Where do I start? What do I say? Who should I connect with?
These are among the most common questions I am asked by professionals who are looking to develop their personal brand.
First it’s important to understand that the first step in executing a sustainable personal brand strategy is not self‐promotion. Too many automotive professionals begin by positioning themselves in front of people who don’t know them. Then they start broadcasting messages like “Buy from me… Check out this special… Don’t miss out…”
Their primary focus is to conquest new customers, and most will skip the required step to identify their ideal target audience.
If you choose to take a shortcut, the following will occur:
- The effort you’ll spend on attempting to establish your brand with people who aren’t like you will exhaust you; you’ll become overwhelmed by the quantity of content you need to produce ‐ your message will lack conversion – and you will give up.
- You won’t know where to start, so you don’t. You just keep doing the same thing you’ve always done – you’ll wait for the customer to come to you.
Don’t over thinking your strategy. In order to build a strong personal brand, one that supports your best self, begin by thinking about the things you have in common with your favorite clients, friends, family members, etc. Who are the people you like most in the world?
- Are they a married/divorced/single?
- Do they have a pets?
- Are they involved in the local music scene?
- Do they love adventure and travel?
- Do their children play sports?
- Do they live in the same community as you?
Pause for a moment and recall the people you’ve really loved working with. Those customers you’ve had an absolute blast with. Understand that you connected with them on a deeper and more meaningful level because you had established rapport with them. Take a moment and identify what you had in common with these people. This exercise will help you discover your ideal customers.
The next step is to put yourself where your customers are. Your best customers are the people who know you ‐ who are like you ‐ and/or will trust you. They share something in common with you.
Just because they’ve never done business with you, doesn’t mean you should overlook them as a potential customer. Your ideal customer loves knowing that they have a trusted connection and share a common interest with you, and their network.
Car People, here is a personal brand coaching exercise that can help you identify your ideal target audience and strengthen your personal brand.
Choose your platform. Start with one, and build it. Cross all your T’s. Dot all your I’s. Be selective. Commit to showing up as your best self every day. This is your evidence manual. If you choose a platform online, understand that incomplete profiles and blank information will appear as evidence too!
- Professional: Meetups, Masterminds, Associations, etc.
- Personal: Sporting Events, Scouts, Arts, Music, Kids Activities, etc.
- Community: Volunteer, Board Members, Fundraisers, etc.
- Social Networking: Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+, Instagram
Take your position with your feet firmly planted. Decided what space on the platform you want to occupy. Be clear and consistent with what you are willing to contribute. Share your passion and expertise with the world (the world in which you move).
- Advisory Counsel (I have a professional experience I want to share with others)
- Little League Coach (I enjoy teaching children to play sports)
- Ambassador Board Member (I’m passionate about the cause this nonprofit serves)
- Photo Sharing (I enjoy taking photo’s of the things I love most in the world)
Closely consider your friends, followers and connections. Connect with those who share common interests, beliefs, and passions. Engage in conversations. Lift others up. Support the people in your network. Build relationships.
- Professionals who are willing to share their expertise unconditionally – mentor others.
- A team made up of children and parents who agree that all children will get to participate in every game.
- This nonprofit is filled with people who are open minded, creative and think big.
- I connect with others who share a passion for the outdoors, fine wine, dogs and luxury cars.
Car People, stop trying to conquest customers who have nothing in common with you. The OEM and your dealership have that piece covered. Focus your efforts on the brand called YOU. Your brand is your unique promise of value.
- It’s unique because it sets you apart from your peers.
- It’s a promise because you commit to delivering it every day, with everything you do.
- It adds value to your target audience > your target audience is everyone who needs to know you, so you can do your job successfully and achieve your goals.
There is one secret to personal branding YOU need to know.
“BE YOURSELF – YOUR BEST SELF”
When you base your brand in who you are, you’re going to be unstoppable.