New Ways to Market Yourself in 2015

By Jeff Beals

Here it is: your annual personal branding article!  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 2015.

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 Sales Pro – 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.  Social meeting is not just for fun; it’s an essential business tool.

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 and Instagram 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 2015 bring you unprecedented prosperity.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps companies increase their profits and associations achieve their missions 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 info@jeffbeals.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.

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Ever Wonder What It’s like to Work at a Toy Company?

By Jeff Beals

The toy industry is no place for the faint of heart.

You might be surprised to hear that. After all, what could be more fun than working in a business that designs and manufactures the delightful toys children love worldwide?

Well, just because the subject matter is fun does not guarantee that the work is fun.

That’s what employees at Mattel have learned the hard way in recent years, according to a Wall Street Journal article entitled “Floundering Mattel Tries to Make Things Fun Again.”

While the toy industry has been stagnant lately, things were worse at Los Angeles-based Mattel compared to its competitors like Hasbro and Lego. Mattel has lost more than a third of its market value this year. That equals a $6.1 billion decline, one of the worst performances in corporate America.

What’s the deal?

Apparently, much of the problem can be attributed to a cumbersome, procedure-laden corporate bureaucracy. Mattel was suffering from analysis paralysis. Executives were locked up in seemingly never-ending meetings addressing mind-numbing minutiae.

According to the Wall Street Journal article, employees would spend weeks putting together elaborate PowerPoint decks that would include 100 slides or more detailing every facet of a product or marketing campaign. A website redesign took almost a whole year. Some executives were so overwhelmed with meetings that they would place imaginary/fake appointments on their Outlook calendars so admin assistants couldn’t schedule additional meetings. (I may have been guilty of that a couple of times in my career).

Mattel executives eventually realized their oppressive structure and rampant indecisiveness were stymieing creativity and killing sales.

You got to give Mattel credit, because they realized the problem and changed things around. Enter the new policies:

  1. No meetings are to be held without a specific purpose;
  2. No more than 10 people should participate in a meeting (unless it is a training session);
  3. There should be no more than a total of three meetings to make any decision.

Many organizations could learn from Mattel’s experience. It is easy to get bogged down. That’s bad for productivity and even worse for creativity. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, executive, sales-and-marketing person or any other type of professional, creativity has never been more important. To be successful in today’s competitive and fast-paced world, you and your company need to innovate.

Don’t let unnecessary hurdles dampen your ability to develop brilliant new ideas. Don’t let bureaucracy and “structure” stop you from taking action.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps companies increase their profits and associations achieve their missions 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 info@jeffbeals.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.

Click here to subscribe to Jeff’s weekly articles!http://bit.ly/1l86RC6

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Avoiding Blindness Is a Key to Your Sales Success

By Jeff Beals

One of the first values a good sales leader must establish is the belief that team is more important than the individual. This is tricky, because salespersons tend to be very independent personalities. They tend to be self-confident and like making decisions for themselves without a lot of management oversight.

In such an environment, the sales leader needs to respect each salesperson’s individualism and extend a level of trust and autonomy to each of them. At the same time, the leader can’t allow a salesperson to go rogue. The good of the organization ultimately must be placed above the selfish desires of any individual no matter how talented he or she may be.

Exceptional sales pros, motivated and talented individuals who produce results, don’t grow on trees.  They are NOT a dime a dozen.  While not necessarily rare, outstanding sales pros are special.  It takes a lot of effort to find them and keep them.  Because of that, it’s easy to be blinded by talent.

Don’t let that happen.

Sales leaders sometimes get so enamored with a potential rep’s sparkling personality and jaw-dropping talent that they fail to notice the flaws.  Many sales leaders have hurt their careers because they couldn’t see past a rep’s talent and realize that his ethics or work habits were lacking.

In the long run, no business will come out on top if it hires ethically questionable salespersons even if those salespersons look great on the outside.  No business will come out on top if it hires lazy sales people.

Blinding Clients

Blindness is not only a problem when hiring sales professionals. You can be blinded by prospective clients too. Some sales professionals have essentially sold their souls in order to attract a single too-good-to-be-true prospect who turns out to be a bust.

Look for prospects that will actually boost your business, not those that will end up costing it more in the end. Those clients that look too good to be true most likely are.

Truly one of the keys to success as a salesperson or a sales leader is to avoid blindness and see reality.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps companies increase their profits and associations achieve their missions 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 info@jeffbeals.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.

Click here to subscribe to Jeff’s weekly articles!http://bit.ly/1l86RC6

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Personal Branding and the Most Expensive Photograph Ever Sold

Phantom by Peter Lik

By Jeff Beals

You are looking at the most expensive photograph ever sold.

A collector recently paid $6.5 million for the original. It’s called “Phantom” and was shot by Peter Lik, an Australian-born photographer who now works in the United States.

Lik captured this image at Arizona’s Antelope Canyon, a geologically unique slot canyon located on Navajo land. Lik considers it to be “one of the most powerful” photos he has ever created.

The photograph is beautiful. Stunning. Frankly, it’s unlike anything I have ever seen.

But would you pay $6.5 million for it?

Would you be even less inclined to pay that money if you knew several other photographers have captured the almost same image?

My good friend Brad Williams is an accomplished photographer who has spent countless hours photographing the American Southwest. He tells me that several photographers have taken very similar shots in the exact same place. Yet their photos sell for just the tiniest fraction of Lik’s big-money shot.

