Finding clients and prospecting is one of the hardest parts about being an independent insurance agent.
I’m sure you’ve tried just about everything in the book, but have you ever considered prospecting on LinkedIn?
It sounds a little out of the ordinary (at least it did to me), but after speaking with some of the most predominant LinkedIn coaches in the world, I’m starting to think there’s a really good chance that you can find quality clients here.
While I do like to think of myself as a marketer, I definitely am not a LinkedIn pro.
So, I had some help with this one, and I’d like to introduce you to a few people that will be helping me in this article.
Dennis Koutoudis is the founder & CEO of the LinkedIn training and consulting company, LinkedSuperPowers. Located in London & Athens, LinkedSuperPowers helps clients with profile makeovers, company page makeovers, general consulting, lead generation, content writing, and more. Dennis is currently ranked in the Top 5 Most Influential LinkedIn Experts in the World by Klout, while he has over 1.8 million Social Media Followers.
William Hall is a LinkedIn lead generation and profile makeover consultant out of central Florida. While he is retired, he spends most of his time helping individuals and businesses optimize their LinkedIn profiles. He has been writing professionally for over 7 years and has helped secure thousands of dollars in grants. His goal is to help develop magnetic profiles that can help bring in quality customers.
Loribeth Pierson specializes in LinkedIn lead generation at Linked Journal. Based in the San Diego area, she considers herself a one-stop solution to making sure your LinkedIn online presence counts. She helps clients find the leads they need to succeed. She offers 1-on-1 coaching with individuals and businesses, online courses, profile makeovers, lead generation, personalized scripts, and more.
Brynne Tillman is the Chief Learning Officer at Vengreso. She helps clients with digital sales and social selling on LinkedIn. Brynne is also the author of The LinkedIn Sales Playbook: A Tactical Guide to Social Selling.
Before we get into the good stuff, I’d like to explain how LinkedIn is set up.
When you sign up, you start out with a free account. From there, you can choose to upgrade to a paid premium account ($59.99/month). And from there, you can choose to upgrade once more to what is called the Sales Navigator ($99.99/month).
Here’s how they compare:
Don’t be discouraged — there’s still a lot you can do with the free version of LinkedIn.
Also, please note that the premium plan has a free trial option. The sales navigator plan does not, but when I reached out to the customer support team, they offered to refund me up to 1 month so that I could try it out.
You might just give each one a try to see if it’s worth it for you.
Without further ado, let’s get into it.
LinkedIn as a prospecting platform
Q: Why LinkedIn?
Dennis Koutoudis: LinkedIn is the largest professional network out there. This platform helps you create an icebreaker for your professional relationships with target prospects. That will lead to our first encounter, which when nurtured in the most efficient way, will eventually lead to a sale.
Q: My market is seniors ages 65+. Is there enough of an audience on LinkedIn to even consider prospecting there?
Loribeth Pierson: There are over 522 million people on LinkedIn. There’s something for everybody. It’s absolutely possible to find your target prospects. The oldest person I’ve trained on LinkedIn is 78. The senior audience is on LinkedIn, and they’re active.
Another way to look at it is that everyone has parents. If you’re putting out helpful content about insurance, people look to you as the expert, and they’ll recommend you to those they love.
Dennis Koutoudis: The number of users at this age on LinkedIn is adequate enough to do this. There are many potential clients that fit this demographic.
How to start prospecting on LinkedIn
Q: Where do I even begin?
Loribeth Pierson: There are a lot of things to think about, but here are some of the basics:
- Claim your LinkedIn URL
- Get over the 500 connections mark
- Participate in LinkedIn groups
- Like, comment, and share things with your connections
Dennis Koutoudis: You need to create a stellar LinkedIn presence. The first thing your potential client will do is visit your LinkedIn profile. If your profile doesn’t help you stand out from your competition, changes are your potential clients will leave your profile without considering you at all. This happens in a matter of seconds.
Q: How do I create a stellar LinkedIn profile?
Dennis Koutoudis: You first need to start by making sure your profile is Search Engine Optimized (SEO). One hack is to identify the keywords that your prospects use to find you on LinkedIn.
For example, if someone searches for “Medicare Supplement insurance,” you need to make sure that keyword phrase appears on your profile.
These keywords and keyword phrases should appear in visible places as well as not-so-visible places. For example, before you upload your LinkedIn profile picture, rename it as your target keyword.
There’s a lot more to it, and that’s why we do complete profile makeovers.
Loribeth Pierson: Now is the time to start and fill out your LinkedIn Profile 100%. Tell people who you are and what value you bring to them. Give them a call to action and remember to include your phone number and email. Make sure your picture is recent (just a head and shoulders picture with only you). Make sure your headline gives people an idea of what you do and how you can help. Above all, have fun and enjoy meeting your new connections on LinkedIn!
Q: What should I put on my LinkedIn profile?
William Hall: First of all, you need a good headshot. It’s also good to have a banner image. That can be a logo or just something pleasant to look at. Second, take a look at your headline. I recommend gearing it towards what people search for. So, if people are looking for a “Life insurance agent,” you might include a phrase like that in your headline.
