“North Fulton Business Radio,” Episode 143: Gregg Burkhalter, “The LinkedIn Guy” and Personal Branding Coach
Why is building and maintaining a personal brand so important? Why should corporations not just encourage but train their employees on using LinkedIn to build their personal brand? Gregg Burkhalter answers these questions and much more as he speaks with Host John Ray on this edition of “North Fulton Business Radio.”
Gregg Burkhalter, “The LinkedIn Guy” and Personal Branding Coach
Gregg Burkhalter is a recognized authority on Personal Branding and LinkedIn. He has helped countless professionals in the U.S. and abroad define and grow their Personal Brand using LinkedIn.
Gregg spent the first part of his professional career behind the microphone at radio stations in Savannah, Jacksonville, Charleston, and Atlanta. Following his radio years, Gregg worked in national music marketing and distribution.
Today, Gregg is known by many as “The LinkedIn Guy”. He provides Personal Branding Coaching and LinkedIn Training via one-on-one and group training sessions, corporate presentations and webinars. He is also a frequent speaker at civic and chamber events and area universities.
“North Fulton Business Radio” is broadcast from the North Fulton studio of Business RadioX®, located inside Renasant Bank in Alpharetta. Renasant Bank has humble roots, starting in 1904 as a $100,000 bank in a Lee County, Mississippi, bakery. Since then, Renasant has grown to become one of the Southeast’s strongest financial institutions with approximately $12.9 billion in assets and more than 190 banking, lending, wealth management and financial services offices in Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia and Florida. All of Renasant’s success stems from each of their banker’s commitment to investing in their communities as a way of better understanding the people they serve. At Renasant Bank, they understand you because they work and live alongside you every day.
Intro: [00:00:06] Live from the Business RadioX Studio inside Renasant Bank, the bank that specializes in understanding you, it’s time for North Fulton Business Radio.
John Ray: [00:00:19] And hello again, everyone. Welcome to another edition of North Fulton Business Radio. I’m John Ray. And we are coming to you from the Business RadioX Studio inside Renasant Bank. Folks, today, you’re connected more than ever, whether it’s your friends, your family, or your life. Renasant understands how you bank, offering the mobile banking services you need. Renasant also knows that, sometimes, you need to speak to real people with real answers. That’s why Renasant has more than 170 convenient locations throughout the South ready to serve you. For more information, go to renasantbank.com Renasant Bank, understanding you. Member of FDIC.
John Ray: [00:01:02] And I want to move to an old friend, a great guy, serves his clients extraordinarily well, Gregg Burkhalter, the LinkedIn guy.
Gregg Burkhalter: [00:01:15] Hello, John Ray.
John Ray: [00:01:17] A personal branding coach.
Gregg Burkhalter: [00:01:17] Great to be here. Thank you. By the way, your studio is amazing.
John Ray: [00:01:21] You like it?
Gregg Burkhalter: [00:01:22] I think you took it up a notch or two, man.
John Ray: [00:01:23] Well, thank you. Well, you were here, I guess, maybe a year or so ago. And you were at our old place, and we’ve moved on up.
Gregg Burkhalter: [00:01:32] I will agree. This is a great facility. Renasant is like a prime location to do this kind of thing. So, congratulations.
John Ray: [00:01:38] Thank you, sir. I appreciate that. So, for those that don’t know you, and those that are increasingly smaller number of people that don’t know Gregg Burkhalter, but for those that don’t know you, tell them a little bit about who you are and what you do.
Gregg Burkhalter: [00:01:51] Well, Gregg Burkhalter is a personal branding coach who happens to be known as the LinkedIn Guy. And what I do is I help professionals define their personal brand and work with them on a strategy to build that brand. There is a couple of ways you do that. You do it in person, and you do it online. And, of course, my tool of choice for doing it online is LinkedIn. And, originally, I started out doing more one-on-one training sessions. That was sort of my business model. I and did very well at it and got to really work with some elite clients. I continue to work with some elite clients on personals consulting, but I recognized early on that if I want to have the biggest impact on the most number of people, I’ve got to do some corporate stuff.
