Sunday, April 3, 2011

A LinkedIn Success Story: A Positioning Statement Produces a Customer and an Entrepreneur

I shared my LinkedIn SME (Subject Matter Expertise) experience, strength and hope with a group of budding entrepreneurs / LinkedIn novices a few weeks ago, paying forward the wealth Gerry Crispin first shared at a LinkedIn recruiting seminar I attended 7 years before, when LinkedIn was brand-new and beta, totally free and invitation-only.  Gerry offered to invite any of the seminar attendees to LinkedIn as his closing remark.  I was one of the few geeks who took Gerry up on his offer that day, and it was a gift indeed.   A few years later, in my role as Recruiting Leader for my organization, I was one of the first LinkedIn business customers, and I still treasure my LinkedIn polo shirt.

As I guided the group of entrepreneurs through some of the LinkedIn basics a few weeks ago, I emphasized the importance of their LinkedIn profile as both their business website and their online résumé, and I encouraged them to browse through examples of their colleagues' LinkedIn profiles to gather ideas to maximize and leverage their LinkedIn presence.

One of the entrepreneurs reported instant and great results a few weeks later.  He'd been on LinkedIn for months with minimal information on his profile.  In reality, he has an incredibly valuable background and highly sought-after skill set, and he was interested in starting a consulting practice but was just beginning the storming process of thrashing through how to consult after years as an employee SME.  After our LinkedIn in-service, he changed his profile headline -- a.k.a. the Positioning Statement that Guy Kawasaki so elegantly describes in his new jewel of a book, Enchantment -- to include the term Consultant.

The very next day, the Entrepreneur was contacted via LinkedIn by a Practitioner who typed in "Consultant" and the keyword for the Entrepreneur's SME expertise and found the Entrepreneur.  The Practitioner has an immediate and potentially ongoing project need.  Turns out the going rate for the Entrepreneur's expertise is $175 an hour.  Who knew?  I love it!

Now, you can read this experience a number of ways:   as a rudimentary exercise in LinkedIn Search Optimization; as happenstance; or, as being in the right place at the right time, using the right Positioning Statement.

What is your Positioning Statement? And is it searchable on LinkedIn and beyond?

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