Elmer Wheeler, once billed as The Greatest Salesman in the World, said this back in 1937, and it still holds true today: “Don’t sell the steak, sell the sizzle.” So, what’s your sizzle?
You need to figure that out, because no matter what you’re selling—skills, accomplishments, unique qualifications, and/or traits—you have to market, market, market. Then you have to market some more, to clients, potential clients, colleagues, and your networks (virtual and live).
To do that, you need to be visible. That’s step one. But while Pepsi, Apple, and L’Oreal have millions to spend on wall-to-wall advertising campaigns that include television, print, and online sweeps, it’s doubtful you can afford to do the same. Yes, you need the visibility; no, you don’t have the budget.
Well, cheer up! There are still plenty of effective ways to market your personal brand.
You can give your profile a boost by moonlighting, for example, whether that be internal—e.g., signing on to help with a project not strictly in your area, thus meeting new coworkers and showing them what you can do—or external—wrangling freelance work that broadens your network. The more people applauding your skills and abilities, the greater your visibility and reputation.
Then again, you could teach at a community college or in an adult education program. You could even conduct a training in the workplace. Any or all of these will enhance your reputation as an expert and help others see you as a true professional. You may very well find people coming back to you again and again with requests for more or offering chances to tap into new opportunities.
Do you like to write? Are you good at it? Then why not pen a column or opinion piece for the local paper. Local newspapers, company newsletters, and in-house publications usually jump at the chance to fill space, and you wind up with tangible evidence of you expertise. This is a win-win for everybody, but especially for you, because it gives you a running start toward greater visibility and increased influence.
Don’t forget conferences and trade shows, either! Signing up to do a workshop presentation or serve on a panel can eventually land you a solo gig. Before you know it, your visibility quotient has taken a big jump, and you’re invited to speak at your industry’s annual conference.
No matter which of these visibility enhancers you choose, make sure you keep your focus on your brand. Everything you do—from email to phone calls to meetings and presentations—should reflect the character of your personal brand. In other words, it’s not only what you say and do, but the way you say and do it.
When you go online, demonstrate a command of technology. Be concise at meetings. Review every facet of your communication, up to and including a branded business card with a cleverly designed logo that showcases not only your appreciation of effective packaging, but communicates the uniqueness of you.
Of course, word of mouth is, and always has been, the most effective way to gain visibility. You’ve got a network—friends, family, coworkers, clients, and customers—nurture and use it! It’s the best marketing tool out there. Whatever those folks say about you and your contributions will ultimately determine the market value of your personal brand. So give them the sizzle!
- Posted by Gabriella Sannino
- On October 11, 2017