Personal Branding Examples (How To Become A LEGEND In Your Industry!)

Do you want to become a legend in your industry?

How would that affect your sales performance? What would your day look like if you had inbound leads hitting your inbox rather than having to cold call until your fingers bleed from dialing?

On this episode of The Salesman Podcast, Shama Hyder shares a bunch of personal branding examples and a step by step process to getting known in your industry

Sharma is known as the “Zen Master of Marketing” by Entrepreneur Magazine and the “Millennial Master of the Universe” by Fast Company.

You'll learn:

Sponsored by:

Featured on this episode:

Host - Will Barron
Founder of Salesman.org
Guest - Shama Hyder
Zen Master of Marketing

Resources:

Transcript

Shama Hyder:

So I think as any good salesperson will tell you, especially in the B2B world, relationships are everything. So the first thing that you have to keep in mind, especially with something like personal branding, is that you're going to have to look at the ROI in both quantitative and qualitative ways. It's not necessarily about how many people can you get in front of, it's how are you viewed by that audience? Are you another salesperson? Are you a respected resource? Are you someone they feel looks out and has their best interests in mind?

 

Will Barron:

Hello sales nation, I'm Will Barron, host of the Salesman Podcast. The world's biggest B2B sales show where we help you not just take your target, but really thrive in sales. If you enjoy this content, make sure you click subscribe. And with all that said, let's meet today's guest.

 

Shama Hyder:

Hey, this is Shama Hyder founder and CEO of Zen Media.

 

Will Barron:

In this episode, we're diving into personal brand in sales. Why it's important, how to measure it, how to leverage it the best you possibly can, and the first thing you should do after consuming this content to make a real impact on LinkedIn in front of your potential customers. Let's jump in.

 

How to Analyze the Size and Depth of Your Personal Brand · [01:12]

 

Will Barron:

Before we dive into the how of building a personal brand. How do we, if we even can, how do we measure our progress with it? Is it the number of Twitter followers we have? Or for a B2B sales professional, is there a better way to measure the personal brand that we have in perhaps within our vertical?

 

Shama Hyder:

So I think as any good salesperson will tell you, especially in the B2B world, relationships are everything. So the first thing that you have to keep in mind, especially with something like personal branding, is that you are going to have to look at the ROI in both quantitative and qualitative ways.

 

Shama Hyder:

So the qualitative is that really important, hard to put numbers on at times, but just as important. So, it's your reputation, it's how someone says, “oh, you are everywhere”, or “I've heard of your company before”. Anybody who's been in sales knows the difference when they call someone and they get hung up on versus, “oh, I've heard of you guys”. And that's the game changer. When someone says, “I've heard of you”, and you have that instant credibility, your reputation precedes you. And I think that's what you're really looking for when you build a brand where you've already have that credibility, you have that respect, and you have that time. So if you get their time and you've got their attention, then you're one step closer to actually closing the sale.

 

The Benefits of Being Super Specific with the Type of Audience You Want Be In Front Of · [02:27] 

 

Will Barron:

I think you just touched on something here and I think you consciously did this of being everywhere. And I think this is the salesperson's biggest competitive advantage versus the marketing team or other development teams in that, my background in medical device sales, there was only 16 urologists here in Yorkshire here in the UK that I needed to be in front of. If they all bought something from me every year, I'd smash my target, which was a couple of million quid. It's not that difficult to be everywhere in front of 16 people, versus a CEO of an organisation, your customers, you're trying to be in front of thousands of people. So how can we leverage this fact that we only need to be in front of a handful of people rather than tens of thousands? How can we leverage that as sales people versus perhaps how a marketer would?

 

“It's depth rather than breadth. And that is also something to be said about your personal brand. It's not a popularity contest. It's not how many people know you. It's what the people that you are trying to get in front of think of you. How are you creating resonance and relevance with that group?” – Shama Hyder · [03:17]

 

Shama Hyder:

Sure. So it's not necessarily about amplification all the time. And what I mean by that is it's not necessarily about how many people can you get in front of. Which of course, if you have a niche audience, that's not really the case. It's how are you viewed by that audience? Are you another salesperson? Are you a respected resource? Are you someone they feel looks out and has their best interests in mind? Are you someone they feel like keeps up with the industry, that cares about their patients, their practise. I think it's conveying all of this information. So it's depth rather than breadth. And that is also something to be said about your personal brand. It's not a popularity contest. It's not how many people know you. It's what the people that you are trying to get in front of think of you. How are you creating resonance and relevance with that group?

