if they’re not connected with you, they may not be able to find your information, and if they can’t find it, they’re going to go to the next person. What I suggest is look at your profile from the standpoint of the person that you know is going to be looking at it. Ask yourself this question, based on this profile, would I do business with myself? If the answer is no, then you’re going to want to upgrade that profile because literally in over 70% of the time that is the first impression that somebody gets because when you Google yourself, your LinkedIn profile comes up very, very high. Does that make sense?
Anya: Yeah, absolutely. So when you say make yourself, you know, look from the eyes of the prospective buyer, and you mentioned photos. So I see so many photos of somebody at the wedding, so you’re saying that’s a no no.
Rhonda: Yeah. Absolutely. Oh my gosh, I actually had somebody call me on day, reach out to me, and she said, “I don’t understand why LinkedIn is basically telling me that I can only now send out invitations using email address and that I’m on probation.” Okay? And I went, “Well, let’s see what you’re doing.” And it turned out that what she was doing is, she was actually just sending out LinkedIn connection requests to everybody that she met, and she had a sales proposal in it. And I said, “Well, part of …” And her photo was a picture of her with her sister at her college graduation, in their graduation gowns, with a glass of champagne toasting. And I said, “Okay. What’s wrong with this picture?” Right? Nobody wants to be sold. We all want to buy, but nobody wants to be sold. So you want to make sure that when you have that LinkedIn profile and it looks, in way, that somebody is going to say, “Wow, I want to know more about this person.”
When they check you out, that they know that you are somebody that they believe you are representing yourself to be. Because you can say a lot of stuff on a website, but guess what, you put it on a website it’s not as believable as it is on LinkedIn, if that makes sense.
Anya: Yeah, absolutely. And actually you made a good point about nobody wants to be sold. So would you recommend that say I’m working with a hot prospect, I’m trying to sell them a house, maybe they’re not quite responding to my emails or phone calls. Do I … should I go ahead and friend them on LinkedIn? Do you think that that is acceptable? Or do you think that’s creepy? And if I do it, how would I go about doing it so that they don’t think I’m stalking them.
Rhonda: One of the things that I would recommend is, number one, get the paid version of LinkedIn. And why do you want the paid version? Because you want to know who’s looking at you. What if that potential client that you’re going after has already checked you out, don’t you want to know that? The first thing you want to do is you want to send them a connection request, and it’s always got to be personal. So it might be, Hi Rhonda, I came across your profile. I noticed that we share some common connections, or some common interests, it would be great to connect. I look forward to learning more about you and how we might work together. Best regards. So you send that invitation.
Now there are a lot of people, Anya, that never even look at LinkedIn. I call those the folks that are in long term parking. They just don’t even bother. They may have 10, 20, 300 invitation requests in their inbox, they just don’t go there. But if they do go there, you want to make sure that when they look at your profile … because typically when somebody gets an invitation, they look at your profile. So you want to make sure that when people look at it, that you’ve answered all of those questions. That you let people know who you are, so that when you are actually in the sales process with them, that there’s no reason they would not want to do business with you, other than they don’t like you.
Couldn’t happen if your profile is actually completely done. Does that make sense?
Anya: Yeah, absolutely. And can you talk a little bit about who’s on LinkedIn? You brought up a good point that a lot of people are not active on there. I’m going to play a little bit of a devil’s advocate and say isn’t LinkedIn for people who are looking for a new job? So can you talk more about the demographics, and to kind of give us an idea for that.
Rhonda: Sure. Well what’s interesting is most people think, or in the past have thought, that LinkedIn is the place that you go for a job, or if you’re looking for a job, or you’re a recruiter. But in fact, somebody joined LinkedIn every second, believe it or not. The average salary, according to the last statistic that I heard, was that it’s about $109,000. Okay? There are more CEO’s on LinkedIn than you could ever imagine. People that are actually looking for business are on LinkedIn. An interesting study by Forbes said that 64% of all social media traffic to websites comes from LinkedIn. People spend time on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, but on LinkedIn they invest time. So the people that you’re looking to do business with, there’s a better than even chance that those people are on LinkedIn. Now, whether they’re using it, probably I would tell you that 20 to 30% are the ones that are, what I call pay to play.
