The World’s Best Brand – Yours!

Those of us who make our living in sales and marketing appreciate the value of branding. Whether it is the brand of the products we sell or the company we represent, we know full well that a recognised, consistent, and respected brand will give us a head start. As we march down our career path, we may get to represent a number of different brands along the way, but the one that means the most, the one that never leaves our side, is the most important brand in the world – our very own reputation.

Yet too often, this personal trademark of ours, our very own intellectual property, doesn’t get the attention it deserves. To put it into perspective in my sales training workshops, I generally break the issue of branding into three components – product, company, and salesperson. Let’s start with the product:

Product Brand

When we are selling products and services, we readily accept that the brand plays an enormous part, particularly when quality, reliability, and support for the product is an issue. Knowledge of the supplier and a show of branding support from us tend to build buyer confidence, and can be the catalyst in their purchase decision. So whenever we depend on the reputation of our branded suppliers to lend credibility to our selling effort, particularly to attract a pricing premium, it is almost unforgivable not to become an absolute authority on them and to proudly and confidently present ourselves as their advocate. After all, they have already spent a fortune to do the ‘pull’ marketing for us, so the ‘push’ on our part is comparatively easier.

Company Brand

On the other hand, I regularly work with some of the larger retail buyers. It is no secret that brand status is top of mind for them, too, when they sit down at the negotiating table with their supplier salespeople. Their aim is to sublimely take a position of authority in their negotiations by knowing more about their supplier’s product, operations, and competitors than even the supplier salespeople themselves, then pitting it against the size and reputation of their own retail brand. This makes for an interesting dogfight, and that old expression, ‘it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog’ comes to mind.

For instance, consumer awareness – product brand versus retail brand – can be a significant factor in determining the rules of engagement, and is the reason why so many small retailers gravitate to branded buying groups and franchise chains to leverage their buying power. For example, if we are a multi-national supplier selling into a small local retailer, or a large retailer buying from a fringe supplier, we will have a fair bit of clout.

From the seller side, this is known as a Unique Selling Proposition (‘USP’), a prime reason why the buyer must consider our offer. From the buyer side, this is often referred to as a Unique Buying Position (‘UBP’), a combination of distribution advantages which positions us as a preferred outlet for the suppliers’ products. But beware the negative side – a danger that we rely too much on this big brand ‘clout’ factor. I have detected this indifferent attitude in some of my trainees, where too much is taken for granted as they lean on their market presence to buffer their proposition.

But it’s not all one-way traffic. Being the underdog usually provides a natural stimulus, and many of my small business trainees, manage to use the ‘size versus flexibility’ advantage they usually hold over their ‘big brother’ negotiating partners to gain an edge. It’s a case of dynamics over mass, meaning that even the combination of product and company brand is not necessarily the ‘be all and end all’. Not surprisingly, whether we happen to be the David or the Goliath in this battle, it will inevitably be our ability, dedication, and reputation – our very own personal brand – which must address the balance. All too often, it is the injection of this third brand into the equation which becomes the tie-breaker!

Personal Brand

Despite this, it pains me though, to find that many of my sales trainees don’t give the same attention to the third part of the branding mix – their personal proposition. Even some of the most experienced of them have the odd relapse, failing to keep in mind that, as well playing a team role in promoting their employer’s brand day-by-day, they remain the sole caretaker of their very own personal brand year-by-year.

Yes, our reputation follows us throughout our lives, wherever we go, whatever we do, and with whomever we share it. We owe it to ourselves to relentlessly build, proudly cherish, and selfishly protect this individual brand of ours. We mustn’t overlook the fact too, that our personal stature enjoys the ultimate copyright protection. Nobody else can borrow it or take it from us. There will be times when others will influence it, even try to tarnish it, but in reality, it is we – and only we – who have the choice, and the right, to use or abuse this exclusive trademark of ours.

There is no escaping reality here. Remaining consistent and blemish-free can be a hard call, but it comes with the territory. Our greatest asset as a career salesperson is our reputation, based on how we present ourselves and how we conduct ourselves. There is simply no room for black marks on the report card. They will be noticed, they will be remembered, and over time they will be accumulated.

On the surface, others will acknowledge our politeness, our naturalness, and all those ‘in the moment’ things, but deep down in their subconscious they can’t help but form impressions that will last a lifetime. They will be judging us on critical things like trust and believability, irrespective of the company we now work for, or the brands, products and services we now represent. Even to a stranger, this personal brand of ours will be revealed through our attitude: it is reflected in our presence, our poise, our self-confidence, our manners, our openness, and our enthusiasm… it will shine like a beacon!

So forget the likes of Mercedes, Nike, and Shell – it is this unique personal brand of ours that is truly the priceless one!

About the Author:

In a distinguished career spanning half a century, Keith Rowe has managed the full journey from shop floor to boardroom. Along the way, he has headed the Australian sales and marketing operations for three of the world’s largest Consumer Electronics manufacturers – Toshiba, Sanyo and Sharp.

