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Your 5-Step LinkedIn Success Formula

by Bill Cates

I often joke that it seems like the only people making money using LinkedIn are the people who are selling you a process to use LinkedIn. 

In all my interviews and coaching sessions with advisors here’s one thing I know for sure. You improve your chances of producing new business when you focus on a target market.

Using LinkedIn works better in a target market, because your messaging can become more relevant and compelling to those you contact.

For example, if you are targeting employees in a large company (a strategy that has worked for hundreds, if not thousands, of advisors) you know more about their benefits package. You know the strengths and you know the weaknesses. You’re now in a position to gain their interest.

Messages that you craft to connect and then follow up with these employees will demonstrate that you know their world. You will standout from any generalists who may be attempting to attract their attention.

Not only will your perceived value be greater, but your actual value will be greater. Whenever you establish more context with your prospects and clients, you put yourself in the position to bring more depth and breadth of value.

The 5-STEP LinkedIn Success Formula

Here is a formula to make this strategy work for you. Advisors are producing results with this concept. As usual, you will have to adjust and adapt this process to your style and your target market.

STEP 1 – Identify the Company You Want to Target

Is the company large enough to be a good target? Is it large enough to become super targeted so you work to attract only a segment of their employees such as upper-level executives, or middle to upper level leaders, or rank and file employees? Generally speaking, the narrower the better, as long as the target is large enough to make it worthwhile to pursue.

The higher-level executives will likely have more complicated financial situations and may already know the value of working with a financial professional.

STEP 2 – Research the Company’s Benefits Package

The easiest way to do this is with the help of a current client, friend, or relative who works for your target company. 

If that type of resource isn’t available to you, you’ll be amazed at what you can find with a few minutes of online research.  For example, I Googled “Boeing Aircraft Benefits Package” and found this helpful link:

Dig a bit deeper and you’ll find enough information to equip you with great questions to ask prospective clients… questions that will show that you know a bit about their situation and get them thinking about the strengths and weaknesses of their current package.

STEP 3 – Start Connecting with Your Target Employees on LinkedIn

You can get this step started while you’re still working on Step 2.  You should experiment with the message you use to request a connection.  Don’t make your message overly complicated.

Here are a few ideas to get you thinking:

  • I’d like to connect with you on LinkedIn so we can support each other’s posts when we see them.” 

  • I see that your company is expanding like crazy. Bravo. Let’s connect on LinkedIn.

  • I’ve been following the success of [Company Name Here] for years. Let’s connect on LinkedIn. We can support each other’s post when we see them.

These are just a few suggestions. If you have connections in common, you can mention that fact.

Whatever you do, don’t start any kind of promotional message. Don’t mention that you have clients who work where they do. Your goal here is to simply get a 1st-Level Connection established. Any scent of a sales pitch will nix the connection.

STEP 4 – Thank Them When They Connect

Once an employee connects with you, you want to send a short message thanking them. But before you send the message, take a few minutes to look at their profile. What comment – totally unrelated to your business might you make, or what question might you ask?

You can comment about where they went to school or perhaps a person or company they are following. Look at their “About” section and any posts that might trigger a comment or question.

STEP 5 – Send a Message That Might Trigger Their Curiosity

After waiting one or two days, it’s time to send them a business-related message designed to get a conversation started.

Here is one example that will give you a sense of what you might write:

George – I work for [Company Name Here] executives to help them maximize their employee benefits plan and shore up some of the plan’s weaknesses.

While your plan is better than average, you do have some exposure in areas that are a bit concerning.

For example, both your short-term and long-term disability benefits will force you to significantly tighten your belt just at a time when that’s the last thing you want to be worrying about.

Are you open to a brief (10-15 minute) call to learn more about this specific issue, and to make sure you are taking advantage of all the benefits your employer offers?   If so, I will send over some dates and times for you to consider. Thanks!   BILL

Keep your message as short as possible. Make it as specific as possible. Use a line break after every one to two sentences. People are inclined to avoid reading long paragraphs.

If you don’t hear back from this new contact in a one to two weeks, you can try sending another message with another weakness in their benefits plan. Consider sending a LinkedIn voice message that you can do from the LinkedIn app on your smart phone.

For New Advisors or Experienced Advisors?

I think this strategy can work for both new and experienced advisors.

First, it’s never too early to consider creating a reputation for yourself in a target market. That’s a tried-and-true strategy for advisors of all levels.

Second, new advisors certainly need to find effective ways to create productive activity – to simply meet and talk to a lot of people.

Third, experienced advisors can use this process to get themselves established in a target market.

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