All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘branding’

How’s Your Follow-Up?

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We are always amazed at how little people put into follow-up.  By follow-up I mean following up with prospects, potential partnerships and, in general, with people we meet at networking events.  It’s as if the moment is too fleeting for people to ask for a business card, take notes on the back of it and then follow up with that individual in a day or two or even, ten days.  What’s worse is that the implications on your personal brand by not following up are disastrous- not to mention the countless amount of lost business and connections.

I test this theory out all the time.  In fact, I’m getting ready to test it now.  I was just at the Women’s Business Enterprise Council (WBEC) West conference that came to us in San Diego. I met tons of people, as usual.  I have my list of people I will follow up with in a day or two.  My follow up was based on those I connected with personally, found good potential alliances,  and those who asked for our services.

I’m waiting to see if any of the people who asked for my card and said they would be in touch, will actually reach out to me or not. My theory is that only 30% of those people will reach out to me. It’s not personal at all if they don’t reach out- it is just bad business and poor personal brand development.  If I were to follow-up with those same people, I bet they would be more than happy to reply, but the point is that they miss the opportunity to be the pro-active ones who reach out first.

So what is follow-up, anyway?  Follow-up does not mean adding someone to your mailing list and spamming them. That is the surest way for me to dismiss people.  In fact, I really get upset when I show up on someone’s newsletter list and I didn’t subscribe.

Follow-up means sending a personalized email recounting details of the meeting between the two of you and requesting action between the two of you as a result. The action should be something along the lines of a “reunion” of sorts over lunch, coffee, etc. Better yet, follow-up can also be via a phone call, if time permits.

So don’t just waste your time attending events and conferences.  Follow-up with the folks you meet and establish connections so you can strengthen your personal brand.

So what is your most effective follow-up technique? 

Stress & Your Legal Practice- How Much Does It Hurt Your Personal Brand?

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These days it seems everyone is under more and more stress.  In addition to our job/business, we get to juggle kids, spouses, pets, family, business trips, staffing issues, networking and a whole bunch of other issues that could make this list too long and too overwhelming.

If you are a lawyer, it seems your list may be longer than the rest.  That there is the problem.  Maybe your list is longer, maybe it is not longer.  The end result is the same- not good for your personal brand or business brand.  The higher your stress level, the lower your self-confidence and thus the worse your personal brand.

As a lawyer, if our stress is high and self-confidence low, then we tend to do some odd things that tend to leave us with lost referrals and lost revenues.  We try to compensate for our stress and self-confidence by:

  • ignoring clients
  • mis-treating staff and colleagues
  • behaving and communicating as if we are “too cool for school”
  • complaining about our “hearings”, “trials”, “mediations”, “travel schedules”, “CLEs”

Every single lawyer client of ours has the stress issue, whether they are with a big firm or solo practitioner or in-house with one of our corporate clients.  Here are just two common reasons we’ve deciphered as to why.

  • Fee type:  If you charge on a contingency consider this:  You may feel under-payed (or maybe never paid?), so you compensate by figuring out how much you “have” to work in order to have the contingency fee pay off.  Consequence: you may be mis-treating your clients because you can’t budget for them.  Bigger consequence: you are stressed, bothered by client calls/emails and have a poor personal brand wherever you go. Solution:  Don’t take a case if you can’t give proper support to the client because you feel undervalued.  It’s not like the client begged you to take their case.  You signed up for it.  The alternative is possible malpractice or lost clients. Your choice.  If you are in the midst of a contingency case and the client has done nothing wrong, don’t drop the ball and don’t quit. Finish the case with integrity and do your best.
  • Not enough support: Your firm may not have enough lawyers on staff to be able to have everyone manage a decent workload.  Or you may not have proper support at your firm to help you out with the workload.  If you are a solo practitioner, you may not feel you can afford a paralegal or legal secretary.  Consequence:  You are spread out way too thin and can’t provide quality service.  You don’t take client calls and emails.  You’ve got a professional responsibility issue on top of a personal branding problem.  Solution:  HIRE more help! Don’t be cheap.  Don’t hire a law student to do the work of a paralegal or another attorney.  The consequences of running lean are far worse than paying someone to help.

If you are in the San Diego area, Katy will be speaking on a CLE panel regarding stress and dispute resolution on September 6 from Noon to 1:30pm at Mintz Levin LLP.  For more info, email us.

Stories Stick. Got Your Personal Brand Story Straight?

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In life, we remember things, places and people better if we have a good story to which we can relate.   Stories help us put things, places and people in perspective.  Otherwise, everyone and everything tend to blur together.  That’s why we, at Puris Image,  like personal brands being expressed as stories.  Well expressed stories truly do stick.

In our personal branding work with clients, we teach clients how to take their uniqueness (USP)- yes, everyone is unique in their own special way- and express this uniqueness by way of the story of the client’s life.  We put no rules or parameters around how this story has to be crafted.  We like soundbites, full-length versions starting from when you were born, and everything in between.

