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How To Spot Fake “Experts” On LinkedIn…

In this week’s episode of The Social Selling Show, Daniel and Will talk about how to spot fake experts on LinkedIn and the red flags you should look out for before buying a product or service from someone online. 

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Featured on this episode:

Host - Will Barron
Founder of Salesman.org
Guest - Daniel Disney
The King of Social Selling

Resources:

Transcript

Will Barron:

This episode of the show is brought to you from the Salesman.org HubSpot studios. Welcome to the Social Selling Show with myself, Will Barron, founder of Salesman.org and the king of social selling, Daniel Disney. Daniel, how is it going, mate?

 

Daniel Disney:

I’m really good. All the better for being here with you today, Will. Today’s topic has got me extremely excited, passionate and just a teeny bit frustrated. So I’m really excited to dig into today’s topic. I think it’s something that’s very important.

 

Will Barron:

Yeah. And I think we’ll say off the top of the show, right? I think it’s fair to say that we could name and shame people here, we’re going to choose not to, we’re going to choose and be professional about this. And so don’t come to us asking questions about names after the fact because we’re not going to give them to you. Is that fair to say?

 

Daniel Disney:

I think that’s very fair to say, Will. I think we’re going to help show people what to look out for, the danger signs and how to find real experts out there. But yeah, I don’t want to be the type of person to name and shame people but we’ll just try and highlight some of the clues that can help people identify.

 

How to Identify if Someone is Legitimately an Expert on LinkedIn · [01:30] 

 

Will Barron:

And some of this is just obvious as well, right? I’m sure if you’re interested in this, it will become obvious as we go through this episode. And in this episode as Daniel alluded to there, we’re going to talk about how to find real experts whether they’re an expert on LinkedIn about a particular topic or whether they are a “LinkedIn expert or guru.” And then how to suss out when people are faking it and how to do your due diligence and how to do that little bit of research before you perhaps buy into what people are talking about or training products or whatever it is because typically, people are always trying to sell you something. So with that then said, Daniel, let’s start on a positive. Spin this positive for a second. How do we find someone who’s legitimately an expert in a subject before we get into perhaps some of the fakers, gurus and just bullshitters.

 

“If you are genuinely going to spend your money, whether it’s you as an individual buying a course from them or you as a company hiring them to speak or train your business, the ultimate thing you can do to get real, full credibility is speak to their customers because people are even paying or even making up reviews and testimonials.” – Daniel Disney · [02:36] 

 

Daniel Disney:

Yeah, it’s a good question, Will and let’s be very clear, there are a lot of great experts. There are great LinkedIn experts, there are great other subject matter experts that are sharing content and building their brands on LinkedIn and other social media channels. There are great people out there and sometimes, they’re quieter than the people that maybe don’t qualify as genuine experts. They’re not as noisy. So I guess there’s one thing you can do above all, takes a bit of effort but if you are genuinely going to spend your money whether it’s you as an individual buying a course from them, you as a company hiring them to speak or train your business, the ultimate thing you can do to get real, full credibility is speak to their customers because and we might cover this in today’s episode but people are even paying or even making up reviews and testimonials.

 

“Results are the thing. If you want to know if someone is as good as they say they are, you want to look for tangible results.” – Daniel Disney · [02:57] 

 

Daniel Disney:

So you might even say, well check their recommendations on LinkedIn but there probably are ways not that I know of buy ways you can maybe hack that or manipulate that. So I guess the ultimate crux would be having a proper conversation with someone who is actually paid and had a good experience with that person. That’s always going to be the ultimate way you’re going to get full verification. Results are the thing, Will. If you want to know if someone is as good as they say they are, you want to look for tangible results. And there are other things you can do, I’ll give you an example. Talking about the world of LinkedIn. If you want to know if someone is good at LinkedIn, look how many connections and followers they’ve got, look how much engagement they’re getting on their LinkedIn content, look at the traction, look at their profile, look at what they’re posting. But as we chatted to you before we went live, there are some ways that unfortunately people can manipulate some of those stats which is what we’ll cover a bit in today. 

 

Why Sales Credibility is All You Need to Position Yourself as an Expert on LinkedIn · [03:26]

 

Will Barron:

Sure. I think you’re spot on here and just to double down and clarify this. It isn’t just reading testimonials or even just watching video reviews of a product or service. If you can speak to the individual customers themselves, that is going to be the best way to go about this. And I recorded a episode of the Salesman Podcast with C. Lee Smith, I think he’s the CEO over at SalesFuel yesterday and we were talking about sales credibility. I’ve literally got the show notes here in my hands, the questions I was asking him and this is will be relevant because Lee talked about this hierarchy of sales credibility and you just nailed the top part of it which he calls what customers say. So that’s the top part and if you work from the bottom up, this will make sense. The bottom part of sales credibility and this rule reflects to expertise credibility or product or service credibility, whatever we’re trying to suss out here. The bottom of the pyramid will be what the internet says about XYZ and clearly that can be manipulated, that can be gamed.

