Episode #395: Karen Tisdell

Create a LinkedIn Profile that Serves Your Prospects


Karen Tisdell

Karen Tisdell has been writing LinkedIn profiles for senior leaders and sales teams since 2009. Before this, she enjoyed 16 years on the front line of sales – from door-to-door sales, to selling advertising space, to pimping people in recruitment. (A role she loved, btw!) Karen left recruitment to set up her profile writing business after having won National Recruiter of the Year for the highest volume of sales. She achieved this success by using LinkedIn to search for and nurture relationships with prospects. Today, Karen ranks as one of the top 8 independent LinkedIn trainers across Asia Pacific (SMMI) and in addition to writing profiles and training sales teams, she is the lead LinkedIn trainer at many institutes and bodies in her home country. She is also a guest lecturer for MBA students at two universities in Sydney, Australia. 

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

Everyone needs a LinkedIn profile. Why? People want to assess whether or not they can like you. They want to determine if you’re credible and trustworthy. Most people want to do this before meeting you or having a conversation so they don’t feel like they’re wasting their time. You have to show up in service to your prospects. How? Karen Tisdell shares her process in this episode of Sales Reinvented. 

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:31] Why a compelling LinkedIn profile is important
  • [3:02] Your headline follows you everywhere—prioritize it
  • [4:15] How to tell your professional story on LinkedIn
  • [5:06] Divide your “about” section into four parts
  • [6:38] How often to update your LinkedIn profile 
  • [8:31] Tools to build a better LinkedIn profile
  • [10:46] Karen’s top LinkedIn profile dos and don’ts 
  • [14:34] How you show up on LinkedIn matters 

Your headline follows you everywhere—prioritize it

Your headline can be just as important as your photo because it follows you everywhere. Most people default to using their position title. Instead, use the space to focus on your client’s problem, what you solve, and who you serve. Secondly, your summary section needs to be client-focused. 

Karen also recommends diving your about section into four parts:

  • Section #1: Talk about your prospect’s pain points and develop empathy
  • Section #2: Talk about how you solve their problems and share case studies
  • Section #3: Talk about your origin story, your values, and what you find exciting about your industry
  • Section #4: Include a call to action.

People are yearning for connection. That’s why you have to bring yourself into the process. When you make a genuine connection, you’re more likely to make a sale. Talk about who you are. Share your values and hobbies. Talk about why you love your product or service and your passion for the industry. 

How often to update your LinkedIn profile 

Set a calendar reminder to update your profile every 3–6 months. Think about the words you’re hearing from clients. Are they being captured in your profile? Do you have any new skills? Are there any new client testimonials or case studies? Should you update your featured section? You don’t want to be talking about something that happened three years ago. 

What tools can you leverage to improve your profile? Listen to hear Karen’s thoughts!

Karen’s top LinkedIn profile dos and don’ts 

Here are some tips to help you hit the ground running: 

  • Make sure your headline talks to your audience’s problem and how you solve it for them. Make it keyword-rich on the front end. Don’t start with “I help large enterprises to…” People only pay attention to the first four words, so get to the point quickly.
  • Write your section in the first person. Don’t place distance between you and your prospect by talking in the third person. Talk to them directly.
  • If people have scrolled to your experience section, you’ve earned the right to sell. 
  • Use a call to action! Include some contact information. Let them know what you want them to do next and flatten the path to purchase. 
  • Don’t talk about your sales awards.
  • Don’t talk about how good you are at making lots of money off of people. 

How you show up on LinkedIn matters

Karen was tasked with writing profiles for 12 sales executives for a large enterprise. She loves that type of work. She interviewed them to understand who they were. One person was a high performer, a maverick who did whatever he wanted. He wanted all of his accomplishments front and center. She knew it wouldn’t attract clients. 

She wrote a profile that talked to his client’s pain points. When they were editing it together, he kept saying “I want more sales accomplishments in there.” In the end, she caved and filled his profile with sales accomplishments. Its main focus was how amazing and impressive he was.

Karen recently caught up with the marketing manager who had engaged her to do the work. That person went from a top performer to one of the lowest performers in the company.

Your prospects are looking at your profile and how you show up matters. Show up in service to them. 

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

These how-to articles will teach you the fundamentals of crafting a winning profile:

  • About: How to write your LinkedIn About section and Examples
  • Experience: How to write your LinkedIn Experience section (with examples)

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

Justin Welsh. His content cuts through the noise and hits the heart of what people really care about. He more than understands his audience’s pain—he empathizes with it.

Justin’s plain-speaking, no-nonsense style only adds to the accessibility of his ideas. I also find it fascinating how he sells an image of success without feeling outlandish or over-the-top. I’ve no idea if his programs are great, but how he uses LinkedIn to sell, is admirable.

What are your top 10 tips for someone looking to optimise their LinkedIn profile for sales — your golden advice set?

