Prepare for Prosperity: Marketing Yourself in 2014

By Jeff Beals

As has become tradition, a “New Year’s special,” I’m reminding you to up your game when it comes to marketing yourself.

The beginning of the year is a perfect time to assess your personal brand status and make plans to grow and strengthen the image people have of you.

Make no mistake…You ARE a brand. You’re a business of one, a business unto yourself. Every successful business makes annual marketing goals. As a “personal business,” so too must you. So too must all of us.

Whether you want more/bigger clients or a better career opportunity, make a commitment to market yourself in 2014.

To get you started, here are 12 items to consider:

Focus externally – Be active and involved outside your home or office. Show up at networking events. Go out of your way to talk to people when you are in public venues. Remember that nearly 75% of all jobs are never advertised and a similar percentage of big clients only come from relationship-building. Make it a goal to attend a certain number of events per month.

Think Like a Salesperson – Because you are a “business” of one, you need to sell yourself the way businesses sell themselves. Read up on marketing and sales techniques. Remember that a good sales rep always has lots of prospects moving through all parts of his or her pipeline (sometimes referred to as a funnel) at all times. In other words, at any given time, you should be meeting new people, strengthening relationships with existing acquaintances and holding serious professional conversations (deal-making, so to speak) with people you know well.

Find the Fascinating – You need an “area of self-marketing expertise,” something about your business or career that is fascinating to people outside your profession. Feature this when you are networking or using social media.

Focus on results when networking – Determine what is most interesting about your career and your line of work and then exploit it. I call it your “area of self marketing expertise.” That’s what you talk about when you meet new people, not the mundane, technical details that will cause a lay person’s eyes to glaze over in boredom.

Build a “Google trail” – If you haven’t done a search on your name lately, see what’s out there. I guarantee that people are Googling you on a regular basis. A prospective client will probably Google you to know who he or she is dealing with before meeting with you. That’s why a Google trail is so important. If nothing or very little pops up when someone Googles you, there’s a problem – they’ll assume you don’t have much going on. Therefore, Google your own name on a regular basis. If you’re not very visible on line, deliberately get your name out there to build an Internet presence.

Get serious about social media – Be honest…Is your online brand inadequate? Social media are now to people what the Yellow Pages were to businesses 20 years ago – THE place where future clients and prospective employers find out about you. Don’t just have a presence on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Make sure you post material that is interesting and not just inane personal stuff. Use social media to strengthen your reputation by building on your area of self-marketing expertise.

Go Beyond the Big Three – LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook are great, but don’t stop there. The more social media outlets you use, the better. Google+ is growing in importance. You can even use Pinterest to build a personal brand. Some professionals have received great benefit from placing short videos on YouTube. Blogging has long been a powerful personal branding tool.

Use Your Real Name – In order to build your personal brand awareness, use your real name when reviewing products on websites, making comments at the end of newspaper/magazine articles and posting comments on discussion forums. Just make sure the things you write help your personal brand as opposed to harming it.

Engage the Media – Volunteer your expertise to media outlets in your industry as well as your local market. Make a point to meet members of your local and industry media and build friendly relationships with them. In addition to traditional media, you can get a lot of mileage from doing blogs and podcasts.

Refresh your elevator speech – Does your 20-second intro speech need updating? You need to be able to say what you do quickly, clearly and in a way that captures a person’s interest. A useful elevator speech also conveys how a person could benefit from what you do.

Ask probing questions – Don’t just chit-chat and make small talk during networking conversations. Ask some questions designed to uncover the critical information that leads to new opportunities.

Listen to your clients and colleagues – When we get too busy, it’s easy to start making assumptions. Those assumptions can cause you to lose opportunities. Instead, ask the important questions and truly listen to the responses. Don’t just go through the motions. Let the other person’s words sink in and make an impression on your brain.

By the way, never let up. When things are good, don’t let complacency stop you from perpetually marketing yourself. When things are going poorly, don’t let discouragement be an excuse for apathy.

Remember, marketing yourself is never about ego; it’s just marketing. In a loud and crowded world, hard work and talent are no longer enough. You need to make sure key audiences know about your abilities and accomplishments.

At the dawn of a New Year, as it is all year long, destiny is in your hands.

