2012: The Year of the Personal Brand

By Bryan Clark

Create relationships one action at a time to increase your brand equity — and your bottom line.

Reposted with permission from Personal Branding Blog 

Some might argue that 2011 was the year personal branding really stepped into the forefront as one of — if not the — most important ways to take control of our life. I’d argue that 2011 was just a fraction of the overall growth this industry is going to see in 2012, and beyond. Google, Twitter, and Facebook have all seen enormous growth in personal branding related discussion, searches, and information. 2012 should bring more of the same. In fact, it is estimated that 70% of all new jobs are filled through networking with existing people in your social circle. To me, that signifies that there is no better time than the present to increase your social circle, network, and form meaningful relationships. But… how is that done exactly? Here are a few things you can work on in 2012 to increase your brand, your presence, and ultimately, your bottom line.

Grab a book

Like most entrepreneurs I know, I’m an avid reader. I always have a book with me when I’m on the go. There are a dozen moments every day in which we’re waiting for someone or something. This is a great time to grab your book and read a few pages. I generally read for 30 minutes or so before bed as well. This is a great way to ease the body into sleep, all while helping to retain information you just read. Studies show that reading before bed helps the brain shift what you just learned from short-term memory to long-term memory. Something to think about.Here are my two favorite branding-related books of 2011… give ‘em a whirl.“UnMarketing” by Scott Stratten  This is by far my favorite book of this year. The focus is on social media, and how to craft solid relationships one at a time. Scott is a big fan of Twitter, and it shows throughout the book. He gives real-world examples, and generally they revolve around his — or a company’s, like Zappos — use of social media. The footnotes are hilarious to boot. I’d highly recommend this one.“The Thank You Economy” by Gary Vaynerchuk  I’m a huge fan of Gary V. My fan-dom blows past the “this guy is cool” routine and borders on full-blown man crush. I hang on every word, and I couldn’t be more thrilled when I catch him on TV or speaking at an event. “The Thank You Economy” shows just how powerful personal branding is, and it puts the entire niche into new perspective. At least it did for me. Gary equates what we’re seeing now with a revolution in which brands have to market to consumers on an individual level — a personal level — to stay competitive in this rapidly changing global economy. One of the many examples he gives are the small town businesses of yesteryear. When you went to the butcher, you went because he provided a quality product, knew you and your family (as well as your neighbors), and treated you well. With the explosion of social media, you’re going to see a bit of a return to that way of thinking in the coming years.

Socialize… a lot!

I meet at least a dozen people at every event I go to that I’d absolutely love to sit down with for lunch. I can’t wait to pick the brain of a fascinating person.I’m not sure where I heard or read the “have lunch with one new person each day” quote, but it really had an impact on my life. Of course, I don’t have time nor the connections to have lunch with one new person each day, but I like to sit down with new people as often as possible. Where most go wrong when hearing this is thinking that they should only sit down with people who can somehow help them. Help with a business problem, provide cash or insight, or promote their product. This is flawed thinking. The goal here is to have meaningful two-way conversation. If you legitimately enjoy conversing with someone, you’ll get more than enough information to spark new ideas, or help yourself with existing problems. As conversation flows your brain starts working harder. This is where my best ideas come from, as well as some of my closest friends.

Utilize social networking sites as they were intended

How long do you spend each day on Twitter? 10 minutes? 30 minutes? Instead of talking, make 2012 the year you’ll listen to the conversation going on around you, and join in when you can provide value. Twitter is supposed to be a conversation, not one man broadcasting his thoughts out into space. Join a conversation on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook, and help out with problems others are facing. The catch? You can’t ask for anything in return. Be helpful, courteous, and a good listener, and you’ll go far on Twitter. People love it when someone is genuine, and just wants to help for the sake of helping. These people are going to remember your kindness and you’ll be amazed at just how big your favor to them might pay off in the long run. Think of it as putting a quarter in the bank each day. It doesn’t seem like a lot of money, but in a year, you’ll have quite a bit of extra change. Just remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.If I could impart one idea on you in closing, it’s this; make 2012 the year that you selflessly help others, without requiring anything in return. Start a conversation, and be genuinely interested in what the other person has to say, rather than just waiting for your turn to talk. We create relationships one action at a time. How many more relationships would you have today if you always chose the right actions?

