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Customer Experience Strategist | Researcher | Author | Keynote Speaker
There are a lot of salespeople trying to convince prospective customers to buy. And in many cases, working with a salesperson you know, like, and trust can tip the scales in their favor.
Sales reps: is your personal brand a priority? Sales leaders: how are you coaching this?
In this episode of Closing Time, Jay Baer shares personal branding tips for B2B salespeople and how sales reps can incorporate their personal brand into their go-to-market approach to generate more pipeline, get more referrals, and close more deals.
Managing your personal brand isn’t just about customer relationships but also about shaping your career trajectory. Whether you aspire to be a sales leader or close big deals, your personal brand is crucial to your success. Find out how to start building yours in this episode!
In today’s B2B landscape, product differences are dwindling, making it challenging for businesses to stand out – a shift is driven by globalization and technological advancements like AI and machine learning.
Historically, if you had a superior product or service, you could maintain an advantage. However, in our globalized world, it’s tough to create an impenetrable product-based advantage.
Intellectual property is flexible, and competition is worldwide.
AI and machine learning further level the playing field. When businesses rely on these technologies, it often comes down to a battle between robots, canceling each other out eventually.
So, what can set companies apart in this convergence of products? According to Jay, the key is customer experience.
Around 75% of CMOs plan to compete primarily based on customer experience, surpassing product and price considerations.
While we typically associate customer experience with marketing and customer success, it’s also a critical aspect of sales success, including personal branding.
A salesperson’s personal brand can greatly influence the customer experience by building trust, fostering consistency, understanding customer needs, improving communication, creating emotional connections, facilitating problem-solving, nurturing long-term relationships, and generating referrals.
All of these factors contribute to a more positive and satisfying customer experience, ultimately benefiting both the salesperson and the business they represent.
Self-serve options are more common today than they ever have been, especially in B2B. If customers prefer to research products and go through the sales process on their own, then why is a personal brand important?
Here’s the often overlooked part: Salespeople largely are the brand until money changes hands. They represent the human side of your business. Once customers convert, the responsibility is passed to an account or customer success manager. But until that point, the salesperson represents the brand, it’s values, and mission.
Many sales reps are hesitant to build a personal brand. It’s public. It requires vulnerability and humility. And they fear coming across as insincere or unprofessional in the public eye.
Those fears are validated – opening up and sharing personal aspects of your life will initially feel unnatural. As with anything in life, the more you do it, the more comfortable it will feel.
The goal of personal branding is to share content that is outside of your day-to-day work activities. You want to express your personality and share your hobbies, interests, and passions with your network.
People want to buy from people like them. And let’s face it; if you weren’t getting paid to be a salesperson, you probably wouldn’t be selling. That’s why Jay says:
“Your passions are more interesting and memorable than your product, solutions, company, industry, and job – embrace them.”
While discussing the company, benefits, and problem-solving is essential, everyone does that. What sets you apart is adding a layer of personal passion to the mix.
For example, Jay is a tequila enthusiast. He has a tequila-themed TikTok and Instagram presence and conducts tequila tastings for corporate clients. People ask him more about tequila than his marketing and customer experience expertise. It’s because he’s likely the only marketing expert who’s also a certified Tequila Sommelier. This differentiation matters.
True, it might feel awkward because this isn’t the norm. Many go-to-market teams shy away from personal sharing, considering it risky. But Jay believes it’s the responsibility of sales leadership to encourage this approach. Sharing the “real you” can benefit both the business and individual careers.
Authenticity is your secret weapon in B2B sales. Think of your personal brand as the reputation that precedes your revenue – it’s what people say about you when you’re not in the room.
The journey begins by identifying your passion. What drives you? What do you find yourself doing even when you’re not getting paid for it? It could be anything – from a love for fantasy football to an obsession with cars. Your passion is the fuel that powers your personal brand.
Once you’ve identified your passion, the next step is to share it. Don’t limit yourself to business talk; instead, weave your personal interests into your interactions and social media presence. It’s about being more than just a salesperson – it’s about being a relatable human being.
In the era of virtual meetings, there’s an opportunity to build rapport like never before. Pay attention to your clients’ backgrounds and interests. By showing a genuine interest in their hobbies or passions, you can foster deeper connections that transcend business transactions.
Here’s a mantra to keep in mind: “Your audience is the person you used to be.” Your passion can serve as a beacon, educating those who haven’t yet discovered it.