What that means is that they actually are paying for the premium version, which means they’re serious. Interestingly enough, we know that you get a much higher response data on LinkedIn, than anything else, simply by virtue of the message feature and the specificity. Because there’s so much that you can find there, on LinkedIn. I love LinkedIn for the simple reason that you know what, I can learn about all kinds of people that I would not be able to find out about. 56% of their users are men, 44% are women, and the fact that every second they’re adding new members, that says a lot. That says that people are using LinkedIn to check everybody out. It’s a wonderful place to market. Yes, it is a great place if you’re looking for a job, for sure. But if you’re in marketing, if you’re looking for clients, you want to make sure that you’re actually logging into LinkedIn every single day, because their monthly active user base is about 260 million, as of about a year ago, so can you imagine what it is now because it’s jumping so fast?
Anya: That’s interesting. So it sounds like the LinkedIn demographic is a little bit more skewed towards male, than female. And usually it’s the opposite in most of social media, like Facebook I think it is more skewed towards female. So, speaking of other social media platforms, can you tell us a little bit about how do we use LinkedIn and how is it different from other social media platforms. Because it is more professional use, and sometimes I do see certain posts that I think personally are inappropriate. What should we post that actually gets traction on LinkedIn, versus detraction on LinkedIn, something that’s going to turn people off.
Rhonda: The answer to that question is that number one, you always want to keep it professional. One of the things that you can easily do on LinkedIn is you can post quotes. So I like to use, there’s a website called brainy quotes and you can find really cool pictures with amazing quotes. It’s all free, and you can just post from there. Recently what I did is I put a post about … I can just hired a new webmaster. He literally came to my house, showed me how to set up my green screen to use Zoom, helped me create a logo, find the right CRM, and much more. What happened with that is 2,774 views of that post, 29 comments, and 10 likes. 29 likes and 10 comments. What was really cool about that is that I was able to generate referrals for the guy who’s helping me with my website. Because I just said, if you want to know, message … two or three people messaged me asking me for all of his information.
Many people, like myself, have had unfortunate experiences trying to get a good webmaster. Post good information, is a very, very smart thing to do. Sharing other peoples information is even better. Or you find an article that somebody else has written that you think would be really valuable. You can share it with your network. And I share a lot of peoples stuff, and it’s amazing what happens because now people are starting to share my stuff. And the same thing is true for all my clients. That’s one of the most positive ways you can use LinkedIn.
Anya: You mentioned that you post about twice a day, so how often would you recommend that someone posts, because obviously we’re all busy. So how often is enough to really make an impact? Or is it more about the type of content that you post, rather than frequency?
Rhonda: The experts will tell you that you should be posting two to three times a day, but again that doesn’t mean you have to go out and write original content. And there are services that will do it for you, as well. But posting could be something as simple as just doing what I said. Click the share button of somebody that likes somebodies stuff and share. When you’re writing articles, that’s a whole different way, and writing article … that’s Pulse, that’s what they call the publishing platform. And what I recommend with that is that you do that. I have found that posting it on a Monday or Tuesday gets a lot more views, and a lot more traction than if I do it on a Friday when people are less likely to be looking at LinkedIn over the weekend. They come to their inbox on Monday and it’s so huge, so you might fall through the cracks.
The algorithms on LinkedIn are constantly changing. So it’s like anything else, you’re going to want to be testing it. Write articles not about anything that is salesy, write articles that gives people tools, information, things that will help them do better in their business. And it doesn’t even have to be related to your particular field of business, if that makes sense.
Anya: Yeah, absolutely. So it’s almost like establishing yourself as an authority because you wrote this article and so for the builders you could do something along the lines of why new construction, comparing new homes versus used. Maybe can dispel some of the common myths associated with buying new construction.
Rhonda: Maybe even an article about, do you need an inspection if it’s new construction. You know? A lot of times people think well it’s new construction right, it’s not a 50 year. That’s something that if you’re buying new construction you don’t know, right? You’re putting all your faith in the builder, which is fine, but you can educate people about things like that because they don’t know. Or, maybe it’s something like you’re buying new construction, what’s the best way to get your home furnished when you’ve seen the model and you wish yours could look like that. And then you might even provide a link to a bunch of interior designers, or stagers, or tell people how to find somebody that can find them. Because that’s where a lot of people get … one of the things I think that a lot of people get challenged with is okay, I’m moving into this incredible new home, I’m buying new construction, I have no idea how to configure my furniture is going to fit in this new home. Right?
