IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Personal Branding 101: Leadership Strategies for the Busy Managed Services Professional

A bit of polish and preparation can help MSPs and other channel professionals build a trusted brand that commands respect and attention. By Lisa Shorr

HAVE YOU EVER been in a bidding war with two or three other MSPs and won? Think back to that glorious moment and remember what set you apart from your competition. Was it your technology solution or the size of your corporation? Chances are, it wasn’t price.

A colleague of mine recently won a deal over multiple competitors. His quote was the highest of the three submitted, but his sales professional was polished and prepared. He also presented the prospect with a list of testimonials from familiar businesses to help differentiate his company and build credibility—and he spoke confidently. That tone created a feeling of trust that undoubtedly helped seal the deal.

Perception is a real factor when building a brand. It’s human nature to make assumptions or value judgments based on our own experiences. You can often approximate a person’s age, education level, and wealth without even saying “hello.” Prospective clients expect that, as an IT firm, your team will have strong technical skills. However, you still need to earn their trust and build credibility.

Reflect on Your Brand

How can you get them to select your firm over another so you can deliver the type of legendary service that keeps customers loyal? By walking away from client issues and employee requests to reflect on the condition of your personal brand. How would it rate in these categories?

Behavior: We listen with our eyes. People watch our nonverbal behavior and create their assumptions based on what they see. Do you slouch when standing or sitting? How good are you at keeping eye contact with others? Do you read email or stare at your phone while others attempt to talk with you? Focus on fixing the bad habits that are detrimental to relationship building.

Respect: Businesses consist of complicated yet cohesive webs of personalities, including your own. To deal with them all, start by learning to respect yourself. Once that happens, let it carry over to others. The goal for every business should be to develop teams that feel valued and validated. What can you do today to demonstrate respect to your employees?

Appearance: What you wear matters! A sloppy and ungroomed appearance can be mistaken for laziness and a lack of attention to detail. Dressing professionally conveys leadership and shows that you take time to care for yourself. Remember, perception is reality!

Network: How and where do you promote your company? When attending networking events, do you cling to two or three colleagues, or make a sincere effort to meet new people and share ideas? That type of positive exposure is key to developing a personal and corporate brand.

Dynamic Dialogue: Studies have shown that how we speak has more impact than what we say. My colleague’s salesperson won the bid by convincing the prospect that his company could handle their sophisticated IT needs. Had he spoken inaudibly or fumbled the facts during his pitch, the outcome may have been entirely different.

Tip: Listen to how your team interacts with clients. Do they sound confident and energetic, or disinterested and annoyed at being interrupted? Are they using the words “uh” or “um” frequently, or is their conversation clear and concise?

Polished and prepared professionals will help you build a more trusted brand, one that commands respect rather than pleads for attention.

LISA SHORR is a certified advanced image consultant and owner of Shorr Success and Secure Future Tech Solutions. With more than two decades of experience in the sales and marketing arena, she conducts workshops and coaches MSPs on professional development and corporate branding. More of her Brand Bytes posts are available here.

Opening Image: Pixabay

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