Recently, I gave a LinkedIn sales training to a sales team at a midsize company. The company was admittedly underutilizing LinkedIn as a sales tool.
After reviewing all of the profiles, I saw a repetitive mistake nearly all of them were making: Their profiles looked like their resume. They listed their skills, their achievements in sales, and their employment history.
However, there was very little information about their current company. There was hardly a mention of the value they can provide to their existing customers anywhere on their profiles.
If you are an entrepreneur or in a sales position and your LinkedIn profile looks more like your resume and talks more about your past than your present, you are leaving leads on the table.
Here are some ways you can convert your LinkedIn profile from job-search mode into a massive lead-generation tool.
1) Show a branded background photo
I’m always amazed to see how many people on LinkedIn either don’t have a background photo or have one that is entirely unrelated to what they do.
Many of the salespeople I work with who do have a background photo have a beautiful picture of scenery. I always tell them that it’s great if they are branding themselves as a photographer or if they’re in the photo industry.
Consider having your company’s logo and a short value pitch along with a photo that represents your company’s brand. There are several tools that can help you easily create a branded background image for your LinkedIn profile. I use Canva and Adobe Spark.
2) Make your headline an attention-grabber
The common mistake here is to leave it under the default setting, which shows your job title. It is important that you customize this highly visible real estate on your profile by talking about how you personally add value to your clients. You’re limited to the number characters you can use, so keep it short but impactful.
An example for someone in inventory management software sales could be, “I save companies money by helping them optimize their inventory.”
3) Use a high-resolution profile picture
I’m amazed that many people still have low-quality profile pictures on LinkedIn. Your profile picture should be a high-quality, up-close picture of just you (not your pet, spouse, company logo, or some distant photo of you).
4) Deliver your value pitch in the summary
Your summary needs to focus on what you bring to the table as a solutions expert for your company. Make it less about what you’ve accomplished in the past. Your prospects won’t care if you were 160% to quota or the region’s top rep while at your last company.
Remove keywords that you may have included in your summary when you were looking for a job and wanting to be found by a recruiter, and replace them with a nice mix of keywords that your prospects could be searching for.
Last, make sure to have a call to action at the end, so your prospects know what to do next and how to reach you.
5) Include content that aids the buying process
You need to have at least two pieces of multi-media content displayed on your profile. They can be links to blog posts, videos, or landing pages.
Think of your profile as your personal sales presentation to prospects. Strong visual aids are a must in any sales pitch. You can attach multi-media content to your summary section and the experience section.
6) Get as many recommendations as possible from your clients
One of the best sales tools on LinkedIn is the ability to get recommendations from clients and then prominently display them on your profile. LinkedIn recommendations are especially powerful because they are tied directly to people’s profiles. In other words, your prospects can click through to see that the review came from a real person in the business community.
7) Throw in strong data points in your job description under your current company
For the descriptive space under your current company, don’t make the mistake of talking about what you do at the company. Instead, talk about how your solutions impact your clients. Give some data about how your products or services save companies money, improve their operations, make them more efficient, or improve their safety.
Once you set up your LinkedIn profile for lead generation, it will quickly become one of your top tools for sales.
Until then, the only people you can expect to hear from on LinkedIn are recruiters, which is great if you’re looking for a job, but not so great if you have a sales quota to hit.
Originally published on Inc.