Being different in a way that’s relevant to your target audiences is one of the most important aspects of branding. However, it’s also important to be regarded as a conscientious person by the people in your network. Otherwise, they’ll have a hard time trusting you and will look for reasons why they can’t work with you or refer business to you.
Like trust, esteem takes time to build and is very fragile. You have to consistently demonstrate your willingness to help others and your interest in improving the quality of life for the people around you before they’ll come to hold you in high esteem. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to build goodwill in your community:
Volunteering your time is one of the best ways to get out into the community and show people you care. Pick a cause you feel strongly about then find a local organization that supports it and look for ways to volunteer with them regularly.
You’ll build relationships with like-minded people and make the world a better place at the same time, and you can share details about your involvement on your social media profiles to encourage others to participate as well. You can also invite your existing contacts to volunteer with you and deepen those relationships, too.
2. Join a club or organization and participate regularly
As with volunteering, participating in community organizations gives you a chance to build relationships with like-minded people. Professional or trade organizations as well as those devoted to personal interests and hobbies offer opportunities to connect with people who can become clients or refer business to you.
The only way to get the most out of your membership in organizations is to participate regularly, so be sure to join ones that that are directly relevant to your interests and that consist of members who are in your target audiences. This makes it networking easier, more comfortable, and more effective.
3. Accept leadership positions within organizations
As you participate regularly in community organizations, you may have the opportunity to take leadership positions within them. These are a much larger responsibility than what’s expected of regular members, and thus give you a chance to show how well you can guide the organization’s development and create positive outcomes for the people involved.
These positions often give you high visibility as well, letting you be seen and heard in a much more significant way by people in your target audiences. You can also share information about your leadership experience on your social media profiles.
4. Share your expertise regularly
One of the best ways to build esteem is to serve as a resource to people without asking for anything in return or pushing a sales message. You can do this by blogging, sharing white papers, writing articles in publications, and doing everything you can to use your knowledge to help people. Then, when someone has a specific problem they need more help with, they’ll let you know and will have just pre-qualified themselves as prospective clients.
5. Choose your associations carefully
People naturally assume that the people with whom you associate are what you’re like as well. Seek out mentorships, partnerships, and connections with those whose trustworthiness and conscientiousness has put them in a position of esteem within their communities, then take every opportunity to learn from them and to help them however you can. This way, you’ll benefit from their association, and you’ll be likely to acquire some of the same traits they possess that make them successful.
To be respected and admired by the people in your community is an extrinsic reward itself, but it’s also important to being successful in marketing and business development. People want to know that the professional services providers they hire have their best interests at heart, and by building esteem in the minds of the people in your community, you’ll be positioning yourself as the best choice when they have a problem you can solve.
About the author
Steve Nichols, MS is a marketing consultant who helps professional services providers and small businesses build trust with clients. He’s the owner of Boswell Inc., and the author of "How to Market Your Firm Effectively: by Building Trust with Clients" on Amazon.com. You can Connect with him on LinkedIn or Follow him on Twitter.