Lindsey McMillion Stemann Of McMillion Consulting On How to Use LinkedIn to Dramatically Improve Your Business
An Interview With Candice Georgiadis
… Invest in Sales Navigator. While paying for LinkedIn is not the answer for everyone, if you want to dramatically improve your business, investing in LinkedIn’s premium subscription Sales Navigator is the next right move. It helps you find and target the right people and companies faster. With advanced searching and smart automation (not the kind referred to in #1), the lead feeder in Sales Navigator is hard to beat. One of the best parts of Sales Navigator is that the more you use it, the smarter it gets. Over time, it not only keeps you organized, but it also makes recommendations based on usage and past searches.
As part of my series of interviews about “How to Use LinkedIn to Dramatically Improve Your Business,” I had the pleasure of interviewing Lindsey McMillion Stemann, the Principal & Owner of McMillion Consulting. For more than a decade, Lindsey has trained thousands of professionals and teams to leverage LinkedIn as a profitable business tool, teaching them how to connect with purpose to increase their revenue; her clients have generated millions of dollars in revenue from her tactics. Whether she is on stage speaking at a global conference, training clients virtually, or interviewing clients to transform their digital footprint, Lindsey believes teaching should be practical so that learning is actionable. She and her team work with Fortune 500 companies, boutique advising firms and international brands. In additional to speaking nationally and internationally, she has also been featured on multiple sales, marketing, and financial podcasts.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I contemplated starting all the way back to when I was a young kid selling boiled hotdogs and lemonade in my neighborhood, but to expedite the timeline and put it simply: I was meant to be in sales. In college, I remember the frustration I felt during my two full-time graphic design internships when I could not explain my design and why it should be chosen to go to production. Ultimately, I didn’t like chained behind a desk all day so I decided, “If I won’t design it, I’ll sell it.”
I learned that one of my favorite aspects of a sales career is the opportunity to connect with lots of people. Early on, I gravitated to using LinkedIn to start new conversations and nurture existing relationships. Now, I get paid to share my branding and networking strategies with companies and business leaders — it’s a dream!
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?
As a speaker, I am often hired by companies for annual meetings and sales meetings. I was referred to a company by a dear friend who had recently spoken at the company’s sales incentive meeting in Atlanta, Georgia. Lucky for me, I booked the gig and the meeting happened to be in Cancun, Mexico. Between the two locations, I definitely drew the long straw over my friend! It was my first time speaking internationally and it was an amazing experience; everyone was ready to learn and very happy to be there. You never know what doors will open and how opportunities will unfold when you take on new adventures!
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I am an early riser, but that does not always mean that I wake up with my engines immediately firing on all cylinders…Enter in one of my most memorable professional stories. I was leading a public workshop in the winter forty-five minutes from my home that began at 7:30am. Leading the workshop meant that I needed to arrive well in advance to get everything set up before attendees started showing up. I also picked up breakfast for everyone. To account for this pitstop and highway traffic, I left my house at 5:00am.
I got to the parking lot in plenty of time, but not enough time to drive all the way back home to get a pair of heels since the moment I stepped out of my car and looked down, I realized I was wearing my furry house slippers. My heart completely sank. It was the real-life version of the dream where you leave the house…Without your shoes on! Thankfully, luck was on my side, and I had a pair of extra heels in car. Crisis averted!
At the end of the day, if I did not have [what became] my emergency heels in the car, I would have made a joke to the group and hopefully they would have shown me grace and we would have continued with a phenomenal workshop. However, what I would not get to control, is the immediate first impression people got of me when they saw the slippers and didn’t get to hear my story yet.
I often share this personal story when I’m hired to speak about LinkedIn. First impressions matter. Are you showcasing yourself as an expert through your profile? Are you positioning yourself as a credible professional and resource to your network? We do not always get the opportunity to overcome a mistake that can change people’s first impressions, so take the way you look on LinkedIn seriously.
Which social media platform have you found to be most effective to use to increase business revenues? Can you share a story from your experience?
When used thoughtfully, I have found LinkedIn to be the most effective platform. In helping my clients generate millions of dollars in revenue for their businesses, we focus on their reputation first through their LinkedIn profile; ensuring their offline reputation is mirrored online through their profile is a paramount first step. From there, consistently applying the 5 strategic tactics below will result in new opportunities.
One of my clients implemented just one habit I taught him, and it yields at least 6 meetings each week in his calendar of which he typically closes into 3 new clients. An important piece to remember is that LinkedIn is an entry point for conversation; the goal is still to get offline to schedule the phone, virtual or in-person meeting.
Let’s talk about LinkedIn specifically, now. Can you share 5 ways to leverage LinkedIn to dramatically improve your business? Please share a story or example for each.
