Then we created a Summary that highlighted her insights, the value she provides, and her credentials and personal values in delivering the right outcomes for those with whom she works. This is her Summary:
The Australian healthcare sector is modernising the way services are delivered with technology and consumer expectations transforming the delivery of both public and private sector healthcare. I work with government, health and peak body organisations to achieve better outcomes through digital transformation. I help them translate their policy initiatives into business strategies, and build evidence-based business cases that make the best use of health sector funding.
I am passionate and committed to deliver for my healthcare sector clients and I have two decades of experience in senior government, not-for-profit and private sector roles. With a Diploma of Health Science, ten years’ experience as a registered nurse, and a Bachelor of Business, I have both understanding and empathy for the challenges facing the Australian healthcare sector. My extensive experience in human services, and the quality and reach of my professional network, helps me provide a positive influence with a wide range of senior stakeholders within government and industry.
This worked. Emma was immediately taken more seriously and started securing meetings with senior executives who had previously been ignoring her. She was also promoted within her company shortly after. Thanks Emma for allowing me to share all this with my readers!
By changing your LinkedIn profile to be a personal branding microsite, you enhance the way you sell but without any downside for a future career change with potential new employers. They will be attracted by the way you intelligently use LinkedIn to attract and engage potential clients.
7: Recommendations. Request these within LinkedIn from people who have engaged you in current and past roles. This is a way of powerfully building trust before you meet or speak with someone because the majority will review your profile. These recommendations are ideally from loyal customers or partners and evidence your positive values and the results you deliver for them. Simply use the request feature within LinkedIn to ask trusted relationships to make a recommendation which you will have the opportunity to review before adding to your profile. LinkedIn Recommendations are far more powerful than ‘Skills and Endorsements’ within your profile and focus on listing those skills that are valued by your customers.
8: Skills and Endorsements. Do not list too many of these and nominate only those relevant to your target audience. Focus on the skills that show you can help your customers.
9: Education, Qualifications, Volunteer Experience and Accomplishments. Provide details about your credentials but avoid bragging. It is especially important to show credibility in your ability to deliver and list any philanthropic activities that evidence your positive personal values.
10: Education, Qualifications, Volunteer Experience and Accomplishments. Within your LinkedIn profile, provide details about your credentials but avoid bragging or coming across as a ‘quota crusher’, as Jill Rowley famously says. It is especially important to show credibility in your ability to deliver for customers and list any philanthropic activities that evidence your positive personal values. If you achieved number one performer status then you could provide a description like this: Highest performer of the year and achieved this by working closely with my customers in the manufacturing industry to enable them to benefit from substantial improvements in supply chain efficiency.
Again, the focus with your LinkedIn profile is to target customers rather than potential employers. Create an authentic narrative that shows how you can help them deliver results through your insights, experience, positive track record and credentials. Make sure you convey the fact that you can do something worthwhile for them, rather than being a salesperson seeking to sell something to them.
Let’s face an awful truth; very few salespeople are good writers and everyone in sales should be selling, not writing Posts or Articles during prime selling time. You can see there is a problem with salespeople writing content if they are not good at it and if it distracts aways from important prospecting and selling activities. Yet we are known by what we share and what we publish. Prospects and customers are watching so we must make it count.
I do not advocate that salespeople write content during business hours, they should instead pick-up the phone and dial prospects and customers.
All sellers should however self-educate by doing research and create their own insights that enable them to carry the right conversations with senior people in the marketplace. As a result of this activity there are two primary types of content that can be created in LinkedIn within the seller’s profile:
- Posts or Updates that are short and often for the purpose of sharing other people’s content relevant to your audience or customers.
- Original articles or blogs that are typically more than 400 words and with embedded images or videos
Posts and updates: This is where you need to subscribe to a content sharing tool such as Buffer which has a plugin for your web-browser. This makes the process of capturing content and scheduling it for publication into your social media accounts extremely easy. Anytime that you come across a piece of content that will be appreciated by your customers, simply click the Twitter share button on the content’s page or the buffer icon in your browser... and bingo! It is queued ready to go without you needing to give it another thought. But where do you find this content?