 

Will Barron:

Next is what the individual says. So what they’re talking. You can very quickly see from someone’s LinkedIn posts, tweets, YouTube videos whether they know what they’re talking about most of the time. Then we have how you say it. So how you present yourself has a massive impact on what the end result of the product or service that you’re probably trying to sell. Then we have what you physically do. So perhaps you engage with these individuals and they say they’re going to do something. Do they actually do it, do they do it to the level of excellence that they say they’re going to do? Then finally at the top, what their customers say. It’s that hierarchy, I’ll include this in the show notes. This is SalesCred, the book written by C. Lee Smith who is the CEO over at SalesFuel. This was literally just next to me. I was like, “Oh, that makes total sense for this conversation.” But that’s the hierarchy that Lee puts together. Do you agree with that, Daniel?

 

“I think the key thing is as consumers, we just need to raise our standards and make sure we do our due diligence. Anyone can say anything, whether it’s online, on their website, on their click funnel page that’s designed to make you buy. Look through the smoke and mirrors and try to find the truth. The truth is there somewhere. Sometimes, it will lead you to the fact that they are a very credible trainer and actually yes, your money is safe with them. However, others you’re just going to end up being another person that spends money and regrets doing so.” – Daniel Disney · [05:18] 

 

Daniel Disney:

I really do, Will and I’m interested in that book and that episode now. I’ll be checking that out, we’ll chat about that afterwards. But that hierarchy makes so much sense. I think the key thing is people, even you and I, Will, as consumers, just need to raise our standards and make sure we do our due diligence. Anyone can say anything, whether it’s online, on their website, on their click funnel page that’s designed to make you buy a course whether it’s on their LinkedIn profile or other social media networks. Look through the smoke and mirrors and try and find the truth. The truth is there somewhere. Sometimes, it will lead you to the fact that they are a very credible trainer and actually yes, your money is safe with them. They are going to help you achieve what you want to achieve. However, others you are going to find, you’re just going to end up being another person that spends money and regrets doing so.

 

Will Barron:

And the issue is so of this, if we’re going to be painting an even picture that some of this is a self-fulfilling prophecy, right? If I say and I don’t know if we’ll name the person here but if you Google this term, you’d probably find them. If I said I was the UK’s best speaker, eventually, that might become true if I say it often enough and media picks up on that and I started getting quoted as that. Daniel Disney, the king of social sales. We say this often enough, it is true but it will get more and more cemented in both our own self-esteem and then the internet will talk about it in that way as well.

 

Why It’s Crucial That You Differentiate Between Aspirations and Expertise When Looking Out for Credibility · [06:34]

 

Will Barron:

So there is to be fair, a level of if we’re doing Tony Robbins esque self development here. We might want to say something but then it comes down to your actions, what other people say about you to really prove it. So if we look at that hierarchy, we may not be bullshitting people when we say, “I am this, I am that.” But we’ve got to take it with a pinch of salt when we’re observing it. Perhaps it’s aspirational as opposed to what people are right now. Is that fair?

 

Daniel Disney:

That’s really fair and whether we’re speaking about the same person but I know there is a number one speaker in the UK and actually-

 

Will Barron:

We’re definitely speaking about the same person.

 

Daniel Disney:

They were quite good in the fact that when they made that claim, they actually had it in brackets underneath because my mum said I was. Now that then a lot more human or authentic but with something like that, it’s very easy to determine for yourself whether they are what they say they are because you can see video footage, you can see speaker reels. There is enough evidence out there that you can watch and determine for yourself, okay, actually yes. They are a fantastic speaker. Maybe they’re not the best in the UK but they probably clearly are one of the best. Look for that proof in the pudding. There is often a lot of content out there whether it’s video interviews, whether it’s articles, their own posts. It should give you a good idea, okay, does this person actually know what they’re talking about?

 

Will Barron:

Yeah. And again, I feel like I’m on the wrong side of this. I’m on the side of people who are pushing the limit a little bit over here. There’s a level of subjectivity to this as well. If I make a claim that I’m going to, I’ll quote Grant because Grant Cardone doesn’t care about comments here. If I say I’m going to 10X your revenue, I’m going to 10X whatever it is, that’s objective, right? That is measurable, maybe he can, maybe he can’t. And actually, I like Grant. Grant’s given me a bunch of advice over the years. So maybe he can, maybe he can’t but to make that claim before consulting with the organisation, before saying look at the numbers and the value that he can add. For a salesperson for example, if you turn around and say, I’m going to 10X this before you’ve even engaged with the buyer, then clearly you don’t know that for a fact.

 

Why and How to Identify Expertise · [08:42]

 

Will Barron:

So some of this is objective but some of it is subjective. But maybe in people’s minds, the individual that we’re talking about, it’s the UK’s top speaker and I know people might hate him. We’ll pick on Donald Trump, half of America loves him, half of America hates him. He says one thing and half of America says, “I trust him, he’s a 100%, I’m totally behind it.” And the other half says, “He’s a weird, orange, fat dude with a weird haircut and I don’t trust anything he says.” So some of this is objective, some of it is subjective, right?

