Open Letter to LinkedIn – The Rolling Updates are Killing Me!

Andrew Brandt – The self-stated LinkedIn Curmudgeon wrote a recent post about his issues as a LinkedIn user and trainer and the rolling LinkedIn Updates / Upgrades.

I’ve had similar experiences, and decided to write the following open letter to LinkedIn CEO, Jeff Weiner.

If you agree, please “Like”, “Comment”, or “Share” this with your fellow LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ friends. Let LinkedIn know if you agree.

Dear Jeff Weiner,

First off, Thank you and the incredible team at LinkedIn for making it easier for us members to network and build our personal brands with our professional communities.

That being said, the Rolling Upgrades are Killing Me!

LinkedIn is now a daily tool used by millions of us users.
Making changes to our daily routines and operations, and how we do our jobs, is very frustrating.

Imagine being upgraded from MS Word 2000 to MS Word 2003, every couple of months!
But, with No warning!
No explanation!
No documentation!
And, no place to go for help, or to understand the benefits of the new features.

And, by the way… I can’t ask any of my co-workers, or cube-mates for help, because they’re still on the old version.

It’s incredibly frustrating for us.
It’s also incredibly frustrating for the greater LinkedIn community.

As someone who speaks, blogs, and trains job seekers and Sales & Marketing teams on using LinkedIn, it’s always a loaded gun dealing with LinkedIn version controls.

The “New Profile”, “New Media Upload”, “Contacts”, and “Who’s Viewed Your Updates!” upgrades have been great, but the roll-outs have been excruciatingly painful!

As someone who has built, tested, and released hundreds of complex website and ERP system updates and upgrades, I understand the level of complexity required for global roll-out.

Rolling out a Global interactive software product is probably one of the most difficult technical events any company can under take… Doing it several times a year is that much harder.

Testing alone is difficult. Updating multiple global server farms, with multilingual support, is a something very few can do well.

Believe us! As members, and users, we get it!
We greatly appreciated and welcome the updates.

As members, now that you have us using the site everyday, please remember that ‘spontaneous’ interruptions in our daily procedures are not always welcome.

All we ask is that major user interface or functionality changes are rolled out in a different way.

Instead of asking us to “Update our Profile” or “Endorse people we “don’t-know-well” for skills that we “don’t-know-if-they-have”, why not let us “upgrade” ourselves?
Once you have enough people for the test, or rollout sample, shut-off the notification.

Give us the option.

If that’s not possible, at least give us the courtesy of a notification of the update, with links to videos and explanations about what just changed!

Writing a blog post is fine, but if I don’t see the update for 90 days later, what use is the blog post?

Thanks for listening,
Jonathan Duarte and the LinkedIn Community

How to build a Professional LinkedIn Profile that Engages

Social Selling Square One
You’re prospects and clients are on LinkedIn, and they’re looking for Trusted Advisors.

If you want to build relationships with them you’ll have to learn a new way of selling. It’s called Social Selling!

One of the first steps in creating a social selling presence, is making sure your LinkedIn profile entices, educates and nurtures your clients and prospects.

In many cases, your professional LinkedIn profile might be your prospects first point of contact with you.

Buyers have changed. They are reading your LinkedIn profile before they return a phone call or set up a meeting.

Knowing and recognizing this fact, is different from acting on it.

Successful social sellers know this and use their profiles to build trust and authority.

To create a client-centric profile you have to think like your ideal client persona.

Why are they on LinkedIn?
What issues are they trying to solve?
What are they trying to learn?
What kinds of discussions are they having?

If you know this kind of information, it’s much easier to build a profile that match their needs, and opens the door for building trust and authority.

Your clients and prospects want to learn from you. They want to learn about why your products and services are something they should consider. They want to know that you understand their needs. They don’t want to be sold!

