I recently worked on giving the head legal counsel at a prominent business law firm in Florida a LinkedIn profile makeover. I spent more than 90 minutes trying to uncover what makes this attorney any different from the thousands of other business lawyers that can be found on LinkedIn. Every time I asked him what makes him different and unique – he’d bring up his 40 years of experience and that he’s leading edge.
When I told him, I don’t care about how many years of experience you have – and no one else cares, I shocked him. He even mentioned, “How can you tell me that?” I explained that people care about results and what’s in it for them. I also explained that everyone says they’re “leading edge” but no one’s proving it. You can say that you are on the leading edge til your face turns blue – but it doesn’t mean that anyone is going to believe you until you show how.
Whether your professional service firm is a marketing agency, a PR firm, a legal office or an accounting company, you need to show that you are different from others in your industry. You have to stop using generic benefits and the same descriptive language your competition is using.
In the book, “How to Persuade People Who Don’t Want to Be Persuaded” the authors Joel Bauer and Mark Levy use this example:
Which of these two statements sound more credible:
A. “Send your child to our high school. We have high academic standards.”
B. “Send your child to our high school. For the past 3 years, Board of Education has ranked us in the nation’s top 15 in terms of SAT scores.
Now, I know you picked choice B because the language in choice B is specific and tangible. It creates a picture in people’s minds and has facts that can be corroborated. Choice A sounds like the language on most law firms and professional service firms websites and LinkedIn profiles. And, their audiences are saying, “And, so is everyone else” as “we are leading edge” or “we are cutting edge” is one of the most over-used phrases.
If they’re not using general descriptors – these firms are using generic benefits. For example, on many financial planning LinkedIn profiles, you’ll see…”My financial planning service can grow your money.” Isn’t that what every financial planning service should be able to do. How does this make them “leading edge”? However, if someone told me on their LinkedIn profile (or on their website) that their financial planning service gives their clients an average yearly return on their money of seventeen percent – I’d be more than willing to connect and see how the financial planner can help me.
Do you see the difference?
Let’s Look At How We Are “Proving” That Our Clients Are Leading Edge Instead of Just Saying It…
Stratavant (a B2B value selling firm) provides organizations like Honeywell, Nuance, Avaya, IBM, SAP and with easy-to-use, highly visual ROI and value selling tools and supporting marketing programs. Even though the firm focuses on “proving your value” in order to drive demand, capture leads and close more deals, faster – Darrin Fleming (the firm’s Managing Director) failed to show his “value” to prospects on his LinkedIn profile. But now, if you look at the “before” and “after” LinkedIn profile makeover video below, you’ll see that his profile is now filled with:
- Case studies like how Stratavant’s Assessment Tool convert 10% more prospects into highly qualified leads for Halogen, how their ROI tools extended site time by 5 minutes for a global firm and how their value selling tools helped a Fortune 100 company close millions of dollars in extra sales even though the packaging material was 5 times more costly than the status quo.
- Articles like “What We Learned From Top Industry Trends When It Comes to Value Selling” that show Darrin’s thought leadership and4 Mistakes Most B2B Marketing & Sales Professionals Make – Guaranteed which shows his value and pre-sells prospects on his solutions.
- Darrin’s story! As Jeffrey Gitomer states in his book, “Little Green Book of Getting Your Way”. you have to be a person of influence if you want to get your way – and that includes on LinkedIn as well. According to Gitomer, being a person of influence means that you have a reputation, character, credibility and stature enough that people will take your message seriously. He says, this comes from , your track record and your success record combined with your perceived expertise. That’s why we get very specific with the results Darrin achieves for his clients and mix it into his story.
Now, look at your LinkedIn profile and your content that you are adding to your blog and distributing through your social media circles. Are you mentioning how your company is leading edge or are you proving it?