Category Archives for "Latest Articles"

May 07

A Financial Advisor’s LinkedIn Profile…Part Art…Part Science…AND It’s Not About YOU!

By LINinja | Latest Articles

Picasso ProfileBuilding a LinkedIn profile for sales and business development – with the goal of finding and attracting new clients – is very different than building a profile to find a job or advance your career. It’s all about positioning and perspective.

As a financial advisor, it’s also particularly challenging as a result of compliance restrictions.

When you first join LinkedIn, you’re walked through a form asking for all kinds of information about your past professional life. Most people simply start popping in information based on what they have on hand without giving it much thought. When they are finished, voila! a profile based on everything they did in the past; a full biography.

That may be fine if you’re looking for a job, but is that really what clients and potential clients care about learning about you? No! While they want to know that you have the credentials and experience, they are more interested in how you can help them and if you can help them than what job you held right out of college.

Your profile should be more “client-centric” than “employer-centric” meaning that you’re speaking to clients and potential clients and answering the questions that are most important to them.

I say that the LinkedIn profile is “part art” because you have to think about the proper positioning of your information to intrigue people to learn more and engage with you. You have to approach your LinkedIn profile just as you would any other marketing or advertising piece. It has to be interesting, engaging, entertaining and informational in order to hold the reader’s attention. You need to differentiate yourself from other advisors because the average person assumes that all financial advisors do the same thing.

Your profile also needs to be memorable, which means it needs to be a little out of the norm – often very tough to do if you work with a large financial services company.

Picture a Picasso painting. Once you’ve seen a Picasso painting are you ever going to forget what a Picasso painting looks like? The same with your LinkedIn profile…there are hundreds of thousands of financial and investment advisor profiles on LinkedIn. Is your profile going to blend into the forgettable paint-by-numbers profiles or are you going to be a Picasso? What can you do to stand out and be memorable?

The LinkedIn profile is also “part science” because you want to make sure that if someone is looking for an investment or financial advisor that your profile shows up in the mix, AND you want to get people to take some sort of action when they view it. Search optimizing your profile is tricky and the LinkedIn Ninja for Financial Advisors Training Program walks you through all of the things you can do with your profile to increase your odds of ranking high in search results.

Finally, I say that the LinkedIn profile isn’t about you because it’s really supposed to be about the people you’re trying to attract as clients. If a perfect prospect is looking at your profile and they don’t know or understand what it is that you do for your clients AND that you specialize in working with them, then “Game Over,” you just lost.

Try to look at your profile through the eyes of a potential client. Does the information make sense? Are there any holes in your story? Why would I want to contact you? I know that type of mental shift can be tough, so if you aren’t sure, then ask your clients what they think about your profile! Why guess when you can go right to the horse’s mouth?

Need help with your profile or using LinkedIn as a financial advisor? I have some solutions for you. Email me at crystal@linkedinninja.com for more information.

May 07

LinkedIn Profile Summary – Your Target Market Needs to Know You’re Talking to Them

By LINinja | Latest Articles

53f5acdf9da05989689f0a1cef80b972There are many tricks to building a LinkedIn profile that sets you apart from the competition. Your Profile Summary is the main place for you to “tell” your network and visitors to your profile what they really need to know most about you and your practice to get them to take action and connect with you.

As someone using LinkedIn for sales and business development, the manner in which you approach the Profile Summary is significantly different than those using LinkedIn to find a job or position themselves for future career opportunities. That’s because the message that is most important to their target market – potential employers – is an understanding of what they’ve done in the past that qualifies them for a particular job.

While your clients and potential clients do care that you are qualified to be their investment or financial advisor, what they want to know most about is how you can help them today and in the future. They want to know what makes you the advisor they should pick or recommend.

That means you should approach the LinkedIn profile summary more like an elevator speech than a biography. You should clearly outline your differentiating factors and competitive advantages. Most importantly, you should clearly identify your target market – the people you help the most. Because, if a perfect prospect is looking at your LinkedIn profile and they don’t know that you specialize in working with them, GAME OVER, you just lost.

When it comes to identifying your target market, you want to be as specific as possible. This doesn’t mean that you are saying you exclusively work with people who meet this description, but that you specialize in working with these people. When you call them out as a specialization or focus, they will pay more attention to you.

If you’re thinking that you don’t have a very specific target market, you may be surprised to learn that you do if you dig deep enough. Ask yourself some questions:

Do you work more with: small business owners or employees? business owners with companies in specific industries? business owners with employees? employees in specific careers or industries? employees at specific companies? adults with specific lifestyles? couples with children? couples within 5 years of retirement? people who are already retired?

Here are some examples of good target market identification in a LinkedIn profile:

“I’m willing to work with anyone who is serious about their money and reaching their financial goals. With that in mind, I have a deep understanding of the benefits and retirement programs of the major employers in Austin and I’m one of the few who work directly with the University of Texas ORP.”

“It doesn’t matter what level you are in the P&G hierarchy as we work with everyone from administrative assistants and secretaries to senior executives. If you are fully vested in P&G’s retirement program, I can help you navigate the complex decisions you will need to make to take full advantage of your benefits.”

