Episode #385: Deanna Russo

The 3 Questions a LinkedIn Profile Must Answer
Deanna Russo


Deanna Russo

Deanna Russo grew her network on LinkedIn from 400 to 29,000 (and counting) and she started Leverage Up to pass on her knowledge and help others achieve all the benefits that she learned on her own.  

Deanna works with her 1 on 1 clients, corporate clients, and Leverage Up group members to maximize the benefits of LinkedIn in the fastest way possible, getting the fundamentals down before wasting time and money on all the extras LinkedIn offers.  She helps her clients brand themselves, boat visibility and have conversations that directly lead to business.

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

A compelling LinkedIn profile is essential. But why? Everyone in sales has a business card. It can only do so much as an introduction. LinkedIn allows you to sell yourself in addition to selling your product or services. To do that impactfully, your LinkedIn profile needs to answer 3 questions. Deanna Russo shares what they are in this episode of Sales Reinvented!

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:33] Is a compelling LinkedIn profile important?
  • [2:24] The two elements that have an impact on sales
  • [3:38] Balancing professionalism and personality 
  • [4:38] How to tell your professional story on LinkedIn 
  • [6:06] When to update your LinkedIn profile
  • [7:30] Tools to improve your LinkedIn profile
  • [8:48] Deanna’s top LinkedIn profile dos and don’ts 
  • [11:55] The 3 questions a LinkedIn profile must answer

Balancing professionalism and personality 

People need to understand that you are human. When it comes to sharing something outside of the realm of work, you can “peel the onion” as much or as little as you want. What are you comfortable with? Show your human side in addition to the business side. People buy from people, not from robots. 

How do you tell your story? Use your “about” section. You get 2,000 characters to tell your story. But make the beginning of the “about” section about your potential customer. They need to relate to your opening sentences. If you relate to the problem that you solve, more people will click “See more.” 

How to improve your LinkedIn profile

Is your picture current? Are your recommendations outdated? Have you updated your experiences? Does what you’re writing highlight your wins and accomplishments? Refresh your profile based on what you need it to do for you. Deanna refreshes her profile monthly. Don’t let it sit untouched for years. 

Secondly, Deanna recommends using Canva to design your profile banner. Most people just use a pretty image. But a photo can only mean so many things. Deanna would add text to the banner with a phrase that adds context or helps people know what you’re all about.

Deanna’s top LinkedIn profile dos and don’ts 

What does Deanna recommend doing (or avoiding) on LinkedIn to transform it? 

  • Don’t use LinkedIn and your profile as an online resume. 
  • Don’t just put your job title in your headline. If you were to search “sales” or “business development” you’d get search results for millions of people. The people who stand out are those who leverage their headlines and transform them into a branding vehicle.
  • Don’t take the job description and paste it into your experience section. It’s far too much information that doesn’t actually tell your prospect(s) what they need to know. 
  • Don’t go out of your way to ask people for recommendations. Be honest about how important their testimonials are but don’t chase them down. 
  • Make your LinkedIn profile about the people you want to do business with.
  • Relate to your customer. Have a conversation like you would face-to-face. Talk normally.
  • People access Linkedin on their computers and via the app. If you can’t read someone’s banner, they’ll scroll on. 

Listen to the whole episode for a few more ideas!

The 3 questions your LinkedIn profile needs to answer 

Someone treated their LinkedIn as an online resume for 10+ years until her company needed her to use it more actively to bring in business. She had to transform her profile. She made sure her clients, prospects, and referrals:

  1. Knew who she was
  2. Knew who she served
  3. Knew what she was looking to get out of it

Then she started looking for conversations she wanted to be a part of. She started commenting on people’s posts. She posted content twice a week for over a year. The “She” in question was Deanna. 

Leveraging LinkedIn opened many more doors than cold-calling. People got to know, like, and trust her. Her social media following grew from 400 to over 11,000 in 18 months. Now, she has over 29,000 followers on LinkedIn and spends her time teaching others how to do the same thing.

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Deanna Russo 

Connect With Paul Watts


Audio Production and Show notes by

Learn More About Deanna Russo

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

I recommend changing your mindset of what LinkedIn is, before you start to craft an effective LinkedIn profile.

A LinkedIn profile is not an online resume.  LinkedIn is a big networking event and your profile is the first step toward people trusting you with their business.

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

There are a lot of LinkedIn “experts” out there and I’ve found that if the person is willing to give advice freely, they are the best and most trusted people to follow.

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

  1. We need to see your face and smile.
  2. Show us the way you look now, not 5 or 10 years ago.
  3. You are more than your job title
  4. Relate to the people you are trying to reach.
  5. Stay away from industry terms or jargon.
  6. Talk with us not at us.
  7. Tell us who you are and not just what you do.
  8. Tell us why you are passionate about what you do.
  9. Tell us your story, what brought you to this profession?
  10. Testimonials are gold, if recommendations are years old, how can we understand what it’s like to work with you now?

What are the primary considerations that companies should be aware of regarding their employees’ representation on LinkedIn?

    Employees’ are their companies’ biggest branding vehicles.  Don’t think of LinkedIn as what will steal them away from you, encourage them to brand themselves and your company on it the right way.

    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 because they are using LinkedIn in order to sell and represent the company.  If they aren’t utilizing LinkedIn effectively how will the company look?

    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?

    My clients have seen profile views dramatically increase – from 10 a week ro 850 a week.  Visibility comes first, then comes inbound business.  My clients have seen people reach out to them asking what it looks like to work with them after working with me.

    The profile should answer the “What do you do?” and “Why should I care?” questions.

    LinkedIn is constantly evolving. Are there any new features or strategies that you’re currently delving into or recommend sales professionals should explore?

    Collaborative Articles is an awesome feature that allows professionals to share advice with those interested in learning more about a particular topic.

    Do not explore any features like LinkedIn Sales Navigator without working on the fundamental parts of your LinkedIn presence first.

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

    We are all humans.  We all have hobbies and interests outside of work.  Peel away the onion as little or as much as you want to.

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

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