You're listening to Financial Adviser Marketing, the best show on the planet for financial advisers who want to get more clients without all the stress. You're about to get the real scoop on everything from lead generation to closing the deal. James is the founder of TheAdvisorCoach.com, where you can find an entire suite of products designed to help financial advisers grow their businesses more rapidly than ever before. Now, here is your host, James Pollard. [00:31.7]
James: Welcome to the episode of Financial Advisor Marketing show, this episode is going to be about LinkedIn's Social Selling Index or SSI. And I've gotten a few questions about it because I shared my own SSI on LinkedIn and people were basically asking how I got my score so high. Let me explain what happened. I commented on a status update talking about SSI and I shared that my score was 81, which admittedly is pretty good. And several financial advisors messaged me on LinkedIn. A few sent me an email, which is the preferred way to contact me because I rarely check my LinkedIn messages, but they were asking about it. And I realized a little light bulb went off in my head, Hey, a lot of people are asking about this James, why don't you do a podcast episode on it? And I thought to myself, self-that’s a good idea! So here we are. [01:17.0]
Now I want to get two things clear before I get into the meat and potatoes of this episode. First, my score is not that high. Yes, it is in the top 1% of the industry in, that sounds like a humble brag. I promise that it's not, but it's just instead, it's meant to be scored out of 100. So, 81 still has a lot of room for improvement, which we'll talk about later. There are people out there with the higher scores than me. There are people out there with lower scores than me. And ironically, there are people with lower scores who probably get a lot better results on LinkedIn than I do. I'm not saying I'm some LinkedIn rockstar or anything like that because I'm not, I'm running an actual business. I really don't have time to be on LinkedIn all day. I just want to get that out of the way first. It's not like I'm spending all day on LinkedIn. I just told you that my messages would get backed up and I don't really check them. So, I'm obviously not on LinkedIn that much. [02:05.7]
And then second, my score has changed when I checked a few days later after seeing that it was 81, I was like, Hey, you know, I haven't checked this in a long time, let me check my SSI. And it's like, Oh cool, it's 81. But then I checked a couple of days after that and it was 79. And then I checked a few days later and it was back to 81. And I wish LinkedIn had a graph or something showing you how your score trends over time, I guess like a credit score graph and it shows you what your score has been. But at the time of this recording, they don't have that. And I wouldn't be surprised if my score was much lower at one point or maybe even higher at one point based on my activity on LinkedIn, I guess that's the whole point, but I do want to make it clear that it changes or at least it's changed for me. [02:48.9]
So, what is the social selling index? The definition straight from LinkedIn LinkedIn Sales Solutions to be specific is LinkedIn Social Selling Index is a first of its kind measure of a company or individuals’ adoption of the four pillars of social selling, which we'll talk about. We'll talk about each of those four pillars on LinkedIn, based on a scale from zero to 100. We measure your performance on each of these four pillars, then sum the four scores into SSI, it is designed to measure adoption of social selling and can be measured for an individual, a team or an entire company. So basically, it's about how good you are with social selling and have these four pillars and each one is ranked out of 25 and you add them all together and your scores together and you get your social selling index score. And social selling is when you use social media to find connect with and follow up with if clients and there was a big wave about five or six years ago where social selling was a hot buzzword. A lot of people were talking about how it was going to replace cold calling and personally cold calling can still work. [03:53.3]
Social selling also works, but I do think that the scales have slowly been tipping in favor of social selling in the past few years. And it's kind of like compound interest and a retirement account. It starts off slowly at first and it gets bigger and bigger and bigger. That's kind of what's happening with social selling and you should do more social selling, if you understand how to systematize and scale your efforts because things like cold calling can't be systematized or scaled on their own, but social selling can. And the beautiful thing about social selling is that it's effective at building relationships. And for financial advisors, this is a big deal because financial advising is a relationship business. You can interact with people's content, you can see what they are interested in, you can reach out to them on there. And its something like a cold call, I, it seems like I'm picking on cold calls, but that's just the marketing strategy I'm using to compare. You'll never be able to see that someone is a financial advisor who serves Sumo Wrestlers, with something like LinkedIn, that available is it, their information is available in the headline. [04:51.6]
When you get a cold call from someone, you can immediately see that that's who they are and what they do, you've got to listen through the pitch. But when your social selling Sumo Wrestlers, they can see who you are right away. And that's a big plus. And according to LinkedIn, it's 2016 state of sales report, 71% of all sales, professional, and 90% of top salespeople are already using social selling tools. I should say, we're already using social selling tools. And that should tell you something, because that was in 2016, that was years ago. And I imagine that number is closer to a hundred percent today, which means all top salespeople are using social selling tool. And in my experience, this stat carries over to financial advisors as well, especially when you consider that referrals, for example, they check financial advisors out on social media and engage there before reaching out. So social selling is working for you, whether you think it is or not. [05:45.9]