In the summary portion of your profile, develop a gentle sales page. Your goal is to answer the question “Why choose me?” Testimonials help, and don’t forget to include a call to action. If you want people to call you, provide a phone number, and ask them to do it!
A lot of people have trouble with this, so when I retired, I decided to help people write their profiles. I do it really cheaply, so if it’s something you’re interested in, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Loribeth Pierson: Most people think a LinkedIn profile is a resume. It’s not a resume! It’s your personal marketing material. Your LinkedIn profile is the equivalent of a digital "first impression", what impression are you making?
If you don’t tell people what you do and you how can help them, they won’t know. If you don't give them a reason to stay on your page and you don’t have a call to action, they won’t call you, and they won’t stay on your profile.
Q: What should I do to make sure I’m successful on LinkedIn?
William Hall: Continually post articles on your LinkedIn profile. People will see your post, and some of them will look at your profile. If you’ve developed a magnetic profile — one that answers the question “Why choose me?” then you’re on your way to a real lead.
If you have upgraded to LinkedIn Premium, you can see the people that have visited your profile. It’s a good idea to send a personalized follow-up message to them. Something like, “I saw you visited my profile. Are you interested in insurance? I can help answer any questions you might have.”
Brynne Tillman: The most important step in finding decision makers and influencers on LinkedIn is defining those buyers by titles and keywords.
LinkedIn's search features relies on these phrases to offer up a list of prospects, so ensuring you include every title who will be touched in the sales process is foundational to success.
Dennis Koutoudis: Engage and participate in LinkedIn groups. Write helpful articles for your target audience. Be helpful! Helpful is the key term.
Don’t be salesy. Salesy is dead. We don’t get results when we’re salesy. On the contrary, people avoid us. Be helpful to gain the trust of potential clients. Down the line, they will start knowing you and liking you, and that’s when they’ll consider doing business with you.
Q: How do I actively seek out clients?
William Hall: I must mention Sales Navigator. This is a premium feature on LinkedIn. You simply put in the industry you’re looking for, zip codes and so on, and you get a list of prospects.
Loribeth Pierson: You don’t generate leads by simply getting likes and comments; you get leads by connecting with the right audience. On LinkedIn, this means targeting the members the right way using the type of filters that will allow you to identify the best prospective individuals.
These filters include job titles, company roles, industry, and locations. Identifying the best prospects through these attributes will help you to only target those professionals that are more likely to understand the benefits offered by your service.
Dennis Koutoudis: Utilize LinkedIn’s powerful search functions. When I talk about search functions, I can’t NOT refer to LinkedIn Sales Navigator. That’s a subscription service that’s extremely powerful. It gives you search capabilities that zero in on your target prospects on an extreme level.
Other than that, if you don’t want to invest in Sales Nav, you can still search for your target prospects. Depending on your subscription, you have the ability to use more or less search criteria.
When you do find a prospect, it’s always a good idea to send a personalized invitation to connect.
What to do when you connect with a prospect
Q: Is there anything special I should say or do when I send an invitation to connect?
Dennis Koutoudis: You can mention any common ground that you share with that person. For example, maybe you’re a member of the same groups or maybe you have some of the same connections.
If you have common connections, it’s an even better idea to approach one of those connections and ask for an introduction or referral. Now, it’s a warm call instead of a cold one.
Brynne Tillman: Once you've developed your search criteria, consider identifying shared connections that you have with your targeted buyers. By identifying 2nd degree connections, you can leverage your existing network to get warm introductions into your ideal prospects.
William Hall: Develop a personalized message to your prospects. If you have a common connection, mention it! Simply say that you thought you’d reach out and that you want to connect.
Q: What do I do once I’ve made a connection with a prospect?
Dennis Koutoudis: Thank them for the connection and direct them to a helpful article you’ve written. Again, don’t be salesy in your first message to a prospect. Just be helpful. That’s the spirit to have.
If they respond to your initial message and say something like “thanks for the article” or “thanks for connecting,” you should respond with something like this:
“Perfect! Let me know if I can be of any assistance with your insurance needs.”
Q: How I increase my chances of turning a prospect into an actual buyer?
Brynne Tillman: What you say matters. Just because you found them doesn't mean they will take your call.
Make sure the introduction explains why you'd like to meet them, your invitation to connect and your welcome message is relevant, and even your profile is positioned as a resource —not a resume. This will increase the chances of those prospects wanting to take your call.
What to expect for results
Q: I’m not seeing any results… how do I know that this is worthwhile?
Dennis Koutoudis: A potential client might see an article you wrote. That client will have you on his mind, and 6 months later he reaches out to you and asks for help. Your job is to create awareness.
Q: How long does it usually take to see results?
Dennis Koutoudis: I’ve had clients that have seen results the next day, and others have seen results after a couple of months. This also depends a lot on your sales skills. What are you doing after you have your first encounter with a prospect? It’s really important that you have great sales skills.
Having a stellar LinkedIn presence is a prerequisite. Your competition is already doing this. If you don’t do it, you’re being left behind.
Seeing results is a combined effort between your LinkedIn profile and the actions you’re taking on a daily basis. Are you posting viral articles? Are you being helpful? Are you asking for that initial meeting?