It’s not just about selling; it’s about sharing what you love.
If you’d like to learn more about Jay Baer, his business ventures, or even brush up on your tequila knowledge, visit his website.
As a salesperson, when is it okay to get personal?
Learn how your personal brand can help you win more deals
in this episode of Closing Time.
I am Dave Osborne,. Chief Sales Officer here at Insightly.
Welcome to Closing Time,
the show for go-to-market leaders.
I’m joined today by Jay Baer.
Jay is a marketing advisor to some of the world’s most iconic brands,
six time author, and renowned speaker.
Dave, what is up?
Great to be here on Closing Time.
Yeah, glad to have you, Jay.
Jay, you’ve mentioned in the past that products are becoming more homogenous
and differentiation is becoming less of a factor.
Why do you say that?
Well, if you just think about sort of the history of products and services,
now that we’re in a truly globalized economy,
if you have a better mousetrap, it’s really hard to sustain that advantage.
Yes, you might have a better product, a better service, a better feature
But as flexible as sort of IP is now
and as global as the world has become, it’s really, really hard to say, look,
we’re going to build a product level moat around this business and nobody’s
ever going to be able to compete with us purely on the basis of price.
Furthermore, as AI and machine learning become more prevalent
and more embedded into other parts of the enterprise,
what we end up with is essentially just a fight between robots.
And if you’ve got a robot and I’ve got a robot
eventually those robots are going to essentially cancel each other out.
So there’s got to be something else that matters
other than sort of the product level.
So with products converging, what is that better mousetrap?
How can companies better differentiate?
Well, I would argue it’s customer experience, and that’s what the data says.
Three quarters of CMO’s say that they’re going to compete this year
primarily on the basis of customer experience,
more so than product or more so than price.
And while we think of customer experience as being something
that’s part of maybe marketing’s responsibility or customer success,
I think customer experience and personal branding is a big part of
that is a huge piece of the sales success equation as well.
So you’re saying in a way that salespeople are becoming
more important than ever before?
And this probably seems weird
because a lot of people will tell you it’s the opposite
because so many customers want to self-serve
serve their information, et cetera.
But here’s the part we don’t talk about enough, Dave.
Salespeople largely are the brand
until money changes hands.. Salespeople are the personal
human manifestation of your organization
until the time when they become customers, then they might be
more of a customer success facing operation.
And so in a world where it seems like
there are more salespeople than ever,
certainly more people in B2B trying to reach out using technology, etc.
If you can be that seller who has that
something little extra has that memorable differentiator.
It is worth its weight in gold.
100%. So, I could see salespeople getting maybe a little sheepish
with maybe opening, you know, opening up more, right?
Sharing more, and maybe the fear that it’s going to get cheesy.
Right. And I think most people want to be professional.
So what’s okay to share and where should people maybe continue to hold back?
Yeah, it’s tricky, right?
Like, let me frame this up for a second.
I believe that what you are passionate
about is inherently more interesting
and more memorable than whatever it is that you do for a living.
And whatever it is you’re trying to sell,
your passion is more interesting than your product.
And so the trick is to get sales teams and individual sellers comfortable
with that approach, to say, of course, we’re going to talk about the company,
of course we’re going to talk about benefits.
Of course we’re going to solve customer problems.
But everybody does that.
If you can do those things, but add on top of it
a layer of frosting, and the frosting is, hey, let me share with you my passion.
That makes you much more relatable as a human being
and much more memorable as a seller.
So as you know, Dave,. I am a tequila teacher.
I’ve got a tequila-based TikTok channel, tequila-based Instagram account.
I do a lot of tequila tastings for corporate clients as well.
Volans Reposado made at 1579 El Pandillo, additive free,
really, really, really light oak on this like I don’t know if you can tell
but this almost looks like a blanco.
It’s been a passion for a long time.
Of course people know that I’m
a marketing and customer experience author and expert,
but they ask me more questions about tequila
then they ever ask me about customer experience because there’s
a lot of people who do what I do but I’m probably the only person who does
what I do, who is also a certified Tequila Sommelier.
And that differentiator is really important.
You’re right, tough,
it can feel awkward because so few
go-to-market teams actually embrace this differentiator.
It’s usually the opposite, right?
They’re like don’t share anything personal
because that’s risky and we’ve got to get past that.
And frankly,. I think that’s the responsibility.
I’d love your perspective on this, Dave.
I think that’s the responsibility of sales leadership, right?
