At a virtual event organised by the Financial Services Managers Association (FSMA), agency leaders gathered online for a power talk session on how to make their personal branding more visible with Bettery Lab CEO Mr Tr. Sakthivel Thevar. An associate director, he was also a top recruiting manager and an MDRT qualifier.
It is during times like these that agency leaders in the insurance industry grapple to position themselves as leading experts with the world going digital and more businesses go online. Connecting with the right community and using online platforms and tools like podcasts and live chats can help an agent’s personal branding become more visible.
Bringing the ‘person’ to personal branding
Besides showcasing what a successful person and expert you are in your field, most of the time the people you chat with will want to see what kind of person you are beneath all the success. “Being authentic becomes a strength,” said Mr Thevar. “It’s about winning people and we are in the people business. So, one of the key skillsets that we must have is to win people.”
Sakthivel came up with four levels on how to win people.
- Level 1— People need to know you: Being the best means nothing when nobody knows the kind of services and impact you can make for them. People need to know you exist and that you are good at what you do.
- Level 2— People need to like you: Being a personable character where people feel engaged with you just by reading your posts and the kind of activities that you do. To create this, Mr Thevar shared that “this happens when you are regularly out there, whether it’s through your postings or videos. When you are out there, people get engaged with you.
- Level 3— People need to trust you: Trust is the foundation on which the insurance business is built on. Regardless of whether it is recruitment or handling clients, the trust to build their career with you or their life savings isn’t built overnight. It starts from the moment they get to know you.
- Level 4 — People need to want you: Making sure you are the first person that comes to mind whenever they think of financial or insurance matters. The same way McDonald pops into our minds when we hear Happy Meals or burgers, or Samsung and Apple when we think of mobile phones.
Identify five key things about yourself (e.g., fitness junkie, food fanatic, legacy planning for HNW, being a parent, etc) and try to integrate it into your personal branding so that people will associate you with it automatically.
“Once you’re at this level, you know that people want you, they want to talk to you, they want to ask for your expertise even if they are clear of what they want. They want to ask you for a second opinion,” said Sakthivel.
Creating visibility using online platforms
All social media platforms have a different audience. Identifying the audience who will be good for recruitment or for business will help you choose the right online platform. The audience should also serve as a good centre of influence who can refer or introduce people to you.
For Mr Thevar, he identified LinkedIn as his platform as the people who are on it are serious about business and personal growth. As someone who used to be very active on Facebook, he said he uses it more for his existing clients, as well as to post things that associate with his personal branding i.e., fitness and family.
Finding content to post
Image: Mr Thevar (left) and Royce Goh, FSMA executive committee member
Besides choosing the right online platform that will work best for you, Mr Thevar highlighted that the content put out must be strategic. “Your experience is one of the best contents that you can have because only you have it,” he said. Posting at least once a day on the online platforms will help with your visibility activity.
He shared that the time spent on personal branding, on social media, must have a clear intent: either be able to recruit them or get them to become clients.
“Just remember, we are not doing this as a vanity project. When you go out there, do not ever do it in a vanity project just to make yourself feel good. People will see that you are always talking about yourself,” he said.
“I try to talk about people, like our local heroes, people who are in Singapore, people within Asia, people who have done extremely well. I talk about them, and I realise because it's closer to the heart and it makes us feel that if they can do it, so can we.”
Finding daily or weekly content to post could be a struggle for many out there. On topics where you are not an expert in, Mr Thevar said the best way is to invite an expert and ask the right questions. Asking the right questions will draw out the answers that will help form the content you want to put out. “Choose the topic, get the correct expert in and ask the right questions. The content master will not be you but the invited guest speaker,” he shared.
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