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Interview with Donald Kelly

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About the Interviewee:

Donald Kelly

Donald Kelly is the host of the popular sales podcast The Sales Evangelist. He is the founder of The Sales Evangelist Consulting Firm, where he helps small companies develop sales strategies to find more prospects, build strong value, and close more deals. Donald is an award-winning speaker and has been featured in Entrepreneur Magazine, HubSpot, The South Florida Business Journal, The Huffington Post, and Yahoo Finance.

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What motivated and inspired you to focus on your own personal brand?

Usually, salespeople don’t stay in the same job forever. In fact, no one really does in any industry. This can make it difficult to have a long-lasting and consistent personal brand. As a brand, you typically conform to the identity of the latest company you worked for. However, to stand out from the competition and create my own brand, independent of any company as a salesperson, I decided to launch my brand, which centers around my podcast, “The Sales Evangelist”. It wasn’t easy at first and I am constantly developing my brand, but it has served me well in advancing our organization and bringing much noteworthy recognition.

Tell us what you believe your personal brand stands for.

My personal brand stands for hope for all those who are struggling in sales. My brand is dedicated to helping sales professionals get the education they need to overcome the most challenging obstacles salespeople are facing.

Why do you feel having a personal brand in today’s world is crucial?

If you don’t create a brand of your own, people will define and create one for you – and it more than likely will not be what you want. Everyone is glued to the internet these days. When you apply for a job, bid on a project, or try to sell something to someone, the first thing they will do is look you up. Do you know what they will find? An effective personal brand has the power to set the narrative now – so you can define who you want to be.

Where and how did you start in your own personal branding journey?

It started with the launch of my podcast back in 2013 while living here in West Palm Beach, Florida. I was a young sales professional who had just started to witness success in my sales roles. While in college, we learned about Guy Kawasaki, who is an internationally known author, speaker, and social media expert. During his tenure with Apple, he was their Chief Evangelist. The title really intrigued me. At one of the companies I worked for after college, I gave myself the title Technology Evangelist. This separated me from other salespeople and grabbed the attention of prospective clients.

After my immediate success, I continually spoke about sales and what was working for me, as a salesman. I told a friend about the role I had as a “Technology Evangelist” and he took a pause and said, “You’re like The Sales Evangelist!” Since then, I built my brand around that of The Sales Evangelist – dedicated to helping struggling sellers find the most effective ways to sell.

What early wins did you experience in your personal branding endeavors?

My first big win was being able to interview Jeffrey Gitomer. Having him on the show attracted many sellers to our community. Jeffrey Gitomer is a sales expert and the author of The New York Times best-sellers The Sales Bible and The Little Red Book of Selling. Jeffery shared his insights into the world of sales and helped me create an extremely valuable piece of content that attracted more salespeople around the country. You can check out my interview with Jeffery on thesalesevangelist.com.

What mistakes did you learn the most from in your personal branding endeavors?

I believe my initial mistake was not focusing my efforts enough in the beginning. I wanted to be a resource to all and not just a select niche audience. Now, I regularly work on expanding my content, including my podcast and blog to give my website visitors more valuable content and sales training.

Best and worst advice you’d give to our readers wanting to GROW their own personal brands and followings:

My best advice is to seek to help others grow their personal brand because it will lead to you naturally growing yours. My worst advice is to wait to see what people think of you and make a brand around that.

Any books, podcasts, courses, authors, or resources you recommend to our readers?

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey. It is a great book on establishing yourself and this will naturally allow for growth in all areas of your life. Also, How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie is an awesome read. This book helps you see that it’s all about helping others. I’d also recommend the podcast, How I Built This from National Public Radio. You learn from successful entrepreneurs about what you should do to find success.

Who inspires you? Anyone in particular you follow or admire with their own personal branding endeavors?

I find Malcolm Gladwell, journalist, marketer, and public speaker, to be very inspirational in developing my personal brand. I also admire Pat Flynn for how he has created a community of diehard fans. Pat positions himself as the giver; willingly offering all of his secrets and ideas to help entrepreneurs, like myself, succeed. The look and feel of everything he produces are exceptional in quality.

How do/did you stay motivated through difficult times or moments of self-doubt?

To stay motivated, I look back at WHY I’m doing what I am doing and read reviews from others I have been able to assist to see my success. I can learn from those reviews and improve my services based on my clients’ feedback.

Any final wisdom or insight you’d like to share with our readers?

Stay hungry and always seek to become a problem finder. If you can find problems and offer a solution before others, you will do well.

 

How did Donald’s experience creating his brand help you in your branding journey? We’d love to hear from you on social media! Thanks to Donald Kelly for granting us this helpful insight into his brand. To dive deeper into Donald’s brand, check out these resources:

Listen to Donald Kelly’s highly circulated podcast:

Learn how to master selling like Donald:

Get in touch with Donald:

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