Iris Culp – Communication, Clarity, and How to Conquer LinkedIn | Conversations with Coaches | Boxer Media

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Iris Culp | Conversations with Coaches | Boxer Media

Iris helps six-figure, service-based solopreneurs get clear on their brand distinctives, message, and positioning. Once those are crisp and compelling, your marketing efforts will feel like putting a warm knife through butter. Her superpower is cutting through the clutter on LinkedIn & getting clear on your message.

After some minor pre-recording technical difficulties, which really just served as a great excuse to get to know each other better, Iris guides me through her journey from HR and marketing into the focused coaching service she has today.

Iris was an absolute treasure trove of information about how to best tackle LinkedIn and leverage your presence there into the sales goldmine it can be for your business. She’s also just an utter delight to chat with, as you can probably tell from listening to the episode. 🙂

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Kevin Stafford 0:00
Hello, everyone, and welcome to another fine episode of the conversations goats podcast. I’m your host, Kevin and I can pretty much guarantee this is going to be a better than fine conversation because I’ve already had a chance to get to know Iris cope a little bit here and she’s just I mean, I don’t want to throw this word around lightly. She’s just a delight. Like, I feel delighted from having gotten to talk with her. We were working on some technical difficulties with the microphones and all worked out perfectly. She demonstrated some pretty solid expertise on the audio video side of things I was like, I’m very impressive. So I can’t wait to get to know Iris better and introduce you to Iris. Let me let me read a little tiny bit about her. And then I will let her speak for herself here shortly. Iris helps six figure service based solopreneurs get clear on their brand distinctives message and positioning. Once those are and I love this turn of phrase once those are crisp and compelling. Not only the alliteration, but I love crisp and compelling. Your marketing efforts will feel like putting a warm knife through butter, warm knife through butter again, the way the way you express yourself the way you communicate your business. It’s just I respond to it. So So delightedly our superpower is cutting through the clutter on LinkedIn, and getting clear on your message. As you can tell, I’m almost like bubbling over with enthusiasm. Iris, it’s great to meet you. Thank you for being on the pod today. I’m just I once again. I’ll say it one more time. I’m delighted to have you.

Iris Culp 1:20
I am so delighted to be here. You are a lot of fun. And the intro was was like oh yeah, I wrote that. And my background actually started in a lot in writing. So yeah.

Kevin Stafford 1:32
Well, we’re gonna go back to your background. Well, I always like to kind of cheekily call this your superhero origin story because I just, I love to know how coaches get their powers. And but there’s also the temptation because sometimes going back to the beginning can be a key professional pivot or a mentor with the right words at the right moment that kind of unlocked or revealed, like what coaching could be for you, and how it could serve you and how you could serve the world. Sometimes it goes back to childhood, where I was just like, I was always a coach, I just didn’t have the words for it. And so what was your What was your origin story? How did you get started on this journey?

Iris Culp 2:03
Well, I really consider what I do across 30 plus years around communication. And it was probably it was a couple of years ago. And so I was trying to explain kind of 20 years in HR and a decade of marketing. And I’m like it’s really about communication, it really is about unlocking the mystery of communicating with other humans. And my origin story, actually, when I went back to it, it really started as a child. And just in full transparency. I grew up in a home I’m gonna call it a severe Scandinavian and what I mean by that is if you have the if you have the the vision of Scandinavians being very kind of reserved few words, blah, blah, blah, you’re totally right on. So I grew up in this home where words were kind of first, and MacKinnon communication was a bit mysterious. And in my professional life had brought in my 20s, I ran into a personality science that helped unlock some of that mystery, and really spend about the first 25 years of my professional life around that. And then I had a minor in journalism in college, actually, my first job out of college was working professionally as a writer, which was an amazing privilege. And anyways, through a series of events, personal transracial, adoption, special needs situation. I took a break professionally, and then started back in professionally through my writing, which ended up I’m a Systems person, so I tend to think begin with the end in mind. And if we’re trying to get closer to our audience, my tech background came in and I actually helped scale a company, what was it 1.1 to 2.3, in less than 24 months, no ad spend. And at that point, it was yahoogroups and Facebook. But it is it’s unlocking that mystery of how people understand your message. And that’s really so critical. In in really all aspects of life. And when you understand people are wired differently, and you need to speak the languages. I mean, there’s there’s kind of four languages, if you will, from a personality standpoint, and then how to bring that in just from a sensory standpoint, as well in the language and the writing and where you show up and all that kind of thing. So I really consider myself a communications coach and I just put on those. Now my sub specialty and my main business focus is marketing and LinkedIn coach. Or you can call consulting because I’m very opinionated on certain and things but anyway, helping people communicate with their message on LinkedIn and draw those people to them and repel the people that aren’t them. So in my six week program called six weeks for questions to confidence, and business on LinkedIn, we do we do several C’s clarity, which is that brand connection being connected to your ideal client, content, conversation, conversion. So yeah, so it’s all communication. And the origin story is my family would communicate and somehow a decision got made, but I really never knew what the decision was. But the decision got made. And I’m like, There’s got to be a better way. So that was a really long version of, of inspiration. And, but that’s really what it came down to.