 

“If you’re going to spend money on something or someone, do your homework first, regardless of whether you like them or not. You may love them, you may love the content they put in. They may say the stuff that you think, “Yeah, I agree with that completely.” That doesn’t mean they’re going to give the value they promise in the products they sell.” – Daniel Disney · [09:54] 

 

Daniel Disney:

I think that’s a really good point to make and it highlights the fact that I could be one of the best LinkedIn trainers out there. That doesn’t mean I’m going to connect with every single person on this planet. Some people aren’t going to like me, some people aren’t going to listen to what I say for just the general reasons of life. As you say, Will, we each have different preferences. And so sometimes you will gel to people that might not be the best in the industry but actually do you know what? You listen to them, you connect with them, you have simiLar values to them. So yeah, people are different and sometimes you’ve got to look beyond just some of the claims that go there and look at the individuals, look at the people. But again, I think the whole moral of the story throughout this whole episode, if you’re going to spend money on something or someone, do your homework first regardless of whether you like them or not.

 

Daniel Disney:

You may love them, you may love the content they put in. They may say the stuff that you think, “Yeah, I agree with that completely.” That doesn’t mean they’re going to give the value they promise in the products they sell. So regardless of everything, always do your homework first.

 

How to Spot Fake Experts on LinkedIn · [10:33]

 

Will Barron:

So with that, I’m just writing down something in the docket that we’re going to come back to because I think this is a massive, telltale sign of someone who’s just about to take your money and run and not deliver any value. So we’ll come back to it in a second, I’ll tease that up. But I think we’ve been very fair, quite positive about this so far, Daniel. So let’s flip this around, right? How do we spot a faker, how do we spot someone who is either at best, pushing the truth, at worst, just lying to our face and trying to rob us.

 

Daniel Disney:

It’s very difficult, Will, to be completely honest and it’s only getting more and more challenging because the more people tell these lies, then the more other people imitate them. And so it becomes almost a common practise. So it is very difficult and I’ll give you an example. I obviously am a LinkedIn trainer and speaker and author. So I immerse myself in this space and I follow as many other LinkedIn trainer, authors and speakers out there as I can because some of them, I admire massively. Some of them I work with, I support, we work together and I am always learning new things. But on the flip side, I also see the people that perhaps aren’t as credible. The reality is, they’re both making the same notes. They’re both writing the same posts, they’re both making the same claims and I guess in terms of spotting the fakers, you need to look into it.

 

Daniel Disney:

I’ll give you an example. We’re not going to name names today but there is someone who on Facebook, is very good at selling LinkedIn courses. Now this person is probably one of the biggest Facebook LinkedIn experts but when you actually go to their LinkedIn profile and look at their LinkedIn content and their engagement, it’s minimal. They don’t have a big audience, they’re not getting good engagement on their posts yet they’re selling big LinkedIn courses as a LinkedIn expert. The reality is they have a level of knowledge on LinkedIn but it is very basic. What they are better at is selling on Facebook. They are great at selling a LinkedIn course on Facebook through Facebook Ads and things like that. So I will give them massive credibility there. But again, if you look at Facebook, it would look like they were one of the best LinkedIn trainers and experts out there but when you go to LinkedIn, it’s very quickly visible that isn’t the case. I feel like you’re doing some research, Will, you’re trying to find it.

 

Will Barron:

So I’m getting bombarded with ads from a individual who is selling LinkedIn training right now. I am just Googling him on LinkedIn because we’re probably talking about the same person and to be fair to him and we may or may not be talking about the same person. We’ll have to catch up off air in 20 minutes but this individual has I’ll keep it open ended, around 20,000 followers. Now you’ve got 70 odd, haven’t you? And you’ve got a LinkedIn page with is it more than half a million now?

 

Daniel Disney:

Oh yeah, coming up to 700,000.

 

Will Barron:

So that’s evidence, right? Of who I want to be buying. Clearly I’m biassed as well, I’m sure and to be fair to the audience and you said it as well, there’s other good LinkedIn trainers but clearly I’m going to look at the numbers here and I’m going to go frigget that, we’re just going to go with Daniel. Why would I mess around here. And we’re alluding to someone here because this individual, I’ve seen the advertising for his training and this is my red flag. If I see this in any ads, I’m a massive capitalist, you should be able to advertise if you’ve got a product that’s going to add value, you’re entitled to put it in front of people, you’re entitled to sell. It’s a Social Selling Show, I’m all for selling but this individual is not quite a 100% on infomercial get rich quick but there’s a level of do three steps and have massive success and in my experience in life, I’ve never done anything in three steps and had any success whatsoever.

 

The Red Flags You Should Never Ignore When Dealing with LinkedIn “Experts” · [14:05] 

 

Will Barron:

It’s been years and years, if not decades to get good, to master anything and have success in whatever space it is. Unless you’re very lucky and you just happen to be on TikTok at the right place at the right place at the right time and now you’ve blown up and now you can leverage that audience for other things, right? So get rich quick does happen but it’s so rare and this individual that I think we may be both talking about, there’s a spin of get rich quick in his advertising. Clearly it’s needed to get people to click on a ad, go to a landing page, to sign up for a webinar, a training, whatever it is which then feeds you into a funnel which gets you on the end of a product. But for me, Daniel and tell me your thoughts on this, that is an immediate red flag when people are saying, “This complicated thing is easy. I’ve got the secret solution, let me sell it to you.”

