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Teddy Burriss: How to Use LinkedIn To Dramatically Improve Your Business

A final idea regarding using LinkedIn to grow your business is to do what I call #PSA (Pay Serious Attention). LinkedIn Notifications can be overwhelming if you are to review/interpret all of them. I review my notifications and focus on those that are connected to my target audience and their influencers. These opportunities to continue engagement and/or start a new conversation can be very useful for moving a potential prospect into a business conversation. Where relevant and appropriate I’ll ask the LinkedIn Member if they are willing/able to jump into a Phone/Zoom conversation.

As part of my series of interviews about “How to Use LinkedIn To Dramatically Improve Your Business”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Teddy Burriss.

Teddy Burriss is a LinkedIn Strategist and Trainer. In 2010 Teddy started the business of delivering training and coaching focused on guiding business professionals on the best practices and tactics of using LinkedIn as a business tool.

As a practiced Toastmaster, Teddy also trained as a Sandler Sales Professional, Certified Career Transition Coach, DDI Certified Leadership Facilitator, Certified Social Media Strategist, and uses all of these developed skills to create value for his students and clients.

Teddy additionally loves to blend his experiences in Organizational Development, Outplacement Coaching, Human Resources, Leadership Development, Business Management, and Life into the work he does with his clients and students.

Working from his home office in North Carolina with his business partner & Wife, Rebecca, Teddy enjoys hearing business owners say, “OMG, I had no idea this thing could do all that.”

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

In 2005 I started my first sales role after nearly 30 years in Information Technology areas of business. My boss wanted me to cold call to generate business opportunities. I was not really excited about cold calling, especially after I had written my first book, “Networking for Mutual Benefit.”

I spent a lot of time networking in my role, but I knew I had to find new ways to uncover new opportunities through focused networking. I began experimenting with LinkedIn, Blogging, and YouTube. I discovered that many of the people I wanted to connect with and possibly get into business conversations with were on LinkedIn, even if they were not doing much of anything.

Over time I discovered ways to use LinkedIn to become trusted and respected in my field and to generate opportunities to be referred, get connected, and into conversations that led to growing relationships and eventually into business discussions. Using LinkedIn as a business tool became a powerful tool for me. In time I decided LinkedIn was such a powerful set of tools that I should go off and teach people how to do it correctly.

I quit my sales job on December 15, 2010, and Burriss Consulting went live full time in May 2011.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?

Searching for influencers, i.e. people who can introduce me to my next great client is a very purposeful and deliberate tactic I use regularly. One day I was searching for influencers in the Financial consulting industry. I found someone I had connected to a few years ago but had not yet had a real open conversation with yet.

Because his phone number was listed on his LinkedIn Profile I called him. We talked very informally for a few minutes before he asked “what can I do to help you?”

I told him I wanted to get introduced to the person who leads the business development team for his company. He told me exactly who this person is and then offered to send an email introduction for me.

Within a few days, I got an email from the executive in charge of business development for this national company. The next day we talked and he showed interest in what I do. He was not ready to bring me in at that point, however, within a few months I was copied on an email where the sales leader told the Learning & Development team “Bring Teddy Burriss to all of our Professional Development conferences this year.”

Within a few more weeks I had a contract for my largest single sale in 8 years of business.

I share this story because it was very rewarding and an example of the power of using LinkedIn as a business tool. It all started with a single conversation with one of my LinkedIn Connections.

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 teach a philosophy of “Never do, say, or Engage in any way you don’t want to be seen, heard, or perceived of in life.”

Why, because I made that mistake and I’ll never forget it.

One of my clients had started to produce YouTube videos for their business. A friend of mine was in the marketing team and had published a video where he was interviewing 2 pre-teen boys. It was clearly a grassroots video, but well done. The two boys were clear in their responses and paid attention to what they were supposed to do to make a good video.

My friend asked them 8–10 questions and as with many of us, he was using filler words (“Um, Ah, etc) as he spoke.

When I saw the video on YouTube, I commented on how good the two boys had done in the video. I continued on to cajole my friend, publicly mind you, because of his many filler words. I think I said something like this; “Great video with two well mannered and prepared pre-teen boys. I wish the ‘old man’ interviewing them was a better public speaker. (LOL)”

I guess the LOL did not soften the blow. He nearly immediately fired off a message to me asking if “Should you be criticizing your client publicly?”

I realized my mistake and immediately edited the comment to be more supportive and not critical at all.

Why is this funny, because my friend taught me a lesson I should have known already and still years later when I bring this up, I laugh at my initial ignorance. This is why I developed the edit; “Never do, say or Engage in any way you don’t want to be seen, heard or perceived of in life.”

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?

As a Social Media Strategist, I use, practice, and teach many different channels. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Quora, YouTube, Blogging, and a few others.

