"What perception does your prospect get when they view you on the internet" - interview by John Smibert.
In the modern era "we are who the internet says we are".
What a frightening thought for many of us.
What does the internet project about you? And how often are people seeing that profile of you? What conclusion are they drawing? Would they be compelled to engage with you if you approached them?
I recently met with Adam Gray, and asked him why he thinks a digitally based personal brand is vital and what we need to do to ensure it is compelling.
Adam first reminded me that: "Often we fail to invest in our digital brand, we fail to invest the time in, first of all, thinking about what it says about us, and secondly, in actually aggregating that and producing the content."
Why is it important?
Adam emphasised that; "When people are first exposed to us they're going to look at our digital footprint, which will largely be made up of our social presence - LinkedIn, Twitter, maybe Facebook. They're going to jump to a conclusion about us. We need to make sure they jump to the conclusion that we want."
Adam went on to talk about how we need to build that brand. He talked about specific things we need to do relative to communicating our passion, having clarity around our purpose, how to present as authentic and trustworthy, how to project a unique promise of value for those in our target audience.
See the full interview to learn more. This interview is likely to be valuable for sales leaders, sales managers and professional salespeople as well as marketeers.
Adam Gray is co-founder of Digital Leadership Associates and a strategist, speaker and author in the effective application of social media in business.
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John: Hello Strategic Selling Group members, Sales Masterminds and everybody that follows this Talking Sales series - really appreciate your support and welcome back! I am delighted to have Adam Gray with me again!
John: Last time we talked about the importance of social in sales. This time I'd just like to hone in on one area you focused on a little bit, which was what I'm calling a personal brand. Social gives us an opportunity to really put ourselves out there, doesn't it?
Adam: It does, and I think that the thing that we need to recognise is that people jump to conclusions. When people look at your digital footprint, which they inevitably will when they're recommended to you, or they're introduced to you, or you reach out to them with the telephone or an email or whatever, the first thing they're going to do is check you out. They're going to look at your digital footprint, which will largely be made up of your social presence - LinkedIn, Twitter, maybe Facebook - they'll look at that and they're going to jump to a conclusion about you, and the job of that is to make sure they jump to the conclusion that you want.
John: In reality, what people see on the Internet is your brand, and yet so few of us actually make sure that brand projects properly.
Adam: Absolutely right. I think often we fail to invest in it, we fail to invest the time in, first of all, thinking about what it says about us, and secondly, in actually aggregating that and producing the content.
John: I'd like to hear your input on when you're thinking about it, thinking through the strategy for building your brand. What are the sort of things you focus on?
Adam: We try to get people to visualise how a visitor to that profile, what conclusions they are going to draw from reading about you. One of the things that we time and time again is that people fail to articulate why they do what they do. They often talk about what they do...
John: So the Simon Sinek stuff.
Adam: Absolutely, yes. Why do you get up in the morning at seven o'clock and then go to work and work all day? You spend more time doing your job than you do with your life partner...
John: And we're not talking about making money or selling; we're talking about something else.
Adam: Absolutely, the passion that you have for what you do, and that needs to come across. Because if you're not passionate about it, why should I be?
John: So clarity around your purpose.
Adam: Absolutely, perfectly put - clarity around your purpose. How do we articulate that? So often we see a simple list on people's presences about what it is they do and what it is they've done. I don't want a bullet-pointed list of things that you do, and the reason I don't, or the reason you shouldn't want me to, is that it invites comparison. Because if you say, "I've been doing this for 20 years," and I say, "Well, I've been doing it for 25, therefore I must be better than you," and that's the conclusion; you're asking for a comparison. You don't want to have people comparing you for the years you've been doing it, because that proves nothing, the amount you charge, because that proves nothing, the number of clients you've got, because that proves nothing. Absolutely you have to be saying, "This is me, this is the most authentic me, this is the value that I give you, the visitor."
John: There's two words there I like, one is "authentic", and I agree with you. One of the issues I know a lot of the sales leaders and salespeople I've worked with have is they felt like they had to pretend they're somebody they're not to be successful, and we have to work that back. Because there's nothing more refreshing and compelling than somebody who is authentically who they really are and present that way - you can trust them.
Adam: It's the most attractive thing anybody has is who they are.
John: I agree with that. The other one you mentioned was the word "value". One of the things we really need to understand is what our "unique promise of value" is to our target customers, target audience. That's that unique promise of value and get clarity on that.
Adam: Yes. We need to handhold these people through the buying journey. Because the thing that we often assume is that the people that are buying from us know as much as we do about our subject, and they don't; that's why they are coming to us to sell to them. So what we need to do is we need to empower them, we need to share some of our expertise with them, not all of it but some of it, to upskill them to the point that they make an informed decision.
John: You do that by having some sort of content strategy, writing maybe, videos like we're putting together.
Adam: Yes, it's absolutely crucial. This stuff all helps establish you as being somebody that knows what they're talking about.
John: So you're saying salespeople should write.
Adam: Salespeople have to write. You have to have that content which enables me to arrive at the conclusion that you're somebody I should be having a conversation with.
Check out; "Should salespeople create content"
John: Let's not dwell on that subject, but that's an interesting subject. Let's just sum up a little bit, if we pretty much got to the end there. You were saying to me and the sort of things I picked up on is we need to think strategically about what our profile is, who we are authentically and our authentic self. We need to identify the value we bring to the table for the people we work with, particularly our customers, and we need to make sure then we develop our profile that reflects all that, and then underpin that with good, insightful content that it will be of value to our target audience.
Adam: Absolutely right.
John: I like it, really glad to have this discussion - look forward to the next one!
Adam: Yes, absolutely - thanks!
See previous discussions with Adam Gray:
"Embrace Social or your sales will suffer"
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