If you’re an advisor on LinkedIn, you may have recieved an email invitation to sign up for the new LinkedIn’s ProFinder service. Many of the advisors I work with were excited to see this article from InvestmentNews awhile back or to receive an invitation directly from LinkedIn with this subject line: You’ve been selected to try a LinkedIn product for financial services professionals.
The email introduces LinkedIn’s ProFinder as a program designed to help independent financial services professionals get more clients:
You’re part of an exclusive group we’re inviting to apply because of your impressive LinkedIn profile. We’ve already started testing this product with freelance professionals in the SF Bay Area, and we want you to be one of the first to try it in the Washington D.C. Metro Area.
Through LinkedIn ProFinder, potential clients looking for financial services professionals will request services they need. We’ll send the relevant requests to you, and you can choose to respond with a lightweight proposal. Best of all, participation in the pilot is totally free.
Don’t Get Too Excited
Before you get too excited, understand that this program is not actually specific to financial services. It’s part of LinkedIn’s broader push to act as a hiring platform for freelance professionals. The system will allow users to get free proposals in the following areas of expertise:
- Writing and Editing
- Real Estate
- Software Development
- IT Services
- Business Consulting
- Financial Services
The first limitation is that ProFinder still depends on prospects actually searching for a financial professional on LinkedIn, which we know is not how high net worth clients choose an advisor. However, this practice could plausibly increase in the future, so perhaps the value will grow over time. But that premise isn’t the only downside.
What’s The Problem?
The problem is that the system is heavily based on LinkedIn recommendations. During the ProFinder setup process, LinkedIn’s tips include “Recommendations are absolutely essential, as they can be the difference in whether or not you’re hired.”
This makes a lot of sense for website developers or other freelancers. However, for financial advisors, recommendations are largely prohibited. What’s disturbing is how many advisors on LinkedIn actually have recommendations displayed, some even pertaining to investments and performance, but that’s a topic for another post.
The problem with the ProFinder system for advisors is that LinkedIn suggests profiles based on how many recommendations the advisor has. You can see below that ProFinder suggests advisors outside of my network who have recommendations before it suggests advisors within my network who have no recommendations. This puts advisors who are playing by the rules at a distinct disadvantage.
Is It Still Worthwhile?
It could be worth the minimal effort required. ProFinder will give preferential treatment to folks with a 100% complete profile and LinkedIn Publications, so the advisors I work with will rank at the top of the pile of advisors without recommendations.
I’ve gone through the process of enrolling three of the advisors I work with to test the system. Because it’s free and takes only a few minutes to set up, it can’t hurt, but don’t get your expectations too high. The folks seeking an advisor on LinkedIn who happen to locate your profile may not be your dream prospect.
How to Sign Up
Whether you were invited by LinkedIn to participate or not, you can enroll now by following this link, clicking “Apply Now,” answering a few questions, and entering your phone number. If you are a current client of mine, send me a message and I’ll get you signed up today.
Then, the ProFinder platform will pull information from your profile into their system. If someone in your area is searching for an advisor, ProFinder may suggest your profile. I’ll be monitoring the results of my clients, so check back for an update in a month or two.
While ProFinder may not be the silver bullet for marketing on LinkedIn, there are plenty of effective strategies to get more leads and support your referral process. To learn more, check out The LinkedIn Guide for Financial Advisors, available on Amazon now.