Brand is the Answer to So What?

So WhatYou get out of college. I’m not a commodity, you think.

Want to bet?

“But I have this advanced degree I had to go to school what seems like forever to get.  I’ve got special initials behind my name. I’ve been accepted in some special groups.”

So what?

You get your first “real job” and discover that you do know some things and know how to do them without tripping over yourself or anyone else.

You say, “I’m pretty good at all the regular business software and I can write a report, a letter or an e-mail that will get read. If I can’t do something, I say so.”

So?

“I’ve been working my whole life… well most of it any way. I brokered desserts in grade school and then in high school I worked at a pizza place and I did some tutoring along with the pizza thing. Worked my way through College…at least part of it because the scholarships didn’t cover all of it.”

So what?

“I learned the value of money and what it takes to get to the place you want to be and how working at low paying jobs isn’t the way to get there. That’s why I went to College and why I studied business because that’s where the money is. I figured I could ladder some jobs in small to medium-sized companies and work my way up to the point where maybe I could get a piece of the action. I’ve been pretty consistent about how I operate regardless of the company. “

How’s that working for you?

“If I had it to do over again I’d go after more leadership positions in College, maybe even sooner. Working with people, being a manager is a set of skills I’m learning on the job. It is tough to get a team to pull together. Management is about getting people to get done what needs doing. Aside from the politics that’s how you get measured. I’m doing okay even though I won’t compromise my principles.”

Now What?

“There are people in the company that believe in me. They are sending me to some training. Frankly, I don’t know if I’m ready for it. Maybe they are seeing something I’m not.”

What are they seeing?

Honesty. Consistency. Integrity.

Those are key ingredients of Trust.

They are responding to your personal brand even though you did not set out to establish one.

A positive personal brand can make all the difference in your life.

Comprehension was just 30 seconds away.

When you took those 30 seconds to decide on working as a youngster.  You were beginning to build your personal brand.

Awareness was less than 30 seconds away.

Each time you moved to a more demanding position, once you thought it through and concluded that you could keep your persona intact, you built on your personal brand.

Acceptance is under 30 seconds away.

The fact that you still question your capabilities even after all you’ve been through tells me you want to be the best you can be and you are always evaluating.

Trust, the key to personal brand, is garnered 30 seconds at a time.

Deciding to work. Honing skills. Advancing. Managing. Standing tall through it all. 30 seconds plus another 30 seconds plus another until you have a life time.


Jerry FletcherJerry Fletcher is a beBee ambassador, founder and Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for Trust-based Brand development, Positioning and business development on and off-line. He is also a sought-after International Speaker.

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com

Get all the Brand Success Stories. Sign up at http://www.brandbraintrust.com/home.html

Three Scary Brand Questions

I told them I was going to make them uncomfortable.

# Scary Brand QuestionsA client asked me to speak to the students in the college level class he is teaching. He asked that I give them some basics about brand which they will be able to apply to change viewpoints about themselves and the departments they lead. These are guys and gals that want to become CIOs.

My advice came from these three questions:

  1. Who are you?
  2. What do you do?
  3. Why should I care?

I’ll bet answers don’t flow swiftly off your tongue.

That’s because we don’t think this way. Take the first question. Most of us begin with our name. Some go on to tell you their title and the organization they work in. Others tell you where they were born or grew up. Ex-military usually say so. Each of us answers differently and in doing so reveal a great deal about our personalities. Often, if people just wait you’ll reveal occurrences in your child hood that changed you for life.

You can’t hear what you are saying.

Yes, you may be able to repeat the words. But what is the meaning hidden within? Why was that event in your childhood so important for the person you are now? What do the decisions you discussed have to do with how you are seen now?  Why did you reveal these things? How are you hoping the information will be used?

The trick is to have someone tell you what you told them.

Suddenly, you will see yourself as others see you. That is what Personal Brand is all about.

You are not an “elevator speech.”

What you do is not who you are.  In North America, “What do you do?” is the most asked question. Unlike other parts of the world we tend to equate the two. www.beBee.com may help you cure yourself of this.

Conversation or Commercial?

