Before we get too deep into personal branding let’s explore how work, customers or sales come to us. It’s almost always in one of a small number of ways.
First, it can come through referrals. For a lot of people referral sales is all they get. People recommend you and you get a call or an email. Referrals always feel nice because they come with a strong social signal and they convert into sales really well.
Then there are inbound sales. These are the sales which come to you as the result of advertising or content marketing.
Lastly, there are outbound sales prospects. These are the people you or your company actively reached out to. In many businesses, this is where they focus because it’s traditionally felt to be the easiest to control and predict.
This isn’t a post about sales – but personal branding. I want to show you how you can start putting distance between you and your competition across all three channels with a small investment in your own personal brand.
We all kind of know this deep down. Anyone who’s job it is to bring new opportunity into a business will be familiar with networking events of all kinds. Some even go deep into referral marketing and join groups specifically for that. All these things are right, but they don’t scale well and they’re time-consuming.
I know people who go out for lunch all the time, eating with different people every day. I don’t know about you but I don’t have that kind of time but instinctively we know that if people know who we are and what we do then opportunities will flow to us more easily.
So, how can we take that principle and amplify it? How can we scale personal branding outside of the traditional small business network?
Traditionally people would use things like TV ads and in the US it’s very common to see small business owners faces on the side of billboards. But again that’s expensive and not really very scalable or sustainable.
So what is a personal brand? First of what is a brand? Branding is often summed up as “..what people say about you when you’re not in the room”. So to build a strong personal brand we need to achieve two things – at scale.
1 – People need to know who we are
2 – People need to know what we’re about
The first is fairly easy. Visibility is essentially very simple. You need to go where the eyeballs are but the difficulty comes when you realise that when you have the eyeballs you need to say something.
What do you want people to say about you when you’re not in the room? You get to decide. We want people to understand our values, ethics, experience, integrity, our mission and our story. We also what them to understand the features and benefits of our products or services.
That’s not going to happen by accident. You’re going to need to show up where people are and express yourself – and you’re going to need to do it on a one to many basis.
You can do this through writing, speaking, video, audio. These are your options. You can get creative about it but these are the basic elements. Start exploring ideas like speaking at events and not just attending, making short videos like this one and posting it on social media regularly, guesting or hosting podcasts and not just listening. These things will go much further to build your brand than crap posting on social media like everyone else in your space.
For a lot of people, myself included, this is some scary stuff. Most things worth doing are scary. Rejection sucks but you can’t have all the advantages of a strong personal brand without understanding that you will not be for everyone. You can’t have a strong attraction without an equally strong opposing force.
Building a strong personal brand will help your business. High profile people are high profile, not because they love the attention or the occasional criticism, but because it works. They get in front of more opportunity than the rest of us. People are magnetically drawn to people they see as high profile.
A strong personal brand will positively impact inbound sales, outbound sales and referral sales. Instead of being one of many, you’ll be ‘the one’ among many. Every prospect takes a journey on the road to becoming a customer and your strong personal brand becomes a powerful beacon on that journey which can draw them powerfully in your direction.