There's a difference between a LinkedIn marketing campaign and a sales outreach effort—to get client conversations started for financial advisors.
If you don't know the difference, beware.
Most advisors aren't distinguishing between sales and marketing... strategies and tactics. This puts them at a disadvantage.
Most advisors are missing the boat
Here's the short version: Most advisors focus on:
- asking for connections so as to...
- send free messages to potential clients and
- post marketing updates in hopes of engaging those connections.
However, clients are bombarded by advisors spamming low quality messages and posts.
That untargeted marketing amounts to looking like a meeting beggar. And that's why most advisors struggle to earn conversations—once connected.
They're becoming part of the noise.
Should you ask for a connection request? In our advisor members' experience yes. But the main benefit comes with connecting to existing clients.
However, sales outreach (to potential new clients) is vitally important.
Sales or LinkedIn marketing strategy?
Financial advisors need a LinkedIn marketing strategy. This means having a:
- LinkedIn profile able to attract inquiries,
- plan to share useful, provocative content with connections seeking it;
- strong copywriting expertise—provoking customers to engage in discussion on posts.
However, if you need more conversations with new or existing clients on LinkedIn, you need a sales outreach strategy.
This article will walk you through the difference and show how to earn more conversations.
However, if you're ready for it, jump into how to write more effective messages in the sales outreach context.
Or this article helps with LinkedIn summary and message writing for advisors.
Conversations: Beyond a LinkedIn connection
In our members' experience, asking to connect on LinkedIn does NOT help start conversations—for most financial advisors. Also, messages sent after becoming connected fail to start conversations.
Asking to connect with a client is becoming less effective for many financial advisors. Because connection requests (as a first touch) is a tactic used by low-skilled sales reps and advisors.
Here's what we've learned is causing this.
- Saturation: Most business folks are using Connection requests as their first "cold" touch. But requesting a Connection (by itself) is increasingly signaling “I'm a marketer looking to spam your inbox.”
Result: Fewer connection requests are being accepted.
- Context: Being connected on LinkedIn to someone requires a pre-existing relationship. Clients are becoming choosy about who they connect with and why. Connections are a privilege.
- LinkedIn: LinkedIn's system is (over time) discouraging personal-ized invitations from being read.
Result: "False positives" are sent to advisors (it looks promising but they don't engage).
Beware: Most advisors and sellers use LinkedIn connection requests as their first “cold” touch when approaching clients.
Clients are burning-out on LinkedIn pitches—coming from many kinds of service providers.
At large volumes this feels more like impersonal marketing to clients.
Financial advisors are part of the problem—but so are others bombarding clients with come-ons.
Post-connection, most messages also fail to earn a response these days.
This begs the question why are they connecting—then ignoring you? And how can we fix this?
Why are clients connecting then ignoring?
Another reason to consider avoiding sending connection requests, first, is false positives.
Here's the skinny: You may interpret acceptance of a connection request as an invitation to start a discussion but the other side doesn't.
Why is that?
Short answer: The personal message within your invitation is often not seen.
It's easy to have a positive impression when a potential client accepts your LinkedIn connection request. In fact, it's logical to think, “aah, great!” But what, exactly, is on the client's mind when he/she accepts?
Why did they accept? In many cases, your request to start a conversation has, actually, never been seen.
However, either way, they may have accepted for a variety of reasons:
- Curiosity. They're on LinkedIn and not sure what to do, so they accept;
- An urge to grow their network by increasing connection number;
- Maybe they're considering switching or starting a relationship with an advisor. Until you're on speaking terms, there's no way of knowing.
Bottom line: Avoid agonizing over the personalized message inside your connection request.
LinkedIn wants to grow its numbers and continues to make it:
- easier for any connection request to be blindly accepted (in general);
- more difficult to see who sent a personalized request and read it.
This isn't serving your goal so much as it serves theirs, as a public company.
Doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result—it's insanity. Right?
Here's my tough love for you. Being connected on LinkedIn is becoming highly privileged.
Remember: You're a stranger. As sellers are rushing into LinkedIn social selling, clients are increasingly:
- Hiding their authority by downplaying/obfuscating their role on LinkedIn profiles
- Taking a defensive posture: Accepting fewer (not more) connection requests
- Thinking twice about accepting “just any” connection request
- Reviewing advisors' profiles to see if you're a problem-solver or an average spammer
Yes, you are trying to help customers... but you are strangers no less.
Instead, foster curiosity
Your connection request does not need to be followed by a personal message.
Instead provoke curiosity by:
- Sending the request. No message attached. Allow prospects room to become curious by not revealing too much about yourself and/or your intentions.
- Helping clients want to ask by not saying or asking for too much, too fast. Instead, go for the conversation. Forget requesting for meetings.
- Speaking only about the client. All discussion about you is forbidden.
- Allowing clients to identify (possible) value via unbiased open ended questions. By asking strong questions, clients identify your understanding of their challenge—hinting to your credibility.
We practice these (and more) curiosity-provoking tactics in our workshops. Consider joining in!
And if you haven't though about it yet, consider...
Using all other options
- The phone & voicemail.
- Standard email.
- Postal mail.
I know this sounds obvious. But are you limiting yourself? You want exceptional results but are your tactics exceptional?
The above are tools of diligent, successful sellers. I know … because I'm lucky enough to have a few as our customers.
Using a brief, blunt & basic cold communications approach works. But don't limit yourself to what everyone else is doing on LinkedIn.
For your customer, LinkedIn is personal. Increasingly so.
Treat it that way; treat your clients that way too. It's the key to success in an increasingly noise-filled, impersonal world.