By Greg Davis
Let’s talk about two LinkedIn topics: setting up a profile and using the Sales Navigator.
Look at your LinkedIn profile as a representation of what you want someone to know the first time you shake hands with them.
Tip 1: Your Photo
Make sure that you are sending the right message with your photo—no family photos, no “selfies,” and don’t go cropping your spouse out of a picture from the latest formal event you attended. I doubt they would feel good about being cut out!
Tip 2: The Headline
Keeping in line with our theme, how would you introduce yourself? At the top of your LinkedIn profile, you have what is called a “Professional Tagline.” Here, you have 120 characters to showcase who you are and what you do. Use this as a way to differentiate yourself. For example, if you’re a commercial banker, why don’t you tell the world that you aim to help business owners achieve their goals? Isn’t that your mission in banking?
Tip 3: The Summary
Your summary is an opportunity to explain a little bit about yourself, outside of the obvious (your name, where you work and so forth). Why did you get into banking? What makes you unique from other bankers? Give your best “elevator pitch” about yourself, and don’t be afraid to make it personal. The most common misconception about LinkedIn as a professional network is that you can’t express your personal interests. Tell people what you enjoy outside of your day job, because it makes you more identifiable to your customers.
Your picture, headline and summary all give you the opportunity to tell your story, share who you are and build your professional brand. Your profile page is not only a great marketing tool for you, but one of the very first places most of your prospects stop when they are deciding whether or not to do business with you.
Now that you’ve built out your profile, what’s next?
Let’s talk about some best practices for using Sales Navigator to increase sales. So much of how sales and loan officers tend to go about building their business is outdated. Community events, booths and old-school phone prospecting are still the standard, but the results are diminishing because of the rise of technology. Your prospects are searching for loans online, and are about 57 percent of the way through a decision before they have their first conversation with a sales professional. Today, Sales Navigator can enable you to inform and educate those very same prospects in the early stages of the purchase process, which, in turn, could get you closer to closing more deals.
You can use Sales Navigator to:
- Build target leads, which can provide you more detail and accuracy than traditional lead lists you may purchase. This will enable you to be able to build out leads by job title, industry, location and job function. As we approach close to 400 million members on LinkedIn, using Sales Navigator not only opens up the world of LinkedIn for you, but also can allow you to narrow down your search in many specific ways, exactly how you want it, when you want it.
- See what matters most to each of your prospects, and you’ll be among the first to know when they have been mentioned in the news, made a job change or been promoted. This information enables you to engage with insight, build trust and have conversations that are meaningful. Becoming a trusted advisor has never been easier.
- Leverage your internal team’s connections, which can give you a higher success rate than cold calling. Business-to-business buyers are five times more likely to engage with sales professionals who were introduced to them through someone in their professional network. 
- You’re able to get introduced to prospects you previously had no idea were a shared connection. Sales Navigator opens up a world of warm introductions and potentially exponentially more productivity. Better results, faster.
As sales professionals, we are always looking for the best tools to make us smarter, more informed and help us be trusted advisers for our clients. When you combine your best profile on LinkedIn—one that allows your prospects to get to know you as a person and a professional—with the premier sales solution, Sales Navigator, you have set yourself up for the ultimate success and revenue production.
- CEB, 2012 Study “The Digital Evolution in B2B Marketing”
- LinkedIn Global Survey of 1500 B2B buyers and decision-makers, May 2014
Greg Davis is the director of sales for the Financial Services division at LinkedIn.
Online training in LinkdedIn from ABA.