However, once I discovered the power of professional networking on LinkedIn it has become my favorite and most rewarding social media platform.

Having my LinkedIn Profile routinely show up as a #1 Google Search for LinkedIn Trainer is very rewarding for me. Having a rich and meaningful LinkedIn Network also provides me lots of opportunities including rewarding referrals. Producing and publishing content through many areas of LinkedIn adds even more value to my business as I use LinkedIn as a business tool.

I know there is always the possibility that ‘the cobbler’s shoes’ may not be the best as I focus on helping others. However, I have to work hard not to let this happen to me. Weekly I get a LinkedIn Message, InMail, or email because people I have yet to meet discover me through their network or via my own content and/or LinkedIn Profile.

Regularly I get found because of my YouTube videos and Quora Answers. However, the bulk of my business opportunities and growth comes from being discovered on LinkedIn.

Recently I got a LinkedIn Invite from a prospect who simply said, “I saw your LinkedIn Profile and decided not to search any further for help. You appear to be the person I need to talk with now.”

Another example of why I teach LinkedIn as a business tool. It works for me and those I enlighten with the training I provide.

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.

The first tactic of leveraging LinkedIn is to build a professional LinkedIn Profile. A LinkedIn Profile written focused on your target audience, using keywords that are important and relevant to them, becomes a powerful marketing document. Because I spent time building my LinkedIn Profile in this way I often get LinkedIn Messages or emails from people who found my LinkedIn Profile via Google Search and they want to talk about how I could help them.

Another way to leverage LinkedIn as a business tool is to be very purposeful when building your LinkedIn Network. Connecting with your target audience is an important step. However, connecting with their influencers, the people who can introduce you to your target audience, is how we can get introduced to our target audience. Being introduced to a prospective client by someone they trust and respect is often more rewarding than ‘cold calling’ or sending unexpected LinkedIn Invites. I enjoy getting an email from a prospect that reads, “{John Doe}, a mutual connection told me you are the guy to call.”

Research or Prospecting using LinkedIn is yet another way to grow your business. I have a deliberate set of processes related to researching 2nd Level LinkedIn Connections in specific industries and roles. Building small executable lists of LinkedIn Members by industry and role helps me to be more efficient in my messaging and engagement. My mind stays focused on the areas of those roles & industries that my business can help them with. These tactics allow me to be much more productive during my research periods.

Recently I focused on the Nationwide Insurance Agency firms. I knew the firms were undergoing a huge change in their business model and with each conversation I learned a little more about the change. Eventually, I had a much more informed conversation with a Firm leader and this opened up a conversation about doing work with them. If I had been jumping back and forth between industries I may have missed out on the development of information that led to this opportunity.

I know that Engagement is the most powerful tactic of using LinkedIn as a business tool. Not just sharing relevant and useful content, but rather, commenting on content that my target audience may find interesting and useful as well. This is an often-overlooked tactic of using LinkedIn.

I monitor who engages on my comment and if they are either an influencer or better yet, a potential prospect, I’ll engage back with them or contact them offline and engage 1:1 with them.

I remember a post about virtual networking during the COVID-19 Pandemic of 2020 where I shared how I have been more intentional contacting people via phone and even FaceTime and one of these calls lead to a great business conversation that I am now nurturing into a contract.

A final idea regarding using LinkedIn to grow your business is to do what I call #PSA (Pay Serious Attention). LinkedIn Notifications can be overwhelming if you are to review/interpret all of them. I review my notifications and focus on those that are connected to my target audience and their influencers. These opportunities to continue engagement and/or start a new conversation can be very useful for moving a potential prospect into a business conversation. Where relevant and appropriate I’ll ask the LinkedIn Member if they are willing/able to jump into a Phone/Zoom conversation.

I saw where the president of a regional bank was celebrating a significant career anniversary. I sent him a private message of congratulations and when he replied I asked if he had time to have a phone call. He opted out but did recommend I contact his marketing executive. I did so and turned the conversation into a business project.

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. :-)

I use what I call the top 4 social media platforms of LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter every day. One movement I would love to inspire is to #DecideToBeKind.

There is too much arguing, rude messaging, and hateful speech online. A friend of mine started a movement called #DecideToBeKind on LinkedIn. I purchased this bracelet and keep it on my desk in front of my keyboard to remind me to be kind online.

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 :-)

I do not spend much time listening to or reading the news. I do however enjoy Trevor Noah and his style of storytelling. I would enjoy a conversation with Trevor just to hear more stories and his perspectives on our society today.

Thank you so much for these great insights. This was very enlightening!



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Candice Georgiadis

Candice Georgiadis

Candice Georgiadis is an active mother of three as well as a designer, founder, social media expert, and philanthropist.