While Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat are valuable tools to learn more about your prospect’s interests and personality, warm them up before you reach out, and build your subject matter expertise, LinkedIn is typically the only platform that directly leads to new business.
You might connect with a prospect on Thursday, book them for a call the following Tuesday, give them a demo that Friday, and close before the weekend.
But you won’t get those results without a stellar LinkedIn social selling strategy.
LinkedIn Profile Tips for Salespeople
Because you’re in sales, you’re targeting a completely different audience than most professionals. You want to appeal to prospects, not hiring managers and recruiters.
That means your LinkedIn profile shouldn’t show off how great you are at selling. Do you think customers care that you went to President’s Club or broke the team record for up-sell revenue?
Not in the slightest. In fact, these details only remind them you’re a sales rep — which makes them suspicious about your motives.
So what do they care about? One thing: How you helped customers similar to them.
"[Title]: helping [prospects] do X."
For instance, you might use "BDR: Helping SMBs adopt inbound marketing," or "Senior Sales Manager: Helping fitness studios go digital."
Your LinkedIn summary should be one paragraph — two at the max. Prospects are usually skimming your profile, so anything longer won’t be read.
Describe your role, your unique value proposition, and why you’re passionate about the job. And don’t be afraid to give your summary a little personality. You want readers to feel like they know you already.
Here’s a sample summary:
"As a senior account executive for Briton Foods, I get to work with corporations to reinvent their food and beverage programs and make them healthier, tastier, and cost-effective. I studied nutrition in college and am passionate about healthy food. But I’ll be real, I eat almost as much chocolate as quinoa. Connect with me to learn how your company can start offering nutritious and delicious food to your employees."
LinkedIn Role Descriptions
Under your current position, you might write:
- Work with businesses in X, Y, and Z industries to reduce manufacturing defects by 3% on average
- Help customers reduce costs by $500,000
- Achieve 100% passing rate for safety standards for customers
These accomplishments tell a potential buyer, "I can have a positive impact on your business." Once they believe that, they’ll almost always accept your connection request, respond to your InMail, or agree to a call.
LinkedIn Profile Picture
According to LinkedIn’s data, simply having a picture — any picture — makes your profile 14 times more likely to be viewed.
Which makes sense. If you’re represented by a generic icon, you look like a spammer.
But not all photos are created equal. Yours should represent you in the best light possible, meaning it looks like you, focuses on your face, has good lighting, and doesn’t have a distracting background.
It’s a good idea to hire a professional photographer to take a headshot, if you can afford it. Although you’ll need to spend a few hundred dollars upfront, you’ll be rewarded by better responses from prospects.
Alternatively, call in a favor with someone who’s good with a camera.
Once you’ve chosen a final contender, ask your manager, peers, and trusted friends to look at your profile picture and tell you what impression they get. Do you seem friendly and open? Or unprofessional and inexperienced? Getting feedback from several sources will reveal if your picture is helping you or hurting you.
Final Tips for Your LinkedIn Profile
The more fleshed out your profile is, the more credible and legitimate you’ll seem. Add your Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat and Instagram profiles (if you use them professionally). Your email and phone number should be visible as well, along with your company website.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator users can take advantage of Lead Builder, a powerful feature that lets you "save" prospects as leads. Their updates and posts will appear directly on your homepage — so you can warm them up with comments and likes and find a relevant, timely reason to reach out.
Let’s say your ideal customer is a product marketer at a medium-size consumer goods company in the Pacific Northwest. Rather than periodically running a search for that type of prospect, set up a saved search. Every day, week, or month (depending on your preference), LinkedIn will send you an email alert with new search results. Essentially, you’re getting a steady stream of pre-qualified prospects right in your inbox.
"People Also Viewed" Sidebar
Once you’ve found a prospect, navigate to their profile and find the "People Also Viewed" box in the right-hand column of their profile. As they say, "The friend of my prospect is another prospect."
Your Customers’ Connections
Looking for referrals? After you’ve closed a deal, look out for status updates and posts from the customer stakeholders — especially your champion. When other LinkedIn users comment or like their content, investigate them to see if they’re a qualified prospect. Then ask your current customer for an introduction or simply contact them directly (don’t forget to mention your mutual connection).
LinkedIn sends notifications to you when a connection makes a change in their profile. (Prospects must allow updates to be distributed first, so use this tactic in tandem with another one.) Every job change is a potential opportunity. Perhaps a current customer is transitioning to a different company — they’ll probably be eager to implement a tool they already know. Or maybe your champion just made a lateral move. Could their new department benefit from your product like their old one did?
To see when people in your network have been promoted, changed jobs, or moved to a new company, periodically scroll through your Notifications section.
To reach hundreds and potentially thousands of prospects, publish a LinkedIn Pulse post with advice or insights on a common pain point your customers face. Tag several coworkers, business acquaintances, and/or customers in the comments to encourage some debate and make the post more visible.
Then wait for prospects to begin commenting. Since you’re discussing an issue that directly concerns them, there’s a good chance most of the participants will have a need for your product.
Social Selling Index Score
Find out how well you’re doing by checking your official Social Selling Index (SSI) score on LinkedIn (be sure to be logged in before clicking the link). This tells you how well you’ve established your professional brand, found the right people, engaged with insights, and built relationships.