Gregg Burkhalter: [00:02:31] So, I’ve got to expose myself to more group presentations. And that’s sort of my focus change in the last year or so where I’m doing more corporate and group presentations. And I’m enjoying that. And the reception has been very overwhelming because what’s so cool is, is the company marketing landscape has dramatically changed in the last year. Most are aware, some or not. The way that market to your customer and the way you attract new clients has totally changed. And we’ll probably get into that conversation later on, but that fact has allowed me to talk to more companies.
John Ray: [00:03:00] Yeah, I do want to get into that because you really kind of eat your own cooking, shall we say, because your branding has changed over time, and you started out really focused on LinkedIn, the platform, and you are now really talking about how LinkedIn is a tactic in a bigger strategy, which is, how do you brand yourself personally and professionally.
Gregg Burkhalter: [00:03:26] Correct. I believe when you define your personal brand, you don’t define a brand that’s going to be your brand from now until you quit doing what you’re doing. You’ve got to always be constantly making yourself aware, is my brand value the same as it was a year ago? And if it’s not, what components have increased in value? And I recognize that my personal branding skill set was increasingly my value of [indiscernible].
Gregg Burkhalter: [00:03:49] So, recognizing that fact after a couple of friends brought it to my attention, I decided to put a little bit more emphasis on the personal branding. Once I did that, the timing could not have been better. The business environment started to recognize the value of personal branding, I had people ready to hear my message about personal branding, and that exposure continues to grow. So, the timing was good, and I’m on the path now to spread the word about your personal brand is your gateway to career success and building relationships as part of building that personal brand.
John Ray: [00:04:18] There are a lot of perceptions, Gregg, about what a personal brand is. Why don’t you give your definition? What is a personal brand?
Gregg Burkhalter: [00:04:26] My definition is your personal brand is what people think, feel, or say when they hear your name, or they see your face or name. The short version for that real worthy explanation is this – your brand’s not what you say you are, that’s what other people say you are. And believe it or not, whether you know it, you have a personal brand. You may not be aware of what it is, but you really do know. And a good way to start that query into figuring out what is your personal brand, Google your name. That’s what everybody in the world does when they hear of you or meet you,
Gregg Burkhalter: [00:04:58] In fact, when you go on a job interview, or you’re going to have a meeting with somebody, don’t be worried about that first impression when you walk in the room. That’s your second impression. They already have the first impression. They’ve Googled your name, they’ve checked out your LinkedIn profile. They’re looking to see if the person they found online is the same person that walks through that door.
John Ray: [00:05:17] If it all matches up-
Gregg Burkhalter: [00:05:18] That’s right. Hopefully, you’ve got them so jazzed up by your online presence. Then, when you come in, in person, you just nail it.
John Ray: [00:05:25] Got you. So, you’ve got a personal brand whether you know it or not, so you better tend to it. Now, there are a lot of different aspects to this, whether you’re a job seeker, whether you’re an entrepreneur, professional services provider, whether you’re employee in corporate. Maybe talk a little bit about those different aspects of someone carrying a personal brand.
Gregg Burkhalter: [00:05:51] Well, let’s just say you’re a job seeker out there, your personal brand can make the difference between you getting a job and not getting the job. If you’re competing against someone else with similar education, similar skill set, if you have a strong personal brand, you’re going to get that gig. In fact, I don’t know if you’ve recognized this, but the professional toolbox is totally different than it was, say, five years ago. In fact, when I came along, my professional toolbox was a real skinny flat toolbox. It had two things in it – my education and my experience. Now, the toolbox of the professional man and woman is huge. It has two new power tools that will change your life and your career. Those two new power tools are a strong personal brand and an engaged professional network. Those last two will change your life.
Gregg Burkhalter: [00:06:39] Now, when you’re working for a company, we’re talking about personal branding. When you’re working there, you’ve got to build up your credibility in a company. You do that by being more active, being a fixture at a store front for the company to help spread the brand, become a thought leader for your company. Those kind of things build your personal brand inside of the company, which increases your value and also attracts more people to your company. So, personal branding for company exposure is very important.
Gregg Burkhalter: [00:07:04] Let’s talk about career loss. I talk with a lot of C-level executives. They have a challenge with personal branding because as ladder career C-level executives, that term is totally new to them. They’ve been underneath that corporate veil for 20 or 30 years, and they’re about to leave it. That is extremely scary. So, when I talk to a lot of C-level people, I start out as a cheerleader, re-motivator, re-imager, brander. I go through the whole process. I’m pointing them in the right direction. And this past week, I had a situation arise that actually created a brand-new talking point for me I’ve never said before. I’m going to give it to you right now.
