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When a friend gives us a strong recommendation to try a new restaurant, we’ll usually give it a try. Why? We value our friend’s opinion. The same principle applies when one of your clients introduces you to one of his or her contacts. That contact will be willing to meet you, and potentially do business, because of your mutual friend’s opinion of you. This article outlines how you can use what Oechsli calls an Advocate Search on LinkedIn to get more introductions from clients.

 

What’s an Advocate Search?

An Advocate Search strategy uses LinkedIn to search your clients’ connections to find people you’d like to meet, then asking your client for introductions to those connections. Oechsli says that the Advocate Search is one of the most practical ways to use LinkedIn to bring in new customers.

 

Why Advocate Searches make so much sense

You’re meeting with clients every day. Spending five minutes before each meeting doing an Advocate Search on LinkedIn is a great way to uncover prospects. Since you already have a relationship with your clients, there’s a high probability that they’ll be willing to introduce you to one of their connections.

What makes introductions so powerful is the credibility transfer that occurs when one of your connections introduces you to a prospect. From the perspective of the prospect, it appears that the introducer has identified the meeting as mutually beneficial.

Despite the prospecting potential of Advocate Searches, many financial professionals aren’t using this technique. We polled nearly 300 financial professionals on our LinkedIn webcast in September 2017 and 82% said they had never done an Advocate Search.

Financial Professionals Webinar Poll
Have you ever done an advocate search?1

 

Doing an Advocate Search is easy. Here’s how (see diagram below):

  1. Think about a client you’re meeting with today
  2. Click on the magnifying glass beside the search window.
  3. Add filtering criteria for the type of connection you’d like to be introduced to, such as location, company, or job title.
  4. When you meet with your client, request an introduction to their connection you found. Here are five talking points from Oechsli that you can use:
    • The Social-Direct Approach
      “Jim, I noticed you are connected to Tom Reynolds on LinkedIn. How well do you know him? I would love to meet Tom. What would be the best way for you to introduce me socially?”
    • The Advice Request
      “I was going to reach out to Tom Reynolds on LinkedIn and I noticed you were connected to him. I’d love your advice on the best way to meet him.”
    • The Ease-In Approach
      “Jim, I noticed you are connected to Tom Reynolds on LinkedIn. Is he a good guy?”
    • The Basic Inquiry
      “Jim, I saw you were connected to a couple people on LinkedIn who look like the type of people we work with. In particular, I noticed Tom Reynolds. How well do you know him? Do you think he is someone I should be talking to?”
    • The Targeted Company approach
      “Hey, I notice that you’re connected to Tom Reynolds on LinkedIn. What would be the best way to introduce me socially? We love working with XYZ company, etc.
  5. Use what you learn from your client’s responses to initiate an introduction.

 

click to enlarge

 

You might be wondering if your clients will really introduce you

Oechsli research on the topic shows that 83% of financial professionals who’ve acquired business through LinkedIn leveraged introductions. How do they do it? A reported 74% get introduced by verbally asking their client directly.2

Oechsli research also revealed that clients are more likely to introduce you to their LinkedIn connections if you have both a business and social relationship. If you have a purely business relationship, 57% of clients would accommodate this request. If you have formed a social relationship with them, 85% of clients would introduce you to one of their LinkedIn connections.3 To find ideas that can help you create social relationships with clients, check out page 6 of The Affluent Mindset workbook that you can download at hartfordfunds.com/affluent.

 

Start leveraging client opinions

Your clients’ opinion of you can mean a lot to their LinkedIn connections. Start doing Advocate Searches before client meetings then use that intel to initiate introductions to your clients’ connections.

 

Next Steps

1 Download or order the Mastering LinkedIn workbook
2 Review the Advocate Search instructions on page 12 of the workbook
3 Within one week, ask five clients for introductions using the Advocate Search method


More on Mastering using LinkedIn >

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