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.

Women and The NASDAQ

Episode 31: Women and The NASDAQ
Guest: Maureen Lowe

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Just imagine the sense of achievement you would feel if you were asked to ring The NASDAQ Opening bell. That’s what my guest this week had the opportunity to do. Maureen Lowe is the President and Founder of Financial Technologies Forum (FTF), a media company for Wall Street, which provides content, specifically for people and companies that drive the post-trading processing industry.

While she has grown a successful business, which has gained enough notice that she and her team were asked to ring The NASDAQ bell, Maureen still faces challenges because she is a woman on Wall Street. Over the years, she has developed a thick skin and has worked at building up her confidence around being a successful businesswoman within the financial industry.

Being a female entrepreneur on Wall Street is challenging, but Maureen has proven that it is possible. When asked what advice she would give to her 27-year-old self, Maureen says, “there will be tough times. You need to have failure and experience mistakes because that’s where you’re going to learn and grow.” She also recommends not to be afraid of failing, not to be so hard on yourself and to celebrate all the successes. Women can and are succeeding each and every day.

Be sure to share this podcast with your friends and colleagues. Also, head over to iTunes and write a quick review if you liked what you heard today. Increased reviews help move the podcast to an even more visible place in the iTunes world. (More visible, more listeners. More listeners, more difference!)

Planning to Be a CFP

Episode 30: Planning to Be a CFP
Guest: Eleanor Blayney

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Hello there, and welcome back to Women Rocking Wall Street. A couple weeks ago, I spoke with Renee Amochaev about her fight for gender equality on Wall Street. And this week, I’m continuing the theme and encouraging women out there to research the opportunities that a career in financial planning can bring. Well, who better to speak about this topic than Eleanor Blayney, author of “Women’s Worth: Finding Your Financial Confidence.” In addition to being an author, Eleanor is a CFP and consumer advocate for the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards.

In 2013, the CFP Board launched Women’s Initiative (WIN). Under the leadership of Nancy Kistner, then chair of CFP Board’s board of directors, WIN conducted research about why there are so few women in financial planning—the number has remained flat at 23% for several years. Based on the research, the WIN Advisory Panel released a white paper called “Making More Room for Women In the Financial Planning Profession.” The research found that, compared with men, women are much less familiar with the financial planning profession and the requirements for CFP certification. And when it comes to financial advisers who do not have CFP certification, 39% of men said they would “definitely or probably” pursue it, compared with 23% of women.

If you’re a CFP who wants to tell women more about this exciting career, consider becoming a WIN Advocate and spreading the word. By sharing your story with your community, you can make the profession more attractive to women. Please visit this link for more information about becoming a WIN Advocate. Every action we take like this can help close the gender gap!

If you have a passion for helping others, I would encourage you to explore a career in financial planning. As Eleanor says, it’s not all numbers, sales and production—it’s a career that calls for creativity, relationship skills, communication and an interesting in helping people achieve their goals. Sounds pretty nice, right?

Thanks for listening, and as always, please head to iTunes and tell us what you think about the episode. And share this podcast with friends and family! Until next time.

Investing in Gender Parity

Episode 29: Investing in Gender Parity
Guest: Eve Ellis

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Welcome back! I hope you’re still enjoying some nice, warm weather – wherever you may be. I am excited for this week’s episode of Women Rocking Wall Street because I have the pleasure of speaking with Eve Ellis, Financial Advisor with The Matterhorn Group at Morgan Stanley.

Competitive by nature, Eve started her career as a professional tennis player. Having served her well on the court, she now uses her competitive drive to help her clients prepare for their individual financial goals. In addition to supporting men, women and nonprofits, Eve is also the portfolio manager for The Parity Portfolio, a capital investment strategy that only buys into companies that has a minimum of three women on their boards.

According to Eve, gender parity on S&P 500 company boards are minimal and the progress is slow. Over the past two and a half years, the number has only increased by 2.3%. Although Eve is working to change that, she is also benefiting her clients. Research indicates that corporate boards that have three or more women have a 46% higher return on equity, 60% higher return on invested capital and 80% higher return on sales.

If you’re a woman struggling to make your way in your industry, Eve recommends that you speak up with authority and remind yourself that men should just “move over.” We have a responsibility to bring along other women, be supportive and educate others about this issue. Together, we can create gender parity.

