Can You Take Advantage of an Accelerated Sales Cycle on LinkedIn?

What is an accelerated sales cycle and how do you know if you’re one of the lucky ones who gets to use it?

Allow me to explain. There are two types of businesses on LinkedIn: those who leverage a “typical” sales cycle using the LinkedIn platform and those who have a strong advantage because of the LinkedIn platform.

It all comes down to industry, specialty, and how you identify your target audience.

Typical Sales Cycle

This is a typical sales cycle with added LinkedIn elements. Anything done specifically on LinkedIn is in blue. As you can see, these individuals are executing the sales cycle the same way they would whether they are on the LinkedIn platform or not.

 

The benefit to leveraging LinkedIn for a typical sales cycle is access to target audience. The ability to search using Sales Navigator and nurture leads through engagement provides a different method for an existing practice.

A relationship is established with a potential lead through connection on LinkedIn instead of a cold call, web search, or in-person engagement. The ability to ask whether the potential lead has interest in the product or service right away is a more forward method and another advantage to using LinkedIn.

Even if the potential lead doesn’t have an interest right away, the sales cycle continues with the nurturing process, which may come before or after closing the sale.

Accelerated Sales Cycle

If you are in a camp that can take advantage of the accelerated sales cycle on LinkedIn, you are one of the lucky ones. The accelerated sales cycle allows you to recognize and execute two of the steps before even reaching out to your potential lead.

How is this possible? It’s possible because you are in an industry or have a specialty that allows you to identify the individuals that needs your product or service through a LinkedIn profile — the individual’s title, company, industry, location, etc.

Examples:

  • A lawyer who works specifically with real estate agents
  • A CPA working with nonprofits
  • An event planner specializing in corporate picnics in Phoenix, Ariz.
  • A freelance writer that specializes in whitepapers for tech companies

Each of these examples can know the individual they are reaching out to has a vested interest in their services before reaching out, skipping to the third step of the sales cycle. Even if the individual isn’t interested in that moment, connecting on LinkedIn adds a qualified lead to that person’s network for nurturing.

If you fall into the Typical Sales Cycle …

You should still leverage LinkedIn reach-outs, but you should alter your messaging to a softer approach. The goal in a typical sales cycle is to add potential leads to your funnel for nurturing with the hope that a handful will happen to need your services when you reach out.

Potential messaging in a connection request:

Hi Sarah! I’m a business coach working with female entrepreneurs. I know we don’t know each other yet, but it would be great to connect with you so you can take advantage of my content and learn a little bit more about what I provide my clients. Thank you!

If you fall into the Accelerated Sales Cycle …

First, get excited.

Second, make sure you have Sales Navigator.

Third, take advantage of the potential you have on LinkedIn!

When you have the ability to target exactly the right individuals before you reach out, you can be more direct and shorten the sales cycle.

Potential messaging in a connection request:

Hi Sarah! As the director of employee development with XYZ company, you probably put on events throughout the year. I’m an event planner working specifically with individuals in your position to take a lot off your plate! Do you have any coming up? Either way, I’d love to connect!

Regardless, stick with LinkedIn!

Whether you are in the typical sales cycle camp or the accelerated sales cycle camp, make sure you are using LinkedIn to its full potential! It provides the ability to add leads to your network and nurture them along using your knowledge and expertise!

Optimize your profile and — if you don’t have time to conduct your own reach-outs — take advantage of my reach-out offering. I look forward to hearing from you!

About Chrissie Wywrot

Chrissie Wywrot is a B2B lead generator and personal brand strategist who works with passionate entrepreneurs and professional athletes. To learn more about her services, visit her LinkedIn profile or email her at chrissie@chrissiewywrot.com.

How to NOT Make A Fool out of Yourself on LinkedIn

It’s so simple, but it’s so true.

Whether you’re looking to send an InMail message, a connection request, comment on a post, share in a group, WHATEVER IT IS … the key is to focus on the mutual benefit of what you’re doing.

Will anyone else benefit from what you’re about to do or is it all about you?

