In part 1 of this series about the importance of social selling in the insurance industry, I explained how insurance brokers can leverage LinkedIn for lead generation. Now it’s time to optimize your team’s LinkedIn profiles as a resource for their prospective clients, aka buyers.
Unfortunately, many sales leaders still view LinkedIn as a place for your digital resume. But this misses a prime opportunity to provide prospects with valuable information when they search for solutions to their business challenges.
Find out how to optimize the LinkedIn profiles of your team to transform them into assets for prospects and clients.
How to Optimize a LinkedIn Profile
Think of LinkedIn as a networking event and your profile as a digital representation of your clothes. You wouldn’t meet with a prospect wearing a worn out t-shirt, shorts, and slippers. You would dress in a manner that shows you’re credible and trustworthy. The same concept applies to how your brokers should present themselves on LinkedIn.
Their profiles should communicate the value they provide to prospects by demonstrating their work experience and expertise in the types of insurance your organization offers. They should use buyer-centric messaging that shows who they help and how they’ve helped others in the past with keywords embedded throughout to improve the chances they’ll appear in search results within LinkedIn. Additionally, your brokers’ profiles should include multimedia assets that illustrate how they’ve helped others in your target audience.
These elements are essential to transforming a LinkedIn profile from an online resume into a resource for buyers, which can be a deciding factor in whether a prospect engages with brokers. In fact, according to LinkedIn’s 2018 State of Sales Report, 62% of decision-makers look for an informative LinkedIn profile before engaging with a sales rep.LinkedIn profiles of #insurance brokers are their #digital representations. It is an asset in lead generation and earning #sales conversations. #SocialSelling #SellingWithLinkedIn @KurtShaverClick To Tweet
Your Target Market is More Digitally Savvy
LinkedIn profiles have become more important because the modern buyer performs more independent research before engaging with sellers than they did in the past. They read customer reviews and blog posts, watch videos and download whitepapers searching for solutions to their business challenges.
When your target buyers are searching on LinkedIn for this information, your sellers must be visible.
For instance, when decision-makers and senior-level influencers search for the words “business insurance,” do your reps appear in the search results? With an optimized LinkedIn profile they increase the chances they’ll appear.
Keep reading to learn the key elements of LinkedIn profiles for insurance brokers and the LinkedIn tips you can give to your team to transform their profiles into buyer resources.#Business insurance agents should be visible when senior-level influencers search for insurance solutions on LinkedIn. This is a prime opportunity for #prospect engagement. #SalesTips #Insurance #SocialSelling @KurtShaverClick To Tweet
6 Key Elements of a LinkedIn Profile for Insurance Brokers
As mentioned, a strong LinkedIn profile shows an insurance broker’s industry expertise and relevant experience to provide value to a prospect. Through buyer-centric messaging, they build credibility and trust. And, by using keywords they’ll improve the chances of appearing in search results.
But now you’re wondering, how do I coach my team on how to improve their profiles? Have no fear! We’re here to help.
While there are many elements to optimizing a LinkedIn profile and transforming it into a resource for buyers, I break down the six most important below.
1. Profile Headshot
First, your brokers need to change their LinkedIn photo. A profile photo can influence the first impressions of visitors more than anything else. A professional headshot immediately adds to a broker’s credibility.
On the other hand, if a profile is faceless or has a skull and crossbones (which, yes, we’ve seen) a prospect won’t engage because that broker doesn’t seem to care about the prospect’s needs.
Reps should choose a profile photo with good lighting, a clean background, and one where they are dressed appropriately. That means no cropped wedding photos or repurposed vacation images. Even better, have a professional photographer come in to update everyone’s profile picture on the same day.
2. Profile Banner Image
Next, address their LinkedIn profile banner images. This section is like a free digital billboard for your company!
We normally recommend that you ask the marketing department to supply company-branded banners with your company’s brand messaging, logo, website URL, social media handles, branded hashtags, and contact information. This makes a lasting impression to your target buyers and helps drive brand awareness.
However, insurance is different than many industries because many brokers focus on a local territory or region. So, instead of national profile banner images, ask marketing for regional banners that will speak more directly to their buyers in each region. These banners will include all the same elements, but buyers are more likely to connect with insurance agents who understand the unique needs in their local areas.
Another overlooked piece of real estate in a LinkedIn profile is the headline. How many of your brokers still list their job title? Probably most of them. But how does that help your target buyer?
A LinkedIn profile should not be an online resume filled with me-centric messaging. Instead, it should be a resource for buyers, filled with buyer-centric messaging. This starts with the headline.
The LinkedIn headline is an opportunity to grab the attention of prospects and entice them to view your producers’ full profiles. Brokers should skip the default and craft a custom headline that shows their personal brand, who they help, and how they help. They also need to include keywords to improve the likelihood of their profiles appearing in relevant search results.Optimize your LinkedIn profile for your target #buyer by updating 6 key sections: your headshot, banner image, headline, summary, experience, and multimedia. #LinkedInTips #SalesStrategy #SellingWithLinkedIn @KurtShaverClick To Tweet
4. About Section
Now that your insurance agents have successfully drawn prospects to their profile and have the right images, the next thing is to optimize their LinkedIn About or summary section.
The LinkedIn About section is a detailed summary of who they help, how they help, and how they’ve helped other clients in the past. Think of this section as a mini case-study where they explain how they’ve solved a business insurance problem of a past client or two.
One important note is that the first sentence only displays about 70 characters. That means brokers have limited space to entice readers to ‘Click More’ so that the entire summary opens up.
And, as with the headline, using relevant keywords is one of the key elements of LinkedIn profile SEO and increases the chances of their profiles appearing in search results.
