February 15

Episode 110: How to Effectively Use LinkedIn to Build Better Relationships


In today’s episode, Mike talks with Troy Hipolito – The Not So Boring LinkedIn Guy🤷🏽‍♀️ He helps you build high-value relationships from LinkedIn by creating personal branding with human engagement.

Troy Hipolito’s Biography

Hi, I’m Troy. You can call me Mr. H.

Over the last 20 years, I founded and co-founded several interesting companies. Starting as an award-winning programmer and designer I moved my way up to project management, architecture, and other hats that needed to be filled.

I was lucky enough to work on Coca-Cola sites and systems to Xbox Mobile Apps. Even created a Harry Potter virtual world for the fans.

We had lots of work, great employees and things were going well.

About 10 years ago that all changed. In Atlanta, there are very large enterprise-level companies and for the most part, they stop using agencies and start hiring contractors.

That killed our business model and that left us a bit high and dry.

I reached out to a few colleagues. Both were doing well. One owned an agency like mine and the other a sales guy. One told me about building long term relationships through LinkedIn and the other was using automation to reduce the sales cycle.

I was not that great in relationships. I was a terrible dater, lol. But over the years I began to understand. So I took the relationship advice and automation experience and combined them into a blended system.

We went from 2 – 3 business meetings a week to 25 business meetings a week. It also saved me about 6 – 8 hours a day. So converting clients became much easier.

Now I put 2 decades of startup experience and knowledge in order to help other passionate businesses build better relationships and gain new clients.

Questions in This Episode

  • Now how would you describe LinkedIn?
  • You use this term slow dating. Tell me a little more about what does that mean to you, particularly in reference to LinkedIn?
  • Tell me more about that. Is this what you advise your clients to do?
  • Can I go back? This is a little bit of a kind of a practical question.
  • How do you advise them to keep up with where they are with all of these people?
  • Can you think of an example, Troy, where either you or a client got stuck and what did it take to get unstuck?
  • As you kind of reflect on what we’ve discussed, what do you want to be the takeaways for our listeners?

Links & Resources Mentioned…

Read The Transcript

Mike O'Neill: Welcome back to the Get Unstuck and On Target podcast. I'm Mike O'Neill with Bench Builders, and we help companies solve the people problems that are slowing their growth and hurting their profits. Joining me today is Troy Hipolito. His firm helps clients build high value relationships by helping them use LinkedIn effect by creating personal branding and improving their human engagement. Welcome, Troy.

Troy Hipolito: Thanks, Mike. I appreciate being on your show.

Mike O'Neill: Troy, the idea of using LinkedIn to better build relationships. That's probably where we'll spend most of our time today talking about. But let's step back a little bit.

LinkedIn. I think LinkedIn has evolved over time. It seems early on it was kind of a job search tool but that doesn't describe it well. Now how would you describe LinkedIn?

Troy Hipolito: Oh, it really depends on what you are doing. It's kind a funny story. I had an IT company previously, it's called ISO Interactive.

We did a lot of big stuff had a small team, very specialized stuff. Did Coca-Cola Enterprises site, Xbox Mobile Apps. Harry Potter virtual worlds and stuff like that. Really fun stuff. And we were doing really well until we weren't, and I think we're in a similar area in the Atlanta area ish.

So they have a lot of Fortune 500 companies and these Fortune five companies used to use a lot of agencies. Well, they don't do that anymore. They have taken these people and brought 'em in house. And so all of a sudden we had all this work and then we didn't. And then these agencies start fighting with each other over pennies.

And we had to figure out, you know, what, how do I save my business? And a lot of it was really about relationships and LinkedIn. So you're talking about what, how LinkedIn has changed. And I said, well, LinkedIn isn't it like this place that has resumes and things, you know, I'm like, what is this LinkedIn?

So I had a a buddy of mine Feta. He has his own agency, very similar mine. And I'm razzing him, you know, and we just go back and forth. I said, my work is much better than yours. How are you getting all this business? His work is good. I'm just, you know, I'm getting under his skin. And he says, yeah, I get all my stuff through LinkedIn.

