It’s a new day out there. For years, we have been urging companies to establish their own brand identity that will make them stand out from the rest of the pack. But now it’s time for individuals to brand themselves, especially salespeople.
Whether you are an independent sales representative working for yourself, or a direct salesperson working for a company, it’s time for you to brand yourself.
Our old friend and guru, Tom Peters, was way ahead of the game when he started preaching this sermon to us 20 years ago. But like all great minds with great ideas, he was ahead of his time, or—what I prefer to think—it has taken us 20 years to catch up to him.
Regardless, in this time of COVID-19, I have been working with salespeople, both direct and independent reps, trying to help them to sell while not being able to visit customers. And the one true solution I have found is that salespeople need to do their own individual marketing; they need to create what Peters called so many years ago “The Brand Called You” in his 20-year-old book from his reinventing work series: The Brand You 50 (Reinventing Work): Fifty Ways to Transform Yourself From an "Employee" Into a Brand That Shouts Distinction, Commitment, and Passion!
One interesting side note, the book is dedicated to “MJ, Oprah, and Martha, inventors of the modern brand you.” And yes, 20 years later, all three of them are still going strong. That’s impressive. How do you create your “brand called you?”
Although many of the ideas in the book are still very valid, the times have changed drastically in terms of the tools now available to brand yourself. Honestly, it is much easier now than ever. With all of the social media options we have today, we can reach out and touch more people than ever.
The internet, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Zoom, Instagram, and other types of media have provided us with a great equalizer, where the small can seem large and vice versa. A salesperson living in Northern Minnesota can create a national, or even international, brand if they do it successfully and globally.
With this in mind, let’s combine some of Peter’s timeless advice of 20 years ago with all of the tools we currently have at our disposal and develop a list of ways today’s salespeople can brand themselves. Here are nine ways to make the “brand called you” is the best one in your own market space.
1. Create a strong portrait of exactly who you are: Create a strong profile of who you are. What are your credentials? What is your background? Why you are fully qualified to do what you do.
2. Make a clear and concise list of what you do and the services you provide: People need to know not only know who you are but what you do. What services address that need?
3. Explain what problems you solve: You are a problem-solver, so define what problems you solve. This is why people will come to you.
4. Define who needs you: Who are you selling to? What kind of people need your products and services? You must define your audience and ideal customers before you can help them solve their problems.
5. Describe why they should use you: This is where you start to differentiate yourself and make sure that you are compellingly different and read better than your competition in all ways.
6. Detail how your services are outstanding: Give examples of all your services, how you work to solve problems, and why your services and products work. Talk about your success rates and why your results are better than other competitors.
7. Produce valuable content: Write white papers and blogs, as well as provide webinars and lunch-and-learn opportunities. The more valuable your content is, the more valuable you will be for your customers, prospective customers, and the marketplace.
8. Share success stories: Who likes you, and why do they like you? Success stories and testimonials are the most important part of any profile and the most engaging evidence of a great brand. People, just like companies and organizations, are known and remembered by what people say about them. Make sure you have plenty of great success stories and testimonials.
9. Define how they can get in touch with you: With everything you do, and on all your social media pages, make sure people know how to get in touch with you. Always make this as easy as possible.
And one more, in the spirit of under-promising and over-delivering:
10. Always be helping, not selling: People are looking for help. They need assistance and advice, and they need someone to turn to in their times of need. Be the type of person that is known for helping others and offering solutions and plans that can be used. Provide free solutions to problems will establish yours as a helpful brand that people turn to first when they need something.
Remember, there has never been a better time to create the brand called you. Start doing that today to assure a successful and prosperous tomorrow.
It’s only common sense.
Dan Beaulieu is president of D.B. Management Group.