Major corporations hire me to teach their executives how to Network. All of them assume I’m going to teach some form of Elevator pitch. I don’t. Wouldn’t you rather have a conversation than have someone blurt a commercial at you? 30-Second Marketing makes you more memorable, builds trust in you and lets you know when you should ask, “What do you do?”

I used to answer: “I build websites that make rain.”

So what?

That is the question my sales mentor asked me. You’d do your pitch and he’d say” So What? Why is that important to the customer?”

I responded, “You know how since your niece or nephew went off to college you can’t change your web site? What we do is build you a site that you can change words and pictures on as much as you like. And we’ll be sure you can’t screw up the navigation.”

Good Question.

“Why should I care?” makes it easy to picture a prospect thinking that. Usually manners keep them from actually saying it.  But they think it…just like you do when someone obviously doesn’t understand your interest (or lack of it). Next time you begin to list features and benefits, Stop. Ask, as if you were them, “Why should I care?”

When it comes to Brand you’ve got to speak in their terms, not yours.

Get Scary.

Partner up with a friend. Answer the three questions. Give each other honest feedback. Notice how your brand becomes easier to understand for you as well as your friend, not to mention prospects, clients/customers and colleagues.


Jerry Fletcher is a beBee Ambassador and founder/Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for Brand development, Positioning and business development on and off-line. He is also a sought-after International Speaker.

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com

Get all the Brand Success Stories. Sign up at http://www.brandbraintrust.com/home.html

 

 

Brand is Your True Colors

Brand is Your True ColorsThis week, the Brand Story that is front and center at Brand Brain Trust is about Jim Grew.

You can learn three valuable lessons by studying his Brand Success Story:

  1. Listen. Clients and prospects describe your brand in words that others like them understand.
  2. Show. Prospects want to know what you’re like and what it’s like to work with you. A video invitation and video testimonials on your web site puts them at ease.
  3. Tell. When you put your expertise into a book it can close the sale for you.

Full Disclosure: Jim is a client. We’ve been working together since 2012 when he decided to stop turning companies around and start consulting.

We’re getting ready to change his web site again.

Why?

Because we keep those three tips in mind.

We listen.

Jim listens to what his clients are saying and observing as he works with them building staff, approaches and analytics to transform their business. When the same phrase keeps popping up we know we have a description we can use.

I listen when I go in to capture the video testimonials. After a few minutes with my standard questions they relax enough to become quite candid often putting their words to concepts difficult to convey until they give us a way.

We show.

Jim’s web site is upgraded at least once a year, overall. The relevant testimonials and invitations to his services change as we come to understand the reasons most business owners are interested and the information they are looking for in order to make a decision.

I’ve rewritten every page of his sites multiple times in order to make it easier for prospects to begin connecting before they make a call. And we never forget that the objective is to generate positive observations that verify Jim’s qualifications and make it easy to get in touch.

We Tell.

Jim is better at consulting than he is at selling. So part of what we work on continually is 30-Second Marketing, the ability to have a conversation instead of doing a commercial. Not long ago, one of his clients used Jim’s positioning line (Business Defogger and Accelerator) in a presentation at a national convention about how Jim had helped to build his business to its greatest heights ever. The President of the largest company in the audience asked him after, “How do I get hold of this Defogger?”

That told me that the need for his services is not restricted to the Pacific Northwest. Now all I have to do is figure out how to tell all those potential clients!

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Jerry Fletcher is the founder and Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for Brand Development, Positioning and business development on and off-line.

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com

Get all the Brand Success Stories.
Sign up at http://www.brandbraintrust.com/home.html

Brand Is Not Talking To Yourself

161119-blog-talking-to-self

Brand development for coaches, consultants and professionals of all kinds is not easy.

You don’t have big bucks for advertising. You aren’t comfortable “tooting your own horn”.  But you have to convince prospects to trust you, hire you and pay you for your services.

You have to talk about yourself.

You have to have a vision, the “why” of your organization even if there is only one of you. You need to spell out your mission so you can stay on track. You need to find the “only” in your practice. But first you have to understand who your potential customers are.