I'm like, what the resume place? He says, no, it's a place to build relationships. And you have hundreds of millions of people on there. I also had that conversation with one of my sales guys. He was in New Jersey and he goes, yeah, LinkedIn is really the place to, to kind of build these relationships and these B2B kind of partnerships.

I said, really? I said relationships, and I realized that I was a terrible dater in real life because my type A personality traits. And you have to learn how to slow date old-fashioned dating for life as well as business. And so the analogy was very close. So I actually built a system around that.

And that's when I start really diving into LinkedIn. So it's changed from this place that had resumes that was known for into actually one of the largest social business platform out there. There's over 800 million people on LinkedIn. And half of them, I'll repeat half of them are active daily.

So it's like a gold mine if you are there to actually reach the right. And you say, oh, there's a lot of competition. Well, some of my partners are actually LinkedIn experts as well. I don't look at 'em as a competition. Again, there's 800 million people on LinkedIn, so I only need a few clients a month.

So it's a great place as long as you're there to kind of provide value to others.

Mike O'Neill: You know, I'm intrigued by a term you used a moment ago and that is slow dating and I want to go there for a moment, but LinkedIn, it's evolved. You're now kind of helping build a business case for business owners of all sizes on how LinkedIn can be an appropriate platform to build relationships, but you use this term slow dating.

Tell me a little more about what does that mean to you, particularly in reference to LinkedIn?

Troy Hipolito: Well, number one, you gotta know who you are. You gotta understand who you wanna work with, who you don't, and you don't wanna always think about what your service is. You want to figure out how can I provide help or provide value to other people?

Not what was valuable to you, but what's valuable to that audience. And then you have to build a network that actually supports that. For example, if I have a meaning, they know who I am already. So, but they, their problem might not be business slash LinkedIn specific. So my goal is not to sell my services.

My goal is to listen. My goal is to understand who they are and have a mutual conversation. And to see if there's any pain I can resolve. If I can resolve their pain, whether I can do it or I have one of my partners to take care of. It is very valuable. For example, they may have an email issue or they may have an issue with VAs.

They may have a structural issue. Well, some of those things I don't dive into deeply. You know, I've specifically help people convert large not, how do you say, high value offers? IT companies high-end coaches and things like that. I help them quite a bit, but sometimes some of these expertise aren't in my wheelhouse.

I'll be understanding of it, but I'm not gonna go and try to fix a problem that I'm not the expert in. And so I don't care if I get the business or not. I'm here to help that person. And so if you think about this, if I have a 15 minute meeting and I'm helping that individual, I'm lessening their pain.

, I say, well, if you do A, B, and C, this will solve that issue. And there's one of three things that's gonna happen in the slow dating process. Number one, they'll go back, they'll make the change, they'll fix it. They're happy. You put out good energy in a universe. Actually, when you help someone, you feel better.

I don't know why. I'm not a neuroscientist or anything, but it's actually true, right? If you feel better, you're able to convert more yourself. And they never say anything bad about you. Number two, they make the change and they look at it and they're serious about their business and they look to the left, they look to the right and they say, man, there's 20 other things that I need to get fixed.

I don't want to do all the stuff. I'm gonna hire Troy to do it cuz he knows what he's talking about. You know? So you get a client, maybe. The third thing is, well, if you help them and maybe they don't have the finances to, to work with you they can send a recommendation. 50% of your business is based on recommendation on average, depending on the business.

Some got higher and lower and stuff like that, but it's much easier to someone else to toot your horn versus you tooting your own horn so it comes out as authentic. So they're already pre qualified. They said, you know, I know you helped my buddy to do a, b and C on LinkedIn, and he's able to solve that problem.

I'm having this issue and I have a business issue. And so it's not me selling them, it's just me helping them, you know? So that's slow dating, that's understanding that what's appropriate. Another thing, for example, if you want to get to know someone well, instead of just sending a connection request, And, and pitching your services, which a lot of people are doing.