It’s a message I share with my 7 1/2-year-old daughter all the time. She wants to go outside and ride her scooter. Our next-door neighbor wants to go to the park. My daughter is beside herself, not quite understanding why the next-door neighbor is not understanding the importance of scooter riding.

“But it’s what I want to do!”

Precisely. It’s what she wants to do. She’s not thinking of the next-door neighbor and what she wants to do. It’s simple, but it’s so important and it applies to sales.

What is “appropriate” sales behavior on LinkedIn?

So often, I see people posting advice about what to do and not to do on LinkedIn. I’m one of those people. It is action-oriented advice, looking at the method and not the intention.

“Don’t ever ask people to buy from you in the first message!”

“Don’t ever use a connection request for sales!”

“Don’t ever post an article link in a group!”

Here’s the thing: there are valid points to each of those arguments. I get that. But the intention behind the actions is more important than the actions themselves. If I reach out to someone and ask them to buy from me because I recognize a clear need that person has, my genuine desire to help will come through.

If, on the other hand, I reach out without reading someone’s profile — therefore knowing nothing about the person — and ask him or her to buy from me, I’m going to come off like a self-absorbed jerk.

The actions are the same, but the intention is different.

I truly believe this is the difference between success and failure in sales. If the intention is to form a working relationship with someone based on both parties receiving a clear benefit, the strategy will work.

Sometimes that means nurturing a relationship because reaching out to someone to be his or her business coach without ever having a conversation is a bit forward. On the other hand, it may not be.

Hear me out.

Let’s say you are a business coach for female entrepreneurs who have a podcast. That is a narrow scope and you can find those women without ever reaching out to them. This is so important in the LinkedIn lead generation game!

This provides the opportunity to conduct a thoughtful, relevant reach-out, but only if you think through the process and have a genuine desire for a mutually-beneficial relationship.

Example of a thoughtful reach-out:

Hi Sally! My name is Chrissie and I’m a business coach for female entrepreneurs who also have podcasts. I have a ton of experience in this segment and believe I can really help you leverage your podcast for your business. Are you interested in a quick call so I can learn more about you?

Now, this is a forward reach-out. You can change the final line to any variation of the following to “tone it down”:

  • Are you interested in this article I wrote that details how to do this?
  • Are you interested in connecting on LinkedIn to learn more about each other?

Example of a self-absorbed (and bait-and-switch) reach-out sequence:

Hi Sally, I’d like to connect with you to learn more about your business.

Once Sally accepts the message, the almost-immediate follow-up message includes a full sales page worth of services and a statement (not question) of, “Let me know when you’re available for a call next week.”

If you’ve ever received a bait-and-switch like this (and you probably have), you feel dirty for having experienced it. It’s low, intrusive, and not effective.

These types of interactions have turned people off from the idea of sales on LinkedIn, believing the platform should be solely for relationships. While I understand their post considering the tactics being employed on LinkedIn, I completely disagree.

The idea of being on LinkedIn is to form business relationships, yes, but that might mean services are exchanged. The key — as always — is to know your audience, recognize whether they need what you’re selling, and convey your mutually-beneficial relationship.

Whether that’s through inbound or outbound marketing is irrelevant. The key is recognizing the person you’re trying to sell to as a valued person and developing a relationships that will serve both of your interests.

About Chrissie Wywrot

Chrissie Wywrot is a B2B lead generator and personal brand strategist who works with passionate entrepreneurs and professional athletes. To learn more about her services, visit her LinkedIn profile or email her at chrissie@chrissiewywrot.com.

Does LinkedIn have a connection request limit

Does LinkedIn Have A Connection Request Limit?

Back in the day, LinkedIn was intended to be an intranet of sorts … you were only supposed to connect with individuals you knew. Try to connect with someone “outside of your network,” and you’d get a not-so-friendly slap on the wrist.

That has changed the past two years since Microsoft purchased LinkedIn. Now, LinkedIn is meant to be a networking tool. You can reach out to individuals you don’t know personally to expand your reach – much more beneficial for business owners and job seekers!

