3 Tips to Maximize Your LinkedIn Profile

Linkedin-LogoLinkedIn is a wonderful resource for anyone with a B2B relationship and specifically a selling relationship.  As a person with many personal connections I have the opportunity to research more about my peers, prospects, or clients, and I have the opportunity to showcase my talents and priceless recommendations.

My frustration with LinkedIn is the lack of quality content I see on many profiles.  Therefore, I put together three helpful tips I use to fill any holes and maximize all the social network has to offer.

Tip 1 – Have a Complete Profile.  I’ll keep this one extremely simple.  If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile and your income relies on relationships, get your butt in front of a computer.  Invest 30 minutes to get your profile up and running.  NOW.  If you love video tutorials here is a helpful one on setting up a LinkedIn profile from Tracy Repchuk.

If you do have an existing profile I suggest getting the profile up to speed with accurate info and a great description of your skills and passions.

Tip 2 – Ask for Recommendations.  This tip is one I consider to be widely underutilized by account people.   There are typically two main reasons I find why there are either very few or no recommendations on a profile.

The first is fear.  Fear of asking a client for a recommendation.  You’ll notice I specifically said client and not: buddy, friend, spouse, or relative.  I’m not interested in your buddy Ted who works in accounting recommending you because you two share beers on Friday night.  I’m interested in a client who invests money with you.  Future clients will use this as they asses risk of investing time, energy, and money with your firm and more importantly you.

The second and extremely sad reason could be a brutal truth.  Your work doesn’t warrant a recommendation.  If this doesn’t get you fired up I’m not sure what will.  You’re following this blog and reading this post because you’re committed to getting better.   Use some of the other teachings in this blog (Saturday Text & The Power of an Agenda) to make an impact in your client’s business right away.  You’ll feel great reading the words of your first recommendation.  Embrace the challenge.

Lets take a turn away from negative town and look at what happens when we’ve “earned” the right to ask for a recommendation.  Earned is important contextually.  I don’t recommend “begging” for a recommendation.

Let us look at what success should look like.  You’re doing great work, producing results, taking care of your client, and you have a strong client relationship.  Asking for the recommendation is digital payoff to the time and effort you’ve invested in the relationship.  Make the ask and please make it sincere.  Do not use the lame context provided to you from the good folks at LinkedIn.   Reference a recent accomplishment or pat on the back the client gave you.  It will add relevancy and likelihood the recommendation will be written and written well.

I’m extremely visual so it’s time to put my money where my mouth is.  Here are a couple of my own personal recommendations I’ve earned over the years.  If you want to read more I invite you to visit my LinkedIn profile.  These will lead nicely into the third tip.

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Tip 3 – Utilize Your Recommendation(s).  You’ve done the hard work, you made the ask, and you received a wonderfully written recommendation.  BOOM!!!  A touchdown dance is in order.   A personal favorite is a nice heel-kicker to celebrate.

In all seriousness, think about the magnitude of what just happen.  Someone out there seems to think you or your team is a big asset to their operation.  Now who might want to see such a thing…?

How about every prospect you speak with in the next 5 years!

It certainly isn’t the first thing I’d showcase when pitching a solution, but if account service or referrals are ever asked for, you can be johnny on the spot with personal recommendations.  Each recommendations comes custom made with a story of: who is the client, what was their challenge, and how you/your team helped the client specifically achieve their objective?  There couldn’t be a better setup to tell a story.

ACTION ITEM: Make use of at least one of the three tips below.  I don’t care if you’re starting on #1 or #3, just start today!  In the next 90 days commit to getting through point #3.


  1. Ensure you have a complete profile
  2. Ask for recommendations (earn the right)
  3. Utilize recommendations

Know Thyself


This post was the most challenging and most liberating posts I’ve written to date.  I needed to put into writing what I’d been thinking.  To be immensely successful personally, professionally, and spiritually in 2014 I needed to do an intense self analysis.  I needed to spend some time knowing what I am, and more specifically what I am not.

The purpose of this community is to sharpen our mental tools, be more positive, and to get better on a daily basis.   Negativity on the other hand makes the news and is around us at every turn.  This is NOT a negative post.  It’s an honest one.  There is a difference.  Below is a list of my challenges and how I choose to think about them in 2014.

Embrace Fear – I’m just as afraid if not more afraid as everyone else reading this post.  I’m most afraid of not being successful so I push on.  This is one of my biggest challenges and it prevents me from slowing down on a daily basis.  New ideas are needed.  New clients are needed.  New products are needed.  The more I embrace fears and take them head on, the stronger I become.  I will continue to be afraid, but I’ll embrace it and channel it as aggression with a focused direction.  I will not be consumed by fears I create.  The body and mind know the difference between real and created fears.

