When I work with my book coaching clients, I tell them that they can’t see their own errors. Everyone needs a coach. Even athletes who make millions of dollars a year need a coach to tell them they are favoring their right side and that’s why they aren’t hitting the ball properly.

Because I am adding book coaching, developmental editing and ghost writing to the ways I can help people build their businesses, I figured it was time to update my LinkedIn profile and strategy.

I’ve been on LinkedIn for about 10 years and I can’t point to one sale or one good thing happening from it – except collecting about 4,000 connections – all of which were inbound!

Given that history of success – or lack thereof – I called Minneapolis’ best-known LinkedIn trainer JoAnne Funch, for help.

If you’re like me, you probably have the same success with LinkedIn and the same questions, so I’ll share my questions – and JoAnne’s advice – with you.

Even  before she answered my questions, she asked me what I was focusing on. I told her I wanted to help leaders write their books to they can get more business.

JoAnne Funch Minneapolis LInkedIn Trainer

JoAnne Funch
Minneapolis LInkedIn Trainer

She said, “That’s not what your profile says.”

I said I thought it did.

But she was right. What I thought I said, and what I wrote were similar, but different enough to be noticeable. Now I know how my clients feel when I brush up their writing and when I point out the nuggets of gold they’ve been hiding and were totally unaware of!

She had my attention!

First, I asked her about all the requests I get to link to people I don’t know. I’m sitting on 160 requests right now. I don’t have a clue who these people are or how they found me or why they want to link to me. Should I accept them all (except for the obvious fakes and duds) or not?

JoAnne said she reads every profile first. She looks to see if they are active on LinkedIn and if they have a good number of connections in common with her.

If they are a good fit, she’ll send an InMail (LinkedIn’s email system, which is a part of their paid service) and ask them why they want to connect.

Two things will happen. One: they will not respond to her message. So, she deletes them. Second, they will give an intelligent reply and explain what they are interested in. She sometimes sends a scripted message to engage her new contact, but she will always add something personal from their profile so they know she is interested in starting a relationship.

If you don’t have InMail (Don’t worry. I don’t have InMail either), you can accept their request and then send them a message and follow the previous steps. If they don’t respond in about a week, remove them as a connection. Fortunately, LinkedIn lists all connections by date, so you can find the newbies and duds quickly under the ‘My Network’ tab.

My second question was about how to deal with the people who searched for you and read your profile. As you might know, LinkedIn will show you who has viewed your profile. Sometimes they want to connect to you; sometimes they don’t. I asked JoAnne if I should be proactive and reach out to them.

She said she always reaches out to good prospects. She might start her message by writing:

“I noticed that you were viewing my profile and I just wanted to say “Hi.”

Please let me know if I can answer any questions for you or be of service in any way.”

She’ll also read their profile first and refer to something on it in her message to make it more personal when appropriate.

This all leads up to the big question: What’s LinkedIn really for?

The people I meet seem like they want to create contacts, but there’s NO engagement at all.


She answers succinctly:

“Are you building a database or are you building a network?” she asks. “The goal is engagement.”

I don’t think 1 percent of people who use LinkedIn get that!

She said people who succeed with LinkedIn are those who are looking for relationships. Her number one tip to create those relationship?

“You build relationships by helping people.”

Here are her tips for standing out from the crowd on LinkedIn:

  • Write meaningful comments. You’ll stand out.
  • Be consistent. LinkedIn rewards people who are consistent. The reward might be that LinkedIn shows your content more often or shows your profile higher than other profiles when prospects search for someone with your qualifications.
  • Look for ideal clients and key influencers. Engage with them.
  • Ask questions. Be curious. That’s how business is done in my opinion.
  • Business is about relationships. You have to be willing to be in it for the long haul. They look at you as someone of value.

She’s looking to stand out from the crowd sending video emails. “It gets people attention,” she says.

If you’re looking to upgrade your game on LinkedIn, you can reach out to JoAnne via email: joanne@linkedinforbusiness.netshe works with individuals and companies to update profiles, develop a LinkedIn strategy and offers training sessions. Her website is: www.linkedinforbusiness.netand of course you can find her on LinkedIn https://www.linkdin.com/in/joannefunch

Check out my profile:


And tell me what you think.