 

Daniel Disney:

Yes. So I think I now know who you’re speaking about. My example is actually a female but I think I know who you’re speaking about as well. We’ll talk names afterwards, just between you and I as a chat and a conversation. But you’re absolutely right, Will, if someone is promising huge results and not just in LinkedIn, I’ve seen this in the coaching space and you see this all the time. Facebook is full of ads from people selling coaching courses, do this course and you’ll make 10K a month every month and the reality is, not everybody is going to be able to do that. Just because you’ve been able to do it as an individual doesn’t mean you have the secret to everyone. So yes, if they’re making big claims and you’re right to say if they’re pumping out a lot of paid advertisement, that’s a good indication that there could be some red flags. But like you said, you did some research very quickly, 20,000 is a credible audience and actually, the person you’re speaking about, there is definitely a level of credibility there.

 

Daniel Disney:

I think the point you were just making which is a really good point for today’s episode is they will be a hierarchy like going on GoCompare and comparing insurance quotes. Maybe there’s a product, Will, that we could create for different trainers and different industries but you’ll have the same in experts and we’ll all rank differently. I’ve achieved a lot on LinkedIn but there are still people that have achieved a bit more than I have achieved and they’ll be people that they’ve achieved a bit less and people that have achieved a lot less and there will be this whole spectrum of different levels of people from different backgrounds and different industries that whilst a lot of those trainings might be similar, they’ll be a lot of differences in them as well.

 

“We talk about this in sales. A decision-maker might get three to five different quotes before they choose a supplier or a salesperson to go with. And as a person consuming online courses or hiring someone, look at your other options, too.” – Daniel Disney · [16:41] 

 

Daniel Disney:

So when you are looking, the point you made is, do your homework and look for other options. It sounds like common sense but a lot of people unfortunately with social media, they’ll get suckered into content, into these videos and they’ll make decisions without thinking and without looking for other alternative quotes and we talk about this in sales. A decision maker might get three to five different quotes before they choose a supplier or a salesperson to go with and as a person consuming online courses or hiring someone, look at your other options. I don’t mind it when people are choosing for a trainer or a speaker, I’m all for it but do your homework. Right, okay, I’ve got this course being advertised to me on Facebook. Let’s look at what other courses are out there, let’s look at the trainers and then you’ll be in a better place to make an educated decision.

 

Will Barron:

Yeah. And look, I’ve been there and I’m going to put you on the spot in a second and I’m going to ask you to comment on some of the copy on our website over at Salesman.org and you can give us your open and fair open opinion on us. But I’ve been there, I know when I’ve experimented with ads and we’ve done it to small numbers of people and it’s always people within our audience, we don’t branch out beyond that. So people probably I would think a lot of the people who sees the ads that we experimented with know that I was up to something and I did a big blog post on basically spammy ads saying we’re going to make you get rich quick versus more appropriate ads for a B2B audience.

 

Will Barron:

And the spammy ads, so much cheaper to deliver because people would click on them 10 times more than anything else we managed to do and we wrapped up a lot of our focus on paid ads at that point because what we found was anyone who did click on those ads went through our little sales funnel, it’s seven days of emails and content training and webinars being thrown at you and then people chose to buy at the end of it. They ended up being worse customers. They moaned, they asked for refunds, they complained even though the content in our product, again this is objective from my perspective but I think it was pretty good.

 

Will Barron:

We generated the wrong type of people and when we went back to more expensive ads because less people clicked on them or the same amount of people clicked on them but the ad had to be shown more times for them to be clicked on. Then we got better customers that then led to bigger deals and our goal with everything we do is we incept sales people at the ground floor and then they sell the product up through the organisation and we get enterprise deals on the back of it. So there’s a balance to all of this because if you’re short term thinking of this, making that grab, do those ads, get that revenue in but you’re not going to have a business in 10 years unless you can really pivot or deliver the exceptional value that you’re offering.

 

Why You Should Never Hire or Buy From People Who Claim They Can 10X Your Business Unless They Prove It · [19:03]

 

Will Barron:

If I had a formula to get people 10s and 10s and 10s of 1000s of followers on LinkedIn which drives millions in revenue in three clicks and some automated software product, then I’d be doing it myself, I wouldn’t be giving it out to other people. That’s how I look at all of this. If I knew how to do all of this, if I could coach people to become millionaires, I’d be coaching myself, my brothers, my dad, my girlfriend, I’d get her to quit her job as a doctor and we’d all be coaching internally and we’d be leveraging all this and we’d just build an empire ourselves. I wouldn’t be sharing the secrets. Do you have anything to add to that, before we move on slightly.

