If you’re like most financial advisors, you understand that LinkedIn is a powerful way to find prospects, but you’re not sure how to use it.
On this exclusive webinar, I will teach you exactly what to do to get new prospects on LinkedIn. You will learn how to:
- Build and strengthen your network of connections
- Search for and qualify prospects
- Request to connect
- Follow up with your new connections
- Effectively generate referrals and introductions to ideal prospects (without “stalking” them!)
This webinar is only available this month, so don’t wait. Register today!
Meet Your Webinar Host
Claire Akin, MBA
Claire Akin runs Indigo Marketing Agency, a full-service marketing firm serving top independent financial advisors. She is a former Investment Advisor Representative and holds a Master’s Degree in Marketing. Claire works closely with several of Barron’s Top 100 Financial Advisors to grow their AUM using digital marketing.
READ THE TRANSCRIPT BELOW
Hi, and thank you so much for joining me for How to Use LinkedIn to Generate Referrals. I’m Claire Akin with Indigo Marketing Agency, and today we’re going to give you a step by step how-to guide for using LinkedIn to find qualified prospects, start a conversation with them and actually generate referrals using LinkedIn. To give you a little bit about my background, I’m a former investment advisor representative. I got into this business because my dad’s an investment advisor representative, and he started back in 1981 when he was with Linsco Private Ledger back when they called LPL Linsco Private Ledger, and he’s been in the business since 1981, and he’s really enjoyed his career, and he brought me into the business, and I love it. And so I’m really grateful for him, for that introduction into this amazing industry, where advisors like you help people to reach their goals and do really important work.
So I also have a bachelor’s degree in economics, a master’s degree in marketing. I worked for a company called FMG Suite, which is a leading provider of websites for financial advisors, before I started my own company, Indigo Marketing Agency, because so many advisors that I worked with asked me, “Can’t somebody do this for me? Can’t somebody take this off my plate? I want to outsource my marketing.” And so that’s why I created my company. Two years ago I wrote The LinkedIn Guide for Financial Advisors, which is available on Amazon now, and I also have The LinkedIn Course for Financial Advisors, an online self study how-to course.
So let’s talk about the difference that 25 years makes. So here’s me and my dad, and on the left you can see I was an angel in the school play when I was five, and on the right that was on my wedding day when I was 30. And so he has changed a lot and I’ve changed a lot in 25 years and it certainly has made a big difference. What else has changed in 25 years? Well, this is a visual representation of the internet, and so this is what it would look like if you mapped out all the connections. And it’s really changed everything from the way we communicate with our friends, to the way we find a restaurant, to the way we pay our bills. And especially it’s changed the way people find a trusted financial advisor, so we want to make sure that you’re adapting your marketing to work in an age where people’s eyes and ears are always on their phone.
So what we’re going to cover today is, what is LinkedIn? Why do you need it? How you can embrace a specialty on LinkedIn, and how you can actually prospect on LinkedIn to get new clients. So let’s get started.
First of all, what is LinkedIn? So LinkedIn is the world’s largest business networking social media site. And so there’s four main uses. Most people use it to find a job. About an equal percentage of people use it for recruiting and hiring, and then there’s also people of course using it for sales, and then for networking. So what information is on LinkedIn? Well, there’s more information about a person’s qualifications as an investor on LinkedIn than on any other social media platform, and that’s why it’s so valuable and so important to us. So it contains everything you would need to know to qualify a prospect. Where they work, their current position, who they know, where they used to work, where might they have a 401k to rollover from? Or maybe stock options that they might want to find a solution for? Their education, where they went to college, how old they are, their location, gender, hobbies, interests. All of this information is on their LinkedIn profile and it’s searchable, and so it’s very easy to find people who fit your target demographic by using LinkedIn.
Now, what is the problem that LinkedIn solves? Why was it created? Why is it valuable? Well, it’s interesting. In the old days, people used to find one job and stay at it for decades, if not at least years. And today, the average person who’s 30 years old has already had over five jobs. And so people are just moving from job to job much more quickly than they did in the old days, and the problem is that when you exchange business cards with somebody like you used to, that business card is rendered completely obsolete when somebody changes jobs. But LinkedIn is like a lifelong business card, so that you can keep connected with people no matter how many job changes they have and no matter how many job changes you have. So it’s your network that grows over time.
