The Internet is no Baby

My friend Alice Tang remembers her first days as a financial advisor when all she did was cold calling. Yep, for eight-plus hours a day she tried to grow her book of business by working her way down a call list, hoping to set up meetings. Luckily her perseverance worked, and today Alice is vice president of BPG Wealth Management, LLC. Equally lucky for Alice, her start came in 1994 when the Internet was in its infancy.

Today, the Internet is no baby; it’s a mature ruler that dictates both business-to-consumer and business-to-business selling. If Alice tried to start her financial services career today the same way she did in 1994, she would fail.

Purchasers have the power of the Internet at their fingertips and they expect, no demand, relevant information, nurturing and relationship-building. Selling must now include social selling so you can work smart and create those connections to rock your sales.

Consider the Franklin Templeton Insights to Closing a Sale survey showing that “81 percent of plan sponsors actively sought advisors through recommendations or referrals from colleagues, peer organizations or retirement plan service providers” but only a quarter of them responded to cold calling! If these numbers are not shocking enough, you must realize this study was done in 2012 and social selling has gained even more importance since!

So, what are you going to do? A few years back IBM initiated social selling and increased sales by 400 percent! Crazy, right? If you’re ready to learn the ins and outs of social selling in the financial services world, and escalate your sales, please sign up now for pre-launch details on my new eCourse: Social Selling for Financial Advisors.

P.S. If you want to hear more about Alice Tang, check out my Women Rocking Wall Street podcast, Toughing it Out.

Are You Ready for Social Selling?

I loved playing Monopoly as a kid and always fought my brothers and sister for the prized playing piece: the Scotty Dog. While I still love hunkering down over the board on a rainy Portland afternoon, I gotta admit that today’s business world—and particularly selling environment—no longer takes place in a linear, flat fashion.

The game has changed! The business of selling now requires you to work multi-dimensionally and embrace the digital space by implementing social selling. Sure, the premise and goals are still the same—increase sales and business opportunities. And, many of your selling skills are also still valid. What is different with the inclusion of social selling, is the approach and thought process

With social selling, you need to rethink how you define, discover and engage with clients and prospects. You need to meet them on a different level, or social space, before many of them will even let you make in-person contact. Consider these numbers from Sales Benchmark Index:

  • You are almost five times more apt to schedule a first meeting if you have a personal LinkedIn connection.
  • Some 98 percent of sales reps with over 5,000 LinkedIn connections achieve quota.

Those are pretty staggering numbers! And, your work doesn’t stop with the sale; you must continue to incorporate social selling with constant, quality contact to keep and win new business.

I love a good board game now and then, but when it comes to business in the real world, it’s not about who can make it to “Go” first; it’s who can best utilize the digital arena to find and build connections, and then grow that business day in and day out.

 

Ready for the next step? Check out our Social Media Boot Camp, and Ready, Set, Social programs to become a social media master. Contact us today to see how ShoeFitts Marketing can elevate your business’s social media presence.

Social Selling to Rock Your Sales

Okay, I am a digital native. I used my first Mac word processor in 1984, sent my first email newsletter in 1998, and coded my first website in 2000. I’m a digital geek; I’m a social networking nerd.

What about you? You don’t have to be a techie to dip your toe into the social space; LinkedIn makes it super easy to get started. And, if you followed the steps in last week’s Getting It Right: Top Tips for Your LinkedIn Profile tip sheet, your profile is fully optimized and ready to rock. Next step? Tap into the power of your LinkedIn presence and your “social” world to include social selling. Yep, social selling; that simply spectacular way to grow sales in today’s digital world. (I like the word spectacular.)

Social selling is all about growing your business by using social media and other online resources to identify and maximize your connection opportunities. Meaning, your LinkedIn presence isn’t just about a great profile, it’s also about using that platform to its fullest potential to find and make quality connections and then lay down the path to get your foot in the door.

Don’t confuse social selling with social media marketing. The latter is the big digital marketing umbrella that includes social selling but also encompasses brand identification, perception and awareness, public relations, thought leadership, and engagement.

Whew, a lot to consider, right? Well yes and no. In the next few weeks, I will explain the ins and outs behind social selling, and even include a few tidbits for cybersleuthing on LinkedIn.

Filling Your LinkedIn Restaurant with Quality Connections

You know the warning about not going into an empty restaurant? The lack of customers is considered a bad sign and a reflection on the food. Such is the case with LinkedIn; people checking out your profile want to see customers at your table, or your Connections. That blue number to the far right of your profile box says whether or not you are an established and liked member of the financial services industry.

