Six Reasons To Engage in Personal Branding

By Jeff Beals

It is a simple fact: The world is a bigger, noisier, more competitive, more crowded and faster place.

Just to be noticed and respected, some- times you have to beat your chest, pound your own drum and toot your own horn. While increased competition is reason enough to market yourself, there are others. As a successful person, you have a number of reasons for building and promoting your own personal brand:

1. For the benefit of your own career,
2. To increase your name recognition,
3. To boost your personal reputation,
4. To promote your employer’s business,
5. To get new clients, and
6. To further your ideological, civic or social beliefs or a pet cause.

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 us at (402) 637-9300.

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8 Keys to Better Understand Your Clients

By Jeff Beals

Ultimately, your buyers worry about a few basic things.

Effective sales communication must clearly addresses eight key concerns buyers have about products and services:

1. saves money;

2. makes money;

3. reduces stress;

4. saves time;

5. is easy to use;

6. provides security;

7. boosts ego;

8. makes them feel good about themselves.

Regardless of industry and regardless of a prospect’s background, all buyers expect all or most of these eight concerns to be satisfied before making a purchase.

If you keep these concerns in mind you will be better able to build rapport with prospective clients and then develop a relationship that leads to trust and ultimately a signed deal.

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 us at (402) 637-9300.

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Personal Branding: The Grass Might Be Greener on YOUR Side of the Fence

By Jeff Beals

As an adventurer, thrill-seeker and internationally renowned billionaire, Sir Richard Branson has a huge personal brand. He is famous for founding Virgin Group, a British conglomerate of 400 companies including Virgin Megastores and Virgin Atlantic Airways. He has crossed the Pacific Ocean in a hot air balloon and has attempted countless sailing adventures on rough seas. He has even built spaceships.

Millions of people know and admire Branson. He has made several cameo appearances on television, and more than 3.8 million people read his Twitter tweets. With his longish blond hair and the strong facial features you would expect of a fearless adventurer, Branson is one of those rare individuals who the public instantly recognizes.

Branson’s accomplishments stand on their own merit, but he also benefits from the power of personal branding. When you are as well-known as he, it becomes easier to get things done. People seek him out and jump at the chance to do business with him.

But despite all his success, Branson surely has problems. Everybody does. Nobody is perfect. It’s hard to think about Richard Branson having worries, doubts and frustrations, because the power of his personal brand shines so brightly.

Personal branding is most effective when you throw a little “theater” into it. In other words, be like Branson, and put on a bit of a show when you’re among your sphere of interest.

For example, when you go see a stage performance in a live theater, you don’t see behind the stage, and you don’t see the actors fall out of character. Similarly, in your life, put on a bit of a show. That’s not to say you are pretending to be someone or something you are not, but it does mean you put forth the best image possible.

Think of it this way: Most people are afflicted with the “grass-is-always-greener-on-the-other-side-of-the-fence syndrome.” Take advantage of that. Exploit that common human tendency. Paint a picture of yourself that is desirable enough that everyone will want to reach their heads through the fence and eat your grass (so to speak). People don’t need to see your dirty laundry. They should see you as someone who leads the kind of life they admire and want to imitate.

But one word of caution as you harness the power of personal branding like Sir Richard does – be authentic.

Adopting a theatrical approach to your personal branding efforts in no way whatsoever should cause you to be someone you are not. Be animated, play the part and highlight your strengths but never ever lie or deliberately mislead.

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 us at (402) 637-9300.

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Present Your Selling Points in an Atmosphere of Trust

By Jeff Beals

Once you know what kind of clients you want, then you need to determine what you say and how you say it. What will be your main message? What about sub messages? This goes back to the qualities you established earlier in the strategy development process—mission, vision, core values, long- and short-term goals.

Next, focus on what benefits of your organization would be most appealing to your target audience. What do would-be clients care about most? Whatever it is, craft your communication tactics in such a way that drives these messages home in the prospects’ minds. Regardless of your message, prospects will not be receptive unless you “climb the relationship depth chart” by first establishing rapport, then developing a relationship that leads to trust.

Your message should facilitate the attainment of trust and should be spread out over the entire trust-building process.

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 us at (402) 637-9300.

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Branding is more than a logo & it applies to you too

By Jeff Beals

So what is a brand? We know it’s necessary for organizations to have one in order to sell their wares, but what exactly is it?