Our rules come into play with respect to: 1) the details of your story and 2) how you deliver it to your relevant audience.

Details:  Your story has got to have enough details so that it can touch and reach a wide audience base.  We can’t control the background and baggage of our audience, so we need to be detailed about our own story so it can appeal to a larger population.

Delivery:  You’ve got to understand that you can’t just dump your entire story onto everyone you meet.  Your story won’t go over well if you do so.  The whole point is to be genuine as a personal brand.  Being genuine means you understand your story, feel it and deliver bits and pieces that are relevant to your audience.  This means you have to first listen to who your audience is and thus, to what portions of your story they will connect. Only then can you feed them your story.

So next time you are asked about yourself, remember that:

*your story is unique,

*your story matters,

*Your story must be have the two “D”s:  be detailed enough and delivered appropriately, and

*Stories Stick!

Email us your story if you are not sure how to develop it well!

Sensitivity Should Only Be About Your Teeth, Not Your Personal Brand!

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My husband is a dentist.  So I get to listen to many conversations about “sensitivity” regarding teeth.   The good news is that sensitivity of your teeth is often curable and does NOT impact your personal brand.

However, lately my company has been running into sensitivity that does impact people’s personal and business brands.   The kind of sensitivity that I’m speaking of is where people are offended and bitter about the type of things that make the rest of their business colleagues stop and scratch their heads and wonder, “what is up with him/her?” This type of response can only be the start of a poor personal brand perception.

I’ve unfortunately got many examples, but one sticks out in my mind sadly.  This example involved a colleague for whom I have much respect.  This colleague is big on lunch networking.  We had a lunch appointment set for me to meet him and a person he was going to introduce me to.  About two weeks before the scheduled lunch, two of my client meetings shifted to where there was a time conflict.  So at this point, I had to decide whether to meet with my clients or meet him for lunch.  I emailed and called him and apologized, explained the situation and explained that I needed to change the lunch date. I also emphasized that none of this meant he/lunch was not important, but clients had to come first.  Well, he took offense and said he felt second-best and refused to talk to me.  I was shocked and spent time trying to fix the situation.

At some point I gave up and accepted his response.  I respect his position and disagree with it.  However, and more importantly, I wonder if he’s going around town with this heightened sensitivity.  I also wonder how prospects and clients take to it.

Anytime you come across sensitive to the point where colleagues/prospects either: 1) walk on eggshells around you or 2) don’t want to do business with you, then you’ve set your personal brand perception, and thus your business/job prospects, up for failure.   If people have to deal with you ignoring them or snubbing them,then they will likely avoid you and your business.

So next time a business colleague upsets you, please stop and think about whether you are acting in proportion to their “guilty” action.   Stop and put yourself in their shoes. Maybe you wouldn’t respond the same, but is the situation worth possibly ruining your personal brand and jeopardizing your business brand/referral sources?  Also, please don’t give some fake response to them pretending like you are “ok” with everything and then sulk quietly or worse, gossip about them.

My suggestion is to be honest and up front with them, forgive, forget and move on to more positive personal brand building possibilities for you and your business.

 

Boundaries & Your Personal Brand

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It seems that more and more people are talking these days about how having boundaries within our lives is optimal and productive. I’m not talking about physical boundaries.  The boundaries I am talking about are those we enforce with people in our lives in order to respect our time, feelings, preferences and of course, our personal brand development.  The alternative is a downward spiral.

I find in my daily interaction with clients, friends and potential clients that people just can’t say, “no”.  I find it happens with certain types of people and professions more.

I get many junior attorneys and other junior professionals who fall prey to a lack of boundary.  Just the other day it happened again:  a junior attorney was late to our meeting because:

-”I had a client on the phone and I just couldn’t end the call so I could be on time to my meeting with you.”  OR

-”I disagreed with my senior partner’s theory but didn’t feel comfortable saying so and then someone else voiced their dissent, instead of me, and got all the praise.”

Being able to say, “no”, with ease and grace is a gift we bring to ourselves and to others. It helps people understand where they stand with us.  I liken it to training a puppy.  Puppies need rules and discipline.  Just the same- we need to know where we stand with people.  I call this having a high “confront”, where you are able to eloquently and easily state your preference and views while respecting the person/people on the other side.

If you have a low confront, and thus low/no boundaries, people walk all over you and the result is a disastrous personal brand.  Why would anyone think you could provide them quality service, if you can’t draw boundaries or dissent?  The assumption is that if you can’t stand up kindly TO me, how can you stand up kindly FOR me and be my advocate in business?

So please take some time to:

1. Figure out what your boundaries are  in general.

2. Figure out what your boundaries are in a particular situation.

3. Draw your boundaries.  Practice on the small stuff so you’ll be able to draw the boundaries on the bigger stuff with the ease and grace of an effective personal brand.

In the end, you’ll see the world respects you and your personal and business brand more.

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