"The difference between helping and selling is just two letters. But those two letters now make all the difference."

-- Jay Baer from his book "Youtility"

What a great book. It really puts into perspectiveScreen Shot 2014-11-13 at 5.40.47 PM the new selling/buying world we are operating in. Do yourself a favor and pick up your own copy. If you're an accountant or you sell real estate, there's also a companion book available.

So, what is the overall concept of Youtility? Here are two excerpts from the book that summarize it well:

"The secret to your success is to be the most useful (fill in with your specific profession) you can possibly be and to value helping over selling.

"Youtility provides customers and prospects with massively useful, free information that creates long-term trust and kinship between you and them." 

Pretty simple, huh? Just provide your customers and prospects with massively useful, free information, and you will create long-term trust and kinship.

I'm pretty sure we all know that trust and kinship alone won't necessarily lead to a sale. We still have to deliver quality products and services at the right price. But if you don't have trust and kinship, you won't have a customer for very long.

Youtility and LinkedIn

So, how can you use LinkedIn for your very own version of Youtility?

1.   Connect with your customers and prospects. You can't very well "provide massively useful, free information" if you aren't connected to them.

LinkedIn Tip:  Use Advanced People Searching, Who's Viewed Your Profile, Alumni, and Groups to find the right people. Be sure to use a customized invitation when you try to connect with them.

2.  Create a customer-focused profile. If you're trying to use LinkedIn to increase your business, you should start by changing your profile to be about them (e.g., your customers, your prospects, and people who influence your customers and prospects) linkedin professional gallerand not about you.

LinkedIn Tip:  Use the Professional Gallery feature to insert helpful video, audio, documents or links to websites in the Summary and current Job Experience sections of your profile.

Consider putting specific calls to action in your profile that encourage readers to do something--for instance, view or download additional resources and helpful tools.Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 5.29.50 PM

In my Project section, I share a link that will take readers to a form where they can sign up to receive free weekly LinkedIn tips from me.

3.  Curate great, helpful content from others.

LinkedIn Tip:  Find and share articles, checklists, whitepapers, ebooks, and other resources from other industry experts by posting status updates and group discussions.

4.  Compose and share your own content. The content should not only help your intended audience but also show your and your company's expertise.

LinkedIn Tip:  Write your own articles and include themScreen Shot 2014-11-13 at 5.32.23 PM in the published posts on your profile. Be sure to also share them via status updates and group discussions. Also, if some of the content you write appears on websites (your own or others), include details and links to those articles by using the special Publications profile section.

If you need more help executing your very own Youtility using LinkedIn, check out my online video-based training course "Explode Your Revenues Using LinkedIn."