If You Love Referrals You Will Absolutely Love Social Selling
I love social selling. There, I said it and I mean it.
A year ago, however, I wasn’t an advocate in any way, shape or form. Most of my objections to social selling revolved around my past experiences in outside sales and my disdain for what I perceived as ‘trivial’ communication on social networks.
I was wrong and I am so glad to be right. Social selling is not only here to stay, but, it is rapidly killing off traditional ‘interrupt’ based selling techniques (buyers all over the world rejoice). As a 20+ year professional in the referral marketing world I am ‘over the moon’ about what I see coming: The re-emergence of personal branding and the value of the individual salesperson.
When I first started in outside sales I was a salesperson for a great independent copier sales and service company in Manassas, VA (a suburb of Washington D.C.) called TML Copiers. The owners, Tom and Mike were the first mentors in my path as a salesperson and I can never thank them enough.
Back then, before Google, social selling was low on research and high on cocktail hour or golf.
Most of sales involved fighting your way into organizations (B2B) to attempt to get the ear of the decision maker and then earning the right to educate them on what you did and why they should choose you. Suffice it to say, I have been thrown out of many buildings in my day and earned my ‘cold calling’ bones in spades that first year.
The education process was critical back then because there were limited resources for decision makers and influencers to easily and accurately find out detailed information about products and services. The sales person got involved early (even if the prospect was unhappy about it) because they were the gate keeper for information. Not anymore and perhaps never again
I found referral marketing back then (early 90’s) through another mentor Art Radtke who, at the time, was a franchisee of BNI. Within 3 months I was ‘by referral only’ and I have never looked back. My enthusiasm for referral groups has waned over the years and as I have continually monitored the results members receive, but, my passion for business by referral has never been stronger.
A huge reason for that passion is the growth of social selling (#socialselling on twitter) and its continually expanding destruction of interrupt marketing. Buying has changed and sales people need to recognize that the most likely way to get in front of and stay in front of decision makers and influencers going forward is to embrace social selling. The top of the funnel is educating before they even want to buy.
I recommend reading as much as you can about the new paradigm and starting with anything Tim Hughes writes. His new book "Social Selling - Techniques to Influence Buyers and Changemakers" is the best first step for you. After that check out “The Invisible Sale” by Tom Martin next. Those two books are sufficient to open your mind as to the realities and subsequent opportunities that social selling will offer anyone seeking current and future sales results.
My last though (offering) is this: If you love referrals you will absolutely love social selling.
This is your dream come true. The power of the strategic introduction as it cuts through all the layers and obstacles keeping you from your desired prospect, combined with the international reach and top of funnel genius of the social selling paradigm is a perfect, 100% synergistic sales powerhouse. Best of all, it values human beings and builds community.
An Emerging Theme In Thematic Investing
Exchange traded funds (ETFs) are popular vehicles for market participants looking to engage in thematic investing. Thematic investing looks to take advantage of future growth trends, including disruptive technologies. Given that forward-looking approach, stock-picking in the thematic universe is equally as hard, if not harder, than in traditional market segments.
Go back to the late 1990s, before the bursting of the Internet/technology bubble. Back then, investors stood an equal chance of selecting E-Toys over Amazon or some no longer in existence networking equipment maker over Cisco.
“History is littered with examples of prospering industries with no indication of which company will come to dominate the industry,” according to Nasdaq. “This suggests that successful thematic investing is more about selecting baskets of investments rather than single securities.”1
The ALPS Disruptive Technologies ETF (DTEC) provides basket exposure to a broad swath of thematic investments. DTEC features exposure to not just one or two emerging technologies, but 10 such themes on an equal-weight basis.
The 10 themes represented in DTEC are as follows: 3D printing, clean energy, cloud computing, cybersecurity, data and analytics, fintech, healthcare innovation, Internet of Things (IoT), mobile payments and robotics and artificial intelligence (AI).
Generally speaking, fund issuers have been quick to respond to disruptive and transformative technologies, bringing products to market to tap these themes. Prior to DTEC coming to market late last year, there were ETFs devoted exclusively to cloud computing, cybersecurity, robotics and other themes featured in DTEC. However, few use the basket approach to themes employed by DTEC.
