Some say that hard work, determination, and commitment are the most important attributes to achieve success in sales, but what about your personal brand?
In this week’s episode of INSIDE Inside Sales, Darryl teams up with Alistair Neal, business recruitment rockstar and Paiger’s VP of Americas, to discuss the importance of building a strong online presence and putting your name in front of the right people. Learn how to develop and utilize your personal branding to showcase your expertise, leverage social media like a pro, and organically attract potential customers. Subscribe now and discover how to build a brand that shines!
Expand Your Personal Brand: Engage With a Non-Sales Mindset
- Personal branding isn’t just for influencers and gurus. Because we do so much of our networking online, it’s rapidly becoming essential for everyone who works in sales.
- VP of Americas for Paiger Alistair Neal says you don’t have to be an expert –– you just have to show up and talk about what matters to you, your clients, and your prospects.
- Alistair shares his best tips for growing your online presence with authenticity and integrity.
The idea of building a personal brand can feel intimidating, especially in a world of multi-millionaire influencers, business gurus, and self-styled thought leaders whose posts are retweeted in higher numbers than your salary. But you don’t need to be an expert to show off your expertise. You just need to show up.
“My mom always told me that 95% of life is just showing up. Especially with the pandemic, everybody is very present on social media. Part of success is simply being there, just having your name in front of people and letting them know who you are and what you’re about on a business front.”
On an episode of INSIDE Inside Sales, Alistair shares his insights on the importance of a strong online presence that supports your personal brand. Authentic, thoughtful engagement with your network, as well as posting and sharing content in a strategic way, can showcase your personality –– and your expertise.
Your presence can be enough
Listen up, folks: building a personal brand isn’t just for social media gurus, bestselling authors or in-demand speakers. It’s a concept that everyone, even rookie sales reps, can use to boost their confidence, and their sales outcomes, right away.
“It’s all about having a presence,” says Alistair. “Everybody’s at least some level of an expert in their field.”
We all have imposter syndrome, too –– but that doesn’t matter. And if you’re not an expert, “you can always use other people’s content or comment on what they’re talking about,” he adds. “We all have thoughts and it’s always worthwhile sharing them.”
Plus, when you put yourself out there as someone talking about your industry, you’ll naturally learn more about it. And others will recognize that you’re out there talking about it.
Alistair offers an example: “There’s a guy that I follow on LinkedIn… I’ve watched very little of his content, but I know that he’s out there constantly, and it’s in my consciousness. If I need to talk to somebody about an applicant tracking system, he’s the first person I’ll go to.”
Easy engagement: No excuses –– just click it
Despite the immediacy of social media, building your brand doesn’t happen overnight. You can’t post twice a month, sit back and let the job offers roll in (but hey, it would be sweet if you could!).
Consistency is crucial. You should post three times a week, either with original content, sharing content or thoughtful comments on other people’s posts.
Excuses abound: I don’t have time because I’m busy closing deals; I don’t know how to do it; I don’t have opinions to share.
Others don’t want to engage on social media because they don’t want drama. They don’t want to be attacked or “canceled,” so they just avoid it altogether.
Or they think they don’t have enough followers to matter. They’re afraid of rejection. Everyone who has ever used social media knows what it’s like to post and get few to no comments or likes.
That’s precisely why you should begin by paying it forward, says Alistair. “Like” the posts you read. Provide that validation for others. The most engaged users –– maybe 10% –– will click over to your profile. Some of them might start following you back.
“That’s a piece of cake,” he adds.
Put yourself in a ‘non-sales mindset’
As easy as it is to increase your visibility through passive engagement, Alistair does warn against laziness. It’s virtually useless to just tap out a disposable comment like “great post” or “well done.”
Alistair encourages you to write at least a sentence or two: Hey, really enjoyed your post, especially point number three. I’m also an SDR, so I know…
And he does have some advice for what not to say: Hey, we fix this over at my company.
“That’s the worst possible thing you can do, because they’re going back to that negative energy,” Alistair adds. “Then it’s like, this guy’s a jackass; he just wants my money. Next!”
In every interaction with prospects, “engage with a non-sales mindset first. I can’t stress that enough,” he says.
Don’t be shy about sharing others’ content -– with your own thoughts attached, of course. But again, don’t toss off a tepid “Worth a read.” Make your endorsement genuine and thoughtful.
Creating your own content is much more difficult. But once you’re comfortable engaging on social media in an organic, substantive way, you’ll have a better handle on what works and how to do it.
At this point, you might be thinking, How much time will this take?
It’s a good question with any easy answer: Exactly how much you want to give.
“Start with the time you have, and as you see the success come in over time, you’ll naturally dedicate more and more time to it,” says Alistair.
Social can warm up that cold outreach
Your goal as a salesperson is to get prospects to answer your email, pick up your phone call, or listen to your voicemail.
“If life was all inbound, that would be great,” Alistair says. “But the vast majority of salespeople are out there doing cold or semi-cold outreach. It’s just part of the sales game.”
The goal is always to get as many responses as possible from your target market. So you can send 100 cold emails to people you don’t know, who don’t know you, and hope that you get 10 responses. Or you can send 100 emails to people whose posts you’ve commented on. That’s when the response rate goes up dramatically, Alistair says.
“So maybe you just send 50 emails. Take the time you would’ve spent writing the other 50 cold emails, and dedicate it to engaging with them on social media.”
Take note, folks: You don’t need 30,000 followers to build a personal brand. If your target while prospecting is just 100 accounts, all that matters is your engagement with those 100 potential buyers.
Self-promotion: Hit ‘em with value before you land the punch
If you add enough value as a social media presence over time, you’ll naturally build your brand –– and your audience will indulge you when you want to do a little self-promotion. But it’s important to draw a distinction between promotional content and personal branding. The former is closer to lead generation and/or business development –– something that can be measured.
Personal branding is essentially about engaging with your tribe –– and it’s not just done on social media; it’s inherently social.
Alistair thinks of self-promotion in the Gary Vee mold: Jab, jab, jab –– left hook.
For the uninitiated, that means you should provide value, value, value –– and then hit them with whatever you’re promoting. If you do it right, your audience won’t mind. You’ve already added value in their minds, but “now they’ve got another snippet of who you are and what you do,” he adds.
“So then when that email comes in, or that cold call gets made, they’re more likely to answer it.”