Episode #383: C. Lee Smith

Why Building Credibility on Linkedin is Key
C Lee Smith


C. Lee Smith

Lee is recognized as the Global Sales Credibility Authority. He is the author of the bestselling sales book “SalesCred: How Buyers Qualify Sellers” and the CEO of the sales research firm SalesFuel.

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

The Voice of the B2B Buyer Study surveyed over 1,000 decision-makers and found that 63% of them will search for a salesperson online before they ever take a call or meet with them. You never get a second chance to make a first impression. 

Only 1 in 4 people view salespeople as credible. You start every relationship from a place of weakness—unless your LinkedIn profile can get you on an equal playing field. Your LinkedIn profile can be the key to building credibility. C. Lee Smith shares how to do that in this episode of Sales Reinvented. 

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:44] Is a compelling LinkedIn profile important?
  • [2:05] The elements to leverage on your LinkedIn profile
  • [3:52] How to tell your professional story on LinkedIn 
  • [4:48] Balancing professionalism and personality
  • [5:36] When to update your LinkedIn profile
  • [6:43] A tool to measure the impact of your LinkedIn profile
  • [8:14] Lee’s top LinkedIn profile dos and don’ts 
  • [10:54] Building credibility on LinkedIn is key

The elements to leverage on your LinkedIn profile

Your headline is the most important 200 characters on your profile. It can’t just be your job description. Use that real estate to tell your prospects why they should do business with you.

Then you need to focus on your “about” section. You get about 200 characters before someone has to click “read more” and you need to use them wisely. Most people won’t click to read more.

Lastly, look at your job history from a different perspective. B2B buyers look for years of experience and serving their industry. If your job history doesn’t show extensive experience, use the about section to make up for it. 

Certifications and awards show that you know what you’re talking about. The #1 goal is to use your LinkedIn profile to build credibility. You must be seen as a go-to authority. 

A tool to measure the impact of your LinkedIn profile

SalesCred PRO provides you with a credibility check to show you how buyers see you. One of the tools grades your profile based on who you’re selling to in a particular industry. It will offer recommendations on what you need to do to fix each section of your profile. You can use their AI to help you rewrite the sections that need help. The goal is a more impactful first impression. 

Lee’s top LinkedIn profile dos and don’ts 

Lee shares some great tips everyone needs to follow: 

  • Craft your LinkedIn profile for your next client—not your next boss
  • Use your LinkedIn profile to present yourself as an authority to build your credibility; it will help you gain respect.
  • Score your LinkedIn profile based on the buyer you’re targeting and make necessary changes.
  • Don’t get cute with your name. It should be your first and last name—whatever your prospect is searching for. 
  • Don’t use the headline for your job title. Use it to tell prospects why they should listen to you.
  • Don’t overlook the article section. It can build your credibility as an author. Make buyers believe that you know something they don’t know. 

Building credibility on LinkedIn is key

Lee worked with a salesperson who was struggling because his prospects weren’t returning his calls or emails. He had recently moved from the automotive industry to selling professional services. He was good at his job but struggling to gain traction. 

They used the SalesCred PRO tool to assess his profile. They ended up recommending that he change and update his certifications. So he earned an important certification and then posted it on his profile. 

They also had him post articles sharing his thoughts on industry events. Now, he’s becoming an industry expert and both his email and phone call response rates have increased by over 30%. 

It’s not just about your personal brand. It’s about credibility. You must personalize and customize your LinkedIn profile for the particular industry that you sell to and become a go-to resource.

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Learn More About C. Lee Smith

Are there any definitive guides or resources you recommend for crafting an effective LinkedIn profile? SalesCred PRO has a Digital CredCheck which scores your digital credibility in the minds of those in a specific industry looking for the product/service you sell. More: salescred.com/pro

In the realm of LinkedIn branding and sales, who do you most admire and why? Both Brynne Tillman and Carol Kaemmerer are very capable sales consultants focusing on LinkedIn for social selling.

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

  1. The #1 goal is to build credibility and present you as a go-to authority. Busy people don’t want to waste time with people who provide no value to them.
  2. Score your LinkedIn profile based on the buyer you’re targeting, what they’re looking for and their industry. Make changes, then score again. 
  3. Craft your LinkedIn profile for your next big client, not your next employer. (The only exception being for college students looking to land their first job)
  4. Post an article weekly that demonstrate your expertise, experience and credibility. It could be as simple as linking to a story or video you found elsewhere and adding a thought from you to it.
  5. The most credible salespeople make buyers believe you know something they don’t know. Use articles to demonstrate that.
  6. Don’t get cute with your name. Use your first name and last name as a prospect would search for it
  7. Don’t use the headline for your job title. Use it to tell your prospects why they should listen to you and what they will gain from doing business with you..
  8. Focus on the first sentence of everything. Most decision-makers are scanners, not readers. Grab their attention, make them think.
  9. Stay top-of-mind with prospects by liking and commenting positively on their articles when appropriate.
  10. Update your LinkedIn profile before you pursue a large prospect. Credible people do business with credible people. Will they see that you know what you’re talking about in their industry and know how to help them?

What are the primary considerations that companies should be aware of regarding their employees’ representation on LinkedIn? How they conduct themselves in commenting on other’s LinkedIn posts reflects positively or negatively on the company.

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? Absolutely. The SalesCred Master Class on Digital Credibility was designed for this. More: https://salesfuel.com/salescred/masterclasses/

Can you share some case studies or examples of how a well-crafted LinkedIn profile has significantly impacted a company’s sales or networking capabilities? We worked with salesperson who was moving from automotive industry to selling professional services. He was a good salesperson, but we having trouble get traction in his new industry. We used the SalesCred PRO tool to show him why. One piece of advice was to work on the Certifications area. So he earned an important certification and posted it. Another was to post articles with his thoughts on industry events. He is now seen more as an industry expert and his email response rate and call return rate have both increased by over 30%.

LinkedIn is constantly evolving. Are there any new features or strategies that you’re currently delving into or recommend sales professionals should explore? Obviously AI. Salespeople should never post AI-generated content without reviewing and editing it first. Made-up facts are a credibility killer.

How do you balance showcasing your hobbies and interests on LinkedIn, ensuring it complements your professional brand? Relate the lessons learned from your personal interests to sales, marketing or business by writing an article about it. I do this frequently with my long-distance cycling adventures.

For listeners eager to learn more, what’s the best way to connect with you on LinkedIn or other platforms? Send me a connection request. LinkedIn.com/in/cleesmith

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