For years I have been coaching sales professionals, discovering that they used to pay for similar information with less quality than the data that Linkedin is providing now at the free level. More importantly, all sales professionals that I have personally coached have gained clear value and closed more sales when they began using Linkedin correctly. However, I realize that there are many sales executives who are obviously not using Linkedin effectively, i.e., potentially leaving money on the table. I hope this list of 5 Linkedin omissions gets the attention of all honest hardworking sales pros and spurs you into action.
- Their profile is so poorly filled out that when I ask them if they would buy from or trust “this person” (looking at their own profile) they say, “I really need to spend some time and clean up my profile.” Which translates to “no, I wouldn’t trust this person.” Some examples of items that might need clean-up are: outdated information, no business phone number, inappropriate photo for what they do, and using terms understandable to their peers and competition but not their customer. Their profile is not optimized for their customer to find them. Some don’t even have a picture and don’t realize how important it is for their professional presence.
- They don’t even look up prospects and their company before meeting. In coaching sessions I will take several key current prospects that a client is pursuing and look them up, using the correct search tools. I will say, “Would it have been useful to know X,Y and Z about your client before you called?” The reply is, “I didn’t know X,Y or Z about their X,Y or Z. Of course that would have been of value.”
- Their recommendations are none to poor. Often they just give buddies recommendations to get reciprocal ones, which are usually so transparent they could hurt their reputation. One company with 9 employees had everyone in the company give each other recommendations; there were no other recommendations, with the exception of one employee who had one additional valid recommendation.. That was over a year ago, and the one employee with the real recommendation is the only one who still works for the company−all others were laid off. Of course not just because of that, but I can tell you from my experience that this individual was the most productive, competent and loyal employee of all of the staff.
- They don’t realize how bad they look to Google. They don’t know that their profile can be fully visible to Google, and that it just looks poor, as though they have little experience and qualifications. Sometimes they spend a lot of time on their profile, but do not even have their public profile set up so they can be found outside of Linkedin. This creates a bad reflection on them and their company. They don’t understand how, with Google, sites like Linkedin are becoming as important, if not more than, their company web site for building a positive image and reputation.
- They are not building a network that is relevant to the contacts they need. They don’t understand that the more relevant and trusted allies they connect to, the greater their reach in Linkedin. They haven’t figured out that people they know and trust are often connected to more people who could help them than they realize. By being on Linkedin you can discover who your contacts are connected to and how you can help each other. For example, there are referral groups who meet every single week whose members are not connected on Linkedin. They are missing out on the hundreds of connections that may already exist which could be accessed through the Linkedin network.
If you find yourself in any of the 5 points, stop and either do something yourself or get help to get this handled. Better yet, call me! If you find this useful, pass it on to someone in Sales that you care about.