Throughout the past year, coworkers have told me, “You’re building a great brand for yourself.” At first, I didn’t think much of it. I’m not an Instagram influencer or a TikTok megastar. I’m simply a sales professional at a SaaS company. Why would I need a personal brand?
Fast forward to the end of 2020, when I joined my first RevGenius RevLeague round table. This exuberant group of sales professionals was discussing how LinkedIn is an integral part of their sales strategy. I was hesitant to use the idea but promised myself that I’d start sharing my industry knowledge with my LinkedIn network.
Within the first week, my global sales leader pinged our entire sales organization complimenting a video I’d posted. That’s when I understood the power of my brand.
Lead with Positivity
I’ve always been the type of person to recognize areas ripe for improvement. At the office, that means I’m continually uncovering opportunities for other teams to better support my business unit.
Until about a year ago, I sent short, pointed messages to these other business units sharing my knowledge and insights. If that sounds arrogant, it was. And my efforts came across that way.
Don’t be the old me. No one wants to receive a message on how they can do their job better. Instead, lead with a positive statement. Then, collaborate to find a solution to the problem you’ve identified.
As an example, let’s say you’re in sales and work closely with your in-house marketing team. They sent out a recent newsletter to a list of contacts you haven’t seen before. You quickly realize the potential sales power of this new list.
Don’t: Accuse the contact of withholding information. Or, simply ask for the list.
Do: Share what a great idea it was to use the list for the upcoming newsletter. Give the team credit for the work that they’ve done. Then, share how vital that list could be to your team. Let them know how you plan to build off the marketing team’s strategy to get to the greater goal of driving revenue. Then ask how you can work together to gain access to the list.
Always be yourself. This is the hardest step, but also the most important. You have the skills and knowledge that got you to where you are today. You also have a unique personality. That’s your superpower, and it’d be silly not to use it.
As an example, say you’re in a meeting with a new group of coworkers. The topic is business critical, but the environment is casual. You want to make a positive impression on your new colleagues. You want them to remember your contributions to the discussion.
Don’t: Talk simply to hear your own voice. Many people think they need to speak in a meeting to show they’re worthy of sitting at the table. If anything, silence is more powerful than adding unnecessary information.
Do: Bring your personality to the table. Perhaps you moonlight as a yoga instructor. Offer to start the meeting with a much needed 5-minute stretch. Then, use the rest of the tips in this article to bring relevant, helpful content to the remainder of the meeting.
Sharing is Caring
This tip might be unique to my professional brand, but I believe in it, so it’s making my list.
Allow me to remind you that you’ve gotten to where you are for a reason. Part of that reason is the knowledge that you have accumulated. Now, remember there are others out there seeking assistance on issues you already solved.
That’s why it’s important to share anything and everything you can with your network. Perhaps it’s a quick tip posted to LinkedIn. Or an internal message on Slack or Teams with a reminder on where to find a document it took you 45 minutes to locate. It doesn’t have to be life-changing content; it just has to help one person with something you’ve struggled with before.
For example, let’s say you realize that the personal brand you’ve built for yourself could help others with their own professional goals. You wonder if others might be interested in hearing what has worked for you.
Don’t: Do nothing. Don’t tell yourself that no one will be interested in your ideas.
Do: Write an article that focuses on the value of a personal brand. 😉
Be Gracious with Your Time
Last but not least, is the importance of being gracious with your time. As you start to share with others, to be authentic, and to lead with positivity, you’ll find that people will come to you with questions and to share new ideas. The first time this happens, you know you’re on the right track with building your brand. This is the dividend paid on the work you’ve put in.
For that reason, you want to be as giving with your time as possible. If marketing now asks you for ideas on how sales and marketing can collaborate, show up and put the work in to be worthy of the respect they have shown you. If your HR leader asks you to lead a weekly yoga session for the whole company, respond “Abso-chaturanga-lutely.”
While it is essential to share your time and your expertise, remember not to overextend yourself. Focus on areas that interest you, primarily the areas you want to focus on in your professional career. That way, as you’re asked to join projects or share knowledge on a topic, you’re also working towards resume building content for your next dream job.