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Connecting Social Selling to Brand and Thought Leadership | Michelle J Raymond

Connecting Social Selling to Brand and Thought Leadership | Michelle J Raymond

Staying top-of-mind for when your audience is ready to buy.

An interview with Michelle J. Raymond about social selling and synergizing a personal brand with the company brand.

At any given time 95% of customers are not in a buying cycle.
With that in mind, how can we stay prepared for the “purchasing 5%”?

Sales has seen huge changes in the last 20 years. To better understand what’s happening, I’ve invited Michelle J. Raymond to join me on today’s podcast. Michelle is the Founder and B2B LinkedIn Strategist at The Good Trading Co., which provides LinkedIn strategies, training, and coaching for ambitious, innovative and purpose-driven business owners, consultants, and marketing teams. Her new book, The LinkedIn Branding Book, is a compilation of ways to support investment and profit through the power of LinkedIn.

We start by defining “Social Selling,” and how it has become the new standard. Michelle explains that social selling is about finding the right people, connecting with them, and nurturing relationships. By providing insightful and useful content in a constant flow, you stay top-of-mind, and when your audience is ready to buy, you are the first person they think about. It’s important to keep creating content, you also need a strategy for that content. Michelle shares why a brand strategy helps understand your target market, define what to offer them, and finally, set yourself apart from the others in your niche.

Often, people question whether developing a personal or a corporate brand is more important. Michelle explains why these two goals don’t need to be at odds, and how blurring the line between the two can boost the signal of both and create a more powerful presence.

Our conversation is packed full of advice for understanding and implementing social selling, experimenting with content, problem solving and helping people!

Three Key Takeaways:
  •  You can’t be everything to everyone. Develop a brand strategy to understand who your target market really is.
  • Staying top of mind means having to be consistent with posting content. Being invisible online is the fast track to failure.
  • Not every idea needs to be perfect before posting it. Don’t be afraid to post rough ideas. The feedback you get from you followers can give you valuable insights and perspectives.

If you need a strategy to bring your thought leadership to market, Thought Leadership Leverage can assist you! Contact us for more information. In addition, we can help you implement marketing, research, and sales. Let us help you so you can devote yourself to what you do best.

Join the Organizational Thought Leadership Newsletter to learn more about expanding thought leadership within your organization! This monthly newsletter is full of practical information, advice, and ideas to help you reach your organization’s thought leadership goals.

And if you need help scaling organizational thought leadership, contact Thought Leadership Leverage or reach out to Bill Sherman on Linkedin!



Bill Sherman How easy is it for individuals to find and understand your ideas? To explore that question? I want to dive into the world of social selling. Organizations are using social selling because buying behaviors have changed. And if we want people to buy into our ideas, well, then we need to understand how people evaluate, filter, and make buying decisions today. So I invited Michelle J. Raymond to join me for today’s conversation. Michelle spent a career in B2B sales, and now she’s the founder and B2B LinkedIn strategist at the Good Trading Company. In this episode, we’ll explore a number of topics, including social selling, the intersection of brands for individuals, organizations and ideas, and the benefits of thinking in public. I’m Bill Sherman. And you’re listening to Leveraging Thought Leadership. Ready? Let’s begin. Welcome to the show, Michelle.

Michelle J. Raymond Thank you. I’m excited to be here, and to continue our conversation that we’ve been having recently.

Bill Sherman Oh, absolutely. It’s a continuation of both online and offline. So, let’s bring people into the conversation that we’ve been already having, and let’s take a step just to make sure everybody’s calibrated. We’ve been talking about social selling and how the sales process has transformed in many ways. So maybe with a level set. What is social selling and how did we get here?

