August Spice Rack Newsletter
Your Personal Brand
Years ago, I was starting a new sales position for a printing company. I went to three weeks of training in Atlanta, and when I got back, I was assigned a sales mentor who took me out for a few days to show me the ropes. Larry was awesome! He was not only encouraging and thoughtful in sharing his insights, but I noticed some very unique ways he stood out from other salespeople I’d known.
Larry always wore a red tie, white shirt and gray suit (remember, this was a long time ago, when guys wore them daily). He was a taller guy and really made an impression when he walked in a door. This was his uniform. They knew his look and appreciated it—you might even say they participated in his brand with their observations. It was amazing how many of his clients commented on his tie of the day (the only true variable in his ensemble).
Larry also had a Mr. Peanut pen (the Planter’s icon). It wasn’t your normal pen and wasn’t used for normal writing—it was used exclusively for purchase order signing. Again, Larry used his sense of branding to have a special pen in his suit coat pocket that was only used when his mission was successful. I swear, several times when we visited clients, they would say, with a giant smile on their face, “Did you bring Mr. Peanut? I’ve got a couple of things to order.”
He not only made an impression on his prospects and clients. Throughout the day, as we traveled from one stop to the next, I realized that Larry was always backing into his parking spaces. Most people I knew pulled into their spots. Finally, after the first day, I had to ask him why. “Tim, when I come out of every meeting, with a PO or empty-handed, I know that my first move is forward. On to the next opportunity.” I’ve practiced that nugget of Larry’s brand for over 30 years now.
Have you thought about what your personal brand is? What makes you unique? As you spend some time with family and friends over the summer, ask them how they might define your personal brand. Brand, after all, is in the eyes of the beholder. If you’re a sales rep, be brave and vulnerable and ask your clients.
In upcoming issues, I’ll explore elements of a personal brand and how you might leverage yours. Let’s find your Larry!
A Little Pinch
Show, Don't Tell
Anyone can share a laundry list of all the products they sell or services they can perform. But the secret is how any of those options can help solve a problem or pain, or increase market share for a particular prospect.
Show them how they can overcome the present in order to have a beautiful future. Paint that picture. How did a recent prospect become a client? How did you win their business and make them a hero? Was their journey similar to your current prospect’s? Take the pertinent solutions and dramatically weave that story so that you help them win the battle.
When a Guitar Weeps
I wasn’t a Prince fan early on. Yeah, I could get into a Raspberry Beret or a Little Red Corvette blasting on the car radio with the windows down. But I didn’t realize how amazingly connected to his instrument he is. This is from the segment honoring George Harrison at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame broadcast from 2004, when Tom Petty kicked off While My Guitar Gently Weeps, George’s son playing over his shoulder, and then they left the solo to Prince. George would have been very proud.
Thyme to Celebrate
National Cherry Popsicle Day
Yes, you may recall that we celebrated Hot Fudge Sundae Day in July, so why not celebrate its cousin on August 26? Run, don’t walk, to put National Cherry Popsicle Day on your calendar!
Get this—an 11-year-old named Frank Epperson invented it in 1905 by leaving a cup of soda on his front porch with a stirring stick in it. When the temperature dropped below freezing that night, Frank found that he had a frozen soda icicle in the morning. His first customers? Classmates, of course.
It wasn’t until he was 29 (1923) that he filed for a patent! He’d been calling them “Eppsicles,” but his kids called them “Pop’s ‘Sicles.” That was the name he went with and he quickly found a distributor.
Not sure what Frank eventually made off this invention, but today over 2,000,000,000 are sold around the world every year. Cherry is by far the most popular, so let’s buy a box and lick our cares away.
From 68 Bits of Pithy Knowledge
When he turned 68, Kevin Kelly, co-founder of Wired magazine, compiled 68 nuggets he culled from his life. I’m continuing to share some of them with you. Should you want the full list, just let me know.
“If you are looking for something in your house, and you finally find it, when you’re done with it, don’t put it back where you found it. Put it back where you first looked for it.”
“Show up. Keep showing up. Somebody successful said: 99% of success is just showing up.”
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