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The Hot New Brand In Financial Services: You

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Did you ever hear a salesperson say, “Thank you but I prefer to remain anonymous. I don’t want people to know who I am or what I do.”

Sounds absurd, I agree, but it is actually commonplace. The problem is these same salespeople don’t know they are making this statement. Most don’t have a clue.

Lack of a personal brand

What I’m referring to is the fact that the vast majority of financial services sales professionals fail to distinguish themselves by developing a personal brand. And without this powerful addition to their array of assets–knowledge, experience, expertise–they remain just another salesperson in the pack.

If you have always associated brands with companies only, your view is myopic and worse than that, it places an artificial limitation on your production and potential.

So what is a personal brand and how do you develop one? First and foremost, it is a way of distinguishing you from the thousands of men and women who, minus brands, appear to do the same thing you do: They sell the same products and offer the same services.

With a brand, you compete on a far higher and more professional plane. Put simply, you do so by cultivating a reputation, a trademark, a signature for doing something exceptionally well. More than that, you become “best of breed.”

Case in point: When my family was young and it came time for me to purchase life insurance, I went on a quest for the ideal agent to serve my special needs as a new homeowner, husband and father of a 6-month old son.

As I surveyed the landscape, seeking referrals and checking various directories, I discovered that virtually all of the candidates touted expertise in serving high-net-worth individuals. This was the pillar of their practice–or so they claimed.

One word no one would apply to my net worth at the time was “high.” Given my relatively paltry finances, I knew I didn’t belong with the agents who prided themselves as being advisors to the rich. That would be a sure way to be a small fish in a big pond.

It was only when I received a brochure in the mail from an agent who stated, with pride, “Serving those on the Way Up, With Grand Ambitions and Small Budgets,” that I believed I had found my advisor. And after a single meeting at my kitchen table, with this 40-ish gentleman identifying and expressing my dreams and concerns better than I could hope to do, I knew he was the financial ally I was seeking.

As it turned out, he had intentionally staked his future on the future of young people like me, with modest means but the determination to join the ranks of the high-net-worth elite post haste. It wasn’t only that he was willing to serve us; he built his personal brand around what we were, what we needed and where we were going.

How can you accomplish the same for yourself? For the specific brand you chose to establish? Here’s a checklist:

1. Identify the market in which you want to stake your strongest position.

2. Develop a skill set that provides this group with expert information, strategies and techniques they are unlikely to discover from those who have not built a stake in this market.

3. Build a profile in the media that establishes your credentials. Write articles. Seek to provide expert advice on the broadcast media. Develop a website that avoids the all-too-common generalist language and that stays deeply focused on the core of your brand differentiator.

4. Send constant information updates focused on your branded expertise to your client and prospect base. In time, if the content is good and on target, it will be spread virally, as will your business volume.

Time to act

So you never thought of yourself as a brand. Now you have something new and powerful to contemplate–and to act on.

It is often the difference between the elite and everyone else.

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