Rapid technology development has changed our lives and our jobs. The job of the financial professional is no exception.
LIMRA spoke with a select group of financial professionals about the ways they incorporate technology tools into their business. Many use social networking tools effectively to add value to relationships, build brand, extend market reach, solidify relationships with current clients, and seek new ones.
How are they doing it?
- A baby boomer group benefits specialist seeks to build his brand and get leads via Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Posts focus on healthcare reform, healthy living tips, and labor law. LinkedIn, in particular, helps him keep track of his employer-customers when they change jobs. He contacts them and offers to provide information, but never tries to make a hard sale. Before meeting with employers to discuss benefits, he looks on LinkedIn to learn more about them and their business.
- One Gen X financial planner uses Facebook and Twitter to share information about his community involvement in charities and the arts to help put “a face on me as a financial planner. It makes for a warmer conversation [and] brings people into my office.”
- Pinterest and Facebook help one independent financial professional learn more about his current and prospective customers’ interests before meeting. The Gen Xer searches online to learn their interests: Shoes? Baseball? Children? He uses this information to adapt conversations and build relationships.
- One Gen Xer uses LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to get the word out about his field marketing organization. His advice is to, “be steady, be consistent, and don’t be overly sales focused,” on social networks. He frequently posts links to articles (many written by him) including breaking news, health, aging, wealth management, and opinion polls.
- A Gen Yer who focuses on health insurance uses Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for his business, and says: “Facebook … is more of creating a space for my clients to go because they all have the same questions. If I answer a question and all of a sudden 30 clients like it… Now I did not have to answer that question 30 times … There are issues I would never handle over Facebook; I would say, ‘Call me.’”
- A Gen X registered representative uses a variety of social networking tools, including LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, FourSquare, Pheed, Instagram and Twitter as relationship builders, seeking to increase retention of current clients through frequent postings. The rep explains: “Social media is to build relationships, not to sell. I am creating Mayberry … where everybody knows everybody … I am giving people a venue to talk — and even though I don’t solicit it — they talk about our office. Social media has done more than I expected.”
- One Gen Yer uses a combination of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube videos to reach out to younger generations. Posts seek to educate and support prospects and clients, highlight the firm’s community involvement and offer positive words to live by. They show a firm with a different outlook: They dress casually and have fun — but they work hard for their clients. When their area experienced heavy flooding, they Tweeted contact information (phone, text, and email) to followers.
The common thread among technology leaders is that technology tools are an integral part of their business: Technology is a business partner that helps them save time, so they can provide better service and make more sales.