social-network-interface

Social networks have different dynamics and etiquette than traditional sales settings.

For instance, you’re not likely to have much success by setting up a LinkedIn account and blasting your connections with sales meeting requests.

Instead, try social selling. Below are four examples from real advisors.

1. Connect with people who have common interests

I started following a person on Twitter because of our common interest in dogs and dog rescue. We developed a friendship both online and offline. When this person left her employer and had a pension to commute, she sent me a DM [Direct Message] on Twitter to ask if I could help. This person and her spouse are now my clients.

Lessons for advisors:

  • Pursue connections with people based on genuine shared interests.
  • Get to know your online connections offline and your offline connections online.

2. Build relationships with your audience

A woman who runs a community publishing company emailed me. She was looking for a personal finance columnist for her quarterly publication that targets local families. She told me she’d posted a Tweet asking for columnist recommendations, and three people gave her my name. I agreed to write a monthly column for free. So far, those articles have generated several leads and two new clients.

Lessons for advisors:

  • Treat your online followers as an audience you’re serving, never as leads.
  • Recognize that the real benefit of social engagement is that others will tell your story and refer opportunities to you.

3. Prepare for people to look you up

I met a prospect at a business networking breakfast. We tweeted back and forth for a period of time and eventually she transferred all her business to me. She told me this was because she liked my “digital personality” — she liked what she saw when she searched for me online. This person now comes with me to community events as a client and always tweets and posts Instagram pictures showing that she’s with me doing good stuff in the community.

Lessons for advisors:

  • Your online presence — your website, social profiles and what you share — helps people validate who you are and what you do.
  • A conversation that starts with a face-to-face meeting at a networking event can continue via social media.

4. Helping is the new selling

Within my firm, I’m known as the social media guy, so I often get questions about my strategies, as well as requests to teach colleagues. Recently, I’ve received referrals from fellow advisors when their clients move into my region. My social media presence contributed to increasing my profile internally and securing those referrals.

Lessons for advisors:

  • Always be generous in sharing your knowledge, because helping is the new selling.
  • An effective social networker recognizes that colleagues, peers and fellow professionals can be the most important source of new prospects.

Do you have a social selling success story? Share it in the comments below.

Jay Palter is a social media strategist and coach with two decades of experience in financial services, software development and marketing.
Originally published on Advisor.ca

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