Your LinkedIn network is one of the most critical components of any social selling program. Yet, while bigger seems better, you need to cultivate your connections with care and purpose. Think of quality over quantity. Otherwise, if you try to connect with EVERYONE, you dilute your online efforts.

So, what’s the best way to start? Begin by considering the types of people you want in your network, or, as I like to say, your tribe. For instance, you probably have clients, prospects, vendors, industry influencers, community influencers, and more, who you want and need to include on your connection list.

Next up? Make certain your LinkedIn profile is professional and optimized. If you don’t already have my handy LinkedIn one-pager, Getting It Right – Top Tips for Your LinkedIn Profile, download it today. This tip sheet steps you through some of the key profile must-haves.

Don’t Know Where You Are Going?

Iconic coaches, top athletes, high achievers, and innovative start-ups all know setting goals is an important component for success. Yet, regardless of industry or stature, anyone and everyone looking to attain business growth needs to define a process and plan, and with today’s connected world those goals must encompass social media.

“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.”
~ Yogi Berra

What should those goals include? Within the context of your overall sales and marketing program your social media plan should detail the following: brand perception and awareness, public relations, thought leadership, engagement and time management, competitive intelligence, and lead generation.

Clearly, there are many points to consider, but if you want rock your sales, you need to focus on the latter two and incorporate social selling. Just what is social selling? In short, social selling means actively using the resources available online and on social platforms to ferret out information about prospects so you can form meaningful connections that lead to business.

Social media is no longer just a tool for B2C purchases; businesses left and right are using social media to research, validate, and converse about B2B purchases. A recent McKinsey & Company article notes: “Business-to-business selling has become less linear as customers research, evaluate, select, and share experiences about products.”

Now consider the impact on sales:

  • 78.6 percent of sales people using social media outsell their peers. source
  • 55 percent of B2B purchasers source information on social media. source
  • You are five times more apt to get your foot in the door if you have a LinkedIn connection. source

Convinced? Good! Be sure you have a copy of our Six Steps to a Spectacular Social Strategy to guide your efforts. Then, hang on for more insights, tips and resources on social selling coming your way next week.

Six Steps to a Spectacular Social Strategy

Download button

How To Avoid Obsolescence: What Martha Stewart Can Teach Financial Advisors

Martha Stewart originated today’s hip and growing maker movement- giving us the tools, advice, guidance and inspiration to elevate every part of our home. So, of course, when I bought my first home, one of the first things I did was order a subscription to Martha Stewart Living. Martha (anyone who loves her magazine is immediately on a first-name basis with her) put every bit of her marketing brilliance into her magazine. It was a slightly different size than any other magazine available, so it always stood out. The photographs were high art even when they focused on the most domestic elements (even cleaning materials looked stunning).

Every month, I poured through the pages, dreaming about building my nest and enriching my life in the process. Should I paint my walls robin’s egg blue or sage green? Even my chicken rose to a whole new level. Martha’s attitude was always to imagine that with planning, industriousness and some creative juice, anything was possible and would make your life more beautiful. I made everything from homemade mustard to fennel-topped crackers. In fact, I still make her clove and cardamom-spiced apple butter each autumn and her Cioppino every Christmas (minus the mussels).

Read more

Promoting Events in Social Media – Your Top 10 List

Welcome to 2015. Yes, it’s time for marketing planning and deciding what trade shows you’ll attend and conferences you’ll hold. Some of the most useful information (and gossip) I gather comes prior to my actual attendance at an event. Well thought out, interactive social media campaigns extend the life and excitement around an event. Read more

Cialdini Influence: Tapping into the Power of Reciprocity

Women’s clothing retailer Anthropologie emails me a special coupon for my birthday. My friend’s local realtor brings her a pumpkin in the fall and offers a photo with Santa in December. A colleague receives a yearly birthday card from her husband’s college alma mater… Read more

Understand Persuasion to Improve Your Marketing

In today’s visually and connected world you can rarely escape the onslaught of advertising and brand marketing. Billboards, stores, websites, and more impact our every move, and every purchasing decision. Yet, why are some ads effective? Why do people opt for the choices they make, whether in B2B commitments or B2C transactions? Read more

ShoeFitts Marketing Creates Social Media Rollout Best Practices Guide for Financial Services Firms

Portland, OregonSeptember 12, 2014 — ShoeFitts Marketing shows financial services firms how to develop a social media policy with comprehensive steps and strategies in the newly released Best Practices for Financial Services Firms: Rolling Out a Social Media Policy white paper. “Despite today’s overwhelming demand for social media connectivity, many firms and broker dealers in the financial services industry are still reluctant to create a social media policy,” explains ShoeFitts president Sheri Fitts. Read more