7 Tips – Maximise Your Linkedin Profile

Whether you want new customers, a new job, a promotion or just to be found; here are 7 tips to help you build a better profile for yourself using your linkedin profile.

In this digital age, if you cannot be found on the web I personally begin to wonder what you are hiding or do you not want to grow your business?  If you are still holding allegiance to the tribe of anonymity and you have a front line position in a company (sales, marketing or owner) then I would suggest seeking a new profession or shutting your business down. If  you have more customers, opportunities and wealth than you can handle – then by all means operate in stealth and ignore the tips below.

 7 Linkedin Profile Tips   linkedin logo

  1. Add your photo
    Many people are poor at remembering names. Your face is the best form of recognition we still have. Make it visible to everyone. Don’t use logo’s or diagrams. Better still if you can clear cut it (edit the background out).
  2. Load your contact details – Phone, email and website
    If you want to be contacted then put your phone, skype an email address in and make them visible. Linkedin is better than the white or yellow page directories for getting up to date contact details. People who want to connect with other busy people (read successful or great potential clients) publish cell phone no’s.To access someones contact information, click the contact info envelope  at the top of their profile (highlighted below) and it will expand out to show their full contact information.
    MJR linkedin contact info
    The other day my wife and I found a wallet full of credit cards, office access keys and other personal stuff on the street. We then set off in a major social media stalking exercise to find and contact the owner – her hours of anxiety could have been reduced to minutes if she had put her cell phone no or email address in her linkedin profile.
  3. When sending a connection invite – add a relevant comment
    Don’t just send connection requests without at least a simple “this is why I want to connect with you” or “this is how I know you” line. This way you turn your cold call to a warm call.I meet lots of people in my business life, many from speaking gigs – when someone from the audience attempts to connect with me with a little note I generally connect. People with big networks will more than likely accept your request.
  4. Get some recommendations
    Linked in is a great way to build personal credibility – get personal recommendations from people you respect to build your credibility.  Because its in the public its more likely to be authentic.
  5. Put some history
    Make sure you list more than your current role on Linked in. As a general rule cover the last 10 years of your business history.
  6. Use your linked in network for marketing
    You can very easily export your linked in database to a csv file that you can use outside linked in eg starting an email newsletter list. Go to connections page – click settings – its in the panel listed as advance settings.
  7. Delete Duplicate profiles
    If you have duplicate profiles – delete all but one. If you have lost both password and the email account it is linked to contact linked in support. Linked in now have a service that will merge multiple accounts into one.
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Differentiation for Services Coy’s

My twin and I are different…

So we all know we need to have a USP (unique selling proposition)  – Elevator Pitch. But what about when you are in the services business ? …”we are the best” or a derivative of it “we are the leaders” fails miserably on the unique test.

Unfortunately unless the output of your service is significant – it is useless at differentiating you, in fact doing a great job is what I call a hygiene factor – something any decent professional will give.

Very seldom, if at all, it is the firm that differentiates the service provider. There is always someone else that has the “expert team” or “boutique personal service”. We need to hunt further than that.

Think about how you choose your last: Dentist, lawyer, architectural designer or business adviser?

Differentiating in the services game is hard, as the string of poor web sites  are testimony too.

My guess it came down to one of these:

  • Referral from a trusted source – the great thing here is price is often eliminated with a great referral. So make sure all your endorsements are succinct and powerful and not hidden away,
  • They stood out from the pack in some way. This could be from:
    • Making a stand eg Being thought leaders or just different
    • You just liked them, because they are “like you”.

Notice I am not talking about a logo or fancy tag line. It is more about your approach, attitude or way you are. Once you are conscious of what your customers like, give them more of it. Make sure that this “way” is consistent across your entire organisation. Have you ever fired someone because they did not adhere to your company values – brand attitude?

It still blows me away when I see people referring to their craft rather than a measure of success from the client’s perspective. Here is classic from a web site “Accounting is our passion,” If accounting is your passion, enjoy yourself. But what can you do for me?

For something completely different check out this law firm www.valoremlaw.com/ (see the tease below)

They are making a stand:  “the billable hour is dead”

 

Check your web site out,  how much of relevance do you offer your clients?

Some more ideas on standing out from the crowd:

  • Share customer stories, highlighting what your customers got beyond your basic service
  • Make sure all your headline stories on your promotional material talk the language of your customers need and success – not yours
  • On referrals, make sure you make it easy for people to refer you:
  • Be clear on what you do and don’t do. give them a simple sound bite to pass on…
    Particularly if there is some overlap of your services with them.
  • Be clear on what market segment you are after.
  • Make sure you have a LinkedIn profile and its up to date (google is great at finding you here)
  • Reciprocate – people you give referrals, will give you ones in retutn
  • Your existing and past customers will give you the best referrals, they know you. Always ask for an endorsement and highlight rather than hide them on your web site. Third party endorsements have an 80% probability of closing a sale.
  • Google yourself and see what people see of you. Do it on an I-pad and see how your web site looks – influencer’s are generally busy people and they steal time by using these portable devices

More GMC articles on Networking or Pitching , or if you want more information specific to  selling professional services I found a great resource here  http://www.marcusletter.com/Differentiation.htm

Loyal – Trusted Networks Don’t Just Happen

Have you ever sat back and analysed your business network and assessed who gives you referrals that result in clients – one’s that pay.