That's like, that's like if you found this beautiful woman and you wanted to date her, you wouldn't walk up to her and say, I find you very beautiful. Let's get married, you know, and let's have children and a dog and a white picket fence and all that stuff. That's overkill. And then that's opposite of quick.

No, that's opposite of slow dating. That's sabotage and it's actually very rude. Why don't you try something like, oh, I see this person. This person has a great network. He could be a great partner, or perhaps client. Let me look at some of his posts. I can engage with his post and he can engage back.

Well, I can engage in a few of his posts and he can engage back. Well, you know, the whole sales techniques, they say like 15 or 18 touchpoints before a meeting or whatever. They keep on changing the numbers, but it's true. You need x amount of touchpoints. Well, if you engage in a post you've looked at it, that's one touchpoint.

You've liked it, you posted a comment. They posted a comment back, you have at least five touchpoints on that one that one conversation. If you reply back again, that's another, so you could have 12 touchpoints on two posts. Then the following week, maybe you could send an invite and an invite would say I'd love to post talking about A, B, and C if you think it's worth connecting, let's do it. Or however you want to word that. But you're prefacing a previous conversation and so they know you. And when the, if they accept you, which is much higher rate, your rate of exception goes from 30% or 40% all the way to 85%. So you have done two things. You have increased your ability to be connected and you move the relationship along the lines.

And then you can always ask what's equal to the relationship. So they already feel like they know you. And people work with people they like know, like, and trust. I heard, I'm sure you heard that everywhere, but I don't think that people know what know, like, and trust really means.

Mike O'Neill: You know, as we're talking, I'm reflecting on how you and I came in first contact.

It was not in the context of you being a potential podcast guest. It was only after I had a chance to speak with you where I felt that what you had to say would be of interest to our viewers and listeners, you also did something else that kind of caught my attention. And that is in building relationship you differentiated yourself and that is, we did connect and rather than some type of canned response, you sent me a little short video.

Oh yeah. And I say short. It was short, but it was personalized and therefore I immediately went from a kind of a static picture of Troy to there you are right in front of me in your own voice. Tell me more about that. Is this what you advise your clients to do?

Troy Hipolito: Yeah, so different things work for different clients.

So the base item is how do I communicate and provide value? and a non-confident non-confrontational way. Right. So you don't want any conflict on that. And to put the onus on the other person. So it's their decision. So when I do something like a welcome message, which I have a day-to-day process, I teach my clients, I said, how much time do you have?

It's, is it either 30 minutes or an hour usually, right. I said, what are the most important, valuable things you can do in that amount of time? and do you have a, do you have an assistant? Okay. Can we move some of these tasks off to assistance? So I'm just want to put the most personalized engagement on that client because it's their LinkedIn profile.

One of the methods is what you're talking about. I do quite a few. I do personalized videos with the with the LinkedIn app. So I'll go in there and I said, oh, this person has accepted my invite. I'll go to the invitations. I'll look at that and I'll say, huh, I think these are the 10 people I want to do personalized videos for today.

And sometimes I get quite a few connections, so I have to be selective on at the strategize on who to reply to. So I use the LinkedIn app, and in the LinkedIn app there's an option to create a video and I create a video on the fly. And I always thank them for connecting and pre before I do the video, I look at their profile, so I know who I'm talking to again, and I'm figuring out, okay, are there any dots that connect?

Let me do a 45 second discovery and I'll scan their profile. I may look at their website or the company page, and I understand why I'm kind of reaching out to 'em. So number one, I thank them. Number two, I talk about them. number three, I said, Hey, if you have a moment and I point up to the left, I said, take a look at my profile only if you have time and if you see anything of value, you know, send me your schedule link and I'll book some time with you.

So you notice I'm not forcing a link on them. And the ask I have is equal to the relatoionship and you have to understand where you are at in the relationship. Is it okay for me to ask you to look at my profile? Well, you just accepted my invite and I did send you a video. You know, there's a high probability to look at that, and then when you look at it, you'll say, huh, yeah, I think I wanna talk to this guy.

