How To Build Instant TRUST with Prospects on LinkedIn!

In a previous post, I talked about how critical it is to make your LinkedIn Professional Headline pitch-perfect.

(If you haven’t read that post yet,  go here, read it and apply the tips right away. It’s super important to get that part of your LinkedIn profile right before you do anything else.)

Today, I want to cover what happens after your irresistible, client-attracting LinkedIn Professional Headline causes someone to click on it in order to view your full profile page.

Your LinkedIn Profile: Let’s Get Visual!

Fair or not, we judge a book (or person!) by its cover online.

In the case of LinkedIn, I’m talking about your profile photo.

This is not the place to upload a vacation photo or a living room shot of you playing Star Wars with the kids …


As much as I love mixing in stories about our 3 wild boys and Rosie the dog in my marketing emails, blog posts and other content, I have to start the relationship with new readers and prospects on a more professional level.

That’s why my LinkedIn photo has me in a shirt and tie, smiling and looking professional …

Never mind that upon updating my LinkedIn profile photo a few years back, one of my longtime friends immediately commented, “Nemo in a tie? I’m impressed! What the heck is going on?!”

True, I hate wearing ties and dressing up, but for the purposes of a first impression on LinkedIn, I know that people don’t want to see me being a goofball with my kids. (Yet!)

Don’t Wear Your Sunglasses at Night – or on LinkedIn!

I’m also surprised at how many LinkedIn profiles I see of people in sunglasses.

Remember, it’s natural human curiosity and instinct to want to look someone directly in the eye, and sunglasses prevent that.

Wearing them in your LinkedIn profile photo (no matter how cool you think you look!) is not a good idea, because, again, you’ll be sowing seeds of doubt in a prospect if they feel like they can’t really see you.

Please, do NOT cover up your eyes with your LinkedIn photo – make sure we can see directly into them!

The Brad Schwie Rule

I had a goofball friend named Brad Schwie growing up who always had a smile on his face everywhere we went.

“Why are you always smiling?” I’d ask him.

“Because smiles are free!” he’d reply.

And, funny, Brad has more friends than I can count … everybody likes the guy, because he’s always smiling, friendly and welcoming. His smiling face instantly puts strangers at ease.

See how this works?

Even if it kills you, it’s critical that you SMILE in your LinkedIn Profile photo!

Smiling is so important that I’ve actually told LinkedIn Riches students of mine to go back and get retakes of their profile photos because they weren’t smiling!

Remember, when you are first “meeting” someone online, it’s these little things that matter most.

The Psychology of Smiling

Without venturing into the territory of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, let me say this: When they first “meet” you on LinkedIn, prospects are looking for a fast and efficient way to organize you in their minds.

Are you friendly? Inviting? Or cold and distant?

At some caveman level, we humans still embrace that immediate “fight or flight” classification when we see a stranger, don’t we?

We want to make sure the person we’re looking at isn’t a threat, and we’re also not going to be attracted to people who look sad, angry or confused.

But when we see a smiling face, it’s almost as if we can exhale inside and say to ourselves, “Okay, this person looks safe for me.”

We’re ready to take the next step, and in the case of LinkedIn, that means starting to scan through his or her profile page.

(More on that process in my next post!)

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About the Author

John Nemo is the Author of the Amazon Bestseller “LinkedIn Riches: How to Leverage the World’s Largest Professional Network to Enhance Your Brand, Generate Leads and Increase Revenue!”

Since 2012, he has helped hundreds of Small Business Owners, Entrepreneurs, Business Coaches, Consultants, Trainers, Sales Executives, Business Development Executives and others use LinkedIn to get in front of prospects, generate sales leads and close deals.