  • Building a collection of names – Easy
  • Building relationships – Good Fun!
  • Building a powerful referral network that results in $ales – ????

In my case, excluding existing and previous clients, I have received more referrals from one person, than the rest of my wide network put together .

This concept has had me thinking lately as to what defines and differentiates a person more likely to refer paying work to you than others.

Here is my list for an ideal referral agents – or a great person for your network:

  1. They like you – they can be bothered
  2. You have provided them clients – reciprocity .
  3. You both service a similar market – i.e their clients are good clients for you
  4. You have a mutual clear understanding of what you each do well – how clear is your pitch?
  5. It is clear that you are not in competition to them – My take is fear of a stealing clients gets in the way of most referrers
  6. If you are in the professional services area – you have seen each other in action. This is important because we may like people – but our own personal brand is associated with any referral.

Jits Doolabh’s Trust Model

I meet Jits (www.revonet.co.nz ) for the first time the other day over a coffee and he shared his model for building effective networks.  Basically he goes through a process of shifting contacts – potential clients or referrers from knowing you to liking you then trusting you. This is evident by the clients matching responses and behaviour transitioning from agnostic through to being loyal and ultimately acting as a referrer for you.

He has systemised this model to help companies improve their sales performance. By working intensively with sales teams and owners he has managed some transformational results in sales results.

 

For those looking at boosting their networking power, there are some helpful tips can be found on jasons blog at www.thepeoplepeople.co.nz http://www.thepeoplepeople.co.nz/2011/01/the-top-13-of-2010/

Don’t Confuse Networking With Card Swapping

Networking Tips

Effective networking is one of the best ways to build your business yet so many people do it so wrong.

The number one failing by business people is the delusion that –  card swapping equals networking. Card swapping benefits two parties – the printing industry and the cleaners.

 

At your next networking event spot these people:

Homer Simpsons: Hanging out with their mates and eating and drinking.  – Just go to a bar
Stalkers: Hounding the most famous person in the room – they will not remember who you are in the morning
Date Hunters:
chatting up the pretty people – this works (this is how I found my beautiful wife) but not good for building business
Card Sharks: thrusting cards into everyone’s hand – measuring success by the number of cards they bring back to the office – too many people operate like this

So how should you approach a networking event?

Aim to meet 1- 3 new people:  The goal of attending any networking event should be to commence establishment of 1 to 3 new relationships. There are plenty of networking opportunities; you will not build an entire network in one event. A relationship is based on knowing people well enough so that when you call them in six months’ time, they will remember who you are.  This is never done with simply swapping cards and giving them your elevator pitch. Take your time and get to know them and their business. My goal when I attend a conference is to make one new real connection.

Prepare your Elevator pitch: Make sure the first 60 secs that comes out of your mouth describes something about how you solve problems for your customers – not a speech about you and your technology or craft. Get outside help on testing your elevator pitch – look at attending an GMC Power Pitching workshop

Qualify your audience: Make an assessment on people, if they are not for you and they thrust a card in your hand – put their card into a different pocket and dump their card ASAP. If there is something of interest, dig deeper and remember to ask about them.

Talk to competitors: NZ SME’s do not work well with competitors. Learn to talk about your business without giving away the ‘secret sauce’. Explore opportunities for mergers and acquisitions or just plain collaboration.

Post Event: Follow up with an email or call in the next day or so – not from the other side of the room or in the car park as it appears desperate!

Linkedin: Linkedin.com is a powerful free networking tool. As well as providing an up to date database of your network, it more importantly gives you access to your network’s network. Start with a basic profile today if you do not already have one. The best uses of linkedin are: (i) reference checking new employees from your network, rather than those listed on the cv (ii) Getting introductions into businesses (iii) accessing potential employees, and (iv) participating in online interest group discussions. An interesting fact is in USA 80% of job placements are initiated via LinkedIn.

Groom and qualify your network: Take the time to groom and nurture your best contacts – use a contact schedule to make sure you stay on their radar – pass on links to relevant information to them.

Give and you shall receive: Relationships do not happen overnight, earn the trust and respect before asking favours.

Resources:

KEA: Kiwi Expats Abroad is an international network of passionate Kiwi’s who live abroad that want to help NZ businesses grow international markets   http://www.keanewzealand.com

What impression do you give your clients on first contact?

Are you one of those businesses with your caller ID blocked?

One of my pet peeve’s – is businesses that block their caller ID or worst still, who do not reply to “contact us” on their web sites.

  • Caller ID “blocked”? – for me, it says that you have something to hide or be ashamed of.  You want to hide behind your anonymity.
  • Answer web site enquires? – If you do not want to enter a dialogue with your clients then do not put “contact us” on your web site. If you do then answer them in a timely manner.

For tradesmen who want to grow businesses here are my tips:
1:  Have a web site – you will stand out
2: Respond to those of us who are busy and like to use email or cell phones
3: Remove the blocked ID from your PABX or telco.