- Who & Why?
Whether you are having a phone interview or having a call with a prospect or client, your brand comes through via the phone just as much as it does in person. Think back to the last call you had with someone who didn’t “sound” happy or well-put together or competent on the phone. You noticed. So others notice you, as well.
Here are a few tips for keeping your personal brand pristine over the phone. Just because I can’t actually see you, doesn’t mean I can’t feel or deduce what’s going on with you and your business.
1. Sit upright in your chair- we’ve done the research and the tone of your voice changes as you slump down. You sound less self-confident (because you may be less confident when you slump) and we can’t hear you as well. You wouldn’t slump in-person, so make sure your spine is in line with your head.
2. Wear something nice- you don’t have to wear a suit, but shower, do your hair and wear something that makes you feel professional and good about answering questions. You need to feel competent. This is particularly for you who tele-commute or run home-based businesses. This is especially true if you are having a phone interview.
3. If you have to pause to think of an answer, just say so to avoid dead airtime over the phone. Remember, the other party can’t see that you are thinking of a response.
4. Smile- even though you are on the phone and the other party can’t see you, they can tell from your voice (see #1) that you are smiling or not. Smiling will lift your own mood and make you positive. At the end of the day, we only want to talk to (and hire or give business to) positive people.
Here at Puris Image, we work with businesses and their employees on developing their personal brands and conveying that into a successful personal brand. However, it seems we are often working on interviewing skills for our clientele, too. So whether you are interviewing for a job or a new client/business, the tips are all the same.
In fact, I’ve discovered a pattern that happens with people who are interviewing- whether they be attorneys, CEOs, entry-level people, etc. The list is so long that I’ll address one issue each time.
So here’s the main thing NOT to do during an interview: DO NOT be or act desperate.
The tone of your entire interview is set by your mentality. Too often people go into interviews (or meetings with prospects for new business) with a mentality of being desperate because they need the job or need the business. This is a perfect way to set yourself up for failure. People can sense desperation and do not like it.
You must create a win-win situation. So remember, you are not desperate. The best way to not be desperate is to:
A) Think to yourself, Do I want to work here? If it is a prospect, think to yourself whether you really like them as a potential client.
B) Create JOY as the emotional underpinning for why they should hire you or engage your firm. As with all things related to branding, if you I cannot see you as bringing joy to our office and our clientele, then I cannot hire you or give you the business. I can teach anyone most anything, but I cannot teach joyful attitude and integrity.
C) Show your flexibility and adaptability as an employee or vendor. Make sure your responses and questions all come across from a place of being open to new concepts and people, but NOT overly ingratiating. For example, “I’d be open to working different hours” and NOT “I can work any hours you need for any pay.” OR if you are a business prospecting, “We are happy to create a service package that is customized to your business needs” and NOT “We’ll do whatever you want at any price”.
Look for the next tip at a later date.
EMAIL US YOUR WORST EXPERIENCE WITH DESPERATION IN GETTING BUSINESS
Most of us know by now what happened last week with yet another cruise ship in the Carnival family of ships. Yes, more stranded passengers at sea in less than hygienic conditions… and then some. The events were obviously unfortunate for all involved. I can just imagine being a passenger who had my precious vacation days wasted and health compromised, not to mention the monetary damage. Are we having fun yet??
The most important branding buzz has been about the compensation Carnival offered their guests. A big part of brand management is how we use compassion and connection value to take care of clients and staff. This is particularly true when a wrong has been committed, thereby damaging the brand.
It was appropriate of Carnival to offer compensation to passengers. However, I’m not sure they got to the heart of pain they created for passengers by offering them a refund, $500 and another cruise- for free. How can a dollar amount, such as $500, be the “right” figure given what passengers endured? Why would Carnival assume that a free cruise would be sufficient brand rehabilitation? After all, those passengers now have a negative brand perception of cruising on Carnival.
In creating or rehabilitating a brand, you must put yourself in your clientele’s shoes. This isn’t about what you want, but what your target market or clientele want from you, whether that’s an apology or joy.
WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE DONE TO REHAB YOUR BRAND AND COMPENSATE YOUR CLIENTELE IF YOU WERE CARNIVAL?
