The first sale you make is yourself. What does your brand promise? What do you deliver? Do you instill confidence on others? Are you appealing?
Ask yourself – “Would I buy me?”
Too many people try to hitch their personal brand to the company they work for, an online group or some other entity they believe will have a halo effect on them. The fact is, if you do not present a quality image, conduct yourself in a confident and professional manner, you may not even get a second look.
If the first sale you make is that of selling yourself, then you must become a “person of interest” that is worth getting to know. That said, how comfortable are you with presenting yourself? When was the last time you took stock of what you have to offer, evaluated and enumerated your areas of competence, skills and abilities? If you are like most, you’ve probably avoided doing this. It’s not because what you offer is bad or deficient, it’s just easier to leave well enough alone and if things are working well, don’t rock the boat. The counterpoint to this type of thinking is that an evaluation may reveal areas of development and opportunities for you to go from good to great and move from satisfying your clients to amazing them!
A good way to evaluate how you are perceived by the market and competitors is to consider the last time you were approached by a competitor or recruiter and invited to interview for a new job. If this hasn’t happened in a while, or ever, your “product” may not be as appealing as you think.
If you’re an entrepreneur, when did an investor approach you because they see potential in what you are doing? If you lead or manage a team, when you last get a new client because clients were talking-up your reputation. Ideally, your clients should be so satisfied and delighted with your service that they want to tell others which in tuns makes them your personal promotion and marketing team.
In the same manner as you would conduct training, education and product knowledge sessions to increase the effectiveness of the employees that sell or present your products and services, it is equally important to conduct personal product knowledge sessions of yourself. Doing this enables you to accurately and effectively promote and present your personal value. It also identifies areas for personal development and growth.
Here’s a scenario to imagine – a prospective client approaches you and asks, “Why should I buy from, or deal with YOU?” What would you say? How would you present yourself and leverage this amazing opportunity to talk about yourself? Would you shift the focus from yourself and start talking about how wonderful your company is and how great your firm’s products and services are? (This is what most people do.) Or, would you look the person in the eyes and confidently state, “When you select / hire / work with me, here’s what you will get…!” This is where your product must shine and you must present yourself in the best possible manner.
Too many people don’t see themselves as the key source of value to their clients. They tend focus on their products, services or company because that is safer than talking about themselves. In an age of social media overload, we often draw more attention to our social identity and persona but fall short of promoting our strengths, talents, abilities and track record of success.
Viewing yourself as a product leads to you taking ownership over who you are, what you offer, and most importantly, what you are becoming! Think of yourself as your personal brand manager who is responsible for the development and success of YOU.
Start by stepping back and taking an objective look at yourself. Take inventory!
- What is your attitude? Do you take responsibility for ensuring all interactions with clients and colleagues are the best possible? Are you confident, positive, and sincere when dealing with others? Do you deliver value in each interaction? Do people enjoy being with you?
- Self-perception. Your self-perception/self-image creates your reality and influences your thoughts, actions and behaviours. If you perceive yourself as being a premium product; offering great value and being a person of interest, your clients will as well.
- Self-knowledge. Conduct a personal inventory twice a year. Perform a personal SWOT analysis (Strengths/Weakness/Opportunity/Threats). Review any personality, strengths and talent assessments you’ve done to remind yourself of what you have “under the hood” in terms of the engine that drives you.
- Personal motivation. Are you motivated to pursue what you want and believe you deserve? Have you asked for the promotion you’ve worked for? Have you presented your skills and experience in a manner that got you the raise? If you’re a seller, do you ask for all the business that you’re entitled to based on your track record of serving and satisfying customers?
- Personal values. What grounds you? Do you have personal values statement that guides your actions and decisions? Personal mission and values statements can be of great value. They help you define how you will deal and interact with colleagues, clients, family and friends.
Relying solely on the quality and reputation of your company’s products, services and reputation will not guarantee your success. Your clients must see YOU as a “product” that is valuable, appealing and worth investing in.
Strive to be the best YOU possible!
Ask yourself – “Would I buy me?”
If you are looking for a little bit more on this topic, watch this video on how to Build, Enhance & Maintain a Great Reputation.