Social Branding for Every Sales Person
If you are a Professional Services salesperson and lacking ongoing new business, all you might be missing is a strong Social Brand and an investment in engaging, original social content.
So what is Social Branding of the Professional Services Salesperson?
I often hear Professional Services Sales professionals complain about the ups and downs of the market and their sales cycle. They either do not have enough leads from marketing efforts or have leads which are unqualified or both.
These Sales Pros come from every B2B services industry (financial services, accounting, real estate, consulting). In my 15 years of Social Media Consulting and Sales Coaching, I have worked with them and heard this same complaint from all corners. What most don’t understand YET is that the key to their sustainable, ongoing sales success has everything to do with their own brand building. As well, of course, in using their brands to drive influence through the use of smart social selling and personal brand marketing in general.
As a Personal Branding Consultant, who understands that everyone who sells needs to become a master not only at sales, but a master of creating a unique and compelling brand, I focus on Social Branding of the Professional Services Salesperson. If you are in Professional Services Sales in any way, shape or form, you should consider doing the same.
Here is what those who succeed in using their own brand and social media have done to win and sustain new business:
1. They carve a personal brand niche that is unwavering
Where I generally start with personal branding for my clients, similar to a coach or a therapist, is to help my clients understand what their niche is in what they do. The niche that they inevitably decide upon is what they need to commit to, day and day out.
This is why I titled my latest book on personal branding online “How to Brand Yourself Online Like A CEO” because a CEO has to be unwavering in his or her commitment to running a company. The same is true for a sales professional. Once a sales pro decides to be an expert or thought-leader in a certain area, he or she must be diligent about knowing and practicing everything there is to know and do in that area of focus.
2. They build an online lead generation machine via their Social Brand Content
To drive ongoing qualified online lead generation, you must have a personal brand that is visible, dynamic, fresh, unique, compelling and authentic. Sales pros with many years of experience, such as the senior-level CEO’s and executives I generally work with, have built up a strong Rolodex and years of experience. But that is not enough….
The Sales professionals who earn more money from online efforts invest not only money; but also daily work (time) into their own online personal brands. By investing this necessary time, they are able to focus on driving up value and visibility around themselves and their area of focus, essentially their market position. This includes defining a proper personal content strategy and producing content around that strategy.
To get you started, think about what content you can commit to, when, where, how and why? And what content types make the most sense for you m your time, your business and your target audience? There are many types to choose from including:
- Blog posts
- Custom Illustrations
- Motion Graphics
- Short Form Video
- Long Form Video
- Case Study and Presentation Content
What makes the most sense for you? Do you or does your organization already have this content? Maybe it just needs to be digitized or reformatted?
Start by using a simple Google sheets or excel sheet and make a list of all the content you already have to see what can be repurposed or further developed.
Here is a quick example from a law firm client of a video my agency did. We paired this with a video strategy, LinkedIn Marketing, a related series of articles and tied it into their sales funnel for immediate new business results as part of my service – Social Branding of the Professional Services Salesperson.
Commercial Real estate sales professionals, for example, which I referenced in a previous LinkedIn article I wrote, “Personal Online Branding Gives Real Estate Professionals an Edge” go from zero to 100 in their sales results by truly focusing in daily, day after day, on supporting their online brands.
3. They are unafraid of engaging on LinkedIn
LinkedIn Sales Coaching and LinkedIn Profile Enhancement, LinkedIn Marketing & Sales Training and Keynote Speaking on LinkedIn are three of my most in-demand services from the majority of my clients. However, I have come across many professional sales people that feel afraid or concerned about going all the way with LinkedIn and using content to drive business. For those that understand the power of brand-building and relationship development on the world’s most powerful; B2B Social network win new business on an ongoing basis.
My best example of this is a Senior level Financial Advisor client of mine and now good friend out of St.Louis. He manages my favorite LinkedIn Group, The Hockey Players Doing Business Group, on LinkedIn (yes I am a hockey player and yes ice and yes I play in a men’s league) and came to me for LinkedIn advice. I convinced him that all he needed was a smart strategy, a polished LinkedIn profile and ongoing authentic content to get business and yes we can do this even if he is regulated. So I went to work to create his new LinkedIn Profile (some of clients refer to this as LinkedIn Architecture, which I love) and a content strategy with search optimization and in just a few short weeks he gained, no lie, a big new client on LinkedIn! So why did this happen, well because he was unafraid, a giver, enthusiastic and willing to really engage.
You can check out his profile here – Shannon Lewandoski, Senior Financial Services Advisor LinkedIn Profile
These are just three of the ways Professional Services Sales professionals are using social branding or personal branding online to earn more on a consistent basis.
Alternative Beta Strategies: Alpha/Beta Separation Comes to Hedge Funds
Written by: Yazann Romahi, Chief Investment Officer of Quantitative Beta Strategies, J.P. Morgan Asset Management
A quiet revolution is taking place in the alternatives world. The idea of alpha/beta separation has finally made its way from traditional to alternative investing. This development brings with it a more transparent, liquid and cost-effective approach to accessing the “alternative beta” component of hedge fund return and a new means for benchmarking hedge fund managers.