“I work with people in all walks of life and life styles. Our best clients are people who have worked hard in their working years and are now thinking about retiring. I help them build a plan so their savings can last them the rest of their lives. Many of our clients want to leave an inheritance to family and charities, we help them do that efficiently.”

“We are most effective working with closely held companies of less than 100 employees, especially medical practices and the building trades.”

This target market identification isn’t just for the people who fit your target market; it’s for everyone else in your network as well. Think about it…most people know multiple advisors and they want to be in a position to make referrals when a referral makes sense. So, if they know that you are the advisor who specializes in working with dentists, and they know people who are dentists, they can easily see the connection and make the referral.

By more narrowly defining your target market, it will make it easier for your target market to find you and for others to refer them to you. Your LinkedIn Profile Summary is the ideal place to share this crucial information.

 

May 07

Who Should I Invite to Connect on LinkedIn?

By LINinja | Latest Articles

f6d8560a84209eb4a4e6de7461a151e0After you’ve finished building out your LinkedIn profile and gotten compliance approval, then next step is to grow your 1st degree Connections. Ideally, you do not want to build your network until you’ve fully built out your profile. Inviting someone to connect is the one time that you can almost guarantee they will read through your entire profile, so you want to have everything in place so you don’t lose that messaging opportunity.

The real money level of your network is the 2nd degree; not the 1st – because that’s the direct referral relationship. You’re going to vet all new people you meet as client material anyway, but the gold is in the people they are connected to who you don’t know yet. However, you’re not going to find good prospects in the 2nd degree if you don’t have a sizable and continuously growing 1st degree network.

It’s important to be smart about who you invite to connect. LinkedIn’s philosophy is that you should only invite people to connect who you know. The definition of “know” can vary. For me, if it’s someone I’ve engaged with outside of LinkedIn or inside LinkedIn, then that means that I “know” them. For others, “know” means that you’ve actually met them and had at least one in depth conversation. I’ve even met some people with very elaborate criteria. So, what should you do?

Ultimately, you have to decide for yourself what your “networking philosophy” is going to be and it should line up with what you’re trying to accomplish by using LinkedIn. If you only connect with people you believe to be prospects already, then you’re limiting your prospect pool to your 1st degree and not focusing on the 2nd degree which I called the money level above. If you connect with anyone and everyone, then you don’t have a true relationship with most of your 1st degree meaning that they aren’t going to introduce you to their connections (your 2nd degree) or that introduction is not going to be very convincing and you’ll have a lower success rate.

I recommend inviting people to connect who you’ve met or engaged with online AND who would be willing and open to introducing you to their connections. The #1 criteria is, “Are they willing to help you?” This means that you need to temper any assumptions on how helpful they may be. You never know who someone is connected to and how strong their relationship is. So, if you meet someone who is less than your ideal target market – say a coffee shop barista – don’t assume that they can’t and won’t help you. People who buy $6 lattes on a daily basis have some money! If the barista will introduce you, then she’s a valuable connection.

Whenever you invite someone to connect, you should ALWAYS customize the message inviting them to connect. It doesn’t have to be very elaborate and LinkedIn only gives you 300 characters, so you can’t be very verbose anyway. Simply remind them of where you met or how you’re connected outside of LinkedIn. If it’s someone who may not recall you, I would also add a sentence about your intention or motivation behind wanting to connect – and it shouldn’t be because you want them as a client! Build a relationship first.

YES, you should connect to your clients. It will make asking for referrals much easier because you can tell them who you’d like to be referred to.

NEVER drop a connection’s name as a reason to connect without that person’s permission. Ideally, you want that person to introduce you via LinkedIn first before you invite a mutual connection to connect anyway.

ALWAYS invite the new people you’ve met or encountered to connect on a weekly basis. Block it into your calendar or add it into one of your processes – such as adding someone to your CRM. This will ensure that you continually have new prospects just an introduction away.

May 22

Key Stats for Financial Advisors Using Social Media

By LINinja | Latest Articles

  • 74% of affluent people aged 55-70 have 1 or more social media profiles (avg. income $249k)

  • 34% of those same people use social media specifically for personal finance and investing purposes.

  • 70% of those using social media for personal finance and investing have reallocated investments or have started or changed their relationship with investment providers

  • 5 millions High Net Worth Investors (HNW) in the U.S. and Canada actively using social media to help them with their financial decisions ($100,000 or more in investible assets)

  • 87% of HNW investors with advisors are using social media with 69% being active on LinkedIn

  • 73% of HNW investors are using LinkedIn; 29% are using Facebook, Twitter and Google+ combined

  • Half of HNW investors who are active on LinkedIn are unadvised (1.825 million in U.S. & Canada)

  • Investors who currently interact with their advisor via social media = 4%; Investors who would interact with their advisor via social media = 52%

  • 62% Advisors actively using LinkedIn to find new clients acquired 1 or more; 32% had increase of $1 million+ in assets under management from new clients