May 2014 bring you unprecedented prosperity.

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. You can learn more and follow his “Beals Motivation Blog” at www.JeffBeals.com.

They Name Restaurants After Celebrities Because It Works

By Jeff Beals

Brett Favre’s Steakhouse, located at 1004 Brett Favre Pass in Green Bay, Wisconsin, is full of memorabilia from the famous Green Bay Packers quarterback’s legendary career. The walls are covered with Favre posters, enlarged covers of Sports Illustrated editions featuring Favre and old Favre game jerseys. Wandering around the restaurant, you’ll find some of Favre’s trophies and personal items on display. It’s a shrine to all things Favre and all things Packers.

In Austin, Texas’ booming downtown you’ll find the Vince Young Steakhouse named after the legendary University of Texas quarterback who led the Longhorns to a national championship in 2005. This prime steakhouse is so elegant inside, you would think you were in midtown Manhattan were it not for the massive photo mural of Young at the Rose Bowl and a statue of a longhorn steer in the lobby.

In the Boston suburb of Hingham, Massachusetts, you’ll find Wahlburgers, named after movie star Mark Wahlburg.

Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse is located on the Magnificent Mile in downtown Chicago.

Arnold Palmer’s restaurant is a popular draw in La Quinta, California.

Wherever you go there’s a good chance you’re not far from a celebrity-affiliated restaurant named after some famous actor, rock star or professional athlete. Celebrity-affiliated restaurants succeed for many reasons but certainly one of the biggest reasons is the name, the brand.

It’s the power of celebrity. People love to associate with people who have done great things worthy of everyone’s attention.

If it works for restaurants, it can work for us too. That’s what makes personal branding such an important skill for entrepreneurs, salespersons and professionals of all sorts. Whether you like it or not, you will probably do more business and go further in life if a large number of people have heard your name and have a positive feeling associated with it.

The key is to become a celebrity in your own sphere of interest. You need the people who have influence over your success – clients, prospective clients, stakeholders, colleagues, influential members of the public, etc. – to recognize your name and know what it stands for. You accomplish this by doing good work, building a large list of contacts and making sure those people know about you and what you do.

Most of us are modest enough that we wouldn’t feel comfortable naming a prime steakhouse after ourselves, but just as diners are attracted to a famous quarterback’s restaurant, people in your life can get very excited about you.

If you become a celebrity in your own sphere of interest, people will be more likely to return your call, recommend you to future clients and bring unsolicited opportunities your way.

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. You can learn more and follow his “Beals Motivation Blog” at www.JeffBeals.com.

Sales Blast: Resisting the Allure Corporate Bollocks

By Jeff Beals

A new study from the Financial Times indicates that fewer than 10 percent of business executives actually understand the meaning of commonly used corporate jargon and business buzzwords. The researchers surveyed nearly a thousand executives and found that “the overwhelming majority were ‘quite unable’ to correctly explain the jargon they use on a daily basis.”

The study described most of the surveyed executives as possessing “‘admittedly ignorant’ understanding of ‘very confusing’ management speak.” Nevertheless, the survey respondents admitted to using an average of five corporate buzzwords each day.

Whether they uttered the words in board rooms, in client meetings or high-stakes social settings, the executives believed the words “made them look more professional or intelligent” and “cemented their positions of authority.”

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Buzzwords and jargon are painful to the ear and patronizing to the brain. Those who use twenty-five-dollar words in the hopes of sounding brilliant end up sounding anything but brilliant at least to those people who are good at seeing through nonsense.

The professional world has long been plagued by the use of double-speaking buzzwords. Resist the temptation! Over the course of time, clear communicators are more respected than those whose mouths spew never-ending phrases of corporate bollocks.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email at info@jeffbeals.com or call (402) 637-9300.

Mix & Mingle Like the World’s 100 Most Powerful People

By Jeff Beals

Nelson Mandela’s memorial service provided the backdrop for what may have been the largest gathering of powerful people in world history. Approximately 100 heads of state from all corners of the globe attended the historical event. The number of presidents, kings and prime ministers at Mandela’s service exceeded the 70 heads of state who attended Pope John Paul II’s funeral in 2005, which was then considered the biggest concentration of power in world history.

