When I launched into the wonderful and terrible experience of planning my wedding, I had one budget item I would not budge on: florals. While I appreciate their beauty, the idea that I was supposed to allocate 20% (TWENTY. PERCENT.) of my budget to something that was completely perishable was baffling to me. I scoffed at the recommended percentage and proudly proclaimed to my wedding investors (aka my parents) that we would dedicate no more than 10% maximum. Get fake flowers. Pick them from the gardens at the venue, I don’t care.
When all was said and done, I ended up devoting 25% of my budget to my florist. Why? It wasn’t because I’m not good with a spreadsheet. It’s not because the floral market here in St. Louis is monopolized. It’s because I love my florals vendor. I trust her completely. If she told me to, I would make an interactive presentation, win over my board (again, my parents), and make the case for an expanded budget.
Here’s what I learned from my incredible vendor—and my own purchasing behavior: You are much more likely to justify the cost when you feel valued by the person you’re buying from and when you trust his or her credibility.
While your marketing team is hard at work crafting your company brand, you should take the opportunity to humanize the sales experience by building out your own brand. Give the people what they want: a chance to buy from a person they like.
Here’s the Secret Sauce for Your Personal Brand
1. Host a Webinar
While your technical wherewithal in your industry may vary (looking at you, medical and IT sales reps—it gets complex!), your understanding of your customer should be strong. Work with your marketing team to identify the topics that make sense for you to cover. Could you host a sales-based webinar on “How to pitch expensive solutions to your executive board”? Is there an aspect of your product or service that you’re particularly passionate about? These could all be useful presentations for both you and your company to provide to your audience.
By playing an active role in webinars, you show the buyer that your company trusts you to speak at an industry level and to represent it well. The more visible you become as a consistent webinar host, the more prospective buyers begin to associate your name with your company—which could have endless benefits, ranging from staying top of mind with prospects to building your credibility.
2. Email Communication
All salespeople worth their weight in commission should know how to send a compelling email. But if you could use a refresher, here are a few quick tips:
Make it content-driven. If you just hosted a webinar, link to it and explain why you think it could be useful with regard to a specific problem your lead is trying to solve for.
Make it personal. Personalization is 2019’s sales word of the year. Use “you” 3x more than you use “I” or refer to your own company. Find a relatable but not creepy thing to connect on with your prospect.
Make it brief. Not my strong suit personally, but it should be all salespeople’s mantra: If you can’t say it simply, you don’t understand it, and neither will your lead. You have but a brief, fleeting moment to connect with your prospect and make your case. Use words sparingly and wisely.
3. Bylined Content, Blogs, and Guest Posting
Contributing to publications that reach your buyer means tapping into wider audience reach, increased visibility for you and your company, and third-party validation. Likewise, having a presence on your company’s blog further validates your expertise and demonstrates your engagement with the overall initiatives of your organization.
Both blog content and externally published articles are SEO boosters. When your leads get happy fingers and go to the almighty Google, it will be to your benefit for them to see byline after byline of valuable content backing you up.
4. Speaking Engagements
How many times have you thought, “If I can just get in a room with my buyer, I know I can win them over.” All salespeople are pretty convinced they have magnetic personalities (because: true), and speaking engagements are a perfect opportunity to use that expertise and charm to build a face-to-face connection. Much like a webinar, a speaking engagement suggests that your company has faith in your ability to represent the organization well.
You also get a chance to showcase your passion for your offerings, field questions in real-time, and meet your audience. In fact, a speaking opportunity is a great touchpoint for reconnecting with any leads in the area. A quick email or LinkedIn message inviting them to the event could lead to later conversations or a chance to meet in person—or at the very least, spark a conversation around your potential partnership again.
5. Social presence
Social media is one of the easiest, least time-consuming ways to create a digital footprint. Stay active on platforms like LinkedIn, where you can repurpose your webinars, blog posts, and articles and begin to gain a following. Show your prospects that you have an impressive knowledge of industry problems and your own products or services.
A few ideas:
Start a LinkedIn group specific to your industry and regularly share trends, insights, and other content formats. Pose questions aimed at solving the challenges your prospects face and that your service is a solution for.
Weigh in on industry news. Tweet out interesting statistics relevant to your buyer and add colorful commentary. Start conversations that keep you active in your lead’s mind.
Building a personal brand isn’t about catering to your sales ego. It’s about creating meaningful, trustworthy connections with your prospective buyers that foster a long, healthy relationship with your company moving forward. Anything you create under your own name can point back to your company positively and allow a buyer to get comfortable with the sales process. Like me and my florist, you may find that your personality and helpfulness result in expanded budgets, loyal followers, and very happy customers.