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My best days are spent working with and talking to clients. Each conversation inspires me to think about our clients, their businesses and the whole idea of personal brand and marketing. Today’s post is no exception. Our clients are located throughout the United States, and we don’t often meet with them in person. So, when they head to their annual conference, so do I.

Thanks to Dave Thurston and Chris Quinn for the conversation that helped crystallize this post. As we talked about using LinkedIn for business development (they are), we talked about sales, marketing, and the lies people tell themselves about their ability to find and close business in a social and digital world.


Seven Lies People Tell Themselves About LinkedIn

I look good on LinkedIn.

If you haven’t updated your profile in the last year, you probably don’t look good on LinkedIn. You look dated.

If your profile still reads like an online resume and not a differentiating marketing tool for you, you don’t look good on LinkedIn.

If your photo is more than two years old, it’s time for a fresh look. If it’s older than five years, oh sweet Jesus, please put “LinkedIn update” on your calendar and find a good photographer.


I’m well known in my industry and city.

Regardless of how well known you may be (and most of us aren’t as well known as we think), there are always new people coming into your city and industry. Whether these folks have been transferred or recruited, they are now in a position to be noticed and they may not know you. People don’t stay in the same company or industry for decades anymore. Moving in and out of companies, industries and cities is more the norm than you realize. Being relevant and continually connecting (prospecting, bench-building, recruiting) with new people is absolutely critical to keeping your business healthy.

Over and over, people tell me they took their focus off of connecting with new people and their personal prospecting pipeline came to a screeching halt. You have to commit to fish …or find someone smart and stealthy to fish for you. You decide.

Personal brands are built over time and can be seen as irrelevant, tarnished or, worse, not worth paying attention to.


I’ve been successful and have built several businesses.

While you get a bunch of kudos and congrats for being successful and accomplished, my next question is, “How long ago?”  Usually, it’s before digital platforms, social media, AI, and disappearing media catapulted in and transformed how we talk, communicate, educate, entertain and inspire others to work with us. Leveraging influencers, and champions, and thought leadership was less complicated and nuanced.

When I googled, “Your past success is no longer an indicator of your future success,” more than 3.4 million results pop up. Take a look – interesting to see that has been studied and proven true. An article I wrote five years ago on staying marketable still holds true.

If your potential buyers, talent or members are young, (yes, that’s a relative statement) you need to find them on the channels they use.


The people I know will help me.

Of course they will. Within reason. Let’s face it, the people you know are equally accomplished, busy people. Do they have the time and inclination to go through their entire network; LinkedIn, Outlook, Gmail, membership directories, FB, Twitter and God forbid, an old, trusty (probably, not so much) Rolodex to find people to introduce you to? And, then find the time to craft a message, send an email or make a call on your behalf?

Yes, of course, if it’s every once in a while. However, if you are building a new business, in a new line of work or find yourself in a new city, you need a larger concentration of the right people coming onto your radar and into your sphere of influence.

You need a focused digital networking plan, and you need to manage it with as much personalization as possible. It’s not only a digital world, but it’s also a personal, high-touch world (Oxymoron? Maybe, but it’s true).


Linkedin is just like Facebook, and I don’t want to know what people eat for lunch.

Promise you won’t say that again. It dates you. The people you want to connect, know and work with don’t post what they eat for lunch, especially not on LinkedIn. While your LinkedIn homepage feed may be a bit looser and more casual than in years past, it’s still about people, their work, and the articles that teach us more about our world, industry, network and opportunities.

Everything LinkedIn has done over the last 15 years supports their mission — to connect the world’s professionals to opportunity. You decide what the opportunity is  — a new position, a new connection, Groups of people rallying around a particular topic, companies to work for, invest or volunteer in, a board position that taps into your skills, expertise, and personal mission.


I don’t have time for LinkedIn and social media.

Three people have told me in the last two days that no one returns a cold call message and only a handful respond to an email.

Not surprising.

First off, most people use their mobile phones for just about everything now, so it’s not surprising that a CEO doesn’t answer their direct dial number. Most CEOs I know are rarely at their desk. They’re mobile,  and unfortunately, are probably in a series of back to back meetings or with customer/clients/their team and new talent. Today’s CEOs aren’t sitting at their desk with their feet up. They are engaged and have a deliberate plan and purpose for their day. Every time I pick up a call I don’t recognize, I feel like I give up control and a part of my day I can’t get back.

You make time for the things that you find valuable. You value the things that provide a return, inspire and inform you. You can connect, meet and do business with people you would never have access to if it weren’t for LinkedIn and other social channels. If you have a plan and work the plan, you will have a return. If you stop and start, you will not. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Value happens when you create the space to give it time to work. It’s not magic.

Think of the other areas of your life where you receive value. Each of those areas created value because you invested time, energy, money and interest – your family, friends, health, finances. Growing your personal brand and business is no different.


I’ve given in and started LinkedIn.

Great, we are glad to hear this and kudos for jumping in and realizing the need to participate. Now, please realize that so many others have spent a whole lot of time here already. Don’t expect lots of attention. Just like in person, it takes a while for people to warm up to you, understand how brilliant, charming and endearing you are. So, hold on and keep going.

And, if you are that brilliant, charming and endearing, please let people know through your profile, being a good social citizen and helping others out, and the words you use when you connect and talk on LinkedIn. Be human, be interested and be yourself.

What’s your next move? Don’t you think it’s time to undo, as one of my clients said last week, the “head trash” that holds you back, confuses you and makes you uncomfortable?