Michelle J. Raymond Yeah. And it really has changed. So, to let the listeners know, I’ve been working in sales roles of varying degrees starting out around 20 years ago, working in B2B sales my entire career, and I watched it evolve over time. So, what I found was the traditional lets go knock on some doors and do business development and it’s that whole hunting gather style rapidly evolved as I’m going to say, the invention of Google. Google was really where the information game changer happened, so all of the knowledge used to be kept with salespeople and purchasing. People came and asked us and then all of a sudden you could type into Google and get the answer to any question that you wanted within seconds. So, then all of a sudden, the B2B buyer, they had so much information at their disposal and then I watched my role changed. You know, it really started to become more about logistics. You know, when can I get a I’ve got a technical question. So how this for me played out is around eight years ago, I started to jump onto LinkedIn to do what I now know is social selling. At the time, all I knew was that I could go into LinkedIn and create some content and reach people. That was my intention to reach more people easily. Social selling. For me, there’s lots of different definitions, but for me it’s about finding the right people, connecting with those people, nurturing those relationships, staying top of mind so that when they’re ready to buy, all they can think of is me. And so the nurture phase is probably the one that I focus on heavily because we know that most people aren’t in the market to buy. I think the stats are around 95% of people give or take at any one time aren’t ready to buy. So, you know, we want to make sure that when they switch into that 5%, we’re ready. So that for me is what social selling is.

Bill Sherman And it’s incredibly difficult if you’re chasing after that 5% looking to find the right 5% because either they’ve just made a decision or it’s not yet. And you’re always scampering and busy. And so, this requires a different set of individual skill sets as well as organizational. And that’s one of the reasons that I’ve had a lovely conversation with you and want to go deeper is around how social selling connects with a brand at thought leadership. Why do people tune in and listen to you? And you can be lovely, you can be charming, you can say all sorts of interesting things. But how do you set the ground for that God to have you or your organization moment?

Michelle J. Raymond Look, before we take any action, there’s got to be some kind of strategy behind it. And that’s what I find is the missing piece. You know, most people I work with have been busy being busy. They think that posting content is social selling and there’s really so much more to it. So why do we do branding strategy first? Because you’ve got to know who you want to target. Being everything to everybody, as much as that’s a cliche, is really where the main problem stops. And, you know, you can choose your nation so many different ways. I’m personally not into the demographics specifically. I’m more looking for a kind of business owner that I want to work with and more psychographic type conversations and words. But as soon as you work that out, then it becomes so much easier to create around that and really have that goal in place. So, branding strategy. First, identify who it is that you want to work with, what it is that you want to offer them in words that actually resonate with them. And, you know, a lot of customer research at that beginning phase can speed up timelines and really get companies and individuals either recognize for better fit opportunities. And that’s why I particularly love it.

Bill Sherman Well, and to your point, the buyer is coming deeper in the buying decision before they come to you at this point. And so, if you’re not engaged with him in the conversation prior to that and you think that your first verbal touchpoint or by email is going to be the start of a selling conversation, you are late to the conversation.

Michelle J. Raymond You’ve missed out it literally. I watched it happen in my role that it became. I got brought into the conversation so much later. It used to be Give me information upfront so I can make my decision. Then it became, I’ve already researched everything is what I found right? Can you confirm my knowledge and just let me know? Like I said, pricing and logistics and those end stage of the conversation. If you aren’t digitally visible, if you aren’t searchable, you’re literally going to have your competitors steal your business. It is that simple. In 2022, being digitally invisible is you just going to go out of business? Is that. Simple.

Bill Sherman It’s frightening, right? If you are not present and certainly I would argue for be to be places like Lincoln, you have to have visibility. The old argument of, well, they can check out our Web site. That’s not going to happen. Right. And so there’s a decision that needs to be made. You have to decide who is not your audience. You talk about that from a strategy perspective and both from a thought leadership and a sales perspective. You have to be willing to recognize whether it’s LinkedIn with 850 million users or whatever your buying audience is. The world is a really big place, and you have to be willing to let go and say 99% plus isn’t going to care about what I talk about.

