Do you struggle with self-promotion? Sometimes talking about ourselves can be a little uncomfortable, but if you want to be a successful business owner, you’re going to have to put on your big girl undies and get over it. These simple steps will have you overcoming your discomfort in no time!
While some people seem to be born with the natural ability to blab all over town about what they’re doing, it’s a skill that many business owners could use practice perfecting.
A few weeks ago I wrote a post about non-sleazy sales skills, and shared my thought that sales had a very unfair bad reputation. I feel the same way about self-promotion. So let’s start by clearing the air.
There’s a difference between being in your face, and letting people know what you do.
I’m in a Facebook group that is made up of entrepreneurs from all different industries. A few weeks back, someone posted about a weight loss group she was starting, and it looked interesting. I messaged the woman with a few questions. Upon reading her answers, I knew it was 100% not something I was interested in, and I told her so. Well, she tried shoving her services down my throat, and it was NOT appreciated. A few times a week I was getting messages asking if I wanted to reconsider, if I had any friends that might be interested, if she could add me to her email list….it was a freakin’ disaster! Now, not only do I not want her services, but I am writing a blog post about how much she irritated me. To me, that’s just bad self-promotion form.
So, don’t start harassing anyone into working with you. Deal?
What you DO need to do is get laser-focused about what you’re offering, master the art of give and take, and learn to be comfortable putting yourself out there.
Step One: Who do you want to work with, and what’s in it for them?
Knowing who you want to work with and what you’re offering is the key to solid self-promotion. Being strategic with who you share with is important if you want to be landing quality clients! If your ideal clients are 30-something single women, stop wasting your time talking to 50 year old married women about what you do. Sure, they might have a daughter or niece that would adore you, but you’re better off going to the source. You’re also more likely to have awkward conversations when you’re chatting with people that can’t relate to what you’re selling. Spend your time strategically seeking out your ideal clients, and focus on cultivating relationships with those people. When you’re talking to someone that is not your ideal client, but might be a good source of referrals, keep the conversation light and be sure to find a way you can help them in return.
Being aware of the pain points your ideal clients have is a great way to make your self-promotion conversational, which is a great way to sneak self-promotion in without making it feel like you’re giving a shameless plug. What do you offer that will help the people you’re talking to? Be sure you know your products/services like the back of your hand so that you can chat with people about what would benefit them the most. Ask them questions, and listen to their answers.
Self-promotion doesn’t mean talking at people and trying to convince them to work with you. It just means you’re chatting about what you do. No big deal. Stop making it feel so stressful, woman!
Step Two: Master the art of give and take.
No one wants to be friends with that person that is always bragging about what they have, or venting about their latest problems, and then quickly hanging up the phone before you get a sentence in about yourself.
The same goes for your business! If you’re using social media, you’re self-promoting, and it’s important to provide value just as much (if not more often!) than you’re promoting yourself. If all you’re doing is standing on a street corner with a megaphone saying “hey, look at what I did!”, people are going to start taking a new route to work to avoid that annoying loon standing over by Walgreens every morning talking about herself.
Be known as someone that always provides immense value, and is always up for a friendly chat. People will always react better to someone that promotes themselves when they feel like they’ve already gotten value from that person.
Not sure what kind of value you can provide your ideal clients on a regular basis? Shoot me an email here and tell me a little about your business, and I’ll give you a few ideas!
Step Three: See yourself as an expert, and practice putting yourself out there.
Often, a fear of self-promotion boils down to a confidence issue. You need to believe in the value you’re providing people, if you want them to buy what you’re selling! Think about the times you’ve been on the fence about a purchase. How did the business owner or sales associate convince you to either make the purchase or walk away?
Remember that to the world, you’re the expert in your field! I believe that everyone has something special to share with the world, and often those skills are the ones we think are common sense, or things no one would care about. But that’s not true! Maybe arranging flowers comes easily for you, so you can’t imagine why anyone would pay you to teach them how to do it. But there are TONS of people that have no idea how to make a beautiful arrangement, that would line up at your front door to get in on a class!
For a lot of people, self-promotion is easier online. There’s something about talking to people you don’t know, and likely will never meet in person, that makes opening up a little less scary. Find a few Facebook groups or networking communities and start promoting yourself! Get comfortable telling people what you do, and answering questions about your business. Repetition will make talking about yourself in person, or in front of a potential client, feel much more natural!
Unsure about how to break the ice in a new group? Try this simple script:
“Hi! I’m so excited to be a part of the group! I’m [name] and I [give a super brief intro to what you do]. I’d love to meet you, so tell me a little bit about what you do!”
You can tailor this to the group a little, just keep is short and sweet. How easy is that?!
See, self-promotion does not need to be scary! Think of it as a conversation, and have fun with it!
Do you struggle with talking to other people about your business? Share your biggest struggles in the comments, and I’ll give you some advice tailored to you!
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