Category Archives: Self Development

Your Personal Branding Business Model

One of the most important aspects of creating a personal brand, is first attempting to determine what your goals are. Are you trying to become the President of the United States, the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, a serial entrepreneur, a social activist? This will certainly help you understand how to frame your brand, how to develop it, and how to continually move you towards your end goals.

In order to do this systematically, you should think of your personal brand just as a company does of it’s own brand; like a business.

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It starts with the product

That’s right, it starts with the person. After all, it is a personal brand, and you ARE the product. Write down how you want to be defined. What are the attributes of your product. Are you innovative? Are you a trendsetter? What are your specialties? If you were sitting on a shelf at a store, why would someone choose you over the competition?

Make sure you can deliver

Great customer service defines companies. It also defines you. Great customer service means you are servicing people who have already given you a chance. That means creating deep, meaningful relationships. It involves listening as much as it involves talking and responding.

Personal service involves great follow-ups with great communication.

You have to remember that your customers have immense power, and if you service your following correctly, they should be creating word of mouth for you. If they’re not, then you need to either re-vamp your product or your customer service.

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Finish Strong

I received great advice the other day from my friend and boss, Brant Barton. “Finishing strong is more important than how you start”.

It took me a while to really understand how true his advice was.  Common wisdom says you need to make a good first impression. First impressions leave a lasting memory, right? Even a simple Google search for advice on first impressions, and you’ll be flooded by advice on all sorts of “rules”, “tips”, and even videos.  Try the same search for finishing strong and you’ll probably be underwhelmed.

However, I did find one result which was particularly fascinating.  It’s by a man named Nick Vujicic.  Nick Vujicic was born with no arms or legs, but is using his disability to inspire people.  He gives  a very moving speech called “Are You Going To Finish Strong?”.   I suggest giving this a watch; It’s only two minutes and forty seconds long and it may get you to think differently about life and how you approach problems. 

The most interesting thing to me is, that we HAVE been taught to finish strong, but finishing strong takes more effort.  That makes it harder advice to listen to. Finishing strong involves hard work, concentration, and a clear focus on an end goal.

Think about it from the athlete’s point of view.  What’s more important to the athlete, how they start the race or how they finish?  For the corporate executive, is it more important to start a presentation correctly or to finish strong?  What do you think would create a more lasting memory?   While the start IS important, the finish is everything.  It determines whether you win the race or lose.  It determines whether you get the sale or don’t.

A good start will help you get to the finish line faster, but without a strong push at the end,  you’ll come up short.

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Seth Godin’s Tribes and Why The World Needs Personal Branding

This post was initially posted on Personal Branding Blog.

My introduction to Tribes

I was at my desk a few months back, when the CEO of my company sent an email saying that he was purchasing a copy of Seth Godin’s Tribes for anyone in the company who wanted to read it. Given that it was Godin’s new book, I was extremely eager to get my hands on it.

In the book, Godin goes on to explain that the social media tools we have access to today, give people the ability to make a difference in their communities, workplaces, and the world. The book discusses how our world needs leaders now more than ever before, and explains how it’s easier now too.

The world does need leaders, and while Tribes does a great job at explaining why, I think it could have done a better job at explaining how to execute. Read the rest of this post on Personal Branding Blog.

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Also, please make sure to follow me on Twitter.

Re-branding my blog

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It is time for me to re-launch my blog. I launched this blog a year and a half ago, and since then have a completely different outlook on life that I want to share with the world.

My blog before was essentially about one topic; personal branding.

Personal Branding is a great topic. So much of the world depends on the way others perceive you. A lot of it is superficial, but a lot is also extremely deep and important. The Salamon Rules set out to discuss the laws that were timeless; mass communication, creation, innovation, accessibility, consistency, and credibility. In fact, I owe a lot of my own success to personal branding. By working on my communication to the world, I recieved two promotions within a 9 month time frame, and it all started after I launched my blog on Personal Branding.

However, since then, I’ve had other experiences I want to share with the world. I want to share my experiences with growing up on the border with Mexico, about being a Jewish American, about business, about how I gained 40lbs after college and my quest to lose it. By re-launching my blog, I want to essentially be more authentic with who I am, top to bottom. The general topics I want to explore are business, health, fitness, politics, science, arts, and philanthropy. This is who I am. While personal branding highlighted one aspect of my personality and skill, I am eager to learn more about the other dimensions of myself. Writing about Personal Branding helped me improve the way I branded myself, so what happens when I start to explore other aspects of life? What happens when I give myself the space to write about anything?

I am very much looking forward to the new concept and hope you’ll enjoy the ride as much as I will. I have many to thank for the success I’ve had since launching my blog, but I want to highlight a few who were particularly influential.

Dan Schawbel, my dear friend from Boston, and author of the upcoming book Me 2.0, who has helped me tremendously with validating ideas and discussing personal branding at length.

Brant Barton, my new boss and co-founder of Bazaarvoice, who has taught me a lot about self-development and being brutally honest.

Jacob Salamon, my brother and closest friend who has pushed me time and time again.

Omar Jafri, my ex-college roommate who has always pushed me politically.

Cassie, my beautiful and ever patient girlfriend.

My Mother & Grandmother who have always been there for me no matter what.