Be Myself – I’m guilty of always looking for more information and looking for a new angle.  It’s in my DNA.  A new book, podcast, or blog rich with information is always at my fingertips.  What I must remember is who I am, what do I believe, and what do I stand for.  How can I help others?  My friends and close relationships chose me for who I am, not who I’m trying to be.  What others think of me is their business.

Confidence Coefficient – I’m guilty of being cocky.  It’s in my DNA and a personality flaw I’m challenged with frequently.  I believe so much in achievement and confidence in my efforts it can quickly cross the invisible line into cockiness.  It’s really a double edged sword.  The more I win, the better and more invincible I feel (hence the confidence coefficient).  Without confidence however, winning doesn’t happen and I HATE losing.  I’m challenged weekly to remain confident without getting overly confident.  The key to maintaining a confident persona without getting cocky is to reflect frequently and to remember this.  The second I think I’ve arrived, I’ve already lost.

Be More Thankful – I’m an achiever addicted to winning.  I’m addicted to making the next move or knocking down the next big obstacle.  I don’t stop often enough to appreciate things.   Appreciate family, friends, relationships and a wonderful lifestyle.  I have so much to be thankful for, I need to stop and smell the roses more often.

Be There – I made a promise to myself in 2013 to “be there” more often no matter what for others.  Friends will need me.  Family will need me.  Peers will need advice.  Be there.  Nothing is as important as these pieces in my life so get moving and be there.  I found some of the most joy in 2013 by making this a focus.  It’s payed wonderful dividends.

Own My Talents – There can be much time invested and little return expected in focusing on what I’m not.  The same time however, will yield 10X returns if invested in what I am and where I can be most successful.   As previously stated, it’s extremely easy to find what we don’t have or what we lack.  To take a quote from Top Gun, “The list is long and distinguished.”  I’m going to invest (expecting a return) my time into what I’m really great at and watch the massive results happen!

Live Passionately – Compliments of the late Jim Valvano, “If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special.”  Few things move me like his 1993 ESPY speech.  I often admire the vibrancy and passion Jimmy had for life and how he shared it.  He wasn’t afraid of his emotions and embraced every day with those he shared it with.  The reason I bring this up is I struggle to share my emotions.  I believed it to be sign of weakness.  If you ask my wife privately she’ll tell you I’m not the most open person with my feelings.   I don’t know if I’ll ever be great sharing my feelings, but I can get better.

Give – I’ve always been a bit selfish with my time.  I struggle to know why this is, but fall short on answers.  This is getting better and will be my best year ever in 2014.  I’ll give more time to others and not just give with monetary means.  I have a goal set to volunteer a specific number of times in 2014 and I plan on crushing it.  I friend of mine Juan Teran (who I asked if I could mention in this post) challenges me every time we speak to share more of ourselves with others.  I’m thankful for his challenge and I will answer the bell!

ACTION ITEMS:  I challenge you to do a similar self analysis.  Be realistic and honest, but not hard on yourself.  The goal is not to leave yourself battered and bruised.  I’d really love it if you could share one of your challenges with our community so we can all get better.  Lastly, if you know someone who will benefit from reading this please share.


We Are What We Consume

Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and thoughts.

Have you heard of the documentary, “Super Size Me?”  In it, Morgan Spurlock submits his body to eating only McDonalds for one year.  If the thought of this doesn’t make your colon quiver, it will once you lookup the documentary.  Yuck is an understatement!

Most of us wouldn’t dream of eating McDonalds every meal for one year straight, but I’d like to take a look at what we consume from a mental perspective to challenge your thinking.  Many a study are published every year with new “super foods” to add to our diet.  When we look back at making real change in our diets it usually involves: eating more fruits/vegetables, limit red meat, eat more chicken/fish, drink a lot of water, don’t over-consume alcohol, etc.  I’m sure I’m leaving something out, but you get the idea.


Lets turn the tables now to look at what we consume from a mental and thought perspective.  How healthy is your mental diet?  Again, how HEALTHY is your mental diet?  In order to best understand our mental diet I’ve chosen to relate it to the timeless food Pyramid pictured here on the right.

When I think of my mental diet I think of the following elements I choose to consume daily:

1. Podcasts (Fruits) – I’ve got six to seven I subscribe to and listen to almost weekly.  They challenge me to think about my: finances, new strategies, marketing, and of course sports (Dan Patrick Show).   I listen to these in the car and while doing household chores.


