Why Personal Branding is Essential for Service Based Professionals
For those of us who work directly with clients in a service-based business, gaining their trust and empathising with their challenges is the first step in developing a relationship which in many cases will ideally be long-term and loyal.
Unlike with a product-based business where customers have an idea of what they want and are able to search to find a match for their requirements, providing a service adds another dimension into the mix in that they need to interact directly with you in order to see if you have the right skills and knowledge to help them reach their goal or fulfil a requirement.
Whether you are a consultant, sales professional, coach, teacher, adviser or trainer, you will have spent years developing yourself within your industry or profession, which in turn makes YOU the product that your clients are buying into.
As with any product, you need to be able to express to your clients why you are the best fit for them.
Five Tips for Personal Brand Success
Personal branding is all about understanding how to present yourself, what you do and your business in a way that matches the value proposition that you are claiming to provide. It helps to build your confidence, understand your value and focus on what makes you stand out from the crowd. Most of all, it’s about communicating with consideration, empathy and care, so that you can gain the trust of your prospective and existing clients and show them that you understand their needs and goals:
Communication – definitely the most important aspect of having a successful personal brand! How we speak to each other, the way in which we phrase our words and even our tone of voice can be the difference between a yes and a no! Focusing on them and being respectful regardless of their emotional state shows your professionalism, authority and distinction over and above other people they may have dealt with in the past. ALWAYS treat others as you would want to be treated in their situation!
Empathy – this can be expressed in several ways, but commonly sharing a story of how you helped a client in a similar situation or pulling on your personal experiences and showing some extent of vulnerability is a key skill that you should learn as a service based professional. Showing understanding and care for their circumstances allows them to let their guard down and be more open to what you have to offer.
Stories – we’ve been hearing stories from childhood and we are surrounded by them every day, in newspapers, on TV, in the songs we listen to and now via social media! So, is it any wonder why we get so enthralled with each other when we share our own experiences of the challenges (and successes) we have faced and how we have overcome them to get to where we are today. Stories help to humanise you and develop a connection with your clients by drawing upon your experiences and displaying your personal brand value.
Trust – developing trust takes time. Some people will be happy to open up immediately, while others will take a little more convincing. This is where your value proposition really plays a key role in your client relationships. When I say value, I mean more about what you do and how you do it, rather than how much it costs! Your clients need to know that you understand them and that you have listened to what they have said. Educating them with free content or giving them tips or advice on some of the things they can do to overcome their challenges and then following up with a call or email to see how things are going and if you can help them in anyway is what adds value and builds trust.
Service – the features and benefits of what you do and how wonderful your service is should never be the lead focus when you are developing client relationships. Listening to what your client says and tailoring your solutions to match their requirements is the best way to help them make an informed decision on why they should use your business. Then delivering to a high standard and providing aftercare if necessary is how you gain loyalty for yourself and your brand, which may also result in referrals too.
It’s Your Reputation, Your Intellectual Property and Your Only Truly Unique Selling Point (USP)!
Your personal brand is yours. It doesn’t belong to anyone else, you own it and you define it by your experiences and your journey. There is only one of you and therefore you are the USP!
Providing a service to people has its challenges and your reputation is always at stake. No matter where you go or who you work for, you have to see it as your biggest asset and manage it as such.
By focusing on what you have to offer, why people are attracted to you, your story and your skills, you are able stand out by being authentic to who you are and essentially, make connections to the people who are right for you and your business.
Find out how personal brand coaching can make the difference to you and your business by booking a free 90 minute consultation with me today.