In this article, leading Sales Expert Andy Preston explains that although LinkedIn is one of the best business development tools available, many people don’t use it properly, and even worse – make mistakes that actually LOSE them sales, rather than WIN them…..
Whenever I’m talking to salespeople or business owners about online sales tools, the one that they mention most often is LinkedIn. Yet I’m often amazed at how many people admit they don’t really use it properly – and even those that ‘think’ they’re using it properly don’t get the sales results they could from it.
Even worse that, some people make various ‘sales mistakes’ over LinkedIn – often without realising – that cost them valuable leads, connections and ultimately sales.
If we’re not connected already, connect with me here – http://uk.linkedin.com/in/andypreston/ for specific ideas on how to get better results for your time spent on there, but in the meantime, here are the 10 biggest sales mistakes people make on LinkedIn……
LinkedIn is an online networking site. What’s one of the most critical factors in networking? People getting to know you, like you and trust you. And that’s even more important in first impressions online. Yet many people don’t have the best picture when you click on their profiles!
So what do I mean by not having the best picture? Well if you’re on LinkedIn for business development reasons (and most of the people I speak to are) then you need a good, clear picture of you (so people can see what you look like and recognise you ‘offline’ if necessary). It also needs to show you in a ‘professional’ light, not look like a picture that belongs on Facebook instead! That doesn’t help your professional credibility – and if you’ve got a company logo there instead – even worse!
This is even more serious than the last point! With the advent of ‘Social Media Automation’, it’s very easy to put automatically put your twitter feed straight into Facebook, LinkedIn etc – but just because it’s easy, it doesn’t mean it’s a good idea!
What most people forget is that they’ve changed ‘platform’ (from Twitter to LinkedIn for example), so there’s also a change of context. What might be acceptable on Twitter can actually be VERY DAMAGING on LinkedIn!
For example, one of the things LinkedIn does that Twitter doesn’t is store previous status updates on your profile page. So all the people you’re trying to impress and gain professional credibility with, are now reading your late-night Twitter updates about how many bottles of wine you’ve drunk, what you think of a particular football team, or which person on television you fancy – don’t laugh because I’ve seen it hundreds of times! It’s safe to say – those people have DEFINITELY lost business because of that!
As more and people get onto LinkedIn, this is a problem I’m seeing more and more frequently. As people are trying to gain credibility with their profiles (or get their ‘profile completeness’ up to 100%), they’re asking people for testimonials or recommendations that are in fact, worthless!
In terms of raising credibility online, testimonials and recommendations are obviously critical to that – but only the good quality ones will help you – the poor quality ones can actually make people think worse of you!
So what do I mean by a poor quality testimonial? One that says ‘Andy is a nice person’ or similar is pointless! As is one that’s from a colleague! Pointless! As is one that’s obviously from a ‘mate’ – especially if you’ve given them one back! We can see through that sort of thing very easily – and now the credibility of those testimonials (and your own credibility) has just dropped through the floor. Not a smart move.
Another mistake most people make on LinkedIn is to talk too much about their company, rather than themselves. Now, I’m not saying that I want to read about how many cats you have, or what you got up to at weekend – save that for Facebook!
What I’m saying is too much of a ‘corporate face’ and not enough about you individually and what you do will switch people off from connecting with you, networking with you, and doing business with you.
Your profile wants to introduce me to YOU first, then your company later. Company profiles are where the majority of the company information goes. I want to know about YOU first – what you do, who you are looking for, and how you can help – before I want to know anything else.
As LinkedIn release more and more applications, the number (and relevance) of the applications of your profile become more and more important. Too many people are including too many – and irrelevant – applications to their profile.
Unless you’re an IT contractor or an interim manager (or you’re looking for a new job!), uploading your CV is irrelevant to your LinkedIn profile. In fact it can have a detrimental effect as people think they can’t trust you enough to do business with you as you’re probably moving on quickly.
And do people really need to know your travel movements? ‘On a trip to Basingstoke’ or ‘on a trip to Grimsby’ don’t have quite the same ring as ‘on a trip to New York’ or ‘Las Vegas’.
And don’t think that uploading your corporate presentation to slideshare helps you either. It’s probably been designed for people who have agreed to see you, or asked for the presentation. Contacts on LinkedIn wouldn’t fall into either of those categories. It will be boring and irrelevant at best!
People want to get to know YOU first, before they want to get to know your company or your products and services. Therefore, you want to encourage them to connect with you, message you, or make an enquiry BEFORE they are a qualified prospect for you. Pushing ‘company information’ at them at this stage won’t help – and may even get in the way of them being interested going forwards.
To get the other 5 Biggest Sales Mistakes Most People Make On LinkedIn, go to www.andy-preston.com/ask-andy and request ‘LinkedIn article’.