Your personal brand helps you sell customers what they want and need. Your personal brand is:
- What you stand for
- How you want your customers to perceive you
- The promise you keep with customers
It’s this last definition, “the promise you keep with customers”, that’s the most important. During the sales cycle, which can be years, your personal brand communicates value as much as your offering. Pre-sale you, the sales rep, are the offering. So it’s crucial that your personal sales interactions align “what you do” with “what you say”. Then your personal brand becomes powerful and moves customers to:
- Trust you
- Listen to you
- Value what you say
It won’t matter what you say if your actions don’t match your promises.
Consider Service Quality Research for Your Personal Brand
Customers are drawn to and drool over high quality service. Being a high quality service is much like being a high quality sales rep, so why not use research on service quality to amp up your personal brand?
The fountainhead of research on service quality was first published in “Delivering Quality Service” (affiliate link), by Valerie Zeithaml, A. Parasuraman and Leonard Berry back in 1990. While the research has progressed since then, this book is still the best source for understanding, and action. One of their findings was to identify the relative importance of 5 service quality dimensions.
In other words, if sales reps get these dimensions right, customers will hand over the keys to their sales receptiveness. Because they’ll have received high quality service, according to what’s important to them.
Here are their five service quality dimensions. Although I’ve added a sales spin to their uses, the five dimensions are from that research. Consider applying them to yourself when pursuing customers for sales – make them part of your personal brand.
#1 RELIABILITY – Just Do It.
Do what you say you’re going to do when you said you were going to do it.
Of the 5 service quality dimensions customers care about this one clocks in at 32%. That means you still must pay attention to the other dimensions BUT DO THE MOST HERE.
#2 RESPONSIVENESS – Do It Now.
Respond quickly, promptly, rapidly, immediately, instantly. Waiting a day to return a call or email doesn’t make it. Even if customers are chronically slow in getting back to you, responsiveness is 22% of their service quality assessment. And believe me, they are assessing you as a rep just as if you were a service.
Consider taking the 10-minute challenge on returning emails and voice messages.
#3 ASSURANCE – Know What Your Doing.
Sales reps, though not expected to be experts, must have a working knowledge of customers’ businesses and how their sales offering benefits those businesses. Why else would customers want to talk with you? Assurance is 19% of customers’ assessment – this matters to them.
#4 EMPATHY – Care about Customers as much as the Sale.
Customers can tell if sales reps are in it only for the commission – and they care. So even if the rep does their part flawlessly, they better make sure customers feel they care about more than making the sale. Empathy is 16% of customers’ assessment – no trivial consideration.
#5 TANGIBLES – Look Sharp.
Even though this is the least important dimension, appearance matters. Just not as much as the other dimensions. I’m sure you all know of sales reps who focus more on looking good than being reliable or responsive. Look good but realize this dimension tallies only 11% of what’s important to customers.
In Summary – The 5 Takeaways
You are your sales brand. Why not be a high quality one? Consider polishing your sales’ interactions across these 5 service quality dimensions. Can’t hurt.