In my experience, most people - in sales or not - have written their LinkedIn profile as a resume. Does your headline list your current job title, or does it serve as an attention getter using action words like "improving," or "driving" or "transforming"?
If you think using action words in your headline isn't necessary, consider that if you're in sales and a potential buyer reviews your LinkedIn profile, as well as the profiles of three of your competitors, are you confident your headline communicates your ability to meet your customer's needs?
I challenge you to do this exercise - review three of your top competitor's LinkedIn profiles and compare their headlines to yours. What's your confidence level that a buyer would contact you over them?
Your Summary is the Bridge to Conversation
Next, look at your summary.
First off, do you have a summary? If you don't, you're missing a big opportunity to deliver a narrative about how you can help your customers. The summary should be your story. it should show some of your personality, while painting a picture of your capabilities and achievements. Your summary is different than your experience section. The experience section is where you can deliver your online resume - so to speak. But, your summary is an opportunity to set yourself apart.
If you're not skilled at creative writing, get someone to help you. Draft your summary offline and ask someone in your trusted network with creative writing skills to help you shape your story, provided that the end result is a genuine representation of the real you.
There's no one formula for your LinkedIn summary that fits everyone.
Consider writing your story as a chronological narrative without necessarily listing dates - for example:
"When I began my career fifteen years ago, I relied on my passion for ____ to launch my career. Today, my passion for _____ is stronger than ever with _____ results in the _____ industry."
Feel free to show a little of your personality - after all, you're human and people buy from people. For example:
"Anyone that has worked with me knows that I always start my day with a strong cup of black coffee and a blueberry scone. Then, I'm ready to solve ____ problems for my customers in the _____ industry."
These are just a couple of ideas to inspire your thinking. Be you...
Engage with Profile Visitors
LinkedIn tells you about the people who visit your profile - this is one of the most valuable data insights provided to you. I encourage you to engage with some of those visitors. LinkedIn also tells you how many people have visited your profile from specific companies. This can be an opportunity to engage with people at a company that you want to do business with.
So, what do you with this information? Start with commonsense LinkedIn etiquette. Generally, unless the situation warrants it, I don't recommend you contact someone and say "I saw that you visited my profile today, and I'm contacting you to set up a time to talk." First, visit their profile to learn something about the person. Look for common connections or a recent accomplishment.
Consider something like this in your invitation in your message if you're already connected in the first degree:
"We share several common connections in our professional network on LinkedIn. I would enjoy connecting with you for mutual professional networking."
Replace "connecting" with another action that's more appropriate in your situation.
I always avoid the words "add you to my network" because it comes across as self-serving, I prefer to engage in a way that implies mutual benefit. If/when the person accepts your connection request, do not follow up with a pitch or request to talk (unless your situation truly warrants it). Rather, look for ways to build a relationship with this person over a period of time. Be patient and persistent, but not over bearing. Send him or her links to articles that will be helpful to their job and/or career. When the timing feels right - usually weeks down the road after at least three to five value-add touchpoints - either ask for a meeting directly, or seek assistance from a common connection. Don't be surprised if you hear from him or her.
Be a Publisher
This article could have been titled 20 ways to make your LinkedIn profile a lead generation machine. I chose to focus on just three ways because most of us can remember and act on three suggestions.
If I could only add one more suggestion, it's to publish articles on LinkedIn. Click the "write an article" link on the home page and publish your article. When you publish an article on LinkedIn, a notification will be sent to all people in your network as well as anyone who follows you. Well written, relevant articles will keep you on their radar.
Your article should be informational, educational or inspirational. It's okay to have a call to action, just don't make the entire article a sales pitch. That defeats the purpose of the article and can damage your personal brand.
Publishing on LinkedIn is a great way to have your LinkedIn profile represent your brand 24/7.
These practices alone can increase your chance of being engaged by your prospective buyers during their research and evaluation phase, as well as people in your network who have potential to refer you to a prospective buyer.