Run Lift Mom is an audio podcast uplifting women and guiding mothers through their fitness journey. Episodes feature expert interviews in the topics of running, strength training, and motherhood.

Hi there, I'm Suzy!

Hi there, I'm Suzy!

I uplift other women in the areas of running, lifting, and motherhood and create community for servant leadership.

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Run Lift Mom is an audio podcast uplifting women and guiding mothers through their fitness journey. Episodes feature expert interviews in the topics of running, strength training, and motherhood.

Personal Branding in Direct Sales with Brooke Norlin

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This is the third album of the Serve then Sell podcast and we discuss personal branding in direct sales with Brooke Norlin.

Episode 1: Who is Brooke?

Episode 2: Be You

Suzy: Talk to us about how you began in this industry

Brooke: I’ve been in direct sales off and on for a long time and for a really good portion of that time, I did not do well with it. When I first started the only strategy I knew was to ask my mom to host a party!

Once social media became a part of our daily lives, I then learned I could reach everyone I knew with one click of a button. So, I posted less funny memes (I don’t think we called them that back then) and more about my product. The idea was to reach as many people as I could with my product. If 500 of my friends saw it, one person was bound to order, right? (Not good odds!).

I didn’t know better and when you’re given a starter kit from a company and basically told “good luck”, you do what you know. And all I knew about marketing at that point was that the more people that could hear me, the better odds I had of making a sale. I had no clue that my odds would improve if I would hone in my message and speak to a specific crowd of people. This way my voice is much louder and not drown out.

Suzy: Why do we try to instinctually please everyone? 

Brooke: I have a couple of theories that seem to hit home with people. The first one is honestly a big deal that needs to be addressed internally with some of us. We think it’s easier. We don’t want to rock the boat. We don’t want anyone to hate us or judge us. 

And the second reason is usually that you want to sell to everyone, so why would you not try to please everyone with what you post or say? 

Suzy: What mindset should we embrace instead

Brooke: Instead we need to learn to embrace who we are. I always say, “Boldly be exactly who you are!” We need to learn not to apologize for being ourselves. And we need to learn that when we do that, we will find our people and our people will find us. What happens then is that you start to build a community who are loyal to you because of who you are. You’ll gain customers, friends and often find people to collaborate with! And you’ll start to stand out in a much bigger way!

Think of it like this: a brain surgeon is speaking to a room full of people about the techniques of how to perform her job well. In the room are 100 other brain surgeons, 100 business owners, 100 artists, and 100 dog trainers. The only people listening to her speak are the brain surgeons, the rest are discussing their lines of work with each other.

The speaker could talk about her own job, a business idea she has, the art she collects and her dog’s potty training issues, but she would lose people’s attention left and right and no one would really benefit from the experience. But, if that brain surgeon took those 100 other colleagues into a room and spoke to them about doing brain surgery, every single one of those people would hear her, learn from her and benefit from the experience. Weed out the noise, draw in the people who will benefit from your voice and you’ll stand out in a whole new way.

Suzy: Give us 1-2 tips for personality on social 

Brooke: One really fun way to start showing off who you are on social media is to share things about your daily life. You might think you’re boring, but let me tell you what…some of the most regular things about my life get the most interaction. Just the other day I posted about how I didn’t want to do my hair, so I didn’t and I went about my day with less than perfect hair. I snapped a quick photo and shared that with my community. So many people could relate to that and commented and laughed with me. It appealed to people on a personal level, it showed them a bit of who I am and it allowed them to feel brave enough to admit they’re not always perfect either. NEVER think you’re boring! There is always someone out there who can relate to what you might find mundane.

When people feel connected to you, they will remember you and that is what a brand is all about. You don’t have to share EVERYTHING, you can keep portions of your life private. But, what you do share should be authentic and real.

Suzy: How did you find your personal brand?

Brooke: When I was really young, I struggled with self-confidence. I was a fully developed, tall young woman by 6th grade and it was awkward to stand out like that among my friends, so I cowered and held very low self-esteem towards myself. As I grew up, I held on to that, even though everyone else eventually caught up to me. This manifested in me not wanting to go anywhere, always saying I didn’t have anything to wear, that I didn’t look good, etc. My mother, bless her heart, would help me put together an outfit and try to build my confidence while doing it. After a lot of tears and stress, she’d look at me and say, “Brooke, wear it boldly.” She was literally referring to the outfit I said I didn’t look good in, but she was also giving me the best advice of my young adult life. She was telling me that it didn’t matter what I was wearing, to go out into the world and boldly be me. That message is what I try to bring to Wear It Boldly on the daily. Sure, it’s evolved a bit over time, but at the core my message is to always be yourself and to “wear it boldly”. 

