As a marketing agency, and experts in personal branding, we hear it all the time—“sales” is a dirty (or tacky, or slimy, or insert other negative adjective here) word.
“I don’t want to come off as sales-y.”
“I don’t want to sell myself.”
“Building a sales pipeline feels transactional.”
The fact of the matter is, there’s a perception problem with the term “sales.”
But as a salesperson, there’s a fine line between being fair, helpful, and informative versus coming off as greedy, sketchy, or flat out annoying. Being called a “used car salesman” is the antithesis of what we want.
Sales at its core, though, is about instilling trust in someone—convincing them that there is value in what you’re selling or that you hold knowledge in a certain area, and that you deserve their time and money.
Where it can go down a less than productive, or even negative, path is when that trust is broken. When it becomes more about the transaction than the partnership.
“Great salespeople are relationship builders who provide value and help their customers win.”
The Little Red Book of Selling
We couldn’t agree more.
Because at the end of the day, when you look at it this way, everyone is a salesperson.
The trust in it all.
Trust is the basis of all interactions.
Think about it: your friends trust that you have their best interests at heart. Just like your company’s employees trust that you are steering it (and them!) in the right direction.
Trust is not just the basis of community, but it’s also the basis of a good personal brand. And a strong personal brand is ultimately how you build a sales pipeline that’s packed with your ideal clients.
A consistent and authentic personal brand will convince your potential clients that you are trustworthy—that you have the knowledge to help them solve their problems. It will show them that you know what you’re doing, without even speaking to them directly.
Armed with a consistent and clear brand in the market, you can essentially skip steps in the getting-to-know-you-phase in the sales process—and your prospects come to you already bought into who you are and how you can serve them, all without cold calling, emailing, or really much effort at all.
By getting intentional about your personal brand, you’re building a sales pipeline that attracts more qualified people and moves them through the process faster than ever before.
And let’s not deny the incredible tools at your disposal.
Social media and digital marketing have broken the door wide open to scaling a brand and reaching the right people, where they already are. Building and maintaining trust with existing and potential clients is easier (and cheaper) than ever.
You’re no longer limited to one-on-one interactions that cost valuable time, nor are you stuck with expensive media buys that require a massive budget. You can now scale your personal brand online for little to no money. There’s certainly a time investment here, but if you follow the steps below, your effort will be far more effective than if you spent your time on single interactions with poor fit, cold leads.
5 Steps to Building a Successful Sales Pipeline Using Your Personal Brand
- Know your audience’s pain points.
Once you’ve identified your ideal audience, do your research. Know what keeps them up at night and what their main goals are—so you can speak to the acute pain points they need to solve for now, get their attention, and convert them quickly.
“Success isn’t about how much money you make; it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.”
The big secret here? Building a sales pipeline that leads with solving their problems (rather than selling your product) will yield better returns in the long run.
- Get intentional with what you already know.
Your prospects are experts in their problems. You are the expert in their solutions. Use the conversations you’re already having with clients as the basis to create content that illustrates your unique abilities.
“When you undervalue what you do, the world will undervalue who you are.”
The big secret here? Lean into your knowledge. You are already the expert who can solve their problem, you just need to communicate and leverage it.
- Put pen to paper.
Start creating and publishing content that speaks to your audience and their unique pain points. Be consistent in the type of content (whether it’s a podcast, a webinar, a blog, or something else), how often you post, and the topics you post about.
There’s a huge market for leads but a limited number of people are tapping into it—80% of B2B leads come from LinkedIn while only 1% of LinkedIn users post regularly.
The big secret here? LinkedIn—it’s the place to be for client acquisition and expanding the reach of your personal brand.
- Nurture, nurture, nurture.
Don’t neglect any part of your pipeline. Treat every person, follower, or prospect as a potential partner, client, or friend. Keep nurturing every relationship, even if they aren’t the right client for you right now.
“The day you start thinking of customers as this amorphous ‘collection’ and stop thinking of them as people is the day you start going out of business.”
Co-Founder and CTO of HubSpot
The big secret here? Use your authentic personal brand to create a dialogue with your followers, building trust and deep relationships that can convert them into clients or connect you to your ideal clients in the future.
- Condense your sales cycle.
Build out your personal brand to shorten your sales timeline. It’s a little-used, but incredibly powerful, tool in your kit. If people know who you are, what you’re an expert in, and how you can solve their problems—before they even sit down to talk to you—it makes the sales process easier, faster, and more efficient. It’s because you’ve already established a preliminary layer of trust.
“If people like you they’ll listen to you, but if they trust you they’ll do business with you.”
Author & Motivational Speaker
The big secret here? Use your personal brand. It will lay the groundwork for your sales cycle, bringing inbound leads directly into your pipeline and giving you consistent and relevant resources to use in your outbound efforts.
- Know your audience’s pain points.
To learn more about these five steps and building a sales pipeline that utilizes your personal brand, check out our masterclass: The Top 5 Ways to Pack Your Pipeline Using Your Personal Brand.