I was at an American Bar Association (ABA) conference last week. One of the events I attended centered on negotiating for lawyers. Each pair of lawyers were given fact patterns and told to negotiate their side. The fact patterns involved one lawyer being the “boss”, or partner-in-charge, and the other lawyer being “junior”, or the associate. Afterwards, the pairs discussed the results of their negotiations.
I found a very interesting phenomenon occurring as each pair stated their results. In 75% of the pairs, the junior employee/associates would negotiate for services related to personal and business development, such as the hiring of coaches or attendance at conferences and workshops. In all these cases, none of the bosses/partners-in-charge were willing to provide funding for such development activities.
The logic each time was that the activities and coaches requested were all for the betterment of the junior employee/associate and NOT of the law firm/institution. I was shocked and dismayed! Really? True, that the actual individual getting the benefit of the coach and/or attending the conference or workshop is the single junior employee/associate.
However, how could anyone ever believe that the entire institution and/or law firm does not stand to benefit? You mean to tell me that if, during the course of the coaching/event, the employee/associate gains skills and self-confidence that lead to: 1) gaining of new clients and 2) creation of new services/products, the organization would not benefit? The reality is that of course the organization benefits because that is the goal of the development. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had clients work on their personal brand development with us and use this knowledge as a way of directly retaining new business.
So what causes this organizational denial/disconnect? First, I believe it is a function of being frugal. Organizations are often looking for the least expensive means to everything and anything. So, of course they will take the view that training only benefits the individual employee. Second, it is a function of not being able to effectively take what the individual employee learns, quantify it, and apply it to the entity or even monitor the end result. It would take more costly human capital, and perhaps technology, to figure out how to use the knowledge well. Lastly, it is so much easier for organizations and law firms to just focus on the substantive work. After all, they can track with much more ease the substantive work results and they sleep better betting on a sure thing.
So what is the real worth of personal and business development for employees/lawyers within an organization/law firm? I would say it is invaluable. I encourage management to not make the mistake of comparing personal and business development directly with billable hours/substantive work product. Comparing apples to oranges won’t yield positive results.
Instead, stop and evaluate each individual situation for what it is worth. Yes, that does require extra time and effort. Learn to balance substance with investment in human capital. Perhaps it will even require some faith, forecasting, and implementation of an evaluation/measurement system. In the end, it will be worth it. I promise.
What has been your experience with personal and business development? We’d love to hear!
The term “brand” is usually related to food, cars and clothing. It has been our job (and an uphill one at that!) to show companies and business owners that branding applies to people as well. However, much to our pleasure these days, the term “brand” is used much more widely and commonly with respect to people and groups.
Just recently, Louisiana Republican Governor Bobby Jindal delivered his party’s formal response to Obama’s vision for this country. In his response, Jindal said, “We had a number of Republicans damage the [Republican] brand this year with offensive and bizarre comments.” Jindal was referring to self-sabotage in sending a brand off-course. Self-sabotage is sadly a common characteristic of the human race. We would like to deny it as much as possible, but we cannot. In the personal branding world, we see self-sabotage play out daily. We don’t even know we are blocking our personal brand success until it is often too late. Even then, we may not want to believe it is our fault.
We don’t just come up with a personal brand for companies and employees. We help you understand your individual uniqueness as a person and then work on communicating that uniqueness to your target audience so that you captivate them with your memorability and credibility. We want you each to be different, understand the difference and bring that uniqueness to the business brand so that there is a synergy created based on a common, united front- that’s the synchronized, harmonious business brand/perception the target market feels when they encounter each of you. As a natural consequence of self-sabotage and poor personal brand management, we also rehabilitate personal brands.
So what exactly is the brand of a Republican or a liberal or any other group for that matter? Well, it depends on the audience and their perception. The way we define “brand” is a list of identifying characteristics of a person or group. This list of identifying characteristics is dictated by the person or group, as well as by the audience perception.
So for example, Jindal believes the Republicans damaged their brand. Does his audience believe the same? And even more important, what are we going to do to rehabilitate the brand- inside the group and out in the audience?
What’s important for you to do is start paying more attention to the term, “brand”. First define your identifying characteristics, then manage to audience perception.