The method for cultivating your personal brand and meticulous attention to detail can prove to be differentiating factors. Having a method that can define and manage your personal brand is essential for your professional career and your professional development. This method involves defining your personal brand, knowing what to do and when to do it, learning skills that set you apart and communicating your added value in an effective manner. It will allow you to genuinely know yourself and develop your full potential, get clients, be a team leader, and improve both your position at the firm and your employability.
It is surprising, therefore, that competent lawyers pay such little attention and care to their personal brand, to themselves in this respect, from the point of view of their positioning or perception in the market. Remember that perception is what makes or breaks us in professional life, however unfair that may be. It is important to manage your perception to avoid having to say, “I am a competent yet not competitive lawyer: I am not a reference in my market, nor sufficiently profitable, despite being competent.”
Personal branding, an exercise in self-awareness and growth
Many lawyers associate “personal branding” with merely being present on social media. It is not that simple. The actions or tactics you carry out (presence on social networks, having a website, giving talks, writing articles, attending events and business meals) must stem from specific analysis, preparation and training tailored to you and your personal brand. That is how you are most likely to develop your full potential and achieve your goals.
The aim is to understand what talents, competencies or distinguishing skills you need to boost, and, at the same time, recognize what personal traits (one or two usually) you need to control to avoid them stalling or blocking your professional career. It is also about defining your distinguishing message.
The method for defining and managing your personal brand
I offer a practical method to enhance your personal brand. A three-month method. Yes, with your commitment, this three-month method can mark a before and after in your professional career. A qualitative method that requires you to invest a feasible number of hours.
The three phases of your personal brand method
The method is divided into three stages.
During the first month I analyse your brand, which we define together. This is the essential starting point.
During the second month we co-develop your personal brand strategy on and offline. Yes, we co-develop because, even with the temporary support of a consultant, you need to create a strategy and have control over it. During the second month you also receive training in distinguishing skills: how to build more trust, sell legal services and manage the objections from potential clients, among others.
During the third month we start putting your action plan into practice and complete your training.
The first month of your personal brand: awareness
The first month is key. The purpose is to become aware of everything you need to enhance, as this will set you apart from your competitors. Paradoxically, this is what most lawyers do not do: they act without sufficient self-knowledge and without being aware of a critical factor, the perception of their circles of trust. Knowing how others perceive you is essential, since it helps you understand what you need to improve.
Who are your circles of trust? They are basically your clients, professional colleagues and, ideally, family and friends. The idea is to ask a couple of questions about yourself to a sample of five informants from each group. In the case of clients, the ones you should aim for are those that you deem indispensable, that is, those who yield the greatest returns and “help” you become a better lawyer because of the challenges they pose to you. It is preferable to have an external consultant carry out the survey to encourage informants to give their honest opinion.
During the first month it is also essential that you ask yourself the right questions to find the answers that you probably have in yourself, but that perhaps have not yet surfaced. That is why I ask far-reaching questions.
In addition, it is important to know your behavior profile, that is, whether your behaviour is generally more rational or more emotional, and whether your preferred type of behavior is more active or subdued. Knowing your behavior style will help you improve your ability to influence and build trust.
Another basic element is to determine your preferred communication and learning channel because you may speak the same language as your counterpart or potential client, but if you are not getting your message across you will not build rapport, essential to building trust.
In the same way, understanding your digital footprint will provide information about your current positioning and image.
Facial Psychology is another method I offer for the analysis of your personal brand. If you want to get to know yourself fully, Facial Psychology, used by professional experts, is extremely accurate in helping you know yourself and others. Among its many uses, in the legal industry it greatly facilitates the creation of high-performance teams, the correct placement of professionals in the organization according to their talent and skills, selecting the right people, and selling and negotiating more efficiently, among others.
The second month of your personal brand: strategy and training
Once you have a picture of your personal brand, that is, a diagnosis or state of it, it is time for us both to define your strategy through an action plan, and to start your training in distinguishing skills.
Without a strategy, you are short-sighted. Although most lawyers do not have a market strategy, you need one. It is striking how often lawyers define strategies for their clients but refrain from defining a strategy that would enhance their own professional career.
In addition to defining your strategy and making it operational through an action plan, you need to train in the distinguishing skills we have mentioned. All this will help you mark a watershed in your personal brand and in your professional career.
Depending on your circumstances, the action plan will include developing your unique message, improving your social network profile(s) and website, learning how to get more and better-quality clients, improving your persuasive communication skills, getting to know potential clients or referrals, occasional publication of articles or interviews in prestigious media, and preparing and giving talks.
The third month of your personal brand: attracting potential clients
Now is the time to implement your action plan to gain or heighten your visibility, thereby fostering the conditions to effectively achieve your goals. These are actions that bring you closer to your potential clients. It is also time to complete your tailor-made training in skills that will help you build trust and increase your ability to help potential clients engage your services.
Upon completion of the coaching and training you will have gained the necessary degree of professional autonomy to correctly manage your personal brand in the coming months and years, and ultimately, your professional career.