A conversation at a recent networking event prompted me to share this useful insight regarding the art of sales and ‘selling’. Sales and Brand? Is there a connection? Of course. The difference between brand and sales is that brand is about… developing an identity, relationships and providing a consistent experience, while sales is focused on conversions. Brand and Sales are however aligned because brand is the opening narrative for sales conversations and sales performance can inform the brand.
Sales and ‘selling’ is a shortcoming many business owners would admit they struggle to come to terms with and without a skilled sales team in place even the largest corporate would grind to halt – because whether you’re B2C or B2B, people still buy from people and the solutions associated with those people.
The ‘S’ word still instills fear in many business owners’ minds but it does not need to be so debilitating. It’s all in the mind and your perception. Changing your perspective and perception of sales can help alleviate the pain experienced by many. The solution? Your brand can be an instrumental tool that can help change your perspective – both for your ‘sales’ efforts and your customers’ understanding of your offering.
When it comes to brand, we’ve all heard it’s all about your story. Story telling was the traditional method by which information was passed around or relayed from community to community in the past – think of wandering minstrels or even local town criers. They all evolved from the same point of origin – the art of storytelling that was designed to inform and spread a message.
Today we tell similar stories but in different ways with different mediums and at vastly different speeds – think Internet and wifi, phone access, video, viral, 24/7 news and alternative media sources.
Getting your brand story aligned with a brand strategy – a strategy for how you (and your team) will build, shape, and share your brand – and articulating the core essence behind the brand gives your business purpose, relevance, meaning and context. This is exactly what customers are looking for in the Trust Economy and the Information Age – in an era where there’s arguably too much information to take in. In this way, the quality and effectiveness of your brand story and your brand strategy can have a direct impact on your sales performance.
Your brand story enables businesses to engage customers and ‘sell’ your business to the world without the negative feelings or traditional associations of selling that many people have acquired or taken onboard. Despite the fact that selling is essentially ‘matching people’s problems with appropriate solutions’, a strong brand can help overcome fears of selling, rejection and increase conversion rates. Building a brand identity or ‘Brand DNA’ around your business provides a narrative framework, which empowers businesses to tell their story without any notion of the ‘hard sell’. Importantly your brand can be delivered in a format that bypasses natural customer resistance to new or unknown products and services.
Telling your story with authority, authenticity, passion and purpose is what helps turn the doubters into believers.
Arguably the most powerful words spoken in the English language are ‘Once Upon A Time’. Why is this so? Because psychologically these four simple words prime us to listen, be attentive, be present, be engaged and learn something new.
So why not use these brand tools to communicate, build awareness and increase the visibility of your business?
Framing a story around your customer’s problem not only engages your prospective customer but also allows you to position your business as a reputable solver and solution to a real world problem. That’s brand power and the power of story telling.
In business, effective branding creates trust and certainty. Once trust is achieved it makes it far easier for a brand to ‘sell’ a product or service to customers. And in a world of uncertainty people always seek certainty – something they can trust and rely on.
So get your brand story and your strategy right and start branding (not selling) for business growth.
Be a story teller.
Be your brand.