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That ‘Certain Something’ That Gets People to Like You

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Your friends and clients like you. You’ve done a good job branding your business. Now you need a little something extra. Why? Because it gets you talked about.

Here’s what I mean in the context of being an advisor or agent. Being talked about is another way of saying people like you and have something good to say about you. It’s a positive. Oscar Wilde said, in a “Portrait of Dorian Gray,” “There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.”

Put another way, it’s how a friend can communicate an intangible, something they like that makes you stand out.

Eight Examples of that “Certain Something”

Here are a few easy examples of personal branding.

1. Your Favorite Champagne

An art dealer friend was active socially. When she came to your home for dinner or a party, she brought a bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne. When people thanked her, she would explain it’s her favorite. The champagne brand must spend millions sponsoring high profile events like polo matches and yacht racing. She piggybacked on that advertising, adding to her personal brand. “You’ve been invited to (name) house? Bring Veuve Clicquot. It’s the only champagne she drinks.”

2. Signing Letters in Purple Ink

One of my previous managers has a distinctive trait. He would sign letters and memos in purple ink instead of black or brown ink. You knew when something came from his desk before you even read it. Everyone who knew him in the firm probably knew this trait and identified it with him. At virtually no cost, he did something that made him stand out. Do you know that manager over there? He’s the guy that always signs his name in purple ink.

3. Always Wearing Turquoise Clothing

One of my church friends must have the largest collection of turquoise blue clothing in the world! She always wears at least one piece. She explains it’s her signature color. It might be an entire outfit or an accent piece like a scarf. Everyone knows her by her color. “Is she working the food pantry table today? Yes she is. You can always tell it’s her by the color blue.”

4. The Really Hot Car

Our own insurance agent is in his early 80s. One of his cars is a bright red Ford Mustang, which he keeps in perfect condition. Everyone knows it’s him when they see this shiny Mustang pulling up to an event. I was at the post office the other day. The person behind the counter said: “I saw (name) in his Mustang yesterday. He said he would take me for a ride in it.”

5. The Distinctive Ring

Another of my former managers had a very distinctive gold ring. It was modern. It was large. She wore it constantly. I don’t think anyone knew the story behind the ring, but she was never without it. “Have you ever noticed that ring (name) wears? She’s always got it on.”

6. Generous Tipping

How you treat others says a lot about you. People behave in certain ways to create an impression, but here’s an easy thing to do for third parties. Make it a point to leave a generous tip when you dine out. This might be done by leaving the regular tip on your credit card receipt and putting some extra paper money into the bill folder. You tip with a five instead of a couple of ones when the valet brings your car to the door. You tip the coat check person when others aren’t doing the same. It sets you apart as a kind, generous person. People take notice. “I’ll tell you something about him. He treats staff very well. He’s a generous tipper.”

7. Good Manners

This costs nothing. You hold the door for other people. You wait until they finish speaking before you say something. You hold the chair when a lady is being seated. You defer to your guests in a restaurant, so your order is taken last. People will remark on your polish and good manners. This is especially effective with older friends and clients. “Watch what he does. He has the nicest manners. He is a true gentleman.”

8. A Great Signature

Good handwriting too. It helps to have an artistic background. Today we are used to scribbling on credit card machine screens requiring bending at impossible angles. Some people sign letters and notes with handwriting resembling calligraphy. It looks so elegant! People enjoy reading your letters because they love the signature. “Watch when she signs the restaurant receipt. She has the most elegant signature.”

You’ve often heard it’s “the little things” that set people apart. These are a few of the little things. Outside of buying a Ford Mustang, most of these examples are inexpensive or easy to adopt.


Bryce SandersBryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. He provides high-net-worth client acquisition training for the financial services industry. His book, “Captivating the Wealthy Investor,” can be found on Amazon.

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