  • Craft your headline using keywords: Your headline should immediately capture the attention of potential clients and referrers. Begin with a clear statement of the problem you solve, followed by who you help. Incorporate keywords that resonate with your prospects to ensure they find your profile when searching for solutions.
  • Leverage your background banner: Treat your background banner as prime advertising space. It should feature your company logo or align with your company’s colour scheme. This visual element reinforces your professional identity and brand.
  • Use an effective profile picture: Ensure your profile photo is zoomed in close enough to see the whites of your eyes. A clear, close-up image builds trust and makes your profile more inviting and personable.
  • Engaging About section: Start this section with questions that speak directly to your prospects or use a striking statistic to grab their attention. Remember, a strong opening is key to keeping viewers engaged.
  • Prospect-centric About section: Write this section with your target audience in mind. It’s not about showcasing your achievements or skills but about addressing your audience’s challenges and pain points. Connect with your audience by highlighting how you can solve their problems.
  • Personalise your story: Avoid duplicating content from your company website. Instead, share your values, interests in the industry, and personal anecdotes. People prefer to do business with individuals they can relate to.
  • Direct selling in the Experience section: When viewers reach your Experience section, you can bet they’re interested. Here, be more assertive in your selling approach and include a call to action.
  • Accessible contact details: Include your contact information in both the About and Experience sections. Make it easy for prospects to reach you by providing clear instructions on the next steps they should take.
  • Utilise the Featured section: Use this section strategically to link to a lead magnet or your website or to showcase recommendations if you’re a premium member. This area is crucial for lead generation.
  • Seek recommendations: Actively request recommendations from your network. How? Just ask! These endorsements serve as powerful social proof and can be effectively used in sales proposals or emails.

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

    • All your employees must be correctly linked to the company’s LinkedIn page—this is essential. Providing a cheat sheet during induction can guide them in linking their profiles properly. This connection not only validates their employment but also displays your company logo in their Experience section, boosting brand visibility.
    • Give your employees a selection of professionally designed branded banners. Choose designs that employees will be proud to display on their profiles. This reinforces your brand identity and promotes brand advocacy.
    • Consider crafting a standardised paragraph for employees to include in their LinkedIn Experience sections. This should be high-impact, communicating your company’s mission and what you do. This uniform messaging ensures a consistent brand image and fosters a sense of unity and purpose among employees.
    • Allow and encourage your employees to actively post on LinkedIn. Restricting them from posting is counterproductive—it’s like limiting their use of phones or company email. Active participation on LinkedIn by employees can skyrocket your company’s reach and brand presence.

    Do you believe companies should provide specific training for employees to utilise LinkedIn effectively? Should this be a standard part of a salesperson’s induction/onboarding process? Yes, yes, and yes! It’s essential for salespeople to have training on the three pillars of LinkedIn: profile, prospecting, and posting.

      I believe that every new employee should be provided with a short video or how-to guide that focuses specifically on optimising their LinkedIn profile. Think about it like this: with just 20 employees, each with 750 connections, the potential reach for your business branding is 15,000 people.

      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?

      Five years ago, my clients would receive incoming calls almost immediately after publishing their new profiles. Nowadays, securing clients through LinkedIn has become a lot more complex. It’s not enough to simply have a great profile—that’s like wearing a sharp suit to a networking event and then hiding in the laneway all night. To succeed on LinkedIn, you need to put yourself out there. You need to engage with people, send direct messages, comment on posts, and create your own content.

      LinkedIn only rewards those who are active on the platform with increased visibility. When my clients are active, the results are phenomenal. For instance, one of my clients runs a women’s membership group and has secured over 20 new members in the past 18 months through her LinkedIn activities. At $1,200 a month in fees per person, that amounts to $432,000 in additional income from LinkedIn alone.

      What you can achieve is remarkable, but like most things, it requires consistency and effort.

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

      I am a big advocate of using video or voice notes to connect with new people. In a world of AI, chatbots, and virtual assistants, you’ve got to take every opportunity to establish a human-to-human connection. Nothing achieves this better than video and voice.

      How do you balance showcasing your hobbies and interests on LinkedIn, ensuring it complements your professional brand? First, try to link your hobbies or interests to your brand, your work, or your industry.

      If you can’t find a link, still include hobbies and interests. They won’t detract from your brand, so long as you always, always showcase how you solve your customers’ problems first and foremost in your profile. I often recommend a transition sentence in your About section, like: “When I’m not at work solving exciting challenges around XYZ, you’ll find me…”

      You can also post content on LinkedIn about what you do outside of work. People love seeing ‘behind the curtain,’ so show people who you are. But as tempting as it might be, don’t do this all the time, or your audience will forget what business-related issues you solve. 

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

      Of course, you can find me on LinkedIn here, or check out my website: www.KarenTisdell.com.

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