Here at The Center for Sales Strategy we work remotely, which means our professional lives are contained on the internet. I was excited to find that my colleague (and crosstown neighbor!) Greg Giersch was working on launching a new self-directed online course we’ve just published called Brand & Connect, so I asked him to meet with me.
This new course is one of Greg’s important recent projects, so I came to lunch loaded with questions about Brand & Connect.
1. What was the impetus behind Brand & Connect? Why did you start it in the first place?
The short answer is that today potential clients are researching salespeople online before they ever agree to meet with them. Salespeople are being judged and graded before they ever meet a prospect.
The longer answer is that I've been building this product for years. In 2006 when Twitter first came out, I was an early adopter. Everyone in the office thought, "what is a sales manager doing on Twitter?" They thought I was just "playing online," but I was fascinated by how much you could learn from the early thought leaders and use social media to connect with other professionals around the world.
2. What will Brand & Connect teach us?
The first half of the course is about building your personal brand—figuring out who you are and what you have to offer. What benefit do you bring to your clients? The second half teaches you how to connect with people, especially prospects. There's an old saying that a good salesperson can sell anything to anyone, but that's not really true. A good salesperson provides the right solution to the right customer.
3. Doesn’t everyone already know his or her skill set?
Surprisingly, often they don't, so we help them consider their brand from three perspectives:
- What people who don't know them think.
- What people who do know them think about them.
- What they think about themselves.
4. Who should take this course?
Ideally, salespeople who need to meet with more prospects, and their managers who need to network with their client base. However, it's a good course for any professional who wants to improve their brand and who needs to get appointments.
5. What was the most fun part about building Brand & Connect?
It's always a lot of fun applying marketing to an individual. As you go through the course, you'll really figure out who you are and what you have to offer. You move past "I'm a salesperson" and find the real reason people would want to meet with you. After taking Brand & Connect, you'll start going after the right people for the right reasons.
6. What do you hope people will get out of this course?
I hope they get more appointments. Actually, the person that takes this course and does all of the activities will get more appointments. They’ll find themselves better able to convey the real value they have to offer to their clients.
7. How long do you think it will take someone to finish the course?
We’re recommending people take it over two weeks. While the content is about three hours, there are activities after every unit to immediately apply what you just learned. Doing the activities is where the course really pays off.
8. The first part of the course is about building your professional brand. What if your name is really common? How do you differentiate yourself then?
We walk through a few ideas. One idea is to brand a more unique version of your name. That could include using your full name, middle initial, or spelling out your middle name. Some names are hard to differentiate, so if you can't brand simply your name, you can brand your name within your industry, or your location. Whatever you think your prospects are focusing on when they search.
9. How will Brand & Connect help a salesperson connect to decision makers?
We show them how they can use online tools and social media to be more effective during the first three steps of the sales process:
The course takes many of the core sales training concepts in our How Selling program and applies them to applications online.
10. What's the number one problem you see on people's LinkedIn profiles?
Most people use LinkedIn to get a job, so it's written to show the benefits you offer your employer. When a prospect sees that, they don't care that you are a top biller, and can nail the sale. They're looking for the benefits you bring your clients. We have a section that was popular with the people who tested the course where you take your "I am..." statements, and rewrite them as "I can..." statements about how you help your clients and why they do business with you.
11. How much does it cost?
The standard price for Brand & Connect is $195, and a discount is available for our annual clients.