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The Strategy Behind the Profile

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Everyone presents many different faces to the world and each of those faces is a profile, regardless of whether the face is a business card, a website or a Linkedin profile. As each works with ...

Everyone presents many different faces to the world and each of those faces is a profile, regardless of whether the face is a business card, a website or a Linkedin profile. As each works with different audiences it is important to have a strategy to ensure you give the right information, to the right audience at the right time. This presentation is accompanied by the 'Your Profile Audit' document.

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The Strategy Behind the Profile The Strategy Behind the Profile Presentation Transcript

  • The Strategy Behind The Profile © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • I’d like to start with a question.
    • Who are you?
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • We are asked this question frequently, more frequently than we might imagine. And, most of the time we aren’t even aware of it being asked.
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • People ask it at networking meetings, when they find a brochure, are given a business card, if they look at your website or when they find you on the social networks.
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • They may not say the words directly to you but that is what they are thinking nevertheless.
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • Of course, what most people want to know when they ask that question in business, is NOT, ‘who are you’, but rather ‘what do you do and can you help me with my problem?’.
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • But … it is important to realise that the answer you give to either question (spoken or not) will be entirely dependent on the context in which it is being asked.
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • If you are with colleagues, employees, suppliers, friends or customers, each will have a different perspective of the answers to the question, ‘who are you?’
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • And that perspective will depend on what they want to know and whether you can, in fact, help them.
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • Each of us presents many different faces to the world, each of these faces is a profile and every profile exists to provide information about who we are, what we do and why we do it.
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • These profiles appear in many different guises. They are in our adverts, our leaflets, brochures, business cards and the one minute ‘elevator pitch’ at a networking group.
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • Most people forget the importance of these profiles, instead focusing on their websites ‘about us’ page or their social networks such as Linkedin, Twitter or Facebook.
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • Each, though is as important as any other and each requires thought and attention. In short, each requires a strategy to ensure that the right information is given to the right audience at the right time.
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • You will all be familiar with Rudyard Kipling's six honest serving-men, even if you aren’t aware of being so:
    • “ What and why and when
    • And how and where and who”
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • These are the perfect questions to ask whenever you are looking at a strategy – any strategy. Let’s examine them in more detail and then have a look at a couple of examples.
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • What do you want people to do after reading your profile?
    • Do you want them to recommend you to others, buy your product or service, add you as a friend or contact.
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • Knowing what you want people to do when they have read your business card, Linkedin profile, your brochure or advert is key.
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • This is because it is only by knowing what you want to achieve can you go some way to ensuring the information you include is the right information in that particular instance.
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • For example, let’s say you have a new product or service you want to test on your audience.
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • You could do many different things, you could ask your Linkedin network if there is anyone prepared to act as a guinea pig for you,
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • you might put an advert in the local paper, you could write up a brief article for your trade or professional magazine.
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • Why will be people be interested in your profile?
    • Do you have a skill they need, knowledge they want or an offer that can’t be beaten?
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • Don’t assume that everyone is interested in what you do. Yes, we all like to assume that we are the centre of our own little Hollywood drama, but in reality most people don’t notice what goes in other people’s worlds.
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • You need to give people a reason to find out more about you, and this is where being interested in their needs is key.
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • Knowing what people want from you and being able to answer their questions before they even ask them is a skill worth cultivating.
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • When will use this profile?
    • Is it permanent, as in the case of Linkedin or is it used at networking meetings or handed out at trade shows?
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • As we’ve already established, a particular profile is only right in a particular instance, although there will be some common elements.
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • Knowing when you will use a particular profile will help enormously to ensuring that the words and impact you use are effective.
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • Take your one minute here for instance. It’s entirely possible that you use the same one every time you come along to any networking meeting,
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • but not all networking meetings are born equal and they often have different jobs to do here the meeting is about mutual support.
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • At others you may be meeting the same people week after week the purpose of your one minute is to educate that network about what you do so that they can help to spot opportunities for you.
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • How will you measure it’s effectiveness?
    • Do you track what happens with your leaflets, your website, your social networking and if not, why not.
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • It is possible to measure your success in many cases, for instance you can track the analytics of your website, you could add a code to an advert, you could colour code your business cards.
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • Simply asking people that contact you where they heard about you has to be one of the easiest and simplest ways but many never do it.
