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You might think of your role in the dealership as just a job or a career. It’s a vehicle that you use to pay the bills, live a comfortable life, and spend your days until retirement age.
You might take it more seriously. You might be using your current position as a rung on the ladder to success, or you might strive to make the absolute most out of your position.
In either case, you are establishing a personal brand.
You don’t have a choice in the matter. No matter what you do, you’re developing your own brand image. It’s not a brand with a slogan (at least, not commonly), and it’s not a brand with a logo. It’s an unspoken image that you portray. It’s the reason customers submit their surveys after visiting you.
And while personality factors into the message you convey to each of your customers, it’s only a very small part of the equation. Your brand – the things you stand for – is about your choices.
You choose to get dressed in the morning and take good care of your personal hygiene and physique. You hit the gym regularly and get your mane of hair perfectly coifed. You’re could be the pretty one at the service desk or on the sales floor.
You choose to be on time in the morning, make all of your calls before you take your break, and you never over-promise and under-deliver. You take your professional role very seriously and follow the employee manual to a tee. You might be the reliable one that customers always come to.
You choose to learn about the product, even owning the latest model from the showroom floor. When someone wants technical information, you’re always ready to lend a hand without showing off. You’re the expert in the department, and everyone knows it.
You choose to serve, whether it’s the customers or your fellow employees. Whenever there’s a question or a need, when someone needs a hand, they turn to you for assistance. You do it with a smile on your face and a willing attitude. You’re the friendly one.
Your choices dictate your personal brand.
If it’s more than just a job to you, then you care about what others think about you. You can establish your brand by making those conscious choices every day. But it’s not just one that you need to work on. It’s all of them.
Choose one thing that sets you apart – something that you can make a steadfast rule in your life – and stick to it. But don’t neglect all the other aspects of your role. If you are the technical expert, dedicate yourself to staying on the cutting edge, but don’t neglect your customer service skills. If you’re the reliable staff member, continue to learn about products and keep a clean-cut appearance.
When you’re aware of your personal brand, you can use it to empower your future. It can be your stepping stone to a promotion or a raise. It can be the reason your CSI scores are always on top.
You may not be the best employee, and your personal brand might be awful right now. You may have established yourself as the late one, the slob, or the frigid jerk who no one likes. If you’re realizing that you can’t go further in your career because you screwed up your brand, there’s a solution.
Start again. Right now.
I’ve been there and done that. I’ve tanked my career on more than one occasion because I didn’t realize I was creating a brand. But you can begin to recreate yourself – and your brand – starting right now. Commit to doing one thing better than the rest, and doing everything else exceptionally well. It’s a tough road to overcome your crappy brand, but it can be done.