What do you want to be known for?
Before I started building my business and taking on large clients, I had no personal brand. I didn’t blog, network, or do anything that allowed me to stand out. I was simply like a lot of people – stuck doing a bunch of stuff and wondering where it was all going.
(If you wan’t to listen to this post, click here or the on the play button below)
Realistically, looking back, it totally makes sense why I went through these periods of being totally stuck. People weren’t taking me seriously, my business wasn’t getting much traction, and basically I was invisible. The general feeling was one of doubt and that I should just give up and stay working in a JOB. I have often found myself in that space of fear and not sure about the future.
But a few years ago, something shifted for me. A turning point. An “ah-ha” moment.
It was when I realized that my role is not to be the smartest, not to promote services, and not to try and beat the competition. It is simply to help others get what they want.
But what was the catch? Well, it was going to take a ton of work to make sure I was always giving to those that needed my help. Yikes!
To build a powerful personal brand, you need to stand for something, and people need to learn what you stand for. Consistency is key. When you present yourself consistently as an insightful, professional, and helpful leader, people will start to notice. You will begin to establish genuine connections with others who believe the same way you do. As you continue to grow your brand, your connections expand and opportunities will present themselves.
What inspired me to write this today was an article by Brian Horn called Frank Kern’s Secret to Success is Simpler than You Think. If you don’t know who Frank Kern is, well you are definitely missing out. The truth is…we are so bombarded by information and marketing hype every day, that we have all grown tired of hearing people make promises.
Then we sign up, buy, subscribe, and get let down.
It happened to me yesterday when I bought a new ebook on goal setting that I was excited to read (Thought it would have a unique spin). Essentially, the book was 84 pages – the first 20 were a personal story (that was mostly bragging), the next 40 were an explanation of why you need to follow the program, then a half page bullet point list of the program itself, followed by 10 pages of selling the online coaching program, and 10 pages of pictures. Needless to say, I was not impressed at this $8 purchase because I felt misled, duped, and insulted. Have you ever had that happen to you?
Here is what Frank Kern says about marketing:
“Metaphorically, if you have someone who’s hungry and you give them a little bit of food, you’ve only whetted their appetite and they’re going to be hungrier. So the methodology I like to use is pull, instead of push. You make your marketing itself valuable to the end user and when you do that, they come to you. You don’t have to chase them. You don’t have to use the hype. You don’t have to bash them over the head or any of that. Just demonstrate you can help them by actually helping them. It’s a novel concept.”- Frank Kern
How about you? What are you doing with your own brand that has enabled you to be a thought leader? John Hall, CEO of Influence and Co. says that “Even if you’re uncomfortable with the attention, the spotlight is no longer optional. People are going to talk about you and your business, whether you want them to or not. Therefore, it’s critical that you actively manage your reputation.” Are you doing the work today that will create success long term? Or are you simply SELLING day in, day out?
And it doesn’t matter if you are in sales, have a start-up, or just trying to advance your career. You should be thinking about your personal brand today.
So what can you do to stand out?
1) Set up a Blog
For starters, you can set up your own simple blog and share ideas, resources, and insights that help a specific audience. I took a killer online course from the guys at Learn to Blog this past year and it gave me all the tools I need to start my site quickly. Click Here to learn more.
If you already have a website and haven’t yet tapped into the power of content, what are you waiting for?
The biggest lessons I have learned from writing on my site over the past few years are:
- Share personal stories – People connect with humans (weird ,right?)
- Be helpful – Give tips that your audience can apply to their lives
- Give away your best stuff for free – Most people I talk to think they should hang on to the goods
- Be consistent – Schedule, post, repeat. That’s it
- Be unique – Even thought there are 68 million blogs and growing daily, there are massive opportunities to stand out. But you have to be different
- Build a list – The probability of someone finding you again is very low, so offer them something of value to get their email address and stay connected
- Hardly ask – If the first question you ask is “how do I make money with this,” then you are asking the wrong question…
That last point is emphasized in Gary Vaynerchuk’s book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World. He has built a massive business by following his concept of “give, give, give, ask.” Too often, I meet people who want to build an online business and they focus on their funnels, monetizing, Facebook ads, etc. And they start focusing on it before they have said anything of value! The goal is to just start writing, sharing, and building a community and audience. When people follow you, then you can start to ask them to pay you.
2) Network and Offer to Help
This one is a bit tricky because we don’t want to get into endless coffee meetings, right? But there is a huge number of people out there who would prefer to buy from you if you just would go and connect. Now, the catch is that you need to learn how to connect properly and add value to those around you. You really need to get others to believe in what you believe and want to see how you would be a good fit.
The best way to do this, is to stop talking about your own business and ask awesome questions about theirs. No matter what their business is, find a way to offer to help them:
- Connect them with potential customers – Ask them who their ideal customers are and think about someone you know that you could introduce them to
- Send them resources – Is there something they said that triggered you to think of a resource you could send them? A book, a PDF, a video, etc.
- Invite them to an event – Golf tourney coming up? Speaker series? Workshops? Where else can you get them involved that they would find value?
- Connect them with someone else in the room – As they speak, who else would they really connect well with? Go grab that person!
- Invite for coffee – If there is a real genuine connection, ask them to meet another time for a quick coffee to see how you can help each other. Set the expectations for the coffee to avoid confusion. Is it going to be a casual chat? Will you be pitching ideas at each other? You don’t want to have surprises or poor communication on this one.
All of this should be getting you to think differently when connecting. Get their business card and send them whatever you promised (write on the back of their card so you don’t forget).
I see far too often, people networking poorly. Perhaps we should start a group? What do you think of:
PANP (People Against Networking Poorly)
Anyways, go and network in your community and offer to help with no expectations in return. You will see it pays off over time.
3) Provide Value to Others Online
Did you know that you can quickly build your brand and thought leadership by going online and helping people in forums? Or by commenting on other blogs? Linked In is a wonderful place to start where you can find groups in your niche and post your insights to help those within. You can also do the same thing in Facebook as part of your daily activities. Instead of taking pictures of the sandwich you just made or posting revealing photos of your cat, you can share things with your network that they would find valuable.
You may be wondering what value you should be offering? Well that could just be the kick you need! Start by reading and building your insights on the topics you care most about. What experiences have you had that you can help others avoid potential landmines? Look for people asking questions and use some of the ideas from step 2 above. Provide resources, contacts, or customers. You will be shocked at how fast your goodwill can skyrocket your brand.
BIG WARNING: Remember that promoting yourself, products, or services can throw up big red flags online. When offering to help, perhaps provide a link to your site Linked In page and let others find you. If you are perceived as being overly promotional, your efforts will have a backwards effect.[Tweet “Demonstrate expertise without being promotional. “]
Again, the main key to your online interactions is to be consistent.
Also, have fun. Be someone who others would be excited to connect with. Look at all of your online profiles and ask yourself if you are interesting. Ask I say to everyone:“It’s not that they are not interested. It’s that you’re uninteresting. Get interesting.” Are you being interesting?
4) Offer More to Your Clients
Look at what you currently give your customers. What else can you add to help them? Can you give them extra bonuses, thank yous, introductions, etc? What can you do for your existing customers that you were just thinking of doing for potential ones?
When you focus solely on extracting the most “today” cash from your customers as possible, you miss a huge opportunity to think about the lifetime value of those same customers. To build a strong business in today’s market, you must have LOYAL, raving fans and a thriving customer base to build on.
I am going to leave you with that thought today.
Dedicate the time it takes to build a strong personal brand. It will open up massive opportunities and make your life so much easier!
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