How to Write a LinkedIn Headline that Makes Sales Prospects Take Notice

December 30, 2018

pencil shavings indicating that you need to sharpen up your linkedin profile headline

Editor's Note: Enjoy this special encore post which was one of our readers' favorites in 2018. Happy New Year! 

What causes a prospective buyer to further explore a LinkedIn profile?

The style and quality of the profile photo weighs in, of course. But the headline is a B2B seller’s key opportunity: a bite-sized banner that can compel a click, and perhaps a next step.

Because it shows up next to your name in LinkedIn search results, and appears in large lettering atop your LinkedIn profile, the headline is your single most crucial field of text on the platform. For social sellers looking to expand their networks and generate online leads, maximizing this real estate is imperative.

Here’s how you can ensure your headline is helping you gain visibility on LinkedIn.

What Does Your LinkedIn Headline Say About You?

If you don’t customize your LinkedIn headline, it will automatically default to your job title and company. There’s nothing wrong with this – it’s very common, but that is exactly why it won’t help you stand out from the crowd.

Content marketers and journalists alike understand the persuasive power of a headline, with its ability to grab someone’s attention and make the case to keep reading. It’s not enough to just summarize what’s in your story, especially in today’s overloaded media environment; you need to succinctly explain why readers are missing out if they don’t click.

The same principles apply to your LinkedIn sales profile headline. This also a high-visibility area for search engines. Using the right keywords can increase relevant traffic to your page.

Here are some examples of default headlines flipped into more catchy, informative, search-friendly versions:

A few examples of job titles used as profile headlines:

  • Sales Representative
  • Senior Solutions Consultant
  • Sales Development Specialist

Alternatively, a few examples of creative profile headlines:

  • I help marketers meet their demand generation goals
  • Building high velocity sales machines for tech startup companies
  • Client cost savings identification expert

How to Optimize Your LinkedIn Headline for Selling

Think about headlines and titles that appeal to you. What kind of messaging prompts you to click on a blog post, or an article from an online publication? Chances are it’s tailored to your interests, it’s unique, and it concisely articulates the content’s purpose in a straightforward way.

Follow this same blueprint for an effective LinkedIn sales headline:

Consider your ideal buyer: Your industry or field may have some unique parameters that factor into how buyers make purchase decisions. Those criteria and hot buttons will vary, but if your sales and marketing teams have collaborated on some buyer personas, you’re able to pinpoint what motivates the buyers you would like to reach, and what’s important to them in a sales partner. Use this knowledge to write your LinkedIn headline in a way that appeals directly to your persona.

Play up your points of differentiation: Maybe you excel at delivering products or services a week earlier than other suppliers or at 5% below estimated cost. Whatever measurable characteristic or quality you hang your hat on, if buyers seem to appreciate it, find a way to weave it into your profile headline.

Express your value to the reader: What traits or abilities have enabled you truly help your customers? Maybe you’ve repeatedly heard buyers say they appreciate your diligence in listening to their needs and thoughtfully recommending options. Or maybe feedback always includes accolades for your timely and thorough communication. These attributes have real meaning to buyers facing what may be long and/or complex purchasing processes. Be sure your LinkedIn profile headline communicates your value proposition to catch the eyes of these buyers.

Avoid confusion: Exercise caution when writing your profile. If you try too hard to express too many ideas in your headline, you risk confusing the reader. Say your headline out loud. Would the average person get your meaning? You want to connect directly with people inside your niche, but you’ll also be networking with people outside of it.

Follow Business Communication Best Practices in Your Headline

It may seem obvious to some, but general business writing best practices apply to your LinkedIn profile just like they would if you were drafting a memo or proposal.

We recommend you avoid:

  • Emoji and other symbols appropriate for personal text messages
  • All capital letters, which may be interpreted as the equivalent of yelling
  • Jargon, often subjective, can read as too casual or overeager

Your LinkedIn headline can be one of the first areas a person notices when looking at your profile page or scanning results after running a search. A descriptive or interesting headline can prompt a sales prospect to go a step further with you than they otherwise would have.

Download our eBook, Read Me If You Want to Create an Effective Sales Profile on LinkedIn, to learn other tips and best practices for creating a standout profile.