 

Who Decides How You Are Perceived in Your Industry? · [04:03] 

 

Will Barron:

Before we've picked up the phone, perhaps they've Googled us before we've outreached to them, or perhaps we have outreached to them and we're in the process of booking call and they've Googled us. Who decides that initial perception of whether you are an industry thought leader, whether you are to be trusted? Is it the content that we put out? We'll touch on content in a second. Or is it how they interpret the content? If that makes sense. Who's in control of that initial, oh, that seems like a reasonable person to chat to.

 

Shama Hyder:

So it's a combination of things, . And here's the crazy thing. We often think it's one person it's not always one person. Especially if you look at B2B tech sales, what a lot of research shows is that it's a group decision making process now more than ever before. And so it's not always one person who says, “aha, I think X, Y, Z.” I think about, like I do keynotes all over the world and more and more, my bookings are by younger millennials, people who are not necessarily in decision making positions, and roles in their company, but they've read my books, they've followed for a while. And they're the ones that bring me to their bosses and they're “we got to get her in.” And so you've got to be able to realise that it's not a one track, you have this one person you need to influence. You also have to influence this sphere of people that influence their decisions.

 

Shama Hyder:

And what you're really looking for is content, but also consistency in that content. And that's the other mistake so many people make, especially salespeople, which is funny because sales is all about multi-touch, multi-point we all know this. And so it's funny because it's not about one tweet, one LinkedIn post. It's what you do consistently over time. And I feel like consistency is such an unsexy word. People don't like it. It's the cousin of prudence, . Nobody wants to hear the word consistency. But it's absolutely crucial when you're building brand and you're trying to build that trust and credibility and shorten your sales cycle.

 

Shama Hyder:

So for B2B folks, they say, that's the best thing you can do as you build these profiles, as you build this presence, you are going to shorten that sales cycle considerably. That doesn't mean you can be shortsighted about it because it does take time, but where something might have taken eight months, a year, can be a lot shorter because they already trust you. They already think that you are the best of the best.

 

How to Build a Personal Brand in B2B Sales · [06:56] 

 

Will Barron:

For sure. I think it immediately separates you from the competition. If you're known, liked, and trusted within an industry, if you just do a couple of talks a year. I used to do it all the time to surgeons. I'd get up on stage and explain kind of the future of endoscopy, the different equipment that we're using. I worked for the two biggest competitors in the industry, so it'd be kind of a vendor agnostic. But I'd get people come and talk to me after the fact, and they'd very often become customers kind of a year or so down the line. So with that said, is there a series of things that B2B salespeople should be doing to build a personal brand? And then we can kind of dive into the nitty gritty of practically what they should be doing day in, day out. For example, context, speaking, are there any real high leverage items that people or activities people should be doing to build their personal brand in a specific vertical?

 

“The highest leverage thing that you can do to build your personal brand regardless of vertical, is perhaps the most important and the most overlooked, which is ask yourself why and what are you trying to accomplish?” – Shama Hyder · [07:13]

 

Shama Hyder:

The highest leverage thing that you can do to build your personal brand regardless of vertical, is perhaps the most important and the most overlooked, which is ask yourself why and what are you trying to accomplish? And I know this seems like a simple question, but it's amazing how many people dive in because they think that's what they're supposed to be doing without really saying, what's the goal? Am I looking to shorten that sales cycle? Am I looking to build trust? Am I looking to just get visible? Maybe my target market doesn't even know who I am. I don't even exist. What does that look like? And I think then the question becomes, and again, this is so important, how do I add value to my target market?

 

Shama Hyder:

This is the big difference I think between sales from yesteryear and sales now. Perhaps it's always been this way, but that it's highlighted so much more now, how can you add value to your given audience? Absolutely crucial in sales. And most people never ask themselves that. If you asked yourself that, get on stage, you would talk about these vendor agnostic solutions that there might have been, but you're really trying to educate and you're providing value. So whether that's through the stage, whether that's through online, that's the key. What is it that your audience is hungry for?

 

Shama Hyder:

And I'll go a little deeper into this Will, if you don't mind, because I think this might be helpful for your audience listening. So many people don't know this, but I did my thesis on Twitter when it had about 2000 users. Yeah, so it's crazy, long time ago, about 10 years now, today, of course, Twitter has 375 million users.

