You're at a networking event, and the often-dreaded question inevitably pops up. "So, what do…
You’ve likely heard it said, you should “build a personal brand”; and when you work for an organization, you may question whether having a personal brand is important. Your organization can carry the brand, and you carry the sales of that brand!
Yes, this can work and has for most sales managers, but there is an increasing demand for individuals to create and carry a brand as well! The importance of personal branding in sales has never been more Even without intentionally building a brand, you have a brand – and people can find your brand when they Google you, or find you on LinkedIn. If you are on the internet, you have a brand. Your clients, your prospects, other suppliers and competitors, they are checking out your internet footprint. If you’re The question shouldn’t be “should I have a personal brand”, but rather “what can I do to control the brand messaging that is out there about me?”
First off, let’s define personal branding. As defined by Wikipedia, Personal branding is the conscious and intentional effort to create and influence public perception of an individual by positioning them as an authority in their industry, elevating their credibility, and differentiating themselves from the competition, to ultimately advance their career, increase their circle of influence, and have a larger impact.
The process of personal branding involves finding your uniqueness, building a reputation on the things you want to be known for, and then allowing yourself to be known for them. Ultimately, the goal is to create something that conveys a message and that can be monetized.
There are a number of variations on this definition, but here is what is consistent about the definitions:
- Create your public persona
- Position yourself as an authority and thought leader
- Setting yourself apart from the competition
- Choosing what unique qualities about you to amplify
- Convey a message to your target audience
As a sales professional for an organization, developing and projecting a personal brand can go hand-in-hand with your organization’s brand. This combination is powerful, for both you and for your organization. The importance of personal branding can be outlined as below:
The Importance of Personal Branding in Sales (6 Key Reasons):
- You control the messaging – when you create a brand for yourself, you choose what the industry thinks of you, regardless of the product you represent. Over time, it will alter the results Google pulls up for you. If you have a LinkedIn profile, it will likely show up as either the first or second result. Other social media platforms will also come up. If you write a blog (such as this one here), it will also start to drift to the top of the search results for your own name. This short quick video here is a screencast of where my LinkedIn profile and my blog lies in the search results for my own name. Having a personal brand will elevate your active platforms and channels, thus giving you control over what people will see and read about you.
- It humanizes your product – by putting yourself out there, as representative of your product or service, it builds trust in your consumer – people buy from people, and trust the product when there is an individual with a strong personal brand backing the product, In the same way that larger brands use celebrities as the face of their product, you become the face of your product as well! You may not be as famous as Michael Jordan, but what Michael did to humanize Nike, you can do for your organization as well. Your organization will appreciate the additional support you’ve created through your brand.
- It helps you stand out from your competition – Brand builders are few and far between; when you create a brand, you start to become more “top of mind” for clients when a need for your product or service arises. You’ll be referred based on the brand you’ve created. “Hey you need a widget? Ya, call Joe Awesomeness, he’s (fill in the blank with how you’ve positioned your brand!) By simply showing up through your brand, you have set yourself apart. By providing value to your prospects sets you apart even further. Using your brand as a relationship selling tool versus a hard sell, people will recognize your contributions
- It opens doors for job opportunities – Similar to standing out from your competition, as you gain recognition in your industry through your branding, you may find yourself in demand for other positions! The value that organizations place on branding and marketing has increased, as has your currency when it comes to future opportunities. Many job recruiters will use LinkedIn and Google to research potential job candidates, so going back to point #1, if you control the messaging by creating a personal brand, then job recruiters will see your amplified brand. Internally at your organization, someone with a strong personal brand (and subsequent sales) also stands out against their colleagues for promotion opportunities. To optimize your “promotion punch”, including as much of your organization’s product or service as possible in your content will help your internal stakeholders to take notice of your branding work.
- It opens doors for recognition – It’s only natural when you have an amplified brand that others take notice as well. Whether internal at your company, or through industry recognition, you may find yourself being considered because you come to mind. Remember, good work and giving of yourself freely should not be contingent on recognition. It does, however, become a pleasant bi-product of your work. Regardless of the amount of recognition you may receive as a result of your brand work, keep these wise words from Denis Waitley, speaker, writer, and motivator, in mind – “Don’t wait for an employer, friend or mentor to show appreciation for your work. Take pride in your own efforts on a daily basis.”
- It creates an opportunity to amplify your brand further – Your brand can extend beyond your organization, your prospects and your clients. When you amplify your brand, there are a number of people who start to pay attention to what you are promoting. The possibilities are endless, but some common opportunities include speaking engagements, soundbites for industry publications and media, or interviews for blogs, vlogs, and podcasts. Having a strong personal brand puts you “top of mind” for industry peers. As opportunities arise, your name and brand will stand out as someone that should contribute to the conversation.
The importance of personal branding in sales cannot be understated. There could be a number of additional reasons for amplifying your personal brand and depending on your industry, you may find some other compelling reasons that are very specific for you. The reasons listed here can span across industries, and across tenure in your industry. Whether you are a new sales professional, or a seasoned expert in your field, starting a personal brand will elevate your game.
If you’d like to learn more about Personal Branding as a sales professional, join us at the Personal Branding for Sales Facebook page; I’ll be there as well as other professionals who have embarked on their own branding journeys. I hope to see you there!
Your personal brand is what other people say about you when you leave the room. It’s your professional reputation.” Dorie Clark
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