But what if you were to just talk about that, and to create relationships with people that do that. That go in and actually tell you how you might consider arranging the room, because you might have a blind spot. The blind spot is you don’t know what you don’t know. I know I can’t speak Japanese, but I don’t know what I don’t know, and somebody else can just look at me and go oh, your glasses are on the top of your head. Well I can’t see that, they’re on the top of my head. It’s a blind spot. Being that resource positions you as the go to person. Even with realtors for example, there’s a lot of real estate people out there that don’t even think about showing their clients new construction. However, maybe what you can do is you can gear your article towards the realtors and say, don’t forget about the new construction as well as what’s already on the MLS. Again, make it targeted towards that market, because they may not even know about it. Your whole purpose is really just educating, and make it fun, you can insert videos into an article.
Using video, number one, is really entertaining, and number two, LinkedIn lets you do it. Which is so darn cool. You can insert that into your article.
Anya: You bring up a great point about video. It seems like by year 2020 video is going to be like 80% of all the content that we consume, is going to be video. Can you talk a little bit about LinkedIn live? Isn’t there some feature where you can actually go live on video and connect with your audience?
Rhonda: There is. That’s a very good question, Anya, and here’s the thing that’s interesting. LinkedIn has been rolling that feature out since March of 2017. Literally, I have not even gotten it yet. But, having said that, there’s an amazing workaround, okay? Because what you’re talking about is what’s similar to when we do Facebook live. However, what you can do is in your post … in your posting, like we talked about, you can record a video and then just put that video right into your post. And I like that even better because in reality, when you’re doing it live, a lot of times the quality isn’t great. I’ve seen them where people are driving and they’re doing their video, or … and I like just having it a little bit more professional where you record it, you upload it, and then you just put it right in there.
Again, I don’t even have that feature yet. You’ll know if you have it because it shows up as a part on your phone. It will show you a little link and then you can start using it. You can use it anyway. You can just record, save it to Vimeo, or YouTube or wherever you want to save it, and then just post it, right there in your post.
Anya: So good. I think you’re giving everyone such great ideas for what they should be posting and thinking specifically about builders and sales people, I’ve noticed that some of the content works better for me than other things. So I’ve noticed a lot of posts about awards and recognition, seem to be picking up a lot of traction. So for example, next time you’re getting an award for a sales achievement, that’s something that would be very appropriate to post on LinkedIn and a lot of people will support you in that. And the more people comment, the more people see that post, isn’t that how it works on LinkedIn? Similar to other social media. So if I comment, my connection can see that now, is that correct?
Rhonda: It is, and that’s a really cool thing, but even more than posting about something that you got, for example as an award, okay? What I think people want to hear about are stories that you can share. So maybe it’s a story about somebody that you landed as a client, through a connection of a realtor, okay? Why would what be of interest? Because there might be a lot of people that do what you do in new construction and you know, they don’t really think oh well I should be connecting with the real estate people. Right? Or even connecting with … think about this, you can go even beyond that. Who’s the first person to know if somebody is going to be looking to be buying a home? Divorce mediators, right? The CPA’s, the divorce lawyers, the financial advisors, those are the people that know that you’re thinking about buying.
Well if you’re connecting with those folks, and you let them know about you, chances are the people that you’re selling to, that are buying new constructions, those people are going to need a CPA. They’re going to need an estate planning lawyer. So why not make the connections with them, so that they’ll refer you. Because literally almost all of the things that we do are based on referrals from other people. Doesn’t that make sense?
Anya: It makes total sense. So good. I want to go back to something you mentioned earlier in our conversation. Talking about reviews. So we all know that people trust other people more than they trust a sales person, so having reviews is definitely key. But new construction, a lot of the times, you know us as a sales person, you did an excellent job taking them through the process, they enjoyed working with you, but then during the construction process, say something goes wrong with the build. A lot of the times they’ll take it out on you as a sales person, even though you had nothing to do with construction. That brings me to my question, of negative reviews.
Is it possible for someone to post a negative review on LinkedIn, and if so, how do we mediate it. Because obviously you don’t want to maybe have that.
