There are a lot of opinions about how to brand your LinkedIn profile, but if you are in sales, your LinkedIn profile should not be about you. In fact, if you want to attract, teach and engage your buyers, it is time to convert your profile from a resume to a resource.

We have all heard the incredible Corporate Vision’s stat that 74% of buyers choose the sales rep that was first to offer value and insights and the CEB statistic that 57% of the buying decision is made before the salesperson even knows they are looking…well, who is influencing that opinion? Is it you or your competition?

Here is the Quintessential Checklist for a Value-Centric Profile

 Background Banner

We are all visual, so including a banner that represents your brand is important. Keep in mind, the perfect LinkedIn banner size is a 1:4 ratio. If you don’t have a marketing department to create a profile for you, there are a few options:

  1. Canva.com is a free site where you can choose many options to create a perfect banner.
  2. com is an inexpensive way to have someone design a banner based on your logo and style.
  3. Create your own in PowerPoint using a template that you can find at LinkedInBanner.com

 Headline

Your headline is some of the most valuable real estate on your profile. Similar to a newspaper, the headline’s job is to get your visitors to want to read more. Typically, people have their title and company name, but that is not enough to catch your buyer’s attention and get them interested in reading further. So, give them something of value. Mention who and how you help and let your buyers know that you are speaking directly to their need. Your credibility all starts in your headline.

Mine is “Transforming the Way Professionals Grow Their Business by Leveraging LinkedIn to Schedule More Calls with Targeted Buyers”

BONUS: LinkedIn allows for the headline to be 120 characters, however, if you update your headline on an iPhone you get as many as 210 characters.

 About

The goal of your summary is to help influence that 57%. That means you need to bring it. Although there are many ways to build a powerful summary, here are the 6 elements that all sales professionals need to consider:

  1. Open up with a call-to-read. LinkedIn’s summary is condensed, so make sure that your first line attracts your readers and gets them to click on the “Show more…”
  2. Next, talk relate to your buyers’ challenges. Make sure they resonate with the issues you highlight.
  3. Offer insights that get them thinking differently about how they are doing things today. If you can offer value that they can implement even if they never have a conversation with you, then you are offering true insights. If the content only works if they work with you, then it’s not an insight, it’s a pitch.
  4. This step is tricky, as you want to be sure that you lay the ground for you to be the vendor of choice, without selling. Give them what they need to know when choosing a vendor and be sure to include your differentiators in that list. In other words, be sure to give them a list of what they “need” when making this decision and include features and benefits that are unique to your solution.
  5. Call-to-action. Okay, now you have their attention, they are curious but if they don’t know what to do now, they will click off your profile and in 2 minutes, forget they ever even found you. So, give them a way to raise their hand and say, I’d like to learn more. I think that if you are in sales, ask for the close, which is… the call.
  6. Then make sure you have included your phone number and email.

 Media

Adding collateral, video, case studies and links to articles can all be highlighted in the summary and experience sections by adding Rich Media. By uploading or linking to content that is relevant to your readers, you can add additional credibility to your brand.

Building a buyer-centric profile is foundational for anyone in a business development role. Take a look at your profile from your clients’ perspective and answer the question… will it get them excited to take your call? If the answer is no, you have some homework to do.

 Profile Picture

A high-quality profile headshot is essential. It doesn’t matter how much you love your dog, your car or even the wedding cut out with your spouse’s hand on your shoulder…get a professional headshot. People connect with people. Make sure you have a photo where you are smiling and making eye contact – it matters.

 Experience

Your job description doesn’t have to be a list of your responsibilities. Rather than talking about your years in business, your passion or your mission, share how you help your clients. Talk about the difference you make for the people and companies you work with.

 Experience Hack

LinkedIn will thread the different positions you hold or held inside if you are connected to your Company page. While this is meant to list your past roles, you can use this to highlight your deliverables or solutions. This gives you 2000 characters to talk about your offering as well as connecting rich media-specific that offering. You could, in many cases, take content straight from your website.

 Symbols

Adding Symbols to your profile is like “The Three Bears” – Papa Bear’s profile has nothing – and all the words just blend together. Mama Bear’s profile is full of fluff, diamonds and crowns and lots of bling distracting others from the content. But Baby Bear’s profile is just right. He has arrows to draw attention and break up ideas and bullets to have impact around key statements.  If you want your profile to pop, visit: LinkedInSymbols.com.

 Skills

This is very important for your prospects to see at a glance how you see yourself. This is also very important for search engine optimization.

 Education

Be sure to add all your schooling, even if they are just classes at local schools. This will show your commitment to education and may even help with Alumni.

 Recommendations

A solid testimonial is social proof that you have had an impact on your clients. Identify a few people that you have brought value to over the years, reach out and have a brief conversation. Let them know that you are building your LinkedIn presence and ask if they’d be willing to post a recommendation. You can even offer to write a draft for them to help the get started. Chances are they will use whatever it is that you send them.