The line “Sell me this pen.” is an oddly familiar line for anyone who has shown up to an interview for a sales profile. However, as products and services mature and become more convoluted, so do sales and sales processes. Thus, in this context, the challenge of selling pens loses relevance.
In the present context, a salesperson needs to know how to sell the most invaluable object – themselves! The rest can follow suit. With multiple digital channels opening up the possibility of clinching sales, sales reps must establish a powerful online presence. Organic reach on LinkedIn has been steadily increasing over time according to the latest LinkedIn benchmarks.
Keeping in view that 49% of buyers research sales professionals on LinkedIn, it is about time to dust the cobwebs off your LinkedIn profile and spruce it up for your prospects.
Here are some best practices that you can put to use:
1. Do Not Shy Away From a Profile Photograph
Did you know that LinkedIn users are 14x more likely to view your profile if it has a picture? As popularly said — a picture says a thousand words – so why not make each of them count? Think of the profile photo you choose as the image that defines your brand.
How would you like others to view you? What impression do you want to create? Are you a traditional suit-and-tie kind of sales professional who oozes authority? Or are you the fun one who high-fives the clients when you close the deal? Either way, let your personality shine through your profile photo – the point is to be yourself and stay authentic.
Avoid using group photos, obnoxious filters, low-resolution pictures, or cringe selfies. You want your profile photo to convey professionalism. So, if it comes to it, do not hesitate to engage a photographer to take a few flattering headshots!
2. Maximize Digital Real Estate Value
While your profile photo is important you need to pay attention to your cover photo as well. Your cover photo is as prominently located as your profile picture. However, very few would work to make strategic use of this vacant real estate. And this effort could be the fine line that separates “good” sales reps from the “exceptional” ones.
You see, salespeople are known for having a keen eye for detail. They know how to make a point and extract maximum value from resources. But you will not need to talk about these skills when you can directly put them on display after tinkering around with a LinkedIn background image generator. A custom cover photo speaks volumes about how you are willing to go the distance.
3. Write a Killer LinkedIn Headline
When it comes to writing a LinkedIn headline, you need to follow the KISS principle. The KISS principle is – Keep It Simple, Silly! Anyone checking out your profile is not looking for tomes of sales-related quotes or how you started a career in sales. It is not relevant to them. What they seek to know about you are two things – who can you help? And how can you help?
Following a problem-solving approach can add to your appeal as you directly address the customer’s pain points. In such cases, front-loading value in your headline highlights the “it” factor without beating about the bush. And if you feel that the value proposition is too wordy, write a cliffhanger that induces curiosity so that they get in touch with you.
4. Throw in a Succinct Summary
Once you have crafted a compelling headline, you need to follow it with an equally captivating summary. The headline has captured the attention, but the summary will hold the attention of anyone on your profile. And here’s where you can afford to boast a bit about your sales techniques and performance. Typically, a LinkedIn summary can be constructed using the 3×3 formula – a maximum of three paragraphs containing three sentences each.
The first paragraph may talk about who you are, what motivates you as a salesperson, your experiences in the industry, etc. The second can delve into the different projects you have undertaken, their challenges, outcomes, and key takeaways. The final paragraph should contain a clear call to action that lends direction to what happens next.
That being said, the 3×3 formula is just a stepping stone. Feel free to explore more options and customize the summary according to your industry.
5. Flesh Out Your Contact Info
Imagine running an eCommerce store, and you have the perfect product line of in-demand items. But wait, your store is missing the “Buy Now” or “Add to Cart” buttons! The store seems pretty pointless now, doesn’t it? The same goes for a LinkedIn profile loaded with engaging and captivating content but lacks the individual’s contact information!
Think of your LinkedIn profile as your business card. Accordingly, make all your contact information available. List your email address, social media handles, company websites, and even your phone number (albeit optional) on your profile so that those interested in your services can connect with you without jumping through hoops! Ensure that all your contact details are updated and that you are accessible through them.
6. Demonstrate Your Experience
Your LinkedIn profile is your resume in action. So, use the experience section wisely to note down the positions you have occupied and earn credibility. Elaborate on each title by adding 3-5 key roles and responsibilities followed by the results you delivered therein.
Of course, it would help if you could throw in a few stats and figures about your quota attainment. However, do not make it the central focus of all your sales activities. Feel free to incorporate awards, honors, achievements, or any other customer-facing value markers that emphasize your role in delivering results and enhancing the sales funnel. Say, for instance, share a snapshot of some of the sales collateral you may have created for a business. Or talk about your role in a wildly successful sales campaign.
7. Incorporate Relevant Keywords
You may have noticed that creating an impressive sales profile on LinkedIn involves writing – quite a lot of it at that. And while it may appear cumbersome to write, edit, rewrite everything about yourself, this textual matter can serve as fertile grounds to sow the seeds of keywords. Use specialized tools to identify the relevant, impactful, and rare ones, and pepper them generously across your profile. And why stop at keywords? You can even sneak in a few strategically located hashtags to grant greater visibility to your profile!
You are effectively optimizing your profile for the search engines that will locate these terms and push your profile to the top. Also, consider sprinkling in some rich media throughout your sales profile so that it breaks through the visual monotony of a wall of text. Adding in a well-crafted sales or marketing video is a great way to attract potential customers who may have gone waning otherwise.
8. Request for Endorsements
Do you remember learning about social selling? Yes, the very strategy requires businesses to actively request customer reviews and feedback to earn trust and build credibility. The same applies to your skills as well.
Tap into your professional networks to seek social proof from various sources. Solicit endorsement and recommendations from your colleagues, present employer, past employers, peers, customers, and credible individuals. Their opinions attest to your skills and competencies. It also offers an insight into your networking skills, which is a critical component of sales.
A good practice is to send one first and politely request one back. Be non-pushy but persistent, and you will be rewarded with a glowing recommendation.
9. Strategize Your Activity
The mark of a true salesperson is that they are always looking to acquire more knowledge (and experience, even if it is second-hand). At the same time, they are equally eager to share their experiences! As a result, you will always find the sales community closely knit and bustling with activity. Collaborative skills count for everything in an industry like this, so it’s imperative you are comfortable being a team player.
Against this background, following the different sales leaders and managers indicates that you are eager to learn from the best and keep up with any changing trends. You can even draw inspiration from the many talking points and use LinkedIn for content marketing. Share your blog posts and articles to engage with your audiences and consolidate your role as an expert. Your interaction with other content (likes, comments, shares, features, etc.) can also offer an overview of your interests.
Go On and Get Selling!
Optimizing your LinkedIn profile is just the first step of an exciting journey in sales. It will set off a chain of activities that will enhance your social selling skills.
Once you establish a solid presence on LinkedIn, you will have to follow it up with routine profile updates, sustained interactions, and networking to keep the momentum going. Continue working on your LinkedIn profile until it develops into a powerful lead magnet and a landing page promising high conversion rates. And once you get there, you will soon enjoy the fruits of your labor.