Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Your Brand

As a salesperson, you are a brand. Make sure you are brandable. This is from ContentMarketing.com:

Why Your Personal Brand is All About Solving Customer Problems

Posted: 03 Sep 2009 04:36 PM PDT

businesswoman holding problem solving biz card And Why It’s Not about Your Wonderful Qualities as a Human Being

I don’t mean to suggest that your customers don’t care about your fundamental decency, professionalism, and your devotion to your local community. However, each of those qualities is necessary, but not sufficient for someone to do business with you. Ultimately, your personal brand reflects your unique ability to help your ideal customers succeed.

A few weeks ago I had a phone conversation with a former colleague who had invested a significant amount of money with a company whose assignment was to shape his personal brand. To show off the results of the exercise, he pointed me to his brand-new website which highlighted his passion for financial planning and his devotion to his local Midwest community. Since I’ve known him for years, I know that this accurately reflects the kind of guy he is. But if I had been a customer going to his website in search of solutions, my initial reaction would’ve almost certainly have been, "So what?"

On an individual level, he was making the same mistake that the big accounting firm Grant Thornton made with their TV ad campaign that talked about being "passionate about the business of accounting." Click here to read more about how they went off-track.

Remember visitors to your blog or to your website are looking for answers to problems. They are not looking to evaluate you as a person until they are darned sure that you and your organization can provide solutions to the problems that drove them to your website in the first place.

Therefore, your personal brand should focus on your unique capability of solving the problems of those future customers that you have defined as your perfect target market. A meaningful personal brand would seem almost impossible unless it reflects your ability to deliver uniquely powerful solutions for your customers.

If you visit the website of ThatWhitePaperGuy, you won’t read any verbiage about what a great guy he is or how passionate he is about white papers. Instead, he gets right to the point by asking rhetorical questions that qualify the visitor and then demonstrates that he understands their needs and can solve their problems by creating effective white papers. Here’s the core of his homepage message:

Are you getting the results you need from your white papers?
Got a great idea for a white paper… but no one to write it?
Wondering how to get started with your first-ever white paper?
Well, you’ve come to the right place.
If you’re like most marketing people, you have questions about white papers.
Your competitors have them.
Your prospects are asking for them.
But who’s going to create them?
Make your white papers work as hard as you do:
Put my experience to work for you!

Only after we have convinced ourselves that he can solve our problems relating to white papers will we care whether he’s the kind of person we want to work with. His personal brand is all about being a white paper expert and has nothing to do with being a passionate, community-oriented professional.

Prospective customers don’t care about us. They care about how we can help them.

Perhaps, the word ‘personal’ gets us into trouble when we attach it to the word ‘ brand.’ ‘Personal’ simply means that the brand relates to you as an individual. But the all important ‘brand’ component means it’s all about what you can do to solve your customers’ problems.

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