 

“Why do people use social media? And I think this is an important question to answer because before you can try to figure out how to use it,  you have to understand what drives people to use it.” – Shama Hyder · [08:55] 

 

Shama Hyder:

So very different landscape. One of the things that I looked at in my academic research for grad school was why do people use social media? And I think this is an important question to answer because before you can try to figure out how to use it, think you have to understand what drives people. Like as sales people, we're all about the motivation. What is the motivation? So when I looked at that, my hypothesis was that we use it to connect with each other, to have that sense of community, but I was wrong. The primary reason people use social media is to showcase their own identity. Okay. And I know it might sound narcissistic first glance, or, oh my God the world is a giant selfie.

 

Shama Hyder:

But if you stop and think about it, you realise that's how we've always become who we are. It's the feedback we get, who we are, and we adapt to fit our community and so forth. Identity is a very changing thing. But translate this to sales and marketing, and what this means is it used to be so much about what does your brand say about you? Like we've all been these branding exercises for a company perhaps, or we're looking at, what does our brand stand for? Who do we want to be? What do we… We've all been there, but what this research shows us is the right question to be asking isn't what does our brand say about us? The right question to be asking is what does doing business with us, allow our customers to say about their personal brand?

 

How Your Personal Brand Affects the People That Choose to do Business with You · [10:10] 

 

Will Barron:

What would be an example of that in the B2B space?

 

“If someone chooses to do work with your company, they're doing it not because of what your company is, but what it allows them to say about themselves.” – Shama Hyder · [10:28] 

 

Shama Hyder:

So if someone chooses to do work with your company, they're doing it not because of what your company is, but what it allows them to say about themselves. And so I'll give an example. We've done projects with McKinzie. They're a client, McKinzie Consulting. And so if you look at those guys, when people hire them, for business issues, big challenges, when the fortune 100 go to them for different things, they're going to them because it allows them to say, “we care about strategy and we're going to look for one of the best in the industry to help us”. It allows them to say about their brand. When a CEO hires a business coach, they're hiring someone because it says, “I care about my leadership. I care about my career. I care about this.” When people come to us for marketing and new media, and how do we how do we stay relevant and make sense in the digital age, what they're saying is “I want to be innovative. So I'm working with you”, and that's very important when you're in sales to try to figure out how can you help support your customer's goals?

 

Shama Hyder:

And I'll give you another great example. So Chase Business is one of our clients. We've got this amazing campaign with them right now called a Chase Bizmobile that has been going all across America. It's literally like an amazing trailer, for lack of a better word, but it's really outfitted cool. We help design, put it together, we got some great partners we're working with to roll that out. But the whole point was chase business, it's a bank, Chase is a bank they're in the banking business. But what they had to stop and ask themselves were “what does that mean for our customers?” And their customers are interested in their business. So Chase looked at it and said, “how do we help support our customers businesses?” Being, “yes we're their banking partner, but we want to be their business partner”. And so great kind of example of that, of where this Bizmobile that's going around, has expert advisors. We actually do a lot of these sessions for them on marketing, on technology, helping business owners, who are their customers, reach their goals.

 

Shama Hyder:

And so it's so easy, especially when you're in sales to get siloed. Like I am selling this one thing without saying, what is the goal of my customer, my client? What are you trying to do? And when you step back a little bit, it's amazing, think about the relationships that we have with someone when they say, “you know what, my product's not right for you. This is who you need to talk to”, or “you're just not ready for this yet. But let me tell you exactly what you need.” It's amazing when someone steps back and has true empathy for their customer, their client, and with that empathy helps them solve the greater issue. It may not be what they're looking for from you right now, but I promise you they'll think of you. They will turn to you. You will have their trust for when you need it.