Michelle J. Raymond Yeah. And you need to work out what makes you different. What is the unique selling point about you personally and your products and what you offer to people? You know, and when I have conversations with people, they can’t tell me that. And there’s very little original monopoly’s left in this world. There’s so many MI two copies of businesses and products and services that what are you going to do to actually make yourself stand out? And for a lot of people, what happened was, you know, COVID lockdowns happened around the world, travel restrictions locally, internationally. And people that didn’t have a digital presence all of a sudden went, how am I going to sell? You know, and we’ve seen the floodgates open and the numbers on LinkedIn come flooding across, especially with like company pages, which is where I specialize. The numbers went crazy because the traditional selling methods got cut off overnight. Done. So what have you got in place? And, you know, for going forward and yes, the world has opened up a bit, but I think there’s still a lot of hesitation and it’s not going back to how it was because we’ve got people working from home. How do you deal with a buyer that works from home? How do you reach them? You can’t go knocking on their home door and say, Hi, here I am. I’m out to sell you something. You’ve got to reach them where they are, and that is what businesses need to work out. How do I reach people that aren’t in the traditional office anymore?

Bill Sherman So what are your thoughts on that? How are you reaching those folks in a hybrid world? When the old let’s meet at the trade show or I’ll come to your office isn’t working.

Michelle J. Raymond Yeah. And you also got like, no one wants another email. Like, our inboxes are typically out of control and the filters on those, it’s just like I do not have time to deal with that. So, I find social selling. So, catching people when they’re scrolling on social media and it doesn’t matter the channel, they’re all got pros and cons. But for instance, I know that if someone’s scrolling, they’re looking for either education or entertainment or some inspiration, even some making sure my content speaks to that so they can consume it at a time that works for them. And those times have changed. You know, I traditionally used to post my content early in the morning, but I found over time people weren’t traveling to the office, they were getting homeschooling, got in the way. There was all kinds of things that changed again because of COVID. So now I find if I post during those hours, I get, you know, no one responding except maybe some of my overseas connections. So you have to adapt with what’s going on and just little things like when are people online looking at little things like that can make a big difference?

Bill Sherman Well, and I think there’s depending on if you’re selling into a geography or you’re trying to reach a specific audience versus if you’re truly trying to speak to a global audience, it’s fascinating to watch sort of the cadence of there is no exact hour. It’s like, Oh, okay, Australia is online and people are commenting there. Then it’s India and you follow the sun, you know, around the world and cycles, right? And there’s a conversation that’s constantly happening and you choose the hours when you choose to opt into it, either as an individual or an organization.

Michelle J. Raymond That’s what I do. You know, I literally now post at 4:00 in the afternoon my time because I know the Europeans are just waking up. So I grab those and then a few hours later, the U.S. wakes up. And then overnight, then New Zealand comes online and then Australia. And so, I have that 24 hour news cycle. And I think that’s an important point, that the reach that we’re getting on these platforms is not much longer than 48 to 72 hours. So that’s why the consistency and staying top of mind becomes so important that we don’t want to become yesterday’s news that disappears down the fade, never to be seen again. And that is something that I think businesses don’t understand. They think, oh, we’ve already told people about that. And the fact is we don’t recall information as well as what we used to because we can go and Google it. Right. Google’s right.

Bill Sherman Right. Well, and with that view, you make the point and I think it’s fair. We need to think of the social feed from the perspective of a news cycle as well. And if you’re not in today’s news feed news cycle, people aren’t thinking from two, three, five days ago and having people say, Oh, but I posted that a month ago. Great. Really? Do you expect people to remember that? Because I can’t tell you what I posted a month ago.

Michelle J. Raymond And you also expecting that the algorithm showed everybody and we know that that’s just not the case. If you post, it’s going to roughly, let’s say, 10% of your followers or connections if you look at that, such a small percentage. So are you expecting that, you know, a certain demographic or certain group of people saw that post when in fact, they weren’t even shown it? And so that for me is the repetition that businesses need to wrap their head around individuals, also building their personal brands need to wrap their head around that. It’s not a one and done this thing is a never-ending marathon that you have to just keep consistent. But I always say that’s a bit of a cliche. It’s the persistency over time that’s more important. So you can go out hard and be consistent for a month or even three months. But if you drop off everything, it’s just like, Boo, what are you talking about? Do I even know them?

Bill Sherman Mm hmm. You mentioned brand building, and I want to spend some time here both for the individual and the organization. And I think there’s an ongoing debate where and has been for years. Do you focus on building personal brands, the organizational brand, there’s been that debate on LinkedIn. Do they compete? Do they align? What’s your take, Michele?