Or maybe I don't. And so there's no pressure, there's no sales. It's simply a way to kind slow date and build that relationship up. And again, if you come from a place of service if you're only there to offer value, closing deals are, is easy. You know, you get to pick your clients, you know, I get request probably about eight, nine or 10 times to pick up a client.

But, I have to make sure that they have a high probability of success. Now, everyone will be successful in this arena, you know? And if I feel that they're the old school sales guy and they got a product, I don't have any friends and I'll just sell, and that will not work. You know, I want like-minded individuals that actually wanna support their audience because when you help people, it comes back quite a bit.

And in my business, all I need is like one or two clients a month because everything I do is compound. So my clients stay on, they convert well. So why would I pick up a problem client that doesn't follow directions, , that won't, that, that are, that's not personable and things like that, it just won't work out well.

And I said, I don't want to add that pain to myself. And earlier before our podcast, we just talked about that, you know, I made a decision not to work with, know, certain type of clients and not saying that they're bad people, but my job is to make sure that they convert. You know, that's the whole thing.

You're not gonna work with me unless you're able to kind of convert your money, at least, you know, five x or 10 x. If you can't do that, I probably don't want to burn anyone's time. You know? Of course everything I say will be valuable, but if that person's not able to like implement what I tell 'em to do, for example, the video.

or they're not able to do five videos or five voice messages and run ab test, you know, oh, I find out that this one runs, this one's more. I get more responses on this for this audience. You know, if they're not you know, in tune to some of those things I'm probably not a good fit for them.

Mike O'Neill: Troy, you've mentioned a number of things that kind of caught my attention.

It also builds on the conversation you and Ihad before we hit the record button. And let me revisit that in part, and that is if you're a business owner, you do have the option of choosing your clients. And all too often you have clients that really aren't the best fit for you. And what you described is you're assessing with the person I'm talking to based on what I've learned, would they be a good client? The book that you and I spoke on is written by Michael Port, it's called Book Yourself Solid. And one of the things they stress is that your clients really are reflection of you. And because you mentioned the referrals, you know, it's likely gonna be your clients who are gonna be referring new clients to you.

So it, it really does make good sense to be selective.

Troy Hipolito: You, not just clients but partners as well. Strategy partners is a big one. If half of your, I half of your business is coming from recommendation, know, and you have to pick the right client that will not be passive and have your interest, you know, have your interest first.

Mike O'Neill: Yes. Can I go back? This is a little bit of a kind of a practical question. You mentioned LinkedIn and you said that if a person has the time and the aptitude to do this, you're encouraging your clients to record a personalized video. Is it only a available on one's phone?

Troy Hipolito: Well, there's different ways to do that, but the LinkedIn app has an advantage that the video is built in.

So it's internal video and so, or native video to the to the message. You can also do things like loom and stuff be external or YouTube video or something like that. The issue is LinkedIn does not like stuff outside of LinkedIn. And so it'll bring you what I call a drop page.

They'll say, are you sure you want to leave? And then that will cut your conversion down at least by 50 or 70%. It's good for a backup. So yeah, I would suggest for certain clients in certain industries a 30-second video. Don't talk about you. Thank them. Talk about them and then have your stuff speak volumes for yourself.

For example, if you look at my profile, you say, oh, I know what this guy's about. You know, I get it super clear, and they have to internalize to figure out if they want a meeting with you. Some people, a voice message would be better, so there's an actual voice memo option. You can do that and it's a little less pressure.

Certain people are not good on camera, but they want to be per, they wanna be personalized. So they may do a voice memo with a little text on it, and it's different and people like that because, oh, this person actually took the time to look at my profile, to talk to me, to thank me that I connected and to you know, just to engage.

Well, he spent that time. It's worth me taking a look at his profile. Now, if your profile sucks, , you're kind of defeating the purpose. So your dominoes have to be in a row, you know, so when I work with a client, we do a top, top down approach, you know, from understanding who they are who's their low hanging fruit?