8 Marketing Tips That Can Catapult Your Business Into Success

Growing a business takes time. There are some people who can make a lot of money in a short period of time, but most of the time, these are the people who have a large customer list and have been in business for a long time already.

But if you have neither, then this article will be particularly useful for you. Because inside this article, you will learn 8 great marketing tips that you can use to take your business to the next level. It won’t happen overnight, but with time and a steady focus, it will happen eventually. Let’s take a look at the first tip:

1) Generate leads

You will want to generate leads so that you can follow-up on these leads over and over again to make it easy to close the sale. It’s hard to sell your products in a small ad, therefore you want to generate a lead so that you can present your full sales presentation in future contacts with your prospects. Here’s the next tip:

2) Operate in a niche market

If you try to market to everyone, more than likely, you’re going to have poor conversion rates. If you can operate in a niche marketing and structure your message according to one kind of prospect, then you will have more success with your marketing efforts.

Niche marketing is all about separating yourself from your competitors and marketing to a specific kind of prospect. The more specified your marketing efforts are, the better your results will be when it comes to closing sales.

3) Create a free offer

Everybody loves things for free, so with a free offer, you give yourself the opportunity to generate a lead or inspire people to come into your store. And you don’t have to limit yourself on ways to apply this to your business. Your free offer can be a free report, a free consultation, a free sample of your product, and more. You want to mention this free offer in your ad to get as many people as possible to respond to it.

4) Use a variety of marketing tactics

You want to find multiple ways to get your message out in front of your prospect. You can do direct mail, yellow page advertising, newspaper advertising, press releases, joint ventures, val-pak advertising, and so much more.

The possibilities are endless and wherever you advertise, be sure to include your free offer to generate the most response.

5) Contact your current customers more often

You’re missing out on a lot of business if you’re not contacting your customers on a monthly basis. 80% of all business profits come from the backend, so this is why a strong backend marketing strategy is key.

You can send your prospects a free monthly newsletter, or simply coupons with special offers every month. You always want to find good reasons to contact your customers so that you don’t lose them to a rival competitor.

6) Promote one product a time

When contacting your customers, it’s best to focus on one product at a time. If you have a catalog of products that you sell, this is fine, but you should highlight one product at a time to your customers so that you don’t confuse.

Your opinion has weight in the eyes of your customers, so if you recommend something useful for them, they will take your word for it and purchase the product that you recommended. But recommending more than 1 similar product will only confuse them, so be sure not to do this.

7) Offer a money-back guarantee

You want to offer a money-back guarantee on all of your products. This will only increase your response rates and will inspire trust amongst your prospects. By offering a money-back guarantee on your products, it means that you stand behind all of your products, and it also lowers the barrier to making the sale.

8) Track everything

Testing and tracking is important because you want to know what is winning for you and what is not. This way you can cut out all the losers and only market the winners. This in turn will decrease your marketing costs while improving your profits. So testing and tracking is key.

Use these 8 tips to boost your business now while you still have the chance. They will prove to be very useful for you.

Special Training For Brain Development Of Kids

Many researchers have proven the fact that functioning of brain cells of infants is twice active as adult’s brain. Neurons are the brain cells that connect together and power of neuron have the potential of a PC. Connectivity of neurons decides the smartness or intelligence of individuals. In human, brain development and the learning ability of an individual is 50% in the first four years of age. The nerves of individuals are reduced as they grow up and this is why the 1000 trillion nerves present in an 8 months baby are reduced to 500 trillion as it grows up. A child that has given more opportunities to explore will be much smart.

A majority of children, more than 90% of them use their left brain, but the imperative fact to remember is the right brain must also be utilized. Education system present in almost all the schools is designed to develop or use the left brain. Right brain is never the less significant because it is responsible for creativity, arts, feeling, imagination, visualizing, daydreaming, rhythm, holistic thinking and many others. Hence it is equally important to develop both side of brain. It is also most important to take steps to keep both the brain much active, by keeping them to perform analytically on an equal basis. It is the responsibility of parents to give activities to their children that ensures the involvement of both brain. If both brain used by children it is probable to enhance their learning power and they can also increase their brain power. If brain development programs are offered to children they can make most of the program and develop their skills to give work to both side of brain and remains high in intelligence level. Development of brain in human beings is based on the degree of how much it is used. If it is left unused there are more probabilities for individuals to lose as brain works on the basis of use it or lose it.

To ensure the progressive brain development in children, it is the role of parents to introduce their children with a reputable brain development program. Most of the experts suggest step by step educational program to the children which is systemic and efficient. Nowadays it is very simple to find out a lot of schools which not only gives importance to academic program, but they also boost the creativity of children through their extracurricular activities. It is probable to search internet and get hold of relevant schools that present with a variety of activities to stimulate the brain and encourage the development of children. A total development program to stimulate mental activity of children is also found out in the online sites and parents can try out these activities with their children while they are at home. Getting education from a school that implements total development program is much beneficial. Search for such schools and secure admission to enhance the future of the children and boosts in brain development.