When working in the area of using LinkedIn in sales, I most often come across situations where LinkedIn merchant profiles are filled with data important to potential employers, not clients.
Their accounts are full of information showing traders as seasoned negotiators who cut their teeth on sales. From the point of view of social selling and using the profile to sell, this information scares away potential customers. Because no one wants to feel that it is thanks to him that the trader will implement his sales plan.
I will devote this article to a broader discussion of the profile on LinkedIn. You will learn, among other things: Why is it worth it for a salesperson to have a professional profile on LinkedIn? What does it mean that the merchant’s profile is customer-centric? And why should it be like that? Which of the profile elements are particularly important for a trader?
A GOOD PROFILE FOR LINKEDIN — WHY DO YOU NEED IT SO MUCH?
At the beginning of:
From a trader’s perspective: Prospecting is very difficult today. This is confirmed by the data showing that even a few years ago it was much easier to arrange a meeting with a new client. Of course, this doesn’t mean that a sudden addition to your LinkedIn profile will make prospecting incredibly easy. However, I can certainly assure you that having a good profile will give you a few extra points at the start :-).
CUSTOM-CENTERED PROFILE ON LINKEDIN — WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
A salesperson’s profile filled-in for job searches will look completely different from the same profile whose main purpose is to support the salesperson in acquiring customers.
Examples of a profile that “speaks” to an employer:
- See the description and experience for information on sales rewards and plan fulfillment.
- The skills section includes sales and/or negotiations, for example.
- References only come from the boss and colleagues.
Customers are not interested in the fact that the trader sells well or that he is a seasoned negotiator. What’s more, these features make the seller appear less credible in the eyes of the customer. After all, no one wants to feel they are the reason the trader implements his sales plan. Instead, the client wants to be sure that the salesperson is able to complete the project with him, deliver the necessary solutions on time, and above all, he is an expert in his field.
CUSTOMER-CENTERED PROFILE ANSWERS:
- In what field am I a specialist / expert?
- 2. What projects do I carry out with my clients?
- How do these projects solve customers’ problems or support customers in achieving their goals?
- How can you contact me?
- What materials can confirm that what I am writing is true?
- Who of my clients can confirm the above by giving me references?
LINKEDIN PROFILE – TIPS AND 6 ELEMENTS YOU NEED TO GAIN ATTENTION
1. Professional photo
The first impression is extremely important. Therefore, it is worth investing in a professional photo session. The best-filled profile with a poor photo will make you lose right from the start.
Hint: During the session, pay attention to the eyes. It might seem ridiculous or insignificant, but the eyes play a significant part in building the first impression as well as the first signs of trust. Therefore, I advise against photos showing a silhouette or an upturned head (ie, without a view to the eyes).
2. Background graphics on LinkedIn
Background graphics provide space for an additional message. It is worth using this space to show what the profile is to be associated with. Most often, I recommend banners with a modest company logo — non-flashy and subdued. It is important that what you want to convey (eg, an inscription or an important part of a graphic) is in the upper right corner. Then, both in the computer and mobile versions, it will be clearly visible.
Hint: This place can also be used for temporary actions (eg, a banner inviting you to a fair, webinar or other events).
3. LinkedIn header
Best practices of users in foreign countries say that the best headline is one that shows how you help your customers. I have been following Polish LinkedIn for many years and I believe that in this case, it is not worth taking this practice to heart. A heading such as “helping customers ….” sounds better in English. In Poland, the word “help” brings two natural reactions: 1. ”I don’t need help at all ” or 2. “You don’t want to help … all you want is to sell me something .”
I support direct communication and calling things by their names. A much more respected message is:
„I am a trader, but I will not sell anything to you by force — do not be afraid. Instead, I want to provide you with some value as a person and a contact on LinkedIn.”
It is definitely a place where you can show exactly what words you want to be associated with. It’s good for the header to consist of three parts:
- Job title (the higher the position, the higher the success rate)The exception will be when we have a position of a “sales specialist”. It’s better that the words “sale” or “trader” not appear. Instead, It can be Key Account Manager, Account Manager, Relationship Development Manager or Advisor.
- Company name. Its presence is important because it allows you to build the company’s brand.
- Keywords. Phrases with which we want to be associated that describe the area of our solutions. It may be a reflection of the words customers use for solutions.
Explanation: The order in which the above three parts will be added depends on the context. If you want to be associated directly with keywords, start with them. The first dozen or so characters will be displayed under the name each time you leave a comment.
4. Recommended section
A place where we can place a link (examples include a link directing the user to a website or to an article you’ve written), so we can direct traffic to the right material that can help build credibility.
5. Description and summary on LinkedIn
A place that is a kind of showcase of every trader. It is important that there are three elements in it:
- • Experience / expertise / partnership. Show experience in implementing projects with the clients we want to reach; Best describes ways to solve their problems or challenges; Shows industry experience, builds expertise and drives home the fact that you are not another salesperson who will press customers to buy.
- Today, customers find it difficult to contact suppliers. Polish research shows that 74% of buyers want to be able to choose who they contact (more in the article: Polish B2B purchasing process – analysis of Polish data). Therefore, it is important to make this contact as easy as possible for them. I recommend putting contact info in the e-mail footer (phone number, business e-mail address).
- This section allows you to connect various types of media that can support building the image of an expert trader or company. Here you can connect a link to the page (eg, to a landing page for downloading an e-book or a recording of a webinar) or attach a presentation or movie (showing selected case studies).
6. Experience on LinkedIn
The “experience” section offers similar possibilities as the field above. It is important to replenish those jobs that are relevant to the client. It is worth highlighting the experience of working with clients — either in specific industries or on specific projects implemented together with clients. An important aesthetic aspect at this point is complementing the companies we have worked for. So that the logo is visible, it is required that you select the company from the drop-down list (which is only possible if the company has a profile on LinkedIn).
7. LinkedIn Skills
The most common mistake of salespeople is to fill this space with skills important to an employer and not a client (eg sales, negotiations). Instead, enter the field in which you are an expert (eg, ERP systems, data analysis, print systems, network security, etc.). A universal skill, for example, could be counselling. After completing it, it is worth asking your colleagues to confirm these skills and make sure that they are confirmed on a regular basis.
Here, too, I advise against the use of foreign practices, which are based on the psychological rule of reciprocity and blindly confirm the skills of people you do not even know (only to get the same back). I also advise against the “prospecting trick” of confirming the skills of potential clients.
HintThe first three skills you list (the ones you put at the top) are the most important. They are displayed in the main field. To be able to add new skills to this spot, you need to “free up their space” by using the “unpin the pin” option.
8. References on LinkedIn
In this section, the most important thing is that there are testimonials from customers. From my experience of working with salespeople, I know that in order to receive such references, you need to follow a few steps:
- An overview of all customers who can provide testimonials and make sure you have them in your networks on LinkedIn.
- Check whether the client wants to issue such references (it can be done by phone, e-mail or via LinkedIn – depending on the level of the relationship).
- Customer support in the preparation of references. Clients often don’t know what to write. It is therefore worth asking or even pointing to the elements that we care about the most.
- Follow-up. In the process of collecting references, you often need to do some reminding.
HOW TO CREATE AND KEEP A PROFESSIONAL PROFILE ON LINKEDIN – SUMMARY
Taking care of the above 6 elements is a kind of minimum that a salesperson should take into account so that his profile supports him in sales activities.
Pobierz checklistę, aby mieć wiedzę potrzebną do budowania dobrego profilu w pigułce: