See, when it comes to the brands, the first thoughts that come to our mind are usually specific brand colors, brand guidelines, company logos, symbols, slogans, and similar. We instantly imagine some big and recognizable global brands like Nike, Adidas, BMW, Nestle, GE, L’Oréal.
However, the rising trend of personal branding today is key to success in many aspects of our lives.
Image: Luigi Estuye, LUCREATIVE®
The rise of branding on a personal level has been more recent. For a long time, personal branding was better left to athletes, models, and Hollywood celebrities. We used to think that public figures like Schwarzenegger, Trump, Merkel, Bruce Lee, Jennifer Lopez, Kim Kardashian, are the only ones who are entitled to have a personal brand? What about you? What about any of us? Well, believe it or not, we all have a personal brand. If we have any type of social media presence or any other online presence, if we have mutual interactions with each other, with our family, friends, and co-workers, we have a personal brand. As Jeff Bezos once said, “Your brand is what other people say about you when you're not in the room”.
So, now that we know that we all have a personal brand, we should take care of it. We should manage our personal brand. For sure, if you were a recruiter, you would not like to hire somebody with a bad reputation, silly or inadequate online photos, or with no online presence at all. Think about it a little bit. What is the one thing any of us does once we meet somebody new? Well, if you are like most of us - probably 99% of us, you will do your homework. Meaning, you will check that person’s online presence prior to accepting that person in your network circle, prior to doing business together, or prior to hiring that person. This is a fact. This is exactly what hiring managers do. They search for any bad signs they can find about you online. If in any case, you do not have any online presence, that is really weird. I mean, really, really, weird.
Let us assume you are a consultant, coach, sales or financial advisor, or any other type of service-oriented professional. First, you need to be present where your targeted audience - your clients are. That is simply LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the perfect platform for service-oriented professionals. Not only that your clients are here, but also LinkedIn is the most credible social media platform out there for building a personal brand. Let us face it. For most of us, if we are doing a search on somebody from the business community, our first search source would be LinkedIn. The second source would be Google. So, why LinkedIn? Simply because it is the most credible platform and search engine at the same time for business professionals. Do not get me wrong. There are a lot of fake profiles on LinkedIn too. But that is very easy to spot, and that speaks volumes about somebody too. Keep in mind that our clients are not into buying our services only, but rather our personality too.
So, you are a service provider. A coach, consultant, lawyer, IT expert, any type of sales professional, financial advisor, a real estate broker, insurance or mortgage broker, accountant, marketing expert, you name it. Of course, you are selling your services. What do you think, what preconditions are required or need to be fulfilled for your potential client to do business with you? Number one is to know you. They will get to know you if you put yourself out there. Meaning, if you are present online and offering your services online. Now, you can be more or less “known”. It depends on your social media and overall online presence. It also depends on how frequently you remind your audience of your existence, i.e., how frequently do you create content.
Now, with that content, you are building thought leadership as well. When you create your content around your area of expertise from your industry of work, you have started building your thought leadership. Thought leadership can encourage your potential clients to come to you with a request for a proposal or collaboration. Both personal brand and thought leadership help you build credibility too, because you will use content to showcase your knowledge and expertise from your field of work.
Service-oriented and B2B sales professionals need to be present on LinkedIn to generate leads. Their personal brand will help them land more clients. People do business with people. People buy from people, not from companies.
You might have noticed that B2B sales professionals with a strong personal brand, who are creating content about their field of work, frequently win more contracts than their peers. Service-oriented professionals who are on the front lines and responsible for client acquisition need to create a strong personal brand and have excellent social selling skills to contribute to their companies. In this way, they will be able to generate more qualified leads. At the same time, B2B executives need to be visible because their interaction and online visibility affect the way clients perceive your company brand as well. In either way, if you do not create your personal brand, one will be provided for you by your market’s perceptions of you.
By building a strong personal brand on LinkedIn, you will shorten the sales process that would otherwise last much longer. If you already have a decent LinkedIn presence with a big number of followers and connections, along with an all-star LinkedIn profile. If you are creating content, engaging on other LinkedIn users’ posts, having recommendations, your skills endorsed, testimonials on your profile, you have already built your credibility. Along with that, if you have clarity on whom you are, who do you serve, and how, and what kind of problems do you solve for your clients, you are on your way to being noticed and contacted.
So, when your potential client lands on your profile, your sales process has dramatically decreased. Usually, it takes from five-six to twelve touch points with a client for him to buy from you. In this case, you have double reduced those touch points. So, the client already knows you, and based on the credibility of your profile, the client could already even trust you or your abilities to have the work done in a good manner. However, there is one more thing left. Whether the client likes you.
People do business with people they like. That is why it is important to humanize your brand. Share a bit of your personal life with others. Tell them your personal story if you are courageous enough. Show some vulnerability. Showcase some of your previous experiences or how you overcame some failures. In this way, you will build a bond with others. With those who like you. Let us be honest, not everyone will like you. Somebody will like, somebody will not. So what? You would not like to do business with those who do not like you anyway.
Let us get back to the consultants again. Stop procrastinating. Stop waiting for everything to be and look perfect. Stop sabotaging yourself. Fight that imposter syndrome, present in all of us. Feel the fear and do it anyway. Just start, and you will get better and better at it. Just decide and stick to it. Be consistent. Every effort pays off. If you want to speed up the process and copy-paste success, have a guide, reach out to me here. Let us have a free introductory call and see whether we match together. I am now talking about that “like” factor. (Check out my client testimonials here).