Why Every Salesperson Should Build a Personal Brand
Everyone’s heard the saying, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression”. This statement could not ring more true in business, especially for those in sales. As a salesperson, the primary goal is to get the sale, and the best way to do that is to not only sell your product or company but to sell yourself. In order to do that you have to build trust and to establish trust you have to bring value. Just as in any relationship, the initial meeting sets the tone. You want your prospects to know you understand their objectives and that you’ve taken the time to listen. People are always more comfortable doing business with people they know, like and trust, which is precisely why every salesperson should build a personal brand.
What is a personal brand?
Most people leave the branding up to their company, thinking that branding simply pertains to the company’s name in the marketplace, but this a common and potentially costly mistake. In fact check out Google’s definition of brand, “a particular identity or image regarded as an asset”. In other words, by building a unique brand for yourself, you are creating an image that will be a huge asset to your business and will actively help you stand out from the competition.
Quite simply, a personal brand is based on your reputation and the way you present yourself to others. As a salesperson, the best reputation you can have is to be considered an expert in a specific area of interest within your particular field. The key phrase here is specific area, because that enables you to truly talk the talk of your prospects, understanding their specific patterns or needs will go a long way in establishing trust. For example, let’s say you represent a destination; clearly one would expect you to be knowledgeable on your area, but what about the specific needs and patterns of certain industries? If you handle the pharmaceutical industry are you equipped to address the specific meeting needs and patterns of pharmaceutical groups? Do you truly understand their industry and their objectives with regard to the destination? Are you prepared to walk away if your not the right fit? Can you say we’re not for you and give an appropriate recommendation? Doing so will establish integrity and make it much easier to build credibility as a trusted advisor. The goal is to have people respect, believe, and ultimately like you enough to trust you with their business.
Creating your brand
So how do you create a brand that represents you in your best light? The first, and most important step in the branding process is finding what makes you different from your competition. You need to keep in mind that at this stage, people don’t care about what your resume looks like; people care far more about the person behind the stats and numbers. So pinpoint what sets you apart and make that the center of your brand image, this is your positioning statement. This is basically a statement of how you and your product can help your prospect meet their objective. Your positioning statement should keep your clientele in mind. What do you offer that is either relevant or important enough for the prospect to keep listening? The focus of your positioning statement is on your client not you.
Publicizing your brand
A good way to get your brand out there so people become more familiar with you and your business is by utilizing social media to your advantage. LinkedIn is a great place to begin, as its platform is usually the starting point for professionals looking to expand their network. Give your profile flair; you want to make a memorable impression online just as you would hope to do in person. Your profile should have an organized and recognizable aesthetic that coincides with your personality from profile picture to current position.
In addition to having a professional yet personal LinkedIn profile, its helpful to let your voice be heard, publishing a post on LinkedIn or writing a blog is a perfect way to do this. A blog can be a great prospecting tool as it can help expand your reach through the posting of articles that address trending topics in your industry or issues that are pertinent to your potential clients. Not one for writing? No worries, most companies understand the importance of a blog, as a salesperson you can capitalize on that blog by sharing it on social media, just be sure to maximize its value by including a personal message. You can also tap into the opportunity to guest blog on other industry sites. Guest blogging is a perfect way to get your name and brand known. At the very least, make time to comment on blog posts relevant to your industry, you may be surprised at how quickly regular commenting can boost brand awareness.
Along with online marketing, speaking at live events can be an ideal way to share your brand! The idea of course is to provide value, presenting useful information will go a long way in establishing your brand and building rapport. Lead with value and sales will follow.
The pay off
While building your personal brand may seem like a bit of a challenge and time consuming, the pay off is well worth the effort. Not only will you become a recognized name in your specific industry, you’ll be expanding your reach without trying to be in several places at once. You’ll become proficient at online and in-person marketing, thus increasing your prospect base and ultimately leading to more sales, all of which are reasons why every salesperson should build a personal brand.