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LinkedIn blunders

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How to properly use LinkedIn, attract your ideal clients with authenticity and create a feel-good connection with storytelling.

LinkedIn, with more than 575 million users, is a digital gold mine. Nearly half are active users posting about their careers, networking and sharing expertise and advice. It’s a social network with tremendous potential for financial advisors.

Unfortunately, less-professional and ineffective engagement can and does happen on LinkedIn as well. You can sidestep obstacles to your LinkedIn success when you avoid these big credibility-busting blunders.

Blunder 1: Being vague in why a connection is requested, especially with someone you don’t know well. Some people believe more connections are better. But some requests aren’t accepted. This can happen when someone doesn’t know the person or the reason the sender wants to network.

Try instead: A personalized note puts the connection request into context for the receiver. Clearly state why a request has been sent and how the connection benefits both parties.

Blunder 2: Focusing on selling vs. connecting. After a connection has been accepted, the next message is a lengthy sales pitch — and sometimes even a request for a call or meeting.

Try instead: Thank the person for the connection and share something that might benefit them, such as a video or article. You can say that the person who referred you to them found this retirement planning video of interest and thought they might too.

Blunder 3: Not investing in a current, professional photo. One of the first digital impressions from a LinkedIn profile is the profile photo. Using a photo that is too casual or outdated misses an opportunity to showcase your professionalism.

Try instead: If you don’t invest in a professional photo, even a quick shot with your cell phone can work. Direct, natural morning or late afternoon lighting is best. Capture from the shoulders up to minimize distractions in the background.

Lisa Apolinski is a digital strategist, author and founder of 3 Dog Write Inc.

Step into your authenticity to find clients you love working with

By Charlene Marie Quaresma

Some clients will be easier and more enjoyable to work with than others simply because they’re a better fit for who you genuinely are. To allow such clients to find you, try these steps to differentiate yourself in the marketplace:

Step 1: Identify what makes you who you are

When you are unapologetically authentic, you stand in your own power and shine like a bright beacon of light that attracts your best clients. Like a lost traveler at sea pulled in the direction of a lighthouse, they will seek you out with fervor.

Step 2: Share your values with your clients and prospects

When I showed up as my authentic self — someone who is curious, passionate and empowered —
clients saw themselves. If you speak your truth, commit to your values and align your actions to your purpose, your clients will follow you anywhere and share you with their network.

Step 3: Connect to your values, find your path and take action

Advisors think and often lead with their products, strategies and tools. None of that matters, though, if your prospects and clients don’t feel a connection to you. I have always considered myself an artist and activist destined to a life of sales. Being true to my core values, I created a marketing campaign that focused on women and their historic financial inequities.

Step 4: Shine your light for all to see, and your tribe will find you

My inbox flooded with people saying they wanted to work with someone like me because I was someone like them. I wanted people to think differently about money and opportunity. I wanted them to feel empowered about overcoming any financial setbacks or obstacles.

Step 5: Take a risk and own your story

Be courageous and unapologetically you, but a word of caution: With that courage, you may lose some people, and that’s OK. If you are building a brand, you have to differentiate yourself.

Charlene Quaresma is a four-year MDRT member from Portland, Oregon, USA. Contact her at

The scientific connection of how stories sell

By Dawn Herscher

Ever wonder how a client makes the decision to hire a financial advisor? You might think they decide based on experience, reputation, advertising or cost.

As it turns out, a client chooses a financial advisor for reasons more chemical than logical. Studies show they choose based on who triggers the release of the feel-good hormone oxytocin. People are 76% more likely to demonstrate cooperative behavior when under the influence of oxytocin.

The million-dollar question

How do you tell a story that causes the release of oxytocin? The answer is persuasive storytelling. It engages the audience, deepens the relationship and seals the deal.

What the research says

One of the biggest challenges facing the financial community today is how to create content that stands out in a media-saturated world. Harvard Business Review put together a case study to reinforce the message that storytelling triggers oxytocin and motivates cooperative behavior. The researchers showed a group of people a short film with a clear storyline. They found that character-driven stories with emotional content consistently cause oxytocin to synthesize.

You can get those oxytocin feel-good cooperative results by applying a three-step storytelling formula designed to target your content:

  • Tell a story that is personal to you and relevant to them.
  • Tell a story as if it’s happening in real time versus rehashing a narrative (i.e., talking about the story).
  • Tell a story that makes your audience the hero.

Dawn Herscher is an award-winning speechwriter, speaker and storyteller. 


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