Episode 3: Serve versus Sell

Suzy: What’s the difference between serving & selling?

Brooke: One thing I hear often right now is “serving vs. selling” and I think it’s important that we step back from that and actually use this podcast name, “Serve, Then Sell”, because that’s exactly what it is. It’s not a “vs” situation, it’s an “if and then” thing. 

Suzy: give us an example

Brooke: I like to think of it more as working backwards from a goal. If your goal is to sell three of “item X”, you don’t want to tell your community that. They don’t care and it doesn’t serve them. So, working backwards you would say, “I want to sell three of item X this month, which of my customers would benefit the most from it?” Then you start in with your plan to serve! It’s a mindset flip, or a “goal flip” in this case. Instead of working towards your goal to sell items, work towards the goal to serve enough people to make the sales you need to hit your goal. 

Suzy: why service?

Brooke: I always like to present multiple ways of looking at things. One way to think of it is from the customer perspective, which is that it’s simply not as important to them that you succeed in your business as it is to you. Selling is important to you, not to them. So, if you want to speak to them and meet them where they are, you have to tell them what’s in it for them in order for them to want to purchase something.

We’ve all at least heard it, maybe even done it, “I’m just $300 away from my goal this month, who wants to help me get there?!” That just isn’t going to work long term. And really, (tough love moment) do you want someone buying from you out of guilt and/or pity for you, or do you want them to purchase something they’re going to use, love and come back for again?

But ultimately for me, living with a serving heart is something that fills my cup and I know it does the same for you. I am not naturally the kind of person that can walk up to someone and say, “Hey! You need this item, I happen to have it in my pocket and it’s $50!” but I am thrilled to help a friend or even a stranger. I legit will happy dance when I help someone find a skincare routine that makes them feel good, or a lip color that boosts their confidence. That’s what it’s about… it’s what life is about. 

Suzy: talk to us about mindset for approaching our indset for audience. Do they still lump me into the spam folder because I’m a network marketer?

Brooke: As direct sellers, we often feel like we’re walking a line that isn’t there. Because we’re all lumped into this category of being pushy, we fear being perceived that way, even when we’re trying to do better. We’re thinking, “I know I’m serving them, but do THEY know that or do they still lump me into the spam folder?” We need to stop, as long as we’re serving our clients, there is no reason to be afraid of the sale. And ultimately as a business owner, even with a serving heart, our goal is to sell our products, right? Serve, yes, but don’t forget the “then sell”!

Episode 4: Finding your voice 

  • How did you find your voice? Personal example from brand you sell now or from past 
    • If you caught my story in episode one, you’ll remember that my mom actually gave me the “Wear It Boldly” brand when I was young. It stemmed from years and years of having almost no confidence in myself. I’ve come to this point in my life where, even though I still have to work hard on my own confidence every day, I don’t want any woman to have to go through that struggle. We all have a message that the world needs to hear, it’s simply about taking the time to listen to yourself, develop that message and finding a delivery vehicle for it. For me it was direct sales!
  • Talk us through the difference between letting the product you sell amplify your voice vs. creating a voice that suits the company you’re with
    • So, under the name “Wear It Boldly”, I did a whole mess of things and the beautiful part about a personal brand is that you CAN do that. When you find a brand for yourself, you can easily make a shift from one company or product to another so long as it amplifies your voice. And here’s what I mean by that… when I sold jewelry the brand “Wear It Boldly” taught customers that whether they wanted to wear that statement necklace or the most delicate of earrings, they needed to be confident wearing them. I also briefly dove into the direct sales nail world and the same message followed me. “Whether you want to wear the brightest of pink nails or a gorgeous neutral… wear it boldly.” And when I started to help people with their personal brand, the same thing came into play… be who you are, show the world your voice, wear it boldly! That message travels with me EVERYWHERE I go and yours can, too.
    • Never let a product change your voice… always use your message and voice to bring forward the product you’re selling instead. This is beneficial for two main reasons… it allows you to remain true to who you are and keep your brand on track, and secondly it will keep your community following you into any new product or journey that you decide to take on.
  • Can our voice change during our direct sales journey? What may trigger a change? How do you transition publicly? 
    • ABSOLUTELY! I think the more confident you get with your brand and your voice, the more focused it will become and sometimes that can mean small shifts or a big change. We grow and change all the time and if we’re going to keep our brand true to who we are, our brand is going to grow and change with us.
    • If you think about the world we’re experiencing right now, we can find great examples of how this might happen. Right now the world is on a high emotional response with nearly everything, no matter where you’re standing emotions are high. We might find in a social climate like this one that we have a passion for something and we’re called to something new, or that our voice is evolving. I do however, want to caution people with changes, absolutely listen to your heart and follow your passions, but don’t be so quick to bring it into your brand. You have to live your brand every day, that’s why I teach you to build a brand around yourself… you know how to be you, but being someone else is not something that’s easy to keep up. So, before you find yourself all in on a message shift, explore it, get to know it intimately and live in it personally. Not only will this help you decide if it’s right for you to make that shift, but it will help you gain knowledge so your voice has credibility.