Michelle J. Raymond Well, I’m about to launch a book coming up in November that is literally going to tackle this head on. And I’m coming from the perspective in the book that it’s brand squared to stop trying to think that it’s one or the other that one competes with the other or takes away from the other. What we’re looking at is how do we get them to work in synergy. If we can get the personal brands and I see your profile and personal content or your company page in your company brand work together to bring each other up, then you get better results than either of them alone. Because there’s been some, you know, so many stories that I’ve found where the most amazing sports people in the world have worked, sorry, played for teams that weren’t that great and they didn’t reach their full potential. And that can be the impact of a company brand on a personal brand. You just can’t outplay it and the same works the other way around. The company brands can also lift up the personal brand, but if you’ve got people out there that aren’t up to the same standards, then it really detracts from what you’re trying to build. So instead of kind of going one or the other, my take on it and that we’re putting out in the book is brand squared. Take the best of both, look for collaborations, look for how you can amplify things and work from them.

Bill Sherman And that aligns with something that I’ve seen and thought leadership for a long time. Right. So I would argue that a piece of thought leadership, especially a core idea, I’m not talking a white paper or a post, but the underlying idea, if you commit to it over a period of time, develops its own brand, especially if you’re trying to have it reach scale in the world. It needs to have a brand to reach scale. And if you don’t invest in the brand of the idea, one of two things happens. Either it relies on the brand of the individual or the organization that’s sponsoring it. And so thinking about brand synergies, how can the idea be supported by the individual who’s the messenger, the organization that’s sponsoring it? Those are ways that you can start looking and saying, hmm, we can go further, faster together rather than just relying on one of these.

Michelle J. Raymond That is exactly what I always say, Bill. And I love that you raised it because it’s the teamwork perspective. It’s the working together. It’s when one is in, in effect, like the detracting or taking away, then what happens is you get less than results. It either takes more time, takes more resources, and just really doesn’t deliver what you set out to do. And this is where I think businesses need to get everybody in the room when it comes to social selling. It’s not any one individuals job. It’s not just the salespeople, it’s not just the marketing. It has to start from the top down. That’s a non-negotiable as far as I’m concerned. If it doesn’t start from the top down, they set the behavior, they set the resources and priorities within the business. And if they’re not sponsoring it, it falls over when I’m probably around three months, which is crazy. You know, people again go out hard and it’s that persistency that falls over. Yeah, three months is the timing that I’ve seen.

Bill Sherman It’s like New Year’s resolutions, right? The I’m going to do X, Y and Z. You get a little bit of motivation and then you go, Oh man, this does take work and you got to build the habit.

Michelle J. Raymond It’s not easy and it’s not glamorous. It’s that chipping away day after day. Some things work, some things don’t. Not always do we get that dopamine hit of things going viral, relatively speaking, to your performance? And when it doesn’t do that in the beginning which so probably your 6 to 12 months is what your minimum building phase is when you’re starting out. Most people don’t have the patience to keep going beyond that. And it’s a shame because it’s that whole, you know, Napoleon Hill three feet from goal. They give up when they’re almost about to break through. And from that perspective, if anyone that’s listening into this and you’re wondering, is it’s working? Yes, it is. Just keep going.

Bill Sherman If you are enjoying this episode of Leveraging Thought Leadership, please make sure to subscribe. If you’d like to help spread the word about the podcast, please leave a five-star review and share it with your friends. We are available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and all major platforms as well as at

Bill Sherman So I want to point out a couple of different possible audiences here. There may be some people who say, okay, my organization hasn’t asked me to do this, but I know I need to get started. There are other people who say my organization has been nudging me in one way or another to get involved in having a visible presence online, maybe to engage in social selling. Maybe there’s a employee advocacy program in place and you’re being invited with some degree of invitation. Let’s start with the folks who are being asked. To get involved. How do you make it look?

