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Personal Branding for Sales Professionals: Establishing the Basics

Before we talk about content, inspiration and thought leadership we need to ensure that we cover the basics. After all, how can you position yourself as a credible source if you don’t have the right foundations? The LinkedIn profile page is the foundation for your personal branding. The good news for all of us is that LinkedIn is consistently working on adding new features to increase its capabilities as a personal marketing platform and give you ways to highlight your skills and motivations. In this lesson, we will cover the top 5 things you need to do to ensure that your LinkedIn profile shows you in the best light.

Number 1. Your profile picture & background photo: your profile picture on LinkedIn is how people are introduced to you and governs their impressions from the start. Remember we are visual beings and we usually have the tendency to remember a picture a lot better than text. Make sure your picture is recent, and really looks like you! Your face should take up around 60% of the picture, so avoid long distance shots where we can’t really see you! You should wear what you like to wear to work and always remember to smile! The second component is the background photo or banner that you have right above your photo on LinkedIn. It grabs people’s attention and showcases more of what matters to you. It could be anything that will be engaging & memorable but going with a theme of your company, the company where you work for is absolutely fine.

Number 2. The headline: no one ever said that the description at the top of your profile has to just be a job title. Use this space to say a bit more about your role, why you do what you do, what inspires you and what you’re striving to achieve. For example, if you work in the supply chain industry you can say something along the lines of “Helping companies transform their supply chains” or if you work in the coaching industry you could say “Empowering people to change their lives”. Getting the headline right, grabs attention and will make people want to click into your full profile. Think of the headline along with your photo as a great book cover one that will entice you to turn the page.

Number 3. LinkedIn summary: make sure to have a LinkedIn Summary. You will be surprised how many people still leave this field blank when they create their LinkedIn profiles. This is not just a place where you list your list and your job titles, nor is it a place to copy and paste your CV! Your summary is your chance to tell your own story – bring things to life – your passions, why you enjoy what you do – what problems or challenges you are helping your customer address. Invest some time in getting the summary right! This is the most personal piece of content marketing and taking the time and effort to get it right is crucial. If you’re stuck, remember it's ok to look for inspiration, see what others in the same industry have on their profiles so that you can differentiate yourself from the crowd. People love a good story, it’s a way in which we all connect, so if you can write your summary in a way that tells a story your profile will surely stand out from the crowd! Cultivating a strong personal brand will humanize your business and allow you to develop stronger relationships which will lead to broader exposure.

Number 4. Grow your network: someone once said a network is only a network if you actually keep in touch with those people. One of the easiest ways to grow your LinkedIn network from the ground up is to sync your profile with your email address book. LinkedIn will then suggest people you could connect with. You also get to vet all the potential connections, so that no connection request is sent without your permission. As a sales professional, you should get into the habit of following up on meetings and conversations with a LinkedIn connection request. It’s a great way to keep your network growing and up to date. Connect with like-minded individuals whose thought leadership you admire, or you are inspired by the content they post that is relevant to your industry or niche.

Number 5. Request recommendations: recommendations give people that are looking at your profile a glimpse into what you're most valued for. They are personal testimonials that showcase the experience of working with you. Take some time to think about who you would most value a recommendation from and personalize your request. Take some time to perhaps surprise someone with a recommendation that you can write about them! It’s a great way to make someone’s day and I’m certain that they will write something for you in return!

To summarize, here are the top 5 things you should do to optimize your LinkedIn profile. Have a photo and background, a great headline, a summary that tells a story, continue growing your network, and request recommendations from people you have worked within the past.

In the next lesson, Content Creation, I will share with you some tips and tricks on how you can get started shaping your personal brand.

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Written by

Malvina EL-Sayegh