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Social selling in the 21st century

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We’ve covered how to use social media to increase sales on this website before. But the topic is so timely and important for the success of agents and advisors right now that it continues to get coverage here and elsewhere in the business world. 

And it is, of course, the main topic at hand at the annual LIMRA LOMA Social Media Conference for Financial Services, which is being held Aug. 20-22 in Boston. 

Opening the conference were two individuals whose sole purpose in their day-to-day job is figuring out how to leverage social media to increase sales: Dan Swift, director for LinkedIn Sales Solutions, and Nate Isaacson, manager of social enablement and digital marketing at Guardian Life Insurance Company of America. 

According to Swift and research performed by LinkedIn, decision makers now ignore cold outreach. Specifically, 90 percent of decision makers say they never respond to cold outreach.

“At LinkedIn, we wanted to try to do something about that,” Swift said.

Another fact, according to LinkedIn, your target audience relies on social media when determining their needs from a financial institution. That’s right, 75 percent of buyers now use social media to conduct research; they look at LinkedIn company pages, blog posts, social relationships on the site. And for agents and advisors, that’s an opportunity to promote what you do.

“LinkedIn has 313 million members, it’s 12 years old and two new members are joining ever single second,” Swift said. “Billions of professional relationships are made — that’s the data point most important. People sharing content, making connections. And that’s what this industry can leverage.”

Guardian, anticipating a wholesale shift in the way consumers choose to engage with insurance firms and individual advisors, recognized the opportunity to help its advisors evolve their approach to the market. They chose to use a service called LinkedIn Sales Navigator with three goals:

  1. Enhance the value proposition for potential agent candidates looking to build their own financial services practice
  2. Enable agents and advisors to differentiate their personal brand while accelerating prospecting efforts
  3. Highlight the expertise and unique approach to holistic planning offered by Guardian advisors

The results? Ninety-seven percent of the advisors who used the service reported they gained warm introductions and reduced cold calls. Further, 93 percent said they found additional insights and information on leads or prospects. 

The message here is that, whether you use LinkedIn or some other form of social selling, use the social networks out there to your advantage. But keep in mind Dan Swift’s four tenents for social selling:

  1. Create a professional brand
  2. Find the right people
  3. Engage with insights
  4. Build strong relationships

Your future clients are out there, searching for information on financial products and future advisors. You just have to find them. 


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