Kevin Stafford 5:56
I love that there’s a couple of a couple of interesting dualities or dichotomies that you that you that you mentioned, that I really love, and one is, a lot of people will think of communication as trying to figure out what they’re saying, where you really need to figure out how people are hearing it, how it’s landing, what’s landing on them, and you often think about your words and how you’re formulating yourself you think of I have to express my message. And it’s, it’s way more about how it’s hitting the people you’re trying to hit and your mouth.

Iris Culp 6:27
There’s a phrase and I’ll try to get it pretty close to right. It’s something like, the biggest fallacy about communication is that you spoken it happened.

Kevin Stafford 6:43
Okay, I like that. I like that.

Iris Culp 6:44
And that’s, that’s, I mean, that’s the point you’re bringing out because that really is, and we’re complex human beings. And that’s, that’s a little bit of the, I’ll say, The Mystery of marketing. It’s really not mysterious. I tend to be very data driven around, you know, systems and getting a message out to people and where to spend time and a question I often get asked me, oh, I have to be on social media. And no one I know, I need to be on this platform, this platform, and I’m like, oh, Hells Bells? No, you don’t pick one. I’ll say conquer it, get good, get comfortable, whatever. Make sure it’s where your people are. And then yeah, maybe expand. So we have in today’s noisy world, from a communication standpoint, I think clarity is a gift. Some pivot points in my life, that clarity was such a gift. And it’s a gift when you do your own. I’m gonna say brand, brand positioning, and message. And I’ve had some clients take a group class, and they literally have had like, someone reach out to them and hire them just because they haven’t even posted that I’m thinking of two clients in particular, went through the six week program. And like one of them, this person gave me an update the other day, and she said, yeah, that $1,200 client, now they’ve been with me for two years. And it was someone who she somewhat tangentially knew this person got really clear on her message. And it’s been worth whatever that is 1200 times two years. So a good chunk of change. And same thing with actually three clients. So I’m thinking now, anyway. So clarity is a gift.

Kevin Stafford 8:37
In my head, like, as you were describing that experience, I had the that sort of, well, I’m kind of feeling nostalgic, again, listen to you mentioned Yahoo groups, I was thinking about just tuning a radio, and I’m sitting in the car, and I’m looking, I’m turning the dial, and the little bars moving, and you’re kind of you’re trying to find just the right frequency. And when you find it, there’s some static and as you get closer, sometimes it gets a little bit louder and static here. Yeah. And you lock into that frequency. And the music comes through crystal clear. And all of a sudden, everything makes sense. It’s like that’s what it feels like to me to get you.

Iris Culp 9:09
Kevin, I want to come across and hug you. Because that’s the exact analogy I often share in like a workshop. Once you literally dial in your message, boom.

Kevin Stafford 9:24
It’s that same feeling. It really feels just like all of us. I mean, not to put too fine a point on it, but all of a sudden you feel like dancing.