I have based my business on this practice, helping individuals connect with relevant professionals on LinkedIn as a way to grow their businesses. I see connection requests as a great way for professionals to grow their networks while engaging in active lead generation. In my opinion, using InMail for cold reach-outs sends a warning to the recipient, which is: I’m trying to sell you something!

I generate a lot of interest with my lead generation service, but have had the same question asked multiple times over the past week:

“Does LinkedIn limit the number of connection requests you can send out?”

The answer is yes and no. There isn’t a publicized limit, but LinkedIn does pay attention to whether your connection requests are converting. In other words, if you are sending request-after-request-after-request and people aren’t accepting (or worse, they’re reporting you), your account may get flagged for spamming.

Here is what LinkedIn has to say, word-for-word:

“If you’ve sent a large number of invitations, your account may be limited from inviting more members. This is generally due to many of your invitations being rejected or ignored by the members you’ve invited. We recommend you send invitations only to people you know and trust to be part of your network, as stated in the LinkedIn User Agreement. Having only quality connections in your network greatly improves the relevance of content shown in your feed, surfaces more appropriate matches in your searches, and better guides other features to help you discover opportunities on LinkedIn.”

Does this mean you can’t send connection requests to individuals you don’t know? Absolutely not. The key is to send relevant connection requests.

What constitutes a relevant connection request in my book?

The relationship must be mutually beneficial.

This, to me, is Sales 101, but it is critical to recognize that what constitutes a mutually-beneficial relationship is always relative to the business making the request and the person receiving it. There is a spectrum of “sales asks” on LinkedIn, ranging from connecting as a way to network to connecting as a means to sell. I will use three “for instance” examples to illustrate my point.

Example 1: The direct sell

Let’s say you manufacture desks. You want to connect with furniture stores on LinkedIn to ask if they want to stock your desks in their stores. Because you know before you reach out that they have a vested interest in purchasing desks, it is a reasonable reason to connect. In fact, the person you’re reaching out to may be thrilled you did. They are on LinkedIn as part of their profession and you are connecting with them to directly benefit their job.

Example 2: The information share

You also may connect with someone outside your network to share relevant information. If you are a financial advisor specializing in real estate, you may send connect requests to real estate professionals on LinkedIn with a note letting them know you publish articles they may find relevant to their business. This helps them by providing them with information and helps you by expanding your reach.

Example 3: The survey request

It is reasonable to connect on LinkedIn as a way to increase knowledge of your target audience. If you are a business coach, perhaps you send connection requests asking individuals what they look for in a business coach or how they find their business coaches.

With all three of these examples, though, one thing is critically important:

The note you include should be truthful.

Whether you’re looking to sell directly, share information, or request information, be honest about what you want. There is nothing worse on LinkedIn (or sales, for that matter) than a bait-and-switch. Don’t tell someone you want to learn from them only to send them a hard pitch 48 hours later.

Approach your LinkedIn strategy realistically and truthfully, knowing what you want to get out of your cold reach-out strategy and staying true to that goal.

Finally, know that every single professional and industry is unique. You may work in a field made up of people who hate to be solicited. That happens. If that’s the case, go with a networking strategy for connection requests and use InMail for your sales pitches.

The point is that no two situations are identical and it’s critical to approach your situation as a unique one. Know yourself and your audience and stay true to both. That is the best way to be successful on LinkedIn and to avoid being flagged as a spammer!

About Chrissie Wywrot

Chrissie Wywrot is a B2B lead generator and personal brand strategist who works with passionate entrepreneurs and professional athletes. To learn more about her services, visit her LinkedIn profile or email her at chrissie@chrissiewywrot.com.

Are You Leaving Money on the Table By Not Using LinkedIn?

LinkedIn could be a gold mine for you and your business, especially if you are business-to-business and offer premium services. Unlike other social networks, LinkedIn provides the ability to talk to the decision-makers of businesses you are targeting. What’s more, people are on LinkedIn to talk business. You don’t get that with Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

How do you know if you’re leaving money on the table? Ask yourself these three questions:

1. Is my LinkedIn profile optimized?

If you have a half-filled-out profile, you are leaving money on the table. Period.

