How do you meet prospects online?

Financial Services Is Prospecting Online Like Finding a Unicorn

In any given week, I’m asked about the prospecting potential in the social space and how do I meet the people I want to do business with online? I feel like the answer should be something magical like unicorns and gnomes, but it comes down to something quite basic: I reach out, say “hello” and provide them with something they can use and then…wait.

No pixie dust, sorry

It really is that simple. Granted, there is some follow-up after the initial contact, but the foundation of anything I’ve ever done online starts with the reach, the greeting and the value-add. I will go into some specifics of what I do and then you can modify for your day-to-day needs.

The Reach

I remember when Eminem came out with a song called, “My name is…” Regardless if you like his music or not, the song made millions on lyrical genius which started with:

Hi! My name is (what?)
My name is (who?)
My name is
Slim Shady
Hi! My name is (huh?)
My name is (what?)
My name is
Slim Shady

You see, when I reach out to a prospect, I really do say, “Hi, my name is Sheryl Brown…” and follow the rest with the greeting and value-add based on the context of why I want to know this person better. The most important part of the reach is to be authentic – meaning, only reach out to someone you really want to do business with, otherwise, leave them alone. It’s pretty sacred in the online world; so respect the initial reach.

The Greeting

Next, I follow my reach with a greeting which is specific to the person I want to meet. For example, I might say, “Hi, my name is Sheryl Brown. I recently had lunch with Sharlene Woerther and she said we should meet.” This is also quite basic, but so many people do the reach online (especially LinkedIn!) and never provide context in their greeting. Grr – these make me crazy because it’s lost potential to really connect with someone. Everyone is moving a mile a minute, take the extra 15 seconds and write the personalized greeting. I promise you will connect with more prospects than you ever thought possible.

The Value-Add

Last, I follow-up the reach and the greeting with what value-add I can provide. So the same example might then say, “Hi, my name is Sheryl Brown. I recently had lunch with Sharlene Woerther and she said we should meet. I provide social media assistance to financial professionals and believe I can help you out with your profile. Look forward to connecting!” This allows the recipient of my message to make a thoughtful decision about connecting with me and even the advisors who may not want the help initially usually connect anyway because they might someday want my help. [Ok, maybe a fairy somewhere does earn her wings when you receive the connection notice from LinkedIn!]

My point is: to earn time with a prospect online, you have only a few, simple steps to follow and get in front of them. The follow-up is a little more involved and I am happy to discuss this with you offline if you want to reach out and chat.

I guess Social media is like a magical castle where prospects reside and wait to be united with others. A lot of times, however, you won’t need to climb up the side of the building or catapult yourself across a moat filled with starving crocodiles…the entrance to the palace typically opens up with a simple knock at the front door.

Be bigger, better and more BIONIC today!

Sheryl Brown | @BIONICsocialite


2 thoughts on “How do you meet prospects online?

  1. Reblogged this on John Proaño's Blog About the Convergence of Customer Experience, Digital and Technology and commented:
    My long time professional colleague, friend and equally crazy about social media pal Sheryl Brown hits the nail in the head with this magnificent post about the art and science of prospecting online. I love how she breaks it down into 3 key steps… 1. The reach 2. The greeting 3. The value-add. This is a very simple but effective way to meet your prospects online. Way to go Sheryl! Here’s the full blog post so you can get all the details!

    • Aw! John, I really appreciate you taking the time to read and share this. The good fortune you and I have both experienced with digital connections still comes down to the basic meet and greet…and yes, you are just as nuts as me about social media! Love it!

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