Brand You – 12 Steps to a Powerful Personal Brand – Step 4: How to get Attention

May 3, 2013 |  by  |  Linkedin Blog


Here is the fourth step in my 12 steps on how to create a powerful personal brand.

Step 4: How to get Attention

So how do you get someone to engage with you so that you can start to establish a relationship of trust?

Ok. Next question.

What would make a potential client trust you?

Think about your own relationships. You hang out with people because you like them and you have something in common with them. Am I right?

Likeability and intimacy are two of the key factors in trust.

So if we begin with the ending in mind, your potential customer has got to share some of your beliefs, values or passions and like you.

The end game is for your customer to think of you as “one of us” and become not only a paying customer but also an evangelist who will readily extol the virtues of doing business with you.

Ultimately, people like to do business with people who they’re familiar with and who they like….. friends – and friendship starts with making a connection. It follows, therefore, that you need to be in a relationship before the sale.

The reality, however, is that most people send out very predictable, dull and boring messages telling you why they and their company are so good. This usually manifests itself in the shape of a vacuous introductory e-mail, followed by the obligatory sending of the company brochure and a follow-up phone call to try and get a meeting or even a sale. This approach has a very low success rate. Typically less than 1%.

Without going all woolly and airy fairy on you, I want to you to consider for a moment what us humans were put on this Earth for?

However deep and philosophical one gets, surely one of the things that we’re on Planet Earth is to have fun and enjoy ourselves.

And when we’re enjoying ourselves we’re invariably doing the things we love to do; the things we’re passionate about and which bring us alive.

As well as pursuing our passions we normally like to talk about them as well don’t we?

Being a massive sports fan I can talk the hind leg of a donkey when it comes to all things football, athletics and boxing to name but a few.

The same is true when it comes to the subjects of health, happiness, design and food – especially Indian food….mmmm….I start salivating by just by saying the words “Indian” and “food”.

What are your passions? Do you share them with other people or do you hide them away? People who are passionate are interesting, interesting people are likeable, and likeability is a key component of building trust.

I would estimate that over 75% of my business has its roots in talking about shared passions. I usually find that my prospect is interested in at least one of health, happiness, curry, sport or design. All subjects I’m passionate about and am knowledgeable about.

Two English social scientists namely, John Carlisle and Neil Rackham, found that the best negotiators spend 40% of their preparation time finding interests they share with their prospect.
How much time do you invest in research into the key decision makers of a potential new customer?

Finding shared passions and common themes of interest is a great way to establish relationships. Not only is it enjoyable to talk about your passions, but at a practical level shared passions can overcome barriers to engagement extremely quickly; sometimes instantaneously.

Shared passions and experiences, be these personal or business, help to turn the focus from me to we.

In my case, this has ranged from talking to clients about the teething problems of our two year olds, to how best to prepare for an interview for a new role.

By taking a keen interest in your customer you will undoubtedly get opportunities to get personal and add very real value. This could be at a personal or business level. It doesn’t really matter as long as you show that you really care about your customer and will go out of your way to help them. Ultimately, the relationship is the customer.

Several years ago, when I ran a recruitment outsourcing business I tendered for a large contract. As part of the tendering procedure my team and I were required to make a presentation followed by a question and answer session.

It was my role to conclude the presentation. As I got up to deliver the conclusion I got up rather slowly and joked with the Purchasing Director that I needed oiling as a gym session the previous evening had left me feeling rather stiff. The Purchasing Director replied, “You and me both. My feet are killing me.”

After the Question &Answer session, whilst the Purchasing Director escorted us out of the building, I noticed that he was walking a little gingerly with a limp. I took the opportunity to delve a little deeper and asked him, “Too much running was it?” To which he replied, “No. I’m a keen tennis player but have had problems with the arches of my feet. I’ve tried different types of shoes but nothing seems to work. I think it may be time to get some expert help.”

When I got home, I spoke to my wife who is a GP and told her about the situation. She recommended a Sports Injury Doctor who had a human movement laboratory where the problem could be properly assessed. I took it a step further and phoned the Sports Injury Doctor who told me that it wasn’t an uncommon problem and the chap probably just needed an orthotic which is a tailor made insole, which would alleviate the problem.

The outcome of the Question and Answer session was that I needed to come back with some more information to address a couple of queries. So, in addition to providing this information, I included a hand written note with details of the Sports Injury Clinic which also outlined my conversation with the Sports Injury Doctor.

A few weeks later, after we had been awarded the contract and were about to implement our service, I met with the Purchasing Director and asked him what had clinched the deal.

He replied, “To be honest, there wasn’t much to choose between the two final bids. You were both credible service providers and people who I felt that I could work with. There was also very little to choose in terms of price. The difference was that you demonstrated that you’re good listeners and were prepared to go the extra mile by providing me with some valuable extra information which was of benefit to both me and the company. I now wear orthotics courtesy of the Sports Injury Clinic that you recommended and can play tennis pain free. This means that I now come into the office energised, with a spring in my step and not like a miserable sod, which is great for me and also everyone around me.”

It’s worth remembering that there are no queues on the extra mile.

I’ll be focussing on the power of knowing what makes your customers mad, sad and glad in Step 5.

Sunil Bali

As well as being a recognised authority on personal branding and peak performance, Sunil is a critically acclaimed author and blogger. His corporate experience includes roles as Head of Talent on behalf of Vodafone Group, Santander (UK) and Cable & Wireless Europe. Sunil has also run a multi-million pound recruitment business, and is a Non Executive Director. Sunil’s first degree in Sports Science and Psychology fuelled his passion for the psychology of human achievement and well-being. As well as possessing an MBA, he is a qualified Psychotherapist and Executive Coach.

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