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A LinkedIn Lead Strategy that Works

Author, trainer and coach, Sarano Kelley, provides a practical step-by-step guide to a digital-first prospecting strategy. TAKE OUR LIVE LINKEDIN POLL

March 2021

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Sarano Kelley

Author, Trainer and Coach, The Kelley Group, Intl.

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Continuing on the theme of virtual business building in his Advisor-focused event series – brought to you by BMO Global Asset Management – Sarano Kelley breaks down his comprehensive process for generating leads through LinkedIn.

More than just a marketing tool

Financial Advisors who consider social networking platforms as part of their business building plan hold a unique advantage in today’s physically-distanced environment. For many, tools such as LinkedIn are seen exclusively as a vehicle for reputation enhancement or mass communication. Yet, with the right approach – underpinned by direct, targeted connections – there is more to be gained, likely in half the time.

That said, the key is not to simply accept and send arbitrary requests or jump straight to a blanket sales pitch. Instead, Advisors should take the time to integrate a disciplined strategy that can have effective revenue growth outcomes.

A workable LinkedIn strategy

In my most recent session, as part of BMO’s Connecting with Clients Advisor event series, 51% of the attendees polled never used LinkedIn for prospecting. More notably, one in two respondents said they were neither comfortable with using the platform for requesting introductions, nor for reaching out to prospects directly.

This poses a larger problem than the adoption of LinkedIn as a sales tool; it speaks to the lack of understanding of how to leverage its potential. In my book, Delivering the Deal Flow, I outline how Advisors can kickstart their virtual journey to warm leads and shorten the cycle to client generation:

A step-by-step solution

The Kelley Group, Intl.

Step 1: Plan

  • Start with identifying 10 referral sources. Consider three categories of people:
    • Friends, family and social acquaintances
    • Clients with whom you enjoy an easy rapport
    • COIs with whom you have a strong bond
    • Look into the LinkedIn profiles of these individuals and find five connections they have that could benefit your business

Step 2: Process

  • Carve out time – 1 to 2 hours a week – to reach out to the 10 referral sources

Step 3: Presentation

  • Use a compelling script to reach out to the referral sources, stating your intent to approach their connections whom you could potentially help. (For detailed messaging, stream my session here)
  • Don’t ask for an introduction, but request information about the specific prospects you’ve shortlisted in their network. That is, focus on discovery.
  • If you’re faced with radio silence, send a follow-up message or email, simply asking “Are you okay?” You can elaborate further to say, “I haven’t heard from you, and I’m concerned for you and your family.” In other words, use emotion to elicit a response.

Step 4: Objections

  • Be prepared to accept that the discovery process may go one of three ways –
    • Some referrals may entirely object to your request
    • You may secure a negotiated outcome, which really is a hierarchy of asks you could put forward – “Do you have any suggestions to reach others like the prospects I identified from your network?”; “Do you know if your connections with a similar profile have a preferred way to be contacted?”; “Can I reach out without mentioning your name?” or “Would you prefer to forward an introduction on my behalf?” Dial up or pull back the conversation to gauge the referral’s openness to your request.
    • Determine that this is not a good use of your time, and politely walk away.

It’s possible that not every referral will respond positively. However, I have seen Advisors firsthand use this strategy to secure over 30 introductions, thanks to simply a few of the 10 individuals who took an interest.

To delve deeper into LinkedIn, explore BMO Global Asset Management’s tailor-made guide for the “Always-On Advisor” – with step-by-step instructions for new features, virtual prospecting and growing your business online.

Sustainability through accountability

Perhaps the most important aspect of the LinkedIn strategy I’ve laid out is accountability. A good benchmark is to meet a target of one to two warm referrals a week by using this approach.

Advisors could also benefit from creating a support system to deliver on their virtual prospecting strategy. For example, this may involve assigning a portion of the responsibility of identifying prospects on a marketing assistant or associate. Similarly, you could team up with a partner in your firm to play off each other’s strengths for your outreach plan, and also hold one another accountable for the goal at hand.

All things considered, the reality is that the virtual medium is here to stay, even when the pandemic comes to an end. For dedicated Advisors looking for an indisputable avenue of new business, embracing digital tools like LinkedIn – in combination with enhancing online presentation skills – will be the definitive investment that helps sustain a future-proof practice.

Join Sarano Kelley in his final session of the three-part Advisor event series, Connecting with Clients, where he focuses on Effective Communication Techniques for Turning Prospects into Clients in a Virtual World – brought to you by BMO Global Asset Management. To register or stream previous webinars, click here.

For more ideas to enhance your practice, contact your BMO Global Asset Management Regional Sales Representative.

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