While the dignitaries were in South Africa to mourn and pay their respects to the one of history’s most transformational leaders, the event was also one heck of a networking opportunity.

Just think about the decisions that were made, the relationships that were strengthened and the business that was accomplished when a hundred world leaders came together in one venue shaking hands, making small talk and bringing up important issues face-to-face.

While you and I will probably never attend a networking event of such gravity, we do find ourselves milling among crowds of people who could potentially become our customers, recommend us or send opportunities our way. Networking events are not only important opportunities, they are moments of truth. During these fleeting moments of time, we must perform properly in order to reach our goals.

Here are some networking rules to keep in mind whether you’re hobnobbing with world leaders, rubbing shoulders with movers-and-shakers or simply mingling with prospective clients:

Start with a Purpose
Focus on results when networking. When you go to networking events, go with a goal in mind. Sure, you should try to enjoy the social aspects of your conversations, but make it your mission to meet new people, find a good lead and learn about a golden opportunity.

A Positive Face
When participating in any networking event, bring a positive attitude even if you don’t want to be there. People with energy and enthusiasm are more attractive to fellow networkers.

Focus
While you never know who could provide you with opportunities or valuable information, make your networking efficient by seeking out people in your target audience. Spend the preponderance of your time with people who can help you reach your goals in the shortest period of time.

Listening
It’s about them. No matter how much they might deny it, the truth is that people really care most about themselves. Listen twice as much as you talk when interacting with any one person at a networking event.

Be Forgiving
The better you become at interpersonal communication the more you’ll realize how lousy the rest of us are at it! Try not to become too frustrated when your discussion partners aren’t as skilled at networking as you are.

Questions
Ultimately, networking should lead to some tangible benefit. You can push professional relationships forward in part by asking questions. Ask things that lead people down a path to your ultimate goal. You may find benefit in preparing questions ahead of time and rehearsing in your mind how you might ask such questions.

Valuable Leave-Behind
You should leave discussion partners with an item of value but this is nothing you can see, taste or touch. It’s intangible – something like a joke, piece of trivia or a bit of interesting insider information. These intangible leave-behinds make you and your message more memorable.

Observe the Masters
If you are shy or awkward in professional networking situations, you can improve by observing the masters, those people who are naturally gifted at making small talk, working the room and connecting people. Emulate what they do well and you may eventually become a master yourself.

Those powerful world leaders consorting in Johannesburg have mastered networking and know how to use interpersonal situations to advance their agendas. After all, it’s highly unlikely anyone could attain such professional heights without well-developed networking skills. Make a commitment to network more and remember to do it deliberately with a purpose. Consistently hobnobbing over a long period of time will increase your public profile, connect you with the right people and help you become that person who always seems to know about business and political happenings long before your colleagues do.

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. You can learn more and follow his “Beals Motivation Blog” at www.JeffBeals.com.

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Winning Over Influencers and Turning Them into Something More

By Jeff Beals

Not all influencers are champions and not all champions are influencers, but often one person can play both roles.

Influencers and champions play such important roles in the sales effort that savvy professionals work hard to identify them and manipulate them. Sales pros can win over influencers, but they have to create champions.

What’s the difference between the two terms? Quite a bit, even though they often work hand-in-hand.

An influencer is someone who helps a prospect make decisions and often sways that decision. The influencer is someone special or important in the prospect’s life to whom he or she turns for advice, guidance and sometimes even accountability. Some influencers are neutral and objective, preferring to play a listening and counseling role, helping prospects come to their own decisions. Other influencers have definite opinions and try to talk the prospect into making a certain buying decision.

Champions are biased by definition. They champion a cause or organization in which they believe. They are advocates. They are cheerleaders. They endorse and give testimony for those they believe in. For many possible reasons, they are loyal to one company above all its competitors.

The more champions you have, the more successful you’ll be in whatever you are trying to accomplish. Sales professionals need specific strategies for developing and deploying champions as well as how to identify and win over influencers. When you encounter an influencer, you want to turn them into a champion. If you can get the person who influences the buying decision, especially if the influencer is particularly influential, to become your raving fan, your chances of landing the business are outstanding.

To see sample videos of Jeff speaking, go to: http://bit.ly/1gZqcoA

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email at info@jeffbeals.com or call (402) 637-9300.