 

“Never hire a six-figure coach unless they’re exceeding six figures themselves.” – Daniel Disney · [19:42] 

 

Daniel Disney:

I was going to say it just reminded me of one thing and I’ve seen this a lot on some of the other social media networks but never hire a six figure coach unless they’re exceeding six figures themselves and it’s amazing picking at coaching a bit because that seems to have boomed massively over the last few years but there are so many coaches supposedly helping people set up their own businesses and achieve six figures and the reality unfortunately for a lot of them is they’re not achieving that themselves because they’ve not achieved that in their own lives. So yeah, there has to be credibility, you have to be able to have done and really still do what you’re teaching other people to do. If you achieved six figures 10 years ago and you’re now teaching people how to do it now, there is going to be a lot less credibility and what you did to achieve it back then than what’s required to achieve it now. So yeah, some of the warning signs, I think we’ve covered quite a lot so far.

 

Will Barron:

Yeah. So what you’re describing there is a pyramid scheme. I make six figures by teaching people how to make six figures and they’re making six figures by teaching people how to make six figures. Someone at some point of this is not making six figures. I might be making it at the top but it’s only because… It’s like online courses. So I get asked all the time for coaching on building an online course because people like what we’ve developed, it isn’t just a bunch of videos slapped on. I’m not pitching a product here but it’s not just a bunch of videos slapped on a platform that does it all for you, we’ve built it. It’s cost me 10s and 10s and 10s of 1000s of dollars in development costs. We’ve got a developer full-time on staff just working on the product itself and people ask me, “how do I shortcut it, what’s the hack, what’s the trick?” Well it isn’t, it took us three years to do it and we’re redoing it all this year. It’s all been scrapped and redone and that’s the secret to a lot of this stuff.

 

Will Barron:

If someone is promising you get rich quick, short term results and you can see that they’re making six figures, well are they just teaching you how to make six figures yourself and it scales down and this goes into I talked about this I can’t remember who was the guest but on the Sales Leadership Show the other day. You have the same kind of pyramid within sales training within organisations. You have sales leaders who 20 years ago, cold called, crushed it, did great. So they’re teaching their middle management, you should be cold calling, these are the metrics I want to follow, number of dials, number of connections, number of conversations a day. You’ve got middle management who worked in sales 10 years ago who just nailed it with cold email because cold email was so effective at the time and they’re getting, okay we need to do cold calling but I want them to do cold emailing.

 

Will Barron:

And then you’ve got people on the ground floor who are listening to this show who are selling right now actively carrying a quota going, “Hey, but I know LinkedIn is effective, I know my audience is on there,” and these are the pathways as well for this show. “I know LinkedIn is effective, I can speak to people, I don’t need to cold call, I don’t need to email but I’m going to hit these numbers otherwise I’m going to get sacked.” And pulling from two different directions of I know what’s effective but my job is to do what I’m told to a certain extent. And so that pyramid exists in multiple places and I did a whole episode on that the other day which will come out in a few weeks on the Sales Leadership Show.

 

Daniel’s Honest Assessment of the Copy on the Salesman.org Home Page · [22:34] 

 

Will Barron:

But to wrap up this section here, I want to put you on the spot, Daniel and you won’t offend me. It was good feedback to get this from an expert like yourself. I’m going to read out the copy on our homepage and I want you tell me if you think it sounds scammy, spammy and as I look at it, we’re pushing and I can explain some of it as well but we’re pushing on the edges of this as well. So you log in, you don’t even log in, you go on Salesman.org and it says, master modern B2B sales in 42 days. Underneath that, it says sales accelerator helps salespeople close more deals. Uncover your weaknesses, learn an effective sales process, master persuasion and become known in your industry. Then learn more about sales accelerator. Daniel, how far on the scale of what we’re talking about here is what I just said?

 

Daniel Disney:

I think you’re right, you’re probably pushing on the boundaries only with the 42 days. I think as soon as you put a date, you’re then implying that there is a set period of time and they will achieve a result but what I love Will and I truly love is the areas you highlight in it and the first one was a big winner for me, identify your weaknesses. I don’t think I’ve seen any sales training out there that is actually encouraging you to look at the holes in your own game. A lot of them say, “Right, you need to learn this, this. I’m going to tell you what you need to do.” Whereas I love the fact that you’re saying, “Look, you probably have strengths and weaknesses. Let’s look at some of what those weaknesses can be and how we can fill those holes.” But you’re also not using the sexy, snazzy words that a lot of sales training courses have. Those are the real things that you need to understand.

 

Daniel Disney:

So I love the copy, the only thing that again, I don’t think is that bad because you’ve got pretty decent timescale but the 42 days would just be pushing on the boundaries. But I love the copy, it’s brilliant.

 

Will Barron:

Thank you very much and you’re right, so the 42 days, six weeks. It has to be there. The product won’t sell and I’m explaining this for the audience as well in case they come up against this and they see it and they go, “Oh, frigging hell.” Because it does go against some of the stuff we just talked about. How do you master anything in 42 days? Is it possible? Maybe. But you’d have to work for three hours every day to get through the 42 days. That’s explained later on in the blurb for the product in that it’s 42 days if you’re working part time literally training every day. It’s probably about six months if you just went through it as most people do and it’s designed and setup in that way. But you’re right.

