From the outside, an Expert Entrepreneur and a Consultant might seem like exactly the same thing. They are highly experienced in their area of expertise, are called into work with companies to achieve business objectives, solve problems and/or turn around projects over the short to long term. They charge higher fees and therefore cost more to hire than an employee, and the work isn’t guaranteed. They have no job security and rely solely on their reputation for their next assignment.
Although they look the same from the outside, how they market themselves and therefore how they should write their LinkedIn profile is entirely different.
Why? Because of who their buyer is.
Today I sat down to write my client’s LinkedIn profile. My role is to pitch her solution to her prospects and position her as the best person to deliver the solution.
Sam left the world of full-time project management in 2015 and since then has been carving out a career selling Vitality Health products as well as establishing her own design of notebooks and coaching via her brand Enable Global.
When writing her LinkedIn profile, which will include every section of her profile including the Summary, Headline and Experience section, I will not only be adjusting the experience from when she was a project Project Management career, or before that, an accountant.
Why not? Because a LinkedIn profile needs to be written with the buyer in mind.
Although Sam has left this career there is a chance that she might go back or undertake a short-term assignment should something come up that interests her. Therefore we want to ensure her experience section is geared up for this.
Traditionally, when writing a LinkedIn profile, I would adjust each section of the LinkedIn profile to tell the story of how a person became an expert within their industry.
Each experience entry sets the context as to the company, the industry the economic climate and it outlines the results the person achieved.
One of the main things I’ll be looking to do is identify what it was within a given role that shaped my expert’s point of view and commitment to how they now solve problems for their clients.
The better I tell the story, the more a prospect will be nodding their head saying:
• ‘yes, that’s us!’
• ‘You get the problem’ and/or
• ‘I can see why you say that! This makes sense to me’.
Telling the story and outlining how you came to the conclusions you have is an integral part of building rapport and establishing yourself as the ‘go to’ expert. You want to draw people in.
For example, Patrick believes that when it comes to project management “successful project management …starts by having the right leader in place” and he came to this conclusion during his time with Areva Ltd, so his experience reads as:
It was at this time I identified a critical differentiator in successful project management. Not all project managers are suited to the development environment where outcomes are uncertain, and you have to live with the unknown. Creating a project from scratch is very different from developing an existing project and releasing incremental developments. It is therefore important to make sure the right project manager is recruited.
View Patrick Mattis Full Profile Here
Note that while we tell his story and what he learned we never insult the company or people, or hint at any negativity or incompetence. Nor do we take on too much credit. This is an essential part of building your reputation and keeping your network (your wealth) happy.
In this example, Patrick is an expert at turning around failing high-tech projects. His entire career has led to this moment, and he wants to be hired for his skill set.
However, in Sam’s case, her time in Project Management isn’t what she wants to be known for. She is an expert in this area for sure, but it isn’t the leading message of her business nor does it contribute towards what she does now or her expertise.
Yes her coaching work is centred around helping people to make significant changes in their lives which involves a high level of project management, but the type of personal change we are talking about is nothing like that of a change project in a big organisation.
As it is not part of her current story, it doesn’t need this level of treatment. In fact, leaving it in ‘Recruiter speak’ is the best thing I can do.
Does that mean I get an easy job and don’t have to fulfil my duty to write all of her LinkedIn profile?
It certainly may look that way, and I won’t hide the fact I feel a little relieved, but the truth is I am not qualified to change it.
When someone is hiring for a role within their company the recruiter knows what they are looking for. They know how to read a CV and they expect to read one.
However when you are selling your expertise as part of your own brand and business, you have also to take on the role of Sales and Marketing, and this means pitching your solution to people as a service.
It requires a very different approach.
It requires you to perform the role of Sales and Marketing within your own business, something that as a Contractor or Consultant you just wouldn’t do, and nor would your agency. For example, a recruiter would never approach a company and diagnose for them that they need specialist support to solve a problem. The company would come to this conclusion independently and create an assignment for the recruitment company to find a particular type of person with the right skill set to fulfil their need. The recruiter doesn’t question this. They merely get searching for candidates, reach out, and you get sent for an interview.
However, with the Expert Entrepreneur, this isn’t the case.
The Expert Entrepreneur finds new business by pitching their solution.
The prospect may or may not know they have a problem, and most probably isn’t looking for a service provider to support them at this stage. This being the case, how do you get their attention?
Well, it certainly isn’t by having a CV based LinkedIn profile full of technical jargon and big words.
Recruiters understand CVs and how to read them, but your prospect (and therefore the majority of your network) does not. Nor will they have the interest or patience to read it, no matter how much they may like you.
Instead, our LinkedIn profile needs to clearly outline the problem we solve and talk about the symptoms of the problem so our prospects identify with it and say ‘Oh is that what’s happening’ and opt to read more.
The profile needs to match the natural psychology of how someone buys, which is the same for every human being. It needs to awaken them to the fact that they have a problem, that the challenges they face every day are not ‘normal’ and there is a better way of doing things. It then needs to bring them around to seeing the value of investing in a solution and in you as their trusted provider.
Your LinkedIn profile needs to perfectly match your sales process and reflect each stage of the buying journey. It needs to draw people in – brand new prospects who previously had no idea they had a problem and weren’t looking for a solution – and build your sales funnel.
Without these things, many ideal prospects will leave your profile none the wiser that you were their knight in shining armour who could have transformed their business and life.
Therefore, as Expert Entrepreneurs – and/or those in a sales role – we have to write our LinkedIn profile very differently to how we would if we are seeking employment.
In Sam’s case, it isn’t lazy of me to say I’ll be leaving her Project Management work well alone. Sam isn’t positioning herself as an Expert Entrepreneur in this area. Any job she may or may not take in the future will come via a Recruiter for a company who is already well aware of what they need. Thus these sections need to read as a Recruiter, and a potential employer, would expect to see (and be able to interpret)
They expect to see this type of terminology and they don’t expect anything else. In fact, seeing anything else might put them off (View: How to Stop Recruiters Contacting You on LinkedIn).
Have you ever considered that most of your network isn’t reading your LinkedIn profile because it is full of jargon that is irrelevant to them?
How you write your LinkedIn profile depends on who your audience is and what they expect to see. This is why I always turn down career based LinkedIn profile writing. It’s an area of expertise and insight I just don’t have. In fact, I often tell job hunters who insist that I advise them, that I can’t because I’ll likely ruin their career.
The mindset of an Expert Entrepreneur is very different and so is the approach we take with their LinkedIn profile, that’s its best I don’t interfere.