 

Bryan Clark is a professional writer, blog editor and tech evangelist. His features have been published by the likes of Technorati, Search Engine Journal, Entrepreneurs Journey, The Chicago Tribune, The Guardian, and USA Today. Bryan speaks at blogger and entrepreneurship conferences about blogging, social media, and the benefits of not wearing shoes while working. Connect with Bryan on Twitter

Selling to the Four Temperament Styles

By John Boe

Have you ever wondered why you seem to hit it off right away with some customers, while with others it’s more like oil and water? That’s because we respond intuitively to the natural chemistry, or lack there of, between temperament styles. Our temperament style not only determines our behavioral traits, body language patterns and buying style, but it also influences our compatibility with other people.

Today we have access to innovative tools such as the Internet, cell phones, faxes and voice mail all designed to enhance our communications and support us in selling more effectively. Nevertheless, even with all of these technological tools at our disposal, the alarming number of failed relationships, dissatisfied employees and lost sales all reflect the fact that none of us are as effective at understanding others as we would like to believe. For example, what about that sale you thought you had made, but for some unknown reason your prospect changed their mind and didn’t buy… or at least they didn’t buy from you. Chances are you lost that sale because of your inability to recognize and adjust to your prospect’s preferred buying style. This temperament mismatch is often referred to as a “personality conflict.”

Research in the field of psychology tells us that we are born into one of four primary temperament styles (Aggressive, Expressive, Passive or Analytical). A person’s temperament style is determined genetically and has nothing to do with his or her astrology sign, birth order or childhood experiences. Our temperament style is also unrelated to race or gender. Each of these four primary behavioral styles requires a different approach and selling strategy. Ancient Wisdom Hippocrates, the father of medicine, is credited with originating the basic theory of the four temperament styles twenty-four hundred years ago. Since the days of ancient Greece there have been many temperament theories and a wide variety of evaluation instruments, but essentially they utilize the four temperament styles that Hippocrates identified. Hippocrates observed that these four styles have a direct influence on our physiology, character traits and outlook on life.

The Aggressive or Worker style is:

  • Extroverted

  • Determined

  • Demanding

  • Domineering

  • Controlling

  • Practical

  • Self-reliant

  • Decisive

  • Insensitive

Their major weakness is “anger management”. Under pressure the Worker will work harder and may become ill-natured or explosive.

The impatient and goal-oriented Worker prefers a quick, bottom line presentation style. They expect you to be on time and well prepared. They like it when you avoid small talk and get right down to business.

Workers are generally quick to make a decision. They are focused on results and ask “what” questions. Keywords to use when presenting to a Worker are results, speed and control. Give them options so you don’t threaten their need for control.

The Expressive or Talker style is:

  • Extroverted

  • Enthusiastic

  • Emotional

  • Sociable

  • Impulsive

  • Optimistic

  • Persuasive

  • Unorganized

Their major weakness is “emotional management”. Under pressure the Talker will talk more, shop or eat, and may display an emotional outburst.

The playful and friendly Talker prefers a fast paced and enthusiastic presentation style. Use a short warm up and allow extra time in your presentation for them to talk. Talkers can be impulsive shoppers and are generally quick to make a decision. The key to making a sale to a Talker is to keep them focused on the presentation and allow time for them to express their feelings.

Talkers seek social acceptance and are concerned about what other people think of them. They ask “who” questions. Keywords to use when presenting to a Talker are exciting, fun and enthusiastic. Keep your presentation big picture and avoid giving them too much detail. Consider using colorful pictures, pie charts or graphs when presenting to this style.

The Passive or Watcher style is:

  • Introverted

  • Accommodating

  • Harmonious

  • Indecisive

  • Patient

  • Polite

  • Uninvolved

  • Friendly

  • Sympathetic

Their major weakness is “self-esteem management.” Under pressure the Watcher will avoid conflict by sleeping in longer.

The peaceful and stoic Watcher prefers a slow, deliberate presentation style. Watchers, unlike the impatient Worker, require extra time to warm up before you begin talking about business. Watchers are very sensitive to conflict or “sales pressure.” They have a need to accommodate others and tend to ask “how” questions. Keywords to use when presenting to this style are family, service and harmony. Help the Watcher make a decision by giving them assurance. They dislike having to make decisions and are natural born procrastinators who love the status quo.

