Industry Trends

If at first you don’t succeed….


You know how the saying goes, right? Someone … a teacher, parent, mentor of some type pressed on you to try, try again. Perseverance: It’s a forgotten skillset. Why do so many people give up so easily these days?

LinkedIn is terrific for meeting people, but I often time will hear members say, “I sent them a connection request, but they didn’t accept.”  I wait for an awkward moment and think, “… And you gave up that easily? Why?” If this is someone you want to connect with and you feel you can offer real value to their lives, then don’t give up!

The Harvard Business Review recently sent out their daily stat with the following:

If you assume that someone who has turned you down once is unlikely to grant a subsequent request, your assumption may be incorrect. Research by Daniel A. Newark, Francis J. Flynn and Vanessa K. Bohns shows that saying “no” makes people feel guilty and therefore raises their likelihood of saying “yes” to an asker’s next request. For example, in an experiment, people on a university campus who refused to do a stranger a favor by filling out a questionnaire were subsequently 30 percent more likely to agree to the stranger’s second request, which was to mail a letter. SOURCE: You’re Already More Persuasive Than You Think

That’s pretty impressive when you think 30 percent of those who refuse the first time are more than likely to agree a second time around. So for example, if you reach out to connect and the person doesn’t accept, don’t assume they don’t want to connect. Instead think, “Maybe they didn’t receive my request because …”

  1. .… they have notifications turned off
  2. .… they rarely check LinkedIn
  3. .… they forgot how you are both connected

Be resourceful!  There are ways to find email addresses, and you can send them a second note to connect and tell them you’re trying to reach them on LinkedIn. Keep trying and ask me if you need new ideas!

The point is not to give up. There are lots of reasons why someone may not be connecting, the least of which is to not accept. Shucks, they may not even know how to do that!


Sheryl Brown is passionate about social media use among advisors in the financial services industry. As manager of Advisor Engagement Services at Ash Brokerage, she assists advisors and employees with their own social media strategies, and she has been influential in developing a strategic online presence for Ash Brokerage — one that connects to both clients and advisors, positively impacts practices and creates communities aimed at improving the industry.

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I have two words for you: data mining


I’m pretty sure one of the top 10 things I hear from advisors is, “None of my clients use this social media stuff.” And … I’m pretty sure they’re wrong. (With a billion active users on Facebook today, it’s something to consider.) 

The one thing all advisors have available to them is their book of business. The data collected over years (decades!) can be staggering, and most advisors use a CRM (client relationship management) software package to manage this data. So I have to ask, “Are you mining your data?

I recently read in the Wall Street Journal that Peter Hancock (the incoming CEO of American International Group, Inc.) is banking on turning data into dollars. (On a side note, I have to bet that John Hancock Life Insurance is thinking, "Hancock is running AIG!?" Sorry, insurance humor ...)  As the article reads, Hancock expects the results will include new products, better identification of fraud and potentially lower premiums for certain customers. 

This got me thinking. If data mining is good enough for a gigantic insurance company to use as part of their strategy – and that’s a lot of data, folks – then shouldn’t data mining be on your radar for 2015 and beyond? Absolutely!

Going back and revisiting clients is just good business sense, but so many professionals are too busy looking at the next rung, the next deal and the next elephant to remember the clients they helped so many years ago with their planning. Good advisors are reaching back out on occasion here or there; great advisors are enormous givers and have systematic ways of staying in touch with lots of people. Social media can really help with this.

Where compliance allows (for those registered reps who read this) connecting with your clients on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc. allows you to see so much more of who your client REALLY is and what’s REALLY important to them. These social signals are invaluable to maintaining not only your book of business, but also your credibility, care and courage as an advisor. 

By becoming more than someone’s financial planner, you are surrounded by your clients as their friend and can meet others who are most important to them. Combine this social activity with the data in your CRM, and you will be light years ahead of many advisors out there.

There’s no exact science to data mining, but there are results that are consistent across many organizations that are doing it well. Recognizing birthdays, anniversaries, etc. is a simple, yet effective, use of data that will help you stay in front of clients. Being on top of your game though, watching windows on annuities, term conversions, different needs for coverage laddering, etc. is where you will boost profitability within your business.

The Bottom Line: I have two words for you: Data mining. Learn it. Live it. Love it.

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