According to the American Marketing Association, a brand is “a name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s goods or services as distinct from those of other sellers.”

Similarly, Entrepreneur.com defines a brand as “the marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products.”

Marketing guru Seth Godin defines a brand as “the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another. If the consumer (whether it’s a business, a buyer, a voter or a donor) doesn’t pay a premium, make a selection or spread the word, then no brand value exists for that consumer.”

Godin’s definition comes closer to the modern and true definition of a brand. Don’t think of a brand as a name, symbol or trademark. In other words, Coca-Cola’s brand is far more than its famous red-and-white logo. It’s everything that goes into the experience of enjoying a Coke.

Keep in mind that branding rules apply to individual persons as well as corporations and associations.

Given all this, what’s your personal brand? Before you can sell yourself as an individual professional or use your name to sell any product or service, you need a detailed answer to this question.

Even though you’re a man or a woman, you’re also a business, a business of one, a business unto yourself. Every business that’s serious about its future works hard on its brand. So too must each of us as individuals.

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 us at (402) 637-9300.

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Embrace the Close Instead of Fearing It

By Jeff Beals

Ask an inexperienced sales professional to name the most difficult and stressful part of the sales process and the answer will likely be “the closing.”

Chances are the second most stressful part would be “overcoming objections.” That really shouldn’t be the case. For if you do everything right earlier in the process, objections are merely clarifying questions, and the close becomes an anticlimactic formality.

When you know what you’re doing, and you are confident in your abilities, objections and closings are just two steps in a long process.

Any salesperson can become worried about a deal not closing. After all, most people who sell for a living “eat only what they kill,” meaning that missed sales mean you’re not taking any money home. Every time you build a relationship with a prospect and establish trust, you’re opening yourself up. It hurts when a prospect says “no.” The fear of not making money and the risk of emotional pain together make some salespersons, especially inexperienced ones, nervous about overcoming objections and closing deals.

Sometimes you will be turned down by a prospect even when a fair amount of trust has been established. That can leave you feeling heartbroken. When a more experienced sales veteran hears such news, he or she responds carefully. Just because a prospect makes such a statement, it does not necessarily mean the deal is dead. You have to play your cards right and proceed skillfully.

You can actually seal the door shut by your reaction if you’re not careful. Defensive or “poor-me” responses make the situation uncomfortable for the prospect. Some salespersons actually react with anger. A prospect says “no” and the sales rep responds with, “How can you do that to me?” A salesperson who does that is indirectly attacking the prospect, telling him how stupid he is for making such a sorry decision. Salespersons who respond in such an unprofessional way end up driving a wedge between themselves and the prospect and essentially kill any hope of ever making a deal.

Relax. When you hear an objection or are gearing up to the close, keep everything in perspective. Remember to focus on what the prospect values, be your authentic self and plunge forward.

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 us at (402) 637-9300.

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Hot Microphone! Current-Era Cautions from Old-Time Radio

By Jeff Beals

There’s an old saying in the radio business meant to teach new disc jockeys and talk show hosts while serving as a reminder for the grizzled veterans:

“The microphone is always on.”

It’s actually more of a warning than a saying.

Before and after shows, and during commercial breaks, the producer typically turns off the microphones inside the radio studio. This allows the jocks, hosts and guests to relax, catch their breath, and get ready for the next program segment. Of course, these breaks also provide an opportunity for discussion, joking around and off-the-record comments.

That’s where that old cautionary saying comes in.

Sometimes you might think the microphone is off but it’s really on. Such an assumption can lead to a devastating error if you drop a four-letter word, expose a secret or utter some nasty piece of gossip.

They call it a “hot mic,” short for “hot microphone.”

Other names include “open mic,” “stuck mic” or simply “microphone gaffe.”

Countless politicians, business executives, celebrities and radio personalities have been burned by the hot mic. Careers have been destroyed and political candidacies abruptly ended because someone said something stupid or hurtful when they assumed nobody was listening.

I have been hosting live radio shows for 10 years and like to think I’m pretty careful, but I’ve experienced the hot mic – only once, and it wasn’t too bad, but I was still embarrassed. You’ve got to be careful. If you ever find yourself in a radio studio only say things that won’t get you in trouble if they accidentally go out over the airwaves for millions to hear.

What does this mean for you if you never plan to venture near a radio studio?

