TALKING SALES 23: "Your sales brand? Your differentiator!"

John Smibert

differentiate

John DeanIn this short interview John Dean (JD) explains the importance of a strong individual sales brand to John Smibert.

JD emphasises that in an increasingly commoditized market it is becoming more difficult to differentiate your company, product or service. For that reason it is essential to stand out with a strong sales brand as an individual salesperson.

JD explains how to assess your current sales brand and how to decide what you need to do to strengthen it.

John (JD) Dean is a revenue and growth strategist, a board member, an author and a keynote speaker.

See more of the 'TALKING SALES' series here

Interview 

John: JD, I've read a lot of your writings around our brand as a salesperson, or generally branding of people. What is particularly a personal brand or a sales brand, what is my brand as a salesperson?

JD: What is your brand? What a good question. Your sales brand is your differentiatior in an increasingly commoditised world.

John: Differentiator - I like that!

JD: Right.

John: Because the products no longer differentiate us, the company doesn't differentiate us; the salesperson differentiates themselves. Is that what you're saying?

JD: Absolutely, a hundred percent. Yeah.

John: How do they do that?

JD: We have four components to what we call sales brand. The first component is 'Commit brand', your ability to commit to an event, commit your revenue target to sales management, so anything to do with committing to getting back to somebody in a fashion revolving around revenue - really important.

John: Yes, really important.

JD: The next is your 'Internal brand' - internally how you're seen within your business. Do you get the right resources? Do you get lots of questions and you ask for things? The third one is your 'Personal brand'. Personally what do you do to prepare for a sales call? What does that look like? How do you...

John: How do you present yourself.

JD: How they present themselves - completely. The last one is your 'Customer brand', almost the most important one. What do you do for a customer? How do you prepare for a customer meeting? What do you know before you get there, in SPIN parlance? What situational stuff you need to know before you have the conversation.

John: That makes a lot of sense. The audience is looking at this, so what sort of advice would you give them to help put these four areas in place? Really, how would they concentrate on doing that? And I'm really interested-have you seen the outcomes? What results do they get?

JD: Okay, I'll take the first part. We gets clients to write the four headings down - the commit, personal, internal and customer - and against each heading actually write down what that looks like. What is your brand, and then what are you going to improve that brand? Do some scoring before and after where you put 25 points against each, so you get a before and after score.

You get a point where you said "This is my brand." and then later see "How I've been able to improve that, etc." We see all sorts of things in terms of outcomes, from people more able to predict a sales target, predict where they're going to generate the revenue, which is ultimately at the end of it.

John: That makes a lot of sense, yeah.

JD: We've seen organisations spend a lot more time and effort understanding a customer before they go and see them. So spending a lot less time talking about the company and the product, a lot more time with insightful questions around "How can I help my customer, how do I get return access?" We've seen all manner of different outcomes.

John: And that alone would lead to much better sales I'd imagine.

JD: Certainly a lot better understanding of the customer, which means you understand more about a buying process, which completely lends to sales. Yeah.

John: JD, that's great advice. So, the four areas again are?

JD: Commit - Internal - Personal - Customer.

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