Episode 5: Creating your ideal client profile 

  • what is an ideal client profile & why should we have one?
    • I’m going to give away a little secret from my branding class here, so listen up! I have a task that I give to my teammates. I have them sit down and imagine themselves 10, 15, however many years ago. I ask them to write down things about her, what she loved, what was important to her, her strengths, her weaknesses, etc. And then I have them do the same thing with who they are today. My theory is that your ideal client is you… whether it be a past version of yourself or who you are today. Your job is to figure out who your message is for and how to deliver it to her.
  • What questions should we be able to answer?
    • What does she like to do in her spare time?
    • What motivates her?
    • What makes her laugh?
    • Does she have a problem I can solve? (aka pain points)
    • The answers to these questions help you form your content on social media. It is so much easier to create when you know who you’re talking to and why!
  • Examples (2)
    • I can provide my ideal client for ZYIA here, Becki (love this!!)
    • It’s so funny, everyone gives their ideal client a name. I probably should do that! I can picture her in my mind, though, her hair, eyes, what her style is like. Personifying her is really crucial, because you can then imagine having conversations with her. And that’s what makes creating online content so much easier! The conversations you have with her should absolutely be what you post about. 
  • If someone just began with their brand, how do they find? Oftentimes we are selling to “us” at first then the ICA will change and morph- I can provide a personal ex as Becki is a reflection of my early customers and me (beginning runner, size 12, 2 kids, works full time)
    • I think when you’re beginning, sometimes you haven’t taken a large part of your journey yet. What’s important if you can’t see a significant change in yourself that you want to speak to, then focus on you and what you love now. Start small and remember that your brand and your ideal client absolutely can shift and change with you as you experience life. 
    • Even if you’re feeling like you’ve really nailed your ideal client down and that your brand is perfect, never limit yourself to that box you’re in right now. I have a lot of journey left to take in life and I know that this isn’t it for me. I know that I always have room to grow, learn, and change. I mean, years ago I was a newbie to direct sales spamming my friends and family, praying I would be able to make a sale each month. And now I worry so much less about what sales I’m making vs. what connections I can build, how I can help people, and those things help me achieve sales goals. But, fortunately, I don’t have to live in the world of worrying where my next direct sales paycheck is going to come from, because I’ve allowed myself to change. 
  • Tenured- how do they take the pulse & how often? 
    • Everyone is different, but I think most of the time you will either feel a shift happening, or you’ll notice your spark dimming. Don’t wait until you’re at the bottom of the hill before you start to evaluate things. 
    • Regardless of being a more calculated person or more of a feeler, I would say you should step back and look at things once a quarter.
    • Check your engagement, your community growth, check in with your heart and make sure you still feel like you’re being fulfilled. And if you feel the need to re-evaluate where you’re going, start at the top and start looking for things that aren’t serving you or your clients any longer, what things have you seen that you can add? Has your ideal client shifted or narrowed down further? 