 

Will Barron:

I'm going to give the audience a sneak peek here, and then we'll pull it back to the conversation because I've been following your Instagram, or the business' Instagram profile. So I've seen your Chase bus. And it's very similar to something that I want to do. I'm trying to work with a couple of the audience will… the biggest brands in the sales industry are kind of back and forth in negotiations over this. I really want to get a VW camper van and turn it into an interview, essentially, studio and drive around the UK and Europe interviewing business leaders and sales experts. So that's a sneak peek for the audience that might crop up before the end of the year. And I saw what you were doing on the Instagram profile. I was like, “yes, this is very similar, this is what I want to do moving forward”. So I'm glad we're on the same wavelength with that, but-

 

Shama Hyder:

Yeah, let us know if you need help designing it and getting it out there. So yeah, it's been such a fun campaign and that's a fabulous idea. And see the right brand partner, for example, Will, the person that partners with you on that or says, we want to sponsor this. They'll be really smart because their audience, who they want to get in front of is who's listening to this podcast. They're professionals, they already trust you, they enjoy the content, they trust that you're bringing good resources to them. So it's already a very natural fit and connection. And if they're smart, they're going to leverage that. So much of this becomes about making those connections and sales not being sort of a blunt force instrument, but really being fine tuned, looking for influencers who already have that trust, who have that credibility and then making smart partnerships and leveraging that to grow your brand further.

 

Will Barron:

Well, I'm going to take that clip where you said it was a smart move and show it to these organisations I work with. So thank you for that. That was awesome.

 

Understanding What Your Customer Really Needs · [15:05] 

 

Will Barron:

But going back to the branding element of this, and kind of what we're talking about is high level. This is what an organisation could perhaps do. How do we narrow this down for an individual? And I had one idea that popped in my head as, you were talking Shama, of perhaps if we don't do a deal with someone without mentioning any names, that's a small blog post of, I couldn't work with this person because of X, Y, Z. I encourage them to look at 1, 2, 3. That's a nice little blog post that can be then shared around within your little niche, within your vertical. And I imagine if you did clearly, there's elements of being able to write and other things here, which we can perhaps drill down into a little bit deeper on the content creation front.

 

Will Barron:

But something like that builds trust, it shows that you're at least an expert in your product and the competitors as well. Is that something that we should be aiming for? Bits of content like this, that take a one-on-one conversation that salespeople have all the time, but then perhaps add a bit of scale to it, because 30 people can see it, 40 people can see it.

 

Shama Hyder:

Absolutely. If you are an individual, you also have this distinct advantage because you can step back and say, “what does my client really need?” And not just right now, but overall.

 

Shama Hyder:

So I'll give you a very simple example. Let's say you're in B2B sales for technology, for IT. Very common, you sell IT and you usually sell it to companies, startups that are growing really fast. Okay. I'm just making this up. So let's say your audience is startups that are scaling really fast and you give them IT infrastructure, great. You know, already that those startups are facing much greater challenges than just IT. It's not so much a stretch to put together a guidebook, a resource that says here's what working with so many startups that are scaling fast has taught us that we've been able to curate all this information and here's a directory of resources.

 

Shama Hyder:

Of course, you can have your IT, but maybe they need other things with HR. Maybe they need other things with finding good talent. And so maybe this is a resource book that helps them get where they need to go. And you're a part of that puzzle. But the more you can step back from “what's in it for me?”, and look into “how can I help them with the bigger picture?”, that's really where you're going to get the most bang for your buck.

 

Will Barron:

That makes total sense. And for me, medical device sales, I would put together and I carry out my own iPad. The corporate iPad that could never be touched or changed. I carry around my own iPad as well. And I had basically pinched a load of slides from the previous organisation I worked for, I re-rendered them with my own backgrounds and stuff. And the new call stats, corporate backgrounds from the new company I worked at and it had all our products, competitor products, the differences, the changes, the balances between the weight of the different elements of them. These are all like glass optical lenses that would go inside people. And surgeons loved it. And there was always a fine line to balance on because corporately they hated it, they didn't allow it, they told me off many times, but I kept doing it because it closed deals. People enjoyed it. And it was a reason, an opportunity to spend time with someone. And because it had not just our equipment in it, which the corporate one did, it had everything in it, people loved it.

 

How to Use Video Content as Your Competitive Advantage in Sales · [18:32] 

 

Will Barron:

And so again, positioned you as a somewhat of an expert in the field. If you've got all this information about the competitors, and then they're just trying to pitch their own products, whereas you are kind of going across the board with this. But Shama for someone who can't… I'm an okay writer, I'm not a fantastic writer, I'm okay. From years of practise now doing the podcast and the blog content. For someone who sucks at writing, but, and there's a stereotype here perhaps, is somewhat chatty, somewhat charismatic, how does video play into all of this and how can video be a competitive advantage over someone who's just writing blog posts?