Michelle J. Raymond And I think we’re starting to see this awkward phase coming in where people recognize the importance like social selling. But it’s like, how do we actually implement it and if we know we should? So let’s just tell everyone they have to. And I can assure you that that is not a method that works. You have to go back and not only work out what’s in it for the company. You have to get on board with what’s in it for that individual, a goal personally that they’re invested in. And that could be. Someone wants job security. It could be. They want a promotion. They want to move sideways. They want to be known as an industry thought leader. They want to be able to go and speak at events like whatever the thing is. You have to tie the social selling back to their personal goal. If it’s not tied to that, you will get very little buy in no matter how much you persist. How much training? How many times you tell them because there’s nothing in it for them. And it’s not always monetary. You know, people think, Oh, well, I’ll pay someone money to do extra. And again, it just doesn’t work because most people are terrified of posting things on social media. And I think we forget that as well. So, you know, starting off slowly in small, manageable steps that find out what’s in it for them. And then when you get that, then the whole process becomes much easier. Now it’s easier said than done. Right?

Bill Sherman Right, right. So one is, I think you can’t treat every person the same because they’re going to have different intrinsic and extrinsic motivations on why they would choose to be active. Second, you have to be willing to invest in people, right? If you’re going to ask people to be engaged and visible online, but you’re unwilling to invest in them, just stop. It’s not going to work.

Michelle J. Raymond And an investment can be an acknowledgment. You know, there’s a lot that can be gained from a senior leadership person just saying, thank you for doing that. We noticed and saw that you did it and we recognize that. Do not underestimate the power of that, because being feeling like you’re seen and heard by people that you obviously think are, you know, above you, that you maybe even you know, I’m just trying to think like the you know, you look up to them. And so from that perspective, you can actually go, oh, that’s an easy way to reward the behavior. And behavior that gets rewarded and recognized is one that continues.

Bill Sherman Absolutely. So we were talking offline about changes to the algorithm. Right, both in terms of like Google and LinkedIn in rewarding original thought, original content rather than repeating as a bot. Right. And I want to draw a line here and connect this. So let me hand this to you, because you’ve got some strong thoughts on this.

Michelle J. Raymond Yeah. I love that the Google algorithm is now seen as we’re going to reward helpful content that is original and not just written for algorithms and keywords and repetition of blogs. You know, you jump onto a Google type in a question to research and you just get the same information, regurgitate it from website to website to website. It is very difficult to actually find something that’s unique and gives you a contrarian point of view. It is literally just carbon copies across all kinds of websites from that. LinkedIn has done the study, the Edelman report that they released most years. Looking into B-to-B, what is the B2B buyer want? Original thought leadership so that they can make educated decisions that they can consider both points of view and then make the choice that’s best for their business or as an individual, they are rewarding that. That’s why we have linked in newsletters that, you know, the longform articles are starting to get pushed and that goes, you know, probably most people will tell you that all people want is that short snippet. We don’t have time. We don’t want to read actually, we just don’t want to read blogs that have been written for robots. We’re happy to invest time if there’s value for us and, you know, considered thought leadership is valuable and that’s what helps us to grow. And so I’m excited. I think we’ll hopefully see that same thing rewarded on LinkedIn. It will probably take some more time to kick in, but certainly if that’s the way of the future, that’s a future that I’m excited about.

Bill Sherman And we were talking also about the ability to think in public and to put an idea in rough shape and collect feedback. And I know you had last week a great experience about that. So you had a framework that you’ve been working on. Why don’t we start exploring that? But I want to talk more about the courage it takes to put an idea out in rough form, but the reward that you get.

