Monday, August 8, 2011

How Insurance Producers can use Social Networking to Increase Sales – Part I

 Hi everyone!  Today I thought I’d share some of my thoughts about social networking and sales in today’s marketplace.  Specifically this is geared towards people in the insurance industry but it really applies to anyone who is selling something as the concepts are pretty universal. 

When I got started in sales nearly ten years ago it was a radically different environment.  We used the internet to look up resumes on CareerBuilder and Monster, we sent email and we were beginning to use it to replace the phone book.  At that time I remember my boss was still skeptical of email saying that he didn’t need it to succeed and he didn’t understand why we did too.  Fast forward to the present and most of us can’t imagine working without it.  That said I believe that many people are using it to replace old tools – like the phone book – and aren’t using it is a tool to improve their chances of success.  In my opinion one of the biggest differences today is the advent of social networking.  Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn didn’t even exist when I got started.  However, they are now the most powerful tools available to increase your odds of success.  In this two part series I’ll be sharing three ways you can use social networking to increase your success.  The first part is below:

1.  Brand Yourself

Have you ever googled yourself?  If you haven’t you probably should.  The first thing that pops up when I google Scott Thompson is this guy:

Yes, Carrot Top’s real name is Scott Thompson.  When I google Scott Thompson and Insurance I get much better results.  This is because I’ve worked pretty hard to create an on-line identity.  Some of the first things you will find will be my bio, my LinkedIn page, my Facebook page, my blog (as long as you keep reading it) and lots of job postings.  What this does is help make people more comfortable talking to me because they know who I am. 

When I begin working with someone I look them up on-line.  This even extends to my personal life.  My daughter just started pre-school and when she made a best friend I immediately looked up her family.  I found out their names, where they were from, where they went to school and even saw pictures – most of this came from Facebook.  Now as I got to know the family I had to pretend that I didn’t know any of this and re-learn it from organic conversations so I didn’t look like a stalker.  But, before you call me a stalker please remember – I am average.  This means that most people do this as well and most likely your potential clients are too. 

With this in mind there are a couple of things that you can do to make sure that they see what you want them to.  The first thing that you should do is to create a LinkedIn page or update yours so that it has the following:

  • A picture – people want to see a professional picture of you – it makes them feel more comfortable
  • Your job history with an emphasis on your current position – people are naïve and assume that whatever is on LinkedIn is true – this doesn’t mean you should lie but it does mean that you can create additional credibility with more information
  • Your education – even if you didn’t complete college you should have something on here.  First, this helps people find shared connections.  You wouldn’t believe how many people’s brother went to your college.  Second it creates more credibility.  If you don’t have a degree, add your continuing education.
  • Make your profile searchable and visible to everyone!

The second thing you should do is to create a Facebook page.  There are many people that believe that Facebook is for personal use only.  That is a great idea.  The truth is that people who use it will look you up and you should use this to your advantage by controlling what they see.  If you already have a profile then just augment it.  Here is what you should have:

  • Make your profile searchable and visible – you can choose what to share – just have something on there that people can see
  • Include basic information about you – avoid potentially controversial issues.  Not everyone agrees that you should save the baby walruses by banning harpoons!
  • Make your pictures searchable – just make sure that you are smart about what you post.  Have pictures up of you doing your hobbies.  Acceptable hobbies are golf, gardening, sports and the like.  Be selective in the pictures you post from that weekend in Vegas.. – the more people see you in these pictures the more comfort that they will have with you because you become a real person to them.

You can read the second part of this by clicking on the link below:

How Insurance Producers can use Social Networking to Increase Sales – Part II

As always don’t forget to leave comments or suggestions.  If you have any questions you can email me at  

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