Episode #381: Joanne Black

Tell Your Story on Your LinkedIn Profile
Joanne Black


Joanne Black

Joanne Black is known as America’s leading authority on referral selling—the only sales strategy guaranteed to produce a qualified pipe and convert prospects to clients well more than 50 percent of the time. Joanne works with sales leaders and their teams to build a referral culture, fuel growth, and drive revenue. She is a member of the National Speakers Association and speaks at sales meetings and conferences with her signature talk “Referrals Are Retro: How to Build a Referral Culture in a Digital World.” Joanne is the author of No More Cold Calling™: The Breakthrough System That Will Leave Your Competition in the Dust, and Pick Up the Damn Phone!: How People, Not Technology, Seal the Deal.

Our Mission Is To Change The Negative Perception Of Sales People

Our Vision Is A World Where Selling Is A Profession To Be Proud Of

Your LinkedIn profile needs to be compelling—it’s your face to the world, after all. Joanne believes that to be compelling, you have to share who you are, what got you where you are, and why you do what you do. 

LinkedIn can be a great way for someone to get to know the person behind the words. People do business with people. That’s why your personality needs to show. She shares why you can’t be afraid to tell your story on LinkedIn in this episode of Sales Reinvented. 

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:21] Is a compelling LinkedIn profile important?
  • [2:04] The elements that have the greatest impact on sales
  • [2:55] How to tell your story on LinkedIn 
  • [5:00] Balancing professionalism and personality
  • [9:38] How often to update your LinkedIn profile
  • [10:22] Tools to measure the impact of your LinkedIn profile
  • [11:47] Joanne’s top LinkedIn profile dos and don’ts
  • [11:59] Build a personal brand in your desired market
  • [15:25] Make your LinkedIn profile clear and precise

How to tell your story on LinkedIn 

Your LinkedIn profile shouldn’t be a resume. It’s not about what you do. It’s about what you do for others. What outcome or results do clients achieve when they work with you? If you share a success story, it tells more about you. Weave the value you bring someone else into that story. 

You can share your personal stories as posts. Don’t be hesitant to share your heart because it can give insight into who you are. What was your trajectory? How did you get where you are today? Joanne finds these stories fascinating and so will most others. 

Write from your point of view. Don’t expect everyone to agree with it. Create a point of discussion and welcome the conversation surrounding it. That’s how you build relationships.

Balancing professionalism and personality

LinkedIn is a professional network—and you should maintain professionalism—but people need to know who you are. Joanne and I agree that Covid brought out the humanity in everyone. We’ve all been through some sort of loss or tragedy that impacts us personally and professionally. Sharing your emotional side connects you to people. Humans are emotional beings and when you connect on that level you’ll have a different kind of conversation.

Joanne’s top LinkedIn profile dos and don’ts

Joanne’s list of compelling LinkedIn profile dos and don’ts is spot-on: 

  • Use an engaging and current photo: Joanne told a client to change their photo because it was too stern. It needs to be approachable.
  • Showcase current recommendations: Joanne looks at recommendations because they tell her about the person, what they’re like, and how people say their names. It gives you background and context when you reach out to the individual. 
  • Have a unique point of view: People appreciate it when you share your unique point of view, even if it’s not the same as theirs. 
  • Don’t make it hard for people to connect with you: Complete your contact information. Include an email, phone number, company website, etc.
  • Don’t make your profile like a resume: They need to get to know who you are.
  • Don’t forget to post a blog post, an update, an opinion, or even share someone else’s post regularly. Engage people in conversation. 

LinkedIn is for networking. You wouldn’t show up to a networking event with a stack of resumes, would you? 

Make your LinkedIn profile clear and precise

Your LinkedIn profile doesn’t just need to be compelling but it needs to describe what you do exactly. Clients want to hire the expert. So what are you the expert in? Make it clear what you do and how you help people. Why do you love what you do? When you’re specific about what you do, you’re more likely to work with the people you love to work with. 

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Are there any definitive guides or resources you recommend for crafting an effective LinkedIn profile?

Hire an expert to work with you. Get a referral from someone’s Profile you resonated with.

In the realm of LinkedIn branding and sales, who do you most admire and why?

Brynne Tillman because she knows LinkedIn better than anyone. She’s morphed her company to focus entirely on getting success on LinkedIn. AND she has a process! (Total admission: Brynne is a friend.)

What are your top ten tips for someone looking to optimize their LinkedIn profile for sales – your golden advice set? 

  1. Tell your personal story. That’s the way you connect with people.
  2. Mainly talk about what your clients get and a small amount about what you do.
  3. Have a recent picture—without a partner or children.
  4. Include ALL you contact information. Make it easy for people to reach you.
  5. Recommendations, recommendations, recommendations. Ask for them and guide your clients for what to say about the results you delivered. Keep them current. I don’t want to see that the most recent was in 2019. Write the recommendation for them and ask them to modify. (They never do.)
  6. Post interesting, relevant, and sometimes contrarian content. Post regularly—once a week at a minimum. Companies have tons of content employees can share. But put your own voice on it in your introductory paragraph.
  7. Comment on posts of others and engage in conversation. Don’t just “like” a post. (Ok, sometimes that’s ok, but don’t make a habit of it.)
  8. Include key words for SEO.
  9. Do not invite people and then spam them. 
  10. Remember that LinkedIn is the place to make connections and build relationships. It’s not about the number of contacts you have but the number of connections you make. 

Do you believe companies should provide specific training for employees to utilize LinkedIn effectively? Should this be a standard part of a salesperson’s induction/onboarding process?

Yes, and yes, and yes. LinkedIn is the professional site and a place to learn about your clients and prospects. Employees must learn how to use it properly, connect with others in their company and definitely with every client.

    How do you balance showcasing your hobbies and interests on LinkedIn, ensuring it complements your professional brand?

    People are interested in us as people. They’ll connect with us personally first, and then look at what you do.

    For listeners eager to learn more, what’s the best way to connect with you on LinkedIn or other platforms? 

    Invite me to connect with a personal message—reference how we met or something of mine you read.  DO NOT send a standard message.

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