John Ray: [00:07:41] Okay, lay it on me.
Gregg Burkhalter: [00:07:42] If you are a C-level executive, and you’re about to retire, you have to make the decision, at least, six months before you retire, is there any possibility you might change your mind and come back in the workforce? Because if you think you might change your mind, you better maintain your digital presence while you’re thinking it out. If you leave the workforce and get sull and dormant for six months or so, and try to come back, it is a tough task. So, again, if you’re C-level level out there, and you’re about to retire, do some soul searching. Do you want to continue to work? Is there a possibility? If there is, continue to be present in the professional world because it’s harder to stay present and energize that presence than to totally go away and try to reintroduce yourself to people who have forgotten about you.
John Ray: [00:08:30] Sure, sure. We’re speaking with Gregg Burkhalter. He’s the LinkedIn Guy, Greggburkhalter.com. Now, Gregg, let’s come back around a dive into LinkedIn for a second because you are the LinkedIn Guy. LinkedIn has changed dramatically over the last couple of years. I mean, we could point to the Microsoft acquisition and all the investments that Microsoft has made in the platform. How has that changed for the better for using LinkedIn as a personal branding tool?
Gregg Burkhalter: [00:09:03] Well, I’ll tell you, Microsoft’s purchase, I was a little concerned when I first heard about it, but here we are three years later roughly, I’m extremely impressed. I can tell that Microsoft has put a lot more resources into LinkedIn. I can tell they’re really focused on making the platform easier to use, making it where people are engaged and want to use the platform, and creating tools and resources not only to build digital relationships but also take digital relationships and maintain those in the real world. It’s going both ways now with certain things that LinkedIn have in their app program. So, I’m really impressed with that.
Gregg Burkhalter: [00:09:37] There’s always new features coming out every single day to help you do things on LinkedIn to grow your brand. One of the latest ones is video. As you well know in anything nowadays, video is a prime component in brand exposure and also getting your message out there. So, LinkedIn now has video. LinkedIn is also rolling out, limited basis so far, LinkedIn Live, which is a streaming service. Most people aren’t even aware that LinkedIn has added a cell phone mobile app. You can do voice messaging and video messaging easily from your device.
Gregg Burkhalter: [00:10:08] Also, talking about building those real-world relationships from digital relationships, when you’re out there in the field, you can take out your LinkedIn mobile app, and you can share locations with somebody you’re going to be meeting with, and also check your calendar from inside of LinkedIn, and make an appointment to meet somebody using the LinkedIn app. Some really cool stuff like that. Also, if you’re at a gathering, like a networking event, you can bring out your LinkedIn mobile app, and push a button, and you can see all the people within like a hundred feet of you in that room. A great way to build connections with people you don’t know. So, LinkedIn is focused on connections, expanding the network. 630 million people on LinkedIn right now, so they are growing rapidly. That $26.2 billion purchase by Microsoft has proven to be a winner for them.
John Ray: [00:10:52] Sure, absolutely. Now, let’s get back to that C-level executive or that corporate employee. So, you’ve listed all these different additional enhancements that LinkedIn has laid out there for us to use. And I can see somebody out there right now saying, “Greg, I don’t have enough time as it is right now. How am I going to distinguish between all these different aspects of LinkedIn I should use, not use? What should I pay attention to? What should my focus be?
Gregg Burkhalter: [00:11:26] Your focus should be on having a strategy because just being on LinkedIn is not the strategy. It’s, what am I going to do? When am I going to do it? How am I going to do it? As a corporation or a company right now, I can tell you, you’re number one focused on trying to grow your brand is building the personal brands of your employees because your employees are the gateway to brand exposure for your company. As I alluded to earlier in our conversation, one of the main changes in the business environment now is your customer and your future employee don’t believe that company message like they used to. They’re a little skeptical about because you’re marketing to them. What do they believe? They believe the personal brand and the messages of your employees.
Gregg Burkhalter: [00:12:06] So, empower your employees to be ambassadors for your company because they are the ones that actually create the relational connection with your customer. People do business with people. They are the person they get attracted to. So, empower your employees. Not only does it help your brand grow for your company, it’s a good professional development item for your employees. It makes them know that you care about them, tends to make them stay around longer, and they also are turning to people who are thought leaders for your company, it can really help generate some real goodwill for your company.
