We mostly think of “Branding” as applying to our company name and our most important products, so the idea of “personal branding” may be new to us. But when we consider other organizations, names like Elon Musk, LeBron James, and Mark Zuckerberg remind us that individuals themselves can become valuable brands as well. In the customers’ minds, sales and service reps can acquire personal branding equal to their employer’s.
Customers purchase products they trust from companies they trust. But the most important trust is placed in the people who support them through purchase decisions and implementation.
Why Personal Branding is Important for Sales Reps
Do you need to build your own brand? Yes you do in a professional like sales, where achieving your goals and ambitions depend entirely upon building strong trust relationships.
Do you want to achieve increasingly greater professional success throughout the course of your working career and become known as the expert in your particular field?
If you answered “yes”, then you do need to build your personal brand.
What is a personal brand?
It’s different than a corporate brand: It’s not a logo, a slogan, a marketing campaign, or a specific look that people will know you by.
Your personal brand consists of the sum total of your reputation — how you are perceived within your company and industry, and how far and wide you are known inside your own organization and industry.
You might be an expert. You might be incredibly talented, reliable, and easy to work with. But if no one’s heard of you, including the top executives at your company, it’s time to do some personal marketing.
Your personal brand consists of what you know, who you know, and who knows you
Let’s take a closer look, starting with what you know. You are already great at what you do, aren’t you? You truly care about your customers, you are honest and reliable with them, and you follow through on your commitments.
You’re keeping up with developments in your industry, staying on the leading edge with continuing education, conferences, industry journals, and whatever is required. This is the foundation of what you need to succeed professionally in a rapidly changing world. If you want to be perceived as an expert, the first step is to truly become one.
In addition to what you know, and who you know, who knows YOU is equally important.
- What is your vision of your personal brand?
- How do you want to be perceived?
- What do you want people to say about you when you’re not in the room?
Answering these questions is the beginning of igniting your personal brand.
Why Sales Rep Personal Branding is Important for Managers to Encourage and Support
Many sales and business managers are uncomfortable with the idea of individual reps becoming “stars.” But this is a mistake. Top-performing sales and service reps are the positive face of your company, so it is healthy for your business to have them well perceived in the marketplace.
Here are three ways that sales reps who use personal branding techniques can help your company as a whole:
1. Discover internal talent
When employees promote themselves, they tend to reveal hidden talents that are useful to the entire team. In one of our recent workshops, a shy graphic designer shared that he often made slide decks for the design department. He showed a few examples, and his marketing and sales co-workers exclaimed, “We had no idea you could do that! We’ve been outsourcing our slides to external designers for years.” Everyone walked away happy to have discovered this internal resource.
2. Promote from within
Personal branding can clarify your view of potential candidates for job openings. If you like to promote from within, it’s helpful to have lots of employees who market themselves. Otherwise, you’re left promoting the one employee who got an endorsement from a manager, but who may not be the best person for the job. The more employees self-promote, the greater your chances of finding the right internal candidate for an open role.
3. Retain top performers
If your top performers don’t market themselves, they’re more likely to leave your company. You simply won’t be able to leverage their full skillset — or give them projects that tap into their talents — if you don’t know what they have to offer. This will leave them feeling frustrated, bored, and looking for other places that will take advantage of their talent.
Personal branding is a win-win for your sales and customer relationship employees and for your company.