 

Will Barron:

So I wanted to highlight that because clearly none of us are perfect with this and hopefully, you can do everything else that we’ve described in this episode so far of look at what I do, whether I do what I say I’m going to do, the concept that we’ve produced and hopefully you can just watch a few of these episodes and you make a very quick judgement as to whether you think I’m an idiot or not. I think that’s fair to say.

 

Daniel Disney:

I think it is, Will. Honestly, it wouldn’t take long to realise how credible you are just to look through everything you’ve done and achieved over the last few years and actually as you mentioned in your copy, you do go on to explain there and that’s another good point. Read, read all the copy. Don’t just read the first paragraph or the headline, read the entire page and don’t get me wrong, I see these funnel pages getting longer and longer and longer and longer. But if you’re going to buy something, if you’re going to invest your money, make sure you’ve read everything because there will be fine print, there will be things in there that if you don’t, you’re going to miss out on. So again, do your homework, do your research but read everything that’s in front of you.

 

Daniel Disney:

I like what you’re saying, Will and I’ve seen your page because I’m a big fan of your products and stuff. You are very clear, you are very black and white and that’s not a bad thing to have. There are a lot of people especially in our current climate, that are working part time or have a bit more extra time where actually, six weeks, some people want that intense learning but six months isn’t bad because for people that are working full-time, it’s not that it’s going to take six months to deliver any results, you’ll be learning and implementing things from day one from get go. So yeah, I think it’s good copy but as with anything, read it thoroughly.

 

“I’ll say for online courses, if there’s not some kind of video of a sample, preview of what you’re going to get, I would be wary of that as well.” – Will Barron · [26:26] 

 

Will Barron:

Yeah. And to me, I’ll say for online courses as well because it seems like this is a point of contention. If there’s not some kind of video of a sample, preview of what you’re going to get, I would be weary of that as well because it’s so easy, it wasn’t this way 15 years ago. How old am I? 34. 20 years ago, I was building websites, right? And it was very difficult to get video online. It was difficult to get images online. We’ve all been there with 56K modems and you’ve clicked an image. We’ve not all been there, there’s going to be definitely audience here who grew up with broadband, it’s not like you and I, Daniel. You could get an image and it takes 30 seconds for it line by line just for you to come in to see this skateboarder or BMXer which is the images that I would be consuming when I was younger, right?

 

Tips on How to Tell if Someone is Using Bots on LinkedIn · [27:30] 

 

Will Barron:

But now, it’s so easy to build a website, to build as you said, a sales funnel. There’s products that just let you throw it up. So it’s very easy to have a fly by night business that closes down after a month of nailing ads. And so yeah, long term credibility is valuable here. Now with all that said, let’s focus in. This is the social selling Show. Let’s focus in on LinkedIn. Now me and you talked about it before we clicked record, so maybe I can add some insights on this. But it seems Daniel, that social proof on LinkedIn is malleable. We can game the system, we can have individuals who post one thing and then there’s 50 comments underneath, there’s 200 likes yet something’s going on and something is a bit suspect here. How do we know when something isn’t quite as it seems.

 

Daniel Disney:

So Will, we were talking offline and even I was a sucker. I’m usually very good at spotting machines, bots and things like that but there was actually someone we were just talking about that actually only recently did I realise what was happening. Now I can honestly say, hand on heart, everything I have done and achieved on LinkedIn is 100% pure and organic. I genuinely don’t know a lot about any of these things that exist out there. The only big thing I’ve seen recently which everyone knows about are LinkedIn pods which tend to be a group of often 10, 20, 30 people in a messaging pod that then have to like and comment on everyone else’s posts when they go out.

 

Daniel Disney:

But what you were just talking about and I just realised is there are now these megapods that probably exist offline from LinkedIn but these megapods are now multiple 100s of people that are engaging in people’s content to really game the system to make it look like these people are hugely successful experts in their industry. And the reason it took me a while because I wouldn’t read the comments and it was only a few weeks ago I started actually, I’m going to read some of these comments and they were so bland and generic that you could tell instantly that person hadn’t actually consumed that bit of content and didn’t actually get any relevant value and it’s the wrong audience, Will. There is no benefit to the person who’s getting all this engagement because they’re not going to buy from them, there’s no influence within it and it just creates this false image. So yeah, scarily enough, there are bot systems. I’m not sure if you can buy followers on LinkedIn.

 

Will Barron:

You can, yeah. For sure.

 

Daniel Disney:

Oh, really?

 

Will Barron:

Yep.

 

“We’ve seen Instagram influencers with 100s of 1000s or millions of followers and then they try and sell something and no one buys it. You can build a huge audience of the wrong people and it’s going to give you no benefit apart from making you feel good for all the likes you get on your posts.” – Daniel Disney · [29:41] 

 

Daniel Disney:

Well that’s an even scarier. Again, it’s that false. We all know it with Instagram, we’ve seen Instagram influencers with 100s of 1000s of millions of followers and then they try and sell something and no one buys it. You can build a huge audience of the wrong people and it’s going to give you no benefit apart from making you feel good for all the likes you get on your posts and it’s the same principle with LinkedIn. You buy these followers, you buy these pods. Yes, they might give you tonnes of likes and they may look like you’re famous to an extent but there’s no business benefit. So for me, that defies all logic and rationale of either spending your money or investing any amount of your time in something that isn’t going to result in a genuinely positive outcome.

