Carole Railton has an enviable track-record in sales. She argues that we need to establish our own personal brand to be successful at selling.
Lets take a step back.... Question: why do people go into business. Answer: to make the world a better place for us all.
People such as Richard Branson have a dream of opening up space flight to everyone, Steve Jobs at Apple is passionate about making the use of technology simple with style and, of course, Avis Ďtry harderí, so we all get what we want when we hire a car.
It is this bigger picture that allows us to generate the passion and enthusiasm needed for successful sales. It is those who understand their dreams and the bigger picture, who will actually make it: the rest of us have the vision but find reasons why it did not work out the way we had imagined....
Business is all about exchange: a two-way exchange of information, products or services, at least, needs to take place for us to be communicating. This can be done over the internet, between individuals or within complex operations, such as you might find in multi-million pound sales deals stretching over worldwide organisations. Itís branding that creates a positive environment for that exchange to take place.
YOU as the salesperson are the product that you are marketing, which is why there is so much power in getting the right personal brand for yourself. Maybe your situation at the moment is you are looking for another position, ie you want to offer your services with a potential employer in exchange for a salary.
Or, you may be looking for someone with expertise who is going to advise you. In this case, it is you who will be making the payment for the brand you choose.
In the spirit of confronting problems with honesty and delving deeper, we may even be able to take the mistrust out of sales training by building personal brands.
Branding really is everywhere, from large multi-nationals to small and medium-sized enterprises. All organisations rely on what their salespeople do, say and how they behave day in, day out to represent their brand. But what if these same salespeople do not have their own brand in place?
How can they 'listen to the client', or 'use the appropriate behaviour' or stand a chance of understanding the customer if they do not first understand themselves and what makes them tick? Only by seeing your difference can you recognise what you can use as leverage in selling situations.
Itís vital to create your own personal brand and build your reputation so that you will be instantly recognisable as a distinctive brand in your own market place, no matter where or when that is. A personal brand makes sure that you always have the same persona and style. Itís a method of self-help, improvement and personal promotion for both self-employed and employed salespeople.
A personal brand represents your promise of how you will run your business and personal life and what customers, your employees and managers can expect from you.
You will encourage people to be attracted to you and what you offer, if you get this right. Personal branding is a powerful tool you can use to promote yourself as an individual first of all; then anything you are attached to Ė or whatever you are doing Ė will have elements of your brand, so sustaining your performance.
There is now a Useful Guide to Personal Branding if you want some help in developing how you and your company come across and how people, prospects and customers perceive you.
The guide includes a downloadable MS Word tool-kit with exercises to help you along the way and also has an online questionnaire which you can use to gain valuable feedback from your colleagues, regarding their perception of your personal brand.
By using the advice and exercises in the guide, you will be able to measure the changes in the perception of your brand brought about by your actions.
A Useful Guide to Personal Branding by Carole Railton is available through Pansophix, priced £9.95. The Future of Body Language will be available from October 2010, priced £8.99.