If you’re a longtime listener of Women Rocking Wall Street, you’ve heard me mention the 30 Percent Coalition (of which Eve is a member of). If you’re new to the podcast, you can learn more about this initiative by listening to these past related podcast episodes: “What’s Behind Your Investments,” “Let’s Get to 30%,” and “The Getting Along Paradigm”. To learn more about Eve, you can find her on LinkedIn.

Be sure to share this podcast with your friends and colleagues. Also, head over to iTunes and write a quick review if you liked what you heard today. Increased reviews help move the podcast to an even more visible place in the iTunes world. (More visible, more listeners. More listeners, more difference!)

Fighting for Change On Wall Street

Episode 28: Fighting for Change On Wall Street
Guest: Renee Amochaev

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Hello, and happy summer! This week, I’m thrilled to share the story of a woman who rocked Wall Street in a major, major way. You might remember the name Renee Amochaev from news headlines. Several years back, Amochaev and three other women brought a gender discrimination lawsuit against Smith Barney, which resulted in the brokerage firm paying a whopping $33 million settlement.

Renee was inspired to seek legal action for what she said were differences in the way she was treated compared with her male colleagues. Among other things, Renee said her office was smaller and she was required to go through broker training—despite being fully licensed—while her male counterparts didn’t have to. Eventually, Renee said she came to work one day to find that her entire book of business was inaccessible, and she was told to write essays to retain her accounts. Through conversations with a couple women at the office, Renee said she discovered she wasn’t alone in her experiences.

The lawsuit was a long and tiring road, but Renee knew she wouldn’t be able to look at herself in the mirror if she didn’t speak up. Renee’s husband encouraged her to arrive in cowboy boots for her first meeting with the lawyers. (I love this, by the way, because I often wear cowboy boots to speaking engagements.) “If you’re gonna kick up dust,” her husband said, “you better wear cowboy boots.”

And boy, did she kick up a lot of dust!

In the end, news outlets from CNBC to The New York Times covered the story, and countless women contacted Renee about their personal experiences. The lawsuit, Renee says, was so much bigger than just her. “This is about future generations of women and how much they are needed in the industry,” she says.

Not only do Renee and I both hope this episode inspires listeners to speak up about gender biases in the industry, but we also hope it serves as a calling for women to take hold of their financial futures.

In closing, I’d also like to give a shout-out to all the people fighting every day for more women in the industry, including Tim Smith from the 30 Percent Coalition (see July 8th’s episode). Tim has rallied for years to increase the number of women on boards, and he and so many others are greatly appreciated.

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it and head to iTunes to post a quick review. And join me next week for a talk with Eve Ellis, who has a very interesting career history—from competitive tennis, to Web, to financial services. Have a great week!

Playing a Bigger Game

Episode 27: Playing a Bigger Game
Guest: Sheri Fitts featured on the podcast The Startup Sessions

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Welcome back! I hope you’re having a great summer and enjoying the warm weather. I wanted to switch things up this week and provide you with some insight into who I am as a person, business owner, and woman rocking Wall Street.

Several weeks ago, I had the privilege of being a guest on my dear friend Michael Knouse’s podcast, The Startup Sessions. Michael is a business coach, unconventional startup strategist and entrepreneur who not so long ago was selling software solutions to corporate clients. Knowing that he hand-selects his show guests based on their experience creating their own meaningful businesses, I was honored that he approached me to share my experience with ShoeFitts Marketing.

On this episode, Michael and I dig into some of the challenges that hold many women entrepreneurs back, including setting appropriate rates for services. Are you afraid to raise your rates because you believe it will hurt your chances of successfully getting clients? If so, you’re not alone! Unfortunately, this misconception could be harming your business by undervaluing your services. It’s important to remember that what you’re providing is valuable, and your clients want to pay for quality! My advice to Michael’s listeners, and to you during this episode is simple – don’t over-complicate it, just raise your rates.

If your entrepreneurial spirit is strong, but you’re struggling to propel your business forward, I hope this episode will provide insight into managing your numbers and helping your business play a bigger game.

For more information about Michael and The Startup Sessions, visit thestartupsessions.com, or find him on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+.

And remember, if you like the episode, please be sure to share it with your colleagues, friends, and other connections. Let’s continue the Women Rocking Wall Street movement!

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

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