When I work with CEOs to boost their brand through speaking engagements, social media and book deals, I often get this objection: "But I don’t want all the attention to be on me."
The CEO brand is just a starting point. Personal branding is extremely important for a company's employees as well.
The reality is that clients rarely make a personal connection with a brand — they usually make that connection with a person. An investor decides whether or not to invest based on that connection. Personal branding is vital to incrementally growing your business, and great companies are those that help employees build their own personal brands.
1. Understand the “why”
People make business decisions based heavily on the emotional connection with the person who is selling them the product or service. Having your team focus on specific areas allows team members to show clients a greater level of expertise, which will generate trust.
For instance, a financial firm should have investment advisors focused in different categories, such as investment planning for university professors, athletes, or real estate investors. Your team will be speaking a common language with clients.
2. Use LinkedIn to replace your cold calling efforts
LinkedIn allows you to target the exact people you want to go after, develop a connection with them, and then send a message.
The important thing is to demonstrate reciprocity. There are few faster actions in the world than the speed with which someone will delete a LinkedIn message that is completely one sided — and, unfortunately, 90 percent of them end up deleted.
Ditch the standard LinkedIn messages and take the time to compose a personalized note. A potential client will be much more likely to connect with someone who has clearly put thought and initiative into targeting a problem and presenting a mutually beneficial solution rather than someone who simply threw a wide net with a generic message hoping for a response.
3. Network in philanthropic organizations with your target audience
Have you ever been to a 5k or 10k road race supporting a charity? There are almost always vendor and sponsor booths around the event featuring every type of related good or service. These can vary from energy bars to athletic apparel — and even local heath care providers such as chiropractors or orthopedic specialists. Seeing those companies supporting a good cause is both priceless PR and a fantastic networking opportunity.
Have your company do the research so employees know which philanthropic groups to connect with. Providing that resource will save valuable time and free up your employees to develop client relationships.