Of go-to-market leadership to say, not only is it okay to share
some of your real you, we think it will help the business grow.
managing and maintaining a personal brand
is not only important in your relationships with customers externally,
but also how you can build and manage your personal career trajectory.
Whether you’re aspiring to be in leadership one day, whether you want to
close the biggest deals or whatever your aspirations may be
there’s an element of your personal brand that you’re always going to
have to be managing.
So I think that it makes a ton of sense.
And I love what you said
in terms of the best way to beat the robots is to be less robotic, right?
I mean, just be yourself, make it your own.
Like your personal brand is what people say about you
when they talk about you behind your back.
And your reputation will always precede your revenue.
And I think sometimes
people get kind of wrapped around the axle about this whole personal branding idea
that it’s somehow frivolous or unimportant or I’m just trying to sell stuff,
I’m not Beyoncé, like, yeah, I get it.
But look, let’s break this down.. First thing,
What do you passionate about?
What do you do when people don’t pay you to do it?
What do you love?
Second thing, figure out how to teach people how to do that.
That’s all it is.
So take some of the time that you spend making content, some of the time
that you spend in social media and just teach people what you love.
If that’s fantasy football, great.. If it’s growing roses, great.
My financial planner
who’s sort of insurance and investments guy is a total car nut, Dave.
He’s got a bunch of cars.
He’s super into cars, always been into it.
So what he does is, not only does he share his own vehicles in his social media accounts.
And I love this idea.
He goes out
and interviews his other clients, people like me, and say, What cars do you have?
Why do you drive this car?. How did you pick this car?
So not only is he sharing his passion, but he’s pulling his clients
into the passion as well, which is spectacular.
It’s not everything he does.
He still talking about insurance and investments,
but he talks about cars once a week, too, and it makes it so much more interesting and memorable.
And probably creates instant rapport with those he’s working with.
When you take an interest into your customers.
And actually, in this day and age, it’s possibly more easy, right,
when we’re all on Zoom or GoTo Meeting and we can see what’s behind them.
Sometimes you can see, you know, if they have a sports team or something,
it’s like, you know what they’re passionate about.
Take the opportunity to use that as a rapport building exercise.
That is such a great tip, Dave, this idea that when you’re on the virtual meeting,
if somebody has got their camera turned off, ask them to turn it on.
If they’ve got the virtual background on, ask them to take it off
so you can see their actual background and then just observe
like a good salesperson, like, OK, what do I see back here?
What does this tell me about this person?
What questions can I ask and how can I build rapport?
That’s an amazing idea.
And then when you think about people like aspiring to get a promotion,
I think a lot of people in their career,
whether they’re earlier, been in it a long time
trying to figure out a way to get promoted. Right.
You had mentioned
your brand is what people say about you when you’re not there.
So I think just being conscientious of that,
Like on one side of the pendulum, what are people saying about me
when I’m not in the room and then maybe on the other side,
what do I hope they say when I’m not in the room?
And if those things aren’t aligned,
it feels like you probably have a brand management problem on a personal level.
Absolutely. Yes. Yeah.
And I think that the best practice there is
to not try to like vaguely keep that in your head.
What I always advise people to do is literally write it down,
like get a piece of paper and a pen and say,
what do you think people say about you behind your back now?
What would you like them to say about you behind your back in two years?
And when you write it down, that process of actually using the specific words
can really crystallize that for you and kind of help keep it top of mind.
Love it. Jay, so many great tips here.
Any closing thoughts before we move on today?
Don’t do tequila stuff because that one’s mine.
Come up with your own idea.
Don’t steal mine.
But hey, please feel free to follow me
on TikTok and Instagram for Tequila Education.
I will leave you with a quote from my good friend
Rory Vaden, who’s an amazing sales consultant.
Rory says, When you’re thinking about personal branding,
your audience is the person you used to be.
Your audience is the person you used to be.
At one point,. I didn’t know anything about tequila.
Now I do.
So my audience are the people who don’t know anything.
At some point, my buddy
John, who’s the insurance and investments guy, didn’t know anything about cars.
His audience are the people who don’t yet.. So whatever your passion is,
your audience are the people who don’t have that passion yet
and you keep that top of mind, it helps you create better content.
I love that.
All right, Jay.
Well, thanks for joining us on this episode of Closing Time.
I was delighted to be here.. Thanks so much.
And thanks to all of you for watching.
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We’ll see you next time.