 

“64% of people will finish watching up to a 30 minute commercial video clip versus 24% that'll finish reading an article.” – Shama Hyder · [19:13] 

 

Shama Hyder:

Yeah. So video's fantastic. I think sometimes the challenges with the opposite where you couldn't do video, but you're a good writer, you have to find the medium that makes sense for you. But video I'm so thrilled about because I've been gung ho on this for a long time. And if you look at the stats, they're so compelling, 64% of people will finish watching up to a 30 minute commercial video clip versus 24% that'll finish reading an article. That's staggering. And of course, some of some people on here might be like, “oh, but I love to read.” Yeah, but you are not your audience. I read these novels, like 800 page Diana Gabaldon books, I love it. But not everyone is that way. And the truth is, think about everyone on here listening, has at some point watched an infomercial and could not change the channel until someone else walked in the room and they said, “what are you doing?What are you watching?” And then they're like, “I don't know. But these knives though!” or, “Wow, Oxy really does get it clean!”

 

Shama Hyder:

I mean, we've all been there where we've been completely mesmerised or transfixed by something by video and it's human. It's human. So video was such an amazing tool. I'm very excited with what LinkedIn is doing with video right now. So LinkedIn to me is like a B2B salesperson's best friend. What an amazing platform. You can reach people, you can have valuable conversation, for nurturing, attraction, all those things, I love LinkedIn. And now with LinkedIn video, it's such a no brainer. So if you are in B2B sales and you haven't played with that yet, I highly recommend it because like all things, it will reach saturation and we will lose visibility.

 

Shama Hyder:

And I'll give you an example. This is the stuff I love talking about marketing, technology, so forth. I keynote somewhere, I do a quick video after, whatnot. I'm always sharing this information. Sharing these videos on YouTube, for example, just randomly might get like 4,000, 5,000 views. It's nothing crazy to write home about, but sharing that same video on LinkedIn very quick on my iPhone, shoot it, edit it, quick post, that maybe five minutes, maybe less, five minutes is kind of long. Usually mine are about two to three minutes. Will average a quarter million views within 48 hours and 10% engagement. So very high targeted audience, very engaged. And I find that fascinating, so I'm so gung ho about video. I think anyone who feels comfortable on camera should absolutely go for it. And the only way you learn is by doing, your first videos may be utter BS, but as you do [inaudible 00:21:37]

 

Will Barron:

Will be BS, right. It will a hundred percent be terrible. There's zero doubt in my mind, or I'm sure yours that everyone's first video after watching this is going to be absolutely atrocious, right?

 

Shama Hyder:

I cringe at mine. I mean, Will, when I started doing videos and I look back and I'm like, “what was I thinking?” Like I have my dog in my lap like I thought that was cute. I didn't know. It was really funny. So I look back and I'm like “ah, face Palm, these are so bad.” But I wouldn't be as comfortable as I am on camera doing the things that I'm doing if I hadn't gone through that process. Like there's not a shortcut through that. I do think you can have natural inclinations. Like I enjoy public speaking, I enjoy sharing my passions, so I have natural inclinations for that, but I definitely was not as good of a speaker or doing media interviews and stuff as I am now, because it was 10 years ago, that's a lot of practise show after show. So many things, and that's how you get better. But I am such a firm believer in video, highly think it's the highest ROI right now, especially if you're looking at LinkedIn.

 

Want to Create Your First Video For LinkedIn, Here’s a Topic Idea For You · [22:50] 

 

Will Barron:

Perfect. And I want to offer the audience a challenge here, Shama, what should be the video that after listening to this, and most people listen to this, either driving the car or jogging, so please do it when you get to your office and please don't do it on the treadmill. Cause that's asking for a broken hip, what should the first video that they should be uploading be? What should the title be? What should the subject be? And I guess what's the generic kind of video that the audience should put out there, just to get the first one done, just to get it out?

 

Shama Hyder:

And if you do decide to stop what you're doing right now and take a funny video, please send it to Will and I, tag us, we love it. Don't hurt yourself, but I'm always up for a good laugh. So it's very simple, great question Will, very simple challenge. If everyone listening says “I want to do this, I don't really know like how to start”, start with the most simple thing possible, which is, I'll give you two prompts. You can choose one or the other. You can either do what I wish every single one of my clients knew. And you could do that so quickly because I promise if I asked almost anyone on this podcast, what's the one thing you wish your clients knew, you'd have an answer, whatever that was. Like “do this early and do this before you actually need it”. Or whatever it may be, or “don't listen to X, Y, Z”. So what is that?

