When introducing yourself and your services (either in person or online), are you showing your stuff or do you sound unprofessional?

For those of you still struggling to define your business and your brand, you might feel like you’re looking up from the bottom of a 1,000-step ladder. Don’t worry: as you grow your business and come into your own, you’ll naturally become more confident in not only what you do, but in the value you provide others through your products and services.

Your Confidence Matters

While your ability to communicate your value will most definitely improve over time, RIGHT NOW you need to be able to convey exactly what you do at a moment’s notice. Sounds simple, right? You might be surprised how often people slip up completely, especially when put on the spot.

Here’s the thing: You Are Your Brand. So every time you present yourself unprofessionally and/or without firm confidence, you’re directly damaging your brand. The roots of great branding start with an in-the-know, confident business owner and team dedicated to creating positive brand interactions between your company and your customers.

Your Brand Snapshot

We call it your Brand Snapshot: it’s a quick pic of your business as a whole. Here are some basic questions you need to have mastered BEFORE you speak to anyone about your business and your products and/or services:

  • What do you do?
    • A short sentence or two that explains not just what you do, but also the benefits and results experienced by your customers. You can even add a specific statistic or result. So don’t simply say, “I’m in marketing.” Instead try: “For the last year, I have helped 5 Fortune 500 companies increase Internet sales by 50% by focusing on their brand identity.”
  • Whom do you serve?
    • You should know exactly the type of person and/or business who sees results from your services. If your target audience is tween girls, you’re going to position yourself differently than if you’re looking to attract C-level executives.
  • Can you give me an example of someone who has benefited from working with you?
    • Be able to quickly rattle off a case study of a client’s struggles prior to hiring you and the happy conclusion after hiring you (with specific results).
  • What specifically do you do? (Also know as: How do you do it?)
    • If you’re at this point in the conversation, this questions shows interest—a good sign. Outline a standard process you can easily walk them through.
  • How much does something like this cost?
    • While this may be a tough one, it’s going to come up—so you need to be ready. Have a ballpark figure in mind, but you don’t have to give it. Instead, provide a range. Bonus: this is a great opportunity to turn the question around and use the inquiry as a way to find out more about their specific needs.

There’s Inexperience All Over This

This post was inspired by a series of emails with a social media manager I was looking to hire. I found myself having to pry information out, email after email.

Their emails included statements like:

  • “I worked on the following social media pages.” (What work did you do, specifically? Did you create original written content? Design the graphics? Manage and respond to comments?)
  • “I am unsure how most of my clients have benefitted, as I was working through someone else.” (Okay, so you don’t know why you do what you do, or how it benefits anyone?)

Instead of driving me to ask for the important answers I needed to clarify this person’s role and abilities, this potential hire could have offered details TO me, while selling their services using the Brand Snapshot technique described above. Instead, their lack of confidence inspired me to look elsewhere.

We all have learning experiences throughout our business endeavors. Because You Are Your Brand, it’s important to be both professional and prepared. Practicing your Brand Snapshot is a great way to be ready to roll when a potential client comes at you with questions. When you provide the right answers at the right time, you’re much more likely to develop a good relationship right off the bat. Make a great first impression and you’re well on your way to nabbing the sale, while boosting your brand identity in the process!