Introduction and Interview of Brynne Tillman by David Wagstaff
This interview with Brynne is part of a series of articles from entrepreneurs, compiled with the goal of providing other business owners and soon-to-be business owners with a realistic view of what it takes to run a business and some of the challenges commonly faced.
While these stories are often stories of business owners who have asked to be part of the Entrepreneur’s Network, this interview is with one of my very good friends. Brynne and I met more than ten years ago and became instant friends. As I started this series of articles on the story of entrepreneurship, I was excited to have her tell her story.
One of the things I know about Brynne is that she didn’t just create a business, she created a new way of thinking about social platforms. I think it’s fair to say she transformed the way people thought of social platforms, and now she is one of the biggest influencers in the social sales industry. She’s an innovator and a leader.
Her story of entrepreneurship is worth telling. When Brynne found a new platform (LinkedIn) that built on her skills in sales coaching, she created a business around this new tool. She is now in demand, teaching large corporate sales teams and entrepreneurs how to leverage this platform to generate a sales pipeline.
I appreciate the insight she provides in her story, showing that she doesn’t think about other people in her field as competitors, but rather she embraces them and meets with them to stay current on industry trends. I love that insight. This tactic is an effective, inexpensive way for those of us with small businesses to continue to stay at the forefront of our industry.
What led you to become an entrepreneur?
In some ways, it was an accident. I had spent my career in sales and corporate sales training and did a lot of networking locally. I was fortunate to meet a fellow sales trainer who was itching to start her own business. After mulling it over for weeks, I decided to take the plunge. We launched our own company that we grew together for a few years.
A brief description of your business and what are your aspirations for it?
About a year before we launched our traditional sales training business, I discovered LinkedIn and was blown away by its power. I had begun teaching it for sales, even before LinkedIn themselves recognized its potential in that space. A few years in, after leveraging the power of LinkedIn, I landed a great client, Aramark, and they handed me a book called The Challenger Sales.
They had just completed their sales training course and were told the next step was to get some LinkedIn training. It was this inspiration that not only solidified my LinkedIn curriculum but also made me realize that this was all I wanted to do. So, after my tenure with my partner and sales training business, I launched my current company, Social Sales Link – a LinkedIn for Sales firm.
What have you done with your business that you are proud of or that has worked really well?
We have created not just a training program, but a robust 8-stage roll-out process that is being integrated into sales teams nationally. Although we are quite affordable, our program is one of the most customizable programs available on the market.
What were some of your biggest challenges along the way?
I would say the biggest challenge in my industry is that LinkedIn likes to push updates and changes almost on a daily basis. It can be challenging to keep up with the new features, develop strategies and create new tactics for my clients to leverage, but it’s a challenge that I love.
Have you overcome the challenges? If so how?
One way I have overcome the challenge of keeping up with LinkedIn is that I started a chat group of about 50 peers in the industry where we are all committed to elevating one another. This has been an invaluable resource that has elevated all of our subject matter expertise.
What have you learned and what would you like to share with other entrepreneurs?
There are a few elements that go into making a successful entrepreneur. On a high level, here are a few:
- Figure out what your business superpower is, then productize it and monetize it
- Clearly articulating the problem, you solve and providing valuable insights that can help your network and prospects (even if they don’t work with you)
- Come from the high side of fair for all interactions and engagements
Is there anyone you would like to meet or connect with?For example, investors in the electrical industry, and mentors in the publishing industry. A knowledgeable SEO person. Specific is helpful.
I tend to bring the most value to sales and marketing leaders that are looking to move their team away from cold lead generation and leverage clients and networking partners for warm introductions. This is a time to build relationships, and when done correctly, will have a significant impact on new sales conversations.