Imagine that you’re a product (any product) sitting there on the shelf of a large department store—nicely packaged and priced. Along comes a customer who is looking for exactly what you have to offer. But oh, there are so many choices! Next to you there’s this other brand, and on the other side of you there’s another; some designs are cool, others have dynamic colors, others are high in quality, some are more expensive, others are not. Yet you’re all the same product. So now the question is: What is going to make the customer choose YOU?
Picturing yourself as a product might not be the best comparison, but the point is that we are all our own unique brand of “YOU.” In other words, you represent the Lord in YOU. You represent your belief system, your personal identity. The packaging you come in is your own choice. It’s an image only you can portray. It’s a brand that is your own.
Like Peter brought out in “A Professional Lifestyle for the Offensive”: “…people will expect that if what you are offering them is worth their while, the packaging it comes in—you—will be a good representation of your product. Your personal presentation will make a difference as to whether people will take an interest in the message or not.”
So again the question is: What is going to make a customer choose what you’re offering? What does your packaging look like? Are you a quality product? Do you have a good personal presentation, one that sells?
The Brand of You
Treating our personalities as products reflects an increasingly competitive society in which the best way to stand out is to develop an engaging—and easily defined—personal image. Companies and celebrities have been doing it for years. Now it’s the average guy’s turn.
A successful pitch exudes confidence, competence, and passion—regardless of your occupation. Make no mistake, we all represent a brand. It’s the brand of YOU. How you talk, walk, and look reflects on that brand. Do you come across as trustworthy, confident, and competent, or do you fail to captivate your listeners?
Whether you’re pitching a service, product, company, or cause, here are some qualities shared by great “YOU branders.”• They have passion. Donald Trump said if you don’t have passion, you don’t have energy, and if you don’t have energy, you have nothing. We all want to be surrounded by passionate people. But what are you truly passionate about? Only after you identify your true passion can you ask your customers, colleagues, or employees to go along for the ride.• They exude confident body language. What does your body language say about your brand? Good posture is associated with confidence, competence, and honesty. Slumping or slouching is often associated with a lack of confidence, a lack of energy, and a lack of competence. When communicating the message behind your brand, stand or sit tall, head up, and maintain strong eye contact 80% of the time. Have a warm, agreeable smile on your face. Don’t be afraid to use your hands.• They dress the part. People notice the details. One female recruiter once told me she looks at shoes—are they scuffed and worn? If so, it tells her the candidate doesn’t pay attention to the details. Professionals always pay special attention to the details of their craftsmanship. Why shouldn’t they pay the same attention to their appearance? Again, the spokesperson is at the center of the brand experience. What does your wardrobe say about the brand of YOU?• They stay current. Great YOU branders are always curious about the world in which they live and conduct business. They’re constantly learning, and they bring those teachings into their conversations. What is the one thing that is new, exciting, and innovative in their field? What is the one thing that their customer may not know? Doing this shows the listener that they are on the cutting edge of new trends and this serves to instill a sense of trust.Remember that if people like you—and feel good about you—they are more likely to invest in you, your service, or your project. So whether you’re speaking to an audience of one or 1,000, think about how you project the brand of YOU. Your brand deserves an extraordinary spokesperson—and you’re that person!
You’re the only face He’s got!
Dad: We’re showing God to the world! They don’t know what He’s like! The only way they’re going to know is by seeing God in YOU. People can only see God as we reflect Him. He has no hands but your hands and He has no lips but yours and He has no eyes but your eyes and no body but your own, for you are His Body, His Bride for whom He died that you might live and love others as He did.
Peter: There’s a lot written in business and marketing research about the power of first impressions. Many experts claim that people make up their minds about you based on the first 30 seconds (or even less) of their interaction with you. They use their perception of things such as your clothes, your overall appearance and demeanor, your body language, and your communication skills to make up their minds about you. According to these same experts, it can be quite difficult to change a less than positive impression once it’s been made.
Marketing researchers for companies focus on how to create a positive impression with the customers they’re targeting. You can apply this concept to reaching your targeted demographics as well. If you want your efforts to be successful, you’ll bear in mind what their expectations are, and then tailor your approach to meet and even exceed those expectations. If you are trying to reach labor leaders and the well-to-do, for example, you’ll take into account that they are professionals in their realm, and they will be gauging you by their standards of professionalism.
