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by Adam Gray | @AGSocialMedia | LinkedIn

Have you ever wondered why you should write a compelling headline for your LinkedIn profile rather than just the generic “Sales Manager at xxxxx” that LinkedIn gives you?

The other day we were working with a client and one of the sales leaders said “it’s important to me that people DO hear that generic headline because it lets me quickly see if I should cold-call them”…we said that this is EXACTLY the reason that people should change them as nobody likes being cold called. Actually, that’s a joke (well not the fact that nobody likes being cold-called…that’s not a joke, but the bit about that being the resin to change it). 

The reason to change your headline is that it enables you to stand-out from your competition. Imagine (for the sake of argument) that you are an ERP salesperson and that everyone else in your industry who is also an ERP salesperson does the same thing ALL of you will have a headline that reads “Sales xxx at Some ERP Vendor” so you look like everyone else who is trying to pursue the client for a sale.

LinkedIn is very good at facilitating this kind of searching. If I type in ERP Sales LinkedIn delivers 1,377,548 results to me and to be honest almost all of their job titles say the same thing. Then, if I do take the plunge and click on one, then LinkedIn is kind enough to show me all of their competitors (in this case all with the same job title) down the right side of the page.

Here is the best opportunity for you to make a quick first impression that is markedly different from everyone else.

As Dave Trott explains in his book Predatory Thinking, there is a huge opportunity to create recognition by being different, and therefore standing out, Dave calls this Gestalt Thinking and it’s based on the fact that standing out from the crowd creates two options in the human brain you or the crowd (a 1:1 chance of being chosen) whereas being one of the crowd (of say 10) creates a choice of 11 possibilities for the brain (a 1:10 chance of being chosen).

These days your competition is everyone else in the world and when they all look just like you the buyer doesn’t know which way to jump…

So, give it a go…you might be surprised.

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