Twenty Seven years later….

He walked into the coffee lounge and didn’t look any different to how he looked all those years earlier. A few more laughter lines maybe, but still passionate about PR, business building and people.

And what led us to this meeting and reconnecting was authenticity and authority.

Like we all tend to do, there had been a bit of ‘checking out’ happening over an extended period of time on my behalf as I began to read his thought provoking articles and published ‘bodies of work’. It allowed me, in my own time, to absorb and relate to the depth and authority around some of these solid business ideas, rather than skim across words published for the sake of publishing by so many others.

It also allowed me to see there was synchronicity when it came to our thoughts around leadership and commercial conversations.

But more importantly, it was a perfect example of how our social media platforms today provide us the ability to share thoughts, ideas and provide insights if we choose to use it as a force for good, without spamming, or getting people to opt-in to yet another email list, or headlining a post that results in selling an event or product, but by really sharing and addressing the issues our clients or audiences face, and how the power is in truly connecting people and creating trust.

It is a great example of what our buyers are doing with us

So I decided to reach out and buy him a coffee and see how we could help each other. Trevor Young, author of the book, ‘microDOMINATION – How to leverage social media and content marketing to build a mini-business empire around your personal brand’ and founder of Authority Partners, certainly walks his talk.
The #1 Secret To Building A Mini-Business Empire Around Your Personal Brand
We discussed the power of connection in today’s online (and off-line) world, and I walked away with even more clarity than the day started, especially around the following three areas:

* Understanding the difference between an expert and an authority
* The lines between personal branding and professional branding blurring
* What people are saying about what you know and who you are

The platforms given to us today are providing us the opportunity to truly connect and reconnect with anybody as I experienced. Not just by hooking up with them and adding them to our list for potential marketing purposes, but by truly understanding what people are interested in and for us to respond based on that knowledge.

People will buy trust.

It doesn’t matter how good someone is at what they do, if your intuition or gut feel tells you there is doubt about them or their motives, you will disconnect. So the foundation for good business must be shared values.

And a start to sharing those values with the people in your community is by providing insights to help them grow THEIR business or make a difference in THEIR lives. An expert knows their stuff and shares it, but an authority is sought by others to share their stuff whether it is interviews, speaking or providing commentary on their area of expertise to help others.

You can write your own content, share other people’s content, contribute the odd comment in support or opposition to someone else’s opinion (provocative thinking always makes for good reading) or simply acknowledge someone else’s body of work.

To quote another lexicon of Trevor’s – it’s all about building a ‘village of support’ and that’s what’s really needed in business today as we head into this Connection Economy.

If you are the front line for your business (and aren’t we all) and people buy trust and connection first, what are you doing to strengthen your reputation in those areas as well as supporting others?

You can write your own content, share other people’s content, contribute the odd comment in support or opposition to someone else’s opinion (provocative thinking always makes for good reading) or simply acknowledge someone else’s body of work.

I mentioned in an interview with sales authority, Tony J Hughes, last week that many senior leaders are being made redundant or losing their jobs and many others are looking for new positions. In the context of reputation, what do you have that paints a real picture of you outside of your fact driven resume, just in case someone decides to Google you in order to see what you bring to the table?

What have you physically contributed to your environment, industry or customers by using tools that are freely available such as Slide-share, video, podcast, blogs, comments, articles that showcase your area of expertise and make you the authority in your field?

What have you emotionally contributed by showing us parts of your personality and giving people the opportunity to know you, like you and trust you just by being you? Once again, those lines between professional and personal are being blurred more and more.

Does ‘BUILD YOU and they will come’ work?

You can see it with the big brands today and how the product speak is no longer as effective as it once was. Take the Dove campaign, even the Chrysler ad at the Superbowl a few years back – neither of those marketing moments is about the products, but about the meaning those products have on the audience. It is all about conspiring for the success of others.

We need to share more meaning and more of ourselves in our marketing so that the trust builds, so that the buyers say I’ll recommend you, refer you and reimburse you. That’s the #1 secret to building a mini-empire – it’s you and your brand.

Trevor Young didn’t just write about it – he proved it!
Be Bold, Brave and Brilliant

 The #1 Secret To Building A Mini-Business Empire Around Your Personal Brand

Bernadette McClelland is CEO of 3 Red Folders – a modern day saleswoman and keynote speaker on business growth, personal leadership and sales performance.

BIO: Business environments wanting to increase their revenue and profits, and differentiate themselves in a competitive market, ask for Bernadette McClelland because of her thought leadership on sales performance, her ideas on thinking beyond resilience and her fresh perspectives surrounding personal leadership skills — all designed to master the outcomes that matter.

Bernadette has proudly coached Harvard MBA students on their sales enablement curriculum, been the Master Asia Pacific coach for Anthony Robbins across twelve countries, authored five books on leadership and sales transformation, won a coveted Telstra award for Business Excellence, and continually shares her ideas around behaviour, the brain and business growth on stages in the UK, Europe, Thailand, India, NZ, Australia and North America.

Believing that sales performance is a leadership issue, you will also find her heading Melbourne’s human potential based sales performance consultancy, 3 Red Folders, as she navigates lead generation, message to market and digs deep into sales process activities with her clients in the mid-tier sector as well as founding ‘Women Who Sell’, an initiative designed to bring more women up to speed in their sales success.

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Image courtesy of Steven Depolo

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