You find out how big the world can be when you start reaching the power of social media to your fullest. If you ask different people which social media platform is their favorite, you will get a variety of answers. Some people like Twitter, some like Facebook or Instagram, etc. However, when you ask them about the ones they don't like, I find the answers consistently the same: "I don’t get it". The social media platforms that have made me famous (in my mind) is LinkedIn. I have devoted so many hours to this platform and I don’t do it because I have to… I do it because I love it!
" The cool part of it was that if you screwed it up, there were hundreds of more prospects you could reach out to and try to explain what you were doing."
myHSA was not sold to the first advisor by a mass marketing campaign, it was sold by us reaching out to un-known advisors on LinkedIn. Truth be told we have never spent money on marketing at myHSA. This is something we are pretty proud of, but sometimes we wonder…what if we had? The growth to over 1200 advisors coast-to-coast happened one-by-one over a platform that could reach so many people until we launched myHSA. When we first started the company, LinkedIn was our method to try numerous attempts of explaining what we had built and what we were offering.
The cool part of it was that if you screwed it up, there were hundreds of more prospects you could reach out to and try to explain what you were doing. If you were to ask some of the advisors we spoke to back in the day what we were selling, I am sure some would say they had no idea. That was half the fun of doing what we were doing; it was high-risk practice, this is something that Rick Bauman, influential consultant and good friend of mine, once told me. He was right that high-risk practice does not work in a lot of businesses. In order to use high-risk practice on prospects, you need an ocean. After all, what did we know about spending accounts? Let alone technology that would help Insurance Advisor sell spending accounts? At that point, high-risk practice was our only option.
There were no scripts, there was nothing to compare it to. It was just us in a world we were unfamiliar with and a story that was new to tell. I remember telling people that I was selling my brokerage to go into technology and 9 out of 10 would give me a speech about the golden goose, and why not to kill it for something I knew nothing about. Luckily for us, there was this massive ocean that was available called LinkedIn. It helped us reach a market that to this day I can't believe we were fortunate enough to test the model on. I remember advisors when we met or talked to them they always used to say, “I can’t remember how we actually connected?” and my response was, "I sure as hell do… I spammed you!". However, that was a secret that stayed safe with me until we were comfortable enough to tell them. There was always a laugh about it.
True story, I was actually banned by LinkedIn for a few days due to numerous complaints of people I did not know that I was trying to add. After the ban was lifted I still did what I did, but I was a tiny bit more careful about it. The disclaimer is that I don’t spam anyone anymore. My focus has changed from selling to engaging, so if you get an invitation from me, rest assured that I won’t be that guy.
Social Media is a cool and disruptive tool when you are trying to build a business. It hits you out of nowhere and sometimes you don’t even realize it does. I remember a few years back having dinner with my 90-year-old grandfather. He was asking us about a skin cracking cream and the guy who invented it. He was saying to us all, “you know guys, the guy from the skin cream commercials”. The skin cream guy was actually an internet sensation and appeared everywhere you looked online. No one had any idea who this guy was and what he was selling, other than the 90-year-old person who had been searching skin cracking cream on his social media of choice, Facebook. This company obviously made it their mission to make this skin crack cream guy famous….to viewers like my grandpa at least.
" Humbled, and a bit dusty, we cleaned ourselves off and kept going."
I remember an advisor named Lyle who was so upset that I added him on LinkedIn, he actually looked up my number, called me to ask me who I was and what business I had adding him. He gave me one chance to explain myself, admittedly under a bit of duress. Lyle told me our business was an unwise idea as there was no need for digital platforms in the industry and as an advisor he certainly did not want to be the one facilitating it. He told me that regardless of how compelling of a model we have, the truth is advisors want to sell insurance and at the end of the day they did not want to be “trading nickels" with us. Humbled, and a bit dusty, we cleaned ourselves off and kept going.
I sometimes wonder if Lyle kept following us or is at all curious about us. I wonder if we pop up on Lyle's social media feed and he tells everyone about us. A bit far-fetched I guess, as from what I understand Lyle has now retired from the business which is unfortunate as he will always be remembered by me as the one that got away. Lyle, I do wish we got to trade nickels with you as today that would have been a good retirement income.
While others are happy being big in Japan…I am happy to be big on LinkedIn!