In the space of six months this year, Jason Ting, senior vice president of wealth management for Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, racked up nearly 500 connections on his new corporate LinkedIn account. That led to one new client, four serious prospects and fresh respect for the power of a digital presence.

"Cold calls feel warmer when the person knows some of your contacts," Ting says. This, he adds, has accelerated the process of converting prospects to clients.

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