Now you may be thinking, okay, cool, social selling, Got it! But why is this social selling score important? Well, it's really just a snapshot of your social selling efforts, according to LinkedIn. Now mine has fluctuated, which is why I say it's a snapshot, it's a moment in time. I think you can watch it over time and see if your efforts improve, and your score improves. And if your efforts improved, then ask yourself, are you getting more clients? If so, then continue what you're doing. And if not, obviously the SSI isn't as important for you because if you have a super high score and you're not getting results with LinkedIn, obviously it doesn't matter. But I think LinkedIn does an okay job at predicting sales success. They've got so much data. They have a process down like their business is staked on, or the sales navigator part of their business is staked on getting results for salespeople and people who have to build relationships in like a sales process. [06:36.7]
I know there are some financial advisors out there who are like, Oh, selling, no, I would never sell. I'm definitely not a sales person. But like, honestly just get real, we're all selling every single person, whether you're a priest, a nun, whether you're a financial advisor, whether you're a bus driver, like we're all selling. Okay. And LinkedIn isn't perfect. But like I said, it's a snapshot that you can use to gauge your efforts over time. And if you want to find your SSI score, go to this URL, linkedin.com/sales/ssi. So one more time, linkedin.com/sales/ssi. And if that link, doesn't work at the time when you're listening to this and you may be listening to this, months and months or years after I record this, please don't email me complaining. LinkedIn changes their links all the time, websites change, URLs change. And if that's the case, I suggest you just Google, LinkedIn SSI or something like that and hopefully it'll show up there. Now let's talk about the four elements, the four pillars, remember LinkedIn said there were four pillars to make up your social selling index score. Let's talk about how to improve them. [07:40.8]
Hey, financial advisors – if you’d like even more help building your business, I invite you to subscribe to James’ monthly paper-and-ink newsletter, The James Pollard Inner Circle.
When you join today, you’ll get more than one thousand dollars’ worth of bonuses, including exclusive interviews that aren’t available anywhere else.
Head on over to TheAdvisorCoach.com/coaching to learn more. [08:03.3]
The very first pillar is to create a professional brand. And with this, LinkedIn is looking at your profile. They want to see that it's complete. Do you have a cover photo? Is your summary filled out? Do you have contact information on there? Are you gaining followers as a result of your content? And the reason LinkedIn wants you to build a professional brand is because it shows that you're an active participant in your industry. And it leads to more messages from prospective clients. In fact, according to 81% of buyers are more likely to engage with a strong professional brand. And if you want to increase your score here, make sure your profile is a hundred percent complete and client focused. Don't make it all about you, make it about what you can do for your clients. On my profile, I'm using myself as an example now, I talk about how I can help financial advisors get more clients and I give them several resources for connecting with me. [08:53.8]
I've got the email, I've got the website, I've got the Financial Advisor Marketing Podcast that you're listening to right now. I've got some videos on there. I gained not that many followers, cause I'm not as active as I'd like to be, but I do gain followers from my content. So, I have the personal and professional brand on there. And another tip that LinkedIn gives, speaking of video in different types of content, LinkedIn says that you should have different types of media on your profile, such as text, images and videos. Now I know that there are some financial advisors and the companies out there that won't let their advisors upload video whatsoever. I mean, I guess they're shooting themselves in the foot because they won't let their advisors improve their social selling scores. And that's going to have a bad ripple effect over time, but Oh well, but yeah, make sure you have different types of content on your profile. And I'm happy to report that I have a perfect 25 score on this pillar, so I must be doing it right. And therefore, I am qualified to give you advice on this because you can't get much better than perfect. [09:53.4]
So, if you have any questions about building, I guess your personal brand on LinkedIn, I'm the person to talk to. The next pillar is to find the right people and this was actually my lowest scoring section on my own SSI score. So, I guess I'm not qualified to give advice on this. Although I want to be clear that the way LinkedIn calculates this part of your score is by seeing how much you use their search function to find people. So, when they say find the right people assumes that you're actually searching for people and using their search function to do this. And admittedly, I don't use the search function very often anymore because at this point in my marketing career, I'm not really looking for financial advisors there. I get more than enough inbound inquiries to keep me busy. And plus, the coaching “coaching,” I do is through my newsletter and I'm not going to solicit people for $99 a month. Like the newsletter just doesn't make sense, I'm not going to cold message people for $99. If they need to be sold on spending 99 bucks to improve themselves, I already know they're not a good fit. Like if someone needs to be persuaded and convinced and like just sold this idea, they're not a good fit because they're not interested in self-improvement. They're not interested in personal and professional development, but if you want to improve this part of your score, just do more searches. [11:09.9]
Start looking for people and start connecting with people in your niche. I personally don't have LinkedIn sales navigator, but I imagine using it would boost your score here because LinkedIn sales navigator, the premium account has more advanced search features. They've got more advanced functions and it really allows you to zero in on the people you want to find. Now, three specific tips LinkedIn gives you this is to A] Join groups. B] Engage with people who have viewed your profile. That's a big one. A lot of financial advisors, miss this. I went into detail and one of my inner circle, newsletters of exactly what to do with people who have viewed your profile. It's a huge missed opportunity. And the last tip is to save leads. And I know you can save leads in sales navigator, so call me skeptical. It seems like a part of this score is a marketing strategy designed to get people to sign up for a premium account. Like I see you LinkedIn, they're trying, they're basically saying, Hey, want to improve your score, make sure you pay us $90 a month or $89 a month in order to have this function that can improve your score here, like their game of buying LinkedIn. [12:14.7]
