One of the focus points for Social Selling University will be on the sales persons use of LinkedIn. I’m fairly certain that all my readers have a LinkedIn profile, if not you really need one. LinkedIn is a professional platform typically used for people to create a profile and keep in contact with past coworkers and keep connected to people you do business with.

Sales people use LinkedIn as a discovery tool on new leads to get more information than is typically available in a lead form. You can get a better idea of ‘who’ the prospect is and get more detailed information about past positions and ways you are connected with the person. This is all great information that completes the picture of your prospect and gives some initial talking points you can draw from. Their profile, if completed may be the best indications of their decision ability and background. This is all good Sales 2.0 tactics. [tweetmeme source= “insideview” only_single=false]

Your LinkedIn profile needs to stand out. It’s going to be one of, if not the first places your prospects go to find out about you. Just as sales people use LinkedIn to get a picture of their prospects, your prospects are doing the same. What does your LinkedIn profile say to your prospects? Are you a professional or just another sales person trying to meet your quarterly goals? Believe it or not, your LinkedIn profile will be an important impression that you get to make on your prospect.

Complete your profile

At the bare minimum you should fill in enough information so that the little indicator on the right of your profile says 100%. This means that you have added in past employment, schools and some additional information. You want your LinkedIn profile to show that you have experience and a high level of professionalism in the areas you lack in experience.

Have you customized your headline to grab peoples attention? Have you customized your LinkedIn URL to contain your name or does it still show as a series of generic numbers? These are items you want to pay attention to because other professionals will notice this lack of detail and even if subconsciously take points away from your credibility.

I was researching good LinkedIn profiles and came across this one from Art Flater of Central Office Systems. Though I was looking for an example of an excellent LinkedIn profile, this stood out for other reasons. Now, Art did complete his profile and even customized it but he seems to have an interesting sense of humor when it comes to everything else. Not exactly what I would suggest a professional to do but depending on your business culture maybe as in this case.

At first I was thrown back by this profile but I guess as the owner of a business you put this online for a reason and since he’s got customer recommendations and continued to build his company, he must be doing something right. After a little more searching it’s clear he is a good businessman with contributing articles to a local business news site

What do you think about this LinkedIn profile? Is it a joke?

What does your LinkedIn profile say about you? Before 2011 spend 10 minutes to go through your profile and update it.