Finally, brokers should include their contact information at the end of the About section. This provides an option for those interested to contact them and is harder for scraping tools to pull the information, saving them from spammy email lists.
5. Experience Section
The current work experience section is a more focused version of the About section. Now, your brokers can dive even deeper into the specifics of how they’ve helped their clients. For instance, it’s always good to show ROI numbers for past clients or specific stories of how they helped others protect their assets.
For example, if your producers offer Property & Casualty insurance, they should display their expertise around this topic. They should provide details about how they protect business owners from theft, cybersecurity, or damages from weather occurrences.
One thing we always get asked is, “What about new sellers? They don’t have any past clients to reference.”
Sure they do. Your company has had past clients and the new seller can simply reference those successes. And, if you can’t mention companies by name, it’s very easy to replace the company name with something more generic, such as ‘a leading aerospace manufacturer’ instead.
Optimized LinkedIn profiles include multimedia assets so prospects can find all the relevant information they need about your services and success stories. This is an important element for your brokers to become a resource for buyers. Content such as whitepapers, blog posts, videos, case studies, and even podcasts will ultimately drive your prospect down the sales funnel.
Connect with your marketing department about what types of content brokers should include in their profile and help them identify any gaps so they can add it to the content calendar.
If all of these elements seem overwhelming, don’t worry! We’ve created the Ultimate Guide to LinkedIn Profiles for Sales Professionals so you can easily help your team optimize their profiles.
How to Handle Compliance Issues
Often, insurance brokers are restricted in what they can post because they have to comply with carrier rules and guidelines. So before your team starts building their profiles, clearly provide any restrictions to the messaging.
For instance, sometimes, compliance restricts the phrases brokers can use. Other times they restrict what content they can include in their profile or share on their feed. Sometimes, it’s a combination of all of these.
Often, this keeps insurance companies from training their brokers on how to leverage LinkedIn. They think it’s an insurmountable obstacle.
In reality, this is one of the benefits of social selling training and working with Vengreso to transform the LinkedIn profiles of your brokers. We work with compliance right from the start, ensuring that everyone uses the right language in their profile and that there are no ‘rogue’ brokers including elements that compliance has not approved.Hiring a dedicated 3rd party company to transform the LinkedIn profiles of your #insurance brokers assures that all profiles comply with your compliance restrictions from the start. #SellingWithLinkedIn #DigitalSelling #SalesTips @KurtShaverClick To Tweet
Earn More Referrals with Optimized LinkedIn Profiles
Optimized LinkedIn profiles increase sales conversations and boost the chances of earning referrals.
For example, say your target prospect is not ready to buy your company’s services yet. If a broker’s LinkedIn profile made a good impression and they actively share content and engage with insightful comments, they will remain top-of-mind for that prospect, even though they didn’t buy anything.
Then, those prospects may say to others, “I haven’t worked with them, but they impressed me. They seem highly knowledgeable and always share valuable information.”
Plus, prospects may save a LinkedIn profile for later. When they’re ready to buy, even if it’s months – even years – later, they’ll reach out. I’ve seen that happen many times. That’s why a LinkedIn profile that addresses the buyer’s specific needs is so valuable.Impressing your target #buyer with optimized #LinkedIn profiles can earn you #sales conversations and referrals! #DigitalSelling #LinkedInTips #SalesTips @KurtShaverClick To Tweet
Help Your Team Leverage LinkedIn
As a sales leader, one challenge you face when asking your team of brokers to leverage LinkedIn is obtaining their acceptance and commitment.
What we’ve found when working with insurance companies such as Woodruff Sawyer, Bolton & Company, and Fred C. Church, is that brokers don’t publish content because they don’t believe their LinkedIn profile is a good representation of what they provide. That’s why a LinkedIn profile transformation is such a key element to your team’s social selling success.
Build the Confidence of Your Insurance Brokers
Confidence plays a big role in how brokers use LinkedIn to engage with your target audience.
As a sales leader, you can’t just give them the tool and say, “Go forth and make connections!” This puts your brokers in a position that could be counterproductive, especially if they have no understanding of social selling. You need to lead by example by having a strong profile that addresses all the key points mentioned above.
Once brokers have a LinkedIn profile that displays credibility, they become more confident in engaging with their networks. More activity on the platform leads to more sales conversations that create more pipeline which builds their book of business.
Use Gamification to Increase Commitment
After tackling the problem of acceptance, your next challenge will be how to get your producers to commit to using LinkedIn for sales prospecting.
Gamification is a great way to drive brokers to earn rewards and beat their colleagues. After all, sales reps, especially insurance brokers, are a competitive bunch. Any way that you can take advantage of that for the betterment of the team is a can’t-miss opportunity.
For example, you could reward the agent with the highest SSI score after a month of building their profiles. The LinkedIn SSI Score directly correlates to how effective a seller is at social selling on LinkedIn, and one of the key elements is an informative profile.
As your team of insurance agents pursues a high SSI score, they become more active on LinkedIn. Thus they increase the chances of being found by target buyers and their number of sales conversations, both of which will boost your company’s win rates.Gain your #producers commitment to using #LinkedIn for #SocialSelling through gamification. #Insurance brokers are naturally competitive. Use that for the betterment of the team! #SalesLeadership #SalesStrategy @KurtShaverClick To Tweet
Transform Your Team’s LinkedIn Profiles
Insurance brokers can only leverage LinkedIn as a social selling platform if they have the right tools starting with an optimized profile. An agent’s LinkedIn profile that uses buyer-centric messaging to showcase who they help and how they help will build trust and credibility, leading to more sales conversations.
Give your brokers the foundation they need to achieve social selling success. Transform your team’s LinkedIn profiles today! Learn more about our LinkedIn Profile Optimization services.