Your LinkedIn profile should serve as a lead page for you and your business. It should follow inbound marketing practices and include specific keywords related to your business. A friend and business associate of mine, Maggie Patterson of Scoop Industries, told me that following my advice to add keywords to her profile resulted in significantly more attention to her profile.

It makes a difference.

Additionally, having a profile that guides curious individuals through your initial sales process will be the difference between them reaching out with an inquiry and clicking away to something else.

2. Does my business offer premium services?

Let me put it to you this way: if you stand to make thousands off of a single conversion, you can’t afford not to invest in LinkedIn for your business. Nowhere else in social media marketing can you achieve what you can with personal, one-to-one reach-outs on LinkedIn – a platform created to talk business.

I am working with one client that needed just two conversions over the course of a year to consider the work put into LinkedIn a success. We achieved that in less than two months. If your business offers a premium service, the pressure to convert immediately goes away, resulting in a much higher likelihood of conversion.

Why is that? People are more likely to buy from those not pressuring them to buy. It’s that simple.

3. Is my sales team struggling with cold calls?

If you have a sales team cold-calling with little success, consider optimizing their profiles and conducting reach-outs on LinkedIn. It is a less intrusive process than cold-calling, allowing the potential lead to consider the conversation and respond on his or her own time.

The key is to reach out with the intention of setting up a discovery call. Don’t reach out and provide a link to buy. Instead, work to spark a respectful conversation with potential leads.

If you don’t want to invest in LinkedIn profile optimization for sales team members that might leave your business, invest in optimizing your own profile and pay for a business summary. That way, your sales team can add the business summary to their profiles and personalize their full profiles to their own liking.

Another option is to have members of your sales team conduct reach-outs with a higher-level executive’s profile. Often times, the weight of an influencer will generate more interest, especially when combined with a solid content strategy.

So … how did you do?

Are you leaving money on the table? That’s actually great news!

For a couple thousand dollars per month, your business could conduct regular, personal reach-outs to your target audience. If you are interested in developing a strategy like this, take a look at my B2B LinkedIn Lead Generation page and reach out for more information.

About Chrissie Wywrot

Chrissie Wywrot is a B2B lead generator and personal brand strategist who works with passionate entrepreneurs and professional athletes. To learn more about her services, visit her LinkedIn profile or email her at chrissie@chrissiewywrot.com.

Should You Leverage LinkedIn Cold Reach-Outs for Your B2B?

Are you considering cold reach-outs on LinkedIn for your B2B?

In some instances, leveraging Sales Navigator to conduct cold reach-outs is better than using targeted ads: they are more personal and direct.

My process is as follows:

  1. Search for your target audience on LinkedIn
  2. Filter those results to see who is most active on the platform
  3. Send unique InMail messages or connection requests to individuals who fit your ideal client
  4. Engage those who respond to set up a discovery call

Simple right? For the most part, yes, but there are factors that can impact the effectiveness of the process. One I speak about in today’s video, and it is: how many reach-outs do those within your target audience receive each day?

The truth is that I have worked with clients who receive an insane number of InMail messages each day from individuals trying to work with them or sell them something. It’s overwhelming.

That means that it will be much harder to get that person’s attention, so you either need to leverage a different sales tactic or get creative.

Connection Requests

One way to test the effectiveness of LinkedIn reach-outs for your business is to use connection requests. I find that connection requests get through to professionals with a lot of LinkedIn noise better than InMail messages.

Here’s why:

1. InMail is “salesy.”

Especially for those who receive a lot of solicitations, InMail messages may be something they now ignore.

2. Connection requests are still personal.

You have fewer characters to work with when you send someone a connection request, but you can — and should — still add a personal note. For my clients, I start with an introduction and then touch briefly on what I’d like to speak about.

3. There is an inbound marketing benefit.

There is residual benefit from a connection request beyond the reach-out. If the person accepts, he or she is now in your network. So, even if they don’t respond to your initial reach-out attempt, they will be nurtured through your sales process as you publish content and remain active on LinkedIn.

4. You have future access.

Once someone connects with you, the message you sent as part of your connection request becomes active in their messages. Even if they choose not to respond to that, you are now connected with them and can message them in the future.

