I have never been a charitable guy. It doesn't mean I'm not compassionate, I just rather overpay to good people who make an effort to sell, rather than some slacker who sits there doing nothing expecting cash for sympathy.
So the story goes, I was on my way back home from the MRT station when this girl walks up to me. She wasn't pretty, but she was calm and reassuring. Before I had the chance to give her the "talk to my hand" signal, she reassured me that she wasn't selling anything (ya, right) and started hypnotising me with a genuine smile.
She asked me to give her 5 minutes to let her explain what she does, and I ended up giving her 15 minutes unknowingly. By the end of the talk, I'm now a monthly donor of the Singapore Cancer Society. I must admit I wasn't exactly giving because "I'm feeling charitable", but rather, I donated because I was buying into her story of why the charity needs to be supported.
We are our own brands. If you are pleased with the service that your real estate agent offers you, chances are good that you will still patronise him after he switched to an insurance agent or salesman.
When a salesman approach you with a product, there are 2 things that he is selling - the product, and himself. Don't believe it? Imagine a grumpy old salesman selling you the best stuff ever. Will you buy it? Conversely, imagine a charismatic auntie-killer salesman try to sell you something mediocre, will you buy it? =p
Say you want to start a business, and you are looking for partners with no particular skillset, who do you look for? Yes, people that you trust. So if you have established yourself as a reliable brand, it is more likely you will chance upon better lobangs in life.
For me, I like to associate my brand with my values - the knowledgable and optimistic problem-solver. It doesn't matter what you get me to do, you can ALWAYS expect me to get quality, and save time with what I have to offer.
So when I introduce a friend of mine to join a friend's company recently, they can jolly well trust my recommendation - I'm putting my entire reputation on it. And when you get me to introduce you a housing agent, you know that I'll either recommend you a GREAT agent, or none at all.
Building your brand has the following cause-and-effect. As you build up a stronger brand for yourself, people buy into you and give you more lobangs, and you just have to reciprocate - by working harder to justify it.
Think Tony Fernandes from AirAsia. Or my favourite Richard Branson. These guys have the word "no frills" and "smart businessman" written all over their face.
So what are some of the words that your friends associate you with? That is your brand, my friends.