It is no secret that a referral from someone who already knows and trusts you is one of the best ways to generate new prospects and clients for your business. And yet, many Finance Professionals find it difficult to find those ideally suited prospects and ask for referrals from their network.

LinkedIn is an amazing tool to leverage for this purpose. In fact, it is probably the most powerful and beneficial way to use LinkedIn and see a real return on your time invested.

WIth that in mind, let's take a look at how to find and connect with prospects on LinkedIn with the goal of generating warm referrals from your network.

Find Your Ideal Target Prospect On LinkedIn

One of the first things you must do as a Financial Advisor on LinkedIn is connect with everyone that you interact with in real life. This includes current and former clients, colleagues and classmates.

By doing this, you will be increasing your network of 2nd degree connections. And, those 2nd degree connections are people that could be one warm introduction away from becoming a new client.

The next step is to find your ideal target prospect on LinkedIn by conducting a simple search using keywords that describe that prospect. In the example below, I use “Chiropractor Vancouver”. Feel free to insert keywords that best describe your ideal target prospect and where they are located.


When you do this, you will see results of people that are in your 2nd and 3rd degree network as well as the contacts that you have in common that could provide you with a warm introduction.

Connect With Your Ideal Target Prospect On LinkedIn

There are a few ways that you can connect with someone on LinkedIn. Firstly, you can attempt to connect directly using the available default options built into LinkedIn. However, if you don't have some point of reference that will make that 2nd degree connection trust you, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to get them to respond to a “cold” connection request or message via LinkedIn.

A better approach is to leverage your 1st degree contacts to get “warm” introductions to prospects that would benefit from the services you offer as a Financial Advisor.

As a general rule, these are the 4 key elements you must include in your message when asking for a warm introduction to a 2nd degree prospect on LinkedIn.

  1. Build Rapport – you always start your phone conversations and emails with small talk. You should do the same with LinkedIn messages.
  2. Outline Your Value & Be Transparent – clearly explain the value you provide your current clients and be transparent about the fact you are leveraging LinkedIn to find new prospects for your business.
  3. State Your Request & Provide An Out – be clear about what you are asking for and ensure that your 1st degree contact knows the person well enough to provide you with a warm introduction. And, always provide the opportunity for your 1st degree contact to gracefully decline your request without feeling awkward or insulting. After all, you don't want to burn bridges by making your trusted clients feel uncomfortable. But, that being said, remember you also don't get what you don't ask for!
  4. Offer To Reciprocate – don't make it a one way street. If you are asking for something of value, you should always offer something of value in return.

At the end of the day, much of what we've reviewed here comes down to understanding who your ideal target prospect is, drafting simple, clear messages and asking for the referral from your 1st degree connections. If you follow the directions listed above, you will find that you can see a real return from your time invested on LinkedIn!

For more LinkedIn tips for Finance Professionals, visit

Written for BMO Global Asset Management – Insights Newsletter