By Jeff Beals
In our hyperactive, warp-speed world, it’s growing more and more difficult to catch the attention of prospective employers and would-be clients. It’s hard to cut through the clutter and get people to notice you. That’s why you need to establish a widely recognized and highly respected personal brand. Your business life gets easier when you’re slightly famous.
But how do you do that in an effective way that won’t take too much time or bust your budget?
Seek to become famous in your own “sphere of interest” by tapping into the group of people who in any way can help you reach your goals- clients, prospective clients, anybody who could refer clients to you or anybody who could hire you. Each professional has potentially thousands of people in his or her sphere of interest. Some have millions, but whoever you are and whatever your goals may be, you want to become a celebrity among those people who can have an impact on your success.
When someone needs the talents you have or the products you sell, you want your name and face to pop into that person’s head. That’s what personal branding is all about-being recognized as the go-to source, the safe option, the obvious choice.
How do you become a celebrity in your own sphere of interest?
For starters, be excellent in your work. Never stop preparing and planning. Be disciplined and work hard.
Unfortunately, however, excellence is far from enough. In this competitive world, your talent and hard work are simply expected. Performance is merely foundational. Assume your competition is working just as hard as you and is even more talented than you. In such an environment, your personal brand is one of the few things that sets you apart.
You as an Entity
See yourself as an entity, not just as a human being. You are a man or a woman, but you are also a brand, a business, a business of one, a business unto yourself. Every business worth its salt jealously guards the integrity of its brand while zealously promoting it. So must you. You need to approach your personal brand promotion with the same intensity as your company promotes its brand.
The Mini Politician
Next, think like a politician. That’s not to say you should adopt the nefarious and tawdry behavior of too many politicians, rather it means you understand you are in a lifelong series of “campaigns” seeking to be “elected” to whatever it is that matters to you. A politician works hard to build a core group of people who would “run through a brick wall” for him or her. That core is built and strengthened by networking-going out and deliberately meeting and building relationships with as many people as possible.
Unfortunately, politicians never meet most of the voters in their spheres of interest. For everyone outside the core, politicians at least want people to recognize their names and have a positive feeling associated with them. To reach these people, politicians use mass media, social media and word of mouth.
All sorts of analogies exist between political campaigning and the personal branding game. Like a politician, you need to build your core relentlessly and never stop building it no matter how big and strong it becomes. You can then use social media and word of mouth to project your personal brand to your “voters,” the people in your sphere of interest.
An External Focus
“Celebrities in their spheres of interest” deliberately lead active lives and focus externally. They are involved, energetic and engaged in their communities. At the same time, they are focused on meeting new people and building relationships. Great salespersons are never satisfied with their current number of personal contacts. They’re never satisfied with the current status of relationships. They realize that if those things don’t continually grow, they might actually be declining.
We need to get out of the office and show up at networking events. We need to reach out and engage the world around us. Strike up conversations with people around you. Reach out to people and get to know those who might refer an opportunity to you some day. The majority of jobs are never advertised, because they are part of the vast, hidden job market. Being connected gives you access. The majority of prestigious, big-time clients in the typical industry can only be reached through relationships. They do not commonly walk into your office asking to be your customer. They aren’t amenable to cold calls, and they won’t respond to your direct mail piece no matter how pretty it is. “Big elephant” clients know they are important, and they expect to be wined and dined, so to speak. They are big deals and expect to be treated like a big deal.
Get out there and meet everyone you can. Ask questions. Be like a detective turning over every stone, looking for any shred of evidence that can help you make the sale. Good personal branders are seemingly “everywhere.” They live their lives so actively that other people feel as if they see them everywhere. If someone ever says to you, “I see you everywhere,” you know you’re doing something right.
Jeff Beals is an award-winning author, who helps professionals do more business and have a greater impact on the world through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. As a professional speaker, he delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or call (402) 637-9300.
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