“It’s all about having your ducks lined-up,” I told one of my LinkedIn training clients who had been struggling to grow her online network.

My client is a really great accountant but, as she confessed, was not good at business development and promoting her skills and services.

I first met her during a coffee break at a face-to-face networking event for professional services in Glasgow a few months ago.

I introduced myself; “I’m Miles Duncan, co creator of the LinkedIn Success Blueprint. I provide online and in-house training on using LinkedIn to help business professionals obtain more business, referrals and promote their skills, products and services.”, and handed her my business card.

I asked what she did….she replied…”I’m just an accountant…sorry…I don’t have a business card…I’m waiting to get some printed…”

“That’s OK….do you have a website?”

“Yes…but don’t look at it!, it’s old and it doesn’t show the types of service that I am doing for my clients right now,” she replied.

“Are you on LinkedIn I asked?”

“Yes, but…it needs updating.”

I then asked her more details about her accountancy work and was pleased to hear her speak with passion and enthusiasm about her small business and especially how much she enjoyed helping her clients.

One of the other attendees joined in the conversation and recommended my companion, saying: “She’s really, really good, in fact, she’s brilliant!”

After the event, I did check out her LinkedIn profile and it was sparse, lacking in focus, with no keywords and little content, except for the recommendations…she had five glowing endorsements from happy clients. Luckily for her, she had strong word of mouth referral for her skills and services.

When she later approached me for help, as she was attending lots of seminars and networking events to try to find new clients but was not getting much success, I told her that that this was all down to a lack of alignment.

Alignment is absolutely vital for building trust and credibility.

I believe it almost creates an invisible channel that generates a ‘flow’ to your business development. The old maxim says, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression,” and if you review my account of our first meeting, can you see all the areas where my client had interrupted the alignment?

Here’s my quick overview of how my client had failed to ‘line up her ducks”;

Poor ‘expert positioning’ or ‘elevator pitch’

Lack of confidence
Lack of preparation
Bad alignment in searchable online assets
Poor ‘expert positioning’

Don’t describe yourself as “just a…..”. You need to create an ‘expert positioning’ statement, sometimes called the elevator pitch, that succinctly conveys the VALUE of your skills, people, products and services that you provide to your target audience.

In my next article I will show you how to generate these expert positioning statements but the aim here is to generate a memorable statement that allows others to immediately grasp the significance of who you help, how you do it and what benefits they receive.It should ideally be a memorable statement that allows others to pass on the message of the value of your skills, products and services throughout the network.

1.Lack of confidence

One of the benefits of having a clear exert positioning statement, is that it automatically generates and conveys confidence. Having clarity about who you want to work with and why, really helps to create an urgent purpose and focus to help you to create alignment in your business development messaging.

I have often found that a lack of clarity in purpose creates a psychological block that creates uncertainty and can hamper or paralyse your business development activities.

2. Lack of preparation

By failing to prepare, you are really preparing to fail.
If you are going to a networking event ensure that you have the tools for the job…have business cards ready, although they may be seen as being slightly old fashioned, that are still an expected tool for generating introductions.

3. Bad alignment in searchable online assets

Websites, blogs and LinkedIn profiles can be great tools for supporting your offline business development activities. Consistency in messaging is the key to building trust and credibility and there is nowhere to hide!

People WILL search for you online and the results they find will either reinforce their expectations about your skills, your people, products and services or they will cause a misalignment which will prevent engagement or even harm your reputation.

There is no excuse, if you know that your website no longer shows you in the best light, then you MUST take action and get realignment with your expert positioning statement