Professional Community for Car Dealers, Marketing, Advertising and Sales Leaders
Last month, my focus for the article was on "why" today's automotive professional needs to build a personal brand. Now that I've convinced you that it's an amazing idea that will help you dominate your marketplace, I'm going to go into more detail on how to develop yourself into the recognizable, reliable name that people can count on.
First thing's first: GOALS. What are your goals? What are you looking to accomplish with your brand? Of course you want to sell a lot of cars - there are a million ways to sell a lot of cars without committing to investing a large chunk of your time and money into a personal brand. For example, my goal is to be the name in my area (target marketplace) that people think of when they hear words like Hyundai, new car, great customer service, educational, quick and hassle-free, car shopping experience, etc. They have no choice but to think of me. I want my brand to be stamped into their brain from an exceptional experience that they personally had with me, or someone they know told them that they had with me. They could have read about great experiences with me on the internet, or social media platforms. I want my name - my brand to be everywhere that those key topics are discussed. You with me so far?
Next. AUDIENCE. Figure out who and where your audience is. This is also called your target market place. (our geeky internet terminology) Where do the people live that you are selling yourself as a brand to? What are they looking or shopping for? Who are these people? What is their age range? Are they male or female? All of these answers should be readily available to you with little effort. This should be pretty self explanatory. If you know your product and know what you are selling then obviously you know who you are selling to. We're in the car business people.. our manufacturers spend ridiculous amounts of money and consult experts in this field figuring out the majority of our target marketplace FOR US. Tap into these resources. This one is kind of a no-brainer. In order to sell your brand to the right kind of people you need to know your brand and yourself.
Which brings me to number three. KNOW WHO YOU ARE. What makes you unique? What do you bring to the table (or can you bring) that is going to set you apart from the rest of the sales associates in your area? Lyndon B. Johnson once said "What convinces is conviction." You have to believe in yourself, your goals, and most importantly - your product. You can't be the milkman delivering pizzas. BE REAL. If you're not driving what you're selling, I'm not sure who you're trying to fool. Wake up. If you don't personally want to own what you're selling buddy you're in the wrong business and you definitely can't be the expert. If you can 't close yourself on a payment that you supposedly can't afford, how do you ever expect to convince your customers to do the same thing? If you truly believed inside of you that your product was the best overall value YOU AND YOUR ENTIRE FAMILY WOULD HAVE ONE IN YOUR GARAGE! Why are people going to come to you, across town, instead of someone who is right across the street? You need to know exactly what you are offering. Sit down and make a list! What can you consistently deliver over and over again that will set the bar just a little bit higher; however - most importantly- is GENUINE and REAL.
Once you set your goals - know who you are selling to and what you truly are selling - you need to BUILD YOUR PERSONAL VISUAL IDENTITY. Some of you may refer to this as a logo. As I mentioned before, logos are not necessarily imperative; however, they are strongly recommended. What is the first thing that you see in your head when I say "Apple?" THE LOGO. If you can successfully and consistently complete the previous steps, then you need a visual aid to add to the value of your consistent and genuine brand name. Like I said before, KNOW WHO YOU ARE. What is a symbol of who you are? It can be simple. It can be complex. All that matters is that it represents you and your commitment to being the brand that you have made for yourself. For example: Look at my stunningly handsome headshot above. I wear glasses. I make them look good. I have several different shades, shapes, brands, and styles of geeky, thick-framed glasses that are as much a part of me as the service that I offer to my customers. When anyone sees the logo on my cards, mailers, pens, brochures, websites, stickers, magnets, etc., they always make a comment about how amusingly it reflects who I truly am. Nobody knows the real you better than you…well, or at least they shouldn't. Anyway, the point is: Spend some time thinking or consulting with others (who know you very well and their opinion is valued) before you decide on a logo - should you decide to embrace this part of your own brand.
Ok, I know this all sounds like A LOT of work. Not gonna lie to you - it is. Keep chasing pavement on that lot if that's your choice. If all of this sounds overwhelming, you haven't seen anything yet. I'm just getting started!! We haven't even touched on how you market this brand that is essentially, basically and most importantly, YOU.