Ever wonder why some LinkedIn profiles seem to attract connections – and sales – like magnets, while others do “just okay” or fall flat?
It’s not magic, luck, or rocket science. It’s pure strategy.
That’s great news for you, considering the professional social networking platform now hosts 675 million users and 50 million companies. A whopping four out of five of those users are influencers and decision-makers. And they’re increasingly turning to the platform to make buying decisions.
So it’s no surprise that the platform is becoming a key sales tool for many marketing and sales teams. In fact, 51% of top sales performers say platforms like this are very important to their success.
Social selling success largely comes down to your personal brand. Part of that is your value. Another part is your profile and the information you share about yourself. The final part is the way you engage with target industries, groups, and people. We’re here to help you nail all three.
Your value proposition: What makes you, you?
Buyers need a compelling reason to buy from you. Not somebody else. You.
That’s why, before you touch a word on your profile, you need to think about your target buyers and your personal value proposition for them. Why should they care about what you have to say? What makes you different? What makes you memorable? What do you bring to the table?
It could be something in your experience. It could be the results you get. It could be the content you share. It could even be something personal that forms a connection. Whatever it is, you’ll need to find it.
You can do that a few ways:
Ask. Reach out to some of your happy clients and ask them what resonated with them the most while you were working together. Do the same with the folks on your team, too. Getting an outside perspective can shed light on aspects of your personality and performance that you never considered before.
Analyze. Go through your communications and sales records to look for trends. Do you excel at selling a specific line of products or services? Do you have a great handle on a particular industry, company type, demographic, or persona? Is there a part of the sales process where you’re a rock star?
Reflect. Your opinion matters, too! Think about your own proudest sales moments, or the things that make you passionate about what you do. Why you love sales, or why you love what you sell. A personal connection can go a long way.
Now, write it down in one to three sentences. This will become the cornerstone of your profile – everything should point back to your value.
The perfect sales profile: more than a resumé
It’s time to sprinkle your value across your profile. Put yourself in your buyers’ shoes and think about what they want to see in a sales rep – not just the stuff a recruiter would look for on a resumé.
You have two opportunities to hit buyers with a powerful visual:
- Your profile photo should be a professional photo of you. Usually, this is a headshot, but a close-up action shot can work as well. Either way, your face should be clearly visible in the small space you have.
- Your background photo is a great opportunity to add context about what you do. Got an offer to promote? A portfolio to showcase? A picture of you in action? Here’s the billboard where you can put that on display.
Your headline and summary
By default, your headline will be your current job title. But “Sales Development Rep” isn’t going to turn any heads. That’s why you need to think creatively about how to best describe what you actually do for your customers – and how they benefit – clearly and concisely.
You only have a few short lines to work within your headline; your summary is where you can fill in more of those details. There’s no single formula for summary success; some reps use it as a space to share a meaningful story that demonstrates their value or to make a case for their services. Either way, you’ll want to include a few keywords that will help with search optimization (yes, that matters on LinkedIn!), and end with a specific call-to-action so buyers know what to do next.
You don’t need to go too in-depth on your previous roles, but you’ll want to demonstrate that you have a history of providing your specific value. You can bring these descriptions to life by including links, photos, infographics, or videos alongside them, too.
Recommendations and endorsements
Customer stories are powerful. They’re tangible proof points that a product or service works. Recommendations are a little like customer stories, in that they’re social proof that you deliver what you promise. Don’t shy away from asking happy customers for recommendations – and know that you’ll likely need to give a few out yourself, too.
These sections are just the meat and potatoes; ideally, you’ll want to fill out all sections of your LinkedIn profile. Not only will it give prospects a better idea of who you are, but it’ll help you rank in search, too.
What you share and how you engage
Congrats – you have a fantastic profile! Now, how do you get people to find it? It’s time to think like a marketer. And like a marketer, you need to think about engagement and reach. After all, each new follower is a new prospective customer.
Join groups and follow influencers
If you know your ideal customer and their industry, you should have a good idea of the kinds of groups they frequent and the leaders they follow on LinkedIn. Joining in not only lets you stay up-to-date with news and trends that matter to your prospects, but participating meaningfully in conversation helps get your name out there.
Share valuable content
Whether you’re writing original posts or copy/pasting pre-written content from your company, “valuable” is the most important word. Don’t just spam your feed with whatever you have on hand. Think about what your buyers are thinking about. You don’t want to add to the noise… you want to help them cut through the noise.
Build your network
This one never ends. Every time you meet someone new, you should be asking them to join your LinkedIn network. That extends to people who participate in your groups and even industry experts and influencers who you follow. For a better chance of success, include a personal message with your outreach – and resist the urge to make it overtly “salesy”… or creepy.
Feeling stuck? That’s okay! If you’ve got a bit of writer’s block or the ideas just aren’t flowing, do what the pros do: go online and find inspiration. Look up other sales reps and make note of what they do well and where they fall short. Then build your profile up with that research in mind.