Personal branding starts with trust. You need to become a trusted adviser for your prospects and customers. Trust comes from having integrity, but also from knowing how to get results.
Becoming a VCR programmer
A trusted adviser is someone people can lean on when they need advice. Let me tell you a story…
When I was a kid I was a huge photo/video nerd. I knew way more than the average teenager about cameras, lenses and video editing. As a result, family members were always bugging asking me to help them with this or that when it came to video or photography.
I helped and it got worse. More people would come and “ask” me to do random stuff that I wasn’t even that good at (program a VCR, hook up a new radio, or try to fix their computer).
The point I’m making here is that by having some knowledge in one area made me a trusted adviser. I created a little internal family “brand” that projected itself onto other areas.
The same can be said for your personal brand. If you become a trusted adviser in one area, people will associate your business with getting results.
“Trusted adviser” is the baseline of personal brand
When you spend the time building up trust:
- You become the go-to person and in turn the go-to business.
- Your income will go up because you are now the top of your game.
- Once you have some trust from a small group of people it’s easy to leverage them to help you gain more trust with a wider audience. This is referred to as social proof.
How to become a trusted adviser
When gaining trust from prospects and customers it really boils down to two things
1) Know your stuff
If you read about your business, industry and customers for two hours per day you’ll become an expert. It’s that simple. But I will caution you that experts aren’t all that important. Colleges and Universities are full of experts who make measly salaries. Knowing a lot is good, but you need more. One idea is to use Netvibes to read all the major blogs and articles in your industry.
2) Practice your stuff
Take what you learn from reading two hours a day and implement them as fast as possible. Get some feedback and then adjust accordingly. You need to gain experience. Without implementation there is no real learning. But if you actually put into practice what you learn – your trust level in your own abilities will skyrocket and in turn your prospects will trust you even more.
What if you were the go-to person?
Do this simple exercise with me. Close your eyes and imagine yourself as the go-to person in your industry. Feel the power you have when you really know your stuff (from actual experience). Spend time feeling good about how you are turning yourself into an expert.
A word of caution: becoming a trusted adviser expert should not create a false sense of pride or arrogance. Stay humble. Realize that there is much you don’t know and always be willing to learn more.
Today’s Action Step
Put something into practice in the next three hours. Because you are reading this, your already building up your knowledge and value. So spend time putting one thing into use that you’ve learned this week. Make it specific to your business and brand that will help you become an experienced adviser people trust.
For example, let’s say you’re a personal fitness coach and have been reading about the health benefits of training with kettlebells. Go get yourself some kettlebells and test out what you’ve learned. Only then can you speak with the authority of a trusted adviser.
Now go take action.
This article is part of the Internet Marketing Basics series where we cover the fundamentals of internet marketing and social media.
Joel Mark Witt is the Publisher of Folk Media and author of 21 Days To Twitter Leadership. He is a producer, author, speaker and social media marketing coach who consults with businesses and nonprofits on how to use social media in marketing and communications. Get more from Joel on Twitter or Google Buzz.
*Photo by bschmove