You and your business are not defined by the “thing you do” that makes money. Shocking, I know.
At the very base level, yes, your business is what you offer. You offer a product or service, people buy it – boom. Business. And, as a business owner, you probably identify yourself by your work in these situations, so that people know you mean, well, business.
But the act of defining – to state or describe exactly the nature, scope or meaning of – your business and your role as a business owner purely by that “thing you do” is like serving up a sandwich without the fixin’s… or the sauce – and you know you need to have that special sauce!
What is your brand serving up?
More to the point (and less about lunch), the more you align your professional persona with your true personality – and communicate your special sauce intentionally – the more you will connect with clients who are looking to align with like-minded people.
Everyone comes to the buying stage with a pre-defined idea of what they want. At the base level, they want a realtor, a financial planner, a mortgage broker, etc. But their selection process is layered with much more detailed criteria, whether they realize it or not. The “yes” moment occurs when people see what they want, which is usually a reflection of themselves. A realtor who is also a road biker like me? Awesome! A financial planner who likes posting gourmet food pics to Instagram? Me too! Wow, this mortgage broker’s interior design blog is great – and just like the ideas I have for my new home (when I get it)…
Define your business story with as much nuance and personalization as you define your core identity, and you’ll create distinctive sales messages that people will identity with – and say yes to.
How to define your brand, the real way
Many people have a fear of revealing too much of the personal, as if it will make them not appear professional enough. Our personal identity is inevitably more casual than our professional one, true, but there’s another way to think of it: By defining your business by your personality, you’ll attract like-minded clients. You know your stuff, and your clients and prospects will see that in your passion for helping them achieve their goal. If that passion comes with a passion for antique typewriters, yoga or woodcarving, all the better!
Here’s how to take one small step (or two) to personalize your brand story:
+ Re-write your professional bio to start with a fun little-known fact about yourself.
+ Think about dedicating one blog post a week to something you are interested in that is entirely unrelated to your work.
+ Integrate your Instagram account into your professional website for an attractive and personalized visual component.
+ Practice the 4-1-1 social media rule: Post 4 educational, fun or interesting items for every 1 “soft sell” and 1 “hard sell” post. (Resist temptation: The four items you choose should have no sales messaging whatsoever, and most should be shared from outside sources.)
+ Consider reorienting your entire professional brand story from a personal passion. You’ll attract more like-minded clients than alienate dissimilar ones, if done right.
That’s it! Be you – and don’t hesitate to serve up some of that truly awesome special sauce alongside your expertise.
I’ve got more ideas (plenty more), so get in touch if you want to develop your brand story’s true self (or sauce!).