 

Shama Hyder:

My second prompt would be share what is it that you have learned as a professional? What's the one thing that you really distilled in all your years? And it may be that relationships matter, it may be that having a good mentor at work, whatever it is, share something that's valuable. And again, you'll notice it has nothing to do with your industry particularly. But these are two really good starting points. And you can choose either/or.

 

Will Barron:

Yeah. And that's almost a full podcast, video, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn series there of, every week what's the one thing I wish my clients knew this week? Or what's the one thing I've learned this week, that could help my clients? That's super simple. And if you've connected with the right people on LinkedIn and hopefully you've messaged them, you've not just spammed them a bunch of connection requests, you've gone back and forth with them. The engagement there is going to bring that up in the feed. And if they're on LinkedIn regularly, you are going to be top of mind constantly. Even if they don't watch the video, they're going to see your face, right. And how powerful is that?

 

Shama Hyder:

Yeah. And I it's funny I do these videos and people tell me all the time when I run into them, they're like, “oh my God, I've seen your videos like 15 times, they pop up” and the thing is you have to play to algorithms, and right now LinkedIn is giving preferential treatment to video. So absolutely ride that wave.

 

Things That Can Negatively Affect Your Personal Brand · [25:20] 

 

Will Barron:

Perfect. So a couple more things I want to ask you before we kind of wrap up here, Shama, and the first one, and this is something I'm trying to ask people more often, is there anything that you've done that has negatively affected your personal branding over the past few years? Is there anything that stood out, maybe it's a cautionary tale or maybe it was just something that didn't really massively, significantly impact it, but would be interesting for the audience?

 

Shama Hyder:

Yeah. You know, I would say the biggest thing again, what I said is the opposite of, it's not staying consistent. So what's funny, like even on Instagram, and my team really gets on me about this because I'm so sometimes busy doing, that they're like “you got to share, share, share, share.” So now I've gotten better and I send my team things because we're creating so much content all the time. But documenting that process I think is important. And so times where I've seen that dip is when I have not been consistent in sharing my stories and continuously building that brand.

 

“We live in such a fast paced world that you have to stay consistent to stay top of mind. And as we know, so much of the game of sales is staying top of mind.” – Shama Hyder · [26:48] 

 

Shama Hyder:

And it's so funny you say personal brand and the perception is like a celebrity or building a brand for the sake of building a brand. But really when I say personal brand, I'm much more mean like your reputation, the value you're bringing, the community you're building. Even, when I go a couple of weeks without sharing something and I do then, my community says, “oh my God, where have you been?” So I'm like “oh, okay”. So it's funny, we live in such a fast paced world that you have to stay consistent to stay top of mind. And as we know, so much of the game is staying top of mind.

 

Being Personal Versus Professional In Your LinkedIn Videos · [27:35]

 

Will Barron:

And people are interested in you as well, right. And tell me if I'm totally wrong here, I think that's still important in B2B sales. So this is clearly a business to business audience that I've built here. You know, probably 20 odd thousand people will listen to this audio anywhere from, well, we've had anywhere from kind of a thousand to a hundred thousand people will watch the YouTube video depending on the YouTube algorithm.

 

Will Barron:

People ask me, as much as questions I get asked about sales or how I should do this, or I want get a promotion. I get asked about this car, this GTR that I'm aspiring to own in the future. People seem to be just as bothered about my buying ridiculous things that are total waste of money, as they are with improving the sales skills, which is why they're watching the show in the first place. So how much of a personal element should we be adding to all this, versus being the stereotype of a dude in a badly fitting suit stood there of his video going buy my products because you know, the great, how much of it should be? How, how much of ourselves should we be injecting into all of this?

 

Shama Hyder:

Yeah. So it's really funny that you say that. And yes, people are extremely curious about my life. In fact, some of the Google auto searches that auto correct with my name are hilarious and I won't even go into them. But it's so funny. And to me, it's not about how much of your personal life are you sharing, it's more about how relevant can you be to your audience? I don't think me sharing what I'm having for dinner is necessarily relevant to my audience. So I don't share it. I will say that being said, of course, all B2B sales is also B2B to C, which is we're human. And so even when you're selling to a business, you are selling to a human being, and I think that's such an important distinction.

