This last installment of Next Level Branding is all about good, old-fashioned, face-to-face communication. There is no connection like the connection made when people can actually see and hear each other. Sure there are still online technologies like Skype and FaceTime to facilitate this communication, but adding the human touch; letting people see you and even shake your hand leaves a far greater impression than any advertisement, Facebook post or email newsletter.
If you know your audience well, then you know where you can find them and the best ways to meet with them to share your messages and exchange ideas, opportunities and information. Here are just a few tips on finding and meeting the people (clients, influencers or media) who can have an impact on your brand.
Networking is an invaluable practice. If you spend most of your time at your home office like me, networking gives you the chance to break away from the same four walls and overcome the cabin fever, but more importantly you never know who you can meet and the opportunities they can extend to you. Meetup.com probably has thousands of events listed and you can search through them by industry or interest. The more networking events that you attend in your field, the more people will know you for being a ‘fixture’ in that field which adds credibility to your brand. I will also note that not all networking is done in a room full of people. If you find someone you want to connect with, give them a call and invite them for a coffee or to visit your office to talk about how you two can work together. This does not always translate into an opportunity, but the point is to make that brand impression and at the very least, it could turn into a referral.
Public speaking has earned me a few clients in the past couple years and if you’re good at it and allow your passion to show through your speaking then it can do the same for you and really position you and your brand as an expert and a leader. Most if not all cities around the world have business support organizations like Enterprise Toronto or the Small Business Administration or a Board of Trade that holds events where you can put your name in to speak at an upcoming seminar or conference. If you have already joined Meetup.com, then you could also connect with some of the organizers for meetups that fall within your field and ask to speak at their next meetup.
Free consultations offer you the chance to really show what your brand and your business are all about. In the past two years, I have probably done about a hundred consultations and believe it or not, I had no intention of making a sale to the people I consulted with. My aim was just to let another person know who I am and what I do and to present that in the most formal and impressive way possible. This leaves an impact on most when you can wow them with new ideas. I often have people come away saying: “You’ve given me a lot to think about,” which means they have gotten some new ideas to work with and I’ve left an impression on them that says I know my stuff; that’s a pretty strong sentiment for any brand. If you’re not in the line of business that offers consultations, you can always rely on tried and true . . .
Phone calls. Make up a list of potential clients and connections and give them a call. Granted, this is not a face-to-face connection, but it still creates a much closer connection than through any online medium. Yes, some will rush you off the phone or hang up in your face, but the best case scenario is that they ask you to call back when they’re not so busy and in a few cases, yours is just the call they’ve been waiting for. Getting their attention is essentially a part of your well-crafted approach or pitch and making a series of back-to-back calls is a daunting task, but if you are passionate about what you do, you look forward to connecting with people by any means and informing them about all the benefits and qualities that your business can bring to them.
At the end of the day, it takes hundreds and thousands and millions of impressions before your brand is well-known and trusted and before your customers and followers can build a loyalty to you. You can use the online tactics mentioned in Next Level Branding Part II or the tactics in this post, but the best approach is to use a combination of all tactics on a regular and consistent basis and record the results by noting the number of website visits, phone calls, contacts and social media followers that you earn; I guarantee that you will boost your brand exposure and see a difference in your brand awareness as it soars to the next level.