Lack of digital prowess in the finance sector is hindering growth.
Here’s a sobering statistic. The average client-facing professional in the financial industry achieves a score of 20 on LinkedIn’s Social Selling Index (SSI.)
The maximum score is 100.
LinkedIn’s SSI measures the promotional competence of individuals, companies and industries on the networking site. The score is based on four criteria with each criteria being scored out of 25.
A score of 20 means that financial professionals are either barely fulfilling the first criteria (creating a professional brand) or, for those who have embraced LinkedIn as a selling platform, doing all four pretty badly.
The lack of competence is puzzling since it is used heavily by executives and business owners – the most attractive market for the financial industry.
Here are five specific ways you can use LinkedIn to further your own business development goals and those of your company.
Traditionally sellers went in search of buyers, but now, in our globally connected world, four out of five buyers find their sellers.
LinkedIn’s own research estimates that 73 per cent of affluent investors are using the platform to research investment decisions. This is true for affluent millennials, tech executives and entrepreneurs alike. Just by having a profile, you’re more easily found on Google too.
No matter what your offline reputation, if you’re not positioning yourself to be found online, there’s a good chance you’re losing out on potential business.
People buy people – something which is particularly true in the financial industry, when so much business is secured on trust and reputation. Building a profile is a careful blend of adhering to your company’s values while showcasing your own unique traits.
For more complex contracts, the buyer’s research will reach far deeper. Of course, they will check out your company’s corporate profile, but the focus of their attention will be on the individual LinkedIn profiles of your colleagues.
Your company’s online reputation is the sum of the individual LinkedIn profiles of all its employees. One weak online profile in that chain, particularly at a senior level, could cost you precious business.
Identifying trigger events
The key to business development is reacting to “trigger events,” that is changes in circumstance that could trigger a change in your financial needs. LinkedIn enables you to identify one of the most significant of these triggers – a change of job.
A promotion can mean a client has more cash to invest. Connecting to your clients on LinkedIn is like taking your little black book online, with the advantage that it automatically updates – including a change of role.
Finding new clients
LinkedIn has a powerful search tool that allows you to find new prospects who are either connected to your LinkedIn contacts directly, or by two degrees of separation.
You can search by company, past companies worked for, industry, location, education and even nonprofit interests.
Once you’ve found your prospects, ask your client for an introduction.
Attracting new clients
LinkedIn offers a content creation and distribution tool which enables you to write your own articles on your area of expertise, and then distribute it to the people on LinkedIn who are most likely to be interested in what you have to say.
Of course, creating your own content is time consuming, so you could simply share useful content – either relating to interesting financial products or about an industry you’re looking to target.
And that paltry 20 out of 100 score I mentioned at the start of this piece? Well, that represents an opportunity to make better use of LinkedIn than your rivals.