Why is that? It’s the power of personal branding!

Lik is famous in the photography world. He has made a huge name for himself shooting artistic, panoramic landscapes. According to “The Creator’s Project,” Lik is now responsible for four of the 20 most expensive photographs ever.

I have long extolled the benefits of personal branding. No matter what you do, you benefit when a large number of people know your name and have a positive feeling associated with it. The buyer who invested all those millions of dollars to own one single photograph was buying a name along with the art.

Just like Peter Lik, you must do excellent work but along with that, build up your name. A highly respected and widely recognized personal brand simply makes life easier. It very well could make your life more profitable as well.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps companies increase their profits and associations achieve their missions 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 info@jeffbeals.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.

Click here to subscribe to Jeff’s weekly articles!http://bit.ly/1l86RC6

Click here to see sample videos of Jeff speaking to live audiences!  http://bit.ly/1gZqcoA

What You Really Need to Know about LinkedIn

By Jeff Beals

“LinkedIn is to today’s professionals what the yellow pages were to businesses 20 years ago.”

I’ve been saying that line quite a bit lately when professionals ask me how they can use social media for business and career success.  LinkedIn has been around for quite a while, but now it is becoming front-and-center.  LinkedIn is on the radar!  I can’t believe how many people have asked me for LinkedIn advice over the past month or two.

That’s a good thing, because LinkedIn is one of the most powerful networking tools available.

If you do not personally show up on LinkedIn, you may as well not exist just as a company that wasn’t in the yellow pages back in the day essentially didn’t exist.

LinkedIn has become THE way for professionals to be noticed, find opportunities and make profitable business relationships.  It’s a virtual clearinghouse.  If you are not fully capitalizing on LinkedIn’s power, you are missing out.

If you’re not on LinkedIn, start your profile today.  If you already have a profile, you will want to take a little time to assess it and see if you can improve your profile strength rating.

Here are a few things to keep in mind to maximize the one form of social media that is most important to professionals:

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

Placing a picture on your profile is almost as foundational as having your name on it.  Nobody takes your profile seriously if you didn’t take the time to upload your headshot.

Max It Out

Maximize your profile’s effectiveness by filling out all the possible fields.  Do not skip any part. LinkedIn is not a place to be a wilting flower.  It is not a place for excessive modesty.  Sure, you want to be tasteful as you describe yourself, but when it comes to LinkedIn, don’t leave anything on the table.

30,000-Foot View

One of the first things to appear on your LinkedIn profile is the summary section.  This is where you describe yourself broadly.  It is not tied to any one job you may have held.  The summary is your introduction to the reader and provides a chance to show your personality, your career focus and the value you bring to an employer or prospective client.  Make yourself sound like the successful, competent professional that you are by using compelling, robust key words.  Remember that LinkedIn is searchable, so you want to have a lot of words for a searcher to grab.

Job by Job

List each job you have had in chronological order.  Just like the summary section above, use descriptive keywords.  Don’t just say what you did in a matter-of-fact way; talk about the impact you had and the value you created in each job.

Be a Joiner

LinkedIn offers a wide variety of discussion groups that you can join.  Search for groups that relate to your interests and professional expertise.  You can participate in group discussions or read what others have to say.  In addition to learning new things related to your field, these groups help you develop relationships with other professionals.  Even if you do not have time to be actively involved in LinkedIn groups, join a few anyway.  That way your name shows up when someone searches for people in that group.

It’s All Who You Know

Build your list of connections.  Reach out to people you know.  The spirit of LinkedIn says that you only connect with people you know but many people violate this.  I recommend you only reach out to people with whom you have some connection unless there is some other compelling reason.  If you are about to join a new company, you may want to reach out to people already working there.  Perhaps you are going to a conference and you want to connect with other attendees ahead of time.  In these instances, include a short note explaining why you are reaching out along with the connection invitation.

Some people wonder if they should accept a LinkedIn connection invitation from someone they don’t know.  Again, the spirit of LinkedIn is to only accept people you know, but I personally don’t subscribe to that rule.  Given what I do, I live a somewhat public life, so I accept everyone who asks to connect unless something about their profile looks fishy or out of the ordinary.  You will have to decide what is right for you.

Monitor Who Sees You

It’s not out of paranoia but rather a source of good networking intel. LinkedIn allows you to see who has viewed your profile.  Anyone who takes the time to look up your profile probably has a reason for doing so.  That means you might have the opportunity to do business together in the future.  Look at their profile too.  If there seems to be synergy in your work, you might want to reach out to that person.

Let Yourself Be Seen

Just as you can see people who looked up your profile, others can see that it was you who looked at theirs.  You don’t want to be a stalker, but it might be to your benefit to look up the profiles of of people who could hire you or become your clients.  They may notice that you saw them, which may in turn cause them to look you up.  This simple exposure to people who are professionally beneficial to you could lead to a positive outcome.

In Conclusion

Don’t be left in the shadows!  LinkedIn opens all kinds of professional opportunities for you.  Even if you’re one of those persons who has a distaste for social media, it is still in your best interest to hang your virtual shingle and be a registered member of today’s economy.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps companies increase their profits and associations achieve their missions 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 info@jeffbeals.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.

Click here to subscribe to Jeff’s weekly articles!http://bit.ly/1l86RC6

Click here to see sample videos of Jeff speaking to live audiences!  http://bit.ly/1gZqcoA