2. Audiobooks (Vegetables)- I’ve got about 10-15 audiobooks I listen to frequently because every time I listen, I learn or implement something new into my life.  I grabbed a snapshot of a few of them for you as well to show you I mean what I’m saying.  It’s at the bottom of this post as I’ve run out of room here.  Like my podcasts I consume these in the car, working out, or while doing household chores.

3. TV Shows (Fats/Oils/Sweets) – I do watch TV and I can’t tell you a lot of it is real solid “learning material” but that’s ok.  We can’t all be on 100% of the time.  My wife and I have a few shows we watch together (Parenthood, Modern Family, and Homeland).  It’s a great way for us to connect.

4. Books (Meat/Protein)- I found this link very interesting: The Average CEO Reads 4-5 Books Per Month.   Do the math people.  That’s over 50 books a year.  How many of you have read 50 books in your life?  There are reading lists everywhere.  Start now.

5. Relationships (Bread/Cereal/Rice/Pasta)- This is the last one on my list and most likely the most over looked consumption medium.  I know a guy who was a completely different person based on the people he was around 5-6 years ago until a friend called him out on it.  That guy was ME!  Choose who you look up to and associate with carefully.  Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”  Relationships are what we consume the most of on a daily basis and the bottom of our mental consumption pyramid.

Lastly I thought I’d share a list of all the opportunities we have on a daily basis to make ourselves better.  Look at your day and tell me you don’t do one or more of these activities: exercising, eating breakfast, during a commute, in the shower, during lunch, cooking, doing household chores, flying/travel, gardening, and brain-numbing television.  YOU HAVE NO EXCUSE!

ACTION ITEM:  Don’t try to eat the whole elephant.  What I mean is, don’t go off on an over consumption strategy.  We know from diet studies this doesn’t yield positive results.  Studies show goals are reached with the creation of really good habits.  Create a new mental consumption habit and fuel your hungry mind with challenging new practices and techniques.  With every day that passes, you’ll be laying the groundwork for a Keen Mind.


As promised here is a quick look at the audiobooks I mentioned above and a list for you to consume.



The Power of an Agenda

I’ve always said, “expectations are dangerous.”  However, in this specific case I’d be 100% wrong.  Setting an agenda prior to a client visit is a mandatory step in a successful visit and I’ll tell you why.

Here are the FOUR KEY reasons why I know agendas are beneficial not only to you, but your client as well.

Reason #1 – In this specific case it’s a really REALLY good idea to set your client’s expectations.   Not many of us like to be dropped in on or surprised.  We’re all starved for time.  Please be sure you respect the client’s time.  This is a pet peeve I’ve heard by many a client lately.

Reason #2 – Setting an agenda lets your client know you’re prepared.   Obviously this means you show up with intentions to help your client’s business, so don’t under deliver on this.

Reason #3 – Send your agenda a day or two before your visit is scheduled.  This will allow the client time to review and you time to handle any last minute twists and turns to the schedule.

Reason #4 – BRING THE AGENDA TO THE MEETING.   Do you have a client who can’t seem to stay on task or on objective?  We all do.  Do your meetings take more turns than a formula one race car driver in Italy?  Bring the agenda to the meeting at present it again at the beginning of the meeting.  As you progress through the agenda physically cross off items of the list until you’re completed.  Do not leave with unattended objectives.  This one is on you, not them.  Own the agenda.

Here is what your agenda should include:

  1. Meeting Date
  2. Meeting location
  3. Meeting specifics (try to keep this to five or six bullet points)
  4. Ask the client if there is anything they’d like to add?
  5. Any other details you may need to share prior to showing up.

So with all this said, many of us are visual learners so I’ve included an example agenda I sent just a week ago.  Short and to the point.

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ACTION ITEM:  Put what you learned to use.  Make sure your next meeting includes a solid agenda.  Be efficient and set expectations prior to showing up.  I guarantee your client will appreciate it and you’ll benefit by earning more of their respect.

Jerry Maguire, Seth Godin, and the $90 Fear

I certainly hope you’re wondering what Jerry Maguire, Seth Godin, and cash have in common with fear.  Allow me a moment to explain.

I spent a couple weeks up late at night scheming and planning.  I’d been sketching and strategizing toward the final stages of my big idea and presentation to our owners.

I’d done my research and there was undoubtedly merit to the plan.  Two core business elements would be repackaged and sold as a combined offering to our clients.  The client would benefit and so would our business.