The good news for investors is that the separation of hedge fund return into its components—rules-based alternative beta and active manager alpha—has the potential to shift investing as we know it. These advancements could democratize hedge funds and, at long last, make what are essentially hedge fund strategies available to all investors—even those who aren’t willing to hand over the hefty fees often associated with hedge fund investing.
A benchmark for alternatives
With respect to traditional equity investing, we have long accepted the idea that there is a market return, or beta—but this hasn’t always been the case. Investors used to assume that to make money in the stock markets, one needed to buy the right stocks and avoid the wrong ones. The idea of a market return independent of skilled stock selection seemed ridiculous to most market participants. Yet today, we would never invest in an active manager’s strategy without benchmarking it against its respective beta.
Interestingly, hedge fund managers have been held to a different standard. Investors have been much more willing to accept the notion that hedge fund strategy returns are pure alpha, and that their investment returns are based entirely on the skill of the fund manager. That notion explains why investors have been willing to accept a “two and twenty” fee structure just to access what has been perceived as one of the most sophisticated and powerful investment vehicles available.
In thinking about the concept of beta, consider its precise definition—the return achievable by taking on a systematic exposure to an economically compensated risk. In traditional long only equity investing, the traditional market beta has been further refined as a number of other risks have been identified that are commonly referred to as “strategic beta.” These include factors such as value, momentum, quality and size. But no one ever said that these risk factors must be long-only.
Over the past decade, as more hedge fund data became available, academics began to disaggregate hedge fund return into two components: compensation for a systematic exposure to a long/short type of risk (alternative beta), and an unexplained “manager alpha.” What they found is that a significant portion of hedge fund return can be attributed to alternative beta. That fact has turned the tables on how we look at hedge fund return. With the introduction of the alternative beta concept, hedge fund managers will have to state their results, not just in terms of total return, but also as excess return over an alternative beta benchmark.
Merger arbitrage—an alternative beta example
The merger arbitrage hedge fund style can be used to illustrate the alternative beta concept. In the case of merger arbitrage, the beta strategy would be the systematic process of going long every target company, while shorting its acquirer. There is an inherent return to this strategy because the target stock price typically does not immediately rise to the offer price upon the deal’s announcement. This creates an opportunity to purchase the stock at a discount prior to the deal’s completion. The premium that remains is compensation to the investor for bearing the risk that the deal may fail.
Active merger arbitrage managers can add value by choosing to invest in some deals while avoiding others. Therefore, their benchmark should be the “enter every deal” strategy, not cash. In fact, the beta strategy explains the majority of the return to the average merger arbitrage hedge fund. And it doesn’t stop there. Other hedge fund styles that can be explained using alternative beta include equity long/short, global macro, and event driven. Note that the beta strategy invests in the same securities, using the same long/short techniques as the hedge fund strategy. The difference is that the beta strategy is a rules-based version that can become the benchmark for the hedge fund strategy. After all, if a hedge fund strategy cannot beat its respective rules-based benchmark (net of fees), an investor may be wiser to stick to the beta strategy.
Implications for investors
What does all this mean for the end investor? Hedge funds have traditionally been the domain of sophisticated investors willing to pay high fees and sacrifice liquidity. Alpha/beta separation in the hedge fund world means that investors can finally choose whether to buy the active version of the hedge fund strategy or opt for the passive (beta) version. Hedge fund strategies can be effective portfolio diversifiers. Now, through alternative beta, virtually all investors can access what are essentially hedge fund strategies in a low cost, liquid, and fully transparent form. For investors who haven’t had prior access to hedge funds, this could be welcome news. Not only can investors look at an active hedge fund manager’s strategy and determine how it has done compared to the systematic beta equivalent, they can also invest in ETFs that encapsulate these systematic strategies.
When looking at one’s traditional balanced portfolio today, there are plenty of questions around whether the fixed income portion will achieve the same level of diversification it has provided in the past. After all, with yields still low, there is little income return. Additionally, the capital gains that came from interest rate declines are likely to reverse. With fixed income unlikely to adequately fulfill its traditional role in portfolios, there is a need to find an alternative source of diversification. This is where alternative strategies may help. For investors seeking to access diversifying strategies in liquid and low-cost vehicles, alternative beta strategies in ETF form are one option.
Looking for an alternative to enhance diversification in your portfolio?
For investors looking to further diversify their overall portfolio, JPMorgan Diversified Alternatives ETF (JPHF) seeks to increase diversification and reduce overall portfolio volatility through direct, diversified exposure to hedge fund strategies using a bottom-up, rules-based approach.
Learn more about JPHF and J.P. Morgan’s suite of ETFs here.
Call 1-844-4JPM-ETF or visit www.jpmorganetfs.com to obtain a prospectus. Carefully consider the investment objectives and risks as well as charges and expenses of the ETF before investing. The summary and full prospectuses contain this and other information about the ETF. Read them carefully before investing.
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