Selling, Uncategorized

What 4 real success stories can teach us about social selling in financial services

If you are not an active participant in social networks, it can be difficult to imagine how social engagement and online networking leads to actual business opportunities.

Yet, there are financial professionals out there that have embraced social selling and are having real success driving business development with it.

I asked some of these advisors to describe a situation in which they acquired a new customer through social networking.

Here are four stories that illustrate some powerful lessons every advisor can apply to their own social selling strategies:

1. Connect with people around common interests.

I started following a person on Twitter because of our common interest in dogs and dog rescue. We developed a friendship on and offline. When this person left their employer and had a pension to commute, she contacted me through DM (Direct Message) on Twitter to ask me if I could help them with the options they were given. This person and their spouse are now my clients.

Lessons for professionals:

  • Pursue connections with people online based on genuine, shared interests.
  • Get to know your online connections offline and your offline connections online.
  • Give people real reasons to know, like and trust you before doing any business.

2. Build an audience by contributing value.

I was approached through email by a woman that runs a small publishing company. She was looking for a personal finance columnist for her quarterly local publication that targets families. She told me that she’d crowd-sourced on Twitter asking for recommendations and three people gave her my name. So far, my articles in this publication have generated several leads and two new clients/sales.

Lessons for professionals:

  • Treat your online followers as an audience you are serving, never as leads.
  • Recognize that the real benefit of social engagement is that others will tell your story – and refer opportunities to you.

3. Create “social proof”.

I met a prospect at a business networking breakfast. We tweeted back and forth for a period of time and eventually she transferred all her business to me. When she checked out my social profiles, she said she liked my digital personality which is a reflection of who I really am. This person now comes with me to community events as a client/guest and always Tweets and Instagrams to her followers that she’s with me doing stuff with me in the community.

Lessons for professionals:

  • Your online presence – your website and social profiles – functions as “social proof” helping people validate who you are and what you do.
  • In social media, conversations are markets. In other words, the conversation that starts with a face-to-face meeting at a networking meeting continues via social media.

4. Helping is the new selling.

Within my firm, I’m known as “the social media guy”, so I often get asked questions about my strategies and requests to teach colleagues. I’m a believer in the power of helping others. Recently, I’ve received referrals from advisors within my firm when their clients moved into my region. I know that my social media presence contributed to increasing my profile among my colleagues and securing those referrals.

Lessons for professionals:

  • Always be helpful and generous in sharing your knowledge. Helping is the new selling.
  • An effective social networker recognizes that colleagues, peers and fellow professionals can be the most important source of new prospects.

Do you have a social selling success story? I would love to hear it and what lessons you learned from it.

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