In sales, we often talk about activities, goals to hit, pipeline opportunities, and our forecast to close. Identifying key metrics in your sales process and using data to validate your approach, direction, and behaviors is critical to success. Kudos to all who are actively using sales data to improve sales strategy and closing ratios!
Let’s talk about another aspect of sales that is extremely important to success. We are very aware of our company brand and understand why the brand awareness and reputation of our company is key to increasing sales opportunities. (For more on that, click here.) Interestingly, we don’t often talk about developing our personal brand and how it applies to winning. Whether your sales cycle is short or long, high volume residential, small commercial, or complex systems solutions, your personal brand is highly relevant to sales success.
Buyers Are “Judgy”
Buyers have high standards and a variety of choices. Getting your foot in the door or your voice at the table is the first step. For existing customers, maintaining your seat at the table is essential to keeping intruders at bay.
Prospects and customers are “judgy.” They’re sizing you up in ways you may not always consider. Before agreeing to a conversation, they consult Dr. Google, seeking confirmation that your company, its products, services, and solutions are solid. Chances are high they also search to find out more about you! What they discover may determine whether or, not they want to engage. Given this, what should you consider in developing a great personal brand?
The way you present yourself is key. Recently I had a webinar meeting with a longtime partner who was introducing a new team member. Post meeting, I reviewed what struck me, what made me feel comfortable and hopeful that this new person would be effective.
- Her camera was on. She understood that a personal connection was important enough that she had her camera on from the start. Personal connections can be made via webinar! Turn on your camera.
- She dressed the part. It was evident that part of her personal brand is “dress for success.” It made me feel important and confident that she presented herself well – yes, hair, makeup, business dress.
- She was prepared. I didn’t have to provide basic information. She was familiar with our history even though she had been with the company only a couple of months and has plenty on her plate. This impressed me. She had done her homework.
- She introduced herself, providing her background and defining her mission. I was clear on who she is, what she brings to the table, and how we can work together.
- She listened. I appreciated that she easily reiterated our thoughts, concerns and ideas, and laid out next steps she would take on our behalf. She also made sure we had a date on the calendar to meet again.
I felt confident that we were moving in a positive direction; that our needs and our client’s needs were understood. I felt valued as a partner, that we had been listened to, and I knew I was in the hands of a professional. Finally, I looked forward to our next discussion.
We love the internet, and for good reason. It puts us in the driver’s seat, able to research and identify the best sources for our needs before determining which companies and solutions are worthy of our attention. Never underestimate how much the role of the salesperson plays in those reviews.
You, as a salesperson, have a tremendous influence on the customer experience! Think about the last time you ate out and had a really bad waiter. No matter how good the food was, you wouldn’t think of giving that restaurant a five-star review on Yelp! The same holds true for security sales. You are the initial face of your company; your interactions with customers shape their impression. Ideally, you want online reviews to call out not just how excellent your company is, but your role in making it so.
As salespeople, when we think of our personal brand, we need to think about getting 5-star reviews. What are the key components your prospects and customers consider when rating you?
Personal reviews largely center around behaviors, actions, and insights into your character. Here are a few to consider:
- Personable, friendly, and sincere. Do prospects and customers feel comfortable establishing a relationship with you?
- Relatable. Do prospects and customers find that you understand them and their needs?
- Really listen. Are you someone who is really listening, even to things you may not want to hear?
- Best friend. Are your prospects and customers so comfortable that they can discuss what they really need and feel? Being in the best friend category is rare and a great characteristic to strive for. Here you are in the zone of feelings such as safety, respect, confidentiality, true understanding.
- Fair. Are you always fair and reasonable in your approach, even when it isn’t best for you?
- Strong ethics. Do you exhibit a strong character in terms of doing right when confronted with challenges that may be questionable? Salespeople who confront tough issues and bridge gaps that foster resolution score very highly with their customers.
- Reliable. Are you someone your prospects and customers can count on?
You may wonder how to know if you’re on target for 5-Star Reviews? One easy place is LinkedIn. As Google is to product search, LinkedIn is to people search. Ask for endorsements of you and your top skills. Another is to include a form on your website for the purpose of rating salespeople and the sales experience or, send a quick survey after the sale is complete. Confirmation of what you’re doing well and how to improve helps you take the steps to increase 5-Star Personal Brand Reviews.
I Want More of That!
Salespeople who develop a following of customers who say “I want more of that” are in the 5-Star Review category. Your personal brand’s best affirmations are customers following you to your next gig; customers bringing you to their next gig; and unsolicited referrals because everyone wants more of something, or in this case, someone great.
We’d love to hear a few personal brand stories that stand out to you…and as always, I wish you happy selling!