These days, when a potential customer begins the buying journey, he or she usually wants to learn more about their sales representative and the first place they are likely to go is LinkedIn. What will they find?
Mostly it's just egotistical nonsense inside a bland resume. But what works much better is to showcase who you are as an individual and how you help customers .
Here are just a few ideas for improving a LinkedIn profile that you use to market a business or sell products and services:
1) Get rid of the stuff that shows how great a salesperson you are.
Most salespeople create a LinkedIn profile to target their next sales job rather than appealing to the buyers of the company they currently represent. This is a huge mistake that can easily be fixed.
The biggest problems are when salespeople list things like “Chairman’s Club”, “Exceed Quota”, and other sales related qualifications on their LinkedIn instead of listing the things that will be important for customers. It’s like their LinkedIn is always optimized for finding a new sales job rather than helping buyers.
Personally, I’m intimidated if I look at my salesperson’s LinkedIn and it says how they bring in tons of sales. It makes me think I’ll be taken advantage of.
It’s much better to list things on LinkedIn about how you’re knowledgeable about the industry, that you’re an expert in what’s important to your buyers.
2) Write a headline that appeals to your buyers.
Your LinkedIn headline is the first thing people see. Instead of positioning yourself as a sales representative like this:
- Global Account Manager at Company ABC
- B2B Account Executive – West Coast at Company XYZ
Make the headline something that grabs the attention of your buyer like this:
- Supporting Enterprises in IT cost reductions & licensing optimization support | ABC Company
- Providing Management Consulting to Accelerate IT Transformation for Leading Organizations | XYZ Advisors
3) Consider writing your profile in the first person.
Most profiles are written in the third person and as such don’t allow a buyer to warm up to the sales representative. Yes, it’s controversial but I suggest writing your profile in the first person instead.
Instead of something bland like this as the first few sentences of a profile:
Experienced Sales Director with a demonstrated history of working in B2B technology industry. Strong experience in driving scalable improvement with customers in the auto industry.
Write something like this:
I have a passion for how technology can be used to build businesses. I work with auto industry executives to help them understand how to best apply complex technology.
4) Tell a story!
Instead of a resume-like list of accomplishments, why not tell a story of your career? That’s what I’ve done with my LinkedIn profile. This is how I open:
After NewsEdge was acquired by The Thomson Corporation, my position as vice president of marketing was eliminated. I was fired. Sacked. My ideas were a little too radical for my new bosses.
Or consider how my friend Mark Amtower opens his LinkedIn profile:
Do you ever ask yourself why your B2G marketing program has little or no results?
If the answer is yes, we should talk.
I am not young, svelte or pretty, but I love what I do and I am very good at it...helping companies make more money in Government Contracting.
This kind of storytelling works. Here is what Mark told me about his success on LinkedIn: “For me, LinkedIn has reinforced my position as a leading consultant in the government contracting market. Through my LinkedIn profile alone, I have landed more than 30 consulting gigs with large, medium, and small government contractors, as well as several speaking engagements. At this point, I would suggest that those without a robust social networking presence will lose market share in direct proportion to their social networking inactivity.”
These are just a few suggestions for how to improve your profile. For more, take a look at the free report (no registration required) LinkedIn: 15 Ways to Rock Your Personal Brand published by Vengreso, a B2B sales training and services company.
"Digital Engagement starts with the right brand to attract your targeted buyer,” says Mario Martinez Jr., CEO of Vengreso. “If a buyer has any level of remote interest in what you have to say, they will look you up. If they do, will they find a profile that showcases how amazing of a salesperson you are? Or one that serves as a buyers resource? Start digital engagement with ensuring you've got the right "fishing rod" to catch the fish that you want."
It’s not about you. It’s about your buyers!
Disclosure: I am an advisor to Vengreso.