Think it Through

It is possible that your target audience is too bombarded with solicitations for your reach-out to be worthwhile. Test out the theory by working with connection requests and see if you gain any traction. At the very least, you will learn invaluable information about your target audience to apply to future tactics!

If you would like help with this process, don’t hesitate to reach out via LinkedIn or chrissie@chrissiewywrot.com!

About Chrissie Wywrot

Chrissie Wywrot is a B2B lead generator and personal brand strategist who works with passionate entrepreneurs and professional athletes. To learn more about her services, visit her LinkedIn profile or email her atchrissie@chrissiewywrot.com.

The 3 Things I Did to Get a Response From a Cold Reach-Out

I was conducting lead generation on behalf of a client and received a response that made me smile. The individual said:

I actually looked at your link because you wrote a very personal and to the point note.

He went on to say that what I was offering wasn’t for him, but the fact that he took the time to respond should speak volumes to you if you’re in sales (and, if you’re an entrepreneur, you’re in sales).

What did I do that was so personal? Three basic things:

1. I read his LinkedIn profile.

Yes, that’s right. I read it. It seems simple and — to some — a waste of time, but it is a few minutes that goes a long way.

As someone who conducts cold reach-outs, when I’m on the receiving end of them, I know exactly why they bother me or why I’m happy to respond:

If you have clearly done your homework (which could mean spending all of three minutes reading my LinkedIn profile) and recognize I’m truly a good fit for what you’re offering, I’m interested … or, at the very least, happy to respond.

If it’s obvious you’ve sent the same message to me that you’re sending to another 100 people, I (shake my head and) move on.

2. I referenced his experiences.

This person had a long career in journalism — it’s clear he’s led an interesting life. When I wrote him a note, I mentioned that. Suddenly, he recognizes I care. He recognizes I took three minutes to read his profile. He recognizes I’m not a bot or an automated system.

I’m seeing him as more than a target.

I’ve read a number of articles lately that talk about solving problems instead of selling services. This is completely true, but let’s take it one step further. We should care about solving those problems. Caring goes a long way, and it can be felt … even through the written word on LinkedIn.

3. I was conversational.

I read a great article today about dealing with objections in sales and agreed with the concept, but the example language used was way too formal and “salesy” for me. My No. 1 tip when it comes to reach-outs: just talk.

Yes, it’s important to be grammatically correct. It’s important to spell things properly. It’s important to sound intelligent. But it’s also important to talk to people as though they’re human beings instead of a statistic.

You can tailor the language to the industry — a doctor will probably respond better to more formal conversation than a life coach — but don’t sound like you copied the text out of a Sales 101 textbook.

In closing …

I truly believe 10 personal reach-outs beat 100 stock reach-outs any day of the week. Yes, there are other factors to being sales savvy, but being personal is No. 1 in my book.

Spend that three minutes reading someone’s LinkedIn profile. Trust me, it’ll pay off.

About Chrissie Wywrot

Chrissie Wywrot is a B2B lead generator and personal brand strategist who works with passionate entrepreneurs and professional athletes. To learn more about her services, visit her LinkedIn profile or email her at chrissie@chrissiewywrot.com.

What to Do on LinkedIn When You Have Little Time for LinkedIn

LinkedIn is an untapped resource for many entrepreneurs … how do you know if you’re leaving something on the table? It’s a question I’m asked time and time again. Let’s get started by gauging the value the platform has to offer you and your business.

Ask yourself these two questions:

  1. Are you business-to-business or business-to-consumer? If you are business-to-business, LinkedIn is a must. If you are business-to-consumer, you can still leverage the platform to network, generate media coverage, or – in some cases – generate business.
  2. Is your industry active on LinkedIn? Individuals in some industries use LinkedIn as a critical business tool. Those in other industries have a profile, but rarely use it. If you are in an industry that regularly uses the platform, you should engage on LinkedIn in some capacity.

Businesses should map out a plan before engaging on any social media platform, especially LinkedIn. I’ve heard too many entrepreneurs say things like,

“I’m on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram because I thought I was supposed to be …”

Many of those same entrepreneurs are so strapped for time, the last thing they think about doing each day is engaging on social media. I’ve learned this is especially true of LinkedIn.