Well, in our hyper-connected, socially engaged world of 2014, we are always near a metaphorical “microphone.” If you think about it, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus and all the other social media platforms are like a radio studio. At any moment, you have the power to push a few buttons and instantly make your message available for millions of people.

If your message is particularly controversial or humiliating, it might even go viral! God forbid.

Don’t get me wrong…I’m not advocating a muted career of excessive caution. On the contrary, today’s noisy world requires us to be out in the discussion arena. We need to express ourselves, constantly communicating, sharing ideas and building our brands.

It’s better to risk a hot-microphone moment than to stay away from the microphone altogether. Just practice some discretion.

Before you say or write something, ask yourself if you would still communicate it if millions were listening to you on the radio or watching you on television. Essentially they are. Social media can be even more powerful than the traditional broadcast media. People are always listening, always watching, so remember…

…The microphone is always on.

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 us at (402) 637-9300.

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Casting a Vision & Painting a Picture

By Jeff Beals

When you sit down in front of a would-be client for the big presentation, remember it’s show time. Sure, a sales presentation should have some give-and-take, question-and-answer, but don’t forget to put on a bit of a show. It’s time to borrow a little from the theatrical world. All the hard work that you have invested in researching the prospect and preparing for the meeting is analogous to the rehearsals a theater troupe puts in before a live production.

When the curtain rises on your presentation, be ready to delight the audience. While we want to be genuine and honest, remember that show business sells. Sizzle sells. Excitement sells. Be energetic. Be positive. Be interesting. Paint a picture of how wonderful it will be to do business with you and your company. Cast a vision of how much the prospect’s life will improve because you have the perfect solution to his or her problem.

While you’re putting on that great show, don’t go too long. As they say in the theater world, leave them wanting more. Too much of a good thing is actually bad. You want your great presentation to end within a reasonable amount of time, so prospects don’t become bored, and so you have enough time for questions and answers and casual conversation, which helps strengthen relationships.

If you are pitching more than one person, make sure to focus on all of them. It can feel natural to focus all or most of your attention on the supposed decision maker, but that can be a fatal flaw. For one thing, you never can be sure who will really make the decision. Just because the CEO is in the room doesn’t mean that the vice president is automatically not the decision maker. The CEO may just be there out of curiosity and could be planning to have the trusted VP decide. If you focus too much on one person, the others present could feel slighted and disrespected. That never bodes well for you.

Men have to be particularly careful not to focus too much on the male audience members. Even in today’s generally egalitarian business culture, it is still not uncommon to see male salespersons focus far more attention on the guys during presentations. In many cases, this could be a subconscious mistake as opposed to a deliberate one. Either way, it hurts your chances if a woman in the room is the real decision maker. Even if she is not, she may have tremendous influence over the decision maker. If she feels you are prejudiced or disrespectful, she just might sabotage your chances.

Spend at least some time highlighting value-added benefits during the formal presentation. These are things that aren’t foundational to sealing the deal but can help “push it over the top.” No matter what else, the presentation should focus on what the prospective client values.

If you plan to use audio-visual aids during your sales presentation, be very careful. Too often sales professionals will invest great effort in their PowerPoint deck and too little on the delivery. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to sit there and read what appears on the screen. If you use PowerPoint or something like it, incorporate it into the pitch but don’t make it the main focus.

Nothing is more dull, boring and awkwardly artificial than a sales presenter who simply goes over a PowerPoint, especially if you are presenting to a very small group of people.

The desirable picture you paint should linger in the prospect’s mind long after you’re gone. To provide a longer lasting vision, your message should be reinforced by a leave-behind packet that might include attractive materials designed specifically for use in sales presentations. These leave-behinds, either electronic or print, should have the same design as your website, videos and other printed materials, but are created with the intent that they will be viewed by prospects as they reflect on your in-person meeting.

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 us at (402) 637-9300.

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Posted Above a Pencil Sharpener: One Family’s Multi-Generational Motto for Success

By Jeff Beals

Rod Moseman learned a great deal about hard work and discipline while growing up on a Nebraska dairy farm in the 1950s and 60s. Every day of every year, in steaming hot summers and blowing winter snows, more than a hundred cows had to be fed and milked. You could never let down. You could never take a day off.

In order to succeed, farm families put in long hours and go the extra mile. Everyone has to do their part to make the enterprise profitable – even the children.