The Art of Preparation

practice.jpgMy football coach in High School used to preach that the way we practiced was the way we’d play in games. Football taught me a great deal about discipline and work ethic, and it certainly taught me about preparation. While I don’t play football anymore, I do give presentations, speak at meetings, meet new people, etc. The main thing I’ve learned about preparation is that Preparation=Confidence.

I wanted to share a few lessons my football coaches taught me that can help you prepare as well. They all boost your confidence and help you succeed when you need to most.

1. Know your plays: Know what you’re going to do and how you’re going to do it. If you’re giving a speech, know what you’re going to say and how you’re going to deliver it.

2. Learn the big picture: In football, things constantly change. If you stick too close to what you prepared for, you might get burned. Get used to the unpredictable.

3. Know your opponent: Who’s attending your meeting? What questions do you think you’ll be asked in your presentation? Know what’s going to happen before it does, and you will succeed.

4. Relax…but keep focused: The best athletes and speakers are relaxed. Notice how the best athletes always have a sense of composure. Their bodies are almost limp because they are relaxed, focused, and confident.

5. Don’t be afraid to win: If you stay too rigid, you won’t be able to do anything amazing. Don’t be afraid of your audience or your opponent. Be flexible and allow yourself to make a game changing play.

Follow the coach’s advice and we can get you to deliver better than you could have ever expected. Know what you’re going to do and be confident doing it.

It’s not only the Presentation

There has been a ton of advice given on how to give a presentation, how to design your slides when giving a presentation, and what captures an audience’s attention. For Personal Branding, giving a presentation is like steroids for your career. When giving a presentation, you are the center of everyone’s attention. You have the ability to gain visibility and to educate people on your topic of expertise. Surprisingly, not many have addressed the power of follow-ups. How many times have you seen someone speak but have never seen or heard from them again? I not only want you to give people the “A-HA” moment, but to be able to guide them after the presentation when they are looking to take action.

The value from presenting doesn’t lie in the presentation itself, but what you do after in order to keep your brand visible and seen as a thought leader. The major theme around this relates to Salamon Rule of Personal Branding # 4, Being Accessible.

Accessibility and your speech

At the end of your speech, you should have an easy way for people to contact you. I suggest including your cell phone & email address on your last slide that way people can write it down during your Q&A. Also, having an online presence and a blog is very important. If you don’t have a blog today, you should. There is no easier way to start building a community around your brand and topic of expertise. It gives people a way to subscribe to YOU.  Mention that you write and maintain a community around your subject, and if anybody is interested, you’d love to talk to them personally about it.

Now that you have given others the ability to reach you, you should encourage enthusiasts to let you contact them. These are people who are eager to hear and learn from you. Get their contact information and let them know about projects you have going on or new articles that your are writing. The follow-up is an art and just as important as the presentation itself. Master the follow-up and watch your ROI multiply!

The Marketer’s Guide to Getting Hired

Given my company’s explosive growth recently, it occurred to me that I’ve combed through dozens of resumes, and had endless interviews and phone screens. How can so many people fall through the same cracks over and over? In Sales, your success is determined by the impressions you make. You are on an endless interview that demands preparation and the ability to always be “on”. Time and time again, I will meet very talented individuals who come to interview, but haven’t even visited our website. How can you sell our product when you don’t even know what we do?

Anybody looking to get hired needs to make sure they have this list covered when meeting a prospective employer.

1. Make a good first impression
I only have one first impression of you. So do our clients. Are you dressed appropriately? Are there typos on your resume or is everything sharp? Be sure to smile and hold eye contact. If you’re confident, I’ll assume there’s a reason why.

2. Show me you’re interested in this industry and company.
The best candidates are the ones who have an understanding of the industry they’re looking into. They’ve read up on the company, it’s current situation, major competitors, and recent news. They know the company’s major products, clients, and initiatives. The best candidates NEVER over prepare for this part of the screening process.

3. Be Interested in Me.
I have a problem that needs to be solved and a role that needs to be filled. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve met candidates who don’t care about my problem at all. They talk about how great they are, but don’t bother to find out what the exact situation is at the company they are applying for. This is where SPIN selling comes in handy. You need to figure out the exact situation at the company you’re at. Ask questions like why do you need this role filled? What is the exact issue you’re trying to solve? What are the implications of these problems not being filled? What kind of person are you looking for? These questions will set you up when you start to explain yourself.

4. Have a story.
Having a story is key in sales. It’s also a very important piece of getting hired. A good story will help you cut through the clutter and get remembered. A story helps answer the question of why this new job opportunity solves the next piece of your puzzle and helps humanize you. One of my colleagues interviewed with me and told me his story about moving to Seattle in the 80’s to start a rock band. He gave my company importance and told me why he was interested in the company and the role. He told me why it was the next piece of his puzzle.

5. Tell me why you would be the BEST fit for the role.
Don’t tell my why you would be good, tell me why you’d be the best bet. Sell me on the fact that I should choose you over other candidates. What do you bring to our organization that others can’t match? Are you inexperienced and are looking to grow into a role? Tell me why that’s more beneficial to me then hiring someone with more experience. Don’t only tell me about your past experience, but tell me how that helps ME.