by Brittany Ferrera, Customer Success & Marketing Manager at Communications Edge Inc

LinkedIn can be daunting for financial advisors. So I've created a quick primer on using LinkedIn to start more conversations with clients. Here are 3 elements to make sure you nail it quickly, without pulling your hair out. 


1. Make your profile scream, “Contact me!” 

If you spend time on outreach through LinkedIn, you probably know your profile is an important part.  Some salespeople think they can put a profile together and focus on activity rather than the profile itself. But it really is crucial if you’re utilizing LinkedIn messaging as a Financial Advisor to make sure it’s buttoned up and done right.

The most effective approach when creating--or recreating--your LinkedIn profile is to:

  1. Avoid blending in--don’t do what everyone else is doing.
  2. Avoid making your profile a burden on the reader.  Instead, make sure it’s a pleasure.
  3. Make it scan-able using easily identified sections and bullet points based on these key elements:

          - What you do.
          - For whom you do it. 
          - How you do it differently. 
          - Specific outcomes you produce for clients.  
          - How you get paid. 
          - How clients get in touch with you.  
  4. Be someone others want to contact--you’re a salesperson, so chances are you’re a person others are naturally drawn to.  Make sure your LinkedIn profile reflects that.
  5. Talk less about yourself and more about the outcomes you produce for clients.

Bonus tip: Your professional headline - Make it speak to what you do and for whom: "Helping people meet today’s obligations, reduce tomorrows risks and achieve their dreams through financial planning."

How about an example to clarify?  Mark’s profile (Example 1) is easy to scan quickly and figure out exactly what he does and how it can help, whereas profiles like this one (Example 2) have a visitor glancing at it and right away determining that it’s going to take a while to read.  It even looks good too.

Example 1:

Notice (below) how Mark’s summary section is easy to scan for key pieces of information used by potential customers.

       - What Mark does
        - How he does it differently (why a customer should see him as worth talking to)
        - How he helps customers
        - How he gets paid
        - Ways to reach him

Notice how Mark uses verbs in his bulleted list… describing how he helps clients.

Organize, reduce, protect, build, reclaim, achieve, live life to the fullest. Action words. 

Simple. But often overlooked.

WHAT I DO: I help busy professionals and families align their money with their life through fee-only, fiduciary financial planning.

No Obligation Meeting➤https://calendly.com/financialclaritypartners/initial-call
email: mark@financialclaritypartners.com
phone: (678) 626-7526
website:www.financialclaritypartners.com

I CAN HELP YOU:

✔ORGANIZE your financial life, allowing you to make better decisions
✔REDUCE financial stress, letting you enjoy life, not worry about it
✔PROTECT what’s important to you and your family
✔BUILD a plan for your money that reflects your unique values, goals and dreams
✔RECLAIM valuable time to spend with family & friends, instead of crunching numbers
✔ACHIEVE your goals and dreams through personalized, comprehensive advice
✔LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST knowing that your plan will adapt as you and your life change

HOW I DO IT DIFFERENTLY: I take a collaborative and comprehensive approach to financial planning, working together with you to build a plan that reflects YOU, YOUR FAMILY and YOUR LIFE. I am a fiduciary, obligated to act in your best interest at all times, and practice full disclosure. Using technology, you have 24/7 access to your plan, saving you time and money.

HOW I GET PAID: Services are delivered via a transparent, fee-only service model. I get paid based on the advice I provide, not how much product you buy.

Mark Sinderson
email: mark@financialclaritypartners.com
phone: (678) 626-7526
website:www.financialclaritypartners.com

Example 2:

Contrast the above to profiles which are paragraph after paragraph. (like this example)

This says to readers, “get ready, I’m going to make you work at reading this novel.” 

Nobody reads. We scan.

“Chunk it.” Cut your profile into easy to see (and read) sections. Clients will only want to read certain parts of your profile. Let them. Help them.

Make it easy for them to scan.

Good luck scanning the below!

About

I get it. After being in this big industry called financial services long enough I know it is confusing. There are banks, brokerage firms, insurance companies and more. It can be hard to tell if someone is trying to sell me insurance, and what about the person at the bank.

The reason I set up my firm is to help clear up that confusion. And everything I try to do is around making sure it's as clear as can be. And it starts with the way I charge. I charge a simple, flat fee so if you were to ask my clients they would tell you exactly what they pay me.

Have you ever felt this way - You walk in and 30 seconds into your conversation with someone in this industry they’re often throwing prescriptions at you. You know, maybe to buy an annuity or spend a few grand on a financial plan that will just sit on a shelf gathering dust. 

My approach is I start by thoroughly understand your situation, figure out where you would like to go, and then of course we put together a clear action plan to get there. It goes from that point to how I charge with a single flat fee. Wouldn’t it be great if you knew with 100% certainty how much you pay your advisor.

Forward Thinking Wealth Management, LLC is an Investment Adviser registered with the State of Ohio. Please contact us at 330-835-6205 if there is any change in your financial situation, needs, goals or objectives, or if you wish to initiate any restrictions on the management of the account or modify existing restrictions. Additionally, we recommend you compare any account reports from FTWM with the account statements from your Custodian. Please notify us if you do not receive statements from your Custodian on at least a quarterly basis. Our current disclosure brochure, Form ADV Part 2, is available for your review upon request. This disclosure brochure, or a summary of material changes made, is also provided to our clients on an annual basis.

2. Connect differently.

The biggest challenge financial advisors are facing lately is post-connection crickets--connecting with prospects and then not being able to start a conversation.  Sales communication expert, Jeff Molander, says starting conversations requires the below tactical pivots.

Stay neutral

The best LinkedIn connection request does not try to convince prospects there's benefit in connecting.  

