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7 steps to finding prospects on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the place for businesses to connect, but how many connections do you have with potential clients?

By Matthew Halloran

Jan 20, 2014 @ 12:09 pm (Updated 3:25 pm) EST

linkedin, prospects, business, social media, prospecting

Many advisers have created a LinkedIn profile and have a few contacts, but then got lost in the daily grind and forgot to use LinkedIn the way it was intended. LinkedIn is the place for businesses to connect, but how many connections do you have with potential clients? A lot more than you think. Here are seven steps to find new business on LinkedIn.

No 1: Your connections. We all have connections, but most of us have not gone through the security settings to turn off visibility for our competition or whomever to see who we are connected to. Well, your connections have most likely not done it either.

No. 2: Click on your connections. Find a great client, one who has referred business to you before. Click on their connections (if the number is blue) and start looking for people. Write a list of five or so people who you think are good prospects that the client knows.

No. 3: The very direct approach Take that client out to lunch and ask them how well they know these five people and see if they would be interested and willing to introduce you to them for business reasons.

No. 4: Not as direct. Ask for an introduction on LinkedIn specifically. Use the LinkedIn tool for making introductions. Next to your connection button on those second- degree connections (or next to the InMail button if you have a premium account), there is a down arrow drop-down menu. You will see the “Get Introduced” button there.

When you click on this button, all those who are connected with that person in your network will come up. Select that great client. Then you will see a message: Please read what hints LinkedIn tells you. Write a nice personalized message to your contact on why you want the introduction, then hit send.

No. 5: I don't want to bother them, I will wait until I see then again for their annual review. Follow the steps up to No. 3 except have that list on your agenda when you meet with that client for their annual review.

No. 6: Groups and more groups. Groups are a wonderful way to meet new people, take the pulse of an organization you want to nest in, and/or find out what people are talking about in your community. Join local groups that are networking groups, that have a passion specific to your area, and your alma mater. When you join, do not post your stuff right away. Contribute to conversations ads the expert you are. You will find those who like your comments and then follow these steps: Thank them for liking your comments/articles. Ask them to connect with you on LinkedIn. If they accept your connection request, ask them if they would like to continue the conversation in person by letting you take them out to lunch.

No. 7: Recommendations. We all know that we are not allowed to accept recommendations (unless you are with a very forward-thinking B-D). But you will get many people who want to recommend you. When they do, write them a quick note: “Dear Jane, I am sorry but at this time I cannot take recommendations on my LinkedIn profile due to industry regulations. However, I am honored you took the time to recommend me for _______. It is an area I specialize in and would love to talk to you more about what I do when it comes to _______. When can we meet in person?”

As you have been told for years, do not wait for the business, ask for it. LinkedIn is the place to ask for business, use it as it was intended, a great way to network and build your business.

Matthew Halloran is a certified coach for advisers. He wrote "The Social Media Handbook for Financial Advisors: How to Use LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to Build and Grow Your Business."