- Be a human. There has been a significant uptick in artificial intelligence and automation tools used to blast the LinkedIn network. Does anyone really like to be on the receiving end of a blast? While automation is not inherently bad, it can be misused. When you put yourself in your recipient’s shoes, chances are high that you will take a more thoughtful approach before pressing the send or post button. “Is this something that I would respond to or engage with?” If that answer is no, considering rethinking your messaging.
A client of mine previously used automation to acquire new business. The tool he used certainly built his network (full of people he did not know), but it did not yield new conversations in his calendar. I gave him new outreach messaging to use and he finally started getting responses. In one particular exchange, my client courageously asked someone who had finally responded to him, “I’m curious, what made you respond to me this time?” The recipient replied, “You finally started sounding like a human in your outreach to me and like you actually care to learn about me now.” What is the quick lesson? Be a human, get a human response.
- Speak in first person. Your LinkedIn profile should be written in your voice, that is, in first person. If your goal is to develop a human connection offline (i.e., having a phone call or a virtual meeting), you will increase your chances of someone being intrigued to learn more about you when you use your LinkedIn profile to tell a complete story about who you are professionally, how you to go where you are today and who you serve. When your profile is written in first person, it makes it not only more conversational, but also more approachable.
After one of my financial advisor clients went through my Profile TransformerTM process, his newest client commented to him that she was looking forward to working together after seeing his LinkedIn profile and feeling like he was so different from other advisors she had experienced before. She ended up becoming a great client for him and his team. Now that is money in the bank directly from LinkedIn!
- Make it a daily habit. There are two primary reasons to incorporate LinkedIn as a consistent practice each day. The first reason is that LinkedIn changes all the time. New features are constantly being added and rolling off. When you use the tool every day you are more likely to notice changes and thus can stay efficient and effective with your time when using it.
Secondly, LinkedIn provides real-time updates on people and companies in your network — from work anniversaries and job promotions to birthdays and news aggregated into one platform, you will not miss important activity happening in your network. This timely information not only keeps you in-the-know, but it also gives you pertinent information to weave into your conversations.
When a client I worked with consistently participated in a LinkedIn group a potential client reached out to him. When they connected for a phone call, my client asked out of curiosity, “What made you reach out to me?” The person responded that he had learned a lot from his consistent engagement within the LinkedIn group, which led him to learning more about my client through his profile, colleagues on his page and ultimately his company website. Through this research (or vetting) process, my client’s reputation was validated. This potential turned into a $250,000 opportunity for my client.
- Be a valuable resource. Being a good steward comes in many forms. As it relates to LinkedIn, when you share your expertise in a helpful way with your network, you are bringing value to them. When you publicly congratulate someone or give them kudos, you are giving them exposure they may not have had otherwise. When you introduce people to each other in your network, you are thoughtfully stewarding your relationships so that people can benefit from knowing each other through you.
When I think about my clients who have a giver’s mindset, their success is exponential on and off LinkedIn. I like to challenge my clients to not only position themselves as educational resources through their profile and what they post, but also consider how they can connect people in their networks who may mutually benefit from knowing each other; when it turns into a fruitful introduction, they look like the hero and often receive the same favor of introductions in return.
- Invest in Sales Navigator. While paying for LinkedIn is not the answer for everyone, if you want to dramatically improve your business, investing in LinkedIn’s premium subscription Sales Navigator is the next right move. It helps you find and target the right people and companies faster. With advanced searching and smart automation (not the kind referred to in #1), the lead feeder in Sales Navigator is hard to beat. One of the best parts of Sales Navigator is that the more you use it, the smarter it gets. Over time, it not only keeps you organized, but it also makes recommendations based on usage and past searches.
When I trained a client and his lead associate how to strategically incorporate Sales Navigator into their prospecting process, they not only started consistently acquiring new clients that were sourced through Sales Navigator, but their team qualified for a top sales achievement group within their company for the first time ever. If you know how to use Sales Navigator, it can be a goldmine.
Because of the position that you are in, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
In 2019, I went through a program called Regeneration that changed (and saved) my life. This ten-month experience revealed my deep need for something bigger than myself. I was unsuccessfully managing my “kingdom of one” and found, not only, healing and restoration, but also a community of people who wanted to get well too. With so many people hurting in our broken world, if everyone who wanted to get well had access to Regeneration, more peace and perspective would be attained that can be life-changing and life-giving.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them :-)
When I first read Marie Forleo’s book, “Everything is Figureoutable,” I listened to her narrate it on Audible. Her candor, humor and wisdom empowered me to pursue ideas I’ve had for my business that had only lived in between my ears at that point. To grab a drink with her, learn from her, and (I’m sure) laugh with her would be an amazing experience! Let me add it to my bucket list ☺
Thank you so much for these great insights. This was very enlightening!