Gregg Burkhalter: [00:12:39] So, you cannot walk away from branding your employees. The old saying is “Why do I want to brand my employees? Somebody might hire them away.” What if you don’t brand them? That is the worst scenario right now. In fact, I brought a quote in with me. I was hoping I’d have opportunity to do this because I read an article yesterday on LinkedIn by Mark Schaefer. In fact, I shared it on my profile. And this quote was just eye opening. And I want to make sure I got it right. He said, “If you’re still on the fence about personal branding and its cumulative impact in the business world, you’re on a probable path of obsolescence.”
John Ray: [00:13:14] Wow.
Gregg Burkhalter: [00:13:16] That pretty well sums it up right there.
John Ray: [00:13:17] It does, it does. But I’ve got to push back here a little bit. So, if I’m at a big company, I’ve got a manic chase for good people because that’s always a problem, keeping and retaining good people for any company, why do I want to highlight them on LinkedIn? You talked a little bit about that but dig into that a little deeper because that scares me if I’m an employer.
Gregg Burkhalter: [00:13:46] All right. Well, let me give you a figure that might make you more charismatic to that idea. On average, the employees of a company have ten times more followers than the company has followers. So, in other words-
John Ray: [00:13:58] Even the biggest corporations?
Gregg Burkhalter: [00:13:59] Correct.
John Ray: [00:14:00] Really?
Gregg Burkhalter: [00:14:01] The biggest corporations have a lot of employees. You take the connections of all your employees and add those up and take how many followers you have on the LinkedIn company page, you probably have ten times more followers of your employee pages than you did a company page. They provide the exposure. And there’s something about a personal message and an emotional message that is more received, better received than a pitch on the company page. If I were you, connect with someone on LinkedIn as a general rule, you’re not inviting me to pitch you on anything.
John Ray: [00:14:29] True.
Gregg Burkhalter: [00:14:29] You’re inviting in to build a relationship, a relationship based on trust and the value you bring to them. Company page, when you follow a company page, you’re saying, “Please sell me something and please pitch me.” So, tell me about the whole deal how business is done nowadays. Relationships are a big part of the business process. As you probably have noticed, especially in the B2B world, the sale does not go very fast. It takes a lot of nurturing along the way. You don’t send somebody an offer, and, automatically, it closes. There’s a lot of relationships, a lot of conversations occur. So, that emotional relationship of the nurturing of the deal is very important on you closing that deal. And chances are great. If you didn’t have a strong personal brand, and you were not able to build a relationship with a future client, you’re not going to get that sell anyway.
John Ray: [00:15:16] It strikes me that — and I’m going to affirm where you’re coming from on this. It strikes me that it’s pretty shortsighted to think that LinkedIn is the only way for good people to be found, that recruiters, that their whole business is finding good people, and they were doing that long before LinkedIn came along, right? So, it’s a little counter-intuitive to think that, “Well, if we can just keep our employees off of LinkedIn, they won’t be found.”
Gregg Burkhalter: [00:15:45] Well, you keep your employees off LinkedIn, and your customers will never see your brand at the level that you see it. In fact, on LinkedIn, during my presentations when I talk, I talk about the fact that most people on LinkedIn are not looking for you, they discover you. Especially your customers, your customers not looking for you. They discover you. And 90% of the time they discover you, it’s not on your company page. It is on the personal page of one of your employees who has created engaging content that they’ve seen and said, “You know what, this person is a thought leader.” That’s how they find. Of course, there are some people hunting for you on LinkedIn. As you said, recruiters might be looking for you. And, also, people don’t want to sell you stuff, but your customers and your future employees, as a general rule, they discover you.
John Ray: [00:16:26] True.
Gregg Burkhalter: [00:16:27] They discover the magic of your brand as conveyed by your employees.
John Ray: [00:16:31] We’re speaking with Gregg Burkhalter, the LinkedIn guy and personal branding coach and expert. Now, Gregg, how do you work with a company that says, “Okay, I bite. I want to work with you. Help me. Help my employees build our brands.” That’s plural, “Build our brands together.”
