Realizing the importance of personal branding
“You can reach more customers, but there are also networking opportunities and the ability to one day even start your own business as a result of building a following elsewhere.” - Will Aitken, Head of Sales Content at Sales Feed and Video Content Creator at Vidyard
Personal branding has the potential to make you more successful in your current role and in the future.
It makes it easy to strike up conversations and build new relationships wherever you go. You might be at a conference chatting with someone who’s seen your videos, and because they feel like they know you, it’s that much easier to create a real connection.
But all of this doesn’t happen overnight.
Will was actually resistant to the concept of personal branding. But when he worked on the sales team here at Proposify, his manager encouraged him (and everyone else) to start posting. He got some engagement on LinkedIn—enough to keep going. But things really blew up when he started creating short-form videos for TikTok and sharing those on LinkedIn. Then, he started getting massive engagement and thousands of followers from both platforms.
Personal branding for sales professionals: Will’s best tips
Creating a personal brand requires a lot of experimentation.
Consider Will’s hard-earned advice to guide you on your own journey.
1. Use your personal style when selling to clients
Even if you struggle to make the time to post on social media, your personal brand still matters.
“I read a lot of sales books, and almost every single book starts with this is the best way to sell. But once you’ve been doing this for a while you realize that the best way to sell is the best way for you. If we all did sales the exact same thing, it would be boring for us, and all of the clients would be annoyed as well. If you do it your way, you’re going to have a lot of fun, and you’re probably going to get better results as well.” - Will Aitken
2. Don’t be perfect
A big part of your personal brand is simply your personality. You need to let it shine through. Are you a goofbal? A space-cadet? A bundle of nervous energy?
By showing your human flaws, you can better connect with clients.
“When clients get on calls, they love it when you’re not perfect all the time. It makes them feel like they’re okay as well. I don’t trust anyone that comes across as too smart and too perfect. I think what’s going on here? What’s hidden?” - Will Aitken
3. Niche down on something you know
It’s smart to create content on subjects you know well. That might be sales, hybrid remote work, productivity, or work-life balance.
Pick one to three content categories and stick with them, so your brand doesn’t become too chaotic.
4. Discover your best content format
“I’m a horrible writer. I struggle to create sales emails even today. But I find it quite easy to show up on video. It’s kind of like a performance in a way. I was able to just jump straight into that.” - Will Aitken
Will knows that his comfort with video is unique. Although video content does stand out more, you can certainly create a successful personal brand with written content, or even audio content (in the form of podcast interviews and snippets shared across social media).
5. Add your unique style to informational content
Remember the part about letting your personality shine? Now is the time to boldly be yourself. Your unique delivery style is what really solidifies your brand and helps followers remember you.
For Will, that style is his humorous spin on things.
“I’ve been in sales for a long time. I know the pains and struggles that we’re all facing day in and day out. So for me, it was about thinking about what would relate to someone like me and then making light of the situation so we can all laugh at ourselves.” - Will Aitken
6. Become a content connoisseur
By consuming content, you’ll get inspiration for different ideas, and also form your own opinions on where you stand.
Your personal brand isn’t just about your style. You also need a unique perspective. For example, Will believes that sellers should lead with their personalities. So a lot of his content offers advice on disarming clients and cutting through the noise, like these cold call ice breakers.
By reading and watching standard sales advice, he can better hone in on his own point of view.
7. Adapt trends for your niche
One of the best ways to come up with fresh ideas for content is to adapt trends from other creators in other niches and make them your own.
“I stay in the creative mindset all the time. Everything I see, I’m thinking how can I make that a sales thing.” - Will Aitken
Will also creates posts based on his own rebuttals to other people’s content. If one of his comments on LinkedIn or TikTok gets a ton of likes, he knows that it’ll be great fodder for a dedicated post of his own.
8. Do a mix of planned content and adhoc content
What about actually getting the content done? Should you batch it?
The answer lies in the platform. While creating content adhoc can be more time-consuming, it’s easier to ride the wave of new trends.
“I find when I plan stuff or batch content all at once, it loses its magic. So I do a lot of ad hoc stuff. YouTube content will be more planned and scripted, but for the most part what you see on LinkedIn is something that me and my team decided on that morning.” - Will Aitken
No matter how you use your personal brand, whether that’s on calls, at conferences, on social media, or all three, the concept certainly deserves your attention. It’s what sets you apart from everybody else.
Ready to increase your proposal closing rates? Check out Proposify.