February, a rough month for U.S. stocks, highlighted the advantages of DTEC's multi-theme methodology. Seven of the 10 themes found in the fund finished the month lower, but DTEC was able to outperform the S&P 500 on a monthly basis.
Focusing on individual themes can be rewarding over the long-term, but not all investors have the risk tolerance for such a strategy. Consider this: the Indxx Global Robotics & Artificial Intelligence Thematic Index jumped more than 48% in 2017. That type of performance is enough to seduce many investors, but that same benchmark slipped 7.60% in February, generating monthly volatility of 34.10%.2 Said another way, that robotics and AI index's February slide was more than triple the loss experienced by DTEC during the month.
While it probably is not accurate to call the indexes devoted to individual disruptive themes “old,” many use old school weighting methodologies. For example, the two largest components in the ISE Cloud Computing Index are Netflix, Inc. (NFLX) and Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN). Only two members of the S&P 500 have larger market values than Amazon while Netflix currently has a larger market cap than Wal-Mart (WMT) and McDonald's (MCD).
Holdings subject ot change as of 12/31/17
For its part, DTEC not only equally weights its 10 disruptive themes, but its 100 components as well, potentially reducing single stock risk in the process. As the chart below confirms, equally weighting stocks is rewarding across sectors and market capitalization segments.
Past performance does not guarantee future results
Annualized returns for the past 10 years show seven of the 11 S&P 500 sectors, when equally weighted, outperform cap-weighted equivalents, according to S&P. Three of those seven sectors – financial services, healthcare and technology – are prominent parts of DTEC's roster.
1 Source: Nasdaq Dec. 28, 2015 https://www.nasdaq.com/article/what-thematic-investing-is-and-its-strengths-and-risks-cm559209
2 Source: ETF Replay data
An investor should consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses carefully before investing. To obtain a prospectus which contain this and other information call 866.675.2639 or visit www.alpsfunds.com. Read the prospectus carefully before investing.
An investment in the ALPS Disruptive Technologies ETF (DTEC) may be subject to substantially greater risk and volatility than investments in larger and more mature technology companies.
There is no assurance that the market developments and sector growth based upon the themes discussed in the article will come to pass.
ALPS Disruptive Technologies ETF shares are not individually redeemable. Investors buy and sell shares of the ALPS Disruptive Technologies ETF on a secondary market. Only market makers or “authorized participants” may trade directly with the Fund, typically in blocks of 50,000 shares.
ALPS Advisors, Inc. (AAI) has engaged IRIS Werks, LLC (IRIS) to produce analysis and commentary on ALPS-advised ETFs. IRIS currently has a compensated business relationship with AAI. AAI is not affiliated with IRIS.
The content and opinions expressed in this article are that of the author and not the views and opinions of AAI. In addition, AAI assumes no responsibility to ensure the accuracy of the content written by the author.
There are risks involved with investing in ETFs including the loss of money. Additional information regarding the risks of this investment is available in the prospectus. Past Performance is not indicative of future results.
The fund is new and has limited operating history.
ALPS Portfolio Solutions Distributor, Inc. is the distributor for the ALPS Disruptive Technologies ETF. AAI is affiliated with ALPS Portfolio Solutions Distributor, Inc.
The author is not an investment professional and this article should not be considered investment advice. While the information and statistical data contained herein are based on sources believed to be reliable, the author takes no responsibility to ensure the accuracy of the content. Additionally, this article should not be relied on or be the basis for an investment decision. Information that is historical is not indicative of future results, and subject to change.
S&P 500®: A capitalization-weighted index of 500 stocks designed to measure performance of the broad domestic economy through changes in the aggregate market value of 500 stocks representing all major industries.
S&P SmallCap 600®: A capitalization-weighted index that measures the small-cap segment of the U.S. equity market.
S&P MidCap 400®: A capitalization-weighted index that measures the mid-cap segment of the U.S. equity market.
Indxx Global Robotics & Artifical Intelligence Thematic Index: The Indxx Global Robotics & Artificial Intelligence Thematic Index is designed to track the performance of companies listed in developed markets that are expected to benefit from the increased adoption and utilization of robotics and Artificial Intelligence ("AI"), including companies involved in Industrial Robotics and Automation, Non-Industrial Robots, Artificial Intelligence and Unmanned Vehicles.
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