Hoping to instill a strong work ethic in his kids, Moseman’s father transcribed a then-popular poem by Carl Holmes, entitled “And Then Some” and posted it prominently in the family’s farm house:

A retired business executive was once asked the secret of success. He replied that it could be summed up in three words…and then some.

“I discovered at an early age,” he declared, “that most of the difference between average people and top people could be explained in three words. The top people did what was expected of them…and then some.

They were thoughtful of others, they were considerate and kind…and then some.

They met their obligations and responsibilities fairly and squarely…and then some.

We are thankful for people like that, for they make the world more livable, for their spirit of service is summed up in the three little words…and then some.”

That short passage made a huge impression on young Moseman. He committed it to memory and used it as a source of motivation throughout his college education and ultimately his entire career.

The poem was so meaningful that Moseman followed his father’s example and passed it on to his own children. He printed the passage and posted it above a pencil sharpener where his daughters did their homework. Like his father, Moseman would often remind his girls of “the three little words.”

And then some.

After graduating from college in 1972, Moseman went on to a successful career in economic development, helping companies build new offices, stores and factories. Economic development is an incredibly competitive profession. Cities and states spend millions of dollars fighting each other trying to lure desirable companies and all the money and talented people that come with them. It’s a fast-moving industry, which requires intensity, commitment and focus. Moseman had all that…and then some.

Over the past 40 years, Moseman has been involved in the creation of tens of thousands of jobs as well as countless billions of dollars in capital investment. He has worked closely with some of the world’s best-known corporate titans such as Yahoo!, Union Pacific, Gallup, PayPal, Fidelity, BMW, Travelers and many others.

And not only was he good at recruiting businesses, he was innovative. Many of the strategies and tactics he employed had never been seen in the economic development profession.

Through all those years and all that hard work, Moseman kept those three little words in his head.

And then some.

Those words came in handy. Whether he was lamenting the loss of hard-fought battle for a corporate headquarters, going the extra mile to impress consultants considering sites for a new manufacturing plant or finding the spare energy when he and his staff labored to finish a proposal at three o’clock in the morning, he remembered that passage from his childhood.

And then some.

On December 31st, Moseman officially retired from his position as senior vice president of economic development at the Greater Omaha Chamber. He had a nice party and received a lot of well-deserved messages of appreciation. But anyone who knows him, knows that Rod isn’t looking for an old-fashioned retirement. Nope. It’s on to the next phase of his career as a consultant.

Like I said earlier, economic development is a competitive game, so there will be plenty of clients for Moseman’s new consultancy. Whoever hires him can rest assured they will not only be hiring his knowledge and experience, they’ll be getting his best effort…

…and then some.

After all, it’s a three-generation family motto!

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 us at (402) 637-9300.

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Strategy & Tactics Living in Harmony

By Jeff Beals

It’s so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day work of marketing companies and selling products that we forget to think big. Successful selling requires good planning as well as empathy for and understanding of your colleagues.

For a little perspective, let’s go back to the beginning…

The concepts of “strategy” and “tactics” came originally from military philosophy. Thousands of years ago, the Sun Tzu writings in China set the foundation for much of modern military thought.

In contemporary times, marketers have borrowed the concepts of strategy and tactics in designing master plans for the movement of products from their producer to their eventual buyer.

Just as some military scholars argue over the fine line separating strategy from tactics, so do marketers. In fact, many of the so-called strategies identified in sales and marketing books are actually tactics. Furthermore, most sales books are heavy on tactics but light on strategy. That’s okay. Most professionals probably spend more day-to-day time on tactical issues, but they have to make sure their tactics grow out of a well-defined, carefully planned strategic framework.

Generally, strategy relates to the broad, big-picture view. Strategy seeks to solve the overarching problem. It’s the 30,000-foot view. Strategy is based on your philosophy, comes from your goals and determines where you put your focus and your money. Tactics, on the other hand, are the details, the actual things you do to carry out the strategy.

Given all this, it’s worth taking a moment to think about your business. How solid is your plan?

Those in charge need to focus on the strategy side. They must understand the tactics but not get too deep in the detail for fear of losing perspective.

If you’re in a client-facing role, your life is more tactical but you still must have a clear vision of the strategic foundation upon which the tactical efforts rest.

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 us at (402) 637-9300.

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