We hear lots today about building your personal brand. What is a personal brand? Well, Donald Trump is a vibrant example. The Trump name is widely known (throughout the world), although there is a contradiction in what that brand means to different consumer groups!
My definition of personal brand is how well your name is known inside of your target consumer group (who you are trying to reach), what you are known for, and what your reputation is. To be effective, your ’brand’ must be proactively aimed at the people/companies you want to do business with, and their circles of influence.
In my opinion, you do not build brand, you expose your brand.
Your loyal customers and your circle of influence build your brand. And that’s where reputation becomes so critical.
Personal ‘Product Development’ is the time (and money) you invest in yourself and developing a ’product’ that results in satisfaction and loyalty within your target market. It is getting yourself to a level of competency where your constituent clients, prospects, and circle of influence know you as being a step above (and ahead) of your competition. It is developing those traits that successful sales professionals possess. It means developing a ‘product’ that promises and delivers consistent (superior) outcomes every time. So, first order of business is to get your ‘personal product’ to the highest level of excellence before you start broadly spreading the word.
An important part of your ‘personal brand ’is the company and product you represent. You must believe that the product and service you offer is the absolute best solution for your clients and target prospects. If you do not have 100% belief here, your ‘personal brand’ can only be harmed. Fix the problem, or find a new product/service to align your personal brand with. And I would recommend you read what @Mike Weinberg says about your ‘sales story (New Sales Simplified). An effective sales story is critical to your brand!
Marketing Your Personal Brand
Go where your market is. Do most of your current and target clients have a profile on LinkedIn? Then spend time doing a thorough job developing a profile, and then spend 20 minutes a day connecting with the people you wish to do business with or the circle of influence that can help you connect. Check out @Melonie Dodaro for some great advice on building your brand on LinkedIn and other social media. Do more than a third of your ‘consumers’ use Twitter? Then develop a presence and communicate with your constituency through Twitter. A caution here. For Twitter to work for you, you must be effective and consistent in your use. Chances are your clients won’t be interested in what you’re having for lunch! Twitter for Dummies is a reasonable resource to get you going.
Find out where your target consumers gather. Are you likely to see them at a Chamber of Commerce/Board of Trade event? Then be there and be in circulation. Do they attend trade shows? Then be at the trade shows they most often visit and create value. Are they active members in associations? Then join those associations and be active. And sometimes building your personal brand in a smaller geographic area can be done with double satisfaction of doing work in the community. The more you are ‘out there’ where your potential consumers can see and hear about you the faster word spreads on your brand. Want some more information on how to ‘spread the word’? Check out @Allison Graham. She wrote ‘From Business Cards to Business Relationships’. There is no shortage of resources to help figure out how to get your ‘perfected’ personal brand within the view of your constituent community. By the way, @Dale Carnegie training is an excellent foundation for helping to build your personal brand with greater comfort.
Some words on reputation. Character is what you believe about yourself, reputation is what others believe about you. You cannot build a stellar reputation if you are not consistent. You cannot develop a stellar reputation if you are not competent and constantly act in an ethical way. One of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits that exemplifies this idea is ‘Win-Win, or no deal. Your values should never be variable to the circumstances!
And finally, social media does not replace old fashioned (effective) cold calling!! Cold Calling (and effective sales know how) brings brand to life!
Next post, Thing Five ~~~~~ ‘Be Creative’.
This is the fourth in a series of 10 articles on the traits and habits of highly successful sales professionals. Please consider providing some feedback by leaving a comment. If you enjoyed this article and would like to read future articles, please consider following me on LinkedIn.