Developing that exceptional personal brand in business
By Colin Lovering
Many times, in business we have that one unique opportunity to secure that order or create a great first impression and many times we simply blow it because we are running at 50% effectiveness and motivation and, in my opinion, you should stay in bed, where you will do less damage!
Building a business isn’t easy. Success comes from intensive, hard work and a great deal of learning. Any entrepreneur will tell you that it’s important to love what you do, leverage your passion, work hard and most importantly, never stop building your personal brand.
That’s because people like to do business with other people, not companies. Building your personal brand lends credibility and authenticity to your business, especially if that business is you because, without it, you are as vulnerable as a plump pig in December.
You can stop brand deterioration before it gets out of hand. Without awareness and active cultivation, others will build your brand image for you, whether you agree with it or not and it’s very hard to turn a bad reputation into a good one!
I spent most of my very early business career trying desperately to be liked by everyone as I saw that as a strength to building better business relationships. The outcome was seemingly a good one “Good ol’ Colin” they all affectionately called me leaving me naively unaware of the fact that they didn’t really know what serious value I brought or even what I really did apart from just being that nice guy.
Developing a strong profile of being both LIKED and RESPECTED was one of the most powerful recipes I adopted in my sales career and it’s still a firm part of my business armoury to this day. My dear first Sales Manager told me once “Colin, a client isn’t really a client until you get the second and third order”. Wise words in relationship selling.
Allow me to elaborate a little further. Research by Harvard Business Review revealed that in 64% of situations where a company or individual failed in securing an order the real REASONS were actually unknown and, in fact, it was merely EXCUSES given by the prospective client to terminate the interaction such as “I will come back to you”, “We are fixed into a contract”, “I need to speak to my boss”, “your prices are too high” etc.
That’s 64% of opportunities effectively lost because we simply failed to create a professional and personal “relationship” and just processed the client like an ignorant waiter dumping your coffee unceremoniously on your table and walking off.
Let me be slightly weird for a moment. Imagine you suddenly departed this world tomorrow but were able to write your own eulogy. What would you say about yourself from a professionalism angle and what would be the regrets you would express?
People with strong personal brands make deliberate decisions about their time, activities, and the people around them. Choose to surround yourself with people who celebrate and enhance your life. Carefully manage your time and resources to support the reputation and lifestyle that will result in your preferred future.
Finally, here’s a quick tip to self-assess your personal brand strength. Simply write down 10 adjectives you think people would use to describe you and be proud of the good ones and work over the next 3 months to reverse the negative ones.
Good luck everyone and see you in April!
Colin Lovering is senior vice-president of Avison Young Romania and Chairman of the British Romanian Chamber of Commerce.