LinkedIn: Do you know what it is? I mean, you know you’re supposed to be there, right? But if you’re like most people, you also don’t really know why you’re supposed to be there, or what exactly your LinkedIn profile is supposed to be doing for you.
LinkedIn is the largest professional network in the world. When people think of LinkedIn, they tend to only see one tiny piece of the puzzle: recruiters and job seekers. Most people see LinkedIn as a place to find a job, or for employers to find candidates for open positions. But what if you aren’t looking for a job? Why would you still have a LinkedIn account? The answer is simple: LinkedIn is a goldmine for sales.
Think about it: The majority of the people on LinkedIn are professionals in their fields. They are not there looking for work; they are on LinkedIn looking for solutions, referrals and partners. They have a problem or a need, and they’re looking for a person, a product, or a service that can help them solve that problem or fill that need. It’s as simple as that. That probably describes the majority of what all of us do online all the time. And yet, when you browse LinkedIn profiles, what do you mostly see? Resumes. A bunch of people who look like they’re hunting for a job, even if they’re not.
So what should your LinkedIn profile be doing for you if you want to take advantage of the massive sales potential?
The first thing you need to do is think of your profile more like a sell sheet than a resume. If you want to sell yourself, your product, or your service, then you have to make yourself useful to your potential prospects right on your profile. Remember that they are NOT there for you, they are on LinkedIn for themselves. Stop cramming your profile full of language about how great your product or service is and how many years of experience you have doing it or you will turn people off. After all, those people don’t know you yet, so they have no reason to trust you.
If you want to take advantage of LinkedIn’s full potential, you have to let your prospects see themselves and THEIR needs on your profile. What problems do they tell you they have that would cause them to need your product or service? Ask some of those questions in your summary instead of how great you were when you worked at such and such company along with all the other resume language. Your profile should be a resource for your best clients so what do they need to see? What would help them most? Adding those things will attract more clients like your best clients. Make sure you have website links that are also resourceful. Sending everyone to your homepage doesn’t necessarily help them. Sending them to an informative blog post on your website could be much more useful.
LinkedIn is the “know, trust, like” network so really, it’s all about making meaningful connections with people you “know, trust and like” and those who “know, like and trust” you. If they don’t know, like or trust you, how can they possibly refer you? While there are more than 300 million users on LinkedIn worldwide, for many, it remains a largely untapped resource. If you’re in sales, this is the best networking event in town! It’s critical you learn how to take advantage of all the opportunities LinkedIn provides.
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