Own your worth and assert it. Women are still vilified for exercising the tenacity and assertiveness for which men are applauded leading us to shy away from owning our strengths and talking about our achievements, but as a founder, these are important skills to acquire for business growth and success
I recently conducted some research for a course I am developing which will address these specific issues. I wanted to hear women describe in their own words, the challenges they face in achieving career and business success
I asked my interviewees to answer one question “What’s the one thing hindering your success and progress?”
The results were all a variance on these themes with which we are no doubt all too familiar
1. I don’t like selling myself
2. I lack confidence in my ability
3. I worry what other people will think
These are synonymous and self-perpetuating. If you don’t believe in yourself and your own ability, then it’s going to be doubly difficult to convince anyone else to buy you or your product.
And people buy people.
Women are notoriously bad at self-promotion and not just because we fear censure. Often our modesty and the need to be liked gets in the way. It’s also very non-British to be seen to brag so mostly we just do our thing and hope our hard work is recognised. The author Gill Whitty-Collins refers to this as The Umbrella Theory in her book “Why Men Win at Work”
But what if you could build your business and your career without having to have a cold sales conversation? What if your own Personal Brand was so compelling you were able to attract your ideal customer without trying? What if they came to you and you were pushing an open door?
Here are 5 ways to build a powerful Personal Brand, that can align with your business goals, set you apart from the competition and do the selling for you
1. Be clear on your own Value Proposition
It takes something like less than 7 seconds for a first impression to be created so be sure to make it a good one. Whether you call it an Elevator Pitch or an Impactful Introduction it should be less than 1-minute and clearly articulate
- Who you are
- What you do
- Why you do it.
Creating your intro pitch takes practice and you may need a couple of adapts depending on who you are addressing.
Start by writing it down. Practice reading it out loud to find out if there are any words you stumble over and to ensure it actually sounds like you. Record it on your phone to check the length and then video yourself delivering it, that’s the slightly cringe part but worth the effort. Practice it until you are pitch-perfect and 100% comfortable with doing so.
2. Who are your audience and why would they buy from you as opposed to anyone else?
As a marketer, I know that if you try to cover all the bases you dilute the message so determining the audience sweet spot and their presenting problem is well worth the time investment. The temptation might be to list out your own competencies and expertise or your products best features and benefits rather than focusing on those that matter most to your audience. The question really is what value do YOU bring to the table? This isn’t always easy to define but assuming you’ve done your competitor research there are a couple of ways you can differentiate yourself from the shop next door
- How will your audience experience you and your brand? Is there something unique in how you do what you do? If there is a lot of competition in your area of expertise then you might not have too many product differentiators so is there something in your approach?
- Purpose. Why are you doing this other than to make money, which is a basic need for all of us rather than a reason? There’s a growing body of evidence showing that businesses that do good do better. In an ever-competitive world, customers are looking for companies and people they can trust
- Social Proof. Recommendations and referrals from your ideal customers are gold and will attract even more ideal customers. We are not all authors or recognised business leaders but customer endorsements are a sure-fire way to further build trust and credibility in your brand so don’t forget to ask for recommendations and feedback for a Google review or website testimonial
3. Tell a fascinating but relevant story
I have a story. You have a story. We all have a story.
Your story is the reason that people will buy you. It is what will make them supporters, followers, and latterly customers. By telling your story in an authentic way, in your own tone and vernacular you can form connections and rapport without even knowing it.
When creating your Personal Brand story consider these questions:
- Will the aspects of your story that you are telling, connect with the audience you have identified.
- What are your biggest achievements, what did you learn and how did they inform who you are today?
- What are your professional passions?
- How would those who know you best describe you?
4. Selling is serving
Think of selling as a form of serving; in effect, you are delivering a service or solving a problem for your customer. If you’ve done your research then your customer should want to buy your product because it solves a problem for them. So if you naturally shy away from being salesy then a reframe can help. That’s why being clear on your Purpose is so important as a way to give your offer depth and credibility. And your purpose as articulated in your story will attract your ideal audience to your brand, which negates the need to have to cold sell.
- Always be yourself, an obvious point but we often conform to expectations when under pressure
- It’s one thing to appear confident; it’s another to have confidence in yourself and who you are. One of the challenges raised in my research was the fear of appearing arrogant but it’s all in the delivery, if you are not naturally arrogant you won’t come over that way
- Don’t talk too much, listen to hear and not respond. People like to feel listened to and to talk about themselves. Take the time to ask the client to define the presenting problem rather than jumping to the solution
5. Being visible
A researcher and author called Harvey Coleman wrote a book back in 1996 in which he identified that Exposure accounts for 60% of success so your brand needs to be seen by your audience.
Where are people experiencing your brand? Who are your community and how will you connect with them?
In this age of reference and referrals, building a community and a relationship with your audience is more important than ever. There are many tools that can help you create content to captivate your audience many of which are available for free on basic packages.
Here are some of my favourites DIY tools that make showcasing your Personal Brand simple, no previous experience required
- Canva — the ultimate DIY design tool with lots of free templates to help you look super professional and consistent in the execution of your brand. You can resize your designs in Canva to suit all social media platforms
- InShot — helps you create professional video content from mobile phone footage, with music, filters, stickers and background canvas’s
- MixCaptions — translates your video audio into real time captions which you can edit for speed and frames
- Teleprompter — if you do lots of webinars and keynotes as I do, Teleprompter is a must for keeping you on track when speaking live
The world is opening up again so if you do one thing off the back of this article, get clear on your Personal Brand and the rest will follow.
You’ve got this!