The Financial Advisor’s Guide to LinkedIn – Part 5: Prospecting: The 3 Most Effective Strategies

By Loic Jeanjean and Lisa Craviero, Advisor Websites on Monday, February 7th, 2011

Part 5: Prospecting: The 3 Most Effective Strategies

As a financial advisor, you likely spend a fair amount of time trying to get referrals and prospecting for new clients. While LinkedIn is a social networking site, you can also strategically use it as a way to prospect and generate new clients. As the following statistics show, LinkedIn users are a very attractive group to target.

LinkedIn User Statistics

  • The average age is 41
  • Average household income is $109,703
  • 95% of users are college educated
  • 50% are the decision makers
  • 24% have a portfolio value of $250k+

This section will look at the three most effective ways there are for financial advisors to prospect on LinkedIn.

  1. Join targeted groups
  2. Request an introduction
  3. Run an advanced search

As you go through each method, keep in mind that you will need to get to know each prospect before you can try to make them a customer. Think long-term!

1. Join targeted groups. In the last section, we covered how to join groups that were focused on your key professional interests. This is a great way to network, but not an ideal way to prospect. To do that, you will need to join groups that your target client belongs to.

First, think about what type of clients you are after. Are they of a certain age? Profession? Area?. For instance, you may only want clients within your city, or perhaps you’d like to target teachers. Once you know who you are targeting, look for related groups and join them. Your focus this time isn’t so much on gaining information from these members, but on providing them with relevant information. Once you’ve found a few groups, start interacting and commenting on various discussions.

If you want to make them a client, you will need to show off your knowledge. You can post information on your upcoming workshop for teachers, a powerpoint presentation targeted for that particular type of client, your blog articles and even great stories you find. Just make sure it always relates to the target audience within the group.

TIP: Your group members are not looking for a sales pitch, so don’t give them one! Add to the conversation, get to know the members, and give them relevant and tailored information they will care about. Networking is a great way to find prospects!

2. Request an introduction. LinkedIn frowns upon adding connections that you don’t know, and if enough people reject your connection request, your account will be suspended. This makes it difficult for prospecting purposes because you cannot simply add random people you don’t know. Luckily, a way around this is through an introduction.

LinkedIn is based on the idea of connections and the more people you know, the bigger your network is of 2nd and 3rd degree connections. In other words, the more people you know, the more people you can get to know. If you know of someone in particular that you’d like to be connected with and you have a connection in common, you are able to ask your connection for an introduction to this third person. Your connection will decide whether to forward your request to the desired recipient.

To do this, click on the person you’d like to know. To the right of their profile, you will see  a box with  options. Click on ‘Get introduced through a connection’, and you will be asked to write a message to both the person you want to meet, as well as your connection who will do the introduction. Click ‘Send’ once you have finished. Now you just need to wait for a response.

3. Run an advanced search. The last way to prospect requires a bit of detective work and, eventually, cold calling. You are using LinkedIn as an initial search tool to find particular people and a bit about them so that you can use this information to your advantage. By using the advanced people search function, you are able to locate a number of people within your target market.

For example, you can specify a person’s:

  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Keywords in their online profile
  • Location (Country, Postal Code, Radius)
  • Position title
  • Company
  • School
  • Industry
  • Relationship to you
  • Language

For instance, if you were looking for teachers within the San Francisco Bay area, you would select ‘Education’ from the Industries menu, and input the zip code and radius you would like.

How to Use Advanced People Search

1. To begin this process, click on the ‘Advanced’ link located on the People search box (to the right of the screen).

You will be directed to the Find People tab, but you will want to click on the second tab called ‘Advanced People Search’.

Once you are there, you will notice all the different search options to narrow your selection.

TIP: In our experience, the best results come from using the Country, Postal Code, Industry and Keywords search options.

2. Click ‘Search’ and review your results. You can sort your results by relevance, relationship, connections and keywords. We recommend sorting by relationship so that you can see if you have any close connections (and can request an introduction).

You may also wish to sort by connections which means that people with the most connections will be listed first. This can be advantageous considering that if you get to know this person, your network of connections will increase significantly.

What now?

Many people will likely have a limited amount of public information, especially as the degree of the connection increases (beyond a 2nd or 3rd degree connection). Here are a few options available to you:

  • If you both know someone in common, you can request an introduction. You will want to explain your intentions and how you can add value to this person.
  • If you belong to the same group, you can send them a friendly message explaining your common interests.
  • If the information on their profile is public, you can view their profile and see what company they work for, or anything else that may be useful to you. If they have their workplace listed, look up their work number and cold call them.

The most important thing to remember is that you are first and foremost networking, so you cannot get too caught up in a quick sales pitch. LinkedIn is a great way to connect with professionals, but it does require a bit of effort and time on your part to reach out to others and develop these connections.

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