While I have never really liked the term “Thought Leader,” I understand the sentiment of it and yes I do have leaders that I look up to and see them as people that are driving the new ideas. I feel that in this world, not being a “Thought Leader,” really just means you are not doing your job. That being said, my goal is to help create a world where everyone is a “Thought Leader”, which will essentially make the term non-existent (my one goal in life).

Every single person has become a “news outlet” that pumps out content at a level that seems insane to the CEOs from the past. Some people have adapted to this new ability quicker, and with better results, than others and this is why they now have become “Thought leaders” in their industries. “Thought Leaders” like Sheryl Sandburg and Seth Godin, have a lot to teach us about how to build a following, and become a leader in the eyes of you prospects, clients, competitors, and other leaders in your industry. Doing this will increase your traffic, create engagement, and ultimately drive sales for your business, so here are my top 3 reasons to become a “Thought Leader” to drive sales.


While the only real way to build trust, in my mind, is to create great work (nothing beats the testimonials of happy clients), continuously creating content that is thoughtful and full of insight is a great way to get clients, and prospects, to open up to you. Being engaging and giving people a look into your life and opinions makes you feel like a real person to them, and not just a salesman. If you create real honest content people will listen.


Back before the days where Gary Vaynerchuk was talking about the ROI of your mother (link warning: bad words), he hosted a web series that reviewed wines called Wine Library TV. While the series was designed to sell wine at his store, he made it a point to make sure that he gave true and honest reviews. It didn’t matter if he was left with cases of a badly reviewed wine in the storage room, he had a duty to his customers to make sure he gave them real information. Doing this built a lot of trust with his viewers and helped grow the business to new heights.


Personal brands are extremely important for anyone in today’s world, and in order to become a thought leader building one is your top priority. This brand building takes place every time you post on social media or write a blog post, so make sure you are aware of what you post. No matter your position in a company, your personal brand can drive sales. People want to work with people that they know, and building your personal brand is a great way to give a prospect that insight into who you are. If you run a company, than you should be the face of that company. You should let people know that you are a real person (and what you stand for as a business owner). If you are a mid-level marketing or sales person then your personal brand will help you connect with prospects before they even meet you in person, and can also help you get noticed by your bosses, (hopefully for the right reasons). A personal brand is a great way to help you gain leads if done correctly.


There are tons of great examples of personal brands out there, look at the top trendsetters in any industry and you have a personal brand, but for this post I want to talk about John Legere, the boisterous CEO of T-Mobile. Ever since Legere took the reins of the wireless carrier, his personal brand transformed into an all-out war on the competitors or more honestly, a war on the status quo of the industry. His entire goal was to shake up an industry he found had become stale. His brand was to simply cause as much trouble as possible for the competitors bosses (Twitter wars with Sprint CEOdestroying Verizon’s new Logo). Even though most company’s CEOs would never think to go as far as Legere, the blending of his brand and the company’s brand shook the market, generated press, and created a storm that has increase T-Mobile’s market share.


Networking has always been an instrumental part of sales, but now that we are moving into the world of social sales, building a network of engaged people has become even more impactful to anyone that may stumble on you. The key for creating a network for sales and lead generation is to create a network that is all about referrals. Building a referral network means connecting with people and businesses that want to share you and your offerings to their family, friends, and partners. I don’t think I need to tell you how becoming a thought leader will help in this, but here we go either way… Strong personal brand + engaging content = people connecting and sharing your content.


When I comes to having a professional online network very few people know how to do it like Steven Burda. “Wait who is that?” you ask. He is the most connected person on LinkedIn and while not many people would know him by name I bet if you look at his profile chances are you are at least a second degree connection to him. Burda hasn’t really done too much with this title but having a network as large as his (50,000+) can obviously play big factors when looking into new leads.

For more posts like this please connect with us on Twitter (@cortekx), or for more information on us and our products feel free to find us at www.cortekx.com. Also if you’re like me and feel the term “Thought Leader” is over used and misses the point, go read this article by Brent Gleeson and, Misti Cain, at Forbes, who outline why the term should be retired.