So why is LinkedIn important for financial advisors? Well, first of all, it’s your online resume. So it shows people your credentials, your expertise, your education. It’s also your online business card with your contact info, so if one of your clients refers you to one of their friends, that person can look you up and find your phone number and your email address. It’s also an up to date online Rolodex of your network, so of everyone you’ve ever connected with. It’s also an online search tool to find qualified prospects, and it’s just recently become a publishing platform that allows you to position yourself as a subject matter expert and share your expertise on LinkedIn, with the LinkedIn Pulse Publishing Platform.
So LinkedIn today has over 450 million users in 200 countries, and in the United States, it’s really active in the US, with more than 133 million users in the US. So one out of three professionals are members globally, and it’s the 14th most visited website in the world, which is incredible. So it’s really doing a ton of traffic, and it’s a great place to get exposure.
Now, a lot of advisors that I talk to say, “Well, LinkedIn’s great, but my prospects aren’t on there.” Well that depends. It depends on who your prospects are, of course, but just consider that the average LinkedIn user is 44 years old, so it’s not just millennials. Over 50% are college graduates. The average income is $109,000 and the average asset value is over $250,000, and 26% of ultra high net worth investors have a profile. So if you think through those kind of data points, you can see that affluent and wealthy investors are on LinkedIn. It’s not just for millennials, and so it’s an important platform to pay attention to.
The important part of creating your LinkedIn marketing campaign is really embracing a specialty. Nobody wants to be prospected on LinkedIn or have a sales call on LinkedIn for somebody who isn’t specialized. And so it’s really important to hone in on what you do, who you serve, and how it benefits them, and we want to make sure that we’re capturing this in all of your LinkedIn marketing campaigns, but especially in your LinkedIn headline, which is the first thing that people see about you.
And so here’s some examples of headlines that embrace a true specialty on LinkedIn. “Fee-only financial advisor helping business owners pursue true wealth.” That’s an advisor that helps business owners sell their business and take some chips off the table to kind of find balance in their lives. Here’s the second one, is, “A fiduciary wealth manager helping physicians catch up for retirement in a hurry.” He’s out of Albuquerque. He does a great job reaching out to doctors and dentists, and he helps them take advantage of some of the tax advantage saving vehicles to catch up for retirement, if you’re right within 10 years of retirement and you need to save a lot in a hurry. “A retirement advisor helping Intel employees secure income for life.” So this advisor is out of Portland and he does a great job serving only Intel employees. That’s what he does best and that’s what everybody knows that he does.
So let’s talk about when you’re creating your specialty on LinkedIn, let’s talk about the difference between minimum expectations and differentiation. We really want you to be different and we want to communicate what’s different about you, but a lot of advisors, when they go to write their headline and to differentiate themselves, all they’re doing is articulating minimum expectations.
So I’ll explain to you what I mean. So with an airline, the minimum expectations we have of an airline these days is to get you from point A to point B safely. Maybe they’ll get you there on time, and hopefully your bag will arrive too, but these are your minimum expectations. It doesn’t differentiate the airline, because we expect if we buy a ticket that all airlines will get us there safely.
What about a financial advisor? When somebody hires a financial advisor, they expect you to be experienced and credentialed. They expect you to be trustworthy, to have reasonable fees, and to act in their best interest. Otherwise, why would they hire you? So a lot of advisors I see are trying to differentiate themselves by using these minimum expectations, and it just doesn’t work. You really want to explain what’s different about you. So what makes you different? Southwest doesn’t have fees for baggage. They’re my favorite airline, and so that’s really what makes them different from the other airlines, which all charge you fees for bags. So who do you serve best and what makes you different? That’s really what you want to capture on LinkedIn, and those are the people that you want to go after with your LinkedIn prospecting campaign.
So to do that, let’s talk about your ideal client. So you’ll want to think through and define your ideal client. Consider your top five current clients. The ones that you absolutely love to work with and that you wish you could clone. Think about their employer, their job title, their income, their location, and their interests. Think about what they have in common, and kind of write down those criteria for your top five current clients, and see if any specialty or any patterns emerge.