“Because nothing screams ‘I am needy’ more than offering yourself as a solution to a problem you think clients need solved... without them asking about it first,” says Molander.

“The best LinkedIn connection request offers neutrality to the prospects' acceptance of your request.”

According to Molander, the best connection requests allow prospects to choose--for their own reasons--to connect or not.

Consider options beyond connection 

Connections seem like a logical starting point, but you increasingly need to be using standard email and telephone as well.  Molander says most financial advisors are putting too much focus on connections.  This is causing issues like “false positives,” where you assume a client has read the personal message with your connection request--even though they probably didn’t see it at all because of how LinkedIn is set up now.  

(This article explains more about why they’re connecting and then ignoring you.)

3. Start conversations by provoking.

You can’t expect to start a conversation with paying clients by copying and pasting a canned template into a message to a prospect. You’re forced to provoke clients. The only reliable way to consistently provoke is to personalize.

Do your homework. Then prove you’ve done it. Separate out from the spammers.

Trust is naturally taken away when canned messages are sent every single day from salespeople who have done no research and whose products or services may not even help the prospect.

Not like this

Trust expert, Charles H. Green, describes having received the below unprovocative and un-thought-out messages on LinkedIn coming from one of the top 5 wealth management firms in the world.

Hi Charles H., thanks for connecting!

As retirement approaches, we’re faced with a lot of questions: How much longer will I need to work? Do I have enough saved for the retirement I want? How much should I set aside for my kids? It takes a team to find the answers that are right for you, and with over 36 years of experience in wealth management – and becoming a part of my clients’ families – I love being a member of that team.

My approach to wealth management is unique; it’s what earned me a spot on Barron’s ranking of America’s Top 1,200 Financial Advisors. A holistic look at your financial future can save you money and worry down the line. Your wealth encompasses a lifetime of hard work and efforts. Don’t you think in an ever more complex world it would be smart for you to get a second review of your life’s plan? Interested in learning more? Grab some time on my calendar:[calendly.com invitation]

All the best, [name, Senior Vice President Wealth Management – Portfolio Manager at one of the top 5 wealth management firms in the world]

“This (above) banker found me on LinkedIn – a content-rich environment,” says Green.

“How hard would it have been for him to say something – anything – about me, and how his service might be relevant to me?” 

“Run the numbers on the lifetime value of a client for a wealth manager, and you’re left asking – why did he settle for the equivalent of bluetooth-pinging me in the grocery aisle with a cents-off special on canned soup?”

Green says digital marketers have painted themselves into a corner. The more they are able to finely tune their targeted audience, the more we expect them to show us how that fine-tuning is relevant to us. 

“And yet, they do the opposite: choosing to make the message all that more impersonal,” says Green.

Financial advisor case example

We've provided financial advisor examples like Mark in past. But let's take Scott for example today.  

Scott, a Certified Exit Planner, was struggling to communicate (to business owners) that exit planning is not a future endeavor. It's needs to be looked at right now.

His email message (below) lacked connection and research.

Better but still weak 

Subject: Personal Connection

[name], did you know most business owners make a 6-7 figure mistake and normally make it 5-8 years before they eventually sell their business? Do you know what that costly mistake is? They didn’t start planning early enough so they didn’t maximize their return on the back end.

[name], even if there is no immediate need and only a “down the road” interest, are you open minded to a 10-minute exploratory conversation?

Scott

Scott’s message is vague and not provocative.

It doesn’t elicit reaction from the prospect, and it doesn’t make a person wonder how Scott can help--because it’s clear he’s sending this email to a large number of people.

For both Scott, a few simple tweaks could be made that would elicit more responses from prospects.

        1. Do your research.
        2. Make the email specific.
        3. Make the email short (nobody has time for scrolling down on their mobile screens, so make sure it fits in               there).
        4. Make it clear.
        5. No yes/no questions.

Turning an email template into something that can create a provocation and get responses is not easy. Want help with this? Want to get started? We can show you how.

Avoid tactics like alumni prospecting

Example: Another wrong way...the way everyone does it...that's 90% why it doesn't work!

Show an under-performing tactic or two. Explain why it’s not working at all / well enough. Option: present as, “based on our members’ experience.” 

A popular, yet under-performing, LinkedIn tactic for financial advisors an alumni approach. Specifically, contacting your college alumni (from cold)… leveraging a sense of mutual common interests or identity. 

It’s easy. It’s fast. It’s a bit of a short-cut. This is precisely why it’s so popular. Today, alumni-focused tactics aren’t performing well enough for financial advisors. It doesn’t stand out enough. 

Instead, you blend in with the pack.

For example, after establishing a LinkedIn connection, you may be sending (or considering) a message like this:


Thanks for connecting, Jane. Always good to network with fellow Penn State alumni. I was wondering if you were interested in a quick chat on the phone so we can make a formal introduction and see if we could provide each other value. Thoughts?

If no response, some financial advisors will enroll prospects in their email newsletters--without gaining permission of their contact. Increasingly, this tactic is often a non-starter. Not to mention spammy and risks damaging your reputation. 

Guilty of being un-provocative?

That’s okay.  A lot of salespeople are.

But the good news is...you can CHANGE.  Be different. Stand out. There is a way to make LinkedIn messaging work for you if you’re a Financial Advisor.

Investing in yourself and learning to do things the right way doesn’t have to be expensive.  You can start here for free or get even more out of other inexpensive packages.


About the Author

Brittany Ferrara gives our customers and internal team everything needed to stay focused, on-task, effective and ultimately successful. She gives us an organizational, marketing & customer support edge. Brittany brings seven years of customer service, administrative assisting and marketing experience to us. She is a successful entrepreneur, having operated her own successful venture, Pro-Assist, LLC for five years before joining our team.

Brittany Ferrara

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