(By Bob McCurdy) In advertising, we talk about a message being promotionally focused or brand focused. Companies spend a lot of time, dollars, and effort to effectively “brand” their products, and in fact a company’s “brand” is often worth considerably more than its factories and other physical assets.
The same holds true for all of us in sales, and whether we realize it or not, each one of us is “branded,” with our personal brand being our most important asset that determines our income and success. Without the proper “brand” image, we remain vendors in our clients’ eyes; with the proper “brand” image we become their partners. It boils down to giving before asking, educating, and providing professional value.
“Brand” is a simple but powerful word as it brings mental clarity. It is thin-slicing, a mental short cut. What comes to mind when we hear the word, Mercedes? Yugo? Lobster? Hormel Spam? What comes to our clients minds when they see us approaching, hear our name, or see our emails in their in-box?
Local advertisers are deluged by vendors from dozens of different media vying for their attention. Faced with this “rep clutter,” the salesperson who’s developed the strongest brand image will usually get the appointment, the returned call/email, or “the benefit of the doubt” in any buying situation.
The successful salesperson also understands and welcomes the fact that their personal “brand” is client specific, ever-evolving, and is not something that can be developed overnight. It must be nurtured, requires time and attention, and is earned through hard work and performance. A salesperson’s brand equity is somewhat akin to a pearl in an oyster in that it accrues over time with successive layers. The bottom line is that the foundation of any brand is belief, and belief takes time.
Finally, every successfully branded salesperson has to have some kind of emotional appeal, as people tend to buy emotionally and justify with logic, with the intensity of the emotion felt toward them equal to the loyalty exhibited to them. As such, top salespeople are constantly on the lookout for different ways in which they can go “above and beyond” on their client’s behalf. To show that they care, to do the things for them and their businesses that other salespeople have either not thought of or considered doing or have just chosen not to do.
Separating from the pack is not as difficult as it might seem in 2018, as most of what is encountered every day in business is for the most part painfully ordinary and predictable. Top sales talent strive to be neither, as the “active ingredient” in any brand, personal or otherwise, is differentiation. While the expectation should be to always stand out, that doesn’t always require accomplishing the spectacular, but executing the common and the fundamentals uncommonly well.
Standing out is of paramount importance for any salesperson and will result in a higher income and greater professional success, because in 2018’s world of Usher, Drake, and The Weeknd, salespeople that are too Celine Dion or Britney Spears simply won’t be noticed.
Bob McCurdy is Vice President of Sales for the Beasley Media Group and can be reached at [email protected]