A few months ago I did an interview with Dan Schawbel and I thought I would share it with you all here. Dan speaks about personal branding and how sales reps can position themselves to succeed it what I call the New Sales Economy. While the interview focuses on sales reps, it’s important to remember that everyone is selling something — and building your personal brand can help you to sell yourself more effectively.
Enjoy the interview!
Dan, why should sales reps care about building their personal brand and how can it help them create more opportunities?
Sales reps should certainly care about building their personal brands because of a few reasons. First, they are brand ambassadors for their companies, which means the experience they have with the customer or potential customer is going to leave a lasting impression for how the customer sees the corporate brand. Second, sales reps are accountable for their success or failure and, as their quota, keeps increasing, their personal brand becomes more important to closing deals. Basically, people want to do business with those they know, like and trust. You need to be that person!
What should sales reps be doing to create their personal brand online?
Sales reps have incredible opportunities ahead of them online. In my opinion, the biggest opportunity is the creation of online videos to tighten the customer/potential customer and sales rep relationship. If you watch a video of a sales rep talking about who he or she is and what he can provide to you, you can make a quick decision if you want to deal with him or her. That is really powerful because it saves both people time and money. Also, there is a lot of room for sales rep blogs out there. Why not create a blog, much like what you’ve done here with the New Sales Economy blog, to explore new ideas and congregate an audience of potential buyers? The only cost is your time.
I agree that sales reps need to be creating valuable content and make it available to their customers and prospects. What effect do you think social media is going to have on the sales profession over the coming years?
Sales will be forced to rely on more attraction based marketing practices instead of cold calling. Also, sales people will be more prepared during the sales cycle because they can track conversations online and freely access customer/potential information. Also, everyone is in sales or should think like a salesperson these days because we all have to sell ourselves,but if you’re hired to do sales for a company, then it’s smart to build a list of people who you can sell to over time.
What will happen to the sales reps who don’t see the value in building their personal brand and online presence?
They will lose clients to those who keep current, so they’ll be forced to learn these new methods.
How can Me 2.0 help sales reps get ahead in the New Sales Economy?
Me 2.0 will explain to sales reps how to create, communicate and maintain their brand and ensure they’ve chosen the right career path with the “brand discovery” chapter. The language in the book is clear and can be read and digested by someone whose never created a website before. It’s a huge competitive advantage to read this book and if you’re the 500,000 person to pick it up, you’re probably too late.
Should sales reps start a blog? How can it help them sell more?
Sales reps can start a blog if they put the effort into it, are accountable for what they write and are accepting of criticism. It can help attract new customers and the people who subscribe will purchase your products over and over again.
What are your favorite social media sites and how do they help you create more opportunities?
My favorite social network now is Twitter. It allows me to connect directly with my audience, while pushing them to all my internet properties, further promoting my brand. Facebook is becoming less and less valuable to me for business and more important for people keeping track of everything I’m doing, like family and friends. LinkedIn is really helpful for professional networking and I just established a group on there that has created opportunities for a few hundred people already.
Great insight and answers Dan!
Make sure you pick up Dan’s book Me 2.0: Build A Powerful Personal Brand to Achieve Career Success. Why should you read it? There are opportunities waiting to be seized by sales reps that create a powerful personal brand and online presence. Dan Schawbel’s book will help you get started.
Chad Levitt is the author of the New Sales Economy blog, which focuses on how Sales 2.0 & Social Media can help you connect, create more opportunities and increase your business. Chad is also the featured Sales 2.0 blogger at SalesGravy.com, the number one web portal for sales pros, the professional athletes of the business world. Make sure to connect with him on Twitter @chadalevitt.