7 “First-impression” Questions
So, you have only one chance to make a first good impression and you want to make the best of it. Here are seven questions you can use to help you build your personal presentation and make a great first impression.1) Who are you? Never forget who you are, and don’t try to be somebody else or something you are not. Be honest and true.2) What is your service or product? Be clear, simple and specific. Everybody has to understand, clearly and concisely, what it is you provide.3) What is it that makes you so special or different, personally? We are all special and have something unique to offer. You do too. As you think about this question, if you find you’re having difficulty isolating the thing(s) that make you special or unique, ask your friends and colleagues for their insight. Accept their answers.4) Identify what makes your product different, especially from your competitors. You need to know your market. You need to know your competitors’ products as well as your own. Not knowing is not an option.5) Why should I trust you? As a respective client or benefactor I want to know that I can trust you. You need to build credibility. Trust is the strongest bond with any client. (Editor: Along the lines of credibility, it’s important that you are also authentic, that you build a presentation of yourself that is genuinely “you.” One article excerpt advises: “There’s a fine line between putting your best self forward and creating a new self that isn’t ‘you’ that could be found [to be false] in the end. You have to be authentic-based when crafting a professional personal profile.”)
6) Are you cutting edge? If I want the latest in the field you’re in, are you the guy with that knowledge?7) Can you prove your value? Talk about your experience. Give them some testimonies. Testimonials of others who have benefited from your product are the best referrals. Use these questions to build a great personal presentation. Keep your presentation concise and use it each time you introduce yourself to someone new. And to improve on your presentation even further, ask peers and colleagues for feedback. Tweak your presentation accordingly.
Make the time and effort you expend working towards your goals benefit you to the max by having a great personal presentation.
Peter: We’re really three people: the person we perceive ourselves to be; the person that others perceive us to be; and lastly, the person that God knows us to be (MOP 59:29). As we all know, the most challenging of the three to work with is the perception that others have of us. Our intentions may be wholehearted as we go about our work of witnessing and winning, but if our presentation is sub-par or lacking in some way, this could affect people’s perception of us and create a less favorable impression, which ultimately will outweigh our good intentions.
So if we’re going to sell people on the wonderful treasures we have to offer—the Lord, His Word, His love and salvation, and the rewards of a life of service for Him and others—we have to put our best foot forward and work to create the best impression that we can.
We’ve got the most excellent product in the world—Jesus and everything He has to offer—so there’s no lack in the product. But as you know, “Man looks on the outward appearance” (1Sam.16:7). If the packaging that our product comes in is not up to the expectations of the people we are targeting, it stands to reason that they will be less likely to go for it. And when talking about the “packaging,” I’m talking about the fact that we as individuals and Homes are in essence the packaging of our product: Jesus and His Word.
“Personal branding includes your online identity—the links that pop up when you Google someone or their personal details on sites like MySpace, Facebook, or a personal blog; even someone’s personal email address says something about them.” (Adapted quotation from an article “It’s a Brand-You World,” by Jeninne Lee-St. John.)
What does your personal online identity say about you?
Being Quality Representatives
From “Fresh New Mindsets”
Peter: We are salesmen and saleswomen for God. We’re selling people on our product–Jesus. We’re selling them on His love, His salvation, His power, His presence, and His truth. So it stands to reason that, since this is our career, what we are dedicated to giving our lives for, that we’d put our best foot forward.
What would happen if a cosmetic marketer traveled around trying to sell her company’s products, and yet she looked unattractive, with an unkempt and sloppy appearance, and it was obvious she didn’t pay attention to her looks? That’s not a very good face for the makeup she’s trying to sell, and however good her product is, chances are that people wouldn’t even take the time to look at it. However, if a woman was selling cosmetics and she looked the part–was dressed attractively, had applied her makeup professionally, and made people want what she had–chances are she’d be a whole lot more successful.
We, in our job, need to be that “attractive face” to the world. Even though we’re selling an awesome product, and there’s no doubt about God’s authenticity or quality, and people will always get their “money’s worth,” if we aren’t putting our best foot forward, we may not get a lot of sales. Man looks first at the outward appearance, and if your outward appearance is poor, people might never bother to look any deeper.