And then once you’ve kind of identified your one or two ideal clients, let’s talk about identifying their most pressing need. So what’s the most important financial problem that they have? What’s the most common reason they come to you? What are the top 10 questions they ask you? What’s the most visited page on your website? This is a great way to figure out what’s important to people and why they’re hiring you, is what’s the most visited page on your site? And you can find that out through Google Analytics.
Why do clients say they chose to work with you? So take a poll of your top five clients and ask, “Why did you choose me instead of another advisor?” And that will often tell you what the most important differentiator is to your clients. And what’s their biggest fear? So are they worried about running out of money when they retire? Are they worried about dying without a succession plan for their business in place? Are they worried about their children spending their inheritance too quickly? What’s their biggest fear? That can give you a clue of the biggest problem that you solve for your clients.
So here’s some good examples of prospects’ most pressing needs. So this top one is actually from my dad’s website. People come to this page on a site that is, “Should I choose the UC San Diego 457 or 403(b) plan?” There are government institution, also an educational institution, so they have both, and people get really confused about that. So that’s a great piece that we created for him. “How can I maximize my Chevron benefits package? How can I prepare for the next round of Intel layoffs? How can I maximize my Social Security benefits as a divorced spouse? And how can I protect my same sex partner financially?” So these are all examples of really important concerns that prospects might have that you can answer.
So we’re going to take these important questions and we’re going to turn them into a prospecting campaign on LinkedIn using your specialty. So the process works like this: First, you’re going to search for and connect with qualified prospects, then you’re going to give them valuable information to address their most pressing need, and then you’re going to invite them to take the next step. So this is a repeatable process to get you new leads and clients every single month.
So first we’re going to create your bait that addresses their most pressing need. So this is an example from the Intel advisor that I spoke to you about. “Actions Intel Employees Should Take to Prepare For Downsizing.” And so this could be anything from a checklist that you have here, to a video, to a webinar, to a free report, or even maybe a free financial plan that you want to offer. Everyone who works at a certain employer. So the sky’s the limit with creating the type of content. You just want to make sure it’s really valuable to your audience and that you really give away 90% of what you know.
So this is a employer-based campaign that we did that is about How to Maximize Your Greenheck Benefits Package. Greenheck is a industrial fan company, and it’s out of Wisconsin, and it’s the largest employer in this advisor’s town, and so he aggressively targets the employees. And inside the report you can see we talk about their defined benefit plan, their 401K, paid time off, longterm disability insurance, life insurance, and also the employee stock option plan. And so we’re really giving away a lot of great information that’s extremely valuable to people that work at this company, and they follow up with specific questions about their own situation once they read the report.
Here’s another report example. A Social Security guide that’s pretty straightforward. This advisor works with certified registered nurse anesthetists, and so this is The CRNAs Investor’s Guide: Avoiding the Three Biggest Mistakes.” And so this is a totally targeted report for CRNAs. This is a webinar on Social Security, and so this is a good example. If your target demographic is within 10 years of claiming Social Security, this is a great kind of avenue to reach out to them.
So once you have your bait, you want to promote it on LinkedIn. So first you can publish it as a post, and this notifies everybody in your network that you’ve published a post, and it resides permanently on your profile where people can review it when they’re kind of browsing your profile. Then you can share it to all of your groups, and this will notify everybody in your group that you’ve shared your post. And so this is important, because people who are a part of your LinkedIn group, you may not be connected with already, but they’ll get an email alerting them to your publication within the group, and so it’s a great way to connect with people that you’re not already linked with on LinkedIn.
Then you can share your bait with daily updates on LinkedIn, and you can also ask your referral partners to share. So people who also serve clients in the same demographic, this valuable information is important to your prospects, and so your referral partners who also serve them are doing their clients a favor by sharing this report, and then of course people can follow up and ask you questions about it.
So let’s talk about sharing your bait with qualified prospects. So first of all, we want to find the qualified prospects, and then you send them a connection request, which is free to do on LinkedIn, and then we follow up with your bait or your message about your report. So let’s talk about how to do that. So first of all, you search for your qualified prospects, and you can search with company, job title, location, industry, past company, hobbies. So whatever your specific specialty is, that’s who you want to search for. And then you can even save your searches. And so here’s some examples of saved searches. “Financial advisors,” and this is in my account, so obviously I would want to reach out to financial advisors. “Executive equestrians.” I’m a big horse rider, and so that makes sense. And, “CEO’s who golf.” So this is just types of searches to give you some ideas of the types of searches you could create.
