In Sales? Your Personal Brand Matters More Than Ever

by Tim Hughes
Republished from Social Networks, December 9, 2017

Beware of the social media guru! I recently read an article by one of them about why personal branding for a salesperson was useless.

Really? Let’s remember where we as sellers (and marketers) have come from.

In the past, the only way people got to find out about our products and services was by interrupting them. Either through advertisements or cold calling.

There was no internet, the buyer was pretty unsophisticated.

Avoiding sales. We’re all experts now

Fast forward to today.  We all go to the internet before we make a purchase. In fact, the more expensive an item, the more likely we will do our due diligence on the internet.

We all do it, you do it, I do it and our customers do it.

The other thing we all do is avoid sales people.  If we can we will make purchases ourselves and avoid sales people.  Why?

Salespeople have a reputation for being manipulative. Sales hacking is a great example.  In fact, a whole industry has grown up that finds ways of getting the email or phone number of decision makers so we can call them or email them.  And try and sell them something. In the end we mostly end up annoying them.

Enter the gatekeeper

The gatekeeper is the prospect’s response to annoying sales people.  Gatekeepers might be personal assistants, ad blockers, voice mail, or screening calls from people we don’t know.

Anything to stop us talking to sellers using their most dangerous weapon of choice.  The dreaded sales script.  The script means that the only answer for the buyer is yes. Otherwise expect a hail of abuse from the sales person who is “only trying to help you”.

Back to the modern buyer.

We all go online and research products and services. From a new car, a speaker for our sales conference, or a new $200m outsourcing deal.  We do this for as long as we can in salesperson avoidance mode.

For the buyer, research is everything

Note, I’m not quoting CEB statistics at you.  It does not matter if I do this research on-line for 10, 20, 57 or 80 percent of the way through the buying process.

But I do.

When I do my research, I will “consume content”. I watch videos and read articles.  Probably found via search engines, YouTube and social media.  I may read research and blogs by companies such as Gartner, Accenture and blogs by influencers and micro-influencers.  Friends and colleagues are also good sources of information.

I recall a colleague at a previous company that sold Human Resources (HR) software, a purchase that could be $1m in terms of investment.  He came back to the office and said, “what a terrible meeting, they knew more than I did”.  No shit shylock I thought. If my company was about to spend $1m, I would know my stuff.

If you go back and read those two paragraphs again I said the modern buyer will “read research and blogs by companies such as Gartner, Accenture and blogs by influencers and micro-influencers”.

Why do we do this?  We do this, because any B2B purchase requires people to expend political capital and we will make sure we have spoken and taken advice from as many people as we can.

Become a social selling influencer

So here’s a thing.

Why as a salesperson are you not an influencer or micro-influencer?

If the above is true (it is) you are going to get inbound.  Here at Digital Leadership Associates (DLA) we get 3 bits of inbound daily.  Just think about.

What other demand generation activity is giving that return on investment?

A personal brand is not some stupid narcissistic activity that is a waste of time and resource.  A personal brand is a way of attracting the modern buyer.

Stop being a re-active seller and take back control of the buying process with a personal brand.