7 TIPS TO ENSURE A SUCCESSFUL PERSONAL BRAND

By Angela Ng

AngelaNgWhether you realise it or not, you’re a brand. Your brand is your persona, and if yours isn’t great, it could be costing you opportunities.

Your brand is what you want people to think about you when you leave them.

A personal brand should be authentic and natural: Someone should be able to spend five minutes talking to you, and after that conversation, have an impression of what your personal brand is. They should walk away thinking, ‘He’s really friendly’ or ‘This woman is a lot of fun.’ They should know who you are, and if they would want to speak to you again.

While your brand is built over time, it can become difficult to change, so it’s important to identify and align your brand with your goals. Whilst building a positive personal brand comes easily to some people, others will have to work at it. Here are seven traits that contribute to your personal brand, and what you should know about each:

  1. ACCESSIBILITY

Develop a persona that is reachable, always answer the phone, for one. It’s basic but for few not common.

When people know you always answer your emails and phone calls, opportunities will come more frequently.

  1. ATTITUDE

Always put your best self forward, even if you don’t feel like it.

This is important in good times and in bad, truth is, no one else cares about your problems, they care about a solution to whatever they need. Always present your best self.

  1. INTEGRITY

The truth comes out at the end of the day, and it’s important to be honest, even when it’s easier not to.

Loyalty is another element of integrity. Being honest and loyal helps you build a trustworthy and credible brand.

  1. WORK ETHIC

One of my favourite expressions is, ‘Luck comes to visit but it doesn’t come to stay.’ If you’re fortunate to get a lucky opportunity, work very hard to keep it. If people know you work hard, they’ll be more likely to work with you again.

  1. OPEN-MINDEDNESS

There are two types of people in the world: those who keep their arms wide open, and those who keep their arms held tight against their chest.

Who would you want to do business with or have as a friend? People like people who are open to ideas and relationships. Your personal brand should be someone who is open to new ideas, experiences, and business.

  1. APPEARANCE

People judge you on the way you look, so pay attention to the details. If you’re ultra-causal or sloppy, that’s going to be your brand.

First impressions are important, so pay attention to the details. Depending on your industry, your attire could be right for every occasion, or it could be something you change based on the situation.

  1. PRESENTATION

How you interact with others is another important part of your brand.

There’s a saying, ‘Empty barrels make the most noise’. If you never stop talking, you’ll build a negative personal brand. Always think about what you want to say, and how you want to present yourself before you open your mouth.

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CAN FACE TO FACE BE REPLACED?

Are we in the commercial world paying heed and learning any lessons from what is occurring in the retail space? The digital age has certainly had an impact on how we communicate, but we cannot afford to let this affect how we relate to our clients. The fundamentals of good customer service remain constant.MBFinal

I, like many of you, am an avid online shopper and it’s true, I confess I have aided and abetted the downfall of the retail industry. With the rise of the digital age, online shopping became a very attractive, “from the comfort of my own home”, service.  This is a strange thing because I used to LOVE the whole sensory experience of physical shopping, now the thought of it sends shivers down my spine.

So why did my love affair wane? Was it the appeal of all hours shopping? The convenience of shopping in pyjamas or on the bus? Or was it the possibility of new products from afar? It actually wasn’t any of these things, it was the distinct and utter lack of care and service I felt as the customer in the retail environment.

Now, I am certainly not the first to feel this way or comment on the decline of customer service. Poor attitudes of retail staff, lack of product knowledge, a decline in product quality and often a short supply of on hand staff have all been identified as key factors in the disgruntlement of shoppers.

Are we in the commercial world doing the same and losing our customer/client base?  What are some of the key principles that you feel are imperative to great customer service?  Do any of the below resonate with you?

Listen. Understand. Care.

Listen not just hear, really open your ears and your mind to what your customer is saying. Take time to understand them as a person, their organisation and their goals, this will help you to better understand what they truly need and how you can help them. Care about your client; take a sincere interest in their role, their project and their outcomes.

Provide the type of service you would want to receive

Think about the last time you experienced bad service in a restaurant/store. You probably came away and told many people about this experience. Now, what do your customers say about you and your service?  Are you personable, approachable and responsive and trying to anticipate their needs?  Good customer service never goes out of style!

Know your Product

Your customer wants to feel confident in you and your product. Demonstrating that you understand your product and how it will work for your client is one of the simplest ways to gain their trust. Ensure that you yourself know how your product will benefit your client before you try to convince them.

At the end of the day we all exist because our customers choose to do business with us.  With a simple aim to make every interaction a positive experience and to thank them for their business, you can begin to build that great customer service experience.

So all in all, there are many similar principles between what makes a good customer service experience and the management of a good client relationship.  So what works for you in building and maintaining a good client relationship?  Share your experiences with us; we are always interested in learning.

“Story telling in business”

SueTHow amazing and memorable are the stories that we heard and read as children, that even today as adults we can recall many of these. What was it about these stories that had us so engaged and wanting to know what happened next?

I will admit that I am an avid reader and love nothing more than a great story. However it wasn’t until recently that I realised stories aren’t just told in books but are used in everyday life.

I had the pleasure of meeting and listening to Joel Roberts (former prime time KABC radio talk host in the Los Angeles and now owns his own media and communications consulting firm) and Alex Mandossian (Online Marketing Expert/Teleseminar Expert/Internet Marketer/Speaker and Author) at a conference that I attended. When listening to these very impressive speakers, the message that I got out of it was, that to be a successful negotiator/influencer you had to know the art of storytelling.

Ever since hearing them speak, I have been more aware of what people say, how they say it and I have found myself more engaged when a story is being told.

What about you, are you more engaged when people tell you a story?

An article by Gabrielle Dolan on “How to tell your story” provides some helpful hints on how to become an effective storyteller like some of the best business people in the world.

Her 5 tips are

  • Make it personal
    • The real power in using stories as a leader is the ability to use a personal anecdote and attach it to a business message
  • One Message: one story
    • Your story can only address one message or one problem
  • Short and Sharp
    • In business your stories need to be short and sharp, so you don’t loose the audience
  • Start smart
    • The start of your story should be conversational and seem to be “off the cuff”
  • End smarter
    • The way you end the story will either make or break it.

Just remember that the more you practice your story telling the better you become and more effective you can be.

Are you a storyteller?  Tell us about your experiences and how successful or unsuccessful they were. Share with us some of the great storytellers that you know that have been successful in business.