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
  • Where are the people you want to talk to? Not everyone is everywhere. Some read the papers, some are happy online, some only appear at networking meetings. © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • It would be great if we knew that everyone that needs our particular products and services used the same mechanism to find us every time.
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • But sadly life isn’t that simple and the complexity can range from being aware of the words that people will use on Google,
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • to the papers that they read, the programmes they watch, the radio programmes they listen to and the friends they have.
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • Just because you have built it, does not mean they will come. You have to know where they are and what their habits are.
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • For instance, some of you will know about me and the hysterectomy association and I would no more go searching on Linkedin for women who are having hysterectomies than I would fly to the moon and back.
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • It just isn’t appropriate and I know that although my audience may be there, they are unlikely to admit it in front of their colleagues, clients and suppliers.
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • Who are these people?
    • Do you know who your target audience is? Do you know what their wicked issues are? Do you know the common questions?
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • I will almost guarantee that every business has common questions that are being asked by every other client which may range from what does it cost to what will I get.
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • Knowing these questions and answering them in the profiles you offer, regardless of where they are will go a long way to allaying peoples objections to doing business with you.
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • Let’s see if we can put it in to practice and take a look at your business card.
    • Ask yourself these questions.
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • Does your business card meet the needs of the audience you are giving it to?
    • Does it have the right information on it?
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • What happens to your card will largely depend on the answers to the following questions.
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • What information does your business card need to have?
    • Almost certainly your name, your contact details, your business name and a brief description of what you do.
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • Why will someone want it?
    • Are you providing the service or product they need? Do you know someone else who can? Can you point them to the right information?
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • When will you give it?
    • Will it be at the start of a meeting, the end of a meeting, after a conversation, when asked for or just thrust in their hands?
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • How will you know if it’s successful or not?
    • Can you measure it? Could you give people a compelling reason to get in touch just on a simple business card?
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • Who is going to get it?
    • Contrary to popular opinion, you can choose who you give your card to, you don’t have to hand them out to everyone and you can leave them in the RIGHT place too.
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • Where will it go?
    • Networking events, the pub, meetings, stacked on counters. Do you know which is effective and why?
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • So, that’s a simple business card. What about something like my favourite professional network Linkedin? The same questions apply.
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • What do you want to achieve? Have you even thought about it or just created an account to gather increasing numbers of contacts you never contact?
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • Why do you stand out?
    • Why would anyone bother to get in touch, are you telling them about yourself have you told them about that amazing achievement you had?
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • Who do you want to talk to?
    • Is it potential clients, people who can help you with your wicked issues, suppliers or even employees. You have to go find them, they won’t come to you.
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • Where are the people you want to speak to?
    • I’m certain that most people won’t be doing anything on Linkedin except gathering dust. But those that do will be in Groups and on Answers
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • How are you going to show them you have the expertise they need?
    • Well you could try talking to them, responding to discussions or answering their questions – it’s a start!
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • When will you get started ? Will you make the time to be online regularly and become so well known that people in your group can’t fail to miss you
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • Having the strategy of course is only half the solution … you now have to put it into practice and there are a few things to bear in mind when doing so.
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • A great profile is a little like being properly dressed for the occasion – whatever that may be.
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • We have the underwear, those garments that provide the foundation for the outer clothes, you know the sort of thing – knickers, bras, socks, tights etc…
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • As far as our profile is concerned these are our name, company name, address, contact details, web address, email, a baby bio saying what we do in a clear, unequivocal way.
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • These are the basics and EVERY profile must have them regardless of whether you find them on printed materials or online. Make sure they are correct.
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • Next we come on to the outer wear, the clothing that people will see – our dress, suit, jacket and tie. These are things that people judge us by in an instant.
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • In a profile, these would a summary of skills, knowledge, products and services; the details of an offer, our opening times, even our photo if we are being social.
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • Finally we have the accessories to the outfit. As we’ve been told before, the right watch, jewellery, perfume, shoes and handbag can make all the difference and your profile is no different.
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • A profile’s accessories might include your Linkedin address, twitter name, a testimonial or ten, a list of past clients, examples of your work or even a free gift.
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman
    • So that’s it, answering those six questions and ensuring you are dressed for the occasion can help to make sure that your profile hits the mark every time.
    © Linda Parkinson-Hardman