As stated, I spent a couple weeks working through the particulars: sales, training, process, execution, client enrollment, external marketing and internal marketing.  All of these elements were combined into one well thought out plan (my opinion) ready to be put in front of our ownership the day before everyone departed for Thanksgiving.

bb360634fb28151dcbf284acb1dc71b6839d21d7b039fc17a12a3048179f6a60Imagine something along the lines of Jerry Maguire, without getting fired afterward of course.

I ventured off to Copyworks the evening before the presentation to ensure I had professionally bound materials ready for the following morning.  I was going to have eight of the documents printed in sharp color and bound for an expert touch.  To be taken seriously I was going to make serious moves!

When the booklets were completed the charming yet shy girl at the front desk asked me how I’d like to pay for the books.  I politely asked if she took American Express and replied with, “Yes, it will be $90 sir.”

WHAT?!?!  Are there gold leafs in the booklets?  How on earth could this cost $90?

I was confused, frustrated, and for some reason embarrassed.  Maybe I should’ve asked (before I was in such a hurry – typical me!) what the price was, but it was a little too late for that.  I handed her my credit card and she completed the transaction.  There were a couple of books remaining to be assembled so I grabbed a seat in a stodgy old chair by the front store window.

I starred off into the cold dreary street and I got to thinking.  Was I really upset about the $90?  I certainly shouldn’t be.  I mean, I had the $90 and I knew it was going to cost something.  I didn’t plan on bartering for the goods.  That’s when the real question hit me.

“Zac, do you think your idea is worth $90 or not?”

I had a fear of putting the concept out in the open; to our ownership nonetheless.  I was taking a chance.  The perfect idea lived in my head and on paper, but it might as well have been in a vacuum.  Certainly no one was going to benefit from a idea in a vacuum.  It had to see the light of day and breathe in the cool wintery Iowa air.

Taking time to reflect, I’m glad the books cost $90 to print and assemble.  It made me take a good hard look at the material and the confidence in my idea.  After all, it only took $90 to get my mind right!  Thousands of people waste much more than $90 trying to find confidence in the midst of fear.

As fate would have it, a couple days before I published this blog post, the email below appeared in my inbox from the remarkable Seth Godin.

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ACTION ITEM: Don’t let $90 keep you from your idea, concept, or business plan.  I promise you, It’s not the money you’re worried about.  The sooner you understand this, the closer you are to launch.

PS – When you do launch, I encourage you to scream “SHOW ME THE MONEY!”  It feels awesome.

Tom Izzo Can’t Lace ’em Up

I recently spent time reflecting about my struggle between being a high performing individual vs. the need to grow others and coach ’em up.  In hindsight, I spent the first eight years of my career focused on personal achievements and personal growth.  Now I’m entering a new chapter.

I tweeted a great article in the Harvard Business Review by Ed Batista (@edbatista) “Doing Less, Leading More.”

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Although I’m still focused on personal growth, I’m finding more and more enjoyment and necessity to grow others.  I’m the first to tell you, this is a challenge and it takes focused effort.  It was’t until a couple days ago when I was watching a Michigan State basketball game things got a little clearer.

I’m a basketball junkie and I love watching Michigan State teams as they are fierce competitors.  It is by no mistake Tom Izzo has a drill in practice aptly referred to as, “war.”  He gets the most out of his guys and every night their effort is never in question.  Oddly enough during a TV timeout, I caught a glimpse of the following image and I paused the game.


Tom Izzo can’t be more than five foot seven inches short.  Conversely, Adreian Payne is about seven feet tall.  Payne is the one on the floor electrifying the crowds and making the spectacular happen with his talents.  Tom provides the blueprint, knowledge, tenacity, and competitive spirit.

Tom is coaching, Adreian is playing.  Tom provides instruction and guidance, Adreian executes.  At five foot seven, you wouldn’t want Tom to lace ’em up unless he was the last guy on your bench.  And even at seven feet tall, Adreian will likely never be half the coach of Mr. Izzo.

I realized I can continue to focus on my own efforts and probably be pretty successful.  But no one ever did anything truly great on their own.  This change will require me to put the sneakers on the shelf and be sure to get the right talent on the floor.

ACTION ITEM: I want your feedback.  What have you done to grow from a player to a successful coach?  What changes did you make?

The Saturday Text

This is pretty simple but it remains a practice I utilize today.


I frequently work with clients whose business is retail sales.  That said, Saturday is always a big day for them.

One of the early practices I adopted was to email or text the general manager or owner the morning of their busiest day of the week.  I believe this accomplished a couple very important stamps in my client’s memory.