Seven keys to building profiles of the customers for your brand:

  1. Don’t try to come up with a single profile. It doesn’t work because you know they come to you for different reasons.
  2. Pick the top three reasons they come to you. Build profiles for each noting the percentage of income each generates for your business. Not enough experience to rate them? Put them in order by your preference. Then talk to folks you think will fit the mold.
  3. Do the research. Learn as much about them as you can. Have coffee with a few of the individuals that have hired you. Ask them the same questions. Note the similarities.

Get the Profile Checklist. Sign up to get our updates at www.BrandBrainTrust.com

  1. Determine how many more of them there are within your neighborhood, city, state or region, the geographic area where you are willing to provide your services.
  2. Estimate the time and cost commitments you will have to make in order to reach them. Time must be estimated because you will probably have to spend time that is not billable to bring this off. Cost of items you absolutely must have should be determined as well. That includes well-designed logotype, business cards, letterhead, web site and social media pages at a minimum.
  3. Start connecting by networking on and off-line. Attend local chamber and other association meetings they frequent. Become active in groups where they cluster on Linked In, Facebook and in the real world.
  4. Listen to them first then talk about what you’ve done for others. People want to have a conversation not hear commercials at networking events. Give them the time to tell you what is on their mind. Then if they have a problem you can solve, offer your services. That is the guiding principle of 30-Second Marketing

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Jerry Fletcher is the founder of www.BrandBrainTrust.com  His consulting practice, now in its 26th year, is known for Brand Development, Positioning and business development on and off-line.

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com

Get all the Brand Briefs. Sign up at http://www.brandbraintrust.com/home.html

The Pitch Ain’t the Title

“A friend told me about trying to come up with a title for a screen play over lunch,” said Gail. “She’s trying to get ready for a meeting with an agent from Hollywood. Apparently you only get a very few minutes and what you say in the first few seconds is critical.” 30-SecondMarketing

Kate snorted and said, “Sounds like every other sales call to me! That is pretty much my day, every day. The thing is you have to know what the hot buttons are for every person you’re calling on and if you don’t you have to find a way to get their attention and their input. Every story can be shortened to the point where it is one sentence long. The trick is to make that sentence intriguing enough that it pulls people into the conversation with you. Fletch’s 30-Second Marketing is the way to do it in networking situations and can be applied in most sales situations as well.”

“You’re right,” I said. this goes by a bunch of names but what it comes down to when you have to write it is:

  • Tell the story in a paragraph or two concentrating on the emotions evoked
  • Shorten it to a sentence about the overall shift in the story
  • Work on the language in the sentence to make people experience it and yet want to know more.
  • Relate it to something familiar to them
  • Given all that, give it a title that leaves them wanting more.

For instance:
Would you like to view a film that centers on the transformation of a son, Michael, from reluctant family outsider to ruthless Mafia boss while also chronicling the family under the patriarch. A lot of people did. It was called The GodFather. As memorable as it is it was not one of the highest box office movies.

The current top in domestic, international and worldwide sales is a science fiction flick. In it, a paraplegic marine dispatched to the moon Pandora on a spy mission becomes torn between following his orders and protecting the new world he comes to feel is his home. Right. It was called Avatar and to date has made $2,783,918,982 worldwide.

The number two box office leader is one for history buffs and romantics. The fact that a supposedly unsinkable ship went down in the North Atlantic was given an emotional twist by the tale of a starving artist that becomes the love of a high class lady. It was called Titanic and the star-crossed lovers were, I believe, a pure fiction. It was called Titanic.”

Rob, our Buddha of Branding quietly said, “And that, brethren is what we call trimmin’ the fat. There be movies popular down home you don’t have to hear nuthin’ but the title to know what it’s about. Wonderful stories like Driving Miss Daisy, Steel Magnolias and, of course, Gone With the Wind. Notice how the title can be the story all by itself, or give you insight into the characters or summarize a way of life that vanished? The difference of seeing what y’all are trying to sell through the prospect’s imagination makes all the difference. Thing is, they will tell you how they see it. Just listen.”

