In this article I outline 4 principles of an effective LinkedIn profile. Then I provide a LinkedIn Profile Writing Guide to help perfect your own profile.

 

The Value of the Sales Rep

It is rare to have products that simply “sell themselves.”  In today’s market, where competitive differentiation is razor thin, only top Sales Reps win.  The talent of the Seller can outweigh the features of the product. To illustrate this point, we can draw a lesson from Silicon Valley.

 

Some of the toughest selling happens in the start-up world. To get a product concept funded is nearly impossible. When venture capitalists finally invest, they do so with calculated risk. They consider the expected profits from the innovation.  But more importantly, they consider the value of the innovator. As is often said, they “bet on the jockey, not the horse.”

 

Buyers of your products are taking the same calculated risks. For Sales Reps to make their number, overcoming these risks is a daily battle. For Social Sellers, these daily battles start in the trenches of their online networks.

 

Bet on the Jockey

Social Sellers know that 57% of the Buyer’s decision occurs before they make contact. (Source – CEB, The New High Performer Playbook, Arlington VA, 2012).  During that timeframe, the Buyer will ignore phone calls and emails.  Instead, they will focus on their self-directed research.  They will collect information about the products and even the Sellers themselves. 

 

But at some point, the Buyer has to make contact. They know the remaining 43% of the process is critical and tedious. The details of the deal and the quality of the implementation hinge on trust.  They need a partnership.  From the Buyer’s perspective, success is built on their partnership with the Seller.

 

Trust Starts with the Personal Brand

When the Buyer searches a Sales Rep’s name, they look for key words. They quickly determine how much they can initially trust the Rep. They look for mutual connections, signs of like-mindedness, and relevant experience. The Buyer looks for personal brands they can work with.  They are betting on the jockey, not just the horse.

 

Among the best Reps, there are several common traits of a good personal brand:

 

1. Adopt an attitude of teamwork.  The best Sales Reps form partnerships with the Buyer.  They work together to get things done. They share the sense of ownership and success.

 

2. Understand the needs of the Buyer.  The Buyer-centered approach assures solutions to problems that matter to them. Solutions are only good if they solve the right problem.

 

3. Provide the Buyer a different perspective. Good Reps are unafraid to challenge the status quo in favor of innovative thinking.

 

4. Lead.  The Buyer will follow a confident leader.  The best Sales Reps know how to move a partnership forward.

 

Four Principles of an Effective LinkedIn Profile

When Social Sellers use LinkedIn to communicate a personal brand, it is highly effective. Your profile can be effective if you follow these four core principles:

 

1. Focus on the content that matters. There are over 24 different categories provided by LinkedIn to complete your profile.  But all the categories are not created equal. Prioritize and focus on what is essential. Everyone who views your profile will look at your Photo, Headline, Background, and Experience.  The rest of the categories are good to have, but not essential.  These provide niche personal data for a few of your readers.

 

linkedin readership resized 600

 

2. Write to a Persona. Write specifically to the Personas of your Buyers.  For example, if your Buyers are database architects, speak in terms they care about.  Use terms that matter to the decision maker.

 

3. Be cohesive. The message in your Headline should be supported by your Background and Experience.  Your personal brand should flow smoothly throughout your LinkedIn profile.  In every category, inspire the Buyer to partner with you.

 

4. Be agile. The market changes quickly.  LinkedIn is a living sales tool, not a static, paper document.  Your profile today can look different next month.  As your market evolves, you must evolve with it.

 

Write your Effective Profile

Now is a good time to rewrite your LinkedIn profile. To get you started, a LinkedIn Profile Writing Guide is provided. Once you find your weak spots, draft a new profile.  Review it with your peers and trusted customers. Then implement the changes. The Buyers will respond.

 

 

Other articles about Social Selling you will also like:  

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dan Bernoske

Go-to Market Innovator
Learn more about Dan Bernoske >

Prior to SBI, Dan held business development, sales, and product management leadership positions at several start-up companies, developing Apple iOS platforms and E-Commerce-based social networks. Most notably, Dan was co-founder of Video Lantern, an online video advertising sales and operations firm. He is Six Sigma certified from GE.

Read full bio >