The days of cold calling are coming to an end. Picking up the phone, hoping you’ve called at just the right time and are saying just the right things is no more. While changing up the way independent insurance agents reach potential policy holders may seem a bit scary, it doesn’t have to be. Your venture into social selling can be a rewarding and educational experience through your engagement on LinkedIn.
In our 3 part series, Getting LinkedIn, you’ll receive FREE tips on:
Part 1: Updating your profile to reflect your reputation.
Part 2: Using search methods to find valuable connections and potential customers.
Part 3: Providing value and expertise to retain your customers.
The clock is ticking on cold calling, so let’s get started!
Part 1: Updating Your Profile to Reflect Your Reputation
Before we get started, let’s silence your updates. If you’re making multiple updates and forget to silence your notifications, every time you click “save” a story hits the news feed.
To do this:
Click on “Profile” on the top main menu. Scroll down and on the right hand side you will see the “Notify Your Network” button. Make sure “No” is showing.
Whew! Now that we aren’t alerting the world that we are making some updates, let’s get started.
1. Upload a professional headshot. What makes a professional headshot? In this case, it doesn’t mean that it has to be taken by a professional. Here are some hints:
a. Dress appropriately. A nice collared shirt or business blouse will do.
b. Crop from the chest up. After all, this is a headshot.
c. Choose good lighting. The point is for everyone to see your face. Dark photos may stand out but not for the reasons you want them to.
d. Just say no to blur. A blurry photo can reduce your credibility, instantly.
e. Smile. We’re glad your serious about your career but we want to know your friendly as well.
Check out these great examples of LinkedIn headshots:
Recognize any of these guys? Nice head shots!
2. Include an appealing and keyword-loaded headline. Your headline isn’t just for your title. Use this space to include keywords that your customers might be searching for.
Your headline appears under your name. Typically, this includes your current title such as “Independent Insurance Agent at ABCXYZ Insurance Agency”. Instead include keywords that clients may be searching for based on products that you sell. So your new headline might read:
Now, when someone is searching for a Homeowners Insurance Agent, you are more likely to show up on top because you have specifically used those keywords in your title. But keep in mind, you do have a 120-character limit so be sure to include your top products.
Want to know how to type those awesome vertical bars that separate your keywords? Try Shift + “\” backslah key (found right above your return key) – Don’t say you didn’t learn anything from this article.
3. Update your summary. There is a reason LinkedIn allows 2,000 characters for this section. Use them! Include specific ways you’ve helped clients, products you sell, and showcase your passion for your career. This is also a great chance to include the keywords you couldn’t find room for in your headline. Still, not sure what to write? Check out this great LinkedIn summary advice article. Warning: It is a tad lengthy but provides a great explanation and strategy!
4. Ask for recommendations. You’ve probably already got your experience laid out. If not, get to showing off! Include all relevant past experience because you’re about to ask for some pats on the back.
The best way you can show potential clients your value is through testimonials of your previous and current clients. The great news is, LinkedIn allows you to share these comments right along side the specialties you are proclaiming on your profile!
To do this:
Click on your profile picture in the top right hand corner of the webpage. Then, click “Manage” next to “Privacy & Settings”.
At the bottom of the page, you will find this menu. With profile selected, click on “Manage Your Recommendations”.
A list of your experience, as you have entered it in your profile will appear. (Again, if you haven’t listed anything under “Experience” in your profile, there will be nothing here.)
Click on “Ask For a Recommendation” under the Job you would like to relate this “testimonial”.
Then, follow the directions by selecting which position you would like to be recommended for and who you would like to ask. You can add up to 3 people at one time, but you must be connected with these people to ask for a recommendation.
A notification will be sent to the people selected and you’re now on your way to having real “testimonials” of your hard work showcased right on your LinkedIn page!
5. Personalize your LinkedIn URL.
LinkedIn provides everyone with a long and number/character filled URL to start. But did you know you can personalize this URL? It’s important to do this when you are including your LinkedIn account in your email signature (hint hint) or on presentations and documents you provide to customers.
To do this:
1. Click on “Profile” on the top menu.
2. Hover over the URL at the bottom of your header card.
3. A settings wheel will appear. Click on it. (This will bring up your public profile).
4. In the top right you will see the section to update your Profile URL.
Hint: Use your name. If your name is taken, trying adding a middle initial or adding your title to the end. Your URL can be changed again if your title changes.
Now that your profile is set up for social selling, you’re ready to start searching for customers. Check back in next week for Part 2 of our LinkedIn Social Selling Series: Using Search Methods to Find Valuable Connections and Potential Customers.
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