The man had no idea. 

How could he?

Yet the words he spoke more than 80 years ago are responsible for every scrap of success I've ever seen happen on LinkedIn when it comes to generating more sales leads for yourself or your company.

Before I tell you what those words were, I need to start by explaining why LinkedIn is the best place on the planet right now to generate more business-to-business (B2B) sales leads, clients, and revenue for yourself online.

With 400 million members in 200 countries, and adding two new members every second, LinkedIn has become a one-stop shop for finding, engaging, and doing business with your ideal customers in the B2B space.

The problem is, many people are making a critical mistake on the platform...one that sabotages their chances for success before they even get started.

From 1936 to 2016

Back to the words that changed everything for me when it came to seeing LinkedIn as a lead generation tool:

"People are not interested in you. They are not interested in me. They are interested in themselves--morning, noon, and after dinner."

Dale Carnegie (How to Win Friends and Influence People) first penned those words in 1936.

They ring even more true in the 2016 social-media landscape--particularly over on LinkedIn.

Here's what I mean: If you think about how most people pen their LinkedIn professional headline, it goes something like this:

"Job Title, Company XYZ"

And on the face of it, this makes sense. After all, LinkedIn was originally viewed as a virtual job fair, with hiring managers and job seekers coming together and posting information inside a searchable database.

As a result, many people created a LinkedIn professional headline that included their job title, company name, etc., just like you'd find at the top of a résumé.

Allow me to channel my inner Dale Carnegie for a moment: Nobody cares about you!

You know what they do care about?

What you can do for them.

What Your LinkedIn Professional Headline Needs to Look Like

Your LinkedIn professional headline is your 125-character chance to impress strangers who are sizing you up in a matter of mere seconds...so it's critical you make a great first impression.

Just so we're clear on what I'm talking about, here's what your professional headline looks like on the site:

Your LinkedIn professional headline follows you wherever you go on LinkedIn...and next to your headshot image, nothing is more important when it comes to creating a profile that will attract your ideal clients.

With that in mind, you only have about 18 or so words to convey:

  • Who You Are
  • What You Do
  • Audiences You Serve
  • Value/Benefit You Bring Customers
  • Credibility/Social Proof

Needless to say, brevity is key!

Examples of "Client-Facing" LinkedIn Professional Headlines

Look at how one of my LinkedIn Riches students, Lisa Anderson, has utilized what I call a "client-facing" approach in her professional headline:

Strategic Business Advisor | Virtual CFO | Virtual CEO for Government Contractors, Accountants & Consulting Firms

Lisa's headline makes it clear what she does (Strategic Business Advisor, Virtual CFO, Virtual CEO) and who her target audiences are (Government Contractors, Accountants, and Consulting Firms).

As an added credibility play, she lists her name on LinkedIn as "Lisa Anderson, CPA" to demonstrate her financial services credentials.

See the power and clarity of this approach?

With LinkedIn, the Riches Are in the Niches!

Remember, the more niche you can get with your approach on LinkedIn, the more successful you'll become.

I've talked in other places about how to appeal to multiple audiences on LinkedIn, so don't worry that you're somehow going to have to limit yourself in the process.

Here's an example: Karen Nierlich does website design for small businesses all over the country. One of her most popular client types is contractors and homebuilders.

Karen quickly realized that when it came to LinkedIn, her profile could work well in appealing to that specific audience.

As a result, she made her professional headline on LinkedIn this:

Helping Residential Contractors Attract Architects & Homeowners | Contractor SEO WordPress Websites & Marketing

See how specific that is? Of course, Karen can do websites for any type of business. But when it comes to her presence on LinkedIn, she uses it to appeal to a targeted, niche audience...one that is eager to find a website vendor that understands them--their unique business challenges, time challenges, marketing needs, target audiences, etc.

Your Turn--Share Your LinkedIn Professional Headline!

Leave me a comment below and give me your best shot at a LinkedIn professional headline that fits your ideal audience. Let's see what you come up with!

Published on: Feb 24, 2016
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