How to Get Through to Big Shots on LinkedIn
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Can you connect to big shot prospects through social media? Most advisors don’t even try. That’s a shame, because I’ve found an extremely effective way to reach just about anyone.
I’m going to show you some examples of poorly chosen “pick-up lines” I’ve received through LinkedIn Messenger so you know what it sounds like on the receiving end of a bad advisor proposition. I’ll then explain the magic extra step that most people don’t take, an action that will improve results dramatically and can be put to work immediately.
The juicy little secret about LinkedIn Messenger
LinkedIn has an instant messaging feature through which, just like using Microsoft Lync, Slack, or Yammer, you can speak with somebody real time.
Here’s why this live messaging app is a gift from above to advisors. Time is the enemy of the sales process. The faster you can engage somebody the less likely a stall sets in. Once the stall sets in, you have to work three times as hard to get back on track.
To get more people to respond to you, pay more attention to people’s online status.
- When somebody has a solid green dot next to their name in the messaging portal, it means that they are on LinkedIn and will be notified instantly when you contact them. These are prime candidates with whom to strike up a conversation.
- When somebody has an outlined or hollowed-out green dot next to their name, it means that they’re not on LinkedIn, but will receive a message directly to their mobile phone when you contact them. These people are not as likely to respond right back to you, but it may be worth a try.
- No circle next to their name means they’re not on LinkedIn and won’t receive notifications to their mobile phone. There’s no advantage over emailing them.
Now, time for the juicy stuff.
I’m going to tell you a little secret that most people don’t realize about LinkedIn Messenger. Right around 4:30 PM the board starts lighting up. I see green dots all over the place from then until about 5:45. That’s because people are closing down and checking social media before they leave their office. Or, they could be on the train or bus commuting home.
Try this tomorrow at 4:45 and send me a message on APViewpoint about how it goes.
Example of bad pick-up lines
I haven’t been on match.com in years but when I check my LinkedIn Messenger the memories of bad pick-up lines come rushing back to me. Vividly, in fact.
Hi Sara, As you are in the sales and marketing industry, I’d like to invite you to a webinar to help you grow your business on LinkedIn. Here’s the link. Thanks Mr. X
He left off, “Can I buy you a drink?”
What I don’t like about this message is that if he took three seconds to look at my profile he’d realize that for a living I help people grow their businesses on LinkedIn (as he is offering to teach me how to do). Offensive.
Hi Sara, We share several highly respected connections, and I would like to connect with you on LinkedIn. From time to time I share client retention solutions and business development strategies, and hope they can be accretive to your business. - Your Lovebird, CFP
I thought the next line was going to be, “Hey baby cakes, I’m not a painter, but I can picture you and I together.” Lovebird, CFP’s message is a picture of vagueness and the classic example of failing to take the magic extra step I’ll discuss later. As a result, the whole thing is tacky.
Bye bye birdie!
Factors that increase instant messaging success
I’m going to explain the magic extra step in the next section, but before I do, here are some basic guidelines.
- As long as you avoid the advisor clichés that I’ve railed against numerous times in other articles, the words matter less than the intention of the message. I’ve written before about using the language of giving. Forget about talking about your background or credentials or what you want to do. Make it about them.
- Keep it to three sentences — in fact, keep it to one sentence if you can. Shorter equals better. Unless you know the person, don’t talk too much and blow up their inbox. When you start getting into a conversation, get them to set up appointment to chat more. It’s nearly impossible to close a financial advising deal over instant messaging.
- Action is what builds the pipeline. Sending one or two instant messages a day to prospects is like doing two sit ups a day. What’s that going to do? Nothing except waste time and make you annoyed. If you have trouble getting momentum, put your phone in your drawer and shut off the ringer. Then, put on earphones so everybody thinks you are on a webinar and they won’t bother you. Then send 10 instant messages. You can knock the whole thing out in 20 minutes.
- Unless it’s someone you know and they expect it, don’t send attachments through instant messenger. That’s an email thing, not a social media thing.
- Keep it light. You don’t want to get into a serious or philosophical conversation here. You want it to be like a game of ping pong where you’re pinging and ponging back and forth at the speed of light, like how a human conversation goes.
- Using the artificial intelligence canned responses that LinkedIn offers such as thumbs up, thanks, etc., is showing the person you are too busy to care to find original wording. It’s obvious because those same AI phrases are available to them, too! If you act like a robot then expect people to return the favor.
The magic extra step (that nobody does)
Before I tell you the magic extra step, let me ask you a question.
How many times in the last month on LinkedIn have you taken the time to research, to actually study the profile page of the person you are trying to talk to? And then, did you take the extra step to contemplate how your services could fit into their life?
The number is probably zero.
And the worst thing about this is it’s all there in public for you to view, right there on their LinkedIn profile page.
If nobody ever does this, wouldn’t it be spectacularly client-focused, empathetic and differentiating if you took the time to do so? The problem with the bad pick-up lines I mentioned before isn’t that they’re pick-up lines; it’s that they are random (with no obvious logic), vague and not well thought out. As a result they come off as static or noise.
When there’s no logic behind a proposition, some people even consider it rude. When it’s well thought out using the magic extra step, it goes from being an unwanted advance to a polite offer that people agree with.
And anybody who’s married knows that agreement is the Holy Grail!
Remember those sleazy pick-up lines from earlier? I’ve rewritten them using the magic extra step.
Hi Sara, as a fellow marketer I would like to invite you to a webinar which will include an in-depth tutorial on how to maximize pay-per-click results using LinkedIn-sponsored advertising. I thought it may be something that could add to your repertoire and complement what you offer to your clients. Here’s the link at blah blah. Thanks! Mr. X
Now here’s where Mr. X is gaining some points big time with me. He actually took the time to figure out how he could add value instead of just supposing that he can.
Hi Sara, We share several highly respected connections such as Shamir XYZ, with whom I have seen you recently engage in discussions – and that’s exactly why I’m reaching out. We both work with financial advisors and my client-planning strategies may be something of benefit to them. Would you like to collaborate on a thought piece sometime, or perhaps just join my next webinar? - Your Lovebird, CFP
Lovebird’s pitch has taken flight! Now he’s explaining the logic behind his request and it makes sense to me. You can see he’s done his homework and he’s not just trying to make a dollar off me. Yes, I do work with many advisors, his valuable insight would help them, and I do engage routinely in collaborations with thought leaders. It’s all lining up and makes sense because Lovebird invested time and took the Magic Extra Step.
LinkedIn’s instant messenger portal is a free and easy way to get new clients. Devote 10-15 minutes a day to using it in the ways I’ve described above and preferably at the time that I specified. Just make sure that you take the magic extra step to avoid being regarded as a pick-up artist.
Sara Grillo, CFA, is a top financial writer with a focus on marketing and branding for investment management, financial planning, and RIA firms. Prior to launching her own firm, she was a financial advisor and worked at Lehman Brothers. Sara graduated from Harvard with a degree in English literature and has an MBA from NYU Stern in Quantitative Finance.