Where's their ideal prospect? All about their business, how they're different, and then re redevelop their whole profile. And then we help with our targets and tightening that list down. So more is not always better. People say, oh yeah, there's 38,000 people on that list, but they don't realize that most of those people are probably not your clients your ideal prospects.

And so you want to get, like, if you do a sales navigator search, you wanna get that tight, like a thousand or 600, something very small on the numbers. And you want to figure out why would this person want to connect with me, you know, and so there's a lot of little things like the video and the voice message and understanding who you are.

That kind of tech comes in play. That way you can have like automatic traffic, have two-way traffic. You know, you can go out and reach people. People will go and find you on Google, they'll find you on the search, on LinkedIn, they'll see your post. So there's all these different avenues to have people to come in, but your personalized communication has to be authentic.

And that's the bottom line for a lot of this stuff.

Mike O'Neill: Well, reason I come back to this is the, you reached for your phone when we began talking about that. And you know, the fact that you record a quick video and the video is personalized, that you're actually looking at their profile as you're doing that and you're making your video about them.

It's not gonna be super polished. No. That adds authenticity. And I think the whole theme of this conversation is, you know, how do you build quality relationships, authentic relationships. It begs the question, Troy, when you work with your clients and they're working with you on this LinkedIn accelerator system, how do you advise them to keep up with where they are with all of these people, how do you suggest that they keep track of all their activity?

Troy Hipolito: Well, that's kind an open-ended question because every client's a bit different. , honestly, when I put a video out, I don't even follow up. I get, but I get a lot of people coming in and so I just allow them to do what they want.

However, other people may have less volume and they have to be a little more meticulous and there's several ways to do. I have something called linked crm, which is part of my accelerator system, and it allows you to move data. It centralizes data for LinkedIn and you can push to your crm, or if a VA is running some of your, you know, of your conversations.

It can push to a Slack channel or something like that just for the client. And so you can have certain tools set up a certain way, and then some people will connect with you on LinkedIn, but they'll never even see the messages. They don't even know exist, right? And so it's not necessarily they don't like you, it's just they don't use LinkedIn in that way.

And if you have a large audience that, or like purely email and they will just never see a LinkedIn message or ignore those LinkedIn messages you have to evolve that strategy. So maybe your strategy is to like, well, they'll never see it anyway, so. , I'll have a canned reply. And the canned reply may say something like or a, not a canned reply, but start with canned and then make it edits to the reply could be a text and to say, oh, I'm, I see you doing A, B, and C.

Not lot of people see these messages. I'm gonna send you a direct email and you could pull that data off and then send an actual email and keep track of it that way. You can move it to a crm and your CRM can have some processes set up in that way. So what I do is I build processes that work for the client, you know, but the important thing is to avoid automation, you know, if whenever possible, so sending a whole bunch of canned messages is not a good idea.

You can start with what are the, like for example, if you have an assistant that's replying to these messages on LinkedIn, and maybe they're doing email too, there tends to be only a few questions people would ever ask. So you want to prep to reduce time. So create an FAQ or a response document, you know, whatever you want to call it.

And what are the top 10 questions or top seven questions that anyone would ever ask. And then have a short, very short reply. The most active one is say, this is a great point. We do A, B, and C, but it may make more sense to just have a meeting on it. Would you want me to send, you know, a booking link?

Know, you can or ask them. And so you want responses that really gear for a business anyway, that really gears to having a one-on-one conversation. What you don't want to do is have this very detailed explanation because no one reads that stuff on LinkedIn anyway. No one reads things like that. It's just too much to do.

Well, let me say this. Most people don't read that kind of, there's certain people that will, but they're in the vast minority. So always a personalized engagement would make sense, you know, in a lot of those cases. So you need to design systems that actually work, not just for the client, but really for their audience.

And now you have to keep that in mind. And then you can do a lot of stuff because of just the things that I know. And you can do ab testing, you know, say, oh, I noticed this thing works a lot better. You're getting conversions and this type of campaign that you're doing. And so let's go in this direction.