5 Quick Tips:
1. Create a Headline that speaks to your prospects. What problems do you solve?
2. Use your Summary section to build relatedness and sell you authority and strengths.
3. Use Rich Media videos, presentations, blog posts, or sales & marketing pdfs to education and engage your prospects.
4. Use updates to share stories and articles that are relevant to your prospects.
5. Make a daily practice of connecting with people in your industry, prospects, clients, fellow employees, and other industry professionals.

In a Social Network environment, your prospects want “subject matter experts” not “revenue producing experts”.

How to leverage Senior Executives for Social Selling on LinkedIn.

networking introductionOne of the fastest ways to get up to speed on LinkedIn and Social Selling is by connecting with your fellow employees and especially your senior management teams.

It’s simple, free, and the results can be truly amazing!

As a seller, when you use LinkedIn for prospecting, the search results are going to show profile snippets based on your connections.

When you find a decision maker, or possible member of the buying team, one of the first steps is to connect with them, or contact them directly, or to start building a relationship.

One of the most effective ways of selling is through referrals or introductions.
This is where your fellow employees and senior management come in.

As a LinkedIn user, you probably have hundreds of closer connections on LinkedIn, including many from previous companies, college, etc.

Most of us don’t know the names of the companies where our extended network of friends work. Heck, we probably don’t even know their job titles. Your senior executives and fellow employees are just the same. Additionally, they don’t know who you are prospecting, either.

But as a seller, what if you could tap into the professional connections, or “golden rolodex” of your senior management, and vast networks of your fellow employees.

With LinkedIn, you can.

If you were connected you might find connections like this:
The Director of Marketing at your prospect company, is connected to your VP of Sales, and went to business school together.
Is there a good chance they know each other well enough?
Now the Director of Marketing might not be the Decision Maker, but they might know the Decision Maker, and they might even be a part of the buying team.

Will knowing this change your sales approach?
Will it help you sell?
Will it shorten your sales cycle?

Yes!!! … it’s just one of the tactics of Social Selling with LinkedIn.

Steps:
1. Create a customized email, telling your fellow employees why you are requesting a connection with them.

Some employees won’t want to connect, and that’s fine.
That’s why I think it’s better to say something along the lines of “I’m tasked with building our companies professional network on LinkedIn”.

2. Connect as far up the company you can. All the way to the CEO and other executives, if possible.

The executive and senior management, and owners, have the connections. They built them over time. They went to business school, the senior executives have 20+ years of connections. Their friends are working at companies all around the world. They’ve probably worked at lots of different companies, themselves.

Will your senior management or other employees help you connect, or refer you?
I hope so, you’re both on the same team.
Their paychecks come from your ability to connect and sell.
They might have some reservations, and that’s OK, because this is a brand new way of selling.

If you want support from your sales managers and executive management, send them a link to this blog post.

When scaled up across a large company, it’s amazing what connections can be found.

Shannan Kato is a great example, “50% of my revenue last year came from introductions, with a majority of those being introductions from fellow co-workers and Management.” Shannon works for LinkedIn and sells LinkedIn Sales Solutions.

Additionally, if you’re a sales manager, or executive, there’s an even easier way to leverage your employees and their LinkedIn connections… it’s called LinkedIn Sales Navigator, and an add-on product called “Team Link”.

If you’re interested in learning more about how you can leverage LinkedIn as a seller, or across your sales team, contact me.

Infographic – Understanding The LinkedIn Ecosystem

I came across this great infographic that shows the different parts of LinkedIn and how they fit together.

infographic

Warning – Nigerian Scam Spreading on LinkedIn

You’ve probably gotten those emails suggesting that “some Minister died and they need to give money to you.”
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It’s the typical Nigerian “419″ scam, named after the Nigerian Penal code number.

Well, those emails are coming to your LinkedIn Inbox, and soon!
The worst part, is they are much harder to spot, as the scammers are imitating Real, Senior Bank Executives.

Here’s what the guys at HotforSecurity.com reported when they found this strange email in their LinkedIn Inbox.

Be careful out there, and remember to mark those profiles as Spam as well as the emails. I don’t know if anyone at LinkedIn is looking at these, but if the trend continues, at least there will be a log of profiles and emails.