Four steps to converting your network into personal brand ambassadors
Working from home? Has business activity slowed due to COVID-19? Now is a great opportunity to follow Stephen Covey’s advice from his classic business leadership book, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” and sharpen your saw. In other words, it’s time to invest in you.
Convert Your Network Into Personal Brand Ambassadors
There’s plenty of things you could do in quarantine to help your career or business run smoother like organizing, maintenance, etc. But, I’m talking about making a real difference. How can you make some modifications to your Millennium Falcon so you can make the jump to light speed as soon as we go back to work?
The answer: convert the members of your network into your own personal brand ambassadors.
Think of what it would mean for your career or business to have dozens of personal brand ambassadors — respected professionals who know you, your skills and your competitive advantage – prospecting for you. Trained to recognize your preferred business targets, they could advocate for you and your business convincingly. What difference would that make in your new business development efforts?
Update Your Personal Brand Language
The first step to recruiting your own brand ambassadors is to take a look at the way you present yourself to others. What do you want to be known for? Instead of introducing yourself by job title, describe yourself in terms of what you do and the value you provide to others. Sprinkle in skills and experience that differentiate you. And, most importantly, tell people the “why,” as in what drives you. Spend some time to succinctly define these points of your personal brand language in ways that will be memorable for others. Don’t hesitate to seek out the help of a communications professional or brand marketer to get this exactly right. Then, incorporate this new language into your 30-second elevator speech, LinkedIn profile, personal bio sketch and other communications vehicles. Make sure you consistently present yourself with this new personal brand identity.
Lead by Example
Second, shift your mindset – it’s less about you and more about others. Bob Burg, author of the bestselling book, “The Go-Giver,” offers some great advice to catalyze this change: “The single greatest people skill is a highly developed and authentic interest in the other person.”
Follow this advice and make time to get to know the people in your network. Pick six to eight persons you feel can help your business grow. Next, invite each of them join you for an individual teleconference call. If by this time COVID-19 has subsided, make it an in-person coffee or lunch. Express a genuine interest in them by asking how you can be a better member of their network. Ask about their skills and competitive advantage. Learn how to recognize their ideal business leads. Practice talking about them and their business to others convincingly. Encourage them to review your LinkedIn list of connections and pick those you could introduce to them.
Train Your Personal Brand Ambassadors
Third, after you have learned about them, share your new 30-second elevator speech and LinkedIn profile. Ask them to use it when they talk about you. Be sure to have it ready to email to them. Teach them how to recognize your ideal business leads. You might even name a couple of prospects you are chasing, especially those who are in their network. Ask this person if he or she would be willing to introduce you to them or others in their network who match the same or similar criteria.
Finally, follow up with this person regularly to see how things are going with his or her business. Be sure to have a referral in hand for them when you do. In other words, model the personal brand ambassador behavior you’d like to see them do for you.
“The successful networkers I know, the ones receiving tons of referrals and feeling truly happy about themselves, continually put the other person’s needs ahead of their own,” says Burg.
Consistently look for ways to provide the people in your network value. Be patient, persistent and focus on others. In time, you’ll have your own army of personal brand ambassadors helping you create the new business opportunities you’ve always dreamed of.
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