Does social fit into your plan? It should. Here are 10 ways to utilize your online network
This could be an 'AHA' moment! It’s a simple idea positioned in a different context.
As a financial advisor you seek to build a clientele of HNW individuals in the local area.The first step was to make a list of the people you considered ideal prospects. This came from many places, including board and donor lists from community organizations. Your next step was joining the right organizations. By attending events and volunteering, you are becoming part of their world. Where does social media fit into your plan? It should.
You’ve read the articles about how many CEOs are on LinkedIn and their average number of contacts. You’ve seen the numbers for millionaires on LinkedIn. This is a useful conduit.
Let’s assume you’ve built up a decent LinkedIn network. Here are a few ideas:
Who knows who?
You run your list of prospect names through LinkedIn specifically looking for second-level connections. If you are involved in the community, there will be overlap. Someone in your social circle is connected to everybody.
Wording the invitation
Now you have two points in your favour. Shared connections and the mutual organization. Give people simple, logical reasons to connect, even if the gap in status or income is wide. “We are both members of the (town) Historical Society. We know (#) of the same people. Let’s connect.” They will likely check you out, see the shared connections and based on the strength of those names, connect.
When following is the default option
Some people are really, really famous. The prompt is “follow” not “connect.” Click the “More” box. It should offer the “connect” option. It’s worth a try.
Local college alumni
Suppose you went to school nearby. Lots of grads are working in the area. If your alumni association has a LinkedIn group for the local chapter, you know who they are. Now your invitation focuses on the “Old School Tie.”
There are over a million LinkedIn groups. You probably belong to several focused on sales and marketing or business development. Some groups are very active with memberships in the several hundred thousand! When you look at the profile of your prospect, wondering “What reason can I give them to connect?” think about saying “We are both members of (group).” It’s another shared interest.
Get a dialog going
Some accept. Others don’t. Bear in mind the more local connections you add, the more second-level connections the next group of people you are inviting will see. As soon as they accept (or the next day) write out a personal “Thank you for connecting” note. It’s not boilerplate.
The wine angle
I end my “thanks for connecting” message with a personal note. “We are big wine fans. How about you?” It’s personal. Many people aren’t wine fans, but they share a personal detail. “I’m a craft beer fan.” If you’ve found a fellow wine fan, you have struck gold. You have something to talk about! Most important, wine is a crossover area of interest with HNW individuals. The “table stakes” are low compared to other hobbies.
Getting a conversation going. Your object is to develop a dialog that moves from LinkedIn messaging to a phone call or in person meeting. You are developing a social relationship which might translate into a business one. This is all personal. Talk about your shared interest in the organization you both joined. Talk about why you like the local area. Here’s the rationale: If they are local leaders, they are boosters for the local economy. They want to talk about how great it is to live and work here. You are kindred spirits.
You want to tread carefully. How many “My company sells…” messages do you get on LinkedIn. Lots. They will take an interest in what you do. They have read your profile. Once you see them in person, you can draw them out about what they do. Since you are involved in the same organizations, that face to face encounter is highly likely.
Repeat the process of looking at second-level connections in the local area among the local leaders. Since you have added some higher profile connections, you should suddenly find your universe of second-level names has widened.
You likely do this already, but have you done a specific focus on local leaders in your community? There’s no dollar cost, just your time. It can be done anytime of day or night.
Bryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. He provides HNW client acquisition training for the financial services industry. His book, “Captivating the Wealthy Investor” can be found on Amazon.