Iris Culp 9:33
yeah, yeah, perfect analogy. And sometimes people will say, well, Iris, we look at this chart, and it’s like 4% of your audience, your ideal audience is probably got the money to buy ready to buy and has the need, has the need to the point where the pain is such that they’re willing to pay so that’s roughly 4% Three to four, depending on thanks. And then there’s 3030 30 Anyway. People say well, Iris, how do I find that? 4% And then I say you don’t And then like, your marketing, like, you’re just telling me how I find them. And I’m like, Well, yeah, you do need to know where they’re hanging out. But once your message is clear, they tend to step out of the shadows. So it sounds too simplistic. And there are some moving parts to that, of course, there’s some strategy and some tactics but, but that’s the essence of, of what my focus and kind of what I would call my superpower, I love to help people tell their story, and connect to their, to their people,

Kevin Stafford 10:34
you made another another important point too early, like, you know, 10 minutes ago in our conversation that is still sticking with me cuz it’s something I think about a lot. And how you, you made sure to make a distinction between who you attract and who you repel, and how that’s a crucial part to consider both. And it makes me think of that term that gets thrown around a lot, qualifying leads qualifying conversations and how that word is basically just a shorthand for, we want to attract the people we want to attract that we can serve the most, who we’re ideally suited to fit with. And we also want to make sure that we’re repelling people who aren’t good fits for us, so that we don’t waste their time. They don’t waste ours, we don’t incidentally, spend resources that we could better apply elsewhere on people who, perhaps we’re never going to be a good fit. We want to make sure those people get the clarity that I’m not for them. At the same time, we want the right people to get the clarity that we are for them.

Iris Culp 11:24
Right that that’s so well said. Yeah. And that’s probably one of the most common situations that I run into for someone in an early stage, because I’ve helped a number of people launch their business, so to speak, sometimes, like engineering consultants, or someone who’s really, really good, and they’re like, and watch it, I can just I’ve got to serve everybody. And and, you know, I challenged I, I finally firmly but very distinctly say no, because, you know, if you have unlimited time, yes, but you don’t, you’re one human being and, you know, time is the great equalizer, right? Jeff Bezos and I have the same 24 hours. So it’s how we leverage that time. And if you’re everything to everybody, you really aren’t doing a good job. And I’m definitely you know, let’s, let’s make the pie bigger, just because I’m not a fit. Sometimes it’s just persona and style and whatever. And then I’ll refer to someone else. And yeah, yeah.

Kevin Stafford 12:27
That’s the way the business goes to every every really good successful coach where their software spoken to has that at the core of their being, it’s like, the fitness needs to be right. And if it’s not going to be me, I’m gonna put you I’m gonna put you in touch with somebody who I think might be or a couple of somebody’s

Iris Culp 12:43
Right, right. I did that about a month ago. And this person was a close friend of mine. She’s like, I need marketing help. I said, this you do, but really, this other coach is gonna be better because I knew I work with systems, but this person really works with I’m gonna say just set up. Just I’m gonna say internal workings of the business. And I said, you need her first. Because if I bring you a lot of customers, you won’t be able to keep you know, you’re not quite I was I was a bit more tactful. That sounds a little tacky right now.

Kevin Stafford 13:18
that’s the heart of it, though. It’s like, you know, it’s like, you’re not prepared to receive what what my work would bring you and so let’s let’s get the foundation oversight.

Iris Culp 13:26
Foundational, right to her business. So yeah, and then I ran into her and,and this couch, and they’re like, oh, yeah, so yeah, yeah, it comes around.

Kevin Stafford 13:37
It does. It always does. Yeah, it’s that trust, do you have to, like, get to learn to to what’s the phrase, I mean, I toss this out there a lot, the trust the process, I think it comes from, like basketball team or whatever. But it really is, it’s a lot about that trust, and a lot of what a great coach can offer is that trust and some understanding of what the process is like, it’s like, it’s gonna be really simple, might be a little hard, might hurt a little bit. But I’m gonna, I’m gonna I’m gonna we’re gonna go through together I’m gonna guide you through.

