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.

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.

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.”
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 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.

LinkedIn Profile Tips – Don’t be a “Quota Killer”!

If you heard any of the political news in the last election cycle, you might have come across a news story where the reporter states something like…
Politician’s LinkedIn Profile says…“, or “According to his/her LinkedIn Profile...”

As a LinkedIn speaker and trainer, I read a lot of articles about LinkedIn profiles.
Today, I came across an article from the Chicago Tribune, from Reuters, where the author used information found on a LinkedIn profile, as part of the article:
reuters clip
“Ernst had worked at Deutsche Bank for 9 years, his LinkedIn profile showed.”

Times have changed.
More and more reporters are using LinkedIn as a go to reference point.

That being said, if you’re looking for a job, think of what a Hiring Managers might see.
Or, if you are in Sales and Marketing, what are your Prospects and Buyers going to see?
(You know they’re looking at your LinkedIn profile before your meeting… Right?)

From the Sales and Marketing fields, I’ve seen some pretty bad profiles.

One of my favorites:
“The Quota Killer”
Go ahead… look it up “quota killer” in LinkedIn:
I found 136 profiles that included the term “Quota Killer” listed in them…
I’m not too sure a prospect is going to be really excited to see that in your profile before your next sales meeting.

What are they going to find?
Is your profile accurate and up to date?
Is your story compelling, or does it read like a resume?
Does it sell your strengths?

Your LinkedIn Profile is now your online business card… but free to access by almost anyone.

What message does your LinkedIn Profile say about you?

LinkedIn Profile Tips:
Check your profile job titles and timelines.
Are they accurate?
Are they descriptive of your roll?
Or they the official titles pulled from your companies “Human Resources Pay Grade System” (ie. Programmer IV, Systems Engineer II, Account Manager”)

Will someone reading your job title know what you do?