Michelle J. Raymond Yeah. So I’ve never created my own framework before and I am surrounded by some amazing people like our common friend Ashley Foss. She has a couple of different frameworks she uses and I was inspired by them and this is one of my favorite parts of LinkedIn to be surrounded by the best of the best all around the world. I know you’ve got your framework as well, Bill, so I’ve gone and studied that as well. I wanted to have one of my own and the fact is I haven’t done it before. And so I wanted to have a go at trying to put all of my knowledge into a framework that would make things easy for people to understand about employee advocacy. And so I went away and I created something which I was mostly okay with. You know, I knew it was at the beginning phase, but what I did is I reached out to my audience in my community who are supportive, who want me to be successful, and said to them, Here’s what I’m thinking. It’s my first draft. Can you help me with objective points of view? Give me feedback, and I don’t want you to just pat me on the back and tell me that it’s great. I want to hear from different perspectives, and I think that’s important when you go to social media, the open to learning, the open to new expect experiences so you don’t get stuck in an echo chamber where people just tell you, Yep, that’s great, yep, that’s great, yep, that’s great. And you don’t get better. And so I really loved that there was so much engagement from so many different people that said, Michelle, have you considered this? And I loved your feedback just as much, Bill, that you like. You know, should it be tied to that? Is that really where you want to, you know, anchor in so and so? I’ve gone away and thought about that and I was excited by the feedback and not all of it was good. I actually I don’t want to say good or bad because that’s not right. But not all of it agreed with me and not all of it disagreed. It was literally just the broad spectrum. And if you don’t understand the power of LinkedIn, that is it right there that you can have access to experts in all kinds of different fields that can give you feedback and make you better. And that’s why I’m pretty passionate about the whole platform, but really creating a community where I’m the same for them, you know? And I think you curate a community that you want to get out of it, out of the platform, and that is paying off for me more than any piece of content that I’ve ever put out.

Bill Sherman Well, and you purposefully, when you made that post, invited constructive feedback and also tagged several people. That’s you said I think it was like five or six people who you knew were friends that would give feedback and be thoughtful. And then I just watched the post explode as other people went, Oh, this is interesting. Have you thought of. About X, have you thought about Y? And you got more perspectives. As you said, maybe you agree with them, maybe you don’t, but you were able to rapid prototype that framework at a pace that you could have stared at that model for hours right on your end.

Michelle J. Raymond You’d you don’t know what you don’t know. And so the people that engage weren’t just those that I thought would. They came from all kinds of different spaces. I had some people that come at it, you know, they’re experts in neurodiversity. So they asked me to explain things from that perspective. Now, I never in a million years would have even considered that it was about how I put my design out there, what colors I chose, the icons that I selected. Now, they’re not my strong points, but having access to those people I just think was incredible. And I will go back and I will revise it based on what I think will work best for me, based on that feedback and put it back out there again. And I think when people are a part of it, it’s exciting, you know, because they want to be part of things. And especially this is where we spoke about before, people working from home, it’s isolating. You don’t have the benefits of going into an office and bouncing ideas off people. For me, LinkedIn feed is my you know, it’s the water cooler, as LinkedIn would say, but it’s where I get to actually connect with other people and bounce ideas off, which I don’t have when I’m working from home myself.

Bill Sherman Well. And I think this aspect of thinking in public and having individuals within the organization being comfortable thinking in public aligns very well with social selling because you can say, here’s an idea that we’re thinking about and you can get feedback in virtually real time from vendors, clients, customers, your entire ecosystem. And going back to the threat of social selling that we started with. It allows for organic and real conversation rather than a stilted one way push conversation.

Michelle J. Raymond And perfectionism is a killer of great content. There are so many great ideas that get killed before they even get onto the platforms because people have the belief that everything has to be perfect and it really doesn’t. So what I love is that by creating this content, which I know isn’t perfect by my standards, anyone’s standards, by being authentic and putting it out there, it creates a space for people around me to do it. Now, one of the things that’s really important to me as a content creator is to really challenge people’s self-limiting beliefs. Because, like I said, so many good ideas get killed before they even get out there. And so I’ve challenged myself recently, so I’ll be making Instagram reels. Now I started doing those because in my mind I’m not creative. That’s the story I tell myself, and I collect lots of evidence to prove that it’s true. So I went on there to learn how to do them because it made me really uncomfortable. I didn’t know how to do it, and I went back to feel what it was like to be a beginner and know what it was like to be awkward and uncomfortable and not be even more perfect. And so for me, when I did that, it came across into other things that I’m willing to try. And so that’s my encouragement on the platform, is to try and get people to take an action that makes them feel uncomfortable knowing. For the most part, especially, LinkedIn’s a pretty supportive platform. There’s not too many problems with trolls. So some fake accounts.

