Of all of the online tools you may use, your LinkedIn profile is probably the single most valuable. More often than you may be aware of, your prospects are going online prior to an appointment and doing a search of your name. Inevitably, your LinkedIn profile will appear in one of the top three spots and your prospect will definitely click that link. So here is the question: What will they learn about you?  

I have reviewed hundreds of profiles for my clients, and with absolute certainty I can say to about 98% of you reading this: Your profile simply makes you look like every other group health agent that you are competing against.

Let’s begin at the very top of the profile page with your name. Immediately under your name, you have listed a title such as benefit consultant, agent, owner, president, account manager, or some other mundane title. If you take a moment and go to edit mode and click on the icon next to your title, you will see that LinkedIn asks for your professional headline. In a newspaper or a magazine like Employee Benefit Adviser the headline is designed to capture the reader’s attention and get him/her to want to read further. When a prospect sees a job title he/she thinks they know exactly what you do. In most cases, since your job title is exactly the same as that of every one of your competitors, there is no need to read further. 

One of my clients is focused on selling dental and vision insurance and his headline is: “Specializing in Innovative Design in Dental Insurance Offering Premiums 38% Lower than The Market.” You may not like it, but I guarantee that prospects read more of his profile than they do of yours.

Working our way down the page we come to the background section. The first thing that prospects should see is your summary. If you are like most of your competitors, you have written your biography and added in your philosophy and values. No one cares about your biography. What your prospects do care about is what you actually do for your clients and what makes you different from your competition.    

The summary section should be used as a mini sales-page. Instead of saying that you focus on consumer-directed health insurance, talk about how you turn a client’s health insurance into a financial asset instead of an expense line. Instead of talking about finding the best value, talk about expanding benefits within the context of the client’s benefit budget.

The last area of LinkedIn optimization — which is incredibly important, but one that most people miss — has to do with contact information. For reasons that defy logic, most benefit professionals (and most salespeople in general) only include their email address and a link to the company website. You absolutely should include your telephone number and business address. You would never think of having a business card without your telephone number, so why omit this on LinkedIn?  You should make it as easy as possible for a prospect to get in touch via the method they most like to use.

Since LinkedIn is generally viewed by prospects early in the sales process, you should want it to make you stand-out — as opposed to making you look like everyone else.  Optimize it and it will be an amazingly powerful sales tool.

Schlesinger is an independent consultant focused on helping benefit professionals double their income. Reach him at (336) 777-3938 or through getmoregroupclients.com.

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