6 LinkedIn Optimization Tips for Sales Reps

Jeff Reekers
May 22, 2015

So you're not a LinkedIn “all-star.” You know that you should probably optimize your page with a great photo, fill in as much profile information as you can, and maybe even join a few relevant LinkedIn Groups, because people say it’s important. Ultimately though, beyond all the hype about LinkedIn as a great networking tool and the talk about creating a “personal brand,” the thought of LinkedIn optimization seems even less rewarding than watching paint dry. Contrary to popular belief, LinkedIn isn’t necessarily just a tool for those looking for a new job. It can actually be a very important part of your success, especially if you’re concentrated on moving into new sales territory, mining new contacts, and attracting buyers. According to Business Insider, 73% of salespeople using social media outperformed their more traditional counterparts. And the most effective platform? LinkedIn. Say you meet a buyer at a trade show. They haven’t committed to making a purchase yet, but you plan on following up with them after the show. These days, one of the first things people do after making a new business connection like this is look up the other person’s profile on LinkedIn. If that buyer wants to know a little bit more about your professional background and your brand, what do you want them to find online? In your day-to-day interactions with customers, you’ve probably realized that you’re able to keep those customers by virtue of the fact that you’ve earned their respect on some level. They trust you and they’ve gotten to know you. It works the same way on LinkedIn, and your profile is your foundation. Your LinkedIn profile should communicate the trust and respect you’ve earned as well as the knowledge and experience you’ve gained throughout your career. Here are some tips on how to craft a LinkedIn presence that will help you win business.

6 LinkedIn Optimization Tips for Sales Reps

1. Know your target.

Create your LinkedIn profile with your target in mind––customers and prospective buyers. What kinds of information do they want to see? Get specific, and include information about the brand(s) you work for. Can you share any stats about your sales performance, for instance that would indicate that your brand is successful on the shelves?

2. Focus on a great summary.

The profile summary is like your first impression––it should clearly indicate why a buyer should want to talk to you. How do you provide value to your customers? How much experience do you have in your industry? What territories have you worked in? Have you won any awards or accolades? What kind of knowledge can you bring to the table?

3. Go for impact, not length.

Coming off that last point, some people think that the best way to create a strong LinkedIn profile is to pad it with a ton of information and writing a mile-long summary, but doing that will just turn people away. Let’s face it, our 21st Century attention spans are short. Be detailed, but don’t write an essay. Tighten your copy and go for impact.

4. Be an active presence.

Join relevant LinkedIn groups to stay abreast of what retailers care about and the issues facing your industry. You can post content, join discussions, or simply use it as a platform to learn. This doesn’t mean that you have to join fifteen different groups. Just concentrate on a couple of groups that prospective buyers may be participating in, and either build a presence there, or up your “social listening” skills to gauge what kinds of trends are hitting your market.

5. Collect endorsements and recommendations.

This is one of the best ways to build credibility on LinkedIn, whether they’re testimonials from your supervisors or maybe even your closest customers, or simple “endorsements” for certain skills. One of the best ways to get endorsements is to endorse your colleagues for skills you believe they excel in. The reciprocity principle will often lead them to your profile to return the favor.

6. Include contact information (and a call to action).

It’s amazing how many people don’t actually include their contact information on LinkedIn. If your goal is to make new connections, why wouldn’t you give people a way to get in touch with you? Also, don’t forget to include a call to action. If you want new contacts to get in touch with you, encourage them to do so. In sum, a great LinkedIn profile can be a solid foundation from which to expand your sphere of influence. How many hours a year do you spend at conferences and trade shows to expose as many people as possible to your product? LinkedIn is a great way to build off of those in-person interactions, and continue the conversation online.