 

Shama Hyder:

So many times we say, “oh, it's B2B, it's different than B2C”. Yes and no, because at the end of the day, you're still buying from people you trust, you still want that experience. I do think it's important to be personable. I do think it's important to be transparent. I do think it's important to be honest, that means saying, sorry when you're sorry. That means saying thank you so much when you feel gratitude. That means letting people in a little bit so they know that you're human, that you have a family that you care about certain things that you care about your community. And that makes people want to do business with you more. I love supporting small businesses for example, or I love supporting people that I know have a greater mission or vision.

 

Shama Hyder:

Of course we're human, we're attracted to that. So I think that's important, but people will always be curious about a million things. And I do walk that line finely because I do think about, is that relevant? Is that going to help them succeed in the digital age, because that's what I'm all about, that's my brand. And here's the craziest thing that I actually was just giving a keynote yesterday. Was it yesterday? Two days ago? Oh my God. I go through so many time zones, I have a hard time keeping up.

 

Shama Hyder:

So I was talking to this group, also B2B. And I told them that the biggest shift that I have seen in the last few years in B2B is that the bar is now so much higher. And what I mean by that is in B2B. And I'm sure like being in medical sales, you can attest to this. The bar was so much lower, for example, if you had a website, it was awesome because all your competitors still had old school catalogues. But you had a website, so you were winning. Now, it's funny though, because your buyer, your B2B buyer is no longer comparing you to your competitors and saying, “well, they got catalogues, but at least this guy's got a website.” What they're looking at is “I just had this amazing experience at the Apple Store. Now I'm buying this. And I expect that same experience”.

 

“The expectations for B2B buyers are no longer different, they're higher. They don't care if you're better than your second rate competitors. What they care about is, “I just had Amazon experience. I just had the Apple experience. I just had a Zappos experience. This is the experience I expect across the board.” And so that means that you really have to take a look at how you sell and how you market and how you stand out because your competition is no longer just other B2B companies.” – Shama Hyder · [31:07] 

 

Shama Hyder:

That level of expectation, and that frictionless ness that we, as connected consumers and my team at Zen Media does a lot of research around the connected consumer, and what that really means. I mean, it's technically all of us. How we buy, how we make decisions, B2B or B2C, how do you stay relevant? But what I find fascinating is this, the expectations for B2B buyers are no longer different, they're higher. They don't care if you're better than your second rate competitors. What they care about is, “I just had Amazon experience. I just had the Apple experience. I just had Zappos experience. This is the experience I expect across the board.” And so that means there have to be some very deep cultural shifts. You really have to take a look at how you sell and how you market and how you stand out because your competition is no longer just other B2B companies.

 

Will Barron:

It's funny you should say this, and we'll wrap up with this and I've got two points I don't want to gloss over. You mentioned them, which I think are really valuable for Sales Nation, everyone listening. But funny you should mention catalogues, the last company I worked for, to get a online version of the catalogue, you had to go through this massive rigmarole of who you are, what you're doing, and then they would only send you a PDF of one particular part of the catalogue. They wouldn't send you the whole thing because heaven forbid the competitor might get a hold of it. And this was three years ago or three and a half years ago, this wasn't 20 years ago or whenever the internet was created 1994, 96, when they would to send a catalogue that size would be a logistical problem through the terrible dial up that everyone had.

 

Will Barron:

This was literally three and a half, four years ago. They would not give out a PDF version of the catalogue, because they were concerned that the competitor would have it. Everyone knew in the back of my car, my company car, I had a catalogue from each of the competitor companies and I was just a rep. So you, the corporation must have had them as well. It was ridiculous. But two things you mentioned here. One, if you're doing video content, if you doing any content really, having a set of rules in place I think is important. And I do this to kind of not have a blurred line between the content I put out with the podcast, with the sales school, which is coming soon and everything else.

 

Will Barron:

For example, my girlfriend's a doctor. I never mention her name, where she works, anything like that because she asked me not to. I don't really record any content outside of the studio, the office or any live events that we do with the sales and podcast live. I don't really record content when I'm in the car or around where we live or if I'm out walking or running or anything like that. So I keep all that to myself. So having a set of rules I think is perhaps useful for the audience and paradoxically, it'll help you create more content faster if you've got a set of rules to go against.

