Monday, March 24, 2014

Are You Scared to Sell Yourself?

What is your response when a person asks, “What do you do?”

Is the answer boring and lifeless? 

Do you tell them what you really do?

Or, do you tell then your job title?

Selling yourself can be a difficult task for many entrepreneurs. 

Selling yourself can be a difficult task for many entrepreneurs.

We are  brainwashed as entrepreneurs, and have become accustomed to believing that any form of self promotion is a turn off to potential clients.

You heard about the bad reputation used car salesmen have received over the years. They have a terrible reputation for being pushy and impersonal, and you do not want to be that guy or girl. I do not think every used car salesman deserves a bad reputation, but just like, in any business there are different approaches.

If you want to establish a successful brand, you must know how to market yourself in a way that is appropriate for the occasion and sparks interest.

The core of all marketing is reaching new clients and increasing profits. But, marketing has two very different approaches. Transactional marketing and relationship marketing.

I define the two contrasting approaches below. You should understand the difference, so that your future self promotion will feel natural and smooth.
Formulating an answer that aligns with your brand and promotes clearly to the listener what you do is the goal.

Transactional marketing is an approach to business that focuses only on the sale. Getting as many sales as possible, and increasing profits is the goal here. This approach is associated with being money hungry or doing whatever it takes to make a profit. Transactional marketing is based on the four P's:

Product - has to meet the buyers needs

Pricing - a balance between what the consumer will pay and what brings in the most profit for business

Placement - path of distribution

Promotion - adding a little hype and exciting around the product to make it appealing to potential buyers.

If you are interested in building your personal brand, the transactional approach will not benefit you in the long run.

In contrast, the relationship marketing approach focuses on the potential buyer. The business owner seeks out ways to understand, help and offer solutions to problems. This approach is a bold statement. It says, “I care about my clients, and I will prove that by offering great value.” Understanding the difference between the two will help you overcome the fear of self promoting.

If you're in business for the long run, there is no doubt that relationship marketing is the way to go. The simplest form of relationship marketing is promoting who you really are. I know it sounds elementary but, “Just be yourself.” Ask yourself some important questions like:

What are your values?

What are you passionate about?

What are your goals?

How does what you do benefit the people around you?

Discovering who you truly are, is a journey that should not be summed up in 4 questions. The questions will get your brain moving and thinking about the bigger picture.
Once you establish what is important to you and the path for your business and life, answering “What do you do?” will never feel impersonal or pushy.
Your answer should speak the truth, be simple and to the point. Tell the listener what you want them to know about you and tie it into what you offer. Share what inspires you and not a job title.

Tips for Successful Self Promotion

First impressions are everything, and to master the art of self promotion you have to have confidence leaking out of your pores. When you believe in yourself and are being true to your beliefs, it will come across as passion. So, instead of spitting out a boring and lifeless answer you can spark the listener's interest.
Remember, sincere passion moves the people around you to take action. That is how you avoid coming across as a used car salesman.

Try to step outside of your comfort level, this will allow you to stay fresh and inspiring. Self promotion can take your brand to the next level, but it will take some practice and thought on your part. Talking about yourself is fine but always look for ways tie it into the listener. Give them a reason to care. I personally feel that when people ask probing questions they are really asking,

What’s in it for me?

So tell your potential client what you have to offer and let them decide if the fit is right. There is nothing pushy or impersonal about that.

Don’t be afraid to display what makes you unique and use that to help others. Each and every one of us has a unique story or approach, and you should weave that into your brand so you can resonate with your potential buyers.

So, now what is your response to “What do you do?”

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