Iris Culp 14:03
And I tend to help people get clear on not only their message, but who they are. And that phrase that I’m sure a lot of that you’ve probably heard a lot of your listeners are probably heard as you know, you can’t I, I say it, like, you can’t read the label on the jelly jar when you’re in it, and you’re the jelly. That’s my homespun way or whatever, you know, whatever. It’s just like, I did a lot of jelly and you can’t read it. So you have to have someone that takes them through an exercise that go out and collect this information from colleagues, friends and clients and what it feels really good. We do this in the profiles that produce another program, a group program that I offer, and people just come back and they’re like, I had no idea people thought that and I’m like, Okay, now those are the core things. Let’s let’s, let’s blend that into your your cookie dough or whatever. Say You’re about section and I’m a big believer, like someone says, so hard to write the about section. Well, it is because when our lives do we stopped out, stop and write about ourselves. And not very often, and you want an outside perspective and that that space has changed so much. Used to be an online resume, it’s it’s, it’s not that my favorite phrase is like, we’re not in Kansas anymore Toto, you know? That platform has changed so much. It’s different than what the founders originated. And now, it is like 15 times more content impressions than our job postings. So it’s massive. And I remember a CEO, or President persons like, oh, I don’t need to be on LinkedIn. I’m the president. And then this wasn’t in conversation with me, but a colleague, and this person said, well, let’s let’s Google you. Like, if you’ve ever heard the word defensive Googliness, you want to go find what online says about you? So yeah, because LinkedIn has the highest Moz score. It’s like 100 in the SEO world, which I only know snippet about that, but enough to enough to mention it. So LinkedIn is usually the first thing that’s going to come up. Well, he didn’t have a LinkedIn. So this is funny. Details of his court messy divorce case, was what came up in place number one. So the CEO Yeah, exactly. You think you don’t have an online reputation? Now spells you do? Are you paying attention to it? That’s that’s the question. I’ll just leave out there.

Kevin Stafford 16:41
Something Something will fill that gap. If it’s not you, and you’ve already hit the nail right on the head. LinkedIn is so much more evolved of a platform than it was even a year ago. Like, as you might imagine, this, this podcast has been going for a couple years now. Yeah. And just even over the last couple of years, and talking to coaches, everyone’s just like, more and more, it’s just like LinkedIn has just evolved. And it’s so much more powerful and for connection and content. \

Iris Culp 17:07
It is it is and I mean, like a lot of things. I mean, COVID up ended a lot of things. And LinkedIn went from whatever the standard usage, it went up. Usage wise in those in those first 60 days after the pandemic started, it jumped 600% In terms of usage, it is still and and of course, that was an anomaly, right? People were probably on there looking for jobs. But what’s fascinating, at least to me, is that engagement has stayed at 50% higher than it was pre pandemic. So that just says there’s a staying power there. And and I actually was certified Career Coach before I decided LinkedIn for business. And I thought, there’s a lot of people on this platform are really second wind, like their traditional ways of client acquisition are are stunted or cut off entirely. And they’re doing some weird stuff. And I had already been certified as a LinkedIn coach, and I just moved over into helpings, you know, solopreneurs and small businesses. And like, I was some, you know, this is a little embarrassing. So let’s get out there and serve some people.

Kevin Stafford 18:19
Yeah, so as I just look up the Zoom clock, I realize we’ve already been chatting for a half an hour and 20 minutes on the recording, it’s just flying by but for good reason. Because this is just like, This is great stuff. This is this is this is my meat and potatoes. I love this kind of conversation. And we talked a little bit already about a lot about your your coaching and how you approach your coaching and who you coach primarily solopreneurs small business owners. Do you have any particular ways in which you focus on doing your coaching? And that’s just I mean, obviously, there’s so many different ways the one to one, the group masterminds, the keynote speeches, the presentations, the courses, the books, the all of the above? So do you have anything that you want to shine a particular light on?

Iris Culp 18:57
Yeah, let me Let me shine a light on.Well, first of all, I do group coaching primarily a master’s in training and development. So it’s, I really do a lot of training. I do complimentary workshops, I do some workshops that are within a membership vault. And that’s a group kind of come and go experience. And then I do a group called six weeks for questions to competence in business. That’s a very structured by go, it’s not a one on one, there’s nothing and I I probably will never teach a one on one maybe I don’t know, but it’s more for, Hey, I’ve been on the platform but I’m now I’m trying to actually get leads or business from it. And then I do a starter one called profiles that produce miniature bootcamp. It’s like a three day intensive. So I do mostly group things and then once in a while I will. I do take on a limited number of one on one clients and it’s usually someone that needs their to determine their full brand position. They’re usually service based professionals who want element to the strategies link. And then I get free things like, my QR code is a Tuesday Tip Four Minutes video, or three never over four minutes delivered to people’s inbox and it’s pro tips, something you might know about LinkedIn, something you might not know. Because most people like LinkedIn intimidates me. And I’m like, No, write it down. One, you know, the one bite at a time kind of concept. So yeah, and then my website is called your LinkedIn. So, anyway, excellent. I’ll make sure the links everything’s in the show notes.