The Analytical or Thinker style is:

  • Introverted

  • Thoughtful

  • Organized

  • Critical

  • Shy Detailed

  • Pessimistic

  • Introspective

  • Secretive

  • Aloof

Their major weakness is “stress management.” Under pressure the Thinker becomes withdrawn, depressed and worries more (panic attacks). They “stress out” and seek perfection.

The cautious Thinker prefers a slow, detailed presentation style and warms up slowly. They are skeptical and typically research before they purchase. Thinkers want detailed information and they tend to ask “why” questions. Keywords to use are logical, safety and quality. Because they are concerned about making a wrong decision and appearing incompetent, you can expect the Thinker to want to take their time. Their frugal nature will cause them to “shop your numbers” to make certain they are not paying too much. Because of their desire for research and their need to avoid making a mistake, Thinkers often get bogged down in details. They get what is called “paralyzes from analysis.” Close the sale with the Thinker by reducing their fear of making a mistake. Give them evidence, facts, testimonials and guarantees.

While there are certainly many factors that influence the selling process, by far the most important factor is to identify your prospect’s preferred buying style. Once you learn how to quickly and accurately determine your prospect’s temperament style using body language, you will be able to close more sales in less time!

The One Secret of All Top Sales Performers

By Mike Brooks

Do you think the Top Sales Professional in the world (as listed by the Guiness Book of World Records) might know something about what it takes to be a Top Producing Sales Rep? His name is Joe Girard, and you may have read his story, read one of his books, or you may have seen a video of Joe speaking.

Joe was a car salesman, and his record speaks for itself – at one point he was selling 1,425 cars a year. That’s nearly four cars EVERY SINGLE DAY! Joe was so successful at getting buyers to seek him out and buy cars from him that they would have to make an appointment to buy from him!

How sweet is that? Can you imagine having prospects call and make an appointment just to buy from you?

What made Joe so successful was that he had a simple philosophy about people and about selling, and he practiced it with each and every person he met. It’s a philosophy that is so simple, so true, and so easy to follow, that as soon as you hear it you’re going to think, “Yeah, well that makes total sense!” And this philosophy can be summed up in the one sentence that Joe used to open all his talks with, and that is:

“Your income in sales is directly related to your ability to nurture and build relationships.” Joe used to repeat this throughout his talks because he knew it was this one concept that allowed him sell more cars than anyone on the planet. Joe believed in the power of building and nurturing relationships because he knew that people buy from people they like, know and trust. They always have and they always will.

What made Joe so unique and so successful, was that he was willing to do what everyone else wasn’t – and that was to actually go about building and nurturing relationships with his clients and prospects. And the way he did that was by simply sending out a personalized greeting card with his picture on it, along with a sincere message of thanks.

Now, back before there was the internet and automation this was quite a task, and after a while Joe had a staff of two full time people just addressing and sending out cards. One year he sent out over 14,000 cards! When asked about that one day, he replied, “Every one of those cards was worth its weight in Gold.” And it was…

Now let’s fast forward to today and to your business. Here’s my question: What are you doing on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis to nurture and build relationships with your customers, clients and prospects? If you’re like most sales reps and companies, the answer is, well, not very much.

The truth is, most sales reps are way too busy prospecting and trying to close business that they regularly neglect the most valuable asset they have – their clients. Now, here’s another question: What if I told you there was a way to do what Joe Girard did, that is, send out a beautiful, customized card to all your clients and even your best prospects, and that you could put this on automatic and send out a personalized card at 1/3 the price of a regular greeting card?

What if I told you there was a way to even build a campaign of a sequence of cards that would go out (just like Joe’s did), but that you could build it in about 15 minutes, put it all on automatic, and pay as low as just 31 cents per card? Do you think that would make a difference for you, to your clients, and to your business?

If your answer is yes, then I have great news for you – the system is here, and you can learn how to use it Right Now to change the way you do business. This system will enable you to nurture and build relationships faster and easier than any other single thing you can do. And it will have the biggest impact over anything you will ever do.

If you would like to know more about this system, then please visit my website or contact me.

Hey, if a car salesman like Joe Girard can achieve the kind of results he did by connecting with his clients personally each month, what do you think you could achieve using this same proven system in your own business?

I don’t know what a client is worth to your business, but if this system helped you get even five or ten new clients next year (believe me, if you use this system you can get 10 times that amount), would it be worth at least learning more about it?

