The number one mistake we see across LinkedIn profiles is writing your profile for the wrong audience. It’s a problem unanimous across the board, from entry-level salespeople to seasoned executives at bleeding-edge companies.

Oftentimes, viewing your LinkedIn profile is your buyer’s first interaction with you, so make it a first impression that adds value. By the time a buyer actually speaks with you they’re over halfway through the buying cycle.

The #1 Mistake Sales Reps Make on LinkedIn

Far too many sales reps write their profiles as if they’re searching for a job, not to deliver value to prospects and customers.

Take a look at your profile and a few of your coworkers, past or present. It won’t be long before you see someone highlighting all of their accolades. Here’s what a typical sales rep’s profile includes:

  • #1 rep on the team with 130% quota attainment
  • 50% increase in sales year-over-year
  • Added 24 new xyz’s (first on the team)
  • President’s Club attendee three years running — 105% of quota

This is great if you’re searching for a job or speaking with recruiters, as they’ll be your primary audience. But once you get a job, copy all of your accomplishments elsewhere and update your profile to what matters to your audience which in sales is your prospects and customers.

Having a profile that highlights your sales achievements shows your buyer two things:

  1. You only care about yourself.
  2. You’re a shark.

Neither of these qualities make you particularly desirable to work with.

Another major mistake is your LinkedIn profile’s length. It’s hard to admit, but your buyers don’t want to read your full autobiography. Limit your summary to your biggest and most relevant achievements, and what you’ve worked on in the past 12 months or so.

How Sales Reps Can Optimize Their LinkedIn Profiles

1) Write your profile for your audience.

Depending on your role, your audience may vary. If you’re a sales or account executive, your audience will be prospective customers. If you work in account management or client success, your target audience will be your existing customers. You want your profile to showcase what’s most important to them. This could be awards your company has won, client success stories, and product updates.

Are you networking and adding many new connections each day? Make sure your profile is an efficient reminder of who you are and what you chatted about. Include a quick description of your company and flagship solution.

If you’re an executive, tailor your LinkedIn profile for investors, board members, or top talent you’re trying to recruit. If you have a hiring message in your profile tagline, sell your company as a great workplace, and yourself as a great leader.

If you’re raising a round of capital and are meeting with executives, prominently display your KPIs over the past 12 months, and direct investors to recent announcements in your media room, such as landing a new flagship client.

A quick and often overlooked way to tailor your LinkedIn profile is having relevant recommendations. It’s the fastest way to add social proof and something that can be carried with you for the rest of your career.

One of the quickest ways to add recommendations to your profile is to write some of your own and ask that they return the favour. I always take a few minutes to write reviews of my champions, decision makers, and anyone else I’ve had a meaningful interaction with during the buying process.

2) Use your profile to build credibility.

Since The Challenger Sale was published, the number of consultative commerce teaching style reps has skyrocketed. While anyone can claim to be a credible expert in their field, some people are more credible than others.

If you’re waiting until after you’ve met your prospect to start building credibility, it could be too late — modern buyers are 57% of the way through the decision making process before they contact a sales rep. Using your LinkedIn profile to establish credibility will help build rapport with your buyers even before your first meeting.

In the same way, tailoring your profile to your audience builds trust with buyers. Creating an effective personal brand isn’t something that happens overnight, but it doesn’t have to be a huge time commitment either. All of the following things go a long way toward bolstering your reputation:

  • Publish a post once a week on something big that’s happening in the industry or with your company. This is as easy as republishing a blog post that you frequently send to clients on your profile.
  • Recommendations from buyers and clients.
  • Featured guest blogs or talks you’ve given. Every sales rep should aim to publish one blog post a year, and represent their company or lead a workshop.
  • Consistently posting relevant information to your buyers. The key here is to keep posting consistently. I recently had an acquaintance reach out to me and say they’ve been seeing my posts more and more frequently. The reason? I’ve been posting more (and more relevant) content on LinkedIn recently.

3) Finish your profile.

