The concept of branding began when cattle owners distinguished ownership and quality with a unique mark on their product. If a rancher consistently had superior quality, they developed an excellent reputation and buyers paid more when they recognized the rancher’s brand.
Creating a personal brand involves separating yourself from your organization and defining how you want others to see you. Do not confuse your brand with your reputation. Your brand is self-defined, and your reputation is how the world defines you. Here is how to develop and protect your brand:
Understand and define your brand.
What values do you represent? How do you want to be portrayed? What are your core values? What is important to you? When people hear your name, what words come to their mind? Be honest with yourself. Make sure that you represent yourself with authenticity.
Create positive experiences.
Your long term success in sales depends on your ability to consistently create positive experiences. Here is an example: my mentor, John, is known for his commitment to make our brokers happy. I noticed that he constantly texts the broker during client calls to ask for observations and feedback. He asks for suggestions on how we can make the call go better and help achieve the broker’s desired outcome. He also calls them immediately following the call to see if they are happy with our interaction with their client. Each time he does this, he creates a positive experience and solidifies his brand.
Investing in your community is an excellent way to grow your network and solidify your personal brand. Because of the financial challenges I experienced getting through college, I care deeply about helping students. I have volunteered for various organizations and worked individually with students to help them study for their ACTs, apply for scholarships, and find internships. Along the way, I have solidified my brand and developed relationships with other professionals who share this passion.
Remain a student of your industry.
There is a certain comfort in reviewing trends in the marketplace, but if your brand as a dependable industry leader grows exponentially when you anticipate what is next. Remain a student of your industry and create solutions. Ideas and strategies from industry leaders shape the market. Make sure that you stay relevant by educating yourself.
Maintain integrity and consistency.
You get to define your brand, but you can only influence your reputation. If you work tirelessly to develop your brand but your behavior and words are not consistent with it, you will destroy your what you have built. It only takes one unethical action to erode trust. The key to protecting your brand is to remain in consistency with it. If your actions show that you are unreliable, unethical, or lazy, your brand will not matter. Focus on keeping integrity and producing quality work; a trustworthy brand and reputation will follow.
57 percent of the consumer's decision is made before they even speak with sales. Source: Corporate Executive Board Click To Tweet
Your brand should not conflict with your reputation because it should be an accurate representation of who you are. A strong personal brand creates recognition and trust, leading to repeat customers, organic partnerships, and referrals. Work hard to build your brand and protect it.
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