• Learn How to Build a Powerful Personal Brand That Will Differentiate You and Allow You To Compete in the Global Marketplace.
  • How to Say “No” Without Damaging Your Brand

    Everyone who wants a strong brand must learn how to say “no” without damaging their brand.

    Branding success for both businesses and individuals involves more than just attracting and building a loyal following; it also requires retaining your followers’ loyalty…even when you have to say “no.”

    You can’t turn your brand “on” or “off” like a light switch.


    Your brand is always watching
    . Whether you’re an author, an employee, a job hunter, or a Fortune 500 corporation, your brand is always being judged on the basis of how consistent your everyday behavior is with the messages and impressions you offer in your social marketing.

    “No” is an inevitable & universal part of branding

    Your brand is especially vulnerable at emotionally-charged moments, like when you have to say “no” to another person. “No” usually results in feelings of rejection and failure.

    This often occurs when a prospective client or employer’s needs (like hiring the least-expensive, best-qualified individual) intersect with a coach, consultant, or job hunter’s psychological insecurities and self-image (i.e., “Don’t they think I’m good enough?”).

    In hiring and sales situations, both parties must remember that the stakes are higher than just the specific issue, long-term branding consequences are involved.

    For example:

    • Hiring.  A rude recruiter can do lasting damage to their firm’s brand when they reject an applicant. Yet, “interview branding” is a 2-way street: how a job hunter responds to a job offer can burn a bridge as easily as it can create a lifelong networking contact. Both brands are on trial during a “no sale” interview.
    • Managing. Great marketing and big ads cannot compensate for employee horror stories or broken promises. But, an employee’s brand takes a hit when they turn down opportunities for advancement or new responsibilities.
    • Vendors. The business/vendor interface is also a brand building or brand-unraveling situation. The subtlest interactions are significant. Last Sunday night, for example, I emailed a publisher and asked for a couple of review copies. Monday afternoon, I received an e-mail confirmation. On Thursday, the books arrived! (Wow! This is unheard of!)  This week, I’m sending a proposal to them.
    • Clients. Saying “no” to prospective clients is difficult, but sometimes has to be done because the “fit” isn’t right at the time.  Yet, if a coach says “no” the wrong way, they’re eliminating the possibility of a future relationship. Say “no” the right way, and the door remains open and referrals may result. How clients turn down proposals is equally critical.
    • Joint ventures. How do you turn down invitations for joint marketing projects effects how they view your brand the same way their requests to your invitations becomes an element of their brand.
    • Interviews. During the past 10 years, I’ve interviewed over500 authors who have, in many cases, written books that have created famous, lasting brands. Many of my guests have been at the peak of their careers, but treated me as if I was Ed McMahon visiting from Publisher’s Clearing House. Others, often, first-time authors, weren’t as gracious. In either case, their behavior influenced their brand. Many said “no,” but in a way that enhanced their brand. Many said “yes,” but diminished their brand.
    • Referrals. As you become more successful, building your brand through social media and writing a book, you’re going to be networking with other experts in your field. Some are going to be better known than you, and vice versa. As you start out, pay particular attention to differing ways you’re treated when you ask for a pre-publication quote, so that you’ll be more sensitive to the way you respond to requests from next generation of authors asking you for help.

    How to say “no” in a brand-sensitive way

    The problem of clashing perspectives is compounded by a widespread lack of training in saying “no” in a way that doesn’t damage a firm or individual’s brand.

    Although there’s a tsunami of advice about using social media to expert brand brands, there’s relatively little about saying “no” without doing damage to the other party’s feelings–or your own brand. Here are a couple of guidelines, however:

    1. Awareness. Remind yourself that your brand is everything you do, your “everyday” behavior as much as your book. Your brand is always on trial. Don’t write the perfect book about customer service, then act impatient when a caller has a problem opening your PDF or your book gets lost in the mail. Always act from a long-term perspective.
    2. Empathy. Adopt a “Golden Rule” approach: learn how to say “no” the way you’d like to receive the bad news. Before you say “no,” put yourself in the recipient’s shoes. Anticipate and respect their reactions.
    3. Guidelines. Finally, look for ways to replace subjectivity with objectivity. Establish easily-understood policies or measurable standards that will help quantify your decisions.

    Your brand will be judged as much by your ability to say “no” as by the qualify of your expertise and the professionalism of your delivery. Saying “no” is an inevitable part of doing business. Learn how to say “no” in a way that builds, instead of damages, your brand.

    Author:

    Roger C. Parker is an author, book coach, designer, consultant who works with authors, marketers, & business professionals to achieve success with brand-building books & practical marketing strategy. He helps create successful marketing materials that look great & get results, and can turn any complex marketing or writing task into baby steps. Visit his blog to learn more or ask a question.

    Roger C. Parker is an author, book coach, designer, consultant who works with authors, marketers, & business professionals to achieve success with brand-building writing & practical marketing strategy. He helps create successful marketing materials that look great & get results, and can turn any complex marketing or writing task into baby steps.

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    Posted in authors corner, Employer Branding, guest post, Personal Branding, Social Media, Success Strategies
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