In B2B sales, trust is everything. From building new relationships to closing deals, it’s essential that your business and your salespeople are seen as honest and trustworthy. One way to build this trust is to humanise your brand.
Because being human is the one thing we all have in common – whatever our job position, customer type, or current relationship. When your brand or your business is seen as being more human, rather than corporate and robotic, you’re more likely to engage your target audience.
People buy from people, which is why it’s essential you humanise your brand. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the B2B or B2C sphere; what matters here is B2P. Business to people.
You’re communicating directly with people, one way or another. Humanising your brand will help those who you want to do business with see you as a real, trustworthy person. Not just a faceless brand.
Here’s how to do it:
1) Start with yourself
The most human brands are those which understand themselves. They have taken the time to focus on their own identity as a business.
The culture of your organisation is a great place to begin. Make sure you have an understanding of what your business stands for and what your brand actually is. If you want to humanise it, your culture should be open, honest and genuine in every respect.
You should understand the people within your organisation and help them to understand you. Your staff will play a key role in helping you promote your business and ensuring your brand is as human as possible.
Have brand values that you can stand by too. Nordstrom, for example, believes wholeheartedly in their employees and they have one rule to support that: “Use good judgement in every situation”. The rest is up to their staff. It’s a very human approach.
Equally, Unilever stands by its passion and commitment to reducing hate, anger and divisions in society. They recently threatened to pull all their advertising off Facebook and Twitter if the social media channels didn’t do something to address the divisive content on there. Because they believe so strongly in their own identity.
Once you understand your culture, then share your story. Show people you have a human side and tell them why you do what you do. Share your mission and encourage them to join you.
2) Get your tone of voice right
Another key way to humanise your brand is to focus on your tone of voice – the way your business talks to prospects.
You should probably start with dropping terms like prospects and consumers, to help you address them in a more personal manner.
The key to a human tone of voice is to talk like a friend. You want to engage people and build a relationship with them – as you would if you met them for a coffee.
Ditch that corporate jargon right away. Using big fancy terms will just go over your customers’ heads. They don’t want to try and figure out what you mean and they don’t care if you think it makes you sound smart.
Don’t say “we’ll deliver a solutionised approach” when you can say “we’ll help you solve those problems”.
Avoid acronyms, and just speak like you would every day to a friend or colleague. A warm, human tone doesn’t mean you lose your professionalism. It just helps you connect and build relationships more easily.
3) Own your mistakes and say thank you for your successes
The most human brands know that they should have human characteristics – and that means embracing your flaws. Everyone makes mistakes. And everyone knows that everyone makes mistakes. So don’t try and shy away from it when something does go wrong.
To err is human.
People will generally forgive you for mistakes as long as you’re open and honest about them. Own up, apologise, explain what happened and move on. That’s always the best, most human approach.
Take KFC and the infamous chicken supply issue. It could have crippled their business. But they took ownership of their big mistake, said sorry in a fun, on-brand, human way “We Fck-ed up”, and turned a PR disaster into a PR success.
You can do the same – even if it’s just a simple error in an email or an issue with shipping. Just apologise, and you’ll instantly humanise your brand.
Be grateful too. The most human brands will often be modest. Take time to thank your current customers for supporting you. Celebrate successes together. Thank prospects for giving up their time.
Send a thank you email – or even a small thank you gift – and you’ll be building a positive image of your brand. A brand that’s full of human qualities.
4) Deliver value
At the end of the day, you want to build a strong relationship with the people who’ll go on to support your brand. And that means focusing on that relationship – not trying to force a hard sell.
So instead of promoting your products or services all the time, deliver value. Provide help and support. Give your customers and prospects content that they will find useful and engaging.
Spend time on blog posts, guides, and other inbound marketing that demonstrates your utility. Show your prospects that you’re genuinely committed to helping them, rather than selling to them.
The sale will then come naturally
5) Let individuals shine through
Your employees are your biggest asset – a key part of your organisation and your brand – so let them shine through. They can be the human face of your business.
They’re the ones who’ll be building relationships, engaging customers, and representing your brand in public, so don’t try and hide them behind a corporate identity.
Encourage them to associate themselves with your business on social media (just make sure they’re opinions are labelled as their own). Share their personal successes like 5k runs or family milestones, and let your customers communicate directly with them.
At Accordium, we try to show our faces as much as possible. Right now, that is mainly the founders since not all employees enjoy getting exposure on the web. But in the future we will show more and more individuals from all departments of our company to make our brand approachable and human.
6) Personalise your sales
One of the best ways to get your individuals out there and demonstrating their own personalities is through individual sales videos.
A human brand doesn’t send generic communications to their prospects or customers. It sends personalised messages to show it understands its audience, and really does want to help.
Personalised sales videos are a great way of showing prospects your business is different. Of showing your brand has a human face. They let your individual salespeople build a direct, personal relationship with each potential customer. A face-to-face friendship.
And with software like Accordium, recording those sales videos is quick and simple.
Try it out for yourself, to see how you can start humanising your brand right away.
I am a sales professional, focused on sales and marketing driven growth. I co-founded Accordium with this in mind, but especially to help sales people become more successful. If you need help applying sales-driven growth principles in your company or would like me to speak at your event, please contact me. Also, connect with me on LinkedIn
or follow me on Twitter or Accordium on Facebook.
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