 

Will Barron:

Yep. And as we touched on before we clicked record, I’ve got some data on this as well of the individual we’re talking about. Gratefully, I appreciate he shared one of our podcast episodes, a video on YouTube and the video had been live for a couple of years. So it’s getting say five, 10 views a week, right? Real, small trickle. Wasn’t a particularly outrageous video that did well. It got 10,000 views but it wasn’t doing 100s of 1000s of views. So it was relatively predictable the traffic he was getting. Well, he shared it on LinkedIn. The post had over 200 likes. So if a post has over 200 likes, I’m assuming you’d be outside the context of this. It’s reached at least 10,000 people hasn’t it, if not more, right?

 

Daniel Disney:

I was going to say 10 to 20,000 views would be similar to 200 likes.

 

Will Barron:

So you would assume then if people have liked the content, have liked the post and there was say 50 comments underneath and as you said, the comments are all generic of great post. This is how we distinguish it, it was great video, I really enjoyed the podcast. I love the Salesman Podcast, Will Barron is an idiot, I hate him. It was great post, I enjoyed this post, I enjoyed viewing this. Comments that could go with any kind of post because clearly they were from a bot as opposed to an individual. So then I went on YouTube, I looked at the data on the backend, the analytics and it had 30 views. So out of 10 to 20,000 people who saw the post, to a 100 people who liked the post, who thought it was that interesting that they clicked like. 50 people commented on it and it only had 30 views. So clearly, they’re not real people. They are just bots, it’s automated.

 

Will Barron:

I don’t know if you’ve actually seen this but if you Google Facebook bots or LinkedIn bots, it’s literally in a massive warehouse, there will be 100s and 100s and 100s of iPhones in rows and they’ll all be setup on the app. So it’s a legitimate account-ish as it has been setup with a real email. They’ve even built a little bit of social proof in that they’ll be a profile picture, they’ll be a blurb, they’ll be working for this organisation, this organisation and it’s literally people and hopefully they’re doing well financially because it must be a miserable job just going click or copy and paste and click and running down these rows of iPhone just over and over and over to spam and create this content. And they must do things with the IP address coming out from that warehouse and things of that nature because obviously LinkedIn, Facebook, they’re not stupid, they’re trying to discourage this behaviour. But I feel like it’s becoming more and more obvious over time as people get used to these networks.

 

“Yes, likes and followers are good, they do make you feel good but it’s pointless if you’re not making any business from it.” – Daniel Disney · [33:17] 

 

Daniel Disney:

Will, I am genuinely shocked. What you described is like something out of a Sci-Fi film, a massive warehouse with tonnes of phones plugged in. It blows my mind and I don’t see the real benefit bar the person probably selling that as a service and feeding someone’s ego just to say, “Look, I’m going to get you tonnes of followers or tonnes of likes.” Again, it’s vanity. I don’t know the phrase, vanity is insanity. I don’t know, you’ve got to look beyond that. Yes, likes and followers are good, they do make you feel good but it’s pointless if you’re not making any business from it.

 

Daniel Disney:

So I think people will always try and game it and LinkedIn is trying as you say, all social media networks are trying to tackle this. LinkedIn changed the algorithm late last year to try and tackle the pod issue. So instead of that early engagement which was feeding the long term success of posts in LinkedIn, they’re now looking at dwell times, at how long people spend. Problem is now that we’re talking about it Will, there’s no reason why that iPhone warehouse can’t then reprogram to have a time spent on a post instead. So people will always find ways to hack it but as you say, it is quite obvious, whether it’s the engagement in the engagement or the long term engagement across multiple posts. You can tell real people that are sharing real stories and then they’re getting real engagement where the comments aren’t just great post but people actually contributing to the post as well, tagging people in. So there are things that I think it will be a long time before that can be automated. Again, it just takes looking deeper under the level than what you just see on the feed.

 

Will Barron:

Yeah. And you said it perfectly there, the people making the money and people selling these services, right? The people with some LinkedIn training then making the money from selling the LinkedIn training, the people who they’ve trained may or may not be making money underneath it. You need to speak to those individuals and it’s this cliché of I don’t know what time this was but whatever time it was in America where people were getting rich selling pickaxes to people who were prospecting for gold and no one was finding gold. The people who were getting rich were the people who were more industrious, who realised that there was a trend, there was a craze and they were providing the ability to leverage trend or that craze.

 

How Daniel Identifies Experts on LinkedIn · [35:00] 

 

Will Barron:

So final thing on this unless you’ve got anything else to add. We can wrap up with this. If you were looking for not necessarily social selling training, you wanted to grow your business, Daniel, you wanted to do some Facebook Ads. You were launching a brand new course or training and you wanted to launch a Facebook Ads. You wanted to create a epic intro video and try and hopefully create a video that might go a little bit viral on the platform and you wanted some production help. I’m sure you can write it and all that side of things yourself. But you wanted a crew to come in and film you and really polish things up. What kind of numbers whether it’s followers, whether it’s engagement, however you judge it. What would be a number that would make you go, “Oh, this person might be legitimate, I’ll carry on my due diligence.” And what number of followers or engagement or whatever it is would make you go, “I’m not sure if I can trust this individual.”

