3 Critical Steps To Establish Your Online Sales Reputation
1) Become A Genuine Thought Leader
Phrases like ‘thought leadership’ are thrown around easily these days and often sound a bit too high and mighty or out of reach. The truth is that entirely new thoughts or ideas are extremely rare. 99% of the innovative thinking you come across is simply a reworking of wisdom first stumbled upon long ago.
Thought leadership does not mean coming up with a new idea. It means becoming an authority or expert in your subject. The first steps to becoming an expert are reading, studying, exploring, and searching out knowledge. Then, you need to apply what you have learned in the real world, prove that it works in practical situations, and demonstrate your competence in performing in your role. With that experience in your pocket, you can begin to lead others to do the same, by sharing your thoughts: Thought Leadership.
So thought leadership simply means to produce valuable content. Whatever you are ‘becoming’ an expert in (because achieving expertise is always an ongoing journey), share your thoughts on the subject. There are endless ways to share content in today’s online world. Write blogs, create videos, start a podcast, write an eBook, post across social media channels, comment on other people’s posts, get on the radio, speak on stage, write articles. The more you share, the faster your profile will grow. The conclusion: Produce as much content as you can.
Data from a 2018 LinkedIn study stated that over 50% of decision-makers read an hour of thought leadership each week and admit to being influenced by it in making decisions.
If you’re early in your career, focus on sharing your learning and experiences. Where have you had successes, where have you had failures and why? By sharing in this capacity, you can build initial traction as it relates to becoming a thought leader in sales or wider.
2) Collaborate With Other Thought Leaders
Your reputation and profile are only as good as the people around you. The most talented salesperson can only perform as well as the product or service they sell. A world-class sportsperson can never reach their full potential in a team of amateurs, and a work of art only achieves status because the experts proclaim it as such. Likewise, your reputation in your marketplace will be significantly enhanced when collaborated, celebrated and recommended by your peers. When other thought leaders recognise your worth, the wider world will soon begin to take note.
The beauty of collaboration as a strategy to build your online reputation is that most people fear such alliances. Experts are often wary of competition and like to keep themselves to themselves. The smartest ones, however, cultivate strong collaborations, and if you reach out in the spirit of cooperation and mutual benefit, you will find good people who value the power of partnerships. I promise you will be surprised at just how easy it is to make friends with high-level, talented people in your space.
Try it today – I challenge you. Pick up the phone, send some messages, reach out to people. (Make sure it is the right ones for the profile you are looking to build.) Do this and soon have a team around you, willing to share contacts, wisdom, work and opportunities.
3) Leverage Social Media
Thirty years ago, the most significant factor in building a successful retail business was the location. Whether on a High Street, alongside a busy road, in a shopping center, or in a picturesque area that attracted a crowd, you needed footfall. Depending on the products you were selling, your shop’s location meant everything.
Today, for 90% of businesses at least, the primary audience they want to attract and sell to use the internet. They may not use the internet to buy what you are selling necessarily, but they will use it in some area of their life. That is where the footfall almost every business I can think of will spend a great deal of their time. There is no debate: Building a traffic-attracting profile online in the 2020s means being on social media.
The best thing about using social media to build your reputation, business or sales opportunities is that it is free to use. Yes, you can pay for advertising and specialist services, but you do not need that to make a start. Learning to use social media well is like a giant billboard, TV advert, or a radio show host broadcasting into your ideal clients’ living room. It genuinely is that powerful.
So, get yourself on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube and others. Try them out, see what works for you and get your content out there.