I think LinkedIn is one of the greatest tools out there that can be used to effectively grow your plan provider book of business. Starting conversations in the newsgroups and providing free content has gone a long way to developing my national ERISA practice. It’s been a great way to meet other plan providers around the country.
My biggest complaint on LinkedIn is how certain people use it. I think there are a few providers that while connecting with people on LinkedIn either don’t pick up on social cues, don’t pick up on what people do, and don’t understand that any relationship requires time to build trust.
A few weeks back, a private investigator in my area connected with me on LinkedIn. If you read my profile, you can tell that I don’t do any litigation. Yet, that hasn’t stopped this investigator to contact me 4-5 times about arranging a phone call to learn more about his services. That brings to my point, I think anyone who tries to connect with you and tries to see you right off the boat isn’t interested in building a two-way relationship, they just want to sell you something. That doesn’t stop from the occasional advisor to contact me about their services and how I should refer clients to them. If you know anything about my practice, most of it is referred by advisors or third-party administrators. Plus if I got the client directly and they need an advisor, I’m going to recommend an advisor where I’ve had a long term relationship so I can vouch for them. I’m not going to recommend an advisor I just met last week on LinkedIn.
There is nothing wrong with trying to tout your business, but do it in a way where it’s so blatant that this is all you care about.