Gregg Burkhalter: [00:16:54] Got you. Well, there’s not one size fits. The beginning of that process is a conversation at length about what their business is about, who their customers are, the challenges they’re having on LinkedIn. And whenever I know I’m going to talk to somebody about a LinkedIn training session in the future, I never look at their LinkedIn profile before I speak to them, and I never look at their company page. I want to put myself in the position of their customer or future client. When I talk to them for the very first time, they tell me what they’re about. I listen to what they say. And then, when I go to their LinkedIn profile or company page, I know if there’s a disconnect or what’s going on there.
Gregg Burkhalter: [00:17:31] Once I do that assessment, then I know what I can do. As a general rule, most companies now in the corporate world could really benefit greatly from my one hour or what I call the LinkedIn Power Hour. It has taken me several years to be able to get them 60 minutes of time a total overview of LinkedIn – what it’s about, the psychology, what you do, how to build your personal brand, and give you a to-do list of what you do every day on LinkedIn. It’s taken a while to get there, but I’ve got that down. So, every company could benefit from that.
John Ray: [00:18:01] True.
Gregg Burkhalter: [00:18:01] There’s an extended version of that, which includes a one hour of hands-on LinkedIn training, where we build the foundation of LinkedIn, and then we go under the hood of LinkedIn, and show you what everything does, including the buttons you’ve never seen before, and I give you an opportunity to watch me do my daily activity on LinkedIn, to hear my psychology, to see about psychology, to see my technique. So, when you leave there, you’re empowered with confidence to go out there and start using LinkedIn.
Gregg Burkhalter: [00:18:28] Now, here’s the thing that happens a lot of times when I train companies, I have to warn them. I’ll go into a company, we’ll talk about LinkedIn, and they get fired up. And the first thing they want to do is the next day, go out on LinkedIn, and blow it wide open with content. You can’t do that.
John Ray: [00:18:44] Right. You can’t turn the battleship in one day, right?
Gregg Burkhalter: [00:18:48] But you know what, it gets people thinking about me because when that happens, they say they must have heard Gregg Burkhalter speak. I get blamed for that all the time. So, as a general rule, if you’re not active on LinkedIn, you’ve got to ease your way into it because LinkedIn is really not about you, it’s about the value you bring to the community. So, if you get on LinkedIn from 0 to 100, what that feels like is you walking into a networking group, walking in the door, and passing out your cards and flyers to everyone in the room, and leaving the room, and never saying a word. What they say is, “Who was that?” So, you got to have a strategy on LinkedIn. It’s not 100 miles an hour out of the gate.
John Ray: [00:19:24] Now, let’s back up to that point where you’re checking out someone’s profile and that kind of thing, that when you get to that point, is that where the term that I’ve seen on your profile page, brandstorming — I’ll get that right. Brainstorming, is that where that term comes in?
Gregg Burkhalter: [00:19:41] Brandstorming comes shortly after that.
John Ray: [00:19:44] Okay.
Gregg Burkhalter: [00:19:44] I hear them talk about what they think their brand is about, I’ll look at their profile, and then I give them what I feel as a first impression of brand is. So, that is the beginning of the brandstorming session. And we kind of talk back and forth. I want to know, in priority, what are the most important things in what you’re trying to do? Tell me some of the things. What are your branding items that you feel in your mind are the most important things? And I listen to them tell me those items. Well, they may either tell me those items in non-clear terms. I have to clarify in better terms what they’re trying to say, or they don’t have them in the right order based on what I read. So, we try to figure out, what is their personal brand? What is that?
Gregg Burkhalter: [00:20:20] Then, once we do that, we got decide, how do we present that brand in a humble yet confident way to attract people to their brand, so over a period of time, people would come engaged with their brand, see them as a thought authority, and want to do business with them? The true magic of LinkedIn is you know your brand is really growing when the cold calls slow down and the inbound calls increase. It’s a wonderful spot to be to be only receiving inbound calls and responding inbound calls. That’s when you know you have blown it wide open.
John Ray: [00:20:50] Now, I know there are some folks that say, “Well, hey, Gregg, I’ve already got all those real connections. I’ve already got all those calls. I’ve got a large customer base. So, why do I need to do all this work on LinkedIn?”
