In the context of sales, having a personal brand is more important than ever. If “your network is your net worth” as they say, then your brand is your business. Product-based differentiation is going away, and it’s crucial for sales professionals to build trust with buyers as quickly as possible - that’s where your personal brand comes in.
A strong online presence with a cohesive point of view can make a huge difference in selling. When buyers do their research on you before a demo, finding your personal brand can be a bonus to your relationship building, and move the ball down the field faster.
Getting started with building your personal brand is easier said than done and that first step can be the most difficult part - finding out what your personal brand IS. We’re here to help.
As a community of trusted sales professionals, we at Bravado also know what a personal brand looks and feels like. Our team also has a lot of experience in starting businesses. (See Bravado, Women In Network, and Soft Asian Boys.)
So we asked ourselves: What if you could approach building your personal brand like building a business? So often finding the idea can spark the inspiration for clear next steps in building it. (Just like starting a business!)
That’s why we created this 4-step approach to finding your personal brand (so you can go build it):
Step 1 - Be sincere
Remember—you are building your personal brand, so your brand tone of voice should align closely with your innate personality. Are you bold and boisterous? Gentle and soft? Minimal and reserved?
The key is authenticity; the more authentic you are when developing your brand voice, the more authentic it will come across to your audience, and the more connected they’ll feel to your brand - you!
Don’t try to be someone you’re not; the inauthenticity will be painfully obvious. Don’t try to be Gary Vee or Keenan if that’s not who you are.
Step 2 - Internalize the idea that you don't have to do what everyone else is doing
Just like starting a business, discovering your personal brand is a case of trial and error. You might think you want your personal brand to align with one thing, and after a few attempts at leaning into that idea, you decide it’s not your truth.
That’s a good thing!
It’s as important to rule things out as in. If you don’t think you can be the premier authority on cold calling pump-up LinkedIn videos, then scrap it. Not only will it help you get closer to your goal of establishing your personal brand, but it will also feel incredibly liberating to leave a bad idea behind. “No” is a complete sentence.
Step 3 - Interview yourself
We have a framework for finding ideas that stick around here. Start with -
What do people seem to always ask you about?
What skills did you lead with in your last interview (beyond the job description)?
We know you can sell, but HOW are you selling? Do you blow people away with your product expertise or do you send the most badass client gifts? Those are things which can help shape your personal brand creation.
What’s your favorite part of the workday?
Is it meetings, inbox cleanup, goal setting? This is another valuable source of information for your personal branding exercise.
Write these things down!
Step 4 - Plot your ideas
Now, this is the fun part - it’s time to plot your ideas for profitability.
There are a lot of ways to go about this, and we’re big fans of Ramit Sethi’s demand matrix. He suggests plotting ideas for intersections of Mass Market/Low Profitability, Big Effort/Big Reward, etc., and you can think about your personal branding ideas in the same way.
To reiterate, your personal branding thematics should be considered in the context of payment. Imagine what it would be like to be paid for a speaking engagement or to be quoted in a book. If you create your personal brand within the context of getting hired (even if you have no intention of pursuing paid opportunities), then you will come across as knowledgeable, confident, and trustworthy - three of the qualities of a successful sales professional.
Whittle down the most authentic, potentially profitable ideas from these exercises, and bam! You now have your starting line: What your brand is actually going to be about.