Are You Making This Damaging LinkedIn Mistake?


By Crystal Thies
The LInkedIn Ninja

One of the biggest mistakes that most salespeople make when build out their LinkedIn profile is that they simply fill out the fields and they don’t really give much thought to their purposes and reasons for using LinkedIn.

They also don’t think about who it is that they really want to read their profile or have their profile resonate with, and have them take action.

You need to think about those things before you decide how you’re  going to word your profile—or perhaps now modifying it–and what type of content you’ll put into your profile, and how you’ll organize the different sections .

There are many tricks to building a LinkedIn profile that sets you apart from the competition. Let’s focus on a major one: Your Profile Summary.

Your Summary is the main place for you to “tell” your network and visitors to your profile what they really need to know most about you to get them to take action and connect with you. Or, to position yourself as someone desirable to work with. (And yes, prospects do check you out.)

Your clients and potential clients want to know how you can help them today and in the future.

That means you should approach the LinkedIn profile summary more like an elevator speech than a biography or resume.

You should clearly outline your differentiating factors and competitive advantages.

Most importantly, you should clearly identify your target market – the people you help the most.

Because, if a perfect prospect is looking at your LinkedIn profile and they don’t know that you specialize in working with them, GAME OVER, you just lost.

When it comes to identifying your target market, you want to be as specific as possible.

This doesn’t mean that you are saying you exclusively work with people and companies meeting this description, but that you specialize in working with these people. When you call them out as a specialization or focus, they will pay more attention to you.

If you’re thinking that you don’t have a very specific target market, you may be surprised to learn that indeed you do if you dig deep enough.

Ask yourself some questions:

  • What are the titles of decision makers you work with the most?
  • What size of organizations?
  • What industries, sub-industries, and even micro-niches do your serve?
  • What are the common problems you solve or results you help them achieve?

Let’s look at an example of one of my students who does an amazing job of balancing a summary from a personal perspective as well as a sales perspective.

He starts out with, ‘I’–your summary should always be first person, never use third person, never use resume speak:

“I’m a business development manager focused on optimizing industrial manufacturers’  IT infrastructure and maximizing their business objective.”

He puts his customers first and also he puts himself first.

“We, as a company, are laser-focused on data center infrastructure with over 300 years combined experience in specific areas of IT.”

Now he is joining himself with his company and he’s leveraging their expertise.

“We have a proven consultative approach, that is focused on tailoring the precise solution, not on selling a product.”

He tells them what type of sales approach they can expect.

Finally he wraps it up by saying,

“I work to create a win- win situation with my clients.”

He talks about finding the right relationship to work with them.

This target market identification isn’t just for the people who fit your target market; it’s for everyone else in your network as well.

Think about it…we all know people in a variety of different professions, vocations and avocations.  We like to be in a position to make referrals when a referral makes sense.

If others know that you are the financial advisor who specializes in working with dentists, for example, and they are acquainted with dentists personally or professionally they can easily see the connection and make the referral.

By more narrowly defining your target market, it will make it easier for your target market to find you and for others to refer them to you.

Your LinkedIn Profile Summary is the ideal place to share this crucial information.

(Crystal Thies, The LinkedIn Ninja is co-author of LinkedIn for Sales Success the comprehensive training program that combines how to master LinkedIn, with Art’s Smart Calling methodology)

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