Gregg Burkhalter: [00:21:04] I hope you keep those people. I hope they live to be 150 to 200 years old because you’re not growing your base. Here’s the reality. In today’s world, I don’t care how many real relationships you have. If you haven’t digitized those relationships and put them on LinkedIn, so people can see your name and their digital workday, you’re not thought of. You’re not top of mind. In fact, you’re going to end up forgotten. So, you’ve got to have your relationships. They’re great to have them in person. Even both places in person. But digitize them, so you can nurture them and watch those relationships grow because a relationship of somebody in the digital realm is a daily relationship. You know what’s going on in their life every single day. There is no catching up to do when you meet that person. There’s only a continuing to grow the relationship. So, digitize them, put them on LinkedIn, help you out.
John Ray: [00:21:52] Yeah, sure. Now, I want to just take a little side. I’ve got a daughter in college. So, I want to take a little sidebar here to talk about college students because I know you’ve been doing some speaking at colleges, even high schools, and talking to them about how undergraduates, MBA students need to improve their personal brand or establish that personal brand even before they get out in the workplace.
Gregg Burkhalter: [00:22:23] Correct. You got to realize, LinkedIn has been around since 2003, but among the current college graduates right now, it’s not the channel of choice they’ve been using. They’ve been using Facebook and Instagram. And I have to make them aware of, first of all, the value of LinkedIn and the value of their personal brand because going forward, your personal brand is going to be your key to success. I mean, if you don’t have a personal brand-building strategy, you’re not going on the right path to start your career.
Gregg Burkhalter: [00:22:49] In fact, if you’re working right now, I’d venture to say in the next 5 years, 10 years, it might even be 20 years down the road, if you’re working right now, at some point in your career, your personal brand is going to be your only chance of making a living. It’s the only tool you got. And it’s also going to allow you to work at the level you’re accustomed to working. If you don’t have that personal brand, you’re going to be hurting in the business world. So, build your brand, protect your brand. And after you built your brand and people believe your brand, one of the great benefits of that is you can share your brand. Help other people build their brand. It’s a giving thing too. Once you get it, you give it. So, personal branding is virtual, yeah. Career-wise personal branding is very important.
Gregg Burkhalter: [00:23:30] Now, the fine line you have to walk is this, you have your personal brand, and you work for a company. Working for a company, you’re going to share their brand with them, you’re going to share your personal brand, you’re going to promote the company, but you cannot sell out your personal brand to your company. If you sell out your personal brand where your brand is based exclusively on where you work, if you ever lose that job, your brand is going to take a hit. Make sure you maintain your own personal brand skills that are not directly tied to your company, that are transferable should the need be down the road. But you do want to have a strong brand because you are valuable to your employee, you are going to be a brand exposure for your employee, but you also are looking out for yourself too. So, maintain your own personal brand.
John Ray: [00:24:14] And, again, back to the whole point about companies and how companies should react to these phenomena, they’ve got a line to walk, right? I mean, they really want to encourage that employee to not only help them build the company brand but understand the benefits of building that personal brand. They are encouraging that employee to build their own brand.
Gregg Burkhalter: [00:24:36] With this company helping people build personal branding scenarios started rolling out, initially, companies tried to be too structured on that. They set forth a social media policy. And all of a sudden, their employees became robots. People can recognize robots. You’ve got to let your employees have their own personality, their personal skill set. You’ve got to make them real people. Let real people that work for your company share content, build relationships, and represent your company. You’ll be successful. But if it feels plastic, and generic, and a unified effort to do something, it’s not real. It’s not going to work. So, that’s why you got to work with the employee to help them.
Gregg Burkhalter: [00:25:15] Now, one thing you do want to do is make sure your employees, even though you give them some freedom to build their brand, there should be some recognition of exactly what is a strong brand and what is the proper way to represent themselves and your company. You’ve got to have some kind of strategy and focus on that. But a day-by-day, “Here’s what the company wants you to do,” it shouldn’t be quite that regimented.
John Ray: [00:25:35] True.
Gregg Burkhalter: [00:25:36] Represent the company, build your brand, help the company.
John Ray: [00:25:39] Now, again, Gregg Burkhalter, gregburkhalter.com, personal branding coach, and expert, and the LinkedIn guy. You’re a great example of this yourself. I mean, you have gone from essentially a Metro Atlanta guy to the point where the other day, I saw you were training on LinkedIn, of course, training a group of college students in Canada. Wow. I mean, you have extended your own brand out there, and you’re obviously eating your own cooking. So, talk about that maybe a little bit about that journey, but also how you handle those kind of clients that are out there remote like that. Do you travel to them? Do you do that remotely? How do you do that?
