Commercial finance professionals are in a battleground, facing stiff competition from peers and businesses both locally and internationally. To stand out and win more deals, you’ve got to take bold steps to stand your ground, build trustworthy relationships and offer knockout solutions that provide true benefits to your clients.
These experts weigh in on what it takes to make your finance career an undisputed success.
1. Develop a sales plan, but be flexible
“Before getting started, you should develop a sales plan and determine your strategy – or strategies. One simple technique is to focus on industries that you are familiar with. Leverage that knowledge and those contacts to start a client base. Work incrementally from there.
“Also, you should try several sales channels at first – networking, referrals, etc – until you find which ones work well and fit your business. Be sure to measure how well your strategies are working and constantly challenge yourself to improve your sales channel performance.
“One important component of your sales strategy should be to develop industry relationships with the right factoring partners. This is very important because your factoring partners are a key component of your ability to close and fund deals.
2. Make your personal brand stand out
“Each of us should look to build our own brand, our own following, and our own network of like-minded peers… If you develop a group of people who trust you and like to conduct business with you, success will follow. People like to do business with someone they like and can trust.
“3 keys to building your brand and your value.
- Continually expand your network and your database…
- Only pursue deals you know your company will do….
- Follow the Golden Rule…Treat others as you would want them to treat you, call people back on a timely basis, and do everything (including signing up new clients) with integrity.”
3. Find a mentor
“Finding a mentor in the world of finance is the difference between walking to work, and driving there. And just like buying a car, securing a mentor is no easy feat: it requires investing your time, energy and resources but will certainly lead to a successful financial career – and faster. …
“It is imperative that you benefit your mentor, and remind them of it regularly so that he/she will do the same and feel positively toward getting you to where you want to be. This reciprocity also requires some selflessness. It means being accountable, and sharing your progress, your hard work, as well as the credit where it is due.
“Finally, finding a mentor is a long-term commitment. It means not only that you are willing to make it last, but also that you are invest in it, continuously, regularly, and without reservation. Chances are, your mentor also has a mentor and successful career growth is mutual.”
4. Live and breathe finance – It must be your passion
“A career in finance is not for the timid or shy. To be successful in the long run, it takes a deep passion to fuel your drive. Some of the most influential people in finance — such as Julian Robertson founder and former CEO of Tiger Management, Glenn Hutchins co-founder of Silver Lake Partners, and Sallie Krawcheck, CEO of 85 Broads — didn’t pursue this career because they thought it would be easy, they pursued it because they were extremely passionate about it.
“Hone in on your passion by giving serious thought as to why finance is your dream career. Your reasons should be far more than the pursuit of money or power. You should pursue finance because you live and breathe it and want to add something meaningful to the industry. Even when times are tough, this passion provides the determination to succeed.”
5. Promote your business with PR, content & digital marketing
“Public relations is critical for promoting your brand image in influential trade publications and other media outlets. In addition to improving brand awareness, PR plays a role in lead gen and other revenue-generating activities.
“Content communicates your brand image and key messages to specific audiences. By developing and marketing a steady stream of relevant and useful content, you can leverage your brand image to achieve increased market share in today’s highly competitive alternative investment industry.
“A comprehensive and coordinated digital marketing strategy is a must… From site design and social media to SEO and PPC, digital marketing is the key to connecting your brand image to the right audiences at the right times.”