Every professional stays current by reading the latest articles, journals, blogs and publications relevant to them and their patients or clients. The best salespeople do the same. If you sell into a vertical industry, or if your market is defined by a particular demographic, or if your buyer is a particular role or persona; then you can identify the places where they learn online. As your customers that very question! “Where do you go online to stay up-to-date?” You could also ask: “Who do you follow as a leader in your industry?” or; “Which analysts or commentators to you rate more highly?” Then you go and subscribe (RSS feed) to their blog and configure a Google Alert for their name.
Now you’ve built a platform for sourcing and sharing content that will be of interest to your buyers. If your marketing team can help you with a corporate tool similar to Buffer, then use it, but do not share corporate propaganda as it will be perceived by your audience of potential customers as spam and they will probably disconnect or ignore you.
All of your content must be of value for your target audience. Your goal is to be seen as an aggregator of high-quality relevant content for those who are too busy to source it for themselves. If you were selling a cloud software solution for accounts payable automation, then your primary target audience is the CFO role. You would investigate where they learn online about outsourcing and find the analysts and journalists that write about the latest trends and research for transforming the finance function within corporations. What are the major conferences? Who are the speakers? Which research has been published? Sharing this kind of content and associating yourself with credible brands is a smart thing to do.
Treat everything you publish online as if it will be there forever and only publish content that you would be happy for your mother or next potential customer to read.
Articles or blogs: This type of publishing requires more effort but it is massively powerful for proactively dealing with objections and setting the agenda on value and risk mitigation for the customers. At a minimum, everyone should have three articles that they have published within their LinkedIn profile and aim for 600 to 900 words in your posts (that's just over one page in a Word document) and there are two valuable topic categories to stimulate your writing:
The first topic to write about is proactive objection killers. This is a self-learning exercise that beats any sales training because it creates clarity of message with a narrative that has the power to avoid objections altogether! List the common objections you receive and then adopt the positive counter position. As an example, I have worked with recruitment companies where sales people commonly receive this objection from a hiring manager: “If I met with every head-hunter that wanted my time I’d never get anything done. I’m too busy to meet so just send me a CV if you have a viable candidate.”
I’ve helped recruiters write articles about why investing twenty minutes saves twelve hours and dramatically reduces hiring risk. In this example we take the excuse for not wanting to meet and make it the reason to engage. The seller reviews the LinkedIn profile of the target person and looks for posts or articles that show their values and then adopts this narrative. “It’s because you’re busy that we need to meet. It’s not enough to screen based on skills, qualifications and experience; you must also eliminate anyone early, who is not a cultural fit for because that’s where most of the risk is with a new hire. I define value in the fewer number of CVs I send and I’ll invest the time to understand how you personally define cultural fit to significantly de-risk your hiring process. That’s why I need 20 minutes with you understand how your personally define cultural fit for anyone in your team. Twenty minutes together will save you twelve hours and give you the right result… when can we get together for 20 minutes on Thursday?”
Can you see the transformative approach here? Instead of leading with the ‘product’ of supplying candidates for a role, the seller is leading with why a conversation matters. The reason for a conversation is that the seller can help the buyer Save time and reduce risk; and that’s what is being sold initially… a way for the buyer to save time, reduce risk and assure the culture that have built into their team so they can achieve the necessary results.
In addition to positive proactive objection killers, sellers should develop insights that hook interest with buyers. Again, this is highly valuable sales training as it forces research into the customer’s world. It should be done outside prime selling time and treated as homework in the evenings. What are the trends, risks, disruptive forces, innovations or case studies that potential customers need to know? How are their customers or markets changing? Beyond information, what are the insights or lessons to be learned? What are their biggest risks concerning commoditization or disruption? The people you follow for creating Posts or Updates are the source for these articles you can write and it is not a difficult task to create an article that quotes several experts and then add your own commentary before posing a question of your own audience to create engagement.