And you said, well, how about this and this? I said, you can't do everything. Let's figure out how we can fill your pipeline. So with my system, I had to teeter it back. It was too much. I was getting over 40 meetings a week. It's insane. And so I don't want those many meetings anymore.

I want like 10 or 15 max, you know, and that's including the client meetings. So I have to reduce my availability, you know, on certain slots of time, you know? And so you have to have all this business strategy, like what's good? You know, because if I take on client on, I have to onboard 'em, it's a lot of work.

Even though I have a team, there's certain things that I have to do. For example, I have a right after this, I have a meeting with a client, and I'm onboarding him and I have to welcome through the process. Some clients you can say, oh, these are the 20 steps that need to happen. Sometimes you can say, oh, let's do step one.

do step two. And a lot of clients are high level, so you gotta slow down with them, you know? And then you gotta understand like, okay, how does this client work and how to help convert? Anyway, it's a long way of answering your question.

Mike O'Neill: Well, but it reinforces what you've said all along, and that is the importance of personalization, the importance of authenticity, the importance of building relationships over time as we begin kind of wrapping up this episode, I want to kind of ask, can you think of an example, Troy, where either you or a client got stuck and what did it take to get unstuck?

Troy Hipolito: Oh yeah. I have a ton of testimonials. I like 45 on my profile, but let me think of one that's easy. I had a client, he came to me and he said, Troy I really need help on LinkedIn, and I got this business and I looked at the business.

I said, this is an awesome business you got going on. I said, you have a huge, you would have a huge acceptance rate on this thing. I said, how much are you making right now? He says, like, 4,000 a month. And so what I did was I gave him business advice, like basically what I, what was giving you. And I rewrote his profile to be more attractive.

And I said, this is your tagline. This is who you are, right? That's your brand. That's what people are gonna see and this is how you're gonna do something. So I set him up and from that he got clarity. And that clarity allowed him to move from $4,000 a month to $40,000 a month. Yeah. So he had a straight 10x.

Well, he's doing more now, but last time I talked to him, you know, he's doing a 10 x. So I got a video testimonial from him. And a lot of those things are just understanding what am I doing? What am I not doing, you know, and what is my true value and how do I present that value? You know, so

Mike O'Neill: great example. Troy, we've covered quite a. In this conversation, but as you kind of reflect on what we've discussed, what do you want to be the takeaways for our listeners?

Troy Hipolito: Well, I would say that if you are here to convert on LinkedIn and you have a high high value offer you know, you have to come from a place of service That's your foundation.

Place of service is not selfish. And so how do you come from a place of service? You have to be valuable, in order to be valuable, you have to build those right relationships as far as partners. So if someone comes to you, they generally may need something that you have, but get other ancillary partners that would take care of things that you trust.

So if you don't have the answer, you can still serve that individual. So if you come from a place of service, that's always a great foundation to start.

Mike O'Neill: Fantastic job. Troy, as expected, I learned a lot. You probably saw me making notes as you were talking, so I trust our listeners

Troy Hipolito: to...

well, we're being recorded

Mike O'Neill: Well, that's true , but I do both. I go back and play back the recording and look at my notes. That's the one of the biggest advantages I have found in hosting a podcast. I get a chance to meet really interesting people like you, and I learn from each and every one of those guests. Thank you for being a guest.

Troy Hipolito: Of course. Thank you for having me. I appreciate it.

Mike O'Neill: I also wanna thank our listeners for joining us today. This is episode 110, and if you want access to all the podcasts, simply go to your browser and type unstuck.show. While there, you can also subscribe to our weekly blog called The Bottom Line. So if you're trying to grow your business, but people problems have slowed you down, let's talk head over to bench-builders.com to schedule a call.

I would enjoy an opportunity to meet you, learn a little more about your issues, and if I can help, great. If I cannot, but I know somebody who can. That's part of building these relationships. So I wanna thank our listeners for joining us, and I hope that you have picked up on some tips from Troy that would help you

get unstuck and on target.

Until next time.

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