Growing Your Business Using LinkedIn™

Where Are You Going?

What are you doing with LinkedIn™? Goals are reached by setting them, first. All the master-planners and successful entrepreneurs state that visualizing the end product, the goal achieved, is the best place to start. Goals are dreams with deadlines. This is an excerpt from a workbook I wrote. It’s designed to help walk folks through their online presentation. Many don’t know how and end up with poorly visible profiles and missed opportunities. I trust you’ll enjoy it, even though it’s pretty basic knowledge in some places.

So, what does your vision look like? (use timeframes, too)

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It may seem odd to start out an exploration into LinkedIn™ with a request to journal your vision. LinkedIn™However, it is much easier to set up a strategy when you know what you want to achieve. Take a moment and consider the value of what you have in front of you – the LinkedIn™ resource.

What are your goals for using the resource?

1) ___________________________________________________________

2) ___________________________________________________________

3) ___________________________________________________________

4) ___________________________________________________________

How do you think you can achieve your goals? Keep in mind there may be multiple steps to single items. Like many results, there are multiple ways of achieving them. The better questions you formulate in the ‘How do I…?” stage, the better your results will be. Speed is not always the best thing. If you are dealing with people, building solid relationships may take more time than you anticipate.

Perhaps looking at this project, your closed deals, we can begin with a view from above – the work breakdown structure. It is the critical path that you will take in order to achieve your goals. It applies to any endeavor and, according to the experts: whatever time you think it will take is best tripled for optimum stress-free performance.

Action plans are simple work breakdown structures that are step-by-step initiatives for accomplishing goals. We do not suggest that this is not obvious, but we do want to remind you that it is important to remember. Sometimes our progress is hindered by small things we forget to do. Sales are systematic, they follow a predictable course. So does building relationships. As a well-known local sales coach, Allan Himmelstein, says, “Sales is not a dirty work; just a higher level of communication.”

Personal Profiles

Depending on your purpose and strategy on LinkedIn™, your profile should reflect the ultimate in professionalism and your personal style. It’s best to be authentic and honest, but you don’t have to fully disclose. Think about what you are doing, clients and customers that are going to be attracted and the overall message you want them to get from viewing your profile.

For the purpose of this workbook, you are an entrepreneur. Salespeople are entrepreneurs who put people, places and things together to do business. If you are selling a product or service then you need to be clear in describing what that is and offering features and benefits of YOUR SERVICE. It is your service to your clients and customers that will engage them.

Think about a few keywords or phrases that OTHERS might use to describe your service and write them down here: (use a separate sheet if needed)

1)     ______________________________________________

2)     ______________________________________________

3)     ______________________________________________

4)     ______________________________________________

5)     ______________________________________________

Think about a few keywords or phrases that YOU might use to describe your service and write them down here: (use a separate sheet if needed)

1)     ______________________________________________

2)     ______________________________________________

3)     ______________________________________________

4)     ______________________________________________

5)     ______________________________________________

Use those keywords in developing your profile description. You will want to make sure that they are terms that are congruent with your business persona and style. Tell a story with your client or customer as a featured guest and you as the ultimate servant for their particular needs. Be creative. You’ll stand out in the crowd.

Other things you’ll want to consider are your accomplishments, examples of best-practices in your field, advanced training or degrees and short impactful testimonials. If you feel you cannot write about yourself in a way that feels authentic and creative, hire a coach to help you. Sometimes they are worth their weight in gold… especially when you get the gold as a result. Keep in mind this is an on-going work-in-progress as you develop.

A good rule of thumb is to write short paragraphs, three to five sentences, which demonstrate your understanding of grammar and mechanics. You can use bullet points for specific details or itemized lists. Good flow will capture your readers and draw them into the reading. Proper paragraph structure includes topic sentences that are backed up with content that supports them and closes with a restatement of the topic sentence.

For example:

My clients/customers love how I tailor-make presentations to their specific needs. Doing research to understand a client/customer problem allows me to know more about their business. It automatically builds rapport and our business relationship takes on a higher degree of trust. I can suggest options and they will listen, providing better results. “Joe really got to know our business.” (Sam S., owner of XYZ services)

Here’s an article from SalesForce.com (with corrections) that offers more:

Improve Your LinkedIn™ Profile, Improve Your Sales Results

by Kevin Micalizzi, Data.com Social Media Marketing Manager

When you come across someone new in your daily routine as a sales person, I’m guessing you look them up on LinkedIn™ to get a better idea of their background. Correspondingly, a lot of your customers and prospects are checking you out on LinkedIn™ and it’s crucial to convey that you are good at your job and a sales person they can trust.

However if you follow the majority of the LinkedIn™ profile advice that’s been published, the chances are you look more like you’re job hunting than like you are successful at selling.

With the recent LinkedIn™ profile redesign, you have a great opportunity to put the right image forward, so here are some tips for making sure your profile says the right thing about you.

Using LinkedIn™

1. Show some personality (and your face)

There’s plenty of advice out there about the perfect LinkedIn™ profile photo. The most important to me is that people connect with people. Make sure your photo clearly shows your face. Unless you’re in an industry where everyone dresses formal, use a more business casual photo. It lets you appear approachable while still looking professional. And make sure you smile.

2. Rock it with a great headline & summary

Your headline is one of the first things people see about you. Go beyond your job title. Most job titles never truly describe what you do anyways. Use the keywords your customers would search for, not the terms your company may use. And remember, professional headlines sell.

My favorite advice on making your profile a marketing workhorse for you is to use the summary to add a personal intro about your goals, what you’re passionate about, and what you love to do in life. This lets people see you as a well-rounded person.

3. This isn’t your resume, don’t drown us in details

I recommend removing job descriptions from your past experience. Unless you’re job hunting, I see this section used more often as a way to verify that you’re not new to your current sales role and that you’re reliable. You want your experience to help emphasize you’re not going to sell something and then vanish.

4. Share your skills

You’ve probably seen people endorsing your skills on LinkedIn™, I know I have. It’s an interesting new feature but honestly, not all the “skills” LinkedIn™ is suggesting to people are things I’d consider important. Add some key skills to your profile to ensure LinkedIn™ is asking your connections to endorse you on things that are relevant to what you do.

5. What do your groups say about you?

We’ve all joined LinkedIn™ groups we find interesting and/or relevant. Take a look at your public profile to see what groups are listed. Do they reflect the image you want to portray? For any that aren’t adding value to your image, go into Your Settings for any of the groups you belong to and uncheck the “Display the group logo on your profile” option. Some people may disagree with me, but I put college and company alumni groups in this category, your profile already shows your employment and education history.

6. Are you like-able?

With LinkedIn™, once you pass 500 connections, your profile will show 500+ connections. Try to get past 500, even if you’re only slightly over, it helps you to appear well connected. Recommendations also give you a bit of “social proof”, letting people who don’t know you see that others feel you are worth working with. Make sure everyone is a real recommendation. No one is fooled by a number of people recommending you with things like, “she’s awesome”, or “he was great to work with.” If you ask for a recommendation (or get one without asking), don’t be afraid to ask the person recommending you to talk about something specific. In my experience, if they’re willing to write a recommendation, they’re happy to give it some focus. And the more focused the reviews are, the more meaningful they’ll be to people who check out your profile. Here’s an example.

What else have you found helps your LinkedIn™ profile work for your sales?

If you are looking for sales opportunities or positions, then you will want to craft your profile with a focus on your skill set and track record.  Find out more about what we offer.

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