>Have you ever heard the sayings”everything speaks” or” your actions speak louder than words”? Those statements definitely come into play when you are working to turn your prospects into customers. Everything about you, from how you introduce yourself, to how you dress, to how you keep in touch with prospects conveys a message. You are telling the prospect ( whether you realize it or not) if they can trust you, if you can add value and if you are worth their time.

In a world where trust and value have become the new Return On Investment (ROI) your brand is as (if not more) important than the product or service you are selling. You have to be as good at marketing yourself as you are at selling your product or service. Why?

Remember, competition is fierce and growing stronger everyday. Consumers have a million choices as to where, when, how and from whom they buy your product. And again, just like we discussed in the last chapter, if you want to be the one turning this prospect into a customer, then you better be the first one they think of when they are ready to act on their needs. And that takes marketing, you need awareness, top of mind connection, a keep in touch strategy, and a highly regarded reputation. A big part of this strategy is your personal (not your company) brand. You need to build a personal brand that is powerful and so strong that your prospects actually seek you out when they are ready to buy.

When we talk personal brand – we are talking about how you position yourself in the market place. How you look, what you say, how you act, the experience the client has when interacting with you, and how well you listen, communicate, and follow-up.

We live in a prejudice society. Oh I am not saying in the way you think, we all just have expectations and those expectations are a prejudice. When we go to the doctor we expect a clean atmosphere, white coats, well trimmed hair, sterile environment. If our doctor walked in looking like our tattoo artist we would run not walk out of there. And consequently, if our tattoo artist looked like our doctor, we would run out of that tattoo parlor as fast as we could. We want our tattoo artist covered in tattoo’s – to look like she knows what she is doing, loves what she does, and is good at it! These professionals have a brand, and if you want to turn your prospects into customers you must have a brand too.

So how do you develop a personal brand? Well, for starters, you already have one. May or may not be the one you want, but trust me you have one. Brands get stronger if we proactively design the brand we want. A great exercise is to make a list of ten ways (or competencies) you would want people to describe you. Then ask yourself, how do I proactively deliver on these competencies? Would my prospects and customers describe me this way? If not, what could I do to proactively convey this message? I keep a list of my ten competencies on my desk. I read them out loud every morning – first thing. And over the years, I have evolved to become this brand. I have gained a reputation that matches exactly to my top ten list. My professional field is highly competitive and having a strong brand and distinct reputation is a major asset in my ability to turn my prospects into customers.

So next time you head out to a networking event, to call on a prospect or head to a community meeting take a moment to stop and think. What am I wearing; how do I look; how is my attitude; am I positive and upbeat; am I confident; have I prepared for the call or event; if I tell someone I will do something do I do it; would I hire or work with me; do I look an act in such a way that I exude professionalism, confidence, service and trust?

So test yourself, hold yourself to these standards, and constantly look to improve, mold and expand your brand. You will quickly see your prospects not only turn into customers, but your prospects come to you asking to be your customers. This can be a huge competitive edge!