What do you sell? You probably think it’s your product or service. While that’s correct, it’s not all you sell. Your prospects and customers are also buying you. Think of it as your sales brand. How are you including yourself in your sales?
What’s your sales brand?
Everyone knows Mercedes, Starbucks and Nike. They each have a brand personality. They are more than their products. Mercedes is luxury. Starbucks is a 3rd place environment with its coffee house ambience. Nike is athleticism and fitness. These brands communicate a positive message that is more than their products. What is your brand? A salesperson with a good brand is easier to remember and part of what you sell.
What would a customer say if he were asked to describe you? I don’t mean physical appearance. Are you the expert? Would you be described as someone with attention to detail? Maybe you’re the persevering professional. What if your customer had nothing that came to mind? Nothing is worse than if he couldn’t even describe you and the way you work with him. When you’re forgettable, you often lose your business when a competitor wants to take it away from you. Take the time now to work on your brand. You and your business can become unforgettable for the right reasons!
Let’s get down to business is not enough to build your sales brand.
Some salespeople think that any personal information about themselves is irrelevant to business and a waste of time. They’re wrong. Customers need to know something about you that makes you more relatable as you build your sales brand. It creates no loyalty to you when all they know about you is that you work for a particular company and sell a particular product. It’s easier to change suppliers when there’s no emotional connection to the person selling the products and services that are bought.
You’ve probably heard the saying, “People buy from people they like.” Yes, it’s often true. What the saying also relates to is that it’s harder to switch from people they like. People continue to buy from people they like. Do your customers know your hobbies or your interests? Even better is to be able to share your customers’ interests. Do you know anything about their hobbies or interests? You might find overlap of both of your interests to build on and build a stronger and warmer working relationship.
Make time for your customers to build your sales brand.
Early in my sales career I learned that one of my customers was interested in helping advance the careers of young salespeople. This was a senior leader at a manufacturing facility. My direct interaction with him to update him on my work was irregular. Yet, he spoke highly of my work to his subordinates. As plant manager he didn’t often take lunch off site or even away from his desk. One of his subordinates told me, “He really enjoys talking with you. He suggested you drop in when you’re here if you have time over lunch.” That’s exactly what I did.
I need to clarify in the era of #METOO that his interest was not anything inappropriate. This was simply a senior leader who cared about mentoring others. Over the months before I received my promotion and moved out of state, we had many regular lunch meetings. First, I would review the work I did at his plant. Then we talked about career strategy, women in business, the economy, world events and other very interesting topics. I enjoyed these meetings as much as he did. He was an effective sounding board for my work-related questions where I needed an unbiased opinion. I think he enjoyed seeing my career success.
Think of ways you can use your time more effectively to build work relationships with your customers. I know salespeople often bring food to customers. When you bring donuts and coffee do you stay and drink and eat with your customers? Why not? You have a chance to get to know them better.
Aristotle said, “Wishing to be friends is quick work, but friendship is a slow ripening fruit.” Just as in sales, your sales relationships will take time to develop as you build your brand. You should remember that they’re well worth it.