At this point, if you’re in sales, it probably isn’t necessary to tell you that your prospects are researching you before a meeting or after a first contact. More often than not, that means they’ll find your LinkedIn profile. In other words, a stand-out profile is pretty much a must for anyone in sales looking to have some success.
That’s why sales professionals who are in the know, spend time tweaking and updating their LinkedIn Profiles. But for the rest of us it’s a daunting task. An insurmountable feat. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s all the copy that needs to be written; maybe it’s the fact that we’re unfamiliar with the ins and outs of the site; maybe it’s the fear of having to go through all our profile pictures to find an “okay” one; or maybe it’s that writing about yourself is hard.
… In fact, I think it’s a bit all of the above.
Where should we even get started?
That’s why I’ve set out some guidelines here for the most time-consuming part: your Profile Summary.
Arguably, the summary is the least understood section of a LinkedIn Profile. Most either ignore it (don’t fill it out) or summarize their work experience. Other times they’ll just talk about random facts with no real goal in mind.
What’s a Summary for?
Really it serves one purpose – to increase the chances of a connection by generating curiosity amongst your visitors. Whether you want them to accept your connection request or ask you to connect, your Summary will play a role.
You see, the role of your Profile Picture and Professional Headlines are there to encourage a click through. Your Summary and Experience are there to close the loop in a way and get the connection.
How to increase the chance of a connection?
There are two mechanisms you want to to tap into, curiosity and trust.
Wait a minute…, if you’re thinking that this sounds a little intense for a simple Linkedin Summary, you might be right. I have put a lot of thought into LinkedIn Profiles – I’ve written a lot of them so it comes with the experience.
What you need to understand is the entire goal of your profile is to generate a connection. And most potential contacts will simply skim through one. So while most people think, “If no one will read through thoroughly, I won’t spend too much time writing it” – that’s the worst thing you can tell yourself. It’s because people spend so little time reading a Profile that you have to make sure it stands out!
Back to our Summary… You need to think of your Summary as your elevator pitch. The best pitches do two things:
- They create curiosity and
- They inspire trust
How to use curiosity and trust
Curiosity is a huge motivator. It opens loops in the reader’s mind. If I say something like, “Here’s one thing no one tells you about LinkedIn Profile Summaries!” and you’re even only remotely interested in LinkedIn, there’s a good chance you’ll click through to learn about that one thing. That statement opened a loop, you clicked through to close it. Similarly, a good Summary will do that. It will leave your audience begging for more.
At the same time, an elevator pitch needs to build trust. You’ve gotten the attention of your prospect. Now you just need to make sure the reader can start trusting you or you’ll get more inquiries from irrelevant people than you’d care for. Since I started off by saying, “Here’s one thing no one tells you about LinkedIn Profile Summaries,” I might want to follow up with something like this: “I’ve been working with Sales Professionals for the past 5 years now and they were all impressed by this fact.”
If you aren’t in sales you’ll know that this “one fabulous thing” might not be for you and that’s fine with me. I’ve built trust by being honest and transparent about who I work with…
So there you have it when writing your profile Summary, keep those two points in mind.
- Start off your Summary by creating curiosity
- End it by building trust?
(Photo credit: Georgie Pauwels)