Gregg Burkhalter: [00:26:31] It’s a great honor to have people from other countries and other states reach out to me because it gives me an opportunity to do what I’m trying to do – have as much impact as possible on the most number of people. So, how do I train people? Well, originally, it was training people in person. But, now, I spend probably more of my time training people via the internet, doing one-on-one coaching via the internet. And in fact, I’ve done, in the last six months, three keynote speaking presentations from my desktop at home to groups. It works flawlessly. And that’s how I talk to a lot of the colleges out of town. I do a speaking presentation. They gather the students in an auditorium, project me on the screen, it works great.
Gregg Burkhalter: [00:27:09] So, technology is wonderful. It allows me the opportunity to get to other people and have a personal branding LinkedIn conversation with them and just expand my network. Because if you’re on LinkedIn, and you’re staying in a small little pond, that’s not growing your brand. You’ve got to get into the LinkedIn ocean.
John Ray: [00:27:24] Sure.
Gregg Burkhalter: [00:27:25] I mean, most people on LinkedIn, what they’re doing is they’re the kind of hunting. They’re hunting for customers, or they’re hunting for somebody that might know one of their customers. All this little hunting is in a small pond or field. You’ve got to get in the ocean. The way you get in the ocean, you’ve got to start fishing. Having a strong bite, which is a LinkedIn profile that’s buttoned up and a fishing pole, which happens to be the LinkedIn ecosystem, which you use with a strategy to expose your brand. If you’re fishing, I don’t care how the hunting is going, at some point, those fishes are going to start jumping in your boat. And what I’ve noticed lately is I’m actually hunting for fish. I hunt for someone I want to put into my ocean, so I can feed them until they bite. So, that’s what I’m doing right now. So, a lot of these out-of-town engagements are people I have never spoken to who have heard of my name through my brand exposure.
John Ray: [00:28:15] Wow. So, again, eating your own cooking, doing it exactly the way you counsel others to do it, which is exciting for folks to see. Now, in terms of some your in-person events, you have a couple of different events that are interesting. I think Connected is one of them. You can talk a little bit about that one. And, also, LinkedIn After Hours. Give us a little lowdown on those events.
Gregg Burkhalter: [00:28:46] Well, the Connected event is something I came up with back in 2015. It was a concept of allowing my LinkedIn connections and my connections’ connections to get together and have some in-person networking. It worked out really good, so I’ve continued to do that a couple of three times a year. I have one of those coming up on July, July 17th. I did one back in January with over a hundred folks there. Hoping this one is going to be another big event to. So, I would love for you to come join us for that.
Gregg Burkhalter: [00:29:11] And following that in a couple of months, I have another one of my signature events. It’s more of a training top event. It is called LinkedIn After Hours. And the tagline I came up with was, “It’s never too late on LinkedIn.” It’s kind of like a play on words.
John Ray: [00:29:25] Yeah, of course, yeah.
Gregg Burkhalter: [00:29:26] But it gives an opportunity for people who are working who want to come learn LinkedIn, work on their personal brand, and their boss not know. It’s a two-hour workshop, very similar to like my two-hour corporate training where you can come in and get the total meat of LinkedIn and leave with a strategy of what you should be doing every day on LinkedIn. Of course, when I do these public training workshops, the two-hour one, the LinkedIn After Hours, where I go into a corporation, of course, I’ll leave you with materials behind that you can reference later on because if anybody’s ever heard of the LinkedIn Guy speak, what’s the term you use? The faucet’s going to be turned on? John, I’ve heard this.
John Ray: [00:30:00] It’s true.
Gregg Burkhalter: [00:30:00] The faucet gets turned on.
John Ray: [00:30:01] True.
Gregg Burkhalter: [00:30:01] So, I’ve never been known for holding back information. So, when you come, we’ll fill you up with some good stuff, and we’ll give you some notes to take home with you.
John Ray: [00:30:10] Yeah. You deliver a lot of value at all your events. But folks, if you’re listening to this show in the podcast form maybe after the dates that Gregg gave, obviously, go and follow Gregg on LinkedIn, and you’ll announce those events in the future-
Gregg Burkhalter: [00:30:31] Correct, correct.