The Takeaways:

  1. All sales is about finding common ground, understanding the problem and then finding the emotion that connects the prospect to the solution.
  2. You must orient your view, your language and your emphasis to the prospect’s vision.
  3. Get help. Talk to others. Listen to what they have to say. Respond by making your pitch and your title stronger.

Jerry Fletcher’s blog recaps conversations with clients, prospects and the unruly mob of business development professionals he consorts with. They discuss marketing that works from solopreneur to enterprise level. Jerry, The Consultant’s Communication Consultant, is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue. Sign up for the blog and other publications at: www.JerryFletcher.com/Profit.html

Jerry has been researching and implementing small business marketing that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy for 25 years as President of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. Learn more at www.JerryFletcher.com

Schedule a personal appearance. Jerry speaks internationally on Networking, Marketing and Contact Relationship Magic. www.NetworkingNinja.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marketing and Sales All in One

30-Second Marketing for Consultants Part 3

Henry, a guest at the lunch time gathering, asked, “If you’re a one man band like most beginning consultants what is the difference between marketing and sales. Isn’t it all one?” The problem is the crossover from marketing to sales

“In a way it is,” said Kate. ”That was hard for me to understand early on when I was setting up my sales consultancy. When you’re out there on the front lines it’s not easy to see how marketing can do anything to help you.  Let’s face it, most sales people keep telling whoever is doing their marketing to just get them some qualified leads to close. When you’re the one doing the marketing and the selling it tends to give you a different viewpoint.”

The problem is the crossover.

“The problem is the crossover,” Henry said. “I don’t know when I’m selling and when I’m marketing.”

Our writer/editor Gail said, “The difference is pretty simple. Marketing is in mass. Sales is one on one.”

“Okay, I can see that,” said Henry, “but the words required seem to be different while they are the same.”

Gail asked, “What do you mean?”

“Everybody says that you need to talk about delivering a benefit. That’s the way to get them to come to you,” Henry replied.

Media, Message and Magnetism

I’d brought Henry to this meeting with the marketing lunch bunch so I figured I’d better wade in. “Henry,” I said, “don’t confuse trying to write copy for an ad versus a brochure or a web site with developing a sales pitch.

Media—If the information you are presenting is paid for by you it is marketing and needs to be treated as such. That is true whether it is an ad, brochure, website or skywriting. Yes, benefits should be stated.

MessageIf you are not meeting someone in person, it is marketing and needs copy that positions the product or service in words and pictures. You need to convince and/or persuade by using text and graphics that are easily understood by the suspect, prospect or client.

Magnetism—comes as you learn how to speak in the language of your suspect, prospect or ideal client. Speak to them in person. Listen. Hear and use their words to describe what you do. Listen as they tell you the problem they have and describe it in their terms. Pay close attention to what they say about how a solution to their problem would look, taste and feel to them.

Here’s an example of the difference:

Positioning Line: Clock Thermostat

Ad headline: Live warm, sleep cool and wake up saving money.

30-Second Marketing:

Hook: I help you save money while you’re sleeping

Hold: You know how some people set the thermostat back when they go to bed to save money but have to get up to a cold house in the morning?

Pitch:  What we do is hook the thermostat to a clock so you set it once and it automatically cools things down at night then automatically starts heating the house in the morning so it is warm when you get up.

Close: It’s available in a battery operated version with all the instructions you need to hook it up yourself in minutes.

Henry said, “Thanks. That helps.”

The Takeaway:

The concepts that convince for any product or service must be expressed in both print and conversation. Only conversation is interactive and can be modified on the fly.

The words that persuade can (and should) be pulled from the ideal client’s lexicon.

How and when they are used are dictated by whether you are marketing or selling.


Jerry Fletcher’s blog recaps conversations with clients, prospects and the unruly mob of business development professionals he consorts with. They discuss marketing that works from solopreneur to enterprise level. Jerry, The Consultant’s Communication Consultant, is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue. Sign up for the blog and other publications at: www.JerryFletcher.com/Profit.html

Jerry has been researching and implementing small business marketing that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy for 25 years as President of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. Learn more at www.JerryFletcher.com

Schedule a personal appearance. Jerry speaks internationally on Networking, Marketing and Contact Relationship Magic. www.NetworkingNinja.com