When training originators, part of my preparation is to view students’ LinkedIn profiles so I am familiar with their backgrounds. Time and time again, what I see are profiles that are poor or unprofessional with photos that might include the salesperson’s wedding day or his or her pets. This may seem funny but I find it hard to believe that originators are not using this platform to market themselves and their expertise.
A number of producers feel they don’t need to have a LinkedIn profile because they are well known in the marketplace. These individuals are missing the point about how mortgage origination is changing and that it is almost common practice for prospects to look at your profile first to determine if they even want to speak with you.
According to Consumer Reports, more than 100 million consumers checked ratings for companies in 97 U.S. and international markets in just the first three months of the year. Some 2 million households subscribe to Angie’s List for its assessment of local service providers in 244 national markets. And Google now gives consumers local business ratings, whether you want them or not, by serving them up while you’re busy navigating Google Maps. For sure times are changing. I predict that it won’t be long before mortgage originators are rated and lists will turn into a primary testimonial strategy.
The reality is that today when you Google someone, their LinkedIn profile will likely show up in the first or second spot —that is how powerful LinkedIn has become. This is important because as William Arruda said in his Forbes article regarding LinkedIn, “in a study of 8 million clicks, more than 94% of users clicked on the first page results. The first and second positions get 50% of the clicks.” Wow! That is really saying something about the importance of having a professional profile. People will be looking.
In my experience, top producers recognize that every impression that they give to a potential customer or referral source is important whether it is an email, leaving a voice mail or having a stellar LinkedIn profile. Opinions are formed quickly by people and can have lasting impacts. Top producers understand all interactions matter and what makes a salesperson professional is that they present their best foot forward to their audience all the time. Not just once in a while. It is what distinguishes the best from others who do not put the effort in their selling or in how they are portrayed in their marketplace.
While it might sound trivial, all corporate managers need to take an interest in this issue since consumers are checking online for everything today and letting an originator have an unprofessional profile is a blow to the company’s hard-fought brand image.