 

Daniel Disney:

So the number of followers would paint a very part of the picture in terms of making that judgement . Will, I do this all the time. I am hiring videographers, photographers, web developers and it goes beyond looking at the websites they’ve built or the videos they’ve recorded. It goes beyond the followers that they might have on social media. I think the things that are valuable to me are what they’ve done relevant to what I do or as close to what I do as possible and then again, the results they’ve achieved. I’ve hired a tonne of terrible videographers in the past but it sometimes they do really good videos and then what you end up getting isn’t as good as you hope it to be. So the proof tends to be in the pudding.

 

Daniel Disney:

I’m looking for a web developer at the moment and what I’m looking for is someone that’s done websites ideally within the space that I’m in. Whether that’s sales, you don’t see it too much in the LinkedIn world but I’m looking for people that have got credible results that they can show and then I also want to see them demonstrate those ideas upfront. I don’t expect them to show me the website upfront but when we have that initial conversation to come with ideas or have ideas through that conversation and say this is what I’m thinking where I think, “Yeah, okay, this is heading in the right direction”.

 

Daniel Disney:

But in terms of followers, again, if you were going to buy a social media course, you want to see that they have got good audience. 20,000 would definitely probably be the minimum I’d want to see for a LinkedIn in trainer and beyond that, I’d want to see good, consistent engagement on their posts, I’d want to see a good selection of recommendations and if I was going to invest money in it, I’d probably want to speak to a couple of those which is easy to do. You see the person on LinkedIn, you can click on that person, connect with them, send them a message, “Hey Will, I’m thinking about buying Dan’s course on about LinkedIn. Saw that you left a recommendation, would love to know a little bit more about how you found it and what it’s done for you.” Great. You’re probably going to be more than happy to reply and say, “Yeah, I loved it. It was fantastic.” And great, I’ve got my proof, that’s all I need.

 

Daniel Disney:

It’s a little bit of effort, Will but it’s goiNg to help save you hopefully losing money in the longterm. But yeah, look for those credibilities. It’s going to be different for different people, the proof as we said at the very start, is in happy customers. There are salespeople out there, trainers, experts, gurus. All they care about is selling volume. They just want to sell as many of their courses as possible, they don’t care about the value it gives or who they help and then there are people that actually want to help people and deliver a result. It’s usually quite clear, the difference between those two people.

 

Parting Thoughts · [39:09]

 

Will Barron:

I’m just going to my own profile now. Just for context. That 10 to 20,000 minimum if you were buying social media training or social selling training or LinkedIn training, I think it’s very fair because I’ve got 8,533 followers and this is because me and Daniel are going to do a project together. Daniel to coach me to improve these numbers, to improve our footprint on LinkedIn. Depending on when you listen to the show, this is pre Daniel coaching us and they’ll be videos and posts that will come out after the fact on that. But pre to all of that stuff, I’ve got 8,533 followers. I have made zero effort on LinkedIn and it’s all organic. And so if I’ve got so many followers by just posting stuff that is just going to go elsewhere anyway and just linking to YouTube videos essentially, then you need to be doing a little bit better than that to have credibility in that space in my mind. Daniel, anything else, mate, before we wrap up this episode?

 

Daniel Disney:

No, this was a fun episode, it was interesting. Treading on eggshells a little bit without trying to name and shame anyone. But as we said at the start, Will and what I am very passionate about. For anyone listening or watching this, if you’re going to spend money, just do your homework first. Whether you’re buying Will’s course, whether you’re buying my course, whether you’re buying anyone’s course out there on any subject, whether you’re going to buy someone to speak or train your team, your company, just do your homework first. It shouldn’t offend them, it shouldn’t take you a lot of time either but it’s certainly going to increase the amount of chances that you’re going to get a good result from it. So yeah, do your homework first.

 

“If it offends the person that you’re asking when you ask for a testimonial, when you ask to be introduced to a client, or whoever it is and they’re offended that you’ve asked for a little bit of social proof, a little bit of feedback, then that person has something to hide.” – Will Barron · [39:48] 

 

Will Barron:

And final thought from me, you just said it. If it offends the person that you’re asking when you ask for a testimonial, when you ask to be introduced to a client, especially if you are purchasing on behalf of a company, you’re getting Daniel to come in for multiple days of training which clearly adds up in cost over time, right? There’s courses and books and everything else involved or whoever it is and they’re offended that you’ve asked for a little bit of social proof, a little bit of feedback, then that person has something to hide. I think that’s very fair to say and we’ll wrap up with that, Daniel. That is Daniel Disney, the king of social selling. My name is Will Barron, a founder over at Salesman.org. And with that, that was the Social Selling Show. We’ll speak to you again next week.

 

Daniel Disney:

See you next time.

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