Having been in Recruiting for the past 8 years, I must say that LinkedIn is one of the most powerful “Social Recruiting” tools in the market. At the very least, a hiring manager will use LinkedIn to validate a candidate’s social profile to help them formulate an opinion of a potential hire. If that’s the case, think about your profile for a minute and what it says about you? If your profile is like most business development reps (check out – Why Sales Reps Suck at Business Development) your profile may or may not even have your picture (by the way this is a must), a list of the jobs you held in the past, the schools you attended or an outline of your performance in each of your sales roles like a mini-resume. If this sums up your profile, please read on!
Unfortunately most sales reps myopic view of LinkedIn being a glorified sales resume is costing those reps sales. There is no other tool that provides sales reps that intimate insights and abilities to connect directly with prospects from a position of power. Here are a few LinkedIn facts you should know before you read the tips provided below.
- As of September 30, 2012, LinkedIn operates the world’s largest professional network on the Internet with more than 187 million members in over 200 countries and territories.
- LinkedIn members did nearly 4.2 billion professionally-oriented searches on the platform in 2011 and are on pace to surpass 5.3 billion in 2012.
- More than 2.6 million companies have LinkedIn Company Pages.
- There are more than 1.3 million unique publishers actively using the LinkedIn Share button on their sites to send content into the LinkedIn platform.
- LinkedIn members are sharing insights and knowledge in more than one million LinkedIn Groups.
- In the third quarter of 2012, an average of 25 percent of unique visiting members came through mobile apps, versus just 13 percent a year ago.
The one thing that most sales reps forget about is that while changing careers every 2-5 years is normal, using LinkedIn daily to engage prospects as a sales expert needs to be part of their routine. Here are a few tips to keep hiring managers interested in you, while making your prospects comfortable that you are an expert in your field.
6 LinkedIn Tips
- Picture – you need a profile picture. By not having a profile picture, you give the perception that you’re hiding something. Make sure your picture is a professional picture as well. Don’t mistake LinkedIn for Facebook. LinkedIn is a professional networking tool and not a social hangout like Facebook.
- Title – your title shouldn’t read like what you have on your business card. You can also use the LinkedIn title field as a free form way to help demonstrate what you solve (i.e. Business Development Executive • Communications Consultant • Social Media Aficionado). The title field is also a searchable field on LinkedIn (think SEO) so use words that your prospects might be searching for.
- Job descriptions – You need to keep your prospects in mind when crafting this message. Having all your quota stats listed might be great for a prospective hiring manager (and/or ego) but what will your prospective buyer think? Just remember that you don’t need stats to demonstrate that you’re a strong sales rep. By showing everyone that you know how to solve their problems and you’ll still have them eating out of your hands. Keep the stats for your resume and interview!
- Thought leadership – to be seen as a thought leader in your industry, you’ll need to act like one. You’ll need to publish and distribute thought provoking content (original and others) on your LinkedIn profile to get your prospects to take notice. Once they interact with you based on your knowledge of their pains and how to solve them, you will then be in a position of power that makes booking an appointment with them much easier. This is a great way to demonstrate to prospects that a meeting with you is not a waste of time!
- Specialties & Skills sections – by listing your core competencies/specialities, you increase the probability of your prospective buyers and hiring manger to find you. List the key words that are important to your industry and your prospects and hiring managers.
- Special Apps – there are a lot of special apps that allow you share expert information – use Apps like Blogs, Sideshare, events, etc… Take advantage of them!
The Bottom Line
There are virtually hundreds of other helpful tip and strategies - so if you are serious about your sales career, it’s time to get serious about LinkedIn. Check out our recent guide with 42 LinkedIn Tips co-development with Kenneth Krogue of www.insidesales.com.