Personal Branding is not a new concept.
We used to call it building a good reputation and being clear on the direction you wanted your career to go. Then the age of digital dawned and personal branding was taken to a whole new level. It’s no longer just about the real life version of you. It’s also about the digital version of you.
Good salespeople have always been masters at this.
The best ones have adapted their strategies to these new tools. Unfortunately there are not that many really good salespeople out there. I see too many using the new tools to automate instead of personalize and applying pushy tactics – the kind that have always given sales a bad rap – to technology that if used properly can enhance their image.
So what have good salespeople always known about personal branding?
And how are they using it with digital tools?
Here is what I, a former career sales type, think.
The importance of being seen as an expert in your field.
A good salesperson always knew everything there was to know about their product or service. They always stayed on top of their industry and competition, reading several newspapers a day and often clipped articles to share with their customers to support their cause.
What they do now: It’s a lot harder in the age of the educated consumer. So the best salespeople know to curate good content. They share that content on social networks. They might even blog or have a podcast. And they always remember to keep it useful, relevant and whenever they can – entertaining.
The importance of building authentic relationships.
They know that at the end of the day this is still a human to human world and the relationships we build are all we got. They know it’s easier to renew a customer than get a new one and they look to build theirs.
What they do now: They stay connected with their clients on social networks like LinkedIn. They use notifications they get about promotions and moves and content shared to keep them on top of their game. They’ve learned how to develop an authentic online voice, because they know sounding robotic and “salesy” gets them nowhere.
They know to keep it personal.
They know that that no one wants to feel like a cog in the wheel. They know that whatever they can do to know more about their prospects and their clients and make them feel special the better off they are. They know that putting attention on others is a lost art and makes them stand out.
What they do now: They are not overly reliant on software and automation to pull leads.They use data to inform but not to replace their brain function and intuition. They know algorithms can make mistakes. They don’t send out mass emails without personalizing it first.
They know their network is their “net worth.”
Networking was never an afterthought or something they squeezed into a day but part of what they did and they always looked to make it fun.
What they do now: They use social networks and digital tools to build their networks.The really good salespeople love that they don’t even have to get out of their pajamas on Sunday morning to make new connections and reinforce existing ones.
They know how they show up makes a statement.
They always put their Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes on for big presentations. They knew that clean clothes that fit and were well pressed and hair that had a comb through it left an initial impression. They knew to edit a letter for typos and spelling errors because that too, said something about them.
What they do now: They have a digital profile that jumps off the page, one that is well-written and engaging and makes that same kind of positive statement.
They know that annoying or being overly persistant does nothing for them.
They know when to pull back.
What they do now: They think before they let automatic drips overdrip.
They know that in the end, their personal brand is all they have.
They’ve always put attention on it. They know that how they interact leaves a trail of bread crumbs. They want people to be saying good things about them when they leave the room.
What they do now: They learn how to use digital tools because they know that trail of bread crumbs is now digital. They sign up for courses like YOUR DIGITAL YOU to learn how to navigate the waters. (They know that at some point they need to ask for what they want – which is what I just did – because they do have a job to do)
Lastly, they think before they Tweet because they know words have power and their words will have an impact on how they are seen.