The most important thing a sales rep can do on LinkedIn is maintain a complete, updated profile. A great profile includes the following elements:

  • Recent, up-to-date, professional-looking profile picture
  • Compelling headline that’s more than your current position
  • Public profile URL
  • A clear, concise summary (This isn’t your autobiography. Keep it to your largest accomplishments in the past 12 months and a call-to-action.)
  • Up-to-date company website
  • Twitter profile
  • At least three relevant posts shared a week
  • Highlights including any media coverage or speaking appearances at each position

A good LinkedIn profile is a must have for any seller in 2016. It may take some time to get right and updated, but it is well worth it.

Happy Tuesday & Happy Selling!

Your LinkedIn Profile

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“Just make a friend.” That was some of the first advice I ever got when I became a frontline salesperson. Dutifully following my manager’s advice, I did just that.

At the end of the week, I had a lot of friends. One even invited me to their home for a weekend meal. We had a great connection … just like all of the people I’d seen that week! But here’s the thing: I had a lot of friends, but no sales.

That happened many years ago. Today, the idea that making friends will lead to sales has again reared its friendly head. Only now, it goes by a different name: Authenticity.

“Just be yourself.” “Just tell your story.”

But these maxims are incomplete. Just be yourself and tell your story, and then what?

The way I’ve heard it, rainbows and puppies will appear, fairy dust will start swirling, prospects will fall madly in love with you and race to relinquish their credit card.

Let’s stop the madness!

Of course you have to be real and genuine in sales. You’re supposed to be real and genuine in life! But that’s not the end-all, be-all.

Here’s the real story: Sales requires technique and strategy. It’s an art that needs to be learned. It is imperative that you sell from an authentic and genuine place. (Note: Everyone knows when you’re not being genuine.)

But just “being authentic” isn’t enough to turn interest into a sale.

As a former manager of mine would say: “That, my friends, makes for mighty thin soup!”

What if your “authentic self” is a bore? Or talks too much? What if your “authentic self” is abrasive? There are plenty of people like that, you know.

The moral of this story is as old as the ages.

There is no quick fix. Sales, like most things in life, requires skill, technique, and mastery. You have to have a deep understanding of many different steps of the sales process in order to consistently perform as a top producer month after month.

Sales is as messy as life is, it is a heartbreak and a high all at once, and it is a never ending endeavor. If you can do all of that and be authentic … then you’ll get somewhere!

Happy Tuesday & Happy Selling!

“Just Be Authentic?”

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How to Handle: “I haven’t looked at the information yet.”

Of all the objections sales reps get when they call a prospect back to close them, this is perhaps one of the most frustrating – and the reason is because it’s usually caused by the sales rep! Here’s what happens: Sales reps send an email or brochure or link about their information out to a prospect, and when they call back, they invariably open the conversation with:

“Hi, I’m just calling to see if you received the information I sent out to you?”

OR worse:

“Hi, just following up on the information I sent to you – ah, did you have a chance to go through it yet?”

What do you think the prospect will say? Nine times out of ten the prospect will give you the stall: “I haven’t looked at it yet…” And then the sales rep is stuck and usually ends the call trying to schedule a time to get back with them…and you can imagine how this goes.

So, the first tip is to STOP asking IF the prospect has received/read/gone through the information, and instead open your calls with this assumptive opening:

“Hi this is _______ _________ with __________ calling about the information on our _________________ service/product you wanted me to send to you. Now I’m sure you’ve gone through it a bit and probably have some questions for me. What stood out to you the most?”

And then hit your mute button and begin listening to what they say, and how they say it.
If at that time you get the stall that they haven’t gone through it yet, no problem! Just use any of the responses below to counter and move past this objection:

“I haven’t looked at the information yet.”

Response One:
“That’s fine, in fact we can go over it together, and this way I’ll be able to answer any questions that come up for you. Can you open that email up for me? I’ll be glad to hold while you do….

Response Two:
“It sounds like you’re as busy as me! No problem, though, here’s what we can do: while I have you on the phone, let me point a couple of things out to you so that later when you have more time to go through it, you’ll know what to look for. Can you open that email briefly for me?”

Response Three:
“That’s O.K.; I know how busy you are. If you have just a minute now, I’ll be happy to quickly point out some of the points that would appeal to you most. That will save you time later when you go through it. Do you have that handy?”

As you can see, the best way to deal with the “I haven’t had time to look at the information yet” objection is by not causing it to begin with!

Happy Tuesday & Happy Selling!

“I haven’t looked at the information yet.”

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