Are You Using LinkedIn Incorrectly?

Amar Sheth
Amar Sheth
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using linkedinThe title may offend some while provoking others, but it’s with all seriousness that I share with you the risks of stopping too early.

This doesn’t just pertain to social selling but also to many other areas. I’m talking about the symptom of starting something but not going all the way. It’s a problem that plagues us in sales.

I want you to consider the following: many sales professionals are already on social media, but most of them are doing little or nothing to drive sales impact. Are you one of them?

Using It as A Resume, Not a Representation of Your Brand

In many ways I’m not surprised when I see resumes as people’s LinkedIn profiles. After all, it’s how LinkedIn told us to use their platform initially. They wanted us to use the service to display our professional history and accomplishments.

However, something interesting has happened in the last 10 years: buyers have become more digital in nature. That includes you and I. This means that people are, naturally, going to scope you out and make judgements on what they find about you.

A resume is one thing, but a sales person’s resume is something else entirely! Since buyers run from salespeople like the plague, looking like a salesperson on your LinkedIn profile is probably not the smartest thing.

My position is that we convey our expertise – which we all naturally possess – online. So it’s not necessarily that you’re doing anything new, or saying anything new, it’s just showcasing your existing knowledge online, where buyers are now increasingly likely to look you up and research you.

Think about your LinkedIn profile as your very own professional website. What does it say about you right now? Are you a “quota crusher”? Have you been on the top of your game for the last 5 years? Did you win the last 3 consecutive President’s Club trips?

These are all fantastic accomplishments and you should be proud of them, but let’s leave them for our paper resumes. Your online profiles and presence is now the domain of your buyers and prospects.

Mining for Surface Info, Not Relationships

LinkedIn has more to do with building relationships than using it as a database.

What’s the power of LinkedIn in your opinion?

In mine, LinkedIn is the world’s professional relationship graph. It not only connects us but does so with enriched data, personalization and collaboration capabilities. I don’t use these words lightly.

The challenge is that most sales professionals aren’t (yet) using LinkedIn effectively in this regard. There are some cases where this is a gap in knowledge (which is then quite easy to fix) but in most cases, the majority haven’t yet been exposed to the raw power of this platform.

In fact, I’ll go one step further. Most sales professionals are using LinkedIn to find prospects, only to subsequently sell them in the same old way they’ve always been using. The power of social selling is utterly destroyed at this point.

Imagine using LinkedIn to build a prospect list to then cold call or cold email. There’s easier ways to do this if you really want; buy a lead list from a broker!

Using LinkedIn to help build relationships is likely the single most powerful way sales professionals today can build their funnel. Period.

Focusing on The Quality of Your Network, Not Quantity

Some may argue that you shouldn’t connect with everyone on LinkedIn; I agree with this. However, being selective with genuine professional connections can eventually harm you in the long-run.

While some opt for smaller networks for personal privacy reasons, the majority of us should be actively trying to grow the size of your networks. It’s not just about quality but quantity, too.

For too long this has been a binary option that hasn’t helped us in sales. I encourage you all to create ways to bring people to you online but also to reach out and make it easier for others to connect with you.

I’m not advocating you blindly requesting to connect with prospects on a mass scale, but I am encouraging you to collaborate and engage with those that may serve a helpful business purpose. Focus your finite energy here.

If you’re not already doing this, your LinkedIn results will soar once you focus here.

The Bottom Line

Consider optimizing your LinkedIn presence in these 3 areas and you’ll likely experience a massive spike in activity.

Not only will you build more relationships and connect to more people, you’ll do so while continuously conveying your expertise.

Research data from Corporate Visions reveals that 74% of buyers will choose to do business with sales professionals that are first to add value. Does that give you enough reason?

How about that 90% of cold outreach is ineffective as buyers go online more to research even the most complex solutions. Once they find you and/or your brand online, what will they think?

These are just some of the reasons of the reasons why you owe it to yourself to get a complete LinkedIn strategy makeover. Start small, but start!

Share your thoughts with me – connect with me on LinkedIn or tweet me @AmarSheth


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