From there, you want to hit the big blue button next to their profile and send a request to connect with them. You’ll see about 25% to 35% of people who don’t know you will accept your connection request if you write a little message that goes along with it saying, “Hey, Thomas. I am an expert in helping Chevron employees make the most of their benefits package. I wanted to connect.” And 25% to 35% of cold people will connect with you. Once you connect with them, you can send them a message for free. And so you want to send a followup message thanking them for connecting and inviting them to take the next step. So here’s the ideal followup message. “Thank you for connecting. Here’s what I do, here’s how I can help. Here’s a relevant report that I think you’ll find valuable, and here’s a link to schedule a phone call if you have any questions.” So that’s kind of the ideal followup message.
And here’s an example that actually works for one of the advisors that I work with. “Hi, Thomas. Thanks for accepting my connection request. I’m an independent financial advisor that serves Greenheck employees and helps them prepare for a secure retirement. My firm specializes in Greenheck’s benefits package. We recently released a report. I’m happy to share if you’re interested. Do you need any help navigating your retirement plan?” And then he has his name, his phone number, and the link to the report.
People who download the report then get this followup email that says, “Greenheck employees save 50% on a retirement plan,” and so they can get started on their retirement plan. Once they’ve downloaded the report, they automatically get this followup email, and that’s really easy to set up using MailChimp or Constant Contact so that everyone that downloads your report gets nurtured and gets prompted to take the next step.
And so this process is really effective when you employ it on a regular basis, and here’s some ideas of the metrics that you can expect. So if you send 100 connection requests, like I said, you can expect 20 to 30 new connections, and this is great because these people remain your connections over time, so you’re growing your network and they’ll see everything that you post in the future. So even if they don’t take action with you now, they may take action with you at some time in the future. And then you send the followup messages to all 20 or 30 connections, you’ll get five to 10 responses, two to three people who actually have a question. So five to 10 people will say, “Thanks for the response,” or, “Thanks for the report.” You know, just kind of a thank you message. But two to three people on average will have a question or actually schedule an appointment. And from that, depending on your close rate, you can expect one new client.
So if you do this process every single month, you can expect to generate one new client each month from this targeted campaign. So it’s all about creating a repeatable process for your LinkedIn prospecting. I encourage you to set aside at least one hour per week to do this process, or delegate it to somebody on your team, or my favorite solution, outsource it. So I use a virtual assistant to send outbound connection requests to financial advisors on LinkedIn, and the total cost for 100 outbound messages, the 25 followup messages, and the one new client that I get each month from this is $25 to $30. And so by using a virtual assistant who maybe you pay them between $12 and $20 per hour, you can expect to get one new client from this for really a very minimal cost.
So create your repeatable process, adjust it over time to make it better, and make sure that you do it every single month. Of course you want to customize your strategy for your business and what works best for you, but this mechanism that I’ve described for you is definitely customizable and repeatable for any financial advisor out there.
So being successful on LinkedIn is a lot like diet and exercise. It doesn’t work overnight, but you have to be consistent and challenge yourself, and don’t quit. So challenge yourself to do six months of this process, and I guarantee you you’ll have success. I’ve followed up with a lot of advisors that use my process very successfully, and so I encourage you to give it a try.
If you’d like to learn more, you can get weekly marketing tips for financial advisors at indigomarketingagency.com/newsletter, and if you want to learn more about how to use LinkedIn, you can take the LinkedIn course for financial advisors, and here’s a synopsis of everything that we cover on the course. Here’s a couple of testimonials from advisors who have been really successful with the tactics used on the course, and you can take a look at indigomarketingagency.com/freecourse.
Also, if you’re more of a book person, this is The LinkedIn Guide for Financial Advisors, which is my top rated book available on Amazon. You can get it on Kindle or on paperback, and so check that out on Amazon. And if you want to see my weekly tips for financial advisers, connect with me on LinkedIn, and I share weekly posts on how advisors can improve their marketing.