 

Will Barron:

And the other thing, and I'm conscious of time so we won't dive into it, but having some kind of mission or goal or something in your personal life that you're aiming towards, where you're trying to create business, create value, earn commissions because you want to do X, Y, and Z. I think is super powerful to include into your, your videos, your content, wherever you're doing your personal brand. And it makes you more human. So one of my passions is educating people about science and get people excited about science. We've got a whole other podcast that does that very thing. And I kind of intertwine the two here because people then will be asking me, “well, what about the other podcast? Oh, I love science as well”. And it kind of makes me more human and builds a deeper relationship with those individuals who listen to the B2B sales stuff.

 

Shama’s Advice to Her Younger Self on How to Become Better at Selling · [34:10] 

 

Will Barron:

And with all that said, woo, I feel like I need a breath after rabbiting through all that. I just don't want to gloss over them. The excellent points you made Shama. I just wanted to kind of double down on them. I've got one final question to ask everyone that comes on the show. Your answer cannot be personal branding because this is probably part of it. So anything other than personal branding, but if you could go back in time and speak to your younger self, what would be the one piece of advice you'd give her to help her become better at selling?

 

Shama Hyder:

You know, as cliched as it is, and I'd heard this when I was younger, I don't think I fully understood it until more recently. And that is the value of relationships. And I think you hear that and you think ah, yes, like meet people, get to know what they need. But what I mean by that is like today, if you look at the clients that we work with, there are people and human beings I have such high respect for. I hold them in such high esteem, and I think that is a relationship, right. There is a depth there. I love these people outside of work, and the way you do this is you invest. You get to learn about their families, you get to learn about what motivates them, what they care about.

 

Shama Hyder:

And I think when I was younger, I heard that and saw it more superficially. I understood what that meant as my family and people closest to me. I didn't know what that translated to in the broader sense of that true word. Or I heard the very bro version of wine and dine. And I was like, “what's that?” It just felt still very, to me, kind of manipulative in a way, like you have an agenda. You're driven in that way. Well, today, what I have an understanding of now is it's not about an agenda. It's genuinely having that empathy and caring about someone and knowing where they're coming from and connecting on that deeper level. And then if you end up doing business, great.

 

“Throughout history, whoever controlled information had power because access to information was limited. So if you had information, you had an advantage. Well, the internet changed all of that. Now everybody has information. That's no longer the differentiator. So the differentiator becomes who can then best take that information and distill it in a way that turns knowledge into wisdom, that takes data and turns it into insight.” – Shama Hyder · [36:38] 

 

Shama Hyder:

And I think coming from that place has really shifted my perception and my view of work. And I will say this Will, to add to your point where you were talking about, I think this is so crucial for B2B folks in general, we no longer live in the information age. And what's fascinating is what you said, so many B2B companies, and I hear this all the time, especially from younger folks who are like, “my boss doesn't want me to share, because they're afraid our competitors will know.” I'm like “news flash, they already know.” So throughout history, I think what was fascinating was whoever controlled information had power. The church, for example, I mean anybody who controlled information had power because access to information was limited. So if you had information, you had an advantage.

 

Shama Hyder:

Well, the internet changed all of that. Now everybody has information. That's no longer the differentiator. So the differentiator becomes who can then best take that information and distil it in a way that turns knowledge into wisdom? That takes data and turns it into insight?

 

Shama Hyder:

And what you're doing with this podcast here is a great example. There is so much stuff on sales and B2B sales. It is mind boggling. But the reason you have millions of people listening and downloading this is because you are able to create that filter. You're able to ask the right questions, bring on guests. I mean, I know you let them so thoroughly. It's taken us a while to even get to this point, which is awesome. But see, so you have power because you are a curator, you are a filter. So as we talk about B2B and you wrap up about personal branding, it's how can you as a salesperson be that filter for your customers. And they're so hungry for that. Everyone has information, the key to winning now and in the future, is how can you create context and be relevant?

 

Parting Thoughts · [38:01]

 

Will Barron:

[inaudible 00:38:07]

 

Shama Hyder:

We work with clients around the globe. You can check us out at zenmedia.com. And of course my personal site, ShamaHyder.com. I'm on all the social platforms. So feel free to pick your poison and I'm happy to connect.

 

Will Barron:

[inaudible 00:38:25].

 

Shama Hyder:

My pleasure, Will. Thanks so much.

 

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