Rhonda: That’s a great question. One of the real beauties of LinkedIn is that when somebody gives you a recommendation, you have the choice of whether you want to post it or not. Now, typically what happens with recommendations is most of the time if I said to you, “Anya, would you mind giving me a recommendation?” And you know me, okay? What happens a good percentage of the time, not all the time, people will say, “You know what, Rhonda, why don’t you just write it, send it to me and then I’ll send it to you and you can post it because you know what you want it to say.
So recommendations typically are not very … they’re not written in the voice of the person who’s actually giving it. They are still valuable, and they should … you do need to have them, but when it comes to bad recommendations, okay, or bad press, here’s the thing that you can do. And this is something that’s very, very important. Most people are going to write a bad review, they’re going to do it on Google, they’re going to do it on Yelp, they’re going to do it some place else. Okay? And so when that happens, if you’re using a service … and I just found out about a resource actually, that’s amazing, it’s like 100 bucks a month. You can go back to all your past clients, and it’s all automated, and what you ask them for is did you have a good experience. So instead of saying, you give me one to five stars, they give you a thumbs up or a thumbs down.
A thumbs up is five stars. If they give you a thumbs down it never gets published. Another screen pops up and says can you tell us why you gave us a thumbs down, which gives you as the person who’s getting the review, the opportunity to reach back to that person and say why weren’t you happy and what could we do to make this better? So you’re not going to get negative reviews on LinkedIn because you have the ability to control your entire profile. However, if you do get those … and I had somebody this happened to the other day, it’s a new client of mine. She happens to be a family law attorney, and those people, they’re not happy to begin with. Right? You’re getting a divorce, you’re probably not in the happy place. And so even though she had a lot of really good reviews, she had a couple that were really, really negative out there on Google and Yelp. She was saying well, how do I counteract this, because she’s been in practice for 18 years. She’s got clients that love her, but no reviews. I said, “Well that’s easy, we can use this service and let’s go to the referral partners that you have, the people that are sending you your clients, and ask them to give you a recommendation, and in turn you give them one.”
Let’s go to your instance, okay, so you’re in new construction. You might have a realtor, she might say is, “When I worked with Anya, it was almost immediate because she knew the property so well that when I told her what my buyer was looking for, she was able to find the exact property. I can’t say more about the level of professionalism service that she gave me.” Now if that’s something that you have on your LinkedIn profile, both in the recommendation section, on Google, and maybe in a video of some sort, when some other real estate agent is in that same boat, they can’t find something for their buyers, who do you think they’re going to go to? You because they found out that you listened, you knew what that buyer wanted, and if you couldn’t help them, you could refer them to somebody else that could. Does that make sense, how powerful it could be?
Anya: Absolutely. So good, and can you tell us … do you remember what the name of the service is? That you mentioned the $100 a month that kind of search through the reviews?
Rhonda: Yeah, so it’s amazing.
Rhonda: I just don’t remember it off the top of my head, but just send me an email at LinkedInDiva@gmail and I will be happy to send it.
Anya: Great, and I’ll also make sure to link that information in the show notes. Thank you so much for joining us today, and can you tell everyone where can they connect with you?
Rhonda: Absolutely. So they can get a free report that I wrote, seven steps to a profitable profile, and that is at yourconnectionconsultant.com. They can also connect with me on LinkedIn, and very easy it’s just linkedin.com/in/rhondalsher. When you send me that connection request, put in the personal end of the message, heard you on Anya’s podcast. I would be glad to give anybody that’s listening a 30 minute consultation to go over their profile with them on a joint screen. So I can show you some ways that you can improve it.
Anya: Wow, amazing. Thank you so much, and again I will link all that information in the show notes. That way you guys can connect with Rhonda. Again, Rhonda, I appreciate your time, you’re so generous with all the information. I think everyone’s got a great ideas on how we can use LinkedIn to grow our business, and get more sales. Appreciate your time.
Rhonda: You’re welcome, thanks for inviting me. Okay. Bye bye.
Anya: Thank you, talk to you soon. Bye.
You can listen to this interview here.
In the second episode of the New Construction Marketing Podcast I interview marketing strategist and copywriter Amadeus Musumali about best practices for written communication with clients. Here is a link to the next episode.