Get real. The real way to use your personal brand to attract clients
If you read through my blogs, you’ll see quite a few regarding personal branding, from advice on how to create your personal brand, the importance of branding transparency, relating your brand to your audience, and through to creating a truly unique brand identity. Finally, we have reached my pinnacle blog on why branding is important for you and your firm – it can be used to attract clients.
Let’s look at how to use your personal brand as a magnetic force for business growth.
Let’s briefly revisit authenticity. It’s something also touched on briefly in other blogs, but you shouldn’t underestimate how crucial it is to attracting clients. Professionals, the world over, believe that putting on this businessperson persona is what will net them clients, but that isn’t necessarily true.
Do you need to speak differently to your clients, as compared to your friends? Of course — but it’s not so much about the tone as it is about the content of your conversations. Having a friendly tone with clients reflects your authenticity, but getting too personal or speaking about irrelevant topics with them can sometimes step into a territory where you’re being TOO transparent.
Finding the correct tone can be used to establish trust between you and a client, or even a potential client. When you speak to them as yourself, with some of your barriers down, they see a picture of the honest, real you. You still have boundaries in this relationship, but you’re not just a professional — you’re a person. Remember, people do business with people, and people continue to do business with people they like (that’s your long term clients).
Reality in action
Authenticity is another trait, much like transparency, that it’s easy to brag about but harder to prove. The best test for authenticity is whether or not you feel comfortable with following through on an actionable or opinion statement you’ve made.
Let’s use a law firm as an example. You’re a lawyer and you’ve just had an initial free consultation with a client. You tell them that you believe that legal strategies are best planned out with the client’s risk profile, business goals and situation in mind. After they leave, you develop the entire legal strategy for their case and showcase the strategy the next time you see them. You didn’t’ ask what their business goals were, nor did you discuss their risk profile. You think you’ve done a great job, as you are familiar with their situation; you’ve seen it before.
Have you kept your word? Did you consult them to obtain the full picture?
While you wanted to make your client feel like they had a hand in their legal strategy, did they really? Or have you just pushed them towards an ideal you have dreamt up independently?
This speaks directly to authenticity — and following through on your word is incredibly attractive to clients.
Honesty is the best policy
Personal branding is all about displaying who you are as a person in a business marketing context. Are you an honest person in real life? If so, creating an honest branding strategy should be easy.
The trouble really comes in when you feel like you have to put on airs to fit in with the business world. In reality, things aren’t that phony. Some businesses, firms and professionals do utilise a certain persona, but these are almost always businesses, firms and professionals that fail at maintaining success. Why? They don’t practice what they preach, and clients eventually pick up on this.
Being authentic and honest with your branding showcases that you’re a real person, not just a professional out to make money. Respect your clients and keep your integrity. It’s as simple as that.