When I speak at companies I always start by asking the audience one simple question, “How many of you are on LinkedIn?” Typically almost all hands go up, however, when I ask my next question, “How many of you are effectively using this network to grow your business?” those hands are usually quickly retracted.
Having a profile is one thing, but LinkedIn is more that just a place to hang your resume. It is a powerful search and networking tool that top advisors are tapping into to strategically prospect and establish themselves as thought leaders.
Take a look below at some of the techniques in which you can use this platform to grow your business and professional network. Remember: the same rules apply to online networking as they do offline. Be polite, personable, professional but not too salesy. Good etiquette goes a long way.
1. Finding a Needle in a Haystack
LinkedIn can be overwhelming with the number of user profiles out there, but the different search features make it easy to quickly focus your search. Looking for people who attended The Ohio State University from 1970-1974 that now live in Denver and work in engineering? You can find them! By using advanced search filters you can make sure you have a precise target market to connect with.
2. Warm Introductions
The saying goes,“it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Use your existing connections to open the doors to new relationships. LinkedIn has 2nd degree connections that are in your web of professional contacts but may not be linked directly to you. So not only is it “who you know,” but with LinkedIn it’s “who you know, and who they know.”
Next time you have an appointment with a client or a prospect look them up on LinkedIn and see who they are connected with that may be a good referral. After your meeting mention those people by name and ask for the introduction. Watch your referrals double!
3. Group Talk
LinkedIn groups are one of the most underutilized features for financial advisors on LinkedIn. With tens of thousands of groups, there’s a group for everyone and a hotbed of discussions taking place. Dive in and join the conversation! “Linked to Dallas,” one of my favorite groups, has over 10,000 members in the local area including several small business owners who need your help. Want to be more strategic? “Dallas Attorneys” group has over 600 members in the local area who may be a great referral source for you.
4. Get Connected
How often do you return from a networking event with a stack of business cards that you are never able to follow up with? Or maybe you call them once but the timing isn’t right and 6 months later they are a distant memory. Get connected! After meeting someone, reach out and connect with them via LinkedIn. Even if they may not be a qualified prospect now, by connecting with them you will be top of mind when those money in motion events occur. Utilize tools like LinkedIn’s CardMunch app to snap a photo of business cards and instantly connect on LinkedIn.
5. Follow Companies
Financial advisors on LinkedIn can strategically search for companies in their local area by size, industry or the amount of connections in common. We all know that when employees leave a company there is often an opportunity for 401k rollovers. Did you know that you can follow companies and be sent an email anytime an employee leaves, joins, or gets promoted? What a great opportunity to reach out!
Overall, LinkedIn can be a great business tool if you use it correctly. LinkedIn will do you no good if you have all kinds of meaningless connections, but it can be very valuable if your contacts are strategic and genuine. Now take these simple guidelines and go explore, you’ll never know whom you may run into or who might become your next big lead!