Copyright (c) 2010 Mr. Inside Sales

The Best Thing Sales Leadership Can do in 2012

A Sales Guy Blog

The beginning of the year in sales always starts with a number. Then it moves to getting to the number. Sales leadership spends a lot of time going through plans, setting quota, preparing for Q1, looking at the pipeline, etc. Everyone is looking forward and the management process on making the number begins.

What is often missed however, is a good solid understanding of what the team is going to need to make the number. I’m not sure why this is missed so often, but it is.

Sales leaders, pull out your 2012 sales strategy right now. Go through it and take note of how much of it is dedicated to sales support and enablement. How much of the budget is allocated to sales improvement or support tools?  How much of the plan focuses on training? How much of the strategy focuses on value proposition development? How much of the strategy focuses on marketing and collateral support? How much of the plan DOESN’T focus on direct go to market and numbers making? If  the plan as good coverage in all of these things, you have a good plan. But if your plan is like most, it’s lacking in almost all of these areas.The best thing sales leadership can do in 2012 is support the sales team. In order to do this, you have to build team support and enablement into your overall sales strategy. Like a go to market strategy, critical analysis is paramount.Take a look at your plan for 2012 then ask a very simple question. What does my team need today, that they don’t have to make the number? Ask the question over and over. Each answer should then become an initiative. If the answer is nothing, unless you’ve already asked the question, you’re not being honest with yourself.Sales teams are not ready made, out of the box organizations. They require care and feeding. The best organizations understand this.Ask the team what they feel is missing. Ask them what they think would make it easier to make their number. Ask them what you could provide to accelerate sales. Get familiar with the team’s weaknesses and strengths. Identify initiatives that will offset the weaknesses and leverage the strengths. Getting to your number, growing sales, and moving product is more than setting revenue targets and creating motivational rewards and recognition. Getting to your number means getting the most out of your team and that requires support.Know what your team is lacking, know where it is weak, know where it is strong. Know what could make it stronger and then give it what it needs.What is your sales support and enablement strategy? Do you have one? You should! 

Tipping Etiquette: Don’t Look Like a Tightwad to Your Clients

Sales HQ 

When you are entertaining clients, knowing the proper gratuity for a service or meal is critical. If you are noticeably unsure of yourself, you may come off as unsophisticated, and if you are inaccurate you may come off as a cheapskate. You need to make sure you are comfortable with these simple financial transactions, since you are aspiring to be transacting with the clients as well.

Here are SalesHQ’s Guidelines for Tipping Food and Cocktail Servers

1. Be Generous.

Give and you shall receive. Even when your server has made a mistake or your meal was not as delicious as you had hoped, leaving a generous tip will demonstrate that you are a good hearted and trustworthy person. Tipping 15% is considered the standard in the US so leaving 20% will make an impression.

2. Pre-tax or Post-Tax?

Either is socially acceptable, but using the total bill may be both easier and more generous.

3. Gift Certificates and Coupons.

If you give your client a gift certificate or coupon, than make sure to pay the tip in advance. It will impress your client that they are so taken care of by you.

4. Discounts and Complimentary Items.

If you are out with clients and obtain complimentary or discounted services or goods, it is always customary to tip servers based on the regular price of the item. For example, if a restaurant brings over a complimentary bottle of good champagne, you should factor that into your final tip amount.

5. Who Else do I Tip?

You should tip everyone who is serving you and your client, but the following list should cover most of the services you will encounter as a professional in sales.Taxis, Limos, and Drivers: 15% of the total fare or more if multiple stops or heavy baggage is involved. If you are paying for your client, make sure to cover the tip as well.Courtesy Shuttle: If baggage is involved, tip $1-$2 per bag.Valet or Parking Attendant: $1-$3 at the time the car is returned.Baggage Handlers & Hotel Bellmen: $1-$2 per bag as they assist you with your luggage.Massage: 10-15% of the bill, make sure to cover the cost for your client.Spa or Salon Treatment: 15-20% of the bill, make sure to cover the cost for your client.Golf Caddy: $15-$20Golf or Tennis Lesson: $0

Your Cheat Sheet

Print out a cheat sheet guide. Use as a quick reference for tipping when you are stuck with the math. Try to be discrete so clients don’t notice.