Want to know how to grow your business using LinkedIn? Ask Josh Turner. People who know claim he knows.

“One man (Josh Turner) has had a laser focus on LinkedIn for the past few years; he created a whole business out of it. He calls himself a 'B2B Marketing Expert Specializing In LinkedIn,'" Craig Kanalley wrote on Huffington Post.

Turner is the founder of Linked Selling, a B2B marketing firm specializing in LinkedIn lead generation campaigns. His company also operates LinkedUniversity.com, an online training program for LinkedIn marketing.

Can We Be Friends?

Turner’s new book, "Connect: The Secret LinkedIn Playbook To Generate Leads, Build Relationships and Dramatically Increase Your Sales," explains how to systematically develop relationships using online tools. By bridging online with offline activities, you can increase the quality and quantity of your connections, he suggests.

Turner has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Missouri-St. Louis and an MBA from St. Louis University.

He capitalized on a background in finance and construction — he was a CFO at several construction firms — to launch his own business, specializing in LinkedIn. CMSWire caught up with him recently to find out how and why he did so.

Connecting with Bill Sobel
Sobel: How did you make the leap from finance to marketing and advertising?

Turner: I started working for myself in early 2010. At the time I was helping small businesses in St. Louis, working as an outsourced or freelance CFO.

One of the primary ways I grew that business was through LinkedIn. In 2011, some of my clients started taking notice and one of them asked me, “Hey Josh, would you be willing to set up a LinkedIn campaign like that for us?” 

And that was the beginning of LinkedSelling. Within a few months, things started taking off and the business has grown significantly ever since.

Sobel: Which is the best platform to reach your customers: LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter?”

Turner: It depends on where you can reach your customers. Rarely would I ever recommend to somebody to just use one marketing channel. The most successful businesses have a number of irons in the fire.

But LinkedIn should definitely be one of them, especially if you’re B2B.

Sobel: Is your company affiliated with LinkedIn in any way and how does that process work?

Turner: No, we are not affiliated with LinkedIn. They piloted a partner program a couple years back but it never got off the ground. But we've heard from a couple higher ups over at LinkedIn, and they’ve told us they love the work we’re doing.

Sobel: What came first: LinkedSelling or Linked University?

Turner: LinkedSelling came first. In the beginning, our primary offering was fully outsourced done-for-you LinkedIn campaign management. 

But we realized that there are a lot of people and small business owners who might not be ready to start with the Cadillac. Instead, they want to work the strategies on their own but need some help getting started and want the blueprint for our systems. 

That’s the need Linked University fills. Since 2012 we’ve had tens of thousands go through our trainings.

Sobel: You maintain “The Internet Has Become The Garbage Dump Of Knowledge. While there is some very good knowledge out there, and some very smart, ethical, moral and downright brilliant people sharing what they know…there is also a massive wasteland of B.S. artists, idiots, scoundrels, con artists, and just uninformed and uneducated experts in just about any and every field imaginable.” Can you explain?

Turner: The barrier to entry is so low. It’s so easy to throw up a website and make any claim you want. As a business owner, you really have to keep your B.S. guard up and make sure the companies you are doing business with are legit.

Sobel: You often cite your positive experience with a company called Swip Systems. Can you fill us in?

Turner: Swip Systems has a LinkedIn group called Midwest Manufacturing Leaders. By positioning Swip as a leader of this manufacturing community, it opens up doors and allows them to approach their best prospects in a peer-to-peer manner, as opposed to being just another vendor trying to sell something. 

Their results have been significant.

Sobel: You claim it's possible to “to systematically develop relationships with thousands of cold prospects, converting them into warm leads over time" with the online tools you already use. Can you elaborate?

Turner: Many people have a bad taste in their mouth when it comes to LinkedIn because there are a lot of bad actors who are using the platform to constantly promote themselves and pitch their services. 

It’s given LinkedIn a reputation as a bit of a spammy place. 

Unfortunately, that kind of stuff isn’t what gets results. Sure, that spammy stuff can get a nibble every once in a while. But it’s much like cold calling. It’s a very low percentage response type of activity. 

What we’ve found the better approach is to get to know your connections and prospects, and really build the relationships first. Then when you reach out to talk business, your response rate goes way up.

The key is achieving this in a scalable manner, so that the results are significant and predictable.