Follow along as Greenville Financial Advisor, Jensen Seear, explores the potential of this professional networking platform.
My Limited LinkedIn Experience
I have always heard that prospecting on LinkedIn for advisors is easier than cold calling because it allows you (as the advisor) the benefit of qualifying someone before reaching out to them and it also allows the prospect to qualify you before replying. That’s not to say prospecting on LinkedIn is altogether easy. You still have to put the time into working the system before getting results.
I’ve been told by “boiler room advisors” that it takes 100 cold calls to generate one meeting. In my limited LinkedIn experience, I have reached out to 100 potential prospects and attracted the attention of two (what seem to be) qualified prospects. I hope to meet with these prospects very soon. My hope is that the first meeting will be very productive. As an avid “online researcher” I already know where they went to school, what careers they have pursued, organizations they support and what connections we have in common. It’s great to establish common ground with folks before a meeting.
Still, doubling your odds from 1 out of 100 to 2 out of 100 requires your time and focus. Here are ten things I did to generate these leads. If you follow these steps, I believe you will find similar results.
A Deep Dive Into LinkedIn for Advisors (Who Are Just Beginning)
1: Purchase LinkedIn Sales Navigator: Today, at the time this article is published, there is a monthly fee of $79.99. It’s not cheap, but if you are going to commit yourself to using LinkedIn regularly, you will work three times as hard and be a lot less successful than if you purchased the membership. I have to say that I am a lot more organized having Sales Navigator than not having it. In my opinion, Sales Navigator is priced at this number, because the folks at LinkedIn know (if used correctly) it will generate results. According to LinkedIn, on average, social selling leaders see 45% more opportunities created when using Sales Navigator.
2: Profile Photo: I’ve heard split arguments on business casual versus business professional. I went with business professional for my profile (I think of this as coat and tie) because of my age… and to be honest, because I didn’t have a lot of headshot photo options to choose from. I personally think it’s a good photo, and it’s the same one I use on the company website and my printed marketing materials, so it’s a consistent look. For now, I’m keeping it!
3: Cover Photo: Your cover photo should not only be eye-catching but should be recognizable to those local to you. I used a landscape photo of the Reedy River in Downtown Greenville, SC (a well-known landmark in my local community). I have also placed my company logo as an overlay in the top center. Now, my chosen personal photo, my city, and my company are featured at a glance to anyone who views my profile. It certainly attracts more attention than the default blue background.
On LinkedIn, you MUST stand out. Having an unrelated, disconnected or lackluster cover photo, is keeping you on the bench in the LinkedIn game. Strategically differentiating yourself on this platform is a must!
4: Summary: You’re allowed 2000 characters in the summary section on your profile, BUT only the first four lines are automatically visible. You have to use these characters to intentionally pull the reader in so they’ll click “show more”, and read your full summary. I chose to make my summary personal. It tells who I am, what I do, why I do it, and how I’m qualified. Most importantly, it includes my contact information.
Helpful Hint: If someone is not already connected with you, they will be able to read your summary but they will not be able to view your contact info. If they don’t request to connect with you, and then come back and view your profile again after you’re connected, they’ll never see your direct contact info. Make this a no-brainer for them. Put your contact info in your summary!
5: Update your privacy settings: Check your privacy settings. There are some simple boxes to check or uncheck here that can make a big difference in how your prospects engage with you (and not with other advisors!):
- “hide your connections” – to avoid poaching
- turn off “people also viewed” – many prospects who view your profile are also viewing other financial advisors or your competition. You don’t want someone looking at your profile and immediately being spoon fed the profile of your competitors.
- turn off “who’s viewed your profile” – if you are a Sales Navigator member you can turn off people’s ability to see that you viewed their profile but you can still see who viewed your profile. It’s the best of both worlds because people will not know you’re following them but you can see who has been watching you! If you’re not a Sales Navigator subscriber, the system won’t allow you to turn this feature off and still see who’s viewing you.
6: Clean up your connections: If you’ve had a LinkedIn account for awhile it may be time to disconnect with people you do not know. These misaligned connections are telling LinkedIn’s algorithm that these are the type people you are interested in connecting with and may be less efficient in suggesting the right connections for you and suggesting YOU to the right connections. You can also unfollow those connections you still want to keep but aren’t interested in seeing them in your newsfeed. Fill your feed with intentional connections who you want to share and engage with to further your relationships and build more strategic connections.
7: Friend your clients and prospects: Go ahead and connect with your clients and current prospects and begin liking their content and commenting. You need to become active and stay engaged to be visible on LinkedIn.
8: Join groups and follow companies: Join the groups of your own alumni. These are great ‘warm’ networks of people who already have something in common with you and may already know you. Also, join the groups of organizations that you are passionate about. Sharing a passion for the same thing is a great foundation for ongoing relationships. Lastly, join the groups of your clients and prospects so that you can continue to keep informed and follow the companies of clients you want to get to know. Support their company and brand, it’s a two-way street!
9: Post!: According to a seminar I recently attended with an Allianz Marketing Professional, the best time to post financial advising content on LinkedIn is Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 10am-11am (most people are on the platform or receiving notifications during this time block). You should post lifestyle and more casual content on Saturdays from 10-12pm. (Yes, post on weekends too!)
10: Create standardized searches and monitor them: I have set up multiple searches that I run weekly. For example one of these searches is: “Anderson University Alumni” (where I went to school), who live in Greenville and have been working for more than 10 years (you can’t search any greater than this), who has recently found a new job. The fact that we are colleagues provides an immediate common ground.
(Linked) In Conclusion
If you decide to go the distance with LinkedIn please keep me posted on your progress, failures, and successes! All in all, I don’t consider two warm leads out of 100 cold ones to be successful just yet, but I would consider two cold leads who turned into clients to be extremely successful! I’m confident that I’ve taken all the necessary actions to optimize my profile and put the necessary systems in place to see a long-term return on my time and money invested in my LinkedIn strategy. To be continued…
Opinions expressed are those of Jensen Seear and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James. All opinions are as of this date and are subject to change without notice.