Have you found yourself uttering any of these statements?

“I have a profile, but have no idea what to do with it.”

“I plugged in my resume to LinkedIn … is that right?”

“I get a ton of requests, but don’t do anything with them because I don’t want to get a bunch of solicitations.”

“I want to learn more about LinkedIn, but have no time.”

If any of these are you, today is your lucky day! I am going to spell out the three things you should do if you:

  • have no idea what to do on LinkedIn
  • have no time to even think about LinkedIn, let alone the time to log in and engage with someone on LinkedIn

Alright, let’s get started!

1. Determine your LinkedIn purpose

Before you do anything, you need to pinpoint what LinkedIn can do for you and your business. If you conclude the benefit of LinkedIn isn’t worth your time, you can move on to something else. On the other hand, you may realize LinkedIn is a huge untapped resource.

Ask yourself these two questions:

1. What is the best thing that can happen as a result of using LinkedIn?

Think pie-in-the-sky. Perhaps you want to …

  • be featured on a major news outlet
  • get a big-time freelance writing gig
  • connect with one of the biggest influencers in your industry and schedule a networking call
  • land your dream client

2. How do you achieve that “best thing?”

Let’s say your purpose is to land your dream client. What steps would or could lead up to that? Do you reach out cold? Comment on his or her posts or articles? Offer a free trial for your product or service?

If you’re looking to be featured on a major news outlet, you probably start by writing or producing your own original content and then reaching out to media.

No matter your goal, lay out the exact step-by-step process that will result in achieving your LinkedIn purpose.

2. Optimize your headline and current experience

Once you’ve determined your LinkedIn goal, you can gear your profile toward it. The most important sections of your profile are your headline and current experience. You want both to reflect your purpose or strength and include keywords.

Think about the people you want to notice you. What do you want them to know? Put that in your headline.

If it’s possible someone would search for your services, what would they search? Make sure those words or phrases are included in your current experience section. The tone of what you say will be dependent on your personality and industry, but the overall goal is to sell yourself through your profile.

3. Execute or hire based on the potential benefit

This is where the time factor comes in.

If you go through steps one and two and recognize a benefit to using LinkedIn, you’ll want to make sure you invest some time or hire someone to invest time on your behalf.

What does “investing time” in LinkedIn look like?

Engage in the following steps, starting with the first item and adding subsequent steps as you can:

  1. Make relevant connections. LinkedIn is a Rolodex of business value — don’t let it fall by the wayside! At the very least, connect with relevant people and build a quality network.
  2. Like or comment on posts. The more you like or comment on posts, the more users see your headline and, hopefully, click on your profile.
  3. Share relevant content. One step further than liking or commenting on other people’s posts or content is to post yourself. Share content helpful to your target audience that accurately represents you as a professional.
  4. Go premium. If there is money to be had through LinkedIn, you probably want to invest in a premium account. There are five different types of premium accounts: Premium Career, Sales Navigator, Recruiter Lite, Premium Business, and LinkedIn Learning. Each provides a unique set of benefits – you can “see who’s viewed your profile,” InMail individuals who aren’t connections, and do some serious prospecting through Sales Navigator.

If you see a significant benefit to using LinkedIn but don’t have time to do it yourself, you can always hire someone to do it for you. Helping clients engage and convert leads on LinkedIn is one of my favorite things to do!

There are plenty of options to get started with me, including a strategy session to learn more about how you can leverage your brand, LinkedIn profile optimization, or a strategy audit to receive specific steps to grow your online presence.

I’m looking forward to your comments below and emails to chrissie@chrissiewywrot.com!

LinkedIn is the Best Networking Party You’ll Ever Attend

I was recently told by one of my entrepreneurial friends that my engagement on LinkedIn had inspired her to dig even deeper into networking within the platform. I was posting success after success connecting with influencers and potential leads and it led to her reaching out to people she’d never considered reaching out to.

I find that success, quite simply, by looking at LinkedIn as the best networking party I could ever attend … and you can replicate my actions!