Episode 6: Personal branding 

  • Why do people want to do this first?
    • Personal branding is the foundation to a great selling strategy. When you know who you are, what your message is, how to amplify your voice using your products you have everything you need to build on top of that. 
    • Everyone wants to start with a visual brand first, but I always recommend that you fill up your present first. That’s how I explain it in my branding class with my teammates. You are a gift, which means your brand is a gift. What’s inside of your gift box is what matters the most. Your personality, your vibe, your value… that’s what people want to find when they open up your gift. Because listen, if you wrap up the most gorgeous gift with all of the pretty colors, ribbons, bows, glitter, etc. and then when they open it and it’s empty… well? That’s disappointing, isn’t it? Fill up the inside and then reward yourself by wrapping it up in beautiful colors, fonts, a logo, etc. that matches the gift that’s inside.
  • What are some ways we can be consistently recognizable online? 2-3 ideas/tips Let’s talk colors, fonts, logo, hashtag, consistent language in copy, etc
    • This part is honestly so fun. Right? Choosing colors, fonts and an overall vibe that can visually capture an audience? That’s what you’re doing! You’re taking your brand and you’re creating a visual experience that people can recognize, even if they haven’t gotten to know you and your brand experience yet. I love it. Here’s the process I recommend to my branding class attendees:
      • Visit Pinterest and start a board just for your brand. Throw EVERYTHING in there that visually appeals to you. I don’t care if it’s a stove, if you think it’s beautiful, throw it in there. Work on this for a few days and afterwards, step back and look at what you’ve found. You’re going to start to see a visual theme that you love.
      • Don’t overdue picking colors… 1-3 colors max with 1-2 accents that are used on occasion is enough. I’ve seen some branding boards with 10+ colors and it’s overwhelming. Choose colors that speak to you and will catch the eye of a consumer. 
      • Fonts are honestly the one thing that seem to frustrate people the most. There are SO MANY and the font rabbit hole is deep! I suggest playing with them. Make a bunch of “quote graphics” to try out the fonts. And if you choose something really scripty, make sure to have a nice easy to read font to go alongside of it. Same with colors, don’t complicate it. 1-2 fonts is really all you need.
    • The point of it all is when someone sees YOU and your brand online, they’ll recognize you, even when they’re mindlessly scrolling. “OH HEY, there’s Suzy! I love her.” And boom… you’re on the brain, which is the goal.
  • Give us an example of how it’s come together with your personal branding in direct sales
    • It’s embarrassing to admit how many visual re-brands Wear It Boldly has gone through. But, you have to remember that my journey with branding is what created the knowledge I have to share today. There’s that big lesson of not allowing your attempts to be failures, but rather lessons. You never know what life is teaching you!
    • For people who have been following me for a long time, they’ll remember my very first branding… it was memorable! “Bo the O”, which was literally just the “o” in the word Boldly. She came to life with a pair of cat eye sunglasses, I had her on stickers, images, my logo, everywhere. It was so simple to create and to work with, but it made a big impact visually! That little O is where my love for branding started. When I saw the impact something so simple could have on building my recognition, I knew I had to explore that further. From there is where I learned that people often think of a brand as just what you visually see… and the truth is what’s inside, the experience of following and supporting a brand, is honestly what keeps people coming back. 
    • I saw countless people create beautiful graphics that caught my eye, but when I started spending time in their social spaces, I was left feeling a bit underwhelmed. “OH! So pretty!” But… it didn’t keep my attention for long because there wasn’t enough substance. That’s when I started my own journey to create the inside of my brand. I knew that I could become visually recognizable, but I wanted people to remember shopping with me. I wanted them to look forward to my posts everyday. And I wanted them to come back to support me because they enjoyed their experience and they felt a connection. That’s where the magic is.
  • Advice for someone beginning (cue call to action in closing) Maybe 1 thing they can work on (we could create a hashtag around this for them to show completion?)
    • It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting out with a brand or re-evaluating your current brand, don’t rush it. Take your time to get to know yourself and what parts of you that you want to share with your community. But remember, overthinking is a disease! Your brand can evolve, don’t get caught up in the weeds and stop yourself from going into action.
  • I want to challenge you today to either take a look at your direct sales/small business, or use these questions while you’re building a brand for the first time.
    • Do you feel you’re serving people? 
    • Do you have an ideal client?
    • Do you feel like shopping with you is a memorable experience?
    • Do you have repeat customers AND new ones each month?
    • Do you feel passion for what you’re doing?
    • Do you have consistent visual recognition?
  • If you answered “no” to any of these questions, this is where you need to start!
  • Let’s connect with listeners:
    • Use #ServeBoldly for a mini branding worksheet

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Picking up what we’re putting down? This entire podcast is for service minded direct sellers like you.

Each season is an album you can listen to as a masterclass all at once or episode by episode.

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