Bill Sherman Generally a place that’s safe to read the comments rather than most places where you’re like, Yeah, don’t go there. It’s awful.

Michelle J. Raymond Yeah. Cover your eyes.

Bill Sherman Yeah. Yeah. So. We’ve talked about the individual being present on social. You spent a lot of work on the organization. What should the organization be talking about and how should they be using their social presence rather than the individual? So what belongs in an organization social presence these days?

Michelle J. Raymond What’s really interesting is the line between the two is blurred and the more you blur it. So the humanized content on a company page or on the company branding side of things, the more human it is, the more relatable it is. It also means that when we’re scrolling the feed, we don’t just scroll past things that are highly branded and look like ads. We’re very well trained on the platforms to skim past ads. And so if you don’t make it humanized content. So what I mean by that, show us behind the scenes, show us your people. The most powerful content equipment that you’ve got is your smartphone snap photos. Wherever you are, put somebody’s face in it that will perform better than anything else. Whilst I encourage that if you don’t show your brand community that you know your stuff by adding value to them and actually, you know, most companies should have access to more information than individuals. So be generous with sharing that and combine that with getting to know the business. And then obviously we build trust that way and that is the kind of content that’s working best on LinkedIn. Again, the more that you can that whole brand squared use the personal brand to amplify their company brands and vice versa. Not enough companies are talking and highlighting their employees, and that’s something that I’m also out to change because you have a powerful platform to build your team up and that opens doors and that’s obviously going to lead to more sales in the future, which is what we’re all doing this for.

Bill Sherman So I want to ask you questions. We begin to wrap up. You started out on the sales side of the house. Then you’ve made a journey in part or whole into marketing. And I don’t even know if you would identify yourself as a marketer these days. Right. That’s another question. But I want you to think back going into your time in sales. What advice would you give your younger self? Based on what you know now?

Michelle J. Raymond My younger self. The context that I now have with all of my experience for sales is this problem solving and helping people. The more you do both, the more sales that come to stop thinking it’s about the KPIs and gross margins and numbers. Think about it. How do you help people and how do you solve no problems? That is the solution. That is social selling at its heart. That’s probably why I’ve been the person that literally generated $2 million worth of business from a post. I’ve got lots of experience doing that, but I think when you go in with the right frame of mind. And my younger self was out to kind of focus on numbers. But now, now that I’ve been doing this for so long, and especially the social selling aspect, that is the key. And it also opens up people that think that sales is a bit icky. It still has that stigma attached to it. But when you look at it from that perspective, why wouldn’t you want to help more people? Why wouldn’t you want to solve more problems for them? Businesses exist to solve problems for a commercial return. That’s as simple as it is. And so, yeah, the context for why you’re doing it has to be important, and the focus has to be on the other person at the other side, not yourself.

Bill Sherman Fantastic. So, Michelle, I want to ask you this. If someone wants to follow you or learn from you or get in touch, how do they find you?

Michelle J. Raymond They find me on LinkedIn, of course, but I am Michelle J. Raymond, and there’s a reason for that. There’s about 1.5 million. Michelle Raymond’s on the platform, so that’s why I have the J. To help me stand out in among it. Again, part of my brand’s you’ve got to be easy to find. So, Michelle J Raymond’s on LinkedIn is my profile and good trading code is my company page. So, if you want to give that a follow to learn all the latest info about company pages.

Bill Sherman Fantastic. Thank you for joining us today.

Michelle J. Raymond It is my pleasure. Thank you.

Bill Sherman If you’re interested in organizational thought leadership, then I invite you to subscribe to the OrgTL newsletter. Each month we talk about the people who create, curate and deploy thought leadership on behalf of their organizations. Go to the website. and choose. Join our newsletter. I’ll leave a link to the website as well as my LinkedIn profile in the show notes. Thanks for listening and I look forward to hearing what you thought of the show.

Bill Sherman works with thought leaders to launch big ideas within well-known brands. He is the COO of Thought Leadership Leverage. Visit Bill on Twitter

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