Here’s how:

1. Showcase Your Credentials

You can’t be afraid to showcase what you’ve done. I’ve worked for an NFL team, many athletes across a number of sports, and been an entrepreneur for more than three years. It’s important that I say that clearly and directly within my profile.

LinkedIn Networking Party Analogy: How would you introduce yourself to someone at an in-person gathering? What are the most relevant things about your professional background? Make sure those are highlighted within your profile and let me know if you need help.

2. Strike Up A Conversation

Be a real person! Reach out to individuals in your network just to learn more about their businesses. Tell them you think they’re impressive or that you love reading their content on the platform. Send connection requests to individuals you don’t know with a note that compliments them or inquires about their work.

LinkedIn Networking Party Analogy: Don’t be that person at the party who keeps to him or herself or only talks to the one you drove with. Put yourself out there and learn about other people — you never know where you’ll find common ground or who you’ll end up collaborating with. The best leads are often disguised as irrelevant connections!

3. Take An Online World Offline

Let LinkedIn be a conduit to connecting with people over the phone or in person. I love scheduling calls with others in my industry just to talk for 15-20 minutes about who they are, what they do within their business, and their longterm goals. Sometimes that turns into a pitch for services, other times it’s just a conversation that helps me get better acquainted with someone.

LinkedIn Networking Party Analogy: One of the great things about networking parties is they allow you to inform others of what you do and who you target. You may meet someone who knows someone who is looking for someone just like you. That same phenomenon occurs through LinkedIn by connecting offline! Schedule an informational call and you may just hear, “Let me connect you with …”

Noteworthy: The Athlete Advantage

If you’ve played sports in college or within a professional league, I have one piece of advice regarding LinkedIn: exploit the heck out that experience.

I don’t care what sport it was, whether you’re male or female, or whether you won a championship … playing sports at either of those levels is a point of conversation and something people want to be associated with.

As someone who worked in digital media for an NFL team for nearly 10 years, I can attest that this applies beyond those who play on the field or court. I accrued so many LinkedIn connections over that decade that are paying huge dividends now.

Okay, you may be thinking, that sounds great. How do I do that? I don’t want to come across as self-absorbed.

Fantastic question! Here is how you maximize that experience:

  1. Optimize your LinkedIn profile. Make sure your headline references your background in sports and that your experience is complete. There will be plenty of curious eyes on your profile — make it good!
  2. Show your depth. Athletes — especially those who aren’t headliners — are competitive, disciplined, and have plenty of stories to share. Remember that LinkedIn is a networking party — provide anecdotes as they pertain to your business objectives. Life and business lessons are always embedded in sports stories.
  3. Connect with relevant people. This includes other athletes, influencers, business professionals, and media. The key is to connect with them before you need something, but after you are well on your way with profile optimization and sharing content. Form the relationships now so you can ask for what you need later.

The moral of the story? Treat LinkedIn like the online networking party it is and build your business in the process!

LinkedIn help

Don’t Make This Mistake When Writing Your LinkedIn Profile

There are a number of factors to consider when writing your LinkedIn profile: target audience, search engine optimization (SEO), and call to action to name a few. After all, you’re looking to convince users (target audience) to buy from you (call to action) and you want to be found (SEO).

But even when everything is written well, there is one critical mistake made over and over again that can greatly decrease your chances of generating leads on LinkedIn.

And that mistake is … Readability.

You can write the greatest sales copy of the century, but fail miserably if it is thrown into one gigantic paragraph. The average human attention span is eight seconds, which means you have the blink of an eye to make a great first impression. You better have a profile that is easy to digest or you’ll lose the audience you’re working so hard for.

This is especially challenging within a LinkedIn profile because the platform doesn’t allow for formatted text (e.g. bold, italics, font size). You have to get creative to make your profile stand out, but the first step is making sure it’s readable.

Here are some of my suggestions:

Paragraphs

I am a huge advocate of breaking up text into paragraphs. There is nothing worse than trying to read something that is a giant word wall.

Now, I get that paragraph length is a personal preference and that mine tend to be on the shorter side. But in this age of short attention spans, I want to keep eyes moving. To me, structuring paragraphs within a profile is an art form that can make all the difference between someone getting lost in your copy to feeling lost reading your copy.

