LinkedIn is not just a business social network. It’s a great way to create your own brand. When it comes to building credibility and increasing visibility of your value proposition, few tools are as effective as LinkedIn Recommendations, a reputation engine that financial advisors can use to boost their profile, attract clients and differentiate themselves from peers.
Still, it is not being leveraged by the advisor community to its fullest potential. Its usage entails a degree of awkwardness, uncertainty, and the pressure of reciprocity; barriers many admittedly find hard to overcome. The perception that most clients have too many competing priorities to find time for something like this doesn’t help.
Social media gurus say following some basic rules and simple steps can help users breeze through this brand building exercise.
Ask at the right time in the right way, says Mike DeSousa, a Toronto-based Career Mobile Media® specialist, whose expertise lies in combining social media and mobile media to create a personal brand.
“Give before you receive; pre-qualify the person for their readiness to give you a recommendation,” says DeSousa. “This increases your likelihood of getting a positive response. Frame the nature of your recommendation in the manner that your services met their financial goals/objectives and the plan that you created for them.”
Receiving client testimonials is nothing new to financial advisors, but the mode of delivery needs an upgrade. Simon Reilly of Leading Advisor Inc, a BC-based firm that specialises in coaching financial and investment advisors, says clients have far too much on their mind. Advisors must make it easier for the client to create a LinkedIn recommendation or it will likely not happen.
One way to do that, says Reilly, is writing a procedure to give clients who have given testimonials with the instructions to imbed their specific testimonials into a LinkedIn recommendation.
It all starts with helping people out without expecting anything in return, says DeSousa. “Wherever possible, offer someone a genuine and sincere LinkedIn Recommendation before you ask them for one,” he says. “Make them feel great about themselves, seek out and focus on the best in them. Make as many emotional deposits as you possibly can.”
Who to ask
How long should you have known someone before you can ask them for a recommendation? DeSousa says it’s not just the length of time but the depth of connection that makes a relationship strong. “[Who I ask] depends on the strength and nature of relationship.”
Reilly agrees. “Given the strength of our client relationships and the testimonials, the recommendations on LinkedIn should be seamless.”
How many are two many
Most advisors use recommendations to either build credibility with their profile or credibility with the business or service they are offering. In such a scenario it’s important to consider how many recommendations are too many. The answer depends on who you ask.
Anyway you slice it, the “correct” number is going to be subjective although most agree it’s the quality of the recommendation that counts the most.