It’s time to sharpen your sales profile for summer
65% of buyers in Europe base their decision to engage on a seller’s LinkedIn profile – is yours making the right impression?
August 19, 2019
Just because you’re meeting fewer buyers over the quieter summer months doesn’t mean that your LinkedIn profile isn’t busy making an impression. In LinkedIn’s most recent State of Sales survey, around 65% of B2B buyers in Europe told us that an informative LinkedIn profile is an important factor in deciding whether they engage with a seller. Those buyers have more time available to consider those decisions during summer than at any other time of the year.
When buyers talk about informative LinkedIn profiles, they don’t mean a profile that tells them how great a sales rep you are – or how often you hit your targets. A LinkedIn sales profile is more than just a resumé. It’s your selling brand – a proxy for the experience of doing business with you that buyers can use to detect where they’ll find value for their time. To create an effective one, it’s vital to keep this audience in mind. And there’s no better time to do so than ahead of the quiet summer period.
Buyers look for a number of key things from a sales profile: evidence of relevant expertise that proves you have the insight to make meaningful recommendations, and evidence of service levels and commitment that demonstrate crucial trustworthiness. The best way to provide this evidence is to see your LinkedIn profile as a resource centre tailored to the buyers you are most interested in. Use it as a channel for sharing content and signalling how you can help. If they’re spending time researching their options, make sure your profile answers the questions they’re asking.
Here are eight adjustments that you can make to turn your LinkedIn profile into a sales profile – the human face of your business and brand that buyers actively want to do business with:
1. Make sure you’re visible
The first role of a sales profile is to be as visible as possible to your prospects. Check that the Account settings of your profile (you’ll find these in the drop-down menu under the ‘Me’ icon) are public rather than private. Under the Privacy section, choose to edit your public profile and then edit visibility. When you switch this to ‘On’ your full profile will be visible to those searching for you on LinkedIn. When your profile is private, prospects only get to see a snippet of it – and that seriously undermines the impact it can have.
2. Replicate the experience of meeting you with a professional photo
Adding a profile photo makes your profile seven times more likely to appear in search results – but that’s just the start of the impact it has. Our State of Sales research confirms the continuing importance of human connections and trust – and the first visible impression that prospects have of you plays a key role in building those connections. Try to replicate how you dress and act when you meet a client in real life: professional, friendly and open. Use a high-resolution image to heighten the human connection, focus on your face, and crop the image to 400x400 pixels to fit the space.
3. Tell a visual story with your background image
A carefully chosen background image can help to tell potential customers who you are, what you do and what you’re about – all before they read a word of your profile. It could be an object or piece of art that symbolises your approach to work, an image of you giving a keynote that builds your credibility as a thought-leader, or a picture of you engaging with members of your team.
4. Earn attention with a compelling headline
A well-crafted headline works with your profile picture and background image to capture attention – and it’s often the difference between a prospect staying to find out more or clicking away. It pays to see the limited word count as a creative opportunity rather than settling for a standard description of your role. Try to communicate the value you provide for clients, and the characteristics that differentiate you. Talk to your marketing team about the keywords that prospects are likely to type into search engines – and aim to incorporate some of these as well.
5. Use your personal summary as your elevator pitch
There are two common mistakes when it comes to summaries on sales profiles: not having one, and tailoring it to the wrong audience. Your summary is your 30-second pitch and your opportunity to put the value of engaging with you on full display. As a sales professional, you need to communicate that value to prospects – not to recruiters. Write in the first person, focus on the skills, passion and experience that will make a difference to your clients, describe how you can help – and don’t forget to include how prospects can get in touch.
6. Take an evidence-first approach to your work experience
Another common mistake in sales profiles is to assume that your work experience section functions as a resumé – and cram every role you’ve ever had into it. For a buyer, this is a repository of evidence that you are credible, experienced and trustworthy to work with. It’s therefore important to tailor your approach to send the right signals. Focus on the experience that’s relevant to your current clients – and has helped to make you the helpful, expert advisor you are today. Describe your roles in a way that forms a natural narrative and helps to reveal more about your motivation and values.
7. Showcase your value with rich media
Rich media content such as video adds a powerful dimension to the Summary and Experience sections of your profile. It’s visually engaging, provides background on your business and expertise, and in the case of video, offers a crucial opportunity to talk directly to clients about how you can help. Use short videos to introduce yourself, address key issues for your sector, and start the process of forming a human connection. Mix in Infographics that demonstrate insight, and brand content assets that showcase thought-leadership. Limit yourself to around five pieces of media content for your summary – and two pieces for your Experience section. You want viewers of your profile to be able to explore what you’re about – but not to feel overwhelmed.
8. Reach out for recommendations
A relevant, well-written recommendation is one of the most powerful assets that a sales profile can have – and there’s an art to soliciting these. Pick relevant moments to reach out to satisfied clients, offer to provide a recommendation for them first, and personalise your approach to stress why you value them – and why you’d particularly appreciate their endorsement.
There’s no more valuable time than the start of summer to make sure that your LinkedIn profile is set up to work as a sales asset. Through it, you have the opportunity to dramatically increase your visibility with prospects, and their likelihood of engaging with you. A sales profile is far more than a static statement of who you are. It’s an inherently interactive space that enables buyers and contacts to sample the experience of dealing with you, and make confident decisions to respond when you reach out. And it can do these things just as effectively whether you’re at your desk or taking some well-deserved time off.