I, so I see what you're doing. I see through it. But Hey, don't I don't hate the player. Hate the game. Next, the third pillar of the SSI score is engage with insight. And this was the second lowest scoring part of my score. And I admit, I do need to get better and engaging with people on LinkedIn. I really should like, and comment more and engage with people. But again, I've said it, I don't spend all day on LinkedIn. I've got a real business to run. And one of the stats from LinkedIn is that reps who exceed quota get 74% more engagement on their posts than those that don't exceed quota. And I think I hurt myself with this part of my score because I have a lot of Edward Jones advisors in my network. A lot of them connect with me, they go to my website; they see that my LinkedIn profile is on the home page. They're like, Oh cool, I can connect with James and they connect with me. But they never like any of my stuff because they can't. [13:09.6]
So, by definition, they're the ultimate lurkers and I get it. I totally do. You're held back on social media, but you're hurting my score Edward Jones. You're killing me here. So, there's not really much to say here, give engagement and get engagement and watch your score increased. And then finally we have, I have the last pillar of the social selling index or SSI score, which is build relationships. And I have a perfect score on this as well. So, I have a perfect score on establish your professional brand. And I have a perfect score on build relationships. And I think my score is maxed out here because I get so many messages. I'm not saying that's the whole reason why, but I do get a lot of messages from people who say they can do SEO for me, they can say eight 72.5 leads per week for 84 cents each. And so, on that I can help you coach your coaches, coach, coach, coach, coach, coach. [13:59.6]
And I'm thinking that maybe LinkedIn counts those as relationships I've built. I hope not, but I want to throw that out there just in case it is true. I want to be transparent with you. I want to keep it as real as possible. I want to say I get a lot of messages and I think that may be part of the score. That may be part of the reason why I have a perfect score on this. Now, the tips for improving this part of your score and these tips come directly from LinkedIn. They are as follows: First connect with the contacts. I don't actively connect with people, but I get a few connection requests hearing there. And by the way, if you're listening to this and you're not, not connected with me on LinkedIn, shame on you feel free to connect with me, just search James Pollard on LinkedIn. And I should come up. If not, I'm doing a terrible job with my LinkedIn SEO, but if that's the case, try James Pollard, the Advisor coach, or James Pollard, Financial Advisor Marketing, I should come up. [14:50.7]
Next, focus on building relationships with senior level people. Now I admit I do this well because a lot of financial advisors who follow me on LinkedIn and connect with me on LinkedIn, they run their own companies. So, and even though they may be their only employee or they've got like two or three employees, they list themselves as president or CEO, whatever. Maybe LinkedIn counts that I don't know, but I do have a lot of “Senior Level” people. And then finally the tip from LinkedIn, to improve this part of your score is to nurture relationships over time and keep your services top of mind. This is all about follow-up. I talk about, about this in-depth and how to get clients with LinkedIn. So, I don't want to rehash it here, but LinkedIn says you should develop the relationship just as you would before LinkedIn existed. Like that their exact language. You should reach out periodically at appropriate times, you should quote unquote, add value by providing relevant information and solutions to you were prospects of your, the problem you solve in business. [15:52.4]
Financial advisors, this is all about building relationships and nurturing relationships with people in your niche. This is directly from and LinkedIn. That's not like my advice, even though I do give that same advice just happens that it matches perfectly with what LinkedIn is telling you. So that is it. Those are the four areas that make up your score. I encourage you, you to take a look, see how you stack up. Once again, those pillars, our build relationships, engage with insights, find the right people and create a professional brand. [16:23.9]
And personally, I wouldn't put too much weight on the SSI. I think it's a vanity metric at the end of the day. I can't cash a check with it. I can't pay my bills with it. So, the only thing that matters to me and this may sound crude or callous, but it is true. It's doing business with other people and helping them and adding value to their lives and getting money in return. It involves an actual exchange of cash and goods and services. That's what business is. Somebody gives a person money and they get something in return for it. I can't conduct business with an SSI. Either way, I think it's a decent score you can use to improve your efforts. I think it is worthwhile to at least check it out and know where you stand and know if it's going up or if it's going down for you. But only track it and only give it a little bit more weight if it's translating into real clients. So, if you were score is going up and you're setting more appointments then, Hey, keep doing what you're doing. You're obviously doing something right. But if your score is going up and you're not seeing results, or if your score is going down and you are seeing more results, then throw the whole thing out the window, it doesn't matter, because the only thing that matters is setting real appointments and getting real clients. [17:35.2]
So, let me know if the SSI score is important to you, if you plan on tracking it, if you're already using it to track your efforts, let me know, by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Share your thoughts, I want to hear from you. I want to see what you're doing and I'll catch you next time. [17:49.0]
This is ThePodcastFactory.com.