Here’s how I read your LinkedIn profile.
Hmmmm…let's start with your photo, because that is the first thing we humans notice – pictures before words. You look business-like, the photo is recent, and so I can match it up to the real-life person I met last week. But least it is not a selfie. Check. Next, on to the Summary section, because that is really the most important part to me. It is a glimpse into who you are – your passion for your job, how you got your start, what you love most about what you do. Yeesh. What I am seeing is a pitch about how great your company is. To make matters worse, it reads like a marketing brochure, not like a conversation. Where are YOU in all this? I want to form a relationship before I make a buying decision these days, and I want to establish it with a human being – NOT a company. The overwhelming majority of buyers these days immediately distrust a company, so I was hoping for more insight into the human being I met last week. What makes you tick? Are you ethical? Are YOU passionate about your industry? Interested in the sale, or the customer?
I am done checking out your photo and summary. Assuming you haven't lost me yet, I move on to your job history, just hoping to make some sort of meaningful connection in my mind, because that's again what we humans do. Have you worked somewhere before that I might recognize? Maybe you worked with someone I know – hey, that’s a connection! But wait, red flags are going up. In each sales position you have held, you are listing all your accomplishments, like the fact that you are an excellent prospector, you always crushed your sales goals, and you were top notch at developing new market segments.
"But I am not a marketing segment; I am a person. Pardon me if I don’t care to be “crushed.”
All these listed sales accomplishments are great if I am looking to hire you as an employee, but what if I am a prospective customer? These tell me you are more interested in closing the deal, and that is a turnoff to anyone these days.
What I want is a 1-2 sentence story beneath each past job about how you helped customers – how you were passionate (there’s that word again), dedicated, and relationship-oriented. Don't just use those adjectives, either - don't say you're passionate, show me.
- Example one (awful): Driven sales professional with an excellent track record of crushing sales goals [that part is from a real profile].
- Example two (less awful, but all-too-typical): Dedicated, customer-oriented sales professional with excellent prospecting skills.
- Example three (awesome!): I love my job because I get to help my clients face their toughest work problems and provide solutions.
Now that last guy is somebody I want to do business with!
To be continued…
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Shawna Suckow is The Buyer Insider. She spent 20 years as a million-dollar B2B buyer, and now she shares insider secrets with salespeople as a global speaker on sales, prospecting, marketing, branding and the future of buyer behavior.
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