Having spent the past five years of my professional life studying nearly every nuance of LinkedIn from a sales perspective, I've noticed the same chronic issue surfacing time and again.

It's a mistake that countless professionals on LinkedIn continue to make - especially Sales and Business Development Executives, along with Business Coaches, Consultants and Trainers in particular.

It's an easy enough one to make, but it's critical to correct, because not doing so means you're missing out on countless business deals and new customers as a result.

The Major Mistake

I've spoken in other places about how important it is to have what I call a client-facing LinkedIn profile, but that's not the direction I want to go here.

Instead, it has to do with the words, phrases and descriptions you are using to describe yourself and your business on LinkedIn.

What I see far too many professionals doing is trying to be clever, cute, creative or aspirational in how they write their LinkedIn profiles.

On LinkedIn, simple sells.

Busy professionals are scanning their phone (60 percent of LinkedIn users are on a mobile device), scrolling fast to see what (or who!) catches their attention.

They're distracted, busy and looking for solutions - fast.

If your profile isn't clear, simple and to the point about what you do, who you serve and how you help your target audience, you've lost the game before it even begins.

Functional vs. Aspirational

Instead of being cute, clever or what I call "aspirational" with your approach, you need to be "functional."

Get to the point. Keep it simple. Make it clear even to a child what it is you do and the audiences you serve.

Let's look at one example - your LinkedIn professional headline.

These are real examples I found on LinkedIn just now:

  • [PERSON'S NAME] / "Ready. Set. Go."
  • [PERSON'S NAME] / "Chief Revolutionary at [COMPANY NAME]"
  • [PERSON'S NAME] / "Growth Expert"

Without being harsh, those LinkedIn professional titles (which appear next to your name and are often the first and only introduction others have to who you are) don't tell me a thing about each person's actual product or service. They also don't tell me what audience these individuals serve and what benefits they provide.

As a contrast, here are some "functional" LinkedIn professional headlines from real connections of mine:

  • John Michael Morgan / "#1 Bestselling Author | Branding Consultant | Marketing Consultant | Public Speaking | Business Coaching"
  • Brennen Lukas / "Whipped Bakeshop | We Use the Power of Amazing Desserts to Help You Impress Clients & Keep Happy Employees"
  • Lisa Anderson / "Strategic Business Advisor | Virtual CFO | Virtual CEO for Government Contractors, Accountants & Consulting Firms"

See how much more clear and "functional" those headlines are?

I know within two seconds who these people are, what type of product or service they offer and (most important) whether or not they are someone I need to learn more about.

What To Do Next

Creating a functional, clear cut LinkedIn profile is easier than you think.

(In fact, I have a copy-and-paste template here that you can use to make it happen.)

When it comes to selling your product or service on LinkedIn, a simple, functional, hype-free approach wins the day.

Make sure your profile reflects that reality!