John Ray: [00:30:31] … as they come along. So, Gregg, I guess, to kind of wrap it up here, if I’m either a company or an individual, I’m really interested in maybe a success story or two, folks that you have worked with recently that you’ve made a big impact on.
Gregg Burkhalter: [00:30:55] Well, it’s a pleasure to be able to work with people and have impact on lives.
John Ray: [00:30:59] It’s true.
Gregg Burkhalter: [00:30:59] A lot of times, the people never really reach back out to you and tell you how it went. So, sometimes, you don’t know. But a couple of recent stories, one is about nine months ago, I had a CFO at a major oil company who had lost his job. Unfortunately, he had never really used his LinkedIn account, had no knowledge of LinkedIn. So, I was able to work with him one-on-one to help update his LinkedIn profile, gave him a strategy of job search and daily LinkedIn activity. And four months after I worked with him, he said, “Hey, I’ve got a new gig. I’m working for a private company. I’m a CFO.” So, that’s wonderful.
Gregg Burkhalter: [00:31:32] I have notes from people all the time that I’m humbled when they send it to me. They’re telling me that, “Your presentation that I attended, you don’t know this, but it changed my trajectory.” I get those all the time.
John Ray: [00:31:42] Wow.
Gregg Burkhalter: [00:31:43] Names I can’t quote, but I get them all the time, and I’m so honored that they would take time to let me know that. Because someone took time with me when I was at a career juncture prior to being the LinkedIn Guy. I had an individual sit down with me and go, “Greg, I want to try to help you get your strategy together for growing your brand and what you want to do.” Had someone not done that for me, I would not be talking to you today.
John Ray: [00:32:07] Wow.
Gregg Burkhalter: [00:32:07] So, I enjoy helping others. People enjoy knowing that somebody cares about them, that they are vested and have them succeed, and they have no ulterior motives other than for them succeed. And that’s why I enjoy helping people. I want them to succeed.
John Ray: [00:32:22] That’s fantastic, yeah. And I see that from you on LinkedIn. I know you get on there, and you really promote others in a good way. I mean, in the good work that they are doing. And that resonates with us. That’s what we try to do here at Business RadioX. And it’s exciting to see that in terms of the way you play that out on LinkedIn. So, congratulations on your success. And the information you’re sharing with folks and the lives you’re changing, for those that want more information, would like to be in touch with you and connect with you, how do they do that?
Gregg Burkhalter: [00:32:59] Well, I would love for them to connect with me on LinkedIn.
John Ray: [00:33:00] Of course, a badge to that, right?
Gregg Burkhalter: [00:33:02] Yeah. The direct link on that is linkedin.com/in/gregburkhalter, or you can visit my website. It’s gregburkhalter.com. If you want to kind of check out what I’ve been doing lately, you can Google the LinkedIn guy. I’m so fortunate to show up number one in search in the world as the LinkedIn Guy.
John Ray: [00:33:21] Look at you.
Gregg Burkhalter: [00:33:24] What that is, John, is just talking to a lot of groups. I’ve spoken to hundreds of groups in the last year. That was my secret to getting my SEO where it is right now. So, the way the cards fell, I love the way they fell.
John Ray: [00:33:35] I love it. That’s great, that’s great. Gregg Burkhalter, gregburkhalter.com, personal branding coach, and expert, and the LinkedIn Guy. Thanks for being with us.
Gregg Burkhalter: [00:33:46] Thank you again, John. I really enjoyed it. Hope to see you again soon.
John Ray: [00:33:49] I’ll look forward to it.
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John Ray: [00:34:29] And a reminder, you can listen to this show every Tuesday morning live at 11:30 a.m. And if you missed any of our live shows, we are on all the major podcast platforms – iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn, Spotify. There’s probably two or three that just got released this morning. But we put this show out on all those major podcast apps. So, search for North Fulton Business Radio on your favorite app, find us there, or you can go online at northfultonbusinessradio.com and listen to us from your computer or from your phone. You can follow us on Twitter or Facebook, North Fulton BRX. You can find us there as well. We’d love to have you connect there. So, for my guest, Gregg Burkhalter, I’m John Ray. Join us next time here on North Fulton Business Radio.
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