As part of the Customer Success Program at Hearsay Social, it’s important to not only provide best practices and coaching for each of our customers but to speak to their advisors on a regular basis to find out how these best practices evolve and bring new business for the field.
In March, I made it my personal mission to interview 10 different financial representatives from Northwestern Mutual, the financial services company based in Milwaukee.
The themes that I heard in interview after interview were: How social media gave them an efficient and convenient way for them to communicate with their clients and prospects, and that through referrals, prospects and more referrals these reps are leveraging social media on a daily basis to grow their network and convert conversations into sales.
Below is one story from Northwestern Mutual’s Nick Harter, based in Fort Wayne, Ind.
Why did you decide to use social media?
My 10-year high school reunion was coming up and I realized that before the event, I should do a little research to remember all the folks that I’d be seeing that day. I got on Facebook and found some old friends that I haven’t spoken to for quite some time and it helped me rekindle some friendships from long ago. This was really the beginning of me using social media.
How did your social media usage in the beginning help you realize that you wanted to use it for business?
From my first interactions on Facebook connecting with old friends, neighbors and classmates, I realized that it was so easy to stay in touch and learn about their lives from far away. I then realized that I should be on LinkedIn to get my professional story out to my connections and incorporate this into my business. I have a four year old and a one year old, so I want to be as efficient as possible in my business without sacrificing time with my family.
Social media has been the most efficient way to build connections, relationships and stay in touch with my connections. In my role, relationship-building is key. I build relationships with clients that can last 20, 30 or 40 years. When I’ve built a strong relationship and I understand their goals, dreams and worries, I’m better able to help them financially plan for the future.
When you originally started your career as a representative, how did you build relationships?
I used to be all about the phone. I would be dialing all day, every day, but … I really don’t like using the phone. In addition, cold calling or even warm calling people, for me, is a little obtrusive. I don’t want to bother people or catch them off guard – this is why social media is so great. Social media is a soft opening for connecting with people and staying in touch. If I want their business, I need to be available to connect with them via the channel in which they prefer. It’s a win-win situation.
How do you get referrals on social media?
Social media is the best way to get introductions. I use my LinkedIn profile like a digital Rolodex. I review all of my connections, click through to their connections and develop a list every month of 1st and 2nd degree connections. I simply ask my friends for an introduction via LinkedIn and then request my clients to refer me to their friends. A simple ask, and connecting the dots between my 1st and 2nd degree connections, has given me over 6,000 connections between LinkedIn and Facebook. About 800 of them were just from the last year.