3 Keys to Social Selling in the Financial Services Industry
How advisers and finance professionals can double their sales revenue using social media sales strategies!
Social selling is a winning strategy in the financial services industry, yet many financial advisers are slow to adopt social media sales strategies.
More than 5 million high net worth people in the US alone are using social media to assist with financial decision-making, according to LinkedIn.
Social media channels like LinkedIn are a direct link for finance professionals to their clients at the most crucial time in their financial decision making journey.
Did you know 80% of social media users in the financial services industry have landed new clients with social selling?
I know, right…..
Wow is correct.
If you’re in financial services you might want to pay attention.
Let’s start with the basics….
What is “Social Selling”?
Social selling is the art of using social networks to find, connect with, understand, and nurture sales prospects.
It’s the modern way to develop meaningful relationships with potential customers that keep you and your brand front of mind, so you’re the natural first point of contact when a prospect is ready to buy.
As a child I watched my father catch 70 flights per year, constantly on the road seeing clients. I didn’t see Mum and Dad as often as I would of liked and I went to boarding school from the age of 10.
When I started working, it wasn’t long before I was doing the same thing as my Dad. Cold calling to reach my sales targets, chasing new prospects and not really building relationships.
That was until, I came across LinkedIn. A social media platform for business where you can find, connect and engage key decision makers online.
Our clients don’t need to work around the clock, they don’t need to take 80 flights per year. We leverage social media to do the leg work so business owners and sales people don’t need to be constantly chasing new business.
Social selling is simply using social media to build relationships the way that sales people used to do offline.
Pretty cool, eh?
If you’re reading this and you’re an adviser, I know what you’re thinking.
Are high-networth clients really using social media?
So let’s talk about high-networth individuals for a minute….
Social media users are significantly more active in financial management than non-social media users.
- 5 million in the U.S. and Canada are actively using social media to help them make financial decisions.
- Two-thirds visit LinkedIn monthly, which is consistent with Facebook and over 2X Twitter and Google+.
- Regardless of whether or not they use an adviser, social media users tend be more active with their investing.
In other words, the research says affluent individuals ARE infact very active on LinkedIn.
3 Benefits of Social Selling in the Financial Services Industry
Here are 3 key benefits to finance professionals who are active on social media.
#1 – Uncover opportunities through listening
Companies that are doing well on social media are realizing the power of listening. Social media is a conversation, and you really need to listen first and talk second.
Consumers will talk about a brand whether it’s there or not. If consumers aren’t happy, they tell the world via social media.
If a negative story hits the press, it’s shared all over social. If the FSI isn’t there, isn’t listening, how will it know when to jump in and protect its brand?
Ignoring social media won’t make it go away.
#2 – Empower executives and employees on social
Many organizations have moved beyond using social media as merely a communication channel to become full-fledged social enterprises. They’ve realized that it’s not just about the company having a voice, it’s about empowering executives and employees as brand ambassadors.
Education is key. You can’t just launch a software tool and expect adoption.
Social media is something that advisors need to learn.
#3 – Establish and strengthen relationships with prospects
It’s important to set the right mindset for engaging on social media. While the actual sale won’t happen on social media, it can definitely happen as a result of it.
For example, let’s say you go on LinkedIn and connect with a client. You can look and see who they’re connected with, and then ask for an introduction when you next have a meeting with that client.
Think of LinkedIn as your modern day rolodex. It’s a great way to potentially double your referrals through social media.
3 Keys to Social Selling in the Financial Services Industry
Here are my top 3 strategic areas to focus on for financial services industry professionals planning on using social media to grow their business.
#1 Invest in Training
Education is one of the most effective ways to ensure success.
Training will help your team avoid costly errors, knowing how to source effective content, how to present the brand on social media, who to connect with and how to generate leads.
Not-to-mention safeguard against non-malicious employee error, especially when it comes to social media.
Having your bases covered when it comes to compliance and security on social media means you can explore the opportunities that these platforms offer without having to worry as much about potential repercussions.
Platforms and policies only exist to enable people. Think about how well your organization is educating its practitioners and other employees in the correct use of social media.
#2 Measure the Right Things
Tie social to the big picture by linking it to organizational and departmental goals.
You can begin by tracking basic indicators, including likes, mentions, retweets and follows, but your ultimate success on social will depend on how well you can link social activities to business objectives.
Build the capacity for measurement into every social action so that you can understand how well your social strategy contributes to revenue, customer loyalty and other targets.
That being said, don’t expect to measure the ROI of social media in terms of the specific dollar amount of new assets under management immediately.
It will take at least 6-12 months before you can accurately predict and set goals in this area and if your expectations aren’t right you’ll give up before you’ve begun.
Instead, at the beginning of your social selling journey, your definition of success should be focused more on relationship-building goals.
“This week I’m going to have five phone calls as a result of connections I’ve made on LinkedIn.”
This is a much more valuable and realistic way of using social media and measuring its impact.
But the bottom line is summed up best by Erik Qualman:
#3 Add Value
Always add value, and you will win.
Show up. Engage. Be present. Be yourself.
Remember, the point of social selling is to build relationships. The goal is to make yourself seem more human and approachable—not less.
Your customers and prospects are sharing incredibly valuable information on their social channels—they’re basically telling you exactly what they want and need.
All you have to do is pay attention.
Do not be “salesy” or “pitchy”…..
Rather than simply extolling the value of your product or service… Your goal should be to contribute valuable information that can help establish you as an expert in your field.
Write posts that share important knowledge, but don’t be afraid to share others’ content too.
When sharing content from others, add a short comment of your own about how the knowledge can be applied in your specific field.
This is another form of adding value!
Even as leading firms embrace social selling, some firms remain reluctant.
They might be concerned about inadvertently saying or doing something that violates company or industry rules, or they feel that face-to-face meetings are still the best way to build trusting relationships with prospects and clients.
Nonetheless, social media isn’t going anywhere.
Social media sites have been credited with increasing trust in the financial services industry.
Embrace the change and you’ll gain the competitive edge, don’t and you will almost certainly lose market share.
To ensure sustainable success, start with training, measuring results and adding value.
What are your social selling tips?
*** I will reply to ALL comments and questions ***
Thank you for reading, you attention is appreciated.
Free Webinar: LinkedIn Strategies for Financial Services
About the Author
Read this post on LinkedIn: 3 Keys to Social Selling in the Financial Services Industry