Have you googled yourself lately? What activity did you find? Would it affect how a buyer thinks of you? If you have never searched yourself online, please do so now. As we’ve shared here before, if the buyer doesn’t buy you, they won’t the product you are selling. This is why you should google yourself regularly. It’s remarkable how salespeople search everyone else online, but somehow it never crosses their mind, that buyers may search them, and, most definitely will, their organization. Have you googled yourself? In fact, if you are looking for a job, google yourself first before making the application. Searching for a job and doing job interviews are both sales presentations with you as the salesperson and product on sale. Yes, you are always selling.
Case in point. What happens when you google yourself?
So search yourself online as your potential employer most definitely will. If in doubt ask Idris Muktar. He was fired from CNN over two tweets from 10 years before. He was in his teens then! Yup! The internet never forgets. You can find him online as you do what data there is of yourself. Meanwhile,, you may have forgotten about the #ifikiewazazi that went viral 5 or so years ago but the Internet hasn’t. Those teens displaying their X-rated images from then, will soon be joining the workforce. Now imagine, being asked this at the job interview, right after, “Tell us about yourself.” “Is this you? Tell us more about this image.” (Said with the computer screen projected on the monitor on the wall, for all in the panel -and you- to clearly see.)
Why you should google yourself
If you are selling, part of selling yourself first, is knowing what the buyer will find when they search online for you, and your organization. And if you don’t like what you see and can’t delete it (quite possibly) be prepared to handle it as you would an objection. You had better look informed than ignorant. “Yes, about that. It is unfortunate the client chose to post such a malicious remark about us online. And malicious is not my word; it is what the court referred to it as. This is what happened….” And you explain without maligning the client, otherwise its gossip. And, unless that’s your business, gossiping doesn’t sell.
Manage your online reputation
Do not be surprised when the prospect responds thus: “Yes. We know about the issue and just wanted to hear your side of the story. We were even wondering how you ended up dealing with them. They are known in the industry as malicious and greedy.” Or, if it is you, “I regret every moment of that impulsive decision. I was young, naïve and hot-blooded. I have grown up now and having learnt from it, I now tweet and talk to teenagers about the dangers of writing ill-thought through posts online. ” It may or may not work for you, but is a whole world better response than and indignant, “My online life is private and does not reflect on my work!” Really? It may be private but it’s in a public forum, and so, public! So, manage your online reputation.
Have you googled yourself and reviews
Besides you and your organization, find also what people are saying about both. It’s not a laborious assignment. A simple search will give you both, and more. Complete with reviews , associated images, and what’s in the news of late. And it’ll take less than a minute for you to have a fair overview of what’s trending. Of course, this is dependent on industry. If you are a selling a destination (hotel, for instance), you will dwell on the issue. What are the comments on Trip Advisor for instance, what reviews or ratings do we have, etc., etc. Remember you are dealing with a 21stC informed buyer, so be a 21st C informed seller, and sell to how they buy.
Ignorance is no defense
Many organizations have a dedicated resource to keep tabs on what’s happening online and are actively involved with the goings –on there. Think KCBGroup and Safaricom. But you, like many other individuals or businesses, may not have the budget for this. However, that’s not an excuse for you to defensively say, “I didn’t know that comment was on the Internet. You see, we are small. Just understand us. We can’t afford to have someone monitoring what people are saying all the time.” That’s displaying negligence and ignorance. And ignorance is no defense. All you had to do was search, know what’s there and be ready with a response, if the stench is brought up.
Google yourself challenge
Have you googled yourself lately? But what if I’m not online at all? Well, like the wanted fugitive Raymond Reddington in the crime thriller series Blacklist (google it), you may have deliberately not put any information about yourself online, let alone a paragraph; but that’s no guarantee that someone else hasn’t done so. Someone that took a photo, and made a meme of you acting out in traffic; or, recorded an incriminating conversation you had, and put it online. Or, posted comments disparaging your company’s website. (‘It’s all ChatGPT generated’; or, ‘It’s slow’; or, ‘it downloads viruses’, for instance). This is why you should google yourself.
Now then. Google knows you better than yourself, it’s been said. It’s a digital mirror. In any case, in this 21st Century, not having an online presence will likely work against you. As a renowned HR practitioner once stated, “If you have no online presence then you are an unknown. And the question becomes, ‘What are you hiding?’”
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