Kevin Stafford 20:33
And yeah, LinkedIn is just a big, cuddly teddy bear. At this point, there’s just so much, there’s so much going to be had, it’s probably the least toxic platform that you might be able to find on social media at this point. And yeah, it’s, I’ve really been, I have to say, I’m impressed with my ability to build meaningful relationships through it as a social media platform as like, admin, social media. I love it. It’s so powerful, like meaningful connections that are valuable professionally, but also just enrich me personally, which I did not expect from LinkedIn, five years ago.

Iris Culp 21:03
Yeah, yeah. Well, you know, the pandemic made us all a little bit more human and real when we saw the CEOs daughter walking through and a two piece bikini, we’re all like that, or, you know, the cat walking across the desk or whatever, we all got a little more authentic and LinkedIn definitely needed to and less stiff upper lip button up shirt vibe. And I’m, I’m ecstatic about that it needed that.

Kevin Stafford 21:27
Oh, yeah, me too. It’s so powerful, I, I selfishly want to just keep chatting with you, because I’ve come to enjoy your company quite a bit already. And I could talk to you about just about anything, but I also find the diving deep into LinkedIn, so fascinating, because of how powerful of a tool it is. For all sorts of professional development, but I should let you go spend a little bit a bit a little bit long in the tooth on our recording. But before I go, is there anything you want to share? Is there any, is there any best way for people to get in touch with you? And I imagine you’re gonna say reach out on LinkedIn. Alright.

Iris Culp 21:58
That’s what I’m gonna say. I think if you haven’t taken a serious look at it, consider it. The average web user of LinkedIn has doubled the buying power of the typical web user. You know, it’s and when people go on, if they’re thinking about business decisions, 54% of people turn to LinkedIn as their first source when they’re making a business purchase decision.

Kevin Stafford 22:25
Hmm, yeah. Backing up the numbers back it up. And if you think about it, like you said, it’s simple, it makes sense. It’s, you know, it’s LinkedIn is for intimidate you. It’s not it’s, you know, you can conquer it. Yeah, it’s not that hard. Just just get started. And, you know, maybe get a coach, maybe get a consultant like yourself, Iris to kind of maybe help help guide you into that jungle, possibly, if you’re a good fit. I’m gonna have to have you back on again. And like, I tried to wait, like, at least a few months after I’ve recorded with somebody, even if I’m, like, really excited about them just to like, let the episode breathe. But I’m gonna have to have you back on this summer just to chat more about new developments in LinkedIn and in your business. And just Yeah.

Iris Culp 23:07
I do a complimentary workshop, usually twice a year, like this is the latest about LinkedIn. So so yeah. And that’s always changing. Yeah, I’m a lifelong learner. So I apparently have picked the right platform, it changes more than any other.

Kevin Stafford 23:20
You pick the right platform. And this is definitely the right audience. Because, yeah, we’re all pretty much lifelong learners here, otherwise, we wouldn’t be here. Thank you for being here. I’m just like, selfishly, I’m just like I said, Greg, I get to meet such a cool, awesome person today. And also, you know, thank you for being on the show. And like just being so grateful.

Iris Culp 23:37
For the introduction from Jana. This has been a delight.

Kevin Stafford 23:41
Yeah, Janet Landry. Oh, oh, we can have pockets just about her and we’ll save that for another time.

Iris Culp 23:47
Well, she’s awesome sauce. Okay. Well, thanks for having me on. It’s been a true delight on my site, sir. Excellent. And thank you to the audience for listening. I mean, I assume you got tremendous value out of this conversation. Do yourself a favor, click the links in the show notes. Find out more about Iris connect with her talk to her. She’s the real deal. And she’s just fun to talk to. So at the very least if you want to have the conversation, start one with Iris and we will have another conversation with you hear very soon. Okay, thank you.

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