Lists

Lists are another great way to keep eyes moving through your copy, and you can work them in to just about any section of your profile. Take a look at what you’re writing and if there are sentences structured with commas (i.e. “I am talented in item A, item B, and item C”), consider breaking those items up into a list.

You will have to use symbols as bullet points since LinkedIn doesn’t allow for formatted text within its profile sections, but you can get creative with what you choose. Visit websites like copypastecharacter.com to find symbols for your profile.

Subheads

Since you can’t add HTML to your profile you won’t get the SEO benefits of subheads, but you will break up your text and draw attention to key points within your profile. To see the power of this effect, take a look at my LinkedIn profile.

By capitalizing all words and using symbols before and after those words, the subheads within these profile sections stand out. Not only is your eye drawn to those sections, you’ll find yourself reading them. This technique is a tool to better communicate what you and your profile are all about!

Symbols

I’ve already mentioned symbols in two of the other sections because they are critical within LinkedIn profiles. When you use symbols, it successfully breaks up text and draws attention to key points.

Now, I recognize that symbols are fun and it’s easy to get carried away. Make sure you pick professional icons that look good together!

Final Thoughts on Formatting

Readability is critical for a successful profile and formatting is a key piece of that. Get creative with the way you use capitalization, symbols, spacing, and paragraphs to draw attention to what you can do for the audience you draw to your profile.

And if the entire thing sounds like too much work, take advantage of my LinkedIn Profile Development service.

Good luck!

LinkedIn Profile

Resume Or Life Story? What To Say Within Your LinkedIn Profile

Should you write your LinkedIn profile the same way you would write a resume or should you tell your life story?

Knowing what to say within your LinkedIn profile is much harder than it seems. Sit down to start your Summary or Current Experience section and you may come down with a case of writer’s block.

There are a number of factors involved when it comes to what you should say within your LinkedIn profile and how you should say it.

1. Industry

First thing’s first: what industry are you in? An investment banker isn’t going to sound the same as a film producer. A doctor may lose credibility if he or she cites a love of wine or cigar smoking within his or her profile. A freelance writer may miss out on jobs if copy is dry or uninteresting.

It’s important to look at your profile through the filter of the field you’re in. What would someone looking for your services expect to see? How can you use what you write within your profile to show off your skills or expertise?

2. Personality

Stay true to you when you’re writing your profile. Here’s what I mean: if you don’t like sharing personal information, then don’t. If you like to tell stories, tell them. You’ve reached this point in your career because of who you are — don’t shy away from then when you’re talking about yourself within your LinkedIn profile.

At the same time, you want to make sure what you say comes off the way you intend it to come off. Having another set of eyes look through what you’ve written is always a good idea, especially when you’re really looking to showcase your personality.

Something you think is funny may come off rude. Something you think is clear may come off confusing. Get a proofreader!

3. Credibility

What approach will give you the most credibility? Put yourself in the shoes of the people you’re targeting. What could they read within your profile that would lead them to feeling comfortable giving you their money? What would inspire them to want to work with you?

This is the inbound marketing process, which walks people toward wanting to work with you before you even have a conversation.

The right approach will vary by industry and individual. A sales rep, for example, would want to list numbers to show competency. Someone selling a product would want to list key features or testimonials that showcase product benefits. Know what others will want to see from you and include it within your profile.

4. Context

Take a step back from your profile and look at the big picture. Envision your target audience, or who you want to be viewing your profile. What are their key attributes? Then ask yourself these three questions:

  • Where are they coming from? In other words, how will they find your profile?
  • What must they know about you if they are going to do business with you?
  • What do you want them to do once they’ve read your profile?

These three questions will guide you through the process of understanding what you should say to your audience. If your LinkedIn profile were an experience, what would you want that experience to be like for those who visit?

You may need help or guidance when it comes to answering these questions, which is completely normal. You may not even want to write your profile! No problem.

Schedule a Strategy Call or LinkedIn Profile Optimization. We’ll have your profile representing you in no time!