First off, I wasn’t just an 8 to 5’er, Monday through Friday guy.  I was invested in my client’s success and they were going to know about it.   Certainly they weren’t going to forget our team or me any time soon because I do this on most weekends.

Secondly, how many other vendors or partners were emailing or texting their client on Saturday?  The answer is easy, not many!  Elite people take actions the average will not.

If you’re stuck wondering what to say don’t over think it.  Examples of what these emails/texts could say are:

  1. Thinking about your team today and the numbers you’re going to do. Crush It!
  2. Looking forward to your team having a big day today.  I’ll be sure to follow up on Monday
  3. What’s the sales objective today?  Anything I can do to help?
  4. If you have access to client CRM and campaign data this one is REALLY AWESOME.  Make note of a specific customer or customers names where opportunities exist or appointments are scheduled.  Your client can’t even get his own people to do this!

A Keen Mind is about winning, creating a winning mindset, and by all means not taking average actions.  This is not an average move.   This simple tactic will position you as a true asset in your client’s mind.

If you think you’re immediately too busy for this activity, this blog isn’t the place for you.  I wish you the best.  Enjoy the Saturday morning cartoons because you were too busy to make an elite effort.

ACTION ITEM: The next opportunity you have, reach out to one of your clients via text or email on a Saturday morning.  Do not take more than five minutes.  Let them know you care.  If you get some feedback please share it with the tribe via a comment!

It Pays To Be A Winner

When I hear the word “ELITE” I immediately think of the US Navy SEALs.  I have an affinity for their leadership, training, focus, and commitment to each other.  One training tool I use frequently when I get in a rut mentally is the training videos of Navy SEALs BUDS Class 234.  It really gets me going.

One episode I’ve viewed numerous times (probably more than 20) is, “It Pays To Be A Winner.”


Remove the pushups, getting wet and sandy (horrible in the cold surf), lack of sleep, and what do you have?


Attention to detail.

Elite mental capacity.

If all you see is the rigorous physical nature of their process you’re missing a great deal of intelligence.  These elite warriors are training their minds.  The intense physicality of their training is a byproduct of consistent mental conditioning.  They learn the valuable lesson of getting comfortable in the uncomfortable.

This is much easier said than done in our civilian tribe, but it doesn’t mean we can’t apply the principles.  Former SEALs lead extremely successful careers by applying the teachings less than 1% of enrolled US service members will ever receive.

Apparently I’m not the only one interested in the teachings of the US Navy SEALs and Class 234 either.  I learned reading Hank Haney’s book, “The Big Miss” about the legendary Tiger Woods’ affinity for the SEALs and their mental acuity.

He routinely watched videos of Class 234.  He was even rumored to be training with SEAL teams but I’ll let your read about that. Now is Tiger the role model we strive to be?  Absolutely not.  But, when you think of the short list of athletes in complete ownership of the “mental game” Tiger Woods is on your list.  He knows, “It pays to be a winner!”

Tiger loves these teachings and I believe our tribe will as well.  If you’re driven by this video I invite you to view the others in the series and by all means share!

ACTION ITEM: Find an uncomfortable situation in the next week and insert yourself into the heart of it.  If you’re afraid, understand its ok.  Recognize the fear and channel it.  “Use it as aggression,” as the SEALs say!


Here is a link to purchase Hank Haney’s book, The Big Miss: My Years Coaching Tiger Woods


Golf and Digital Marketing

I tweeted the following recently:

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I’m a decent golfer but not great.  I’m a 7.9 handicap.   I love working on the game but there in lies one of my biggest challenges and hence my tweet.

I practice, but I don’t know the right way to practice or the right drills to do while practicing.   I hit balls and I hit more balls.   Some hook left, some down the middle and some slice right.

I’ve recently learned this professionally as I’m extremely interested in the divergence of social media into the core of our marketing plans.  My immediate challenge like golf, is where to start learning and how do I implement.

ACTION ITEM: Find a coach, or program, or a process to get better.  Likely this will come in the form of a monetary investment AND a time investment.   If you really want to get better, you will pony up for both.


Hello world!

If you’ve stumbled upon this site looking for Zac Keeney you’re certainly in the right place.   I hate to disappoint, but the site is currently under development and is not ready to reveal to the world just yet.

Before you leave (please don’t leave in a hurry) checkout the About,  FAQ‘s, and Mission Statement pages.

Also please be sure to connect with Zac on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter @ZacKeeney.

Check back frequently & be prepared to join a community focused on elite thoughts and elite actions.  Your life will never be the same.

Looking forward to seeing you again soon,

Zac Keeney

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