In a forgotten storeroom tucked behind years of old boxes and office furniture lies a hole-ridden map of the United States. In pursuit of his next story, CBS News Correspondent Steve Hartman tosses a dart at a map and with cameraman in tow travels to the location where the dart lands. Upon his arrival, Hartman locates a phonebook, chooses a random name from the directory, and interviews the person—not knowing ahead of time anything about them. Albeit random and unpredictable, it is Hartman’s way of demonstrating that everybody has a story.
We are no different than any of Hartman’s unsuspecting participants. We too have a story that makes us unique, relatable, and memorable. It includes aspects of our background, experiences, passions, preferences, struggles, hobbies, life lessons and relationships. The byproduct of which defines us. It’s our reputation; our personal brand.
Are you leveraging your story to make a name for yourself, to better connect with clients, and to stay top-of-mind with prospects and referral sources?
Consider the following when shaping your story.
Utilize personal elements. At a recent speaking engagement, I happened to mention that one of my favorite movies is My Cousin Vinny, a 1992 comedy starring Joe Pesci and Marisa Tomei. At the end of my remarks, Mike, an audience member, approached me. He referenced and we laughed about one of the scenes from the movie. Knowing something personal about me—a movie preference—provided Mike with an icebreaker that eventually led us to talking about business. During the brief exchange, I learned that Mike is a CPA and business manager with notable Entertainment-industry clients. My law firm’s reputation within Entertainment gave us reason to schedule a follow-up meeting to see how we may be able to work together.
Without fail, elevator pitches and introductions are commonly void of any trace of personality or the mention of interests outside of business. Those looking to hire or refer work need only to relate to one aspect of your story in order to take the relationship to the next level. Don’t feel as though that initial element has to be business related. As with Mike, it’s often a personal, common interest that provides the spark for a business relationship.
Find your niche. For purposes of marketing yourself, are you a “real estate attorney” or a “real estate attorney who specializes in eminent domain matters?” An “insurance broker” or an “insurance broker with a specialty in professional liability?” A “financial planner” or a “financial planner for alternative lifestyle couples and families?”
By specializing, you carve out a niche for yourself and become the “go to” professional for all things related to your area of expertise. Marketing a niche also makes you more